More than 35 Alabama legislators, both Republican and Democrat, have signed on to a letter urging U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch and U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama George Beck to open a U.S. Department of Justice investigation into aspects of House Speaker Mike Hubbard‘s ethics trial.
According to the letter, Miles M. “Matt” Hart
, an attorney in the office of Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange,
has been allowed to “improperly use a grand jury” in efforts against Hubbard. Further, the letter claims that Hart has provided “selective information” commandeered through the grand jury to a political opponent of Hubbard.
The letter lays out a twisted tale of corruption based on testimony from attorney Baron Coleman. Coleman was an organizer and consultant with the campaign of Sandy Toomer, who ran against Hubbard in 2014. According to Coleman, Hart provided him with “confidential grand jury information” to be used against Hubbard during that campaign.
Coleman claims that he had between 50 and 100 conversations with Hart and used the information discussed therein to create a “whisper campaign” in Hubbard’s home district, Lee County. Coleman specifies that he was provided with the identities of persons appearing before the grand jury, assurances that the jury would indict Hubbard and that the Attorney General’s office had sufficient information to “counter any perceived prejudice or trouble inside the office.”
The “assurances” occurred before the grand jury finished hearing testimony and Coleman claims that “each piece of information came from Matt Hart and was provided to the citizens of Lee County” by Coleman and others who believed the information to be factual.
The letter goes on to say that Hart threatened to bring Coleman before a grand jury if he ever revealed that he had “a pipeline of information out of the Attorney General’s office.” Further, Coleman claims that when he was subpoenaed by Hubbard’s defense team Hart offered to work with him on answers to “potential questions regarding Speaker Hubbard, the grand jury proceedings” and more.
The letter goes on to call into question the timing of Hubbard’s indictments, which occurred only two weeks before his re-election.
“The timing of the indictments, coupled with Mr. Coleman’s sworn testimony and the statements if others … gives our members grave concerns that the Alabama Attorney General’s Office has used the power of its office in a coordinated effort to defeat Speaker Hubbard in his election,” the letter says.
Though Strange has officially recused himself from “the matter regarding Speaker Hubbard,” and may not believe he has the power to “overrule, discipline, or investigate” Hart, the letter calls for an “unbiased investigation” to be made into the statements made by Coleman.
“For the sake of all involved – including Speaker Hubbard, Mr. Hart, General Strange, and the citizens of Alabama – this matter and these claims should be thoroughly investigated by an unbiased body with the resources and experience to do so,” the letter states. “It is our hope that Attorney General Strange will join us in asking the Justice Department to conduct an investigation into these matters involving his office to ensure that the rights of Speaker Hubbard and all Alabama citizens, those rights guaranteed to us in the Constitution of the United States, are protected.”
The Attorney General’s office did not immediately return requests for comment.
Alabama Today has secured a copy of the letter sent to Lynch and Beck. Check out the full letter and affidavit below:
Click to read full document and affidavit.