OPELIKA, AL (WSFA) - Mike Hubbard's defense team has filed a court motion seeking to have the Lee County Sheriff's Office investigate possible juror misconduct in the case that saw him convicted of 12 felony ethics violations and removed from political office.
The motion was filed with the Circuit Court of Lee County Friday, just after Hubbard's 4-year prison sentence was handed down by Judge Jacob Walker.
Court documents redact the names of the jurors but paint a picture of several in the jury box who appeared to have reached a verdict in their own minds before all the evidence was presented, and who were willing to discuss the case with each other despite orders from the judge not to.
The motion relies on the word of one juror whom Hubbard's defense team said became so uncomfortable with other jurors' comments and conversations that they sought help from an attorney by the second week of the trial.
The juror stated that they witnessed multiple instances of misconduct among some of their peers which led them to believe the were biased against Hubbard.
Hubbard's team cited several examples of misconduct to support their motion for an investigation. Those examples include:
- A juror allegedly made comments in the jury box and jury room about Hubbard's private contracts. That juror is also alleged to have expressed an opinion on Hubbard's guilt "very early in the trial".
- A juror allegedly commented to others that while he told the defense he could put his personal thoughts aside and render a fair and impartial verdict, he smiled and said, "yeah, right."
- A juror allegedly stated that Hubbard should "just plead out", a comment made before the defense started its case, and drew agreement from two others.
- A juror personally witnessed others saying Hubbard "was just plain greedy" and discussing why he needed "all that money".
- A juror is said to have known when Gov. Robert Bentley would testify, information that would not have been available to a juror unless they defied the judge's order to avoid researching or reading about the case.
The State will file a motion objecting to the misconduct claim, and generally, it's the State that investigates the claims.
Hubbard's defense wants an investigation by the Lee County Sheriff's Office or another neutral law enforcement agency. They specifically state that they do not want a probe from either the Alabama Attorney General's Office or the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency due to conflicts of interest.
No time frame has been set for when the claim will be investigated.