Ala. Speaker Indicted |on Corruption Charges

     Montgomery, Ala. (CN) – A grand jury handed down a 23-count indictment for ethics violations against state House Speaker Mike Hubbard, who promptly dismissed the charges as “a political witch hunt.”
     Hubbard is accused of using his position in the state house, and as chairman of the state Republican Party, for his own benefit and for that of his business interests.
     The indictment also accuses Hubbard of receiving gifts from lobbyists, voting for legislation despite knowing he had a conflict of interest, and using state equipment, facilities and labor for his private business.
     Mindful that election day is just two weeks away, Hubbard told a reporters on Tuesday that he is “focusing on November 4th” and he “look(s) forward to continuing being Speaker of the House of Representatives.”
     During the press conference, Hubbard dismissed the allegations as purely political.
     “Why is all of this happening? It’s a good question,” he said at one point. “I’ll tell you why this is happening. It’s because all of us in the House of Representatives have had tremendous change here in the State of Alabama over the last four years.”
     He said the Republican House majority had “definitely shaken up the status quo” and “angered some people who like things just the way they are and they are desperate to change things back to the way they were.”
     Later, Hubbard posted a video to Facebook, calling the indictment a “political witch hunt.”
     “This has been going on for two years, dragging on and on and here they come two weeks before an election and make these allegations,” Hubbard said.
     Despite the controversy, the speaker said, “I’m sleeping well tonight because I know the people of Lee County and this district are going to know that this is politics at its worst.”
     Hubbard also said he would not step down as Speaker and he took aim at the almost year-long corruption investigation, saying the grand jury in Lee County “had more leaks that the Titanic.” He said he looked forward to clearing his name.
     Hubbard was chairman of the state GOP in 2010 when Republicans gained control of both Houses of the Alabama Legislature for the first time in 136 years.
     He is represented by Mark White of Birmingham.

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