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Stealing the Statehouse

Testimony Says Former Chief Deputy Directed Secret Recordings

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—Testimony given at Howard “Gene” Sisson’s personnel hearing claimed, that the Attorney General’s Chief Deputy was giving orders to secretly tape and file complaints against the chief prosecutor in the Speaker Mike Hubbard case.

Documents released this week in a motions filing by Hubbard’s criminal defense attorney J. Mark White, disclose that former Assistant Attorney General Henry T. “Sonny” Reagan said Kevin Turner, the AG’s second in command, was instructing him to secretly tape conversations with Matt Hart, the chief prosecutor in the Hubbard case, and to file a personnel claim against him.

In August 2014, this publication reported that Turner was behind a plan to have Hart removed from the Hubbard case. Now, Reagan’s testimony has let slip the smoking-gun. Turner, according to Reagan’s testimony, also ordered Reagan to tape the Acting Attorney General in the Hubbard case, W. Van Davis.

While it is not illegal in Alabama to tape a conversation without the other party’s knowledge, it is, however, against the written policies of the Attorney General’s office. So, Hart and Davis would have assumed that their conversations with Reagan were not being recorded.

During the personnel hearing, Sisson’s attorney Micky McDermott asked Reagan:

McDermott: “Now, when you— are you saying that somebody with the Attorney General’s Office authorized you to violate the policy against secret recording?”

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Reagan: “I was directed to record any conversation with Matt Hart or anything that he was doing, by the Chief Deputy.”

McDermott: “And that’s Kevin Turner?”

Reagan: “Yes”

Reagan’s testimony shows that he and Turner collaborated to secretly record Hart.

McDermott: “And is it your testimony that Mr. Turner told you you should do that secretly?”

Reagan: “Yes.”

During his court appearance, Reagan confessed that he knew it was a breach of office policy to secretly record a co-worker, but he did it anyway.

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McDermott: “Mr. Reagan. Was it against the policy of the Attorney General’s Office to secretly record a conversation with another person with the office?”

Reagan: “There is — it is very clear in the handbook that there is a prohibition on recording fellow employees without their knowledge.”

Reagan also testified that Turner directed him to file a personnel complaint against Hart with Charlotte Doucet, Chief of Administration for the Attorney General’s Office.

Reagan: “I had filed a complaint with Ms. Doucet at the direction of the Chief Deputy, who had been recused from a Special Grand Jury Mr. Hart was working on; so I was directed by the Chief Deputy to speak with Ms. Doucet about any complaints regarding Matt Hart.”

According to Attorney General Luther Strange, Sisson and Reagan lost their positions with the Attorney General’s office because they aided the defense team in the Hubbard case. Turner has left his job at the AGs office as well.

As was reported in this publication almost a year ago, Turner’s personal cell phone records observed by the Alabama Political Reporter —show Turner made numerous private calls to Hubbard, Rep. Barry Moore and possibly former Gov. Riley from mid-March 2014 to mid-April 2014.

Turner’s personal cell records show that several calls coincide with the arrest of lawmaker Rep. Greg Wren, and Rep. Barry Moore.

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On the same day Reagan was informed he was being placed on administrative leave, he admits he was secretly recording Davis.

Why would Turner, Reagan, and Sisson break office policy and risk their careers to record Davis and Hart?

During a very crucial period in the Hubbard investigation in 2014, this publican learned that Turner informed Hart’s staff that he was reassigning Hart to Birmingham, and that he would no longer have an office within the AG’s office in Montgomery. Turner ordered the case files for the Lee County Grand Jury kept in Montgomery away from Hart’s new office location, all this, according to sources within the AG’s office.

According to those present, Hart, upon arriving at his office, found a letter informing him of his reassignment. According to sources with immediate knowledge of the situation, Hart, along with W. Van Davis, confronted Strange, and the ensuing, heated discussion resulted in a reversal of Turner’s orders.

In an internal memo, AG Strange made it clear why Reagan was removed from his position stating:

“During his employment with this Office, Mr. Reagan forged relationships with persons, outside  the Office of Attorney General, who had an interest in undermining the Lee County Special Grand Jury’s investigation…While working as a prosecutor in this Office, Mr. Reagan shared legal counsel with the indicted criminal defendant, Rep. Moore. Moreover, the  representations of  Mr. Reagan  and  Rep.  Moore  were  both related to the Lee County Special Grand Jury. By sharing legal counsel with Moore on the subject of the Grand  Jury’s  investigation, Mr.  Reagan  created  an  irreconcilable  conflict  of  interests. Mr. Reagan’s duties of loyalty and confidentiality to the State of Alabama and to the Office were compromised  by his own personal interest in undermining the grand jury’s  investigation  –  an interest he shared with the defendant Moore and his defense team.

Additionally, Mr. Reagan shared legal counsel with Speaker Hubbard, who was the subject of the grand jury’s investigation. The representation of Mr. Reagan by Speaker Hubbard’s attorney was, likewise, related to the Lee County Special Grand Jury. By sharing legal counsel with the subject of the grand jury’s investigation, Mr. Reagan again created a situation in which his duties of loyalty and confidentiality to the State of Alabama and to the Office with respect to the Hubbard investigation, conflicted with and were compromised by his own personal interests.”

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Reagan, Sission, and Turner have all left the Attorney General’s office.

 

Bill Britt
Written By

Bill Britt is editor-in-chief at the Alabama Political Reporter and host of The Voice of Alabama Politics. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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