The Latest: Lobbyist concerned speaker's request was illegal

AP News
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Posted: Jun 01, 2016 12:24 PM
The Latest: Lobbyist concerned speaker's request was illegal

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The Latest on the trial of Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard (all times local):

11:05 a.m.

A political consultant and lobbyist says Mike Hubbard was stressed out over his personal finances when the House speaker asked him to invest in his printing company.

Dax Swatek has been close to Hubbard, one of three lobbyists who met weekly with him in the speaker's office.

He testified Wednesday that it was an "awkward" moment when he told Hubbard that he couldn't invest $150,000 in his company.

The lobbyist said he was concerned that it was against state ethics law for him to give the money to an elected politician, and for Hubbard to ask for it.

Hubbard is accused of using his political positions as speaker and state Republican party chairman to make money and solicit financial favors from lobbyists and others.

Hubbard has argued that these transactions were legal and allowed under an exception for longstanding friendships.

Swatek said he was one of three lobbyists who had weekly with Hubbard in the speaker's office.

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9:30 a.m.

Gov. Robert Bentley has testified under oath in the ethics trial of the Alabama house speaker, saying that he remembers meeting with Mike Hubbard to discuss what he described as economic development projects.

Prosecutors are seeking to prove that Hubbard was being paid up to $12,000 a month to illegally lobby the governor on behalf of his business clients — a municipal gas company and a maker of plastic cups.

A state prosecutor showed Bentley reports Hubbard sent his clients describing how he met with the governor on projects that could benefit them. The governor said he remembered the meetings.

On cross-examination, Bentley told a defense lawyer that he thought the projects were good for the state because they would bring jobs.

Bentley faces his own trouble: Eleven lawmakers resolved to impeach him after he acknowledged sending sexually suggestive messages to a female aide.

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8:30 a.m.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley has arrived at a Lee County courthouse to testify in the ethics trial of Alabama House speaker Mike Hubbard.

Bentley is expected to be one of the first witnesses Wednesday morning. Prosecutors will ask Bentley about meetings with Hubbard and if Hubbard lobbied him on behalf of a business client. Alabama ethics law prohibits legislators from being paid to lobby executive branch offices.

The governor was met at the courthouse by his legal adviser, personal attorney and spokeswoman.

Bentley's testimony is expected to be a dramatic moment in the corruption trial of the Republican speaker.

Hubbard faces 23 ethics charges accusing him of using his political positions to make $2.3 million in work and investments. Hubbard has maintained his innocence.

However, the Republican governor in recent months has been at the center of his own scandal. Bentley admitted making sexually charged remarks to a former female aide.

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3:45 a.m.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley is taking the witness stand in the ethics trial of the state's House speaker.

Prosecutors plan to call Bentley to testify Wednesday morning about meetings with House Speaker Mike Hubbard and if Hubbard lobbied him on behalf of a business client. Alabama ethics law prohibits legislators from being paid to lobby executive branch offices.

Bentley's testimony is expected to be a dramatic moment in the corruption trial of the Republican speaker.

Hubbard faces 23 ethics charges accusing him of using his political positions to make $2.3 million in work and investments. Hubbard has maintained his innocence.

However, the Republican governor in recent months has been at the center of his own scandal. Bentley admitted making sexually charged remarks to a former female aide.