Alabama’s “Trial of the century” begins Monday

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WKRG) – He’s one of the most powerful people in the State of Alabama and beginning Monday he goes on trial. Alabama Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard faces 23 felony counts.

Indicted 18-months ago, Hubbard is accused of using of his position as a member of the House for personal gain, using his position as Chairman of the Alabama Republican Party for personal gain, soliciting or receiving a thing of value from a lobbyist, and voting for legislation with a conflict of interest.

Basically he is accused of hitting up Alabama’s rich and powerful for financial and other favors.

“I think this is going to be the trial of the century in Alabama,” said political writer Bill Britt of The Alabama Reporter. He has closely followed the Hubbard investigation and expects a sensational trial.

“It’s a who’s who of Republicans in Alabama who are going to be witness for the state against Paul Hubbard,” Britt said.

“Governor Bentley is going to testify or is scheduled to testify against Speaker Hubbard. You have Bob Riley.

You have Bill Armistead who was the head of the party. You have Jimmy Rane who is a big political donor. You have lobbyists who were very close to Mike Hubbard.

Senators, and you have lawmakers, and mayors.

It’s an amazing cast of characters and they all have one thing in common – they did business with Paul Hubbard.”

Attorney General Luther Strange though will not be part of the spectacle

“We’ve made public corruption, going after public corruption a top priority of my office from day one,” he said.

To avoid any appearance of a political conflict, Strange named a specially prosecutor to handle the Hubbard case.

The Legislature ended its session last week. It could be the last we see of Mike Hubbard at the State House.

“I can’t talk about that,” Hubbard said. “They’ve been strict on what I can and can’t do. I look forward to the day I can make comments about that. I look forward to that in a big way.”

The trial will take place in Opelika in Hubbard’s home county – Lee County. Jury selection begins Monday. The trial could last four to six weeks. Hubbard faces dozens of years in prison if convicted.