Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Is Baron Coleman's affidavit about the Mike Hubbard investigation a signal that political and legal skulduggery in Alabama has reached an all-time low?

Baron Coleman
(From spotonstrategiesgroup.com)
The last thing Alabama needs is another slimy political operative. We already have so many it's as if the state raises them in industrial-sized ponds, like catfish. Perhaps specius politicus slimeballius should be designated the Official State Bottom Feeder.

Now, it appears Montgomery-based G. Baron Coleman has added to our list of political hacks. As a lawyer, conservative talk-show host, and political consultant, you might say Coleman is a "triple threat" bottom feeder. He is a partner in Spot On Strategies Group, whatever that is.

Actually, we've seen signs before that Coleman is a sketchy character, and we've reported on the subject several times. (See here, here, and here.) But his latest tactic is a real jaw-dropper.

Coleman has been a consistent critic of Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn), who faces 23 counts of felony ethics violations, with a trial date set for March 28. But Hubbard defense lawyers filed a motion dated February 2, and it included an affidavit from Coleman in which he claims to have had 50 to 100 conversations with prosecutor Matt Hart about the investigation and grand-jury activities. (See full motion at the end of this post.)

Coleman admits to activities that are so low they almost make us feel sorry for Mike Hubbard--and I didn't think that was possible.

Hubbard's lawyers argue that the Coleman affidavit proves prosecutors have leaked confidential and privileged information to the media in an effort to destroy the Speaker. They further argue that Hart has perpetrated a fraud on the court and engaged in misconduct that should cause the charges against Hubbard to be dropped.

Circuit Judge Jacob Walker has set a hearing for February 10 to consider charges of prosecutorial misconduct.

Why is the Coleman affidavit such a shocker? For one thing, Coleman never has shown signs of being a Hubbard fan. In a March 2015 column at Alabama Political Reporter (APR), Coleman essentially said Hubbard was a liar, driven by envy and anger. Hubbard was particularly incensed, Coleman wrote, that former Governor Bob Riley seemingly was making millions off Hubbard's reign as Speaker--while Hubbard made do with a relatively paltry salary as a "public servant."

From Coleman's column, which portrayed Hubbard in an extremely unflattering light:

Riley was making what many speculate was millions of dollars off of Hubbard’s time as Speaker, and Hubbard was left with his $70,000 a year Speaker’s salary, his wife’s $145,000 a year job at Auburn University, and an ultimatum from Hubbard’s employer IMG that he either leave politics or lose his job.

That is why Hubbard initially dropped hints and later seethed with rage about his finances. That is why Hubbard repeatedly asked if there was a way he could come work for Bob Riley and Associates. That is why Hubbard threatened to quit and walk away from politics if he couldn’t come up with a way to make more money.

He wasn’t broke. That was a lie. Hubbard’s August 2012 financial statement states Hubbard had a net worth of close to $7.8 million and liabilities of only about $600,000. It is irrational to conclude that with a $7.8 million net worth and a bare minimum of $215,000 a year in combined tax-payer funded salary between Hubbard and his wife, he would need to harass the rich and powerful with requests for business opportunities to avoid financial ruin.

Hubbard’s bizarre behavior was not motivated by greed or poverty; it was motivated by anger and envy.

Second, the affidavit comes from the same Baron Coleman whom Hubbard lawyers sought to subpoena last fall. In a carefully worded motion to quash the subpoena, Coleman more or less said he knew nothing that would help Hubbard's case and called the lawyers' actions an "impermissible and improper fishing expedition."

This is the same guy who now seems to know a lot that could help Hubbard's case and even welcomes the chance to become part of a "fishing expedition," such as an evidentiary hearing focused on Matt Hart? What happened between last September and now to change Baron Coleman's mind so radically? A reasonable person might ask: Was Baron Coleman lying then or is he lying now?

APR Publisher Bill Britt, who has given Coleman space in the publication and had him as a panelist on The Voice of Alabama Politics, is among many Alabama political observers who now are scratching their heads. From a Britt column on the subject:

On February 2, Coleman claimed he had between 50 and 100 conversations with Matt Hart, Chief of the Special Prosecutions Unit. “These conversations were in reference to the Mike Hubbard investigation, and the Lee County Special Grand Jury,” Coleman said in his sworn statement to the court.

Coleman was subpoenaed to testify at the first evidentiary hearing Judge Waker ordered on prosecutorial misconduct on October 26, 2015. In his motion to quash, Coleman said he had nothing to testify to and referred to his subpoena as “nothing more than an impermissible, improper fishing expedition.”

In his motion, Coleman stated to the court, . . . "the Defendant has no basis to know what testimony Coleman could provide. Thus, the Defendants’ subpoena is nothing more than an impermissible and improper fishing expedition designed to get around the rules of discovery in his criminal trial.”

What might be driving Coleman's about-face? Britt attempts to provide some insight on a murky situation:

For over two years, Coleman has been a fierce critic of Hubbard in his writings, on radio, and TV, and a staunch defender of Hart, and the prosecution. Coleman’s perceived turnabout has sent tongues wagging around, not only the State House, but around the entire State.

In his affidavit, he alleges Hart threatened to bring him before a grand jury after it was rumored he had passed along information he claims he received from Hart, to his former law partner, then Rep. Joe Hubbard (D-Montgomery). He claims he came forward, in part, because he was “recently contacted by law enforcement, and met with them in reference to how and why I received grand jury information from the Lee County Special Grand Jury, and with regard to the conduct of Matt Hart in the Hubbard case.”

Coleman’s statements have been welcomed by the Hubbard camp, while he has been roundly denounced by others.

What were Coleman's really dirty actions against Hubbard? That involves the 2014 GOP primary, in which Coleman worked for Sandy Toomer, Hubbard's opponent. Coleman said he used information from Hart to generate a "whisper campaign" against Hubbard. What were the whispers about? That remains unknown.

But they didn't work because Hubbard won handily. Here is the bigger question: Who does Baron Coleman think he is--Karl Rove?


Anonymous said...

Been hoping you would weigh in on this, Schnauzer. I can't figure it out. Guess we will learn more on Thursday, after the hearing.

Anonymous said...

The fate of the HMS Victotia, commissioned in 1887, is recorded in history. The Commander ordered his crew to perform a maneuver of no strategic importance,to demonstrate his superior ability. The USS Riley was renamed the Victoria, because its Commander, also made the same fatal error.
The Justice Dept. showed up in Auburn Al. in Dec.2009, because the City had submitted a fraudulent pre-clearance submission. The Commander of the Victoria, ordered his crew to dismantle the Voting Rights Act's pre-clearance provision.
The Voting Rights Act's pre-clearance division wanted answers from Laura Canary about Auburn's pre-clearance submission, but she was too involved with the Milton McGregor investigation. She was replaced by George Beck, who came up with a plan. After the guilty verdicts were read at McGregor's trial,a few individuals would plead guilty to minor offenses. After two trials and no guilty verdicts,the paper work never got off the Lee Co Circuit Clerk's desk.
All those people in Washington D.C.,who worked in the pre-clearance division, banded together and got rid of Eric Holder. They are now coming for the Commander of the Victoria.

legalschnauzer said...

Thanks for an intriguing comment, @2:07. It seems vessels represent certain people on the Alabama political scene. I haven't figured it all out, but would welcome hints or pointers from others. A few thoughts from me:

* The Commander of the Victoria seems to be a key figure in your scenario? Could that be the USS Riley (Bob Riley)?

* Where does Mike Hubbard, and maybe Baron Coleman, fit into this? Given the Lee County tone, I figure Hubbard has to be involved somewhere.

* Does Shelby County play a role in this since it led the way in the Voting Rights Act case that gutted a lot of the pre-clearance requirements?

Anonymous said...

Sounds to me like someone paid Mr. Coleman to change his tune or they dug up some dirt and convinced him it might be a good idea to change his tune.

Anonymous said...

The Commander (Riley jr) is in charge of the fleet of ships. Riley sr is the Captain of the Victoria. Bentley is the Captain of the Camperdown. History tells us that the Camperdown sunk the Victoria. The Commander (jr) went down with the ship. The Captain(sr) survived.
Mike Hubbard has done everything but wear a dress and lipstick to be accepted by the Riley machine.That little ploy to introduce the bingo investigation to a group of legislatures was to shift focus on them.
Mike has begun to dismantle the Riley machine.Did you notice that all the people fired from Big Luther's office were involved with the Bingo trials.Did you notice that the first grand jury to look at Mike was in Montgomery. Mike rather face 23 conunts in Lee County vs every one else facing civil suits in Macon county. Shelby county is Riley's power base.

legalschnauzer said...

Thanks for more thoughtful stuff, @3:35. You think the Coleman affidavit is designed to help undermine the Riley machine? That would be an interesting turn of events, for sure.

Anonymous said...

If Federal indictments are issued for the injustice to McGregor, Lee county will not convict Mike.But you will not see any Federal indictments until the VP is out of office.Keep in mind,that if Mike makes a deal with the Feds, he could still be sued.
Mike has to stand trial to stay out of Federal charges.The only involvement he had with the Bingo investigation ,was the 705,000 check and he properly did not know the true reason.Mike has to keep hammering at prosecutor misconduct,and delay his trial.
But keep in mind , he wants a trial.

Anonymous said...

Roger;I feel like you have not grasp the situation yet.The pre-clearance division employed thousands of people.When ever someone made a submission, there was a public comment period.I would call Washington D.C. and not even go thru a switch board. You got to talk to someone and tell them what was going on. Want to know what's included in a submission, talk to Susan.Want to know something else talk to Sara. These people would give you their number and tell you to call anytime.THese People are out of a job. They have house payments. They have kids in college.Roger;You have shown these people what Shelby County is like.The same Shelby County which took their livehood away from them. Tie your hat to your head or better yet, get a hat with a draw string because a storm is coming.

Anonymous said...

Karl Rove is living proof that inadequacies can help you go far in politics He's one of those guys you wonder what in the hell did he do to get where he's at. How?! He held one of the highest positions and he's a complete sleaze. This man has admirers and followers no doubt. He set the bar for unethical conduct. He pushed the boundaries and tested out the waters for all aspiring scumbags like this guy here.

There's always and ulterior motive and things aren't so black and white. The prosecution of course wants us to look at it black in white becuase that helps there batting average. We have to be reminded of this sadly. Thanks for the indepth analysis.

legalschnauzer said...

Oh, you are right, @8:18, I don't have a grasp on this situation yet. This angle is new to me, but I'm willing to learn. Thanks for your insights.

legalschnauzer said...

Interesting comment, @4:17. Why does Hubbard want a trial?

MrsW said...

J Mark White(Hubbard's lawyer) was also Milton McGregor's lawyer.About all he has accomplished is get all the people fired from Big Luther's office ,who were involved in the Bingo trial.There are going to be other trials,Mike wants his own.Racketeering pays triple damages.