- Associated Press - Monday, March 30, 2015

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Lawyers for indicted Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard on Monday asked a judge to dismiss the ethics case against the powerful Republican, claiming misconduct by prosecutors in the case.

The motion to dismiss the indictment also asks Circuit Judge Jacob Walker to, at a minimum, let defense lawyers call witnesses and explore the misconduct allegation in an upcoming hearing. The court filing accuses Deputy Attorney General Matt Hart of making threats to ruin Hubbard’s political career and of leaking information to the media.

“Today’s filing results from continuing research and investigation by the legal team for Speaker Hubbard, and it reveals even more reasons Alabamians should be troubled by how and why this case has been pursued by prosecutors,” defense lawyer Mark White said in a prepared statement.

The attorney general’s office declined to comment. However, prosecutors have previously accused Hubbard’s defense of manufacturing a “bogus” narrative of misconduct and leaks to distract the public from the investigation.

Defense lawyers quoted a memo written by a former deputy attorney general who was in a dispute with Hart.

Former Deputy Attorney General Sonny Reagan said Hart told him in 2014 that he intended to “ruin Mike Hubbard politically.”

“I will hog-tie Mike Hubbard and put a gun in his mouth with my hand on the trigger, show him an indictment, and then maybe he will want a plea deal,” Reagan wrote that Hart told him.

Reagan said Hart also said that Hart shared confidential grand jury information.

Attorney General Luther Strange in December announced that Reagan had resigned after being accused of trying to undermine the investigation.

Strange said at the time that Reagan had formed relationships with people who had an interest in undermining the investigation and that Reagan created a conflict of interest by using as his personal attorneys two lawyers who had also represented Hubbard and another defendant in the inquiry. Reagan issued a statement in December denying that he ever did anything to undermine the work of the grand jury.

Hubbard faces 23 felony ethics charges. Prosecutors have accused Hubbard of using his past position as chairman of the Alabama Republican Party and current one as speaker to make money and obtain financial favors from lobbyists and others with interests before the Alabama Legislature. He is expected to go to trial in October.

Walker has scheduled an April 15 hearing on pending motions in the case.

The defense has sent subpoenas to appear at the hearing to Gov. Robert Bentley, Strange, Reagan, a state legislator and multiple members of the attorney general’s office. Prosecutors on Monday asked a judge to block the subpoenas, saying the defense was trying to improperly turn the court appearance into an evidentiary hearing.

Prosecutors said it was improper to subpoena and question Bentley, who will likely be a witness in the case. Some of the charges against Hubbard accuse him of using his position as speaker to lobby the governor’s office for the benefit of his clients. White said they were only seeking documents about the appointment of the acting attorney general in the case after Strange stepped aside. The defense has argued that only Bentley, and not Strange, has the authority to appoint an acting attorney general.

Walker responded by setting a Friday hearing to decide what will be argued on April 15.

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