- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 22, 2015

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Prosecutors on Monday lashed back at claims by indicted House Speaker Mike Hubbard that the state ethics law is unconstitutional.

The Auburn Republican championed and praised the law when it was passed in 2010, prosecutors wrote in a court filing, but now is arguing the law is vague and overly broad as he sees to have ethics charges against him dismissed.

“Boiled down to its essence, Hubbard’s argument is that he has a constitutional right to be a legislator lobbyist, or perhaps a lobbyist legislator, who earns an extremely handsome living by catering to the interests of his powerful lobbying clients and using his public position to advance their goals ahead of those of the average citizens who elected him,” prosecutors wrote.

The harsh words are the latest in the back and forth between defense lawyers and prosecutors in the high-profile corruption case involving one of the state’s most influential Republicans. The court filing responded to Hubbard’s claim that the case against him should be dismissed because of constitutional concerns about the ethics law.

Hubbard faces 23 ethics charges accusing him of using his public offices - both as speaker and his former position as chairman of the Alabama Republican Party- to drum up investments and business for his companies

Hubbard’s defense has said the ethics law is vague, that it did not apply to political party chairmen or party expenditures and that Hubbard had a free speech right to lobby for clients. They also said prosecutors were stretching the bounds of the law and trying to criminalize friendships or business relationships.

However, prosecutors wrote that the ethics law “placed legitimate restrictions on public servants to prevent corruption or its appearance by forbidding legislators from taking money from lobbyists or becoming legislator lobbyists themselves.”

In the court filing, prosecutors included emails and text messages from, to and about Hubbard.

In a 2012 email to Will Brooke, a member of Business Council of Alabama board, Hubbard told Brooke that the GOP caucus endorsed proposed immigration law changes, but also asked Brooke about potential clients for him.

“On another note did you ever run across any company or companies interested in my services? My employment runs out on March 31,” Hubbard wrote.

In another email, an official with a virtual education software company tells an associate that he is considering hiring Hubbard because, “He can get us in front of any speaker in the country regardless of party.” A related email discussed how the contract should be listed as consulting work instead of lobbying.

In a 2011 message to his political mentor, former Gov. Bob Riley, “Hubbard says he was “still hoping for a monthly retainer from (Bob Riley and Associates) to handle everything from media to PR materials.”

The case was set to go to trial in October. A judge has tentatively rescheduled the trial for March.

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