By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—On Wednesday, Judge Jacob Walker, III ruled that Speaker Mike Hubbard had improperly handled a subpoena and ordered the information sealed. He also added that the information was not relevant to the case.
Court filings state the defense improperly used subpoenas by disregarding Rule 17.3, to gather documents, records and interviews. According to the State’s latest motion, “On October 14, 2015, Hubbard had the Clerk issue a subpoena to Administrative Office of Courts AOC seeking the production of records identifying the AlaCourt users that accessed the publicly filed documents in this case. AOC filed a motion to quash the subpoena on October 21, 2015. At the hearing on October 28, 2015 and again on November 9th the State objected to these documents. AOC and the defense later reached an agreement about the production of some of the subpoenaed records.”
The State said, this was another example of Hubbard’s legal team mounting a fishing expedition to gather information, confusing the issue, and delaying the legal process.
The hearing showed that Hubbard’s lawyers not only used the Court’s subpoena power to obtain documents for themselves, which prevented the Court from determining whether or not the parties should receive the documents, they also contacted at least one individual named in the AlaCourt records and questioned that person about accessing the Hubbard court file.
Court Watcher said Judge Walker was swift and decisive during the hearing, so much so, that Hubbard’s criminal lawyer, J. Mark White was stutteringly, saying, “Yes, Sir, Yes, your Honor,” rather than employing his usual whining tone. Several who attended the hearing commented on Hubbard’s demeanor and appearance, saying he looked sullen and greatly overweight.
Reportedly, Hubbard has incurred over $1.5 million in legal fees, is in arrears on payments to his defense attorneys, and is having difficulty raising money. Hubbard has primarily financed his criminal defense by using campaign contributions. According to those with knowledge of Hubbard’s fundraising scheme, third parties are calling around the State to prop-up his legal defense fund.
The latest orders coming from the trial judge are not falling in Hubbard’s favor. He is set to stand trial on March 28, 2016, almost two years after his indictment.