- Associated Press - Saturday, December 20, 2014

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Attorneys for House Speaker Mike Hubbard filed motions to dismiss felony ethics charges against the powerful Republican, arguing that prosecutors were acting without proper authority and the investigation was tainted by publicity.

Hubbard’s attorneys, trying multiple avenues to get the charges tossed, filed three separate motions on Friday seeking to dismiss the charges. Defense lawyers challenged Attorney General Luther Strange’s appointment of a retired district attorney W. Van Davis to oversee the investigation after Strange recused himself.

Hubbard’s lawyers said state law only gives the governor the ability to appoint someone to serve as an acting attorney general.

“Simply put, General Strange lacked constitutional or statutory authority for appointing any acting attorney general in this situation,” defense lawyers wrote.

A Lee County judge and Alabama Supreme Court rejected similar arguments from state Rep. Barry Moore, who was indicted by the same grand jury on perjury charges. A jury found Moore not guilty in October.

The Supreme Court in September declined to stop the case against Moore, but Hubbard’s lawyers contended the court did not answer the key question of who has appointment authority for an acting attorney general.

A grand jury indicted Hubbard last month on 23 felony ethics counts, accusing Hubbard of using his public offices to steer business to his companies and to solicit investments and clients from lobbyists. Hubbard has maintained his innocence and pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Hubbard’s lawyers also said publicity about the investigation has threatened Hubbard’s right to a fair trial. They asked a judge to hold a hearing on if grand jury secrecy laws were broken by prosecutors or witnesses.

In a third motion to dismiss, Hubbard’s lawyers said the grand jury exceeded its jurisdiction when prosecutors used it to delve into the behavior of a deputy attorney general.

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