By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
OPELIKA—Even as a convicted felon, Republican and former Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard’s arrogant and authoritarian ways have not diminished, as they were on full-display at his post-conviction hearing last week. In fact, even Hubbard’s disdain for Judge Jacob Walker’s court was heard by many seated in the upper part of the chambers.
Hubbard, with his slicked-back hair, sharkskin suit and middle-age paunch, held himself like a little Don, impatient with the underlings who now control his fate. He sat in the row of seats behind the bar, close enough to regularly tap his criminal attorneys, Bill Baxley and Lance Bell, on the shoulder when he believed that were missing a significant opportunity to prove his innocence.
Several times he poked Bell so hard he spun his head around, clearly irritated. Hubbard became so worrisome at times, Bell was forced to hold his hand up asking Hubbard to stop.
But that was just a wee tantrum from the man who believed Speaker was a verb. During Judge Walker’s questioning of the bailiff’s, regarding jury misconduct, Hubbard was heard several rows back calling Judge Walker’s proceedings “a Kangaroo court.” For Hubbard to castigate lawmakers, State House staff and others is one thing, but to defame Judge Walker’s court is quite another. Judge Walker presides over the same court once occupied by his father. Anyone who thinks this is a light matter with the current Judge is worse than a fool. The Walker name and legal legacy in Lee County are sacrosanct to the younger Walker.
Hubbard’s muttering finally caused Deputy Attorney Mike Duffy to seek permission to approach the bench. Those close to the front of the courtroom confirm Duffy asked the trial judge to instruct Baxley to keep his client from talking. Judge Walker did so, but Hubbard continued until Duffy approached Baxley once again asking that Hubbard stopped taking.
Michael G. Hubbard, once considered the most powerful man in Alabama politics, seems to have learned nothing from his conviction on 12 felony counts of public corruption. Many court watchers wonder if Judge Walker heard Hubbard refer to his court as Kangaroo. If so, he didn’t react.
Hubbard apparently missed the meme saying that the days of the Imperial Speaker are over.