By Joey Kennedy
Alabama Political Reporter
The Alabama Senate is back this week to continue debate on how to handle BP settlement money from the horrible oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, but no matter what happens, this special session is an absolute failure.
The session was called by Gov. Robert Bentley mainly to authorize a lottery vote for Alabama. That’s not going to happen. Whether the BP issue is settled is also in doubt.
Wasted taxpayer dollars. Wasted.
About as wasted as the time former Speaker Mike Hubbard spent in Judge Jacob Walker’s court in Opelika last Friday begging for a new trial.
As with the trial where Hubbard was convicted of 12 counts of corruption, it appeared Hubbard’s attorney Bill Baxley, the former attorney general and lieutenant governor, didn’t have much to work with.
APR editor in chief Bill Britt reported, the request for a new trial isn’t likely to be successful because Baxley had no sound legal argument to convince Walker to order a new trial.
If Hubbard were smart instead of corrupt, he’d be better to go ahead and start serving his four-year sentence. Because all he’s doing now is delaying the inevitable.
Hubbard apparently is living in an alternative reality. He has never shown any remorse for his felony corruption and, indeed, said the reason is because he hasn’t done anything wrong.
A Lee County Grand Jury (of his peers) and a Lee County jury (of his peers) disagreed on 12 of the 23 counts against him.
As House speaker, Hubbard once declared the ethics laws passed in a 2010 Special Session of the Legislature great legislation. As an indicted politician, Hubbard called those laws a mistake.
Now, his last grasp is trying to get a new trial by accusing the jury of his peers of misconduct.
Hubbard doesn’t want to have it just his way. He wants everything his way, just as he did as speaker of the Alabama House. His way or no way.
But that’s not the reality now. The reality is that Hubbard is headed to prison. Sooner or later. Better for Hubbard if it’s sooner, because then he’ll be out more quickly and return to his family.
Former Gov. Don Siegelman made the same mistake. He kept delaying serving his sentence for corruption (though not anything of the magnitude Hubbard committed), and now, instead of being a free man, he’s stuck in a federal prison to finish his sentence.
If Siegelman had gone ahead and served his time, he’d be out by now. Like his co-defendant Richard Scrushy.
Hubbard, though, somewhere in fantasy-land, thinks he’ll get a new trial. From the evidence I saw during the trial where he was convicted of being probably the most corrupt politician in Alabama history, he could get 10 new trials, and would be convicted in every one.
Hubbard, like this special session of the Legislature, will be a failure.
He should take his punishment. Show some remorse. Apologize to his constituents and to all Alabama voters for letting them down in a profound way.
Hubbard needs to repent. But until he does, this living hell will continue.
Joey Kennedy, a Pulitzer Prize winner, writes this column every week for Alabama Political Reporter. Email: [email protected]