The politician who is speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives and who was the central architect of the Republican Party’s sweeping takeover of the state Legislature in 2010 is accused of corruption. Last week, a Lee County grand jury charged state Rep. Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn, with using his office to enrich himself and his businesses.
These are serious allegations that should call to attention every resident of Alabama. We desire that a trial be held soon. This shadow should not hang over the state for too long. We deserve a resolution.
The burden is on prosecutors to make a persuasive case that Hubbard is guilty of the crimes he’s charged with.
Speaker Hubbard, who has professed his innocence, deserves vigorous legal representation when this matter enters a court of law.
This is where the case against Hubbard sits. This is where the focus of Alabamians should be, did the Speaker of the House break the law or is he innocent?
A news conference featuring Hubbard, his legal counsel and a host of political allies seemed determined to distract the state from that legal focus.
Some of Hubbard’s supporters hinted that the prosecution is driven by the political agenda of Attorney General Luther Strange. Hubbard and Strange are potential rivals for the governor’s office in 2018.
“Who would like to be governor in the future that would like to get Mike Hubbard out of the picture, or skinned up?” U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Saks, said.
Strange denied the suggestion that he is trying to make a smooth path for a run for governor in four years. “I made the decision to recuse myself from the matter involving Speaker Hubbard several months ago,” he said. “I did so based on the recommendations of our career prosecutors and to completely remove any appearance of politics being involved in the matter.”
Our advice: Ignore this attempt to create a smokescreen on behalf of Hubbard.
He’s been charged with serious crimes. He is innocent until proven guilty. He — and the rest of the state — deserves a swift and fair resolution of these allegations. That’s where our focus belongs.