OPELIKA, AL (WTVM) - Former Alabama Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard was sentenced to four years in jail and 16 years of probation following his conviction last month.
A judge also ordered Hubbard to pay a $210,000 fine. Hubbard was convicted on 12 felony ethics counts on June 10.
State prosecutors originally recommended a sentence of 18 years - five in prison and 13 years of probation. Prosecutors also called for fines totaling about $1.1 million - the amount of money they believe Hubbard made by using the mantle of his office.
Hubbard served 18 years as the state representative for Lee County. He was automatically removed from office upon his conviction.
Following the sentencing, Hubbard's attorney Bill Baxley steadfastly defended his client, calling the conviction the result of a witch hunt.
"Mike Hubbard and his family have been the victims of a witch hunt," Baxley said. "He is one of the few people that I've known of that a jury has convicted that I believe with all of my heart is innocent. We will appeal this case all the way, [and] I believe with every fiber of my being that at the end of all of this, he will be totally vindicated. He will be exonerated."
Hubbard, 54, was indicted in 2014 and has denied wrongdoing and plans to appeal the conviction.
At the Hubbard's home in Auburn, just an hour after a judge sentenced him to a 20 year split sentence, with 4 years to serve and 16 years probation after Hubbard was found guilty on 12 felony ethics charges.
"It has been a long couple of years. I would not wish this on anyone. It has been very difficult on me and my family, but in a way today is the beginning of the road to redemption," Hubbard said. "I am looking forward to the appeals process, looking forward to clearing my name and being vindicated. I am absolutely confident that will happen."
Hubbard said that throughout this lengthy process, he has continued to have the support of friends and family.
"Susan and I have seen the overwhelming support we have been given from this community and folks we didn't even know one person left a bible with verses marked in it on my back door," Hubbard said. "Politicians from other states have reached out because they see what is happening in this state and around the country. They are trying to criminalize the political process. And if this is allowed to happen if it is not reversed, and we have a citizen legislator in the state of Alabama, I think it will make it hard for anyone to make the decision to run if they have a job."
Hubbard describes why he's never admitted to doing anything wrong and struggle he went through after a jury of his peers convicted him on 12 of the 23 felony ethics charges against him.
"I have always taken the position you don't admit to anything that you didn't do and you admit to things you did do," Hubbard said. "I haven't done anything wrong, I am absolutely certain of that. I believe it was proven during the court proceedings and I have done nothing wrong I did abide by the rules and the laws."
The appeal process is allowing Mike Hubbard to not go to prison, instead he remains with his family tonight in Auburn out on an appeal bond.
"We are confident in the next step of the process and anxious to get that going and move down that road. We look forward to clearing his name, and righting a wrong and we are excited about that," Susan Hubbard, Mike's wife, said.
Mike Hubbard was unable to answer specific, detailed questions about the case, because it is moving forward through the appeals process. Hubbard said he misses his former role.
"I enjoyed being Speaker, I will miss that I will most my colleagues most of all, the friendships I had. I love the institution of the House of Representatives," Hubbard said. "I am honored to be a part of that and I feel like I was unjustly taken away from that, but it won't take a way the friendships and the things we have done in the House of Representatives."
So what's next for Mike Hubbard, other than his legal appeal? He says he's busy running his companies, including radio stations, a magazine and an advertising agency.
On Saturday morning he will get up and go to work, as a morning DJ for his classic rock hits station, something he says has brought a great deal of joy during this time of his life.
Here is the breakdown of the counts:
- Count 5 – 10 years. Split to serve 2 years. $30,000 fine.
- Count 6 – 10 years. Split to serve 2. Concurrently. 8 probation $30,000 fine.
- Count 10 – 6 years. Split to serve 18 months. Run concurrently. 20,000 fine.
- Count 11 – 10 years. Split to serve 2 years. Consecutive.
- Count 12 – 10 years. Split to serve 2. Runs concurrently. $20,000 fine
- Count 13 – 10 years. Serve 2. Concurrently. $30,000 fine.
- Count 14 – 10. Split to serve 2. Concurrently. $30,000 fine
- Count 16 –5 years. 18 months. Run concurrently.
- Count 17 – 10 years. Split to serve 2. Concurrently. Fine- NA
- Count 18 – 5 years. Split to serve 18 months concurrently. No fine.
- Count 19- 5 years. Split to serve 18 months concurrently. No fine.
- Count 23 – 5 years. Serve 18 months. No fine. Concurrently.
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