Mike Hubbard defense reiterates apology by former Alabama speaker

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This undated photo provided by Alabama Department of Corrections shows former Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard, who is seeking an early release from prison after being convicted of using his office for personal gain. Attorneys for Hubbard told a court in legal arguments filed Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021 that the state attorney general's office was wrong to discount a letter Hubbard wrote last month apologizing for his actions and asking a judge for leniency. (Alabama Department of Corrections via AP)

A former Alabama House speaker imprisoned for felony ethics convictions really is sorry for what he did and is not a danger to society, defense lawyers said in urging a judge to disregard prosecutors’ objections to an early release.

Attorneys for one-time Republican leader Mike Hubbard told a court in legal arguments filed Wednesday that the state attorney general’s office was wrong to discount a letter Hubbard wrote last month apologizing for his actions and asking a judge for leniency.

Prosecutors’ “veiled portrayal of (Hubbard’s) apology as crocodile tears or anything other than completely honest is conclusory, speculative, and simply erroneous,” the defense told Lee County Circuit Judge Jacob Walker. While the state compared Hubbard to an arsonist seeking forgiveness after a fire, they said, an arsonist is a danger to society and the 59-year-old Hubbard is not, they argued.

Hubbard has served more than a year of a 28-month prison sentence after losing appeals that challenged his 2016 conviction for violating the state ethics law, including using his public office for personal financial gain. Prosecutors accused Hubbard of leveraging the Speaker’s office to obtain clients and investments for his businesses.

Hubbard argued that contracts were legitimate work and unrelated to his position as House speaker, a post he held for nearly six years. Hubbard’s time in prison “has obviously given him the opportunity to reflect not only on his actions, but also on the broader implications that his convictions have had on his former constituents and the entire political system,” the defense said.

Hubbard, who represented an east Alabama district in the Legislature, was automatically removed from office because of the conviction. He played a key role in engineering the Republican Party’s takeover of the Alabama Legislature in 2010.

Barring an early release, Hubbard is scheduled to be released from prison in January 2023, records show.

Republished with the permission of the Associated Press.