|Mike Hubbard holds his head in despair|
as he waits to pay bail at the Lee County
Jail last night in Opelika.
It's little wonder that Hubbard and others in the GOP took on such arrogance. Since Karl Rove, Bill Canary, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce joined hands to steal . . . I mean, buy . . . the 1994 Alabama chief justice race for Perry Hooper, pro-business forces have taken over state courts across the South--touting "tort reform" as a way to attack large verdicts for plaintiffs, which came to entail "jackpot justice." If you tried to seek justice in federal courts, you would find benches stuffed with Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II appointees.
In short, both state and federal courts were stacked in the GOP's favor. Republican politicos knew they could step way over the boundary into unlawful territory and likely never be investigated, much less prosecuted. If they did somehow get indicted, they probably could lie under oath enough to escape punishment. After all, they were likely to go before GOP judges and majority-white juries who reflexively tend to pull levers for Republicans at election time.
A jury in Lee County, Alabama--with the help of Judge Jakob Walker's stern hand--might have signaled last night that era is starting to crumble by convicting Hubbard on 12 of 23 charges that he violated state ethics laws. The convictions automatically remove Hubbard from office; he was convicted on counts 5-6, 10, 11-14, 16-19, and 23. (See indictment at the end of this post.)
Hubbard took the stand in his own defense, but if he thought he could get away with spinning an elaborate web of lies, the Lee County jury had other ideas. In fact, the last day of testimony might have been the most devastating for Hubbard.
In March 2014, Hubbard had signed a proffer, which is an agreement between prosecutors and an individual about his knowledge of possible crimes. The individual's words are not to be used against him at trial, but if his future testimony contradicts information in the proffer, the prosecution can use that to impeach him.
Hubbard made numerous statements on the stand that differed with what he had agreed to in the proffer. So prosecutor Matt Hart received permission from the court to use the proffer in an effort to impeach Hubbard. Here is how Bill Britt, of Alabama Political Reporter, described part of that process:
The trial began with Lead Prosecutor, Matt Hart, cross examining Hubbard, using a proffer Hubbard signed in March, 2014. The Prosecution was able to impeach Hubbard on several points in his testimony before the court. During the trial, evidence showed Josh Blades had initiated the calls to help Bobby Abrams’ company with a much needed patent, and it was Blades who did most of the work…on State time. However, in 2014, Hubbard told Hart and others in a sworn statement, that only he had made calls concerning the patent.
In his proffer, Hubbard stated that he knew about the language that was inserted in the Medicaid portion of the General Fund Budget, that benefited his client APCI. But, in court this week, he said he didn’t know anything about it.
In short, Hubbard got caught lying under oath about Robert Abrams and his company, CV Holdings, and about a deal that would have given APCI a monopoly on Medicaid prescriptions in Alabama. If you look at the jury verdict, Hubbard was found guilty on Counts 5-6 (regarding APCI) and Counts 11-14 (regarding CV Holdings).
We don't know what went on behind the closed doors of the jury room. But we do know that six of the 12 guilty verdicts came on counts where Hubbard was proven to have lied under oath--either in his proffer or in his testimony before the jury.
Many Republican politicians have risen to power in the South on giant truckloads of horse feces. They claim to be Christian, while their behavior suggests they have never opened a Bible. They claim to be "pro family" while cheating on their spouses. They claim to support the middle class, while their votes almost always favor the business class. They claim to be "strict constructionists," while their actions show zero respect for the rule of law.
Mike Hubbard dumped copious amounts of horse feces in the Lee County Courthouse--and there is little doubt his corporate and political "friends" did also--but jurors from Hubbard's home county were not falling for it.
In the end, Hubbard walked away smelling like manure--while the jurors and Judge Walker helped usher in a scent that smelled (at least a little) like justice might be coming to the South.