Day 12: Defense rests case in Hubbard's ethics trial

Day 12: Defense rests case in Hubbard's ethics trial

OPELIKA, AL (WSFA) - The defense rested its case against Alabama House Speak Mike Hubbard Thursday morning after calling just one witness - the man at the center of the case.

State Prosecutor Matt Hart had one final and surprising question for Hubbard before he left the witness stand Thursday morning.

Early Thursday, Hart brought up an email Hubbard sent to a Publix representative named Michael Mitchell asking to set up a meeting about Capitol Cups – a company Hubbard had a consulting contract with that paid $10,000 a month.

In the email, Hubbard called Capital Cups a constituent and signed the email with this Alabama House Speaker title. The defense argued this was an automatically generated email signature.

Hart asked Hubbard if he mentioned in the email that he was working for Capital Cups as a consultant.

"No sir, didn't think it was relevant," Hubbard said.

On the stand, Hubbard testified Mitchell was a friend who sadly died a few years ago of an aneurysm.

Hart asked how good of a friend Hubbard really was with Mitchell, and if it would surprise Hubbard that he talked to Mitchell just a few days ago.

"Well I must have him confused with someone else," Hubbard responded.

That was his final moment on the witness stand.

The extent of Hubbard's relationships with all of the people connected to this case has been a constant debate throughout the trial. Hubbard called many of the people involved close friends, who he knows outside of politics, and tried to prove it with examples of activities they have done together. That's because his defense says the advice and investments Hubbard received from registered lobbyists had nothing to do with his public position.

The state also attempted to pin Hubbard down on his testimony about a vote on the 2013 general fund budget that included language that would have affected one of his consulting clients and Medicaid.

Prosecutor Matt Hart asked Hubbard to read a transcript from a statement he gave under oath in 2014. They feel Hubbard changed his testimony.

In that same statement in 2014, the state claims Hubbard told them he made a call to a legislator in Mississippi to help a company in his district with an issue related to a patent. The company, SIO2, was owned by the same person as Capital Cups, who Hubbard had a consulting contracts with.

Hubbard's former chief of staff Josh Blades testified he was the one who had the contact in Mississippi and made the call. Hart questioned Hubbard about the discrepancy.

"I guess I didn't have that at the top of my mind at that time," Hubbard said about the 2014 statement.

Hubbard maintains the work on the patent was done for the owner, Robert Abrams, as a constituent and had nothing to do with his consulting contract with Capital Cups.

Hubbard spent parts of three days on the stand in his own defense and has now finished his testimony. He was the only witness for the defense.

On Tuesday, the state rested its case after calling dozens of witnesses to bear the burden of proof for 23 felony counts of ethics charges against house speaker Hubbard.

Hubbard is accused of using his position for personal financial gain. He maintains his innocence and says the transactions were legal.

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