Judge won’t give ex-House Speaker new ethics trial

Published 5:43 pm Wednesday, October 19, 2016

MONTGOMERY (AP) — Former Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard’s request for a new trial was denied by a judge who said Hubbard failed to show that jurors were biased when they convicted him on ethics charges.

Hubbard submitted an affidavit from a juror, or alternate juror, who said some jurors made disparaging comments during the trial, such as calling Hubbard “plain greedy” and they appeared to have “fixed opinions before this case ever started.”

Lee County Circuit Judge Jacob Walker said in his ruling Tuesday that Hubbard had not demonstrated any misconduct that would warrant a reversal of the verdict. Walker noted jurors convicted Hubbard on some, but not all, counts. He said that suggests jurors weighed the evidence in making their decisions and were not unduly prejudiced.

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“Because the defendant failed to make a showing that he was actually prejudiced, this court would not disturb the verdict of the trial jury,” Walker wrote.

Hubbard, for years one of the state’s most influential Republicans, was convicted in June on 12 counts of violating the state ethics law. Prosecutors said Hubbard used his public office to make money and benefit his businesses and improperly asked lobbyists and company executives for work and for $150,000 investments in his debt-riddled printing business. Upon conviction, he was automatically removed from political office. Walker sentenced Hubbard to four years in prison. Hubbard is free on bond while he appeals to the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals. Walker last month denied Hubbard’s request to have the Lee County sheriff investigate his claims of juror misconduct.