OPELIKA, AL (WSFA) - Former Gov. Bob Riley will return for his third day of testimony Tuesday in Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard's ethics trial.
His exhaustive testimony has been a point of frustration for all parties involved. Riley reluctantly answered the questions of state prosecutor Matt Hart for nearly seven hours during the past two days of the trial.
The state is trying to show that Hubbard was using his office to benefit Riley's lobbying and consulting clients and also soliciting Riley, who is a registered lobbyist, for jobs or contacts that could develop into income.
The state has gone over countless emails between Riley and Hubbard. Essentially, Hubbard is constantly seeking employment with Bob Riley & Associates. The former governor testified the requests were sometimes serious and sometimes a joke.
"I need to be a salesman for [Bob Riley & Associates]. Except for those ethics laws. Who proposed those things?! What were we thinking," Hubbard wrote in an email in September 2011.
When questioned about that statement, Riley said there's no question, "it was a joke."
However, Riley said he and Hubbard talked about Hubbard working for Bob Riley & Associates for a couple years and at one point it was a serious discussion.
"When he lost the IMG contract he began to be serious about finding a way to support his family," Riley said.
In several emails Hubbard made comments about the problem being solved if Riley de-registered as a lobbyist. Riley testified Friday he didn't want to de-register because he would lose clients.
Riley testified that a lot of Hubbard's friends were trying to find to find a solution for his financial problems that wouldn't interfere with his public position.
Riley said he set up appointments for Hubbard at the Paris Air Show with possible economic development clients related to the Southeast Alabama Gas District after Hubbard asked for help.
"Did I want Mike to win a project? Absolutely I did. Mike is one of the best friends I've ever had," Riley said.
At the time, Hubbard was working as a consultant for SEAGD, and the company paid for his trip to Paris. Prosecutors allege Hubbard used his title and position as speaker of the House while at the air show to do work for SEAGD.
Riley said he also suggested possible new business for Hubbard company, Craftmaster Printers.
"Does Wayne Smith not having [sic] printing business --- looks like that would be a good client -- a hospital has nothing to do with your position," Riley wrote in an email.
Hart asked what Riley meant by 'nothing to do with your position."
"Everyone was trying to find something that would have no, zero conflict with anything [Hubbard] did in his position," Riley said.
While Riley was aware Hubbard was working for SEAGD, he testified he didn't know Hubbard also had consulting contracts with Edgenuity, the American Pharmacy Cooperative and Capital Cups.
The state also quizzed Riley about communication he had with Hubbard involving legislation.
Hubbard at one point said in an email that passing a bill related to an aviation sales tax was a "priority." The bill would've directly helped one of Riley's clients.
Riley and Hubbard also worked together to find a location for a plant for one of Riley's clients, that also would've benefited Hubbard's contract with SEAGD.
During cross examination by the defense, Riley said during the last five or six years he has talked to Hubbard about "two or three" pieces of legislation total. He also did his best to show the jury that the bills were all good for the state.
Tensions grew when Hart began asking if Riley ever gave Hubbard any warnings about not doing anything to violate the ethics laws.
"It's not a simple question. It's not a simple question for one reason, and you're asking a question not knowing the context of the question. It's the same thing you did in the grand jury," Riley said with his voice raised.
When Hart pushed this question a second time, Riley said "Yes, would you like an explanation?"
Hart responded "Not right now, sir."
When the defense gave Riley more time to elaborate, he said he didn't remember using the word "warning," but he did tell Hubbard to be extra careful because he had a "bullseye" on his back due to his position.
Riley and the defense tried to stress how concerned Hubbard was with following the law and the number of times Hubbard asked the Alabama Ethics Commission for its opinion.
The defense is also stressing that Hubbard and Riley have a close personal friendship, and therefore anything Riley did for Hubbard fell under a friendship exemption in the ethics laws and was legal.
Riley said the state is focusing on a few emails to try to make a point, but there are thousands of others that show the depth of their personal relationship.
Riley will continue testifying Tuesday morning. It's unclear who, if anyone, prosecutors will call next. They could rest early this week.
Hubbard is charged with 23 felony ethics charges. He's accused of using his position for personal financial gain.