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Acting attorney general overseeing Hubbard investigation says indictment not ‘political witchunt’

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Rep. Mike Hubbard (R-Alabama)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – W. Van Davis, the acting attorney general overseeing the felony ethics violations investigation against Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard, said Hubbard’s indictment is not a “political witchunt” Tuesday.

Hubbard, 52, was arrested last month and surrendered himself to special agents of the Attorney General’s Office at the Lee County Jail. He was arrested as part of an ongoing investigation concerning potential public corruption in Alabama. He was indicted by a Lee County Special Grand Jury.

Hubbard’s charges include:

  • Four counts of using his 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 his office as a member of the Alabama House of Representatives for personal gain
  • Four Counts of lobbying an executive department or agency for a fee
  • One count of using state equipment, materials, etc. for private gain

You can read the indictment here. If convicted, Speaker Hubbard faces two to 20 years in prison and up to $30,000 in fines for each count.

Hubbard’s supporters cited the timing of the indictment — two weeks before the Nov. general election — as being a sure sign that the investigation was motivated purely by politics.

You can read Davis’ statement here:

On October 17, 2014, I presented a 23 count indictment to a grand jury, empanelled by the Lee County Circuit Court, regarding Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard. That grand jury, which is comprised of eighteen citizens from Lee County, found probable cause that Mr. Hubbard had committed those crimes and indicted him on 23 felony ethics charges. Since that time, Mr. Hubbard and his attorneys have made several false allegations that require me to respond as Acting Attorney General in this matter.

The indictment of Mr. Hubbard was the result of a lengthy, thorough and lawfully conducted grand jury investigation – not a “political witchunt.” Although Mr. Hubbard and others have asserted that the timing of the indictment was due to political motivations of those involved, it was not. Specifically, several counts in the indictment had a four-year statute of limitations. Some of those counts would have expired just mere days after the indictment was presented to the grand jury. If those violations were to be prosecuted, the indictment had to be presented at that time.

Also, the grand jury’s work on this investigation proceeded as efficiently as possible and without undue delay. Investigations of this nature typically take months or years to complete. This grand jury took testimony for 46 days over a twelve month period from October 2013 to October 2014. Hundreds of thousands of documents were subpoenaed and over 150 witnesses testified. Given the complex nature of the investigation, as well as the time constraints imposed by the statute of limitations, the grand jury proceeded at a proper pace to conduct a thorough, fair, and complete investigation of all of the criminal acts alleged in this case.

Furthermore, I have no political agenda or purpose for prosecuting Mr. Hubbard. The last time I ran for public office was in 1998 when I was re-elected, as a Republican, to my third-term as District Attorney for Blount and St. Clair County. I have no political allegiance to anyone – including Attorney General Luther Strange – which would affect my role as the Acting Attorney General in the prosecution of Mr. Hubbard. Likewise, the prosecutors and investigators assigned to me are not “rogue” – to the contrary, they have conducted the investigation under my supervision, direction and control. The prosecutors and agents utilized standard, conservative methods and techniques in the investigation of this matter. In short, the allegation that I or any member of my team has conducted a “political witchunt” is a false allegation.

There have also been numerous false allegations made in the press regarding “leaks” from the grand jury. The prosecution team has been vigilant to maintain grand jury secrecy in this investigation. After attorneys for Mr. Hubbard reported their so-called leaks to the prosecutors, the grand jury spent considerable time and resources investigating those allegations. The supposed leaks were, in fact, not substantiated by any credible evidence and were not true.

Mr. Hubbard and his attorneys have further alleged that the prosecution team has smeared the names of various members of the business community. This is false. The indictment alleges that Mr. Hubbard improperly solicited or received numerous things of value from lobbyists and principals. Anyone named in the indictment – other than Mr. Hubbard – has not been charged with a crime. Those people are witnesses to the alleged crimes and nothing more. To say their names have been smeared grossly mischaracterizes the facts alleged in the indictment.

During my eighteen years as District Attorney, no one ever questioned my integrity as a prosecutor. As a Supernumerary District Attorney, I have continued to represent the people of the State of Alabama in court proceedings with the utmost care and professionalism. That is exactly what I have done as Acting Attorney General in this matter. Although I intend to try this case in a courtroom before a jury and not in the press, I believe my comments are necessary to correct the false allegations made against me and my team.”