By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—The day following his testimony in Lee County, a North Alabama State Representative doubled down on claims that Mike Hubbard’s arrest was politicly motivated.
In a April 16 appearance on a radio talk show, State Rep. Mike Ball (R-Madison) says he may be targeted by prosecutors for speaking out on Hubbard’s “political prosecution.”
On April 15, Ball, took the stand at a motions hearing for indicted Speaker of the House, to proclaim the whole affair is a political prosecution.
While on the stand, Ball recalled how he had been telephoned by Matt Hart, who heads the Attorney General Special Crimes Division, because of comments he made on a talk radio show in Huntsville. During his testimony Ball, a former State Trooper and ABI corporal, said he felt threatened by Hart.
On April 16, Ball appeared again on that same show to make the same claims and to offer his version of events and motivations.
Hubbard’s criminal defense attorney, J.Mark White, had hoped to use Ball’s testimony in Lee County as evidence of Grand Jury leaks and prosecutorial misconduct. While trial judge Jacob Walker, III, allowed Ball to testify, he repeatedly questioned Hubbard’s attorney as to the relevance of Ball’s statements.
In the almost quarter hour on the radio, Ball offered one rambling explanation after another as to why he believed that Hubbard’s prosecution was political. In one exchange Ball said, “Listen, this is not about Matt Hart looking to run for political office some day. It’s not about Luther wanting to be Governor. It’s not about elective politics, so much, well it was during the campaign, about some of those people that were jockeying around, but it’s about power struggles, and, and, and, and, for whatever reason people in their heart, no pun intended, do not want Mike Hubbard to be speaker. Right. And if your life revolves around being Speaker, that influences the power structure and it’s political.”
Ball’s statements seem to say that the prosecution is political, but not because Hart or Attorney General Luther Strange are seeking office, but some unexplained “jockeying” in “power struggles.”
Ball has suggested in a prior radio interview, in a conversation with Hart, and at the motions hearing, that he, as a member of the House Judiciary Committee, wanted to change State laws in such away as to make prosecution of elected official much more difficult. On this radio interview, Ball said, “Listen, listen, listen… I hate corruption, and I guess Mr. Hart in that phone call, he’s, somehow he’s got the idea that I want to weaken the law. No. I want to make it work. I want to make it work properly. And, and, and, the thing here is, one thing you could make, you know, you could make speeding a death penalty offense and, and, and, and, people would drive slow, but would that be a good law? No.”
This is not the first time Ball has taken to the airwaves to impugn someone’s motivation. It a 2010, while supporting Bradley Byrne for Governor, he took part in an ad bashing Robert Bentley.
He also accused the Wetumpka TEA Party of being financed by Milton McGregor, in 2013. Becky Gerritson, president of the group called Ball’s assertions, “completely false and absurd.”
But, on his latest radio appearance Ball says he never questioned Hart or anyone’s integrity, saying,“…you know the thing about have I ever impugned the integrity of a, quite frankly I, impugned, I don’t even know what that is, so it’s hard to do it if you don’t even know what it is. First of all, I ain’t capable of tearing down somebody’s integrity, people tear down their own integrity. It’s reputation. We can tear down each other’s reputation, I’ve said this many times before on your show. But your integrity, your character, that’s each person’s own individual responsibility.”
Ball concludes the interview by stating that he believes that Hart might come after him for speaking out and that his actions are making him a target of the prosecution. “Listen, I’m probably crazy by doing what I do which is coming on this show, speaking my heart and telling the truth and confronting this, you know, he’s [Hart] gotta hate my guts… I’m making myself a target and I know it. Some things you just gotta do.”