- Associated Press - Saturday, October 18, 2014

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) - Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard has had a special grand jury seated in his district for 14 months investigating public corruption and looking, according to court records, squarely at him.

Hubbard, in an interview Friday, called the probe a “political witch hunt” and said he is confident he has done nothing wrong.

“I’ve got the confidence that I have never done anything wrong, never used my office improperly,” Hubbard said.

Speculation swirled Friday over whether the grand jury was close to finishing its work. On Friday afternoon, Hubbard was at his Auburn office with his lawyer Mark White, who said he was there to provide advice on a variety of issues.

Hubbard looked weary after working on his re-election campaign and, in a sense, waiting for whatever will happen next.

Like politicians before him who have faced investigation, Hubbard called the probe a “political witch hunt,” but he declined to name who he believed was acting with political motivation.

“I have my own theories of where that goes and who all is behind it, and I am confident that in time, we will that find it out,” Hubbard.

Prosecutors with the attorney general’s office in December 2012 subpoenaed an internal party report regarding work that a party vendor subcontracted to a printing company co-owned by Hubbard.

In August 2013, prosecutors seated a special grand jury in Lee County to investigate public corruption, according to court records.

Attorney General Luther Strange stepped aside from the probe and appointed retired St. Clair County District Attorney Van Davis in January 2013. In an appointment letter released by the court, Strange said Davis would “assume oversight of the State’s interests in the current investigative matters relating to State Representative Mike Hubbard to include all criminal matters arising from that investigation.”

Hubbard, in an interview last week about the 2014 legislative elections, said the probe had been difficult for his family.

“It’s been very stressful, stressful for me, stressful for my family, totally unfair, hard to believe that it is even taking place,” Hubbard said.

The speaker answered a few questions on Friday about the probe, occasionally glancing at White before he spoke.

Asked if he expected charges to be filed against him, White said he wouldn’t comment because of the secrecy laws surrounding investigations.

White declined to say if Hubbard had been offered a plea deal but added that Hubbard would never make a plea bargain because he hasn’t done anything wrong.

Hubbard faces re-election next month and plans to seek a second term as speaker of the house.

The situation is something of a reversal of fortune for Hubbard. While trying to sweep Democrats out of office in 2010, he said vote-buying charges brought that year against several state senators and lobbyists “should serve as a referendum on the culture of corruption that has been prevalent in Montgomery for far too long.”

Hubbard on Friday said what he is now going through was wrong.

“I don’t care what party you are in, it’s wrong,” he said. “My wife has asked the question is it worth it to be in public service, to subject yourself to this.”

Hubbard said he told her no, but added: “I’m not going to let the bad guys make the decision for me.”


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