- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 3, 2016

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - A judge has scheduled a Feb. 10 hearing on indicted House Speaker Mike Hubbard’s claim of prosecutorial misconduct in his ethics case.

Circuit Judge Jacob Walker set the hearing a day after Hubbard filed a renewed motion to dismiss the charges after a political consultant said he communicated often with the lead prosecutor in the case and used the information to try to damage Hubbard politically.

Political consultant Baron Coleman wrote in an affidavit that he had long conversations with prosecutor Matt Hart, “including information I concluded was discussed in the Lee County grand jury.” Coleman said he then began a “whisper campaign” about the investigation to damage Hubbard politically during the election.

Coleman, in a statement, said he drew no conclusions on whether anything that transpired was illegal or unethical.

Coleman wrote that, based on the conversations, he would tell people the names of grand jury witnesses and that Hubbard would likely be indicted. However, it is unclear from the affidavit what exactly Hart said and how much of the information Coleman was inferring from the conversations.

Hubbard’s attorney, in his motion to dismiss the case, called it evidence of “gross misconduct.”

Walker gave prosecutors until Feb. 8 to file a response.

Hubbard is scheduled to go to trial in March 28 on ethics charges accusing him of using his public positions to benefit his companies.

Walker on Tuesday denied Hubbard’s earlier efforts to dismiss the case. The judge rejected Hubbard’s claims that the ethics law was unconstitutional and that he was the subject of a selective prosecution

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