Ala. House Speaker Mike Hubbard arrested for 23 felony ethics violations

Published: Oct. 20, 2014 at 8:38 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 27, 2014 at 8:38 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, AL (WBRC) - Acting Attorney General W. Van Davis has announced the arrest and indictment of Alabama Speaker of the House Michael Hubbard for felony ethics violations.

Davis' office said Hubbard turned himself in to special agents on Monday at the Lee County Jail.

The charges include 23 felony ethics violations:

-Four counts of using political office as Chairman of the Alabama Republican Party for personal gain.
-One count of voting for legislation with a conflict of interest.
-Eleven counts of soliciting or receiving a thing of value from a lobbyist or principal.
-Two counts of using political office as a member of the Alabama House of Representatives for person gain.
-Four counts of lobbying an executive department or agency for a free.
-One count of using state equipment, materials, etc. for private gain.

If convicted, Hubbard faces a maximum penalty of two to 20 years in prison and fines up to $30,000 for each count.

Davis was appointed to handle the investigation on behalf of Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange.

Hubbard released this statement on his arrest through his attorney: 

"If there was any doubt by any body that this is a political witch hunt it became crystal clear today when these allegations were brought two weeks before an election. The fact is that we have made big changes in cleaning up the way things are done in Montgomery. The fact is we have been very successful at getting big things done in Lee County including 3000 new jobs over he past four years. I'm sleeping well at night because I know the people of Lee County can see this for what it is and that's politics at its worst."

Hubbard's attorney, J. Mark White, released this statement on the arrest:

"There are those who think today is a dark day for Mike Hubbard. Enemies of the progress and economic growth our state has enjoyed under Mike Hubbard's leadership and those who long for a return to the time when special interests ruled Montgomery may think that today marks the end of that period of principled, conservative leadership. While today is difficult for Mike on personal and family levels, Mike Hubbard is glad that today is here. After being subjected to nearly two years of rumors, innuendo, and political persecution without having the ability to fully and publicly address the inaccuracies and outright falsehoods perpetrated against him, Mike welcomes the opportunity today brings: to shine the bright light of truth into the most dark and dismal corners of our state's criminal justice process.

Mike Hubbard and his family have been intentionally subjected to a political persecution led by individuals whose defined agenda does not include seeking either justice or truth. It is now apparent that these rogue prosecutors have manipulated the grand jury process and the citizens who served on this Special Grand Jury to meet the goals of that agenda. The grand jury process – a process that was adopted by our forefathers as a means to determine, after a fair and impartial investigation, whether anyone should be charged with a crime – has been hijacked by a modern-day version of the secret police. Make no mistake: Mike Hubbard expressly and emphatically denies any wrongdoing. We will vigorously defend against these baseless charges. Mike has used his office appropriately, and he has worked to advance the cause of ethics reform in this state; in fact, ethics reforms which had been sought for decades were passed almost immediately after Mike's colleagues selected him as their leader.

We look forward to bringing the great wrongs committed against Mike Hubbard and violations of his constitutionally-assured rights out of the secrecy and shadows and into the light of day. We will work to see that justice is done, not only for Mike Hubbard, but so that the rights of all Alabamians are protected against this flagrant abuse of the grand jury process in the future."

House Minority Leader Craig Ford  released this statement on Hubbard's arrest:

"You never like to hear about things like this. You never want to see anything like this happen to anyone. It shakes the peoples' faith in their elected leaders. It's obvious this is not politically motivated, because it is a Republican Attorney General leading the investigation. It is sad to see that, in less than four years, our leaders have embraced the culture of corruption that they ran against in 2010."

Nancy Worley, chairperson of the Alabama Democratic Party, said she was surprised by the number of charges.

“This is a very serious matter which will hopefully be processed through the judicial system in a fair manner and justice will be served in the end," Worley said.

Bill Armistead, chairperson of the Alabama Republican Party, said in part that he is praying for Hubbard and his family. Below is his full statement:

"America is the greatest country in the world, and one of the most sacred principles that we have in our criminal justice system is that an individual is innocent until proven guilty. The timing of this indictment, just two weeks before the election, causes one to wonder why now, unless it is for political purposes. But, we saw the same thing four years ago. Just weeks before the general election in 2010, 11 people were indicted in a federal corruption case involving gambling legislation. Of those 11, none were found guilty other than the two who pled guilty.

"No one needs to rush to judgment. Right now, all we have is a list of charges. We don't have the Speaker's position on these matters and to speculate about them would be unfair to him and an exercise in futility, since we do not know whether any of these charges are true. Again, everybody in our system of justice who is accused of a crime is presumed innocent and must be proven guilty 'beyond a reasonable doubt' in order to be convicted.

"While it is sad that this has occurred, life goes on for the rest of us and we have an election coming up in two weeks. Our focus will be getting our candidates elected. I am proud that we have the strongest crop of candidates in the history of the Alabama Republican Party, from local county offices to U.S. Senator. We will not be distracted by our opponents who will want to use this situation to smear our candidates and our party. I must remind everyone that these charges and indictments are against one individual, not the party and not our candidates.

"It saddens me that this has happened. In addition to being Speaker of the Alabama House, Mike Hubbard is a human being and anytime something like this happens it is a human tragedy, regardless of the ultimate outcome. My family and I will be praying for Mike and his family. We hope for a swift and just outcome to these matters."

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