Lawmakers call for DOJ probe into prosecutor in Hubbard case

Lawmakers call for DOJ probe into prosecutor in Hubbard case

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Nearly 40 Alabama lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have asked the Department of Justice to launch an investigation into the Alabama Attorney General's Office.

A recent court document shows allegations of misconduct by a state prosecutor in the felony ethics case against House Speaker Mike Hubbard.

Rep. Jack Williams was compelled to write the letter and gather signatures on the House floor after an affidavit was filed by political strategist Baron Coleman.

"You knew information was being leaked, and you knew who was doing it," Williams said of rumors leading up to the indictment of Hubbard. "Until the affidavit came forth, there was no substantial proof."

Coleman was working for Sandy Toomer, who ran against Hubbard in the last House race. Coleman reported prosecutor Matt Hart leaked secret grand jury information to him to use in a "whisper campaign" against Hubbard during the election.  Coleman says Hart threatened to call him to testify before the grand jury if he revealed the source of the leaked information.

"In all honesty, when I read Baron Coleman's affidavit, I gasped several times it was so shocking," Williams explained. "But I wasn't surprised because we had all heard those things."

Williams says other members of the House wanted to sign the letter but feared retaliation from Hart.

"That's horrible. That's not how democracy works," Williams said. "Whoever you are, whatever your place in life is -- you should be treated fairly by the justice system. When that's called into question, it threatens the fibers of democracy. I think it's important and significant for DOJ to get to the bottom of this."

Williams said the investigation and allegations of wrongdoing against Hubbard have put a cloud over everyone, saying an independent investigation is the only way to determine if the Attorney General's Office was using the grand jury process to influence elections.

"The state has spent millions of dollars on this witch hunt - it's starting to look very political and very much like a waste of taxpayer money," Williams said of the prosecution.

During a hearing on Tuesday, the AG's Office labeled the affidavit false, calling it a stall tactic.

But the information lawmakers are seeking may come before DOJ responds to the letter.

Coleman will be called to testify about his interactions with Matt Hart on March 3.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Alabama's Middle District confirmed it received the letter Thursday. Attorney General Luther Strange declined to comment on the letter.

Hubbard is scheduled to stand trial on 23 felony ethics violations on March 28 in Lee County.

Copyright 2016 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.