Ethics trial underway for Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard

Alabama speaker Mike Hubbard stands in Judge Jacob Walkers courtroom before the start of Hubbards ethics trial on Tuesday, May 24, 2016 in Opelika, Ala. Todd J. Van Emst/Opelika-Auburn News/Pool Photo Todd Van Emst /tvemst@oanow.com

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — In the first day in the ethics trial of Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard, the prosecution has the burden of proof. The state went first, and they wrapped up their opening statement.

Deputy Attorney General Matt Hart opens the case against speaker Mike Hubbard in court on Tuesday, May 24, 2010 in Opelika, Ala. Todd J. Van Emst/Opelika-Auburn News/Pool Photo
Deputy Attorney General Matt Hart opens the case against speaker Mike Hubbard in court on Tuesday, May 24, 2010 in Opelika, Ala.
Todd J. Van Emst/Opelika-Auburn News/Pool Photo

Special prosecutor Matt Hart with the Alabama Attorney General’s office laid out a timeline  of Hubbard’s career from his time at the University of Georgia to his early career at Auburn University, and his rise to political power as former chairman of the state Republican party and then leader of the Alabama House of Representatives.

Hart explained state ethics laws and the allegations against Hubbard.

According to Hart, Hubbard is accused of directing Republican Party money to his personal businesses, using his power as speaker to benefit his consulting business, and soliciting things of value from lobbyists and principals. Hart told the court that unlike members of the Executive Branch, legislators like the defendant Mike Hubbard, don’t give up their day jobs to join state government.

Hart said that Hubbard is accused of directing Republican Party Money toward his personal businesses including Craftmasters Printing, using his power as Speaker of the Alabama House to benefit his consulting business, soliciting things of value from lobbyists and the principals who employ them, and voting on legislation when there was a personal conflict of interest.

Defense attorney Bill Baxley calls some of the charges in the 23 count indictment against Hubbard “gobbledygook.”

Baxley himself a former state attorney general says Hubbard did just the opposite of flaunting his mantel as Speaker of the House and made great efforts not to run afoul of the state ethics laws.

Baxley says there was never any quid pro quo and added that witnesses will testify they didn’t know Mike Hubbard was Speaker of the Alabama House when they hired him because of his contacts in college sports.

Hubbard has pleaded not guilty.

 

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