By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn, has entered a plea of not guilty on all 23 counts of felony public corruption charges which the State has filed against him.
On Friday, Hubbard, through his attorney J. Mark White, filed a plea of not guilty to all counts listed in the indictments. Hubbard also waved his right to appear at his arraignment, in accordance with the Alabama rules of criminal procedure. His arraignment has been set for November, 13.
Hubbard, who has repeatedly said that he looked forward to a speedy trial, so as to clear his name, asked the court for a delay in his trial date, as well as a pre-trial scheduling conference.
Hubbard’s attorneys cited some of the following reasons for his request to delay:
He was indicted only a little over two weeks ago; the complexity of the case; the ten individuals of significant standing in the community (in addition to Hubbard) and various business entities; and the virgin territory of these indictments.
Hubbard’s attorneys argue that 15 of the 23 counts under which he is indicted are “new statutory provision,” and that there is “no Alabama legal precedent for this prosecution.”
Even though Hubbard voted for these laws and spoke publicly about their need and effectiveness, he now comes before the court to challenge them as applied to him.
White, in his request for a continuance, also acknowledged that the Attorney General has been investigating Hubbard for nearly two years, a fact that White had previously denied in the press, saying he was only representing Hubbard against those who were trying to defame his character and that of his family.
Hubbard also filed a discovery motion in which a laundry list of items are requested including, “Any and all documents of any kind, state or federal, of Hubbard or any alleged co- conspirator or any other person, that relate or might relate directly or indirectly to exculpation, mitigation or impeachment, or which might lead to information or evidence related to exculpation, mitigation, or impeachment.”
Several defense attorneys speaking on background found the filings “vanilla,” and “routine.”
The court can expect more motions coming from the defense as well as the prosecution over the next several months.
Hubbard, who was recently given the nod to continue as Speaker by members of the House Republican Caucus, is expected to delay the process as long as possible. The prosecution will take advantage of these delays to further prepare the State’s case against him.
Accusations that Deputy Attorney General Henry T. “Sonny” Reagan had leaked Grand Jury information to those indicted or affiliated with the Hubbard investigation will take center stage at some point over the next few weeks.
Hubbard’s attorney, White, has a long standing adversarial relationship with Matt Hart, Chief of the Attorney General’s special public corruption unit and will in all likelihood try to “tar” Hart in the media, in an attempt to discredit the prosecution with the public. It is said that White has a very extensive file on Hart, and that he will use that and a letter, reportedly, “fabricated” by Reagan to impugn Hart’s character.
Hubbard and White have made extensive and elaborate comments in the press, accusing the State’s Attorney General and others of conducting a political witch hunt, as well as assigning a host of varying motivations as to why Hubbard has been indicted on 23 felony counts of public corruption.