Mike Hubbard trial day 3: House colleague says Hubbard’s vote ‘probably’ a conflict of interest

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Mike Hubbard goes to court
Mike Hubbard and wife Susan Hubbard walk to the Lee County Justice Center for day three of trial on Thursday, May 26, 2016. [Photo Credit: AP, Pool | Todd Van Emst]

It was a busy day on the witness stand Thursday in the case of State vs Michael G. Hubbard as eight witnesses were called to testify.

The first witness of the day was Randy Kammerdiener, one of the owners of Majority Strategies, a political consulting firm the Alabama GOP had used for political advertising in 2010.

Randy Kammerdiener testifies in Hubbard case
Randy Kammerdiener answers questions from defense attorney Lance Bell on Thursday, May 26, 2016. [Photo Credit: AP, Pool | Todd Van Emst]

Mike Hubbard is accused of using his previous position, which he held in 2010, as chair of the Alabama GOP to bring money to his company Craftmaster Printers through Majority Strategies.

The prosecution asserts Craftmaster received upward of $700,000 from the deals Hubbard made as GOP chair with Majority Strategies.

Kammerdiener testified he worked with the Alabama GOP, specifically Hubbard, in 2010.

On the stand, Kammerdiener read a damning email he had sent to his business partner, Brett Buerck, saying if they wanted to do business with the Alabama GOP they had to use Craftmaster Printers to print their materials.

He also read from a 2010 email he had sent to Alabama GOP political director Michael Joffrion.

“Per Mike, we’re printing at Craftmaster and just passing the actual charges on to you all,” Kammerdiener read.

During the cross-examination, he explained he “never had a specific conversation with Mike Hubbard saying I had to use Craftmaster.”

Steve Clouse testifies in Hubbard case
State Rep. Steve Clouse answers questions from Acting Attorney General Van Davis on Thursday, May 26, 2016. [Photo Credit: AP, Pool | Todd Van Emst]

The second witness of the day was Alabama House Ways and Means Chair, Ozark-Republican Rep. Steve Clouse, who was questioned regarding his knowledge of the legislative language Hubbard is accused of attempting to insert into the 2014 General Fund budget that would have essentially made the American Pharmacy Cooperative Inc. (ACPI) — a client Hubbard consults with the Auburn Network — the only agency with the ability to bid on a pharmacy benefit manager related to Medicaid, and then voting for that budget.

Clouse testified the vote was “probably” a conflict of interest, explaining he did not know Hubbard was on the payroll of APCI when the pro-APCI language was added to the budget.

Norris Green, director of the Legislative Fiscal Office, was third on the stand. He testified that he too was unaware of Hubbard’s contract with ACPI.

Mary Lawrence on the stand
Mary Lawrence on the witness stand Thursday, May 26, 2016. [Photo Credit: AP, Pool | Todd Van Emst]

Testimony was also heard from Legislative Fiscal Office officials Mary Lawrence and Rachel Riddle, who both testified they attended a meeting about the controversial APCI language.

The final three witnesses of the day — Medicaid Commissioner Stephanie Azar, Clinical Services Director Kelli Littlejohn Newman and former state Health Officer Don Williamson — all testified on the state Medicaid Agency’s reaction when they discovered the pro-ACPI language was added to the budget.

During the cross-examination, Hubbard’s defense lawyer Bill Baxley tried to suggest a former lawmaker, who has already pleaded guilty to an ethics violation, was responsible for the questionable language.

Williamson testified that he was “surprised” when he learned Hubbard had a consulting contract with ACPI, the only company that would qualify for the work under the added budget language. Williamson said Hubbard agreed to remove the language once Medicaid officials raised concerns.

Testimony will continue Friday, where the state says they have nine witnesses planned.

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