Wed07302014

Last updateWed, 30 Jul 2014 7am

So, You’re Going To Prison?


By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
 
MONTGOMERY—William Mulholland has survived twenty-one years in both State and Federal prisons, and is now using his experience to help prepare those who are about to enter the correctional system.
 
Mulholland is the author of, Prison Etiquette "The real guide and secret codes to living and surviving in prison.” He also operates a prison consulting firm that offers instruction on how to mentally and physically survive incarceration:
 
"Everything in prison is violence. Everything you do. EVERYTHING. Yet, it is absolutely possible to avoid. When you know the system, it is possible to not get encompassed in violence." says Mulholland.
 
The investigation into possible criminal wrong doing by Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard has already led to the conviction of disgraced former State Representative Greg Wren, R-Montgomery and the arrest of Rep. Barry Moore, R-Enterprise, who is facing serious jail time if convicted on four felony counts of making false statements and perjury.
 
Wren avoided prison by turning State's evidence, offering to be a witness for the State against Hubbard and his alleged accomplices. However, Wren is believed to be the only lawmaker who will receive such a sweetheart deal; others, if convicted, may face imprisonment in a State penitentiary.
 
According to Mulholland, prisons operate on a certain set of rules. There is a set code of conduct. If the rules are understood and obeyed, then a prisoner is more likely to survive. If the code of conduct is broken, danger lurks at every turn.
 
“I teach. I don’t sell fear...I educate people on fear. Violence is brought on by a person doing harm, for the most part. But some people don’t know they are causing harm or breaking the code at first until it is too late,” Mulholland told Richard Dool in an article for HLN.
 
Mulholland points out that even a small infraction such as walking on the wrong side of the hall or walking on a freshly mopped floor can lead to a violent confrontation. “You might bump into a guy and get stabbed because you didn’t say excuse me. If a guy is mopping a floor, that is his floor. If you walk across his wet floor that he just cleaned that could be a problem,” Mulholland said.
 
Men like Moore and Hubbard have led soft lives of privilege and they are not conditioned to endure the strict code of conduct that rules the dark world of the State prison system.
 
Respect underlies much of the prisoner’s code, and disrespect is a quick way to earn punishment from other inmates. Men like Hubbard and Moore have a history of disrespecting those they consider inferior; an attitude that will set-in-motion violent retribution behind bars.
 
Many who work in security at the State House have incurred the wrath of both Hubbard and Moore. Moore has, on several occasions, shown utter disrespect and hostility toward police officers who were simply doing their job. This type of behavior in a prison setting could certainly lead to a very unpleasant stay for Moore. A legislative badge doesn’t frighten a convict or a corrections officer.
 
As for Hubbard, he might find it difficult to bully convicts the way he has lawmakers, the press and others. Hubbard would find his power to intimidate sorely lacking against the hardened men at a state correction facility.
 
Mulholland says there are goldfish and there are piranhas in prison. On the outside, Hubbard is used to being the big fish, but in lockdown, he would just be some new chum.
 
Alabama’s prisons are some of the worst in the nation; the most overcrowded and underfunded. Hubbard, has overseen the funding for the State’s prisons and has given only lip service to its reform. Perhaps as an inmate he would have more regard for the humanity of prisoners.
 
But, felons can’t vote, much less be Speaker of the House.

 

After Tuesday’s Republican Primary, Remember The Alamo


By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
 
Many people had hoped that Tuesday’s Republican primary would be a day of reckoning for Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard and his cronies.
 
Hubbard won his election with under 3000 votes in a District that has over 20,000 voters. A very small percentage of the people in his district actually voted for the proclaimed, “most powerful man in Alabama politics.”
 
Even with the help of former Gov. Bob Riley, US Congressman Mike Rogers and BCA Chief Billy Canary going door-to-door on his behalf, Hubbard received less votes than almost any other legislator running in the primary.
 
This does not sound like an all powerful man or a sixteen year incumbent. This is a man barely hanging on to his job.
 
After his win, Hubbard crowed to the press that the Lee County Grand Jury investigations were just a distraction, used by his rivals, insisting that he was innocent. Hubbard, said, "Obviously, I can't go too much into it, and they know that I can't go too much into it...But it's all political and designed to affect this election. Hopefully this will send a pretty clear message to those folks as well."
 
“Those folks,” are Attorney General Strange, Van Davis, and Matt Hart. He wants them to believe that he is all powerful.
 
A few thousand votes may win an election, but that doesn’t make him more powerful than our justice system. No man is above the law.
 
On Tuesday, Hubbard lost 6 House seats that belonged to his loyal confederates. This included Rep. Charles Newton of Greenville, Rep. Kurt Wallace of Chilton County, Rep. Bill Roberts of Jasper, Rep. Richard Baughn of Walker County, Rep Wayne Johnson of Madison County and another Hubbardite Rep. Mac Buttram of Cullman is in a run-off. Additionally Republican Issac Whorton of Valley beat the speaker’s hand-picked candidate Randy Price to replace incumbent Rep. DuWayne Bridges.
 
These losses, coupled with a growing dissatisfaction among incumbents, could cost Hubbard his Speaker’s gavel.
 
Many of the House legislators first elected in 2010, have appeared before the Grand Jury in Lee County. Surely some of them no longer feel a loyalty to Hubbard.
 
His arrogance in staring down the State’s Attorney and his appointed prosecutors cannot sit well with the men and women charged with upholding the laws of our State.
 
Perhaps there are more than a few legislators that are fed-up with Hubbard’s arrogance, bullying and using his office for personal gain. There is no reason to believe that Strange, Davis or Hart will shrink from their duty. And there is no reason to think that all House members still labor under Hubbard’s spell.
 
I would like for all of the men and women who fought hard to defeat Hubbard in Tuesday’s primary to remember the Alamo.
 
After a 13 day siege, Mexican troops, under President General Antonio López de Santa Anna, launched an assault on the Alamo Mission near San Antonio de Béxar (modern-day San Antonio, Texas). Santa Anna and his forces cruelly slaughtered all the combatants defending the Alamo, including Jim Bowie, William Travis and Davy Crockett. All seemed lost at the Battle of the Alamo but something happened. A cry went out from the Alamo and Texas settlers and men from all over the country came to seek revenge for Santa Anna’s arrogance and cruelty.
 
On April 21, 1836, the army raised after the Alamo, defeated Santa Anna’s troops at the Battle of San Jacinto, ending the revolution. Hubbard, may have won a small victory on Tuesday, but he is not the most powerful man in State politics.
 
Gov. Bentley could have Speaker Hubbard removed at anytime. All Bentley would have to do is call each House member to his office and say, I am the Governor, I can use the powers of my office and my good will to help you serve your District, or I can use it against you. I prefer to be of help, but I want a Speaker who will help me make our State better and Hubbard is not that man.  The Governor could then state the name of his choice.
 
Hubbard is a thug, Bentley is a good man, and it is time for the good man to put his foot down and remove the thug. Or, he can wait around and let Matt Hart and Van Davis do it for him. But it would be encouraging to see the Governor lead.
 
Yes, there was a message Tuesday night: Hubbard is weak. It is time for brave men and women to stand up and remove him as Speaker of the House.
 
Tuesday the good people of Alabama lost a battle...but let’s not forget the lesson of The Alamo.

 

Hubbard Accepted a Bribe, But Continues to Spin


By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
 
In April, Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard said that he was going on the offense.

Beyond his usual blaming everyone from the nonexistent liberal special interests, to the Attorney General Luther Strange and a vast, political prosecution, a la Hillary Clinton, Hubbard is not so much on the offense as he is testing out the broad strokes his criminal defense case.
 
Hubbard admits he had lucrative consulting contracts with Southeast Alabama Gas District and American Pharmacy Cooperative, Inc., (APCI). But, his defense is that everyone has them and that’s just part of the problem with having citizen legislators.
 
Hubbard admits that he voted to give his client APCI a monopoly over the State’s multi-million dollar Medicaid pharmacy benefit program, but says he didn’t know that until right before the vote. What Hubbard knew and when he knew it will be easily establish. That is why disgraced lawmaker Rep. Greg Wren, R-Montgomery, was given such a cushy deal by the prosecution. There will be others who will come forward to tell the truth about events surrounding Hubbard and the placement of the 23 words into the General Fund Budget.
 
Hubbard voted 12 times to give his client a monopoly over the multi-million dollar program...12 times. But, he says it doesn’t matter because he didn’t know about it until monuments before he cast his votes.
 
He says he is not in violation of State Law because he would not receive more money from APCI, even if the company profited from his vote.

Perhaps, breaking this down to its essence may help Hubbard and others understand the nature of the crime it appears Hubbard committed.

Hubbard accepted a bribe to place language into the general fund budget, to benefit the company who paid him the bribe.

Accepting bribes by a legislator is against the law.

Now, see how simple that is. Also, those who helped Hubbard carry out the payoff on the bribe could be considered co-conspirators.
 
However, Hubbard is a spinmeister so he relies on lies to get himself out of sticky situations.

He wants to argue that because he only got a paycheck and not a bonus, he was not in violation of the law. No, it was a bribe, he was paid.

It would appear that neither Hubbard nor his high-priced white collar criminal defense team are familiar with the case of former Gov. Don Siegelman, in which the 11th Circuit Court said, “Agreement need not be expressed — spoken or written — to qualify as a bribe.”
 
Also in US v Evans, "the government need only show that an official got paid, knowing that the payment was made in return for official acts.”
 
If that is not enough to send them running for a Google search, then the 5th Circuit opinion in the Paul Minor (Mississippi) case said a corrupt agreement can be “implied” by the actions of the actors, and need NOT to be “explicit.”

Of course, Hubbard's new offensive, defense sounds like a man who was hired to consult on bank robbery, and then says he didn’t have anything to do with the bank heist because he didn’t get part of the loot.
 
If Hubbard’s hands were clean in the matter, he would have declared a conflict of interest and abstained from the votes. But Hubbard knew an abstention would raise questions and he might not get the necessary votes to benefit his client.
 
Hubbard is also trying out a defense in the allegations that he, through indicted-lawmaker Rep. Barry Moore, R-Enterprise, made threats to Moore’s opponent Josh Pipkin.
 
In a tape recording first released by alreporter.com, Moore is heard telling Pipkin that Hubbard is going to kill jobs coming to Enterprise if Pipkin doesn’t exit the race. He also tells Pipkin that the Speaker is going to bring "Holy Hell" down on him if he doesn’t give up his campaign. Hubbard is now saying that the threats were a bluff. Hubbard wants people (i.e. a jury) to believe that the threats were little more than a political parlor trick, and that Pipkin just didn’t get the joke.
 
It would seem that most reasonable individuals would not get the joke either. But when the only defense for facts is a lie, then one must tell it big and often, which is what Hubbard seems to be doing.
 
Hubbard feels badly for his family, but he feel worse for himself. He doesn’t seem to feel any guilt over the lives he has destroyed; he doesn’t regret betraying his oath of office or for bringing shame on his family, or even the Republican Party. No, he is having a tough time of it, and he is stressed.
 
Hubbard’s recent offense is yet another example of his fantasies about his amazing skills and far-reaching power.

He is now indulging these imaginings in the public arena where people tend to see through the spin as well as the BS. But, he can’t help himself; it is all about him, his grandiose opinion of his abilities and his total disregard for others.
 
Of course, Hubbard and Moore have both retained revered democratic attorneys, who are almost as self-important as the men they represent. Poor Bill Baxley, a man who once had the courage to tell the KKK to kiss his ass, is now reduced to representing low-lifes like Moore. As for Hubbard’s attorney White, he has the dream client; a wealthy politician that’s guilty as sin.
 
Most people see the irony in Hubbard and Moore's choice of lawyers, as well as their tissue-thin defense. However, it appears the actors only see themselves in a shadowy mirror, that doesn’t allow for self-reflection or shame.

But there is Hubbard in the spotlight tap dancing his way around the fact that he took a bribe...

and that is a crime.

 

A Choice for Our Future


By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
 
Today’s election may be a dark day for our State or a bright, new beginning for all our people.
 
The future of Alabama may be reflected in the attitude of current Gov. Robert Bentley or that of former Gov. Bob Riley.
 
Riley, who now serves as a lobbyist for some of the most powerful outside groups, hoping to make billions of dollars off our State, stands in stark contrast to Gov. Bentley, who wants to create a better tomorrow for all Alabamians.
 
A clear difference between the two mens' visions can be seen in the Senate District 8 race. Riley has been campaigning hard for new comer Steve Livingston, R-Scottsboro, while our current Gov. Bentley has endorsed State Rep. Todd Greeson, R-Ider. Both men are running for the Senate seat vacated by Sen. Shadrack McGill.
 
Greeson, a long serving Republican Representative, is being opposed by Riley and Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard, because he dared to challenge Riley’s massive tax increase and because  he is anti-Common Core and pro-public education.
 
Livingston, an unknown entity, has received thousands of dollars in contributions, not only from Riley and the Business Council of Alabama (BCA), but from groups that hope to expand charter schools and voucher programs in the State.
 
Greeson is a pro-life, NRA conservative, who dared cross swords with Riley and Hubbard. His opponent has received the backing of a San Francisco billionaire, who would like to see Alabama become the poster child for Common Core and privatized education.
 
While Greeson, like Bentley, is social conservative who wants prosperity for all, Livingston has aligned himself with the powerful business interests who see our citizens as grist for the money mill.
 
Riley stands to make millions from privatized education, once again trading on his name, power and influence to enrich himself and his family; a very bright contrast to Bentley who does not even take a salary from the State.
 
So concerned are Riley and Hubbard about their loss of power, that yesterday Riley was  in Auburn going door to door for Hubbard reelection campaign. Since when does a former governor knock on doors for a candidate?

Of course if Hubbard were to lose, Riley would see his own power reduced to a state of ruin.

These men are so covetous of wealth and power that they would sell our State to the highest bidder.
 
Today will not just be a vote for a set of candidates, but for the future of Alabama and the ALGOP.
 
Yesterday a friend of mine, Connie Norris, took to Facebook to post the following:
 
“Today will be one of the darkest days in Alabama history as some forces continue attempts to destroy the chances of good Republican candidates who simply want an opportunity to represent you. Aggressive ads linking every Republican not among their favored to “Obama”, “Liberal Democrats”, and AEA may help them prevail at the polls, yet they’ve lifted the veil exposing themselves, strengthening the bond among a multitude of conservative organizations while adding a host of individuals who had been skeptical about their roles.”
 
In 2010, Hubbard and Riley along with Del Marsh, recruited a slate of men and women to take over the State House. Many of these 2010 recruits face Republican challengers who have come to believe that Hubbard and his minions have corrupted State government.
 
The individuals who have shown the courage to challenge the Hubbard/Riley machine, have been tarred with lies and smeared with the worse kind of race-baiting vitriol.
 
Again I let my friend speak:
 
“They’ve assaulted Dr. Stan Cooke, a pastor and candidate for lieutenant governor… they have attacked, Sandy Toomer, a former missionary pilot trained at Moody Bible Institute who served God in Ecuador seven years…, they have attacked Tim Sprayberry [placing] the God-honoring Sprayberry in bed with President Obama.”
 
Connie sees this for what it is: an attempt by corrupt men to destroy any chance our State has for a brighter tomorrow.
 
Finally, Connie ended her post by saying, “There are many outstanding people who do not have the big money to respond to well-financed assaults against them or to replace signs stolen from roadsides and private property. So go ahead and make our day. They took the State House by storm, and despite the outcome of this election, there is a citizen tsunami on the horizon that will make their storm look like a spring shower.”
 
So, as you vote today, there is a clear choice between those who would see our State sacked for their personal gain and those who will work for a better home called Alabama.
 
Choose wisely....our future depends on it.

Spinning a Web of Excuses


By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
 
MONTGOMERY—As the dominos continue to fall in the Lee County Grand Jury investigation, the spin doctors are weaving a tale of political persecution, grand jury leaks and special interests attacks.
 
After the indictment and arrest of Rep. Barry Moore, R-Enterprise, Speaker Mike Hubbard issued a statement through his white collar criminal defense attorney J. Mark White. In the statement White said, "We totally support Representative Moore being given the opportunity, guaranteed by the laws of the State of Alabama, to demonstrate his innocence and that he is the unfortunate victim of the abuse of power.”
 
Everyone should agree that Moore deserves the opportunity to demonstrate his innocence.
 
But, how is Moore, "...the victim of the abuse of power?”
 
Moore lied to a Grand Jury, perjured himself and made false statements. That is clear from the indictments and the tapes that are extremely clear.

White's insinuation that there is something untoward happening in Lee County would seem outrageous on its face. Beyond the fact that it is unusual for Hubbard’s attorney to be commenting on Moore’s arrest and indictment, it is highly suspect that White would be making accusations that the State’s indictment of Moore is politically motivated.
 
Early on, Hubbard toted out this spin, telling anyone who would listen that the Attorney General wanted to be Governor in 2018, and that he stood in "Big" Luther’s way of ascending to the Governor’s mansion.
 
Hubbard has stated publicly, “They want me out of play because they fear I may run for governor in 2018.”
 
Accusing  prosecutors of using their positions for personal political gain is a strategy often employed, but seldom effective. The fact that Strange recused himself early on, when there was little evidence that Hubbard was in real trouble, or the fact that Strange could go to jail for obstruction of justice if he in anyway inserted himself into this case, is left out of the dubiously reasoned argument proffered by Hubbard and his attorney.
 
Hubbard wants people to believe that this is all a political ploy (as darkly insidious as the ones he has employed against anyone who dared to stand in his way).
 
He has also stated, “It’s political. I’m under political attack … by people who are desperate and will try to do anything to get me defeated, or hurt me and my family.”
 
White originally said he was hired by Hubbard to investigate those who were making defamatory statements about Hubbard and his family. White, even while defending Moore, has not yet acknowledged any change in his mission.
 
When White first announced his intention to send “letters” to anyone defaming Hubbard or his family, I called White to ask if I should wait by my mailbox for a letter. He said that I would not be receiving a letter from him. Only two people have ever been know to have received a letter from White and as of yet, nothing has been done to follow-up on White’s threats. The only lasting effect of White’s earlier spin and threats, has been to muzzle the establishment press.
 
Now, Hubbard and White are bringing out the concept of a political prosecution as the next line of defense. The idea of prosecution for political proposes is a catch-all for most endangered politicians. When crimes come to light, it is invariably political enemies behind “baseless” attacks.
 
In 1998, Hillary Clinton appeared on the Today show to talk about the vast right-wring conspiracy against her husband during the Ken Starr investigation. Clinton told host Matt Lauer,
 
“This is—the great story here for anybody willing to find it and write about it and explain it is this vast right-wing conspiracy that has been conspiring against my husband since the day he announced for president. A few journalists have kind of caught on to it and explained it. But it has not yet been fully revealed to the American public. And actually, you know, in a bizarre sort of way, this may do it.”
 
Lately, Hubbard and his attorney seem to be  reading from the Clinton play book. Or perhaps they are looking homeward to former Gov. Don Siegelman who has long claimed that his prosecution was politically motivated. Siegelman, pointed at political operatives Karl Rove and Billy Canary, (Speaker Hubbard’s personal friend and head of the Business Council of Alabama), as behind his political prosecution.
 
But why is a lawyer, who is supposed to be defending Hubbard and his family against false accusations, speaking out for Moore.
 
In White’s statement defending Moore he says that, "Speaker Hubbard wants nothing more than to ensure that the law is followed fairly and is free of political and personal influence.”
 
The perjury and making false statements charges against Moore are relayed to Moore’s, denying that he had communicated threatening statements to Josh Pipkin. Pipkin, who is running in the Republican primary to unseat Moore in House District 91, recorded their conversations.
 
In Alabama it is legal to record a conversation even if the other person is unaware of the fact that they are being recorded.
 
In a tape recorded conversation between Moore and Pipkin, Moore explains Hubbard’s  willingness to stop approximately 100 jobs coming to District 91, if Pipkin continued his challenge to Moore in the Republican primary. Pipkin, being an attorney, would have realized that making such threats is illegal. If the threats are proven to have actually been made by Hubbard, then the Speaker could be in very deep trouble. Threatening another individual is a very serious crime.  A threat is basically a warning of an individual’s intend to perform a malicious act. Even if the threat is not acted upon it is a prosecutable offense.
 
While Hubbard speaks of political prosecution he is possibly guilty of political repression of a Republican candidate by way of threat. This is certainly part of why Hubbard’s attorney wants to defend Moore in much the same way Hubbard defended disgraced lawmaker, Greg Wren, who is most likely a witness in any prosecution against Hubbard.
 
White also tries to cast doubt on the Grand Jury proceedings saying, “The Grand Jury process is sacred and is supposed to be accomplished in total secrecy in order to protect the good name and reputation of those falsely accused.”
 
For months, White and Hubbard have tried to forward the notion that somehow there are leaks in the Grand Jury proceedings. Somehow Hubbard and White want people to believe that if a news outlet reports a factual account of potential wrong doing, then there must be a leak. Or if anyone is reported as being in Lee County on a given day there is some kind of leak. This is the kind of game White is known for, if he can’t woo the press to do his bidding (which is most often the case), then he will demonize the reporter or the press.
 
People who understand the roll of investigative journalism and law enforcement know that in many cases, it is the press that first uncovers wrong doing and then the prosecutors follow those stories to see if crimes has actually been committed.
 
Most reasonable people know that anyone —including a member of the press— may visit a courthouse or drive through the parking lot to see who might be inside.
 
Is it a leak if a legislator drives his truck to a Grand Jury hearing with a Reelect “so-in-so,” on the tailgate of his truck? Is it tampering with a jury if a citizen notices a lawmaker from North Alabama has his legislative ID hanging from his rear view mirror, in the Lee County Court House parking lot? No, it is not, but more than anything these are tactics used by criminal defense attorneys to cast doubt and raise questions.
 
White also stated in Moore’s defense, “The Grand Jury is supposed to be an independent body devoid of outside influence and should not be dictated by politics, political or personal feuds, or individual personalities.”
 
Again, White is setting up his defense of Hubbard, by using the Clinton/Siegelman strategy.
 
Like the disgraced lawmaker Greg Wren, Moore lied to the Grand Jury. Unlike Wren, Moore did not get a sweetheart deal to testify against Hubbard. Moore is a small-fry in the scope of the investigations, and a deal with perhaps some jail time may be in the offing for Moore, if he tells what he knows about the alleged Hubbard threats.
 
What is almost certain is that Hubbard and White will continue to howl political prosecution to anyone who will listen. Almost assuredly like Clinton and Siegelman, most will not listen. The spin will only be believed by those who put politics above justice or those who are paid propagandists or heavy Kool-aid drinkers.
 
No, it is not Luther Strange, or special interests, or certain news reporters who are after Hubbard. It is a thing called blind justice, the nemesis of criminals and the champion of all those who love truth.

 

 © Copyright 2014 Alabama Political Reporter LLC