By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
Newly re-elected Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard held a press conference Wednesday to let the State know he’s not worried about the 23 felony indictments against him, because 99 legislators handed him what he hopes is a “get out of jail free” card on Tuesday. “Yesterday, I believe, it was pretty clear that the members of the House of Representatives have confidence in me,” said Hubbard to the gathered press corps.
Hubbard was reelected House Speaker with 99 out of 105 votes. Only Representative Alvin Holmes (D-Montgomery) voted against him. Hubbard says he is not worried and why should he; everyone is bending to his will.
Since his indictment, Hubbard has been spinning an elaborate web of innocence, so great has been the effect that even respected news outlets have been softening their headlines to make his felony charges seem somehow less damning.
By example the recent headline at al.com reads, “House Speaker Mike Hubbard says ethics case won’t affect his leadership.” At al.com, it is not a criminal case, it’s an “Ethics Case.”
It seems Hubbard is easily winning the PR war with the media. And now he has won it with Democrat and Republican House members.
At the press conference, Hubbard gloated over the fact that a few more pieces of his defense strategy had come together: being re-elected to his House seat in District 79 and being re-elected as Speaker of the House by an overwhelming majority. Hubbard wants the press and potential jury pool to believe that his re-election means he is innocent.
Sometime in June, Hubbard’s defense lawyers will look at the 12 jurors in his criminal trial and say, “The voters trust him, State lawmakers trust him, you should trust him as well.” Hubbard’s legal team will imply, “Do you really think that these lawmakers are so stupid or corrupt that they would actually vote for a man who is a criminal? Are you smarter than all the people who voted for him?” Unless there is overwhelming evidence, it is likely that at least one of those jurors will buy it.
On Tuesday, 99 members of the Alabama House joined Hubbard’s defense team, whether they knew it or not.