By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—Untangling the web surrounding the investigation that has led to the arrest of Speaker Mike Hubbard, is a daunting task. Just the involvement of two men who are accused of working with the defense team from inside the Attorney General’s Office, is a convoluted maze of interconnected events and alliances.
Henry T. “Sonny” Reagan and Howard “Gene” Sisson have both been accused by Attorney General Luther Strange of working with Hubbard’s criminal defense team and others, to undermine the Lee County investigation into Hubbard’s alleged criminal activities.
Reagan and Sisson claim that being forced from the AG’s Office, is a result of retaliation by Special Prosecutions Division Chief, Matt Hart. They allege that Hart targeted them after a personnel complaint led to Reagan being subpoenaed to appear before the Lee County Grand Jury. But, following the trail of evidence provided by court records, it now appears that Reagan, and subsequently Sisson, were both subpoenaed due to the testimony of Hubbard’s then Chief of Staff, Josh Blades.
According to emails sent from Hubbard to former Gov. Bob Riley, Reagan began providing information into the investigation as early as December, 2012. Court records show Reagan was providing information to Hubbard, Riley and his son, Rob Riley, about Hart’s investigation.
On Dec, 13, 2012, Hubbard emailed former Gov. Riley saying, “Gov: Talk with Rob when you can. Armistead and Luther have now teamed up to try and ruin me politically. Not sure what Luther’s end game is others than he views me as a potential threat down the road. Rob knows details.”
Riley replies, “I was with him [Rob] during the conversations with you and Sonny [Reagan] last night – ….. Have a couple of people trying to understand what’s happening.”
In a Jan. 18, 2013 email from Hubbard to Riley, subject “Snowy Night” Hubbard wrote,
“Confidentially, I received word just now from Josh that a mutual friend in the AG’s office (he used to work for you) called to tell him that the prosecutor told him this afternoon that the accusations against me have been thoroughly investigated and totally dismissed by the Grand Jury.”
Following related court documents it becomes clear that Hubbard’s and Riley’s emails refer to Blades and Reagan.
Reagan has tried to say that he was forced to resign his position at the Attorney General’s Office because of a personnel complaint he filed against Hart, who has led the investigation into Hubbard’s alleged crimes.
Sisson makes similar allegations saying he was fired from the AG’s Office in retaliation of his personal investigation into Hart.
Reagan has stated that he was called to testify at the Lee County Grand Jury because of the personnel complaint; Sisson makes the same allegations.
However, statements from Reagan supplied to White on March 20, 2015, show that Reagan, before he was called to testify before the Lee County Grand Jury, asked prosecutor Micheal Duffy why he would need to appear before the Grand Jury. Duffy told him that “Josh had brought my name up….”
Reagan did testify in Lee County, but on advice of council, evoked his 5th Amendment Rights after only a few questions.
In writing to the Head of the State Personnel Board, Jackie Graham Sisson states, he was placed on mandatory leave on April 10, 2015, because he had investigated Hart for using his office for personal gain.
In an August, 2014 letter to then Director of the State’s Ethic Commission, Jim Sumner, Sisson accused Hart of using his office for personal gain, because Hart was drawing a pay check after Sisson felt he should have been fired. Sisson said, he believed Hart should have been fired as a result of a personnel complaint Reagan filed against him. Sisson alleges that Reagan being subpoenaed halted Doucet’s investigation that Hart was using his position for personal gain.
However, in Sisson’s termination letter from Strange, the Attorney General references the complaint saying,
“[Reagan], acting on advice of his legal counsel [Baxley] …filed an internal complaint against Mr. Hart. At the time he filed his complaint, however, he was not interested in commencing an internal investigation into his co-worker’s conduct. Instead, he asked the Chief of the Administrative Services Division [Charlotte Doucet] if she would simply place the complaint ‘in the file.’ He did not say for what purpose. The day after his filing of that internal complaint, his attorneys [Baxley] filed a motion to compel the production of the co-worker’s, Mr. Hart’s, personnel file in the Moore case. Thus, Mr. Reagan worked in concert with the indicted criminal defendant to disrupt the criminal prosecution by shifting the focus away from the various subjects of the investigation to the conduct of the prosecutor.”
Strange states that the complaint was part of Reagan working with the defense to undermine the Lee County Grand Jury contradicting Sisson’s assertion. The allegations made by Sisson regrading Hart have never been taken seriously, except by Hubbard’s team who has used Reagan’s allegations to show prosecutorial.
Sisson, in his letter to Graham, states that he “Loved and respected” his former boss, Troy King, who had elevated Sisson to the rank of Chief Investigator, a position he was compelled to forfeit under Strange.
Sisson, who after 20 years at the Montgomery Police Department, obtained the rank of corporal before retiring, joined the Attorney General’s service in 2007. In 2009, King made Sisson Chief Investigator.
In his letter to Sumner, he claims that Hart’s team of former FBI agents can’t be trusted because they investigated King in 2009, the same year Sisson received his promotion. The investigation was led by the US Attorney’s Office for the Northern District, under the direction of then US Attorney Alice Martin and then Chief of the White Collar Crimes Unit, Matt Hart. Reagan was brought before the Grand Jury in the King investigation.
The investigation into King was later dropped without explanation.
In his termination letter, Strange refers to several emails that Sisson sent from his office account. In one, Sisson refers the the FBI as “f* **ing retards,” which may be a reference to the former agents working with Hart. Strange said the comments by Sisson were, “offensive, profane and unprofessional.”
In the letters to Graham and Sumner, he praises King while questioning his current boss, Strange.
In August 2014, Sisson complained to Sumner about his supervisor Chief Investigator, Tim Furman, not filing an ethics complaint against Hart. Sisson said he waited two weeks for Furman, a former FBI agent, to make a complaint. Here again Sisson professed his admiration for King. He refers to Hart as bullying and retaliatory.
Sisson made several complaints about Hart to Charlotte Doucet, Head of the AG’s Administrative Division, as well as Strange, even including copies to Gov. Robert Bentley’s legal advisor, David Byrne. All of these were dismissed in light of the evidence provided by the Attorney General’s internal investigation.
From as early as 2012 until their firings, court filings and personnel records show what appears to be a coordinated effort to undermine the Lee County Grand Jury’s investigation into Hubbard.