Defense Rests, Closing Arguments Set to Begin in Hubbard Ethics Trial

Mike Hubbard answers questions from Deputy Attorney General Matt Hart on Wednesday, June 8, 2016 in Opelika, Ala. (Todd J. Van Emst/Opelika-Auburn News/Pool)

The defense of Alabama Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard has rested their case. Up next, closing arguments are set to begin at 2:30 p.m. this afternoon (Thursday) in Opelika, Alabama.

Hubbard finished his witness testimony this morning after three days on the stand.

Prosecutor Matt Hart on Thursday morning showed jurors an email that Hubbard sent to a Publix lobbyist trying to arrange for company executives to meet with a drinking cup manufacturer in his district. The email was signed, “speaker of the house” and did not disclose that a related company was also paying Hubbard $10,000-a-month.

Hubbard later explained it was an automatic signature generated by his email at his business, the Auburn Network. However, Hubbard’s defense took a stumble when he described the email as a request for advice to a longtime friend. Hubbard said the man recently died of an aneurysm.

However, Hart noted the man was still alive. Hubbard admitted he must have confused him with someone else.

Attorneys for both sides talk to Judge Jacob Walker during Alabama Speaker Mike Hubbard Trial on Thursday, June 9, 2016  in Opelika, Ala. (Todd J. Van Emst/Opelika-Auburn News/Pool)
Attorneys for both sides talk to Judge Jacob Walker during Alabama Speaker Mike Hubbard Trial on Thursday, June 9, 2016 in Opelika, Ala.
(Todd J. Van Emst/Opelika-Auburn News/Pool)

Prosecutor Matt Hart on Wednesday quizzed Hubbard on $2.3 million in contracts, party campaign business and investments his companies received. He also questioned Hubbard about email he sent former Gov. Bob Riley, who is now a lobbyist, seeking employment help.

Hubbard faces 23 felony ethics charges accusing him of using his political positions as speaker and party chairman to make money and solicit jobs and financial favors from lobbyists. Hubbard has maintained his innocence and said he took precautions to obey the state ethics law.

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