By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—In what is being described as both a fit of desperation and a Hail-Mary pass, Speaker Mike Hubbard, (R-Auburn) has filed subpoenas for Governor Robert Bentley (R), Acting Attorney General W. Van Davis and the Custodian of Records for the Ethics Commission, according to a filing by the Attorney General’s Office late Monday.
Over the last month, Speaker Hubbard, through his criminal defense attorney J. Mark White, has subpoena 17 witnesses for an evidentiary hearing that has not even been granted yet by Lee Count Circuit Court Judge Jacob Walker, III.
Court observers speaking on background say that they believe that the Hubbard defense team wants to put the prosecution on trial prior to his felony trial in October.
Hubbard has been charged with 23 felony counts of public corruption.
One attorney familiar with the case said, “This is a ‘Hail Mary’ by White because he doesn’t have a real defense.”
In response to the prosecution’s motion to quash the subpoenas issued to Bentley and others, Judge Walker has ordered a hearing on April 3, 2015 at 1:45 pm in courtroom three of the Lee County Justice Center.
The purpose of the hearing is to further discuss issues to be heard on April 15 and 16, 2015, according to Judge Walker’s order.
The hearing of April 15 and 16 was to be on motions filed in the case, but Hubbard, in what is described by one attorney as a “fit of desperation,” apparently wants to turn the hearing into a media circus.
As for Hubbard’s request to call Gov. Bentley the state argues, “Hubbard’s subpoena… constitutes an improper attempt to obtain discovery to which he is not entitled and to conduct a baseless fishing expedition.”
The state contends that Hubbard’s subpoena of Bentley should be quashed because it represents an attempt to usurp this Court’s authority. Prosecutors also say that it violates executive privilege, “It is black-letter law in Alabama that testimony about the performance of a state officer’s official duties is protected from disclosure by executive privilege.”
The prosecution also claims that the Bentley subpoena is improper because it seeks information “protected by… deliberative-process privilege, legislative privilege, attorney-client privilege, and work product doctrine.”
Hubbard’s efforts to call Bentley and Davis is seen by legal observers as a last ditch offensive before the scheduled October criminal trial.