MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Earlier this morning, Judge Jacob Walker III set House Speaker Mike Hubbard’s (Auburn) trial date for the week of Oct. 19, 2015.
The trial was previously scheduled to begin in March, which some attorneys believed was too ambitious of a date to meet. It should be pointed out the Alabama legislative session begins March 3, 2015.
The defense, led by Mark White, asked the State to produce a series of records that has not yet been met due to problems with the State’s production equipment. Deputy Attorney General Matt Hart in turn pointed out that the defense did not indicate a preferred format to the State until January 21, 2015. The prosecution said the State will produce the necessary documents in the requested format. Those are now set to be received by February 17, 2015, with the defense’s response due February 27, 2015.
The prosecution and the defense also agreed they would meet on April 15th, 2015, to cover motions filed. It is believed that the defense will issue at least three motions to have the case dismissed. The defense specifically referenced two of those motions: the constitutionality of the Grand Jury’s appointment; and the conduct of the Grand Jury. White also said the defense would like any evidence not admitted to the case to be closed to the public. White said [he’s] “trying to avoid having a bunch of stuff put in the public record that’s not relevant.”
Judge Walker indicated that he has closed cases in the past, but those were “much more sensitive” and typically death penalty cases. Judge Walker further said that his decision will be determined at a later date.
Judge Walker also discussed jury selection and said a larger pool could be brought in if needed, and those jurors could further be broken down into panels if needed. Judge Walker said that could be revisited when the court reconvened in April.
Judge Walker asked Hart how long he anticipates it will take the State to try its case. Hart said he believes it will take approximately two weeks.
Hubbard is facing 23 felony indictments, which stem from him allegedly using his position as Speaker and former position as Chairman of the Alabama Republican Party to benefit his personal interests. Hubbard pled not guilty to all counts.
The last pretrial hearing is currently scheduled for August 28, 2015.