- Associated Press - Thursday, June 9, 2016

OPELIKA, Ala. (AP) - The Latest on the ethics trial of Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard (all times local):

5:40 p.m.

A defense lawyer for Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard lampooned what he called a lack of evidence in the ethics case against his client and said it “scares him” that government prosecutors could go after someone the way they did Hubbard.

Lance Bell said in closing arguments Thursday that Hubbard did not break the law, and prosecutors presented nothing that proves he did.

He said not one prosecution witness testified that they gave Hubbard work or investments because of his position.

Bell said almost all the money Hubbard earned went to his companies to keep workers employed, and not to Hubbard personally.

Lawyers will make final remarks to jurors Friday morning before the jury begins deliberations.

Hubbard faces 23 felony ethics charges. If convicted, he will be automatically removed from office.

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4:15 p.m.

A prosecutor has told jurors that Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard put a “for sale” sign on his public office as he obtained consulting contracts paying his business thousands of dollars each month.

Prosecutor Michael Duffy said in closing arguments Thursday that Hubbard obtained the jobs solely because he was speaker and he used the power of his office to benefit those clients. Duffy said the Republican speaker “diminished the integrity of government, because he wanted to make some money …”

Duffy also said Hubbard was on the brink of financial ruin when he asked lobbyists and company owners to make $150,000 investments in a printing business Hubbard co-owned. The prosecutor said all of the investors had business before the legislature.

Defense lawyers will begin their closing arguments Thursday afternoon.

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3:35 p.m.

A state prosecutor has told jurors that Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard repeatedly and knowingly broke state ethics laws.

Deputy Attorney General Michael Duffy said in closing arguments Thursday that Hubbard used the power and prestige of his political positions to make money. Duffy said Hubbard was able to maintain his income and lifestyle through the money he obtained that way.

Lawyers began closing arguments in Hubbard’s ethics trial Thursday afternoon. Defense lawyers will address jurors later. Both sides will give their final remarks on Friday morning.

Hubbard faces 23 felony ethics charges. If convicted, he will be automatically removed from office.

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2:30 p.m.

Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard’s fate will soon be in the hands of a jury

Prosecutors and defense lawyers will begin closing arguments Thursday afternoon in Hubbard’s ethics trial. They are expected to finish Friday morning.

The arguments will cap nearly three weeks of trial that included testimony from the current and past governor. Hubbard testified in his own defense, rebutting assertions that the contracts and investments his companies stemmed from his political sway.

Hubbard faces 23 felony ethics charges accusing him of using his political positions as speaker and party chairman to make money and solicit jobs and financial favors from lobbyists. Hubbard has maintained his innocence, saying the transactions fell within exemptions for normal business dealings and longtime friendships.

If convicted, Hubbard will be automatically removed from office.

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10:30 a.m.

Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard has finished testifying in his ethics trial.

Prosecutor Matt Hart on Thursday morning showed jurors an email that Hubbard sent to a Publix lobbyist trying to arrange for company executives to meet with a drinking cup manufacturer in his district. The email was signed, “speaker of the house” and did not disclose that a related company was also paying Hubbard $10,000-a-month.

Hubbard later explained it was an automatic signature generated by his email at his business, the Auburn Network. However, Hubbard’s defense took a stumble when he described the email as a request for advice to a longtime friend. Hubbard said the man recently died of an aneurism.

However, Hart noted the man was still alive. Hubbard admitted he must have confused him with someone else.

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5:24 a.m.

Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard is returning to the witness stand for the third day in his ethics trial.

A state prosecutor will resume his cross-examination of the Republican speaker Thursday morning. Prosecutor Matt Hart on Wednesday quizzed Hubbard on $2.3 million in contracts, party campaign business and investments his companies received. He also questioned Hubbard about email he sent former Gov. Bob Riley, who is now a lobbyist, seeking employment help.

Hubbard faces 23 felony ethics charges accusing him of using his political positions as speaker and party chairman to make money and solicit jobs and financial favors from lobbyists. Hubbard has maintained his innocence and said he took precautions to obey the state ethics law.

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