By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—Indicted Speaker Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn) has filed a motion asking that the testimony of Professor Bennett L. Gershman be unsealed.
On October 28, 2015, Gershman gave testimony in a closed courtroom regarding prosecutorial misconduct at Hubbard’s evidentiary hearing. Hubbard’s criminal attorneys want his testimony unsealed, not because it would shed light on the case, but because it would make good copy in the media and further their attempts to poison the jury pool in Lee County.
Trial Judge Jacob Walker III heard Gershman, and that is all that is required in a evidentiary hearing.
Gershman, sat through the public portion of the hearing but slept during most of testimony, notably during Henry T.“Sonny” Reagan testimony.
Gershman is a professor at New York’s Pace Law School in White Plains. He has written two books on prosecutorial misconduct. He is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post, a staunch defender of former Gov. Don Siegelman, and even performs a one-man-show with himself as Clarence Darrow. But most importantly, he will testify in court about the horrors of prosecutorial misconduct…for a fee.
Gershman curriculum vitae as an expert proves he is little more than another lawyer paid to plead Hubbard’s case.
However, being an expert witness is a lucrative enterprise, with speciality website dedicated to computer experts, financial/statistical experts, damage experts and even Muslim law experts.
These experts give an air of credibility to whatever the attorneys have determined should be the outcome of a given case. They are hired guns with a mission: In the Hubbard case, it is to convince Judge Walker that the prosecution has crossed the line.
Hubbard’s legal team, led by J. Mark White, stopped arguing guilt of innocence long ago, in favor of dismissal. But, in case that plan doesn’t work, they continue to play the media for favorable coverage that might tilt a jury in their favor.
Under the law, the trial Judge serves as the legal expert in his court, not a hired gun.
In the latest motion, they used a media report as grounds to unseal Gershman testimony citing, “Behind Closed Doors in Lee County as Hearing Concludes, alreporter.com, October 29, 2015.”
They also quote Special Prosecution Divison’s Chief Matt Hart’s statement to the press in which he says, “One year ago, the special grand jury comprised of 18 Lee County citizens indicted defendant Mike Hubbard on 23 felony counts. Since his indictment, Hubbard has promised to expose the State’s team as rouge [sic], unethical prosecutors. In this week’s hearing, defendant Hubbard provided no credible evidence for his claims. While all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty, we look forward to addressing the real issue in this case, which is whether or not defendant Hubbard violated the Alabama Ethics Law 23 separate times.”
Hubbard’s attorneys argue that Hart’s statement was meant to mislead the public as to the credibility of evidence presented by Gershman (and that somehow, this reporter had special knowledge as to Gershman testifying, which any fool could have acquired by walking the halls of the Lee County Justice Center).
White’s statement to the press after the evidentiary hearing was quite glowing about how the defense had accomplished everything they intended.
White, who has a reputation for media manipulation, is now complaining about the prosecution saying the public only has, “misleading assertions of a rogue prosecutor.”
Judge Walker is the one who decided Gershman testimony should be behind closed doors, because it is not specific to the charges against Hubbard. It is only the opinion of one man, who has been paid to testify in the defense’s favor on an argument that Judge Walker said was unlikely to prevail.
Hubbard is in desperate need on any kind of perceived victory, as political winds have turned against him. Once stalwart allies have now determined the evidentiary hearing is Hubbard’s last chance to remain Speaker. So far, nothing in those hearings have given any indication that he will not face trial in late March. However, Hubbard’s legal team has repeatedly used the court’s time to drag the matter out. In the latest hearing, Judge Walker seem to finally realize that White and company were burning up his calendar by dragging their heels.
This latest move, to have paid expert testimony unsealed, is just another attempt by White to try the case in the court of public opinion, and not before a jury of Hubbard’s peers.