MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The Alabama Supreme Court has upheld six convictions against former House speaker Mike Hubbard but reversed five others “because they were based on insufficient evidence or incorrect interpretations of the Ethics Code.”
The ruling comes nearly six years after Hubbard was indicted in Oct. 2014 and nearly four years after a jury convicted him on 12 of 23 felony ethics counts on June 10, 2016.
A jury found he used his position of power to solicit investments for his personal business and consulting work from company executives and lobbyists.
Hubbard’s conviction brought about his automatic removal from office. He was sentenced to four years in prison and eight years of probation, but he has been free on bond while he appealed.
In August 2018, the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed 11 of the 12 counts against Hubbard. His defense petitioned the Alabama Supreme Court, asking for an acquittal or a new trial.
In a 99-page ruling from the state’s highest court Friday, the justices wrote “We affirm the judgment of the Court of Criminal Appeals as to counts 6, 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14. We reverse the judgment as to counts 16, 17, 18, 19, and 23 and remand this case to the Court of Criminal Appeals for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.”
Hubbard will have to be resentenced on the remaining counts.
The Alabama Supreme Court affirmed the following counts:
6 As a member of the Alabama House of Representatives solicited or received money from American Pharmacy Cooperative (APCI) from a lobbyist, subordinate of a lobbyist or principal (APCI).
10 As a member of the Alabama House of Representatives solicited or received money from Edgenuity and/or E2020 from Edgenuity (lobbyist, subordinate of a lobbyist or principal).
11 Used his position as a member of the Alabama House of Representatives to obtain money from Robert Abrams (CV Holdings) for Auburn Network.
12 As a member of the Alabama House of Representatives received compensation from Robert Abrams (CV Holdings) to represent Robert Abrams before the Alabama Department of Commerce.
13 As a member of the Alabama House of Representatives received compensation from Robert Abrams (CV Holdings) to represent Robert Abrams before the governor.
14 As a member of the Alabama House of Representatives used public property (a state computer, a state email account, or human labor and/or the time of himself and another state employee) for the benefit of Robert Abrams for Hubbard’s (Auburn Network’s) financial interest.
The Alabama Supreme Court reversed the following counts:
16 Solicited a $150,000 investment in Craftmaster Printers from Will Brooke (Board Member of the Business Council of Alabama/lobbyist, subordinate of a lobbyist, or principal).
17 Solicited a $150,000 investment in Craftmaster Printers from James Holbrook (Sterne Agee Group) (lobbyist, subordinate of a lobbyist or principal).
18 Solicited a $150,000 investment in Craftmaster Printers from Jimmy Rane (President of Great Southern Wood) (lobbyist, subordinate of a lobbyist or principal).
19 Solicited a $150,000 investment in Craftmaster Printers from Robert Burton (President of Hoar Construction) (lobbyist, subordinate of a lobbyist or principal).
23 Solicited assistance with obtaining new clients for Auburn Network and/or financial advice regarding Craftmaster Printers from Will Brooke (Board member of the Business Council of Alabama) (lobbyist, subordinate of a lobbyist or principal).
GOVERNOR KAY IVEY REACTS
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said she accepts and supports to the high court’s opinion.
“As an elected official, our first priority is to be above reproach and avoid even the appearance of misconduct and abuse of office,” Ivey said.
“I support seeking clarity on our state’s ethics laws to ensure those who want to abide by them may not be unfairly targeted. However, let me be abundantly clear, I do not support weakening a system that is meant to hold our elected officials accountable. The rule of law must be upheld.”
Ivey pointed to it being Good Friday, saying "my thoughts and prayers are on Mike Hubbard’s family and upon our state as we move on from this unfortunate part of Alabama’s history.”
HOUSE SPEAKER MAC MCCUTCHEON REACTS
“The Supreme Court’s ruling has made it clear that our ethics law has flaws that must be addressed. Our task now is to fix those flaws without weakening any of the provisions that make our ethics law among the toughest in the country.
As a former police officer, I believe that strict ethics requirements offer a much needed deterrent to corruption. By following the roadmap suggested by the State Supreme Court, we can preserve that deterrent while firmly holding those who abuse their office accountable for their actions.”
ALABAMA ATTORNEY GENERAL STEVE MARSHALL REACTS
“Today, the Alabama Supreme Court delivered its opinion in the case of former speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives, Mike Hubbard. The Court’s decision reflects what we have argued from the beginning: Mike Hubbard’s actions were corrupt and betrayed the public trust. It is well past time for Mike Hubbard to serve the time he has so richly earned.
While I am pleased that the Supreme Court agreed that former Speaker Hubbard broke the law and will be held accountable for his abuse of power, I am also disappointed in the court’s interpretation of Alabama’s ethics law concerning the definition of a principal. While I can live with the court’s insistence on a clearer definition of principal, going forward, that definition must also be strong.
“This case was not just a trial of former Speaker Hubbard’s misconduct, but also a test of our ethics law. Mr. Hubbard campaigned in 2010 on the message that Alabama ‘sorely needed’ a stronger ethics law. As a state, we must now ask ourselves a serious question: Do we want the type of behavior that Hubbard got away with to be illegal? If the answer is yes, then legislative action is again sorely needed and we must commit to strengthening our ethics law."