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Alabama court denies rehearing request for ex house speaker

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals on Friday said it will not reverse its decision upholding the ethics conviction of former Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard.

The court without comment denied Hubbard’s request for a rehearing of its decision upholding 11 of the 12 convictions. The court also rejected the state attorney general’s request to revisit the one count it overturned.

Rehearing requests are seldom granted. However, appellate rules in criminal cases require a person to seek a rehearing before appealing upward to the Alabama Supreme Court.

Defense lawyer Bill Baxley could not immediately be reached for comment. The attorney general’s office declined to comment. Hubbard is free on bond as he appeals his conviction.

The court last month upheld the convictions that Hubbard used the power of his office to assist his businesses, including that he improperly asked lobbyists and company executives for work and investments in his printing business.

The court rejected defense arguments that the transactions were aboveboard business dealings in which investors and companies were getting a getting a fair value for their money.

Hubbard, from Auburn, was for years one of the state’s most influential Republicans. He served as chairman of the Alabama Republican Party and was a key architect of the GOP strategy that led to Republicans in 2010 taking control of the Alabama Legislature for the first time in more than a century.

Hubbard was automatically removed from office in 2016 when he was convicted on the felony charges.

He is free on bond as he appeals his conviction.

Despite upholding the convictions, appeals court judges in the August decision also urged lawmakers to address ambiguities in the state ethics law.

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