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Mike Hubbard's trial delayed until April

Mike Hubbard's trial has been pushed back again.

Judge Jacob A. Walker III delayed the trial for two weeks, according to multiple reports. The new start date is scheduled for April 11.

The Alabama speaker was indicted in 2014 for 23 counts of felony ethics violations, including four counts of using his office as speaker for personal gain. If convicted, he could face up to 20 years in prison for each count. 

The trial was initially scheduled to begin March 28, but there will now be a pretrial hearing set for that date. 

Walker initially denied the defense's request in January for the trial to be pushed back. However, he said he was "inclined" to delay the trial at a March 3 hearing.

The initial motion for continuance was filed Feb. 16, with another request for a stay filed March 3. 

The defense asks for a stay while a writ of mandamus, or appeal of previous rulings, is pending, according to court documents. The defense asked for the stay because of "fundamental constitutional issues."

The defense has argued that the case should be thrown out because of prosecutorial misconduct by lead prosecutor Matt Hart. They initially filed the motion March 30, 2015. 

Hubbard's defense team has also accused Hart of violating the Grand Jury Secrecy Act by sharing grand jury proceedings.

Several witnesses have testified about conversations with Hart about Hubbard. Baron Coleman, a political operative who worked on campaigns against Hubbard, filed an affidavit Feb. 2, where he said he had an "ongoing conversation" for two to three years with Hart about Hubbard.

However, the prosecution argued Hart had a confidential informant relationship with Coleman, so their conversations are privileged.

"Now that Coleman has testified, his credibility has been destroyed," the prosecution stated in a filing from March 11. "Notwithstanding these facts, this court need not even reach these issues to deny Hubbard's renewed motion because Hubbard offered no evidence showing that Coleman's allegations, even if they were believable, had any impact on the rand jury's decision to indict."

Hubbard also has a new defense attorney. Bill Baxley and his firm, Baxley, Dillard, McKnight, James and McElroy, entered the case Feb. 16. Baxley is a former attorney general and lieutenant governor, according to his firm's website.

Hubbard's initial lead attorneys, Mark White and Augusta Dowd, left the defense team Dec. 31, 2015. 

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