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The Latest: Medicaid officials surprised by budget language

Attorney Lance Bell and Mike Hubbard talk before the start of the second day of the Alabama House Speaker's trial on Wednesday, May 25, 2016, in Opelika, Ala. (Todd J. Van Emst/Opelika-Auburn News via AP, Pool)
May 26, 2016 - 2:01 PM

OPELIKA, Ala. - The Latest on the ethics trial of Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard (all times local):

3:40 p.m.

State Medicaid officials say they opposed Medicaid language temporarily inserted in the 2013 budget that could have benefited a client of House Speaker Mike Hubbard.

Medicaid Commissioner Stephanie Azar testified Thursday that Medicaid officials were caught off guard by language added in the House setting requirements for any pharmacy benefit manager the state might hire.

Former State Health Officer Don Williamson testified that he was "surprised" when he learned Hubbard had a consulting contract with the only company that would qualify for the work. Williamson said Hubbard agreed to remove the language when Medicaid officials raised concerns.

On cross-examination, defence lawyer Bill Baxley tried to suggest that a former lawmaker, who has already pleaded guilty to an ethics violation, was responsible for the language.

Prosecutors have accused Hubbard of using his political positions as speaker and Republican Party chairman to make money. Defence lawyers argue that the transactions were legal.

Testimony continues Friday.

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10:20 a.m.

A Florida political consultant says he believed the Alabama Republican Party wanted him to subcontract 2010 campaign printing work back to a firm owned by the then-party chairman.

Testimony resumed Thursday in the ethics trial of Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard. Prosecutors have accused Hubbard of using his political positions as speaker and Republican Party chairman to make money and solicit favours such as investments from lobbyists. Defence lawyers argue that the transactions were above board.

Randy Kammerdiner, co-owner of Majority Strategies, produced direct mail for the Republicans' 2010 campaigns. Asked by a prosecutor if he felt he had any other choice but to use Hubbard's firm Craftmaster for the printing work, Kammerdiner replied no.

However, under cross-examination by defence lawyer Lance Bell, Kammerdiner said he never had a conversation with Hubbard, "telling me I had to use Craftmaster."

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3:00 a.m.

Testimony is continuing in the ethics trial of the Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard.

A state legislator and others are expected to testify Thursday about Hubbard's role in 2013 budget language that could have benefited a pharmacy co-operative that was paying Hubbard.

Hubbard's former chief of staff testified Wednesday that Hubbard didn't tell him about two consulting contracts and that he was uncomfortable when lines blurred between Hubbard's private and political work.

Prosecutors have accused Hubbard of using his political positions to make money and solicit favours such as investments from lobbyists. Defence lawyers argue that the transactions were aboveboard and Hubbard made sure not to run afoul of state ethics law.

Hubbard would be removed from office automatically if convicted of any of the 23 felony charges.

News from © The Associated Press, 2016
The Associated Press

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