By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—For over 18 months, Speaker Mike Hubbard and his criminal lawyers have accused the State of Prosecutorial Misconduct in its investigation and indictment of Hubbard. They enlisted an army of media hacks, talk show bullies, politicos and PR specialists to persuade, not only the trial judge, but also the public, that the State’s Attorney General’s Office had engaged in a corrupt prosecution of Hubbard, who is charged with 23 felony counts of public corruption.
Trial Judge Jacob Walker, III, laid those false claims to rest, late yesterday evening. His order denying Hubbard’s motion to dismiss on prosecutorial misconduct stated, “After considering the briefs of the parties and the testimony and evidence presented at the hearings, the Court is of the opinion that the actions of Mr. Hart do not rise to the level of prosecutorial misconduct as outlined in Nova Scotia, 517 U.S. 456 (1996). Therefore, the Defendant’s motion to dismiss for prosecutorial misconduct is DENIED.”
This brings to an end Hubbard’s claims, which have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in State monies, turned lives and friendships upside down, and threatened to turn Judge Walker’s court into a circus.
In the lengthy order, Judge Walker recounts the host of witnesses who gave testimony, and the many allegations made by Hubbard’s legal team. But in the end, he found it amounted to nothing but show.
Judge Walker said he considered the testimony of Henry “Sonny” Reagan, the offering of Howard “Gene” Sisson, Deputy Attorney General Matt Hart’s, Conversations with radio hosts, Dale Jackson and Leland Whaley, and found nothing rose to the level of prosecutorial misconduct under the Supreme Court ruling in Nova Scotia, 517 U.S. 456 (1996). He also found that Hart’s demeanor before the Lee County Special Grand Jury, Hart’s relationship with this reporter and alleged “Leaks”[the Judge’s emphasis] to Baron Coleman, also did not rise to that standard.
The court denied the State’s motion seeking a protective order to prevent disclosure of information from Coleman, as a former confidential informant, saying it did not consider him a confidential informant. However, the Court re-adopted the language of “…its previous Order and enters a standing Limited Protective Order regarding Grand Jury matters referenced in the materials given to the Court by Mr. Coleman on March 11, 2016.”
Judge Walker said of Coleman, “Upon review of the recorded and written materials, the Court is of the opinion that Mr. Hart appears to have been investigating reported grand jury ‘leaks’ by asking Mr. Coleman where certain information originated rather than ‘leaking’ information to Mr. Coleman himself,” the judge wrote. “The Court could not infer that Mr. Hart ‘leaked’ grand jury information to Mr. Coleman or others.”
Hubbard will likely file a writ of mandamus to the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals, but as in past rulings, the court will most likely deny the writ without comment.