By Brandon Moseley and Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—On Monday October 27 the trial of State Representative Barry Moore R- Enterprise, is scheduled to begin in the Lee County courtroom of Circuit Judge Jacob A Walker III. Rep. Moore has been charged by the Alabama Attorney General’s office White Collar Crimes Division with perjury before the Lee County Grand Jury and with making false statements to investigators with the Alabama Attorney General’s Office.
On August 4, the ‘Alabama Political Reporter’ reported that: Acting Attorney General W. Van Davis, Miles “Matt” Hart, and Deputy Attorney General Michael B. Duffy provided Moore’s attorneys with: a certified copy of the official transcript of Moore’s testimony before the Lee County Special Grand Jury on January 24, 2014; the substance of oral statements made by Moore to Special Agents with the Alabama Attorney General’s Office; a CD containing two recorded telephone calls between Moore and Josh Pipkin; certified copies of the official transcripts of the two recorded telephone calls between Moore and Josh Pipkin; a CD containing a recorded telephone call between Moore and Jonathan Tullos; a certified copy of the official transcript of the recorded telephone call between Moore and Tullos; phone records from Josh Pipkin; phone records from Jonathan Tullos; and an executed copy of the oath from the court reporter for the Lee County Special Grand Jury.
The court documents revealed that the State also has a recording of Moore speaking with Jonathan Tullos, Executive Director at Wiregrass Economic Development Corporation. Tullos has refused to speak with the press, citing instructions from the prosecution.
In a recording made by Josh Pipkin, Moore is heard relaying threats that he says he is communicating on behalf of Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard (R from Auburn). It can be surmised that Tullos may have made similar recordings of conversations with Moore. The prosecution may be using the Tullos recording to substantiate the validity of the threats made by Moore to Pipkin, on Hubbard’s behalf.
The charges against Moore stem from threats conveyed by Moore to Josh Pipkin, allegedly on behalf of Hubbard. Moore threatened his GOP primary opponent, Pipkin, by saying that the Speaker would kill a job incentive program for Enterprise unless Pipkin dropped out of the June election. Moore also said that Hubbard would bring “Holy Hell,” down on Pipkin if he did not quit the race.
The ‘Alabama Political Reporter’ was the first to report and release a copy of one of Pipkin’s recording.
Moore is alleged to have denied memory of the content of those phone conversations in questioning by state investigators and again in questioning before the Lee County Grand Jury.
Moore’s defense team, led by former Alabama Lt. Governor Bill Baxley (D) attempted to suppress the two phone recordings and the transcripts between Moore and Pipkin. The Moore team even challenged the legality of the Lee County Grand Jury and the appointment of Acting Attorney General Van Davis by AG Luther Strange (R). Judge Walker (R) rejected the defense motions to suppress the evidence. The Alabama Supreme Court has subsequently ruled that the Alabama grand jury law was followed and is constitutional in an unusual pre-trial appeal by Baxley and the Moore team.
Moore’s attorneys had argued that the tapes should be suppressed because Moore was in Florida at the time of the phone calls and therefore did not consent under Florida law to Pipkin’s recording of their conversations. Prosecutors did not concede that Moore was in Florida during both calls and argued successfully that the point was “irrelevant” since Pipkin was in Alabama at the time and was operating lawfully under Alabama Law.
The recently indicted Speaker of the House Hubbard has also been critical of the Lee County Grand Jury and has called the entire investigation, “A political witch hunt.”
On Monday, October 20 the Speaker was indicted on 23 ethics charges. In April state Representative Greg Wren (R from Montgomery) admitted guilt in using his state office for personal gain. Rep. Wren resigned his seat in the legislature, accepted a suspended sentence, and agreed to cooperate with state prosecutors.
Legal analysts tell the ‘Alabama Political Reporter’ that the case against Rep. Moore appears strong and suggested that a plea deal similar to the one that Rep. Wren negotiated with prosecutors is possible if Moore was able to offer anything of substance to prosecutors.