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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Mike Hubbard relies on the "credibility" of disgraced Sonny Reagan to seek dismissal of criminal charges

Matt Hart
Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn) seeks dismissal of the criminal charges against him, based almost entirely on the words of a former deputy attorney general who was forced to resign for leaking grand-jury information, according to court documents filed yesterday.

Hubbard's lawyers allege that prosecutorial misconduct, mainly by special prosecutor Matt Hart, has tainted the investigation to the point that a 23-count indictment against the speaker should be dismissed. To support his motion, Hubbard relies mainly on written evidence from Sonny Reagan, who was forced to step down from his post in the attorney general's office last December.

The motion and its exhibits do provide several comical moments, that is if you believe anything Sonny Reagan says or writes. The defense apparently will try to prop up Reagan's words during an evidentiary hearing set for April 15.

This is the same Sonny Reagan, by the way, who testified before the Lee County grand jury last year and wound up invoking the Fifth Amendment right not to answer questions for fear that he might incriminate himself. It's the same Sonny Reagan who was the recipient of a stinging letter from Attorney General Luther Strange, dated October 16, 2014, outlining examples of improper leaks and placing the deputy AG on administrative leave. (See exhibits attached to Hubbard's motion, from link at the end of this post.)

Finally, this is the same Sonny Reagan, who in documents that prosecutors released last week, is shown in e-mails as the source of leaks to key Republican political figures who are connected to targets (or are targets themselves) of the Lee County investigation. Involved in receiving leaks were Hubbard, former governor Bob Riley, Birmingham attorney Rob Riley (Bob Riley's son), and former Hubbard aide Josh Blades.

Hubbard's dismissal motion, in essence, relies on the word of a man whose "credibility" has been left in tatters. Does that mean the 123-page filing is a desperation move? It sure looks that way. Does it mean the motion has zero chance of being granted? Absolutely not. In the world of Alabama "justice," anything can happen.

The motion gets off to a farcical start by quoting Martin Luther King's Letter From the Birmingham Jail. The citation to MLK from a guy as white as Hubbard, who probably received .002 percent of the black vote in his district, is . . . well, it reads like something from a Saturday Night Live sketch.

Is the Hubbard defense team serious with this stuff? It's hard to tell, but things really get interesting when Reagan starts pointing out the myriad ways Matt Hart has been an ole meany to certain high-level Republicans. A few highlights, according (mostly) to the "word of Sonny":

* Reagan's own lawyer, Bill Baxley, clearly wants nothing to do with the evidentiary hearing on April 15. Writes Baxley: "If our attendance is necessary, naturally we will comply with the subpoena, but it would be nice to have as much notice as possible and even nicer not to have to go." That's the spirit, Bill. Sounds like you can't wait to do battle on behalf of your client.

Rob Riley
* Hart allegedly claims to be aware of a meeting where Rob Riley had encouraged a number of individuals to interfere with the Lee County investigation. Writes Reagan: "I would be shocked if Rob Riley was interfering with a criminal investigation, and it was more likely that he was trying to politically protect Mike Hubbard's role as House Speaker." Reagan seems to be making a "distinction without a difference"; either way, Rob Riley would be interfering with a criminal investigation, regardless of his motive. We now know, of course, that Reagan himself leaked grand-jury information to . . . Rob Riley.

* Hart allegedly referred to Rob Riley as a "mafia thug" and insinuated that former State Sen. Bryan Taylor was violating the ethics law by working as a contract lawyer for the Escambia County Commission in legal matters against the Poarch Creek Indians.

* Hart allegedly asked Reagan if he had heard that political consultant Dax Swatek "was a homosexual." Reagan said no and wrote, "I had met Dax's very attractive wife when they attended the AG's election party in 2011."

* Hart allegedly told Reagan that Rob Riley had motivated him to continue this grand jury investigation "like no other person has done before." Reagan wrote: "Matt said Rob Riley was a 'bad guy,' and he did not care who Rob's daddy was. Matt said the grand jury began with a definite ending point, but it would now 'continue indefinitely.'"

Mike Hubbard's Motion to Dismiss and Exhibits


Anonymous said...

I'm not a big Matt Hart fan, but Mike Hubbard and Sonny Reagan are making him look good.

Chuckles said...

Sonny Reagan and credibility in the same sentence? Hah! That's a good one, Mr. Schnauzer.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure mafia thugs everywhere resent being compared to Rob Riley.

Anonymous said...

Rob Riley always seems to be slithering in the vicinity when GOP sleaze is under way.

Anonymous said...

I am so confused. I don't understand why Hubbard's team has not been talking more about the "liberal special interest" group that was behind all of this because Mr Hubbard was standing up against Obama and his health care? I so understand how Mr Hubbard has put himself in danger by defending all us against having affordable health care or making it against the law for your insurance to refuse you for preexisting condition. I'm so with him on that fight. Can you picture what it would be like for everyone to have health care? After getting so fired up against evil Obama and those other liberals who are dead set on destroy our way of life, " no health care, $7.25 wage", he wants me to believe that it's other God fearing, gay hating, union busting, far right republican that are behind this?? Say it ain't so Mike, .

Barb said...

Do I have this straight? Sonny Reagan says he would be shocked if Rob Riley was interfering with a criminal investigation. Then we learn later that Sonny Reagan was HELPING Rob Riley interfere in a criminal investigation.

legalschnauzer said...

I think you have it straight, Barb. That's exactly how I understand it anyway.

Anonymous said...

That letter from Bill Baxley is hysterical. It sounds like this so-called evidentiary hearing on 4/15 will be based entirely on documents from his client. But Baxley is desperate not to be there--and I assume that means Reagan doesn't want to be there either. Talk about "profiles in courage."

Anonymous said...

Matt Hart's professional credibility is all on the line should he not be as good as his word, referring to the Lee County Grand Jury statement, about when first began having a definite conclusion, but since, deciding to maintain the grand jury in session tied to years ongoing corruptions.

History has revealed that AG Strange forfeited his own professional credibility not to long ago.

Phil Fleming said...

Even B'rer rabbit couldn't get out of this one