State prosecutors responded to former House Speaker Mike Hubbard's appeal arguments in a 130-page brief filed with the Court of Criminal Appeals Monday, moving his appeal one step closer to resolution.
The state echoed many of their arguments from Hubbard's 2016 felony ethics trial in their new brief, responding to Hubbard's opening arguments filed about a month ago.
“If anything is illegal under Alabama’s Ethics Laws, Hubbard’s conduct is,” prosecutors from the state wrote in their response. “Hubbard’s conduct goes to the very heart of what the Ethics Laws prohibit, and the jury found that his conduct violated the law.”
In their initial filing last month, Hubbard's defense attorney argued that his conviction should be overturned due to a lack of evidence, prosecutorial misconduct and juror misconduct. Their argument was also that prosecutors, and ultimately the court, interpreted the ethics laws in a manner that was far too broad.
The state stood by their interpretation of the ethics laws in their response Monday.
“If Hubbard’s conduct is not prohibited by the Ethics Laws, then the laws are a sham designed to let lawmakers disguise unethical conduct with a veneer of legality,” the State wrote in their brief Monday.
The state also said Hubbard's attorneys did not point to any count of the conviction where prosecutors failed to present sufficient evidence.
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More on this subject: Former House Speaker Mike Hubbard files opening brief in appeals case
In their brief, the state spends dozens of pages recounting the evidence used at trial to present their case. They urge the Court of Criminal appeals to reject Hubbard's attorneys' claims that there is insufficient evidence.
The arguments in the two briefs largely reflect arguments made in Hubbard's 2016 Lee County trial. At the conclusion of the trial, the former House speaker was found guilty of 12 felony ethics violations.
He was originally charged with 23 counts.
Lee County Circuit Judge Jacob Walker later sentenced Hubbard to four years in a state penitentiary and an additional eight years on supervised probation.
He was automatically removed from both his seat as Auburn's representative and from the speaker's chair when he was convicted.
In total — between investments Hubbard was accused of illegally soliciting for his printing company Craftmasters, consulting contracts he funneled through Auburn Network Inc. and business he solicited using his public offices — prosecutors said Hubbard illegally made more than $2 million using his offices as speaker, representative and Alabama Republican Party chair.
It isn't clear whether the Court of Criminal Appeals may rule on the case based on the briefs or if they will allow the case to go to oral arguments later this year.
The Appeals Court could overturn all, some or none of the verdicts from the Lee County Trial and Hubbard's sentence could be adjusted as such.
The former speaker remains free on appeal bond and still hosts a morning classic rock show on his station, WGZZ 94.3 FM, in Auburn.
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