By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—On Friday, September 25, in an ever-continuing effort to deny, distract, and delay any action on the 23 felony counts of public corruption against Speaker Mike Hubbard, his legal team filed a motion to have the charges against him dismissed, because of an alleged violation of the Grand Jury Secrecy Act.
According to Hubbard’s legal council, the State violated the Grand Jury’s Secrecy when one of its response filings revealed the names of some who testified before the Lee County Grand Jury.
292 Ala. at 507, 296 So.2d 784. states, “…because of strong public policy that grand jury deliberations should be surrounded by secrecy. There are many reasons for this policy. One is to prevent an accused from being afforded an opportunity to escape before an indictment is returned. Another is to protect the grand jury in their deliberations, so that they may freely state their opinions and cast their votes. Blevins v. State, supra; Rush v. State, supra. In addition, it is desirable to protect the good name of those not indicted, and to keep prosecution witnesses from being harassed or intimidated in order to keep them away from the trial of the indictment before a petit jury. State ex rel. Baxley v. Strawbridge, 52 Ala.App. 685, 690, 296 So.2d 779 (1974). Furthermore, if the actions of the grand jury were made public, an accused would be given an opportunity to destroy, remove, or conceal evidence. A potential witness, if embarrassed, frightened or recalcitrant, could become unavailable before being subpoenaed to appear.”
Nowhere in this section does it indicate that names of witnesses are a matter of secrecy, as Hubbard’s attorneys argue. Team Hubbard continues to offer everything but a defense. They have questioned the ethics laws, saying they are unconstitutional, accused the prosecution of numerous deadly errors, and plied the media with misdirection, and false statements.
In fact, Court documents reveal Hubbard, and his close associates, began receiving Grand Jury leaks in 2012.
Hubbard’s criminal defense attorney J. Mark White has been making accusations of Grand Jury leaks even before the Lee County Grand Jury investigating Hubbard ever heard a word of testimony.
The emails shows that Riley and Hubbard, along with Rob Riley, and Josh Blades, then Hubbard’s chief of staff, were involved in leaking secrets from the Grand Jury.
It is also possible that a web of shared attorneys exchanged Grand Jury information under the guise of attorney/client privilege, former Deputy Attorney Henry T. “Sonny” Reagan shared attorneys with Rep. Barry Moore and Hubbard. Court documents show that Moore’s attorney Bill Baxley, also represents Reagan. As this publication has previously reported, Rob Riley, the son of former governor Bob Riley, also represents Reagan as well as Hubbard, and these are just a few connections that court filings have disclosed.
Still, Hubbard’s defense continues, “Hubbard has suffered actual prejudice from the State’s violation through numerous media reports disseminating the fact that Hubbard testified before the Grand Jury prior to indictment and speculating that Hubbard could not even persuade a Lee County Grand Jury that he was innocent.”
Again, it is not prohibited for the public to know who testified before a Grand Jury. A violation occurs if the testimony itself was disclosed.
In separate filings, Hubbard’s defense challenges motions to quash subpoenas for Attorney General Strange, Esther Deneve, a paralegal in the Criminal Trials Division of the Attorney General’s Office, and Baron Coleman, a radio newsman, and attorney.
Coleman has filed to quash his subpoena, citing the Alabama Reporter’s shield law (Coleman is a contributor to this news publication, as well as a news analyst on the television show, The Voice of Alabama Politics, owned by this reporter).
Coleman has characterized the call for his testimony as a “fishing expedition,” by Hubbard’s legal team. Here again Hubbard’s attorneys are looking for leaks outside their own camp, leaks that have so far been proven nonexistent.
Over the last two years, Hubbard’s team has claimed Grand Jury leaks by the prosecution, while the evidence shows that the leaks are all coming for the defense side.