By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Wednesday, June 24, a hearing was held in Judge Jacob Walker III’s court room in Opelika in the case of the State of Alabama versus Mike Hubbard. The lead defense counsel for the Mike Hubbard defense team, J. Mark White addressed the press following the ~28 minute hearing.
White, who was joined by noted Pell City criminal defense attorney Lance Bell, expressed confidence that Judge Walker would reduce the number of counts that Speaker of the House Hubbard is facing.
When asked by reporters how many of the 23 counts would be dropped, White replied I hope all 23 counts. “Mike Hubbard is innocent of all 23 counts.” White said that he expects to prove that Hubbard is innocent and that he is actually a victim of a rogue prosecutor.
White said that the Speaker is focused all of his attention on the financial crisis facing the State and we (the legal defense team) have asked him to leave the defense to us.
On when the trial will begin, White expressed doubts that the trial could begin by October. White said I will know more in two week; but there are a lot of issues for the court to rule on, both constitutional and on the evidence before the trial can begin.
State Representative Hubbard and his wife did not address the media. The couple were escorted out of the building by a Lee County Sheriff’s Deputy who waited with them by their vehicle while the team of attorneys dealt with questions from the press on the courthouse steps.
In the hearing itself, Mark White presented a series of statements from counsels of entities which are being subpoenaed. White shared the written responses to Judge Walker and with the prosecution team.
Both Acting Attorney General W. Van Davis (R-Pell City) and state prosecutor Michael Duffy were there representing the State.
The defense team is seeking to introduce some sort of evidence that the Secretary of State’s office possesses. The defense would also like to introduce testimony by powerful Business Council of Alabama (BCA) Chief Executive and President Billy Canary. The testimony given to the Lee County Grand Jury on July 31, 2014, page 14. The Alabama Political Reporter and the other press members did not get to examine the filing from BCA’s counsel or any of the secret grand jury testimony so is just reporting what is said in open court.
The Deputy Director of the Alabama Personnel Board Alice Anne Byrne was also present in the court room. White said that he had received a written transcript of a hearing of the Personnel Board; but also wanted the tape of the hearing. Deputy Director Byrne handed over that tape directly to Judge Walker.
Again none of the specifics of any of the evidence that White is subpoenaing has been seen by the press and we do not know what the Secretary of State’s office, the Personnel Board or President Canary might know that might in any way impact this case.
Judge Walker gave the prosecution team time to examine the defense motions to decide whether or not they want to file motions to quash White’s motions to introduce the evidence into the issues facing the court in the upcoming trial.
Additionally Judge Walker told White that he had received information from the Alabama Ethics Commission. White asked how best to proceed. Judge Walker suggested that he subpoena that material so that prosecutors would have the option to file a motion to quash.
Judge Walker said that he has scheduled a date of August 28, for a pre-trial hearing.
White said that he had a number of motions for the court to consider both constitutional and evidentiary and that it might take more than a day for the court to consider those motions.
Walker said that the pre-trial hearing was mainly for housekeeping and suggested either August 3, or August 17, as possible dates to meet to hear White’s motions.
White suggested that the court set aside at least a couple of days for his motions.
Rep. Mike Hubbard is the Speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives. In 2010 as both House Minority Leader and as Chairman of the Alabama Republican Party, Hubbard is considered the architect of harnessing widespread voter discontent with the Party of Barack H. Obama (D) into a Republican wave that swept aside 135 years of Democratic legislative dominance in Montgomery.
Prosecutors allege that Mike Hubbard used his positions as ALGOP Chairman and later as Speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives to get business and consulting contracts that he likely would not have gotten if Hubbard were just a simple businessman and that those contracts constitute felony ethics violations. An ethics law that ironically was substantially strengthened immediately after Mike Hubbard became the Speaker.
Despite the 23 count felony indictment that was handed down last October, legislators from both political parties voted almost unanimously for Hubbard to remain as Speaker of the House. Only state Representative Alvin Holmes (D-Montgomery), who voted for himself, opposed Hubbard in the January organizational session of the Alabama House.
Hubbard maintains that he did nothing wrong and is the victim of a political witch hunt by a rogue prosecutor, Alabama White Collar Crimes Division Head, Matt Hart.