By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—On Friday, Speaker Mike Hubbard filed a motion in Lee County Court to depose current and former members of the Attorney General’s staff, in an effort to prove prosecutorial misconduct, and selective, and vindictive prosecution. All this despite the fact that the testimony would surround allegations made by disgraced former Deputy Attorney General, Henry T. “Sonny” Reagan, who left his position rather than being fired for trying to undermine the Grand Jury investigation into Hubbard.
Trail Judge Jacob Walker had ordered Hubbard to prioritize the 10 witnesses under consideration. Former Chief Deputy Kevin Turner is number one, followed by chief of the Administrative Services Division Charla Doucet, and executive assistant Sandy McLure.
At Hubbard’s recent evidentiary hearing, Reagan recounted the complaints he had made against Matt Hart, chief of the Attorney General’s Special Prosecution Divison; allegations which were proven false in an internal investigation. In his complaint, which was rejected by Attorney General Luther Strange, Reagan accuses Hart of making threats against Hubbard.
Hubbard’s criminal attorney, J. Mark White, has failed to show how these threats, even if true, would rise to the level of prosecutorial misconduct as defined by Judge Walker’s orders.
According to Judge Walker, he would only consider evidence that rose to the standard under Bank of Nova Scotia, et al. v. United States. In 1998, the US Supreme Court found the lower court could not dismiss on the grounds of prosecutorial misconduct unless the conduct met very strict standards. The court held, “Under the standard of prejudice that courts should apply, in assessing such claims, dismissal of the indictment is appropriate only ‘if it is established that the violation substantially influenced the grand jury’s decision to indict,’ or if there is ‘grave doubt’ that the decision to indict was free from the substantial influence of such violations….”
During almost three hours of direct, White never drew a line from Reagan’s allegation to anything that happened inside the Lee County Grand Jury. Under cross examination, Reagan revealed that he had invoked his Fifth Amendment Right, and declined to answer questions that might incriminate him before the Lee County Grand Jury.
Reagan sought to have his subpoena to testify before the Grand Jury quashed, and when that was denied he asked the court to seal that document from public view. That also was denied by the Alabama Supreme Court, as reported by Alabama Political Reporter in September 2014.
Hubbard and White have hung their strategy for dismissal on Reagan’s allegations. White hopes to depose Turner, Doucet McLure, and others to bolster the claims made by Reagan, a man, who General Strange has described as untrustworthy.
The full list in order of Hubbard’s priority are: Kevin Turner, Sandy McLure, Charla Doucet, Tim Fuhrman, Amber Tornow, Claire Haynes, Bill Lisenby, Luther Strange, Matt Hart, and William Van Davis.
Judge Walker has not ruled if he will allow the depositions to go forward. He has already permitted the defense to solicit a deposition from Strange, which is highly unusual.