OPELIKA, AL (WSFA) - Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard's ethics trial continued Friday. Hubbard is charged with 23 felonies under Alabama's ethics laws.
Business Council of Alabama President Billy Canary was the first witness called Friday morning for the prosecution.
The prosecution is trying to prove Canary, who is a registered lobbyist, assisted Hubbard in finding financial opportunities.
Canary testified he contacted people with organizations outside the state to introduce Hubbard to them in the hopes of finding Hubbard income that was pursuant to the Alabama Ethics Commission.
The defense tried to show Canary and Hubbard are close friends and therefore any assistance Canary gave was legal.
During questioning from the defense Canary said he would be friends with Hubbard even if he got out of politics, adding he "love[s] him like a brother."
Another significant part of Canary's testimony came right at the end. Defense Attorney Bill Baxley asked Canary if he recalled being in a meeting where Hubbard asked lobbyist Dax Swatek to invest in Craftmaster Printers. Canary said he didn't recall that happening.
Swatek testified Wednesday Canary was in a meeting when Hubbard solicited a $150,000 investment.
MINDA RILEY CAMPBELL
Lobbyist Minda Campbell's testimony could be described as memorable and bizarre.
Campbell's testimony was contentious at best; it was vividly apparent that her allegiance was with Hubbard, and as many times as possible she highlighted his accomplishments.
During her back and forth with prosecutor Matt Hart, Campbell's answer was cut off as she was getting off topic. Hart told her she would have a chance to say what she wanted later.
And that's exactly what happened. After three hours of questioning, Campbell was given the unusual chance to make what amounted to a one-minute closing statement about Hubbard's character as she left the stand.
Campbell told the jury she loved Hubbard for 20 years and doesn't believe for "one minute" that he would "knowingly do something unethical or dishonest."
Prosecutors allege Hubbard solicited consulting assistance and support for Auburn Network from Campbell and her father.
Campbell testified Hubbard "communicated pretty clearly" he would like to work for Bob Riley & Associates, her father's lobbying firm.
She said Hubbard told her about his financial stress, and in 2010 he called her and asked if she knew of any jobs that could be a "good fit" for him.
Campbell said she told Hubbard she would "absolutely" let him know if she hears of anything.
Campbell and the defense did their best to stress the close personal friendship she has with Hubbard outside of politics in an attempt to show anything she gave him should fall under an exception to the ethics laws and be legal.
"Anything I have ever done or will ever do [for Hubbard] is because he is like a brother to me," Campbell said.
Friday's testimony highlighted numerous emails exchanged between Hubbard and the witnesses.
Many of the emails between Hubbard and Campbell revolved around a trip to the Paris Air Show in 2013, and they were the subject of several tense exchanges between Campbell and Hart.
Campbell testified she helped connect Hubbard with some companies who were at the air show so he could speak for the people of Alabama and express appreciation to company leaders for bringing jobs to Alabama.
Prosecutors are trying to show Campbell helped plan the trip for Hubbard, but also that he was there in his role as speaker while being paid by the Southeast Alabama Gas District to support their economic development efforts. SEAGD footed the bill for Hubbard's trip.
"When he was at the Paris Air Show, he was the speaker of the House. He IS the speaker of the House," Campbell said.
She compared his title to that of a doctor or governor in that it's always there.
Prosecutors showed the jury pictures Campbell took at two different events on the trip in which Hubbard is wearing a name tag that identifies him as speaker of the Alabama House.
Campbell said the organizations that hosted these events created the name tags, not Hubbard.
Campbell's father was called as the prosecution's next witness. The former governor testified Hubbard asked him "several times" if he could come work for him at Bob Riley & Associates.
Riley said he didn't think Hubbard was serious, and he was just "ragging" him about it.
Hart read increasingly desperate emails that showed Hubbard struggling with his personal life and confiding in Riley.
"The company I built from scratch has now been sold twice and I am not a part of it. My current company is simply employing people because I am putting no effort into running or growing it. And now I feel like I'm spending my time on political matters while watching myself collapse – and unable to do anything about it," Hubbard wrote on Aug. 9, 2011.
Hubbard also mentioned battling depression in that email.
In a response the same day, Riley asks Hubbard if he wants to be governor or make a lot of money.
"Good thing is you could do either, but I am not sure it's possible to do both," Riley wrote.
Riley said he was trying to encourage Hubbard and show him he was in a unique position that few in the world could be in.
"I would've given anything to have been able to work out a solution that would help Mike. So far we hadn't. I talked to Rob [Riley], I talked to Minda. I talked to anyone I could that, really, could give me some insight," Riley testified Friday.
In other emails to Riley and Campbell, Hubbard makes references to things being easier if the two de-registered as lobbyists.
Riley admitted that being a registered lobbyist made it impossible for him to work with Hubbard.
However, Riley said he didn't want to de-register because he would lose at least two clients.