Alabama Republicans are a mess right now, and none more so that the state's Speaker of the House, Mike Hubbard. Or, I should say "former Speaker Mike Hubbard" as he's going to prison for a very, very long time.
A Lee County jury today convicted Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard on 12 felony charges in his ethics case, removing Hubbard from office.
Hubbard, 54, was convicted after a jury spent seven hours deliberating whether he used his public position for personal gain.
Hubbard faces up to 20 years in prison for each ethics count. Sentencing is set for July 8.
Hubbard was immediately taken into custody and placed in the Lee County jail.
He was released on $160,000 bond Friday night and driven away by a bail bondsman, according to the Associated Press.
The conviction came after a 12-day trial in which Hubbard took the stand for three days in his own defense.
"We hope this verdict tonight will restore some of the confidence in the people in the state of Alabama that public officials at all levels in the state of Alabama will be held accountable for their actions," Acting Attorney General Van Davis said.
"Especially those who would betray their public trust and their position of public trust while in office from all levels, local, county and state."
Now, nobody believes Hubbard will be sentenced to the max 240 years, and frankly he'll probably remain out on appeal for years. The state's stronger ethics laws passed in 2010 after all were never meant to actually convict anyone, much less the state's Republican Speaker of the House. After all, the $2.3 million that Hubbard took in pay-to-play bribes were supposed to be the perk of his position, not his downfall.
Hubbard led the 2010 GOP effort to oust state Democrats as Alabama's GOP party chair, and for his efforts he ran for the legislature, won easily, and was named Speaker. The same Republicans who passed these same tough ethics laws to "stop corrupt Democrats" who had run the state for decades never expected these laws to be used against them.
Meanwhile the state's GOP governor, Robert Bentley, now faces his own impeachment scandal. Of course, the Republicans are running those efforts too, so who knows?
Alabama voters of course will continue to vote GOP. After all, the Democrats allowed one of those people to be President, so they'll stick with the corrupt Alabama GOP.