OPELIKA, AL (WTVM) - Media coverage of Alabama Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard's indictment on 23 felony charges took center stage during day two of jury selection in his criminal trial.
Opening statements are slated to start early next week.
Of the 140 potential jurors, most told the court they were aware of this case.
The issue Mike Hubbard's defense is focusing on is if those media reports or pre-trial publicity would cause a potential juror to judge Hubbard as guilty before they hear their evidence.
The defense wants to make sure a juror can be fair and impartial.
On the other side, the AG's office is also interested in learning of media reports have unfairly biased a juror against them as many of the media reports focused on Hubbard's defense team trying to get the case thrown out, based on allegations of prosecutorial misconduct of behalf of the AG's office.
Those allegations were ruled unfounded by Judge Jacob Walker.
Tuesday, both sides questioned individual potential jurors, trying to seat a jury they think is the best.
It's not the most exciting part of a trial, but many lawyers will argue it's the most important part of a trial, because the 12 men and women who are seated in the jury box will decide the fate of perhaps the most powerful politician in the state of Alabama.
And the stakes are high: Hubbard faces 23 felony counts, each carrying a sentence of up to 20 years in prison if he's found guilty.
Those 23 felony counts include:
- 4 counts of using of his office as Chairman of the Alabama Republican Party for personal gain
- 1 count of voting for legislation with a conflict of interest
- 11 counts of soliciting or receiving a thing of value from a lobbyist or principal
- 2 counts of using his office as a member of the Alabama House of Representatives for personal gain
- 4 counts of lobbying an executive department or agency for a fee
- 1 count of using state equipment, materials, etc. for private gain.