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Stealing the Statehouse

Hubbard Strikes Out At Attorney General

 

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—In his latest motion to have the 23 felony changes again him dismissed, Speaker Mike Hubbard claims Attorney General Luther Strange is out to get him because he wants to eliminate as a rival for the Governorship in 2018.

If this, “…sounds like deja vu all over again,” to quote the late Yogi Berra, it is, because Hubbard has been making this argument for well over a year now. 

In the heavily redacted response to Hubbard’s allegation of selective and vindictive prosecution, the State says his motion, “is yet another in a series of attempts to distract attention away from his own actions that led a Lee County grand jury to indict him on 23 felony counts of violating the Ethics Law.”

(See Document Here.)

They also state, “Hubbard fails to provide supporting evidence for any of the three mandatory elements of his selective prosecution claim, and Attorney General Strange’s record demonstrates he has consistently enforced the Ethics Law against numerous public officials and employees during his term of office. Because Hubbard has not met his burden, this Court should deny his Motion.”

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Exhibit H in the above mentioned document lists 26 other officials, including Greg Wren, who have been prosecuted during Strange’s term in office. The seven page document shows that 19 of the 26 were convicted or pleaded guilty to use of their office for personal gain, some on multiple counts. 

For over two years, Hubbard, his attorney, and surrogates have engaged in many elaborate schemes to deny any wrong doing, distract from his own criminality, and delay his day in court.

Even before his arrest and indictment on public corruption and using his office for person gain, Hubbard was whining to former Gov. Bob Riley that he was being targeted by Strange.

At his pep rally the day after his arrest, Hubbard allowed his cheer squad make that claim for him. His criminal defense attorney J. Mark White began the rally saying, “This is politics at its worst, and it’s past time for this State to stop using our criminal justice system to advance a political candidate or a political agenda.” 

This sentiment was echoed by others including seated US Rep. Mike Rogers, who accused Strange of “Chicago-style gutter politics,” saying, “Think about this: Who would like to be governor in four years that would love to get Mike Hubbard out of the picture or at least skin him up real good so maybe he’s not as viable a candidate?” The implication being that Strange wanted to clear the field using a trumped-up prosecution.

Hubbard told Patrick Johnston of the Opelika-Auburn News in April 10, 2014, “When you’re in my position and you’re viewed as the leader of the reforms, you take a lot of bullets from a lot of folks. … They want me out of play because they fear I may run for governor in 2018. That comes into play. There have even been some that are jealous in the Republican Party that they aren’t the ones who led the takeover. You make a lot of enemies when you take this job, unfortunately.”

In its response, the State shows that, “Hubbard fails to acknowledge that the State has prosecuted people who are more similarly situated to him, most notably former Representative Greg Wren, for violations of the Ethics Law. Second, Hubbard does not offer any evidence to show that any alleged selectivity was intentional. Third and finally, Hubbard has not shown that the State has an improper motive based on race, religion, or another protected status for prosecuting him.”

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In his motion to dismiss because of selective and vindictive prosecution, the defense not only wants the court to believe Strange targeted Hubbard, but that he has engaged in the same activities. The State again shows how Hubbard used his office and his relations to obtain lobbying contracts contrary to the ethics laws. 

Once again, Hubbard uses the recent Ethics Commission’s opinion allowing Rep. Patricia Todd (D-Birmingham) to lobby on behalf of her employer while still occupying her position as a legislator as an example why he should not have been prosecuted. The timing to the Todd opinion has been suspiciously linked to the filing extension requested by Hubbard. It has also received grave criticism from other lawmakers and well as those in law-enforcement.

He also cites another Ethics opinion that allowed the City of Montgomery to hire Sen. Quinton Ross (D-Montgomery) to work on the Selma-to-Montgomery March remembrance.

Hubbard never received a Ethics Commission opinion for any of his so-called business clients, only a letter regarding his work for Southeast Alabama Gas District.

An Opinion is a term that means the entire commission has voted and approved the guidance. Hubbard received a letter from the General Counsel or Executive Director. Unlike an Opinion, Ethics Letters are not binding and cannot be used as a defense.

As for the hyperbole from Congressman Rogers, the prosecution states, “The speculation of Hubbard’s close personal friend at a press conference is not evidence. Further, Rogers’s comments merely parrot rumors that originated with Hubbard. In other words, the only ‘evidence’ Hubbard offers to meet his burden of proof appears to be evidence he manufactured and then fed to a friend. While such evidence (even if admissible) might be useful to establish that Hubbard considers Strange his chief rival in some hypothetical future gubernatorial run, it does not support the assertion in Hubbard’s Motion that Strange considers Hubbard a rival for a gubernatorial run that is years away and that Strange has not declared any intention of making.” 

It would appear from the language that the prosecution is aware that Rogers’ remarks were scripted and part of a larger plan to discredit Strange, deny the charges and delay Hubbard’s day in court. Maneuvers that have become an all to familiar pattern of Hubbard and his criminal defense.

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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.

DIG DEEPER

Featured Opinion

The AG's office finally filed its redacted transcripts of Hubbard's prison phone calls. Numerous pages are completely redacted.

Courts

The Attorney General's Office said transcripts have been provided to the defense counsel and the redaction process is under way.

Courts

The was a hearing without notice, a motion without opposition and redactions that could leave the public in the dark.

Featured Opinion

The public deserves to know the names of those who aided Hubbard and those who resisted his entreaties.