Counsel in Speaker Mike Hubbard’s ethics suit seeks to withdraw in surprise move

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The lead defense attorney for state House Speaker Mike Hubbard in a protracted criminal suit alleging ethics violations, J. Mark White, filed a motion to withdraw from the case last week after representing the embattled House Speaker for the entire length of the proceedings.

According to the Alabama Political Reporter, White is exiting the case after nearly two years amid speculation Hubbard has not been able to pay his firm’s legal fees, or perhaps White is seeking to avoid a high-profile loss on his record.

White’s conduct during the case is widely considered to include stalling tactics in a case now running twice as long as many observers expected.

Notably, White filed a motion to delay the beginning of Hubbard’s trial because the attorney has to accept an award, namely his election as Dean of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers. White is scheduled to give a talk to the group during its convention on April 2-5, just a week after the slated March 28 start to his client’s trial.

Prosecutors objected to that move, which made White bristle. “Typically these get handled with professional courtesy, but the state elected otherwise,” White said.

White’s move may cause further complications in a fraught case which has seen the emergence of bad blood between the defense and state, with White arguing prosecutorial indiscretion and selective enforcement of the law as part of a politically motivated witch hunt against his client.

Trial Judge Jacob Walker III will take up the matter in a hearing  scheduled at 1:30 p.m. Friday.

Hubbard is charged with 23 felony charges stemming from allegations he misused his power in the Legislature and the Alabama Republican Party to enrich himself and secure contracts for allies.

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