By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—The trial judge in Speaker Mike Hubbard’s felony corruption trial has granted a motion to limit one subpoena and quash two others.
In a continuing effort to undermine the State’s case against Hubbard, his legal team has sought to question the authority of State Attorney General Luther Strange, who appointed W. Van Davis to oversee the Grand Jury proceedings that indicted Hubbard on 23 felony counts of public corruption. They are also claiming prosecutorial misconduct.
In an attempt to derail the prosecution team, Hubbard subpoenaed, Gov. Robert Bentley, AG Strange and the Custodian of Records for the Alabama Ethics Commission.
Trial Judge Jacob Walker, III, upheld the State’s motion to quash the subpoena against Bentley and the Custodian of Records.
The State argued successfully that the subpoena constitutes an attempt to obtain a witness statement from a potential State witness and was an improper fishing expedition The State also held that information that might be obtained from Bentley was protected by multiple privileges.
Hubbard’s criminal defense attorney, J. Mark White, has repeatedly and unsuccessfully tried to have the judge grant an evidentiary hearing (even though some in the media have reported to the contrary). As court documents show, White has tried and failed to “unilaterally convert a motions hearing into an evidentiary hearing.”
Two of the felony counts against Hubbard involve him lobbying the executive for a fee. Therefore, the State says, “Accordingly, Governor Bentley may be a witness for the State in Hubbard’s trial.”
The defense wants to know what Bentley might say, because as many court observers have noted, the Governor will be a powerful witness for the prosecution.
As for the subpoena for the Custodian of Records for the Alabama Ethics Commission, the motion to quash was upheld as well.
Judge Walker did grant the defense a small victory in allowing Strange to answer an interrogatory deposition in writing, as to why he appointed Davis to oversee the case against Hubbard.
White is once again trotting-out the argument that Davis lacks the experience to prosecute the case against Hubbard. This is the same accusation heard and rejected by Judge Walker in the Rep. Barry Moore perjury case.
It is also important to note that Judge Walker is the one who impaneled the Grand Jury under Davis, and that the State’s Supreme Court refused to hear the same motion in the Moore case.
In baseball, that would be one ball and two strikes for Hubbard’s Legal Team.