(From The New Republic)
Hubbard's trial on 23 counts of state ethics-law violations is set to begin with opening statements tomorrow in Lee County. Hubbard perhaps is the ultimate Riley Inc. insider--long stating that Bob Riley is his political mentor and hero. So it's possible Rob Riley simply is trying to help out a family friend. But we suspect much more is going on.
What's happening on the surface? Here is how APR publisher Bill Britt put it in a post out this morning:
Yet, with all of his failings, and now, having to face trial, the Riley’s are sticking with their guy. Just last week, Rob Riley was making phone calls pleading with wealthy republican donors to contribute to Hubbard’s legal defense fund.
Hubbard’s attorney Bill Baxley is believed to have demanded his money up front, after Hubbard stiffed his original criminal lawyer, J. Mark White for over a million dollars.
So, what’s ol’ Rob up to?
As for Baxley, sources tell us that right wingers have enough dirt on him that he is likely to do whatever they say; reportedly, Baxley is in no position to make demands. There is a reason, we are told, that Baxley suddenly has become the go-to lawyer for GOP operatives in trouble, such as Hubbard, Barry Moore, and Jessica Medeiros Garrison.
But what about Britt's key question: What's ol' Rob up to? I think that is a pretty easy question to answer.
Attorney Donald Watkins has reported that Hubbard and prosecutors had reached a plea deal, which would call for Hubbard to serve one year in prison in exchange for his cooperation in investigations of Bob Riley, current governor Robert Bentley, and Senate President Del Marsh. Watkins noted that Hubbard can walk away from a plea deal at any time before it is accepted by the court.
It clearly is in the Rileys' best interests for Hubbard to go to trial. Yes, Bob Riley and daughter Minda Riley Campbell might have to take the stand, which probably would not be pleasant. But it likely would be much more pleasant than having federal and state investigators taking a close look at family affairs, with Mike Hubbard providing a guided tour.
Here is how Bill Britt describes the various factors that seem to be in play:
Many thought the Riley clan would have been wise to establish a “prison trust fund” for their boy. And given the many high profile businessman who will be called to give testimony, surely a few million could have been put aside for Hubbard to just take the rap and save them further embarrassment. Almost no one thought Papa Riley would ever take the stand. Even now, there are those who believe Riley might suddenly feel a need for an extended motorcycle trip to Alaska.
There is still time for Hubbard to plea, but is he so delusional that even the Riley’s can’t reach him? Hubbard, like others, never believed he would be indicted, and he certainly never thought he would stand trial in Lee County.
A plea agreement can be reached at anytime, even during the trial, so that is still a possibility, but it is looking doubtful. The State has already presented the defense with over 1.500 exhibits it plans to introduce, and a list of over 135 witness has been listed on Alacourt.
Is Hubbard really the Riley's "boy" at this point? We doubt it. He's probably the guy they gladly would see risk going to prison for 20 to 50 years (or more) if it would help save their necks.
So again, what is ol' Rob up to? He probably is desperate to make sure Hubbard has the resources to fund a trial defense. Without such funds, Hubbard might be more likely to strike a plea deal.
And we suspect that's the last thing Rob Riley wants to see happen.