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Former Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard reports to jail to start prison sentence

Former Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard reported this afternoon to the Lee County sheriff’s office in Opelika to begin his prison sentence.

Hubbard turned himself in at 5:05 p.m., the online jail log shows.

Lance Bell, an attorney for Hubbard, said Hubbard was taken to the Russell County jail in Phenix City, where he is being held.

The Alabama Supreme Court denied Hubbard’s request for a rehearing two weeks ago, exhausting his state appeals.

Hubbard, 58, was sentenced to four years in prison in 2016 for violating the state ethics law. He has been out on appeal since.

Bell released a brief statement this evening.

“Mike Hubbard is a strong Christian man and has accepted the current situation but firmly believes in his innocence and looks forward to exploring other options to clear his name,” Bell said.

Joel Dillard, another lawyer for Hubbard, had said two weeks ago that the defense team would recommend that Hubbard file a federal appeal.

When the state Supreme Court turned down Hubbard’s request for a rehearing on August 28, the attorney general’s office said that left him with 15 days to report to jail to be turned over to the Department of Corrections.

A Lee County jury convicted Hubbard of 12 ethics violations. The Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals upheld 11 of the 12. The Alabama Supreme Court affirmed six of the 11 and overturned five.

Hubbard was one of Alabama’s most powerful politicians until his conviction, which automatically removed him from office.

Related: 6-year saga: Timeline of Mike Hubbard’s ethics case

Prosecutors said Hubbard used his public office to enrich himself, partly through consulting contracts.

Hubbard has maintained his innocence since his indictment in 2014 and said the transactions that led to the charges were normal business activities not related to his public office. He testified for three days during his 2016 trial.

The six convictions involved consulting contracts with three companies that paid Hubbard a total of $525,000 while he was speaker, from 2012 to 2014.

Lee County voters first elected Hubbard to the House of Representatives in 1998, a time when Democrats controlled the Legislature. They would elect him to four more four-year terms.

Hubbard became state Republican Party chair and in 2010 helped orchestrate a campaign in which the GOP took control of the Legislature for the first time in 136 years. Hubbard’s House colleagues elected him speaker, a position he retained until his conviction in 2016.

Shortly after the 2010 election, the new Republican-controlled Legislature met in a special session to put tighter restrictions in the state ethics law, fulfilling a campaign promise.

Hubbard was convicted under the enhanced law that he helped pass.

The former speaker has maintained his innocence since his indictment by a Lee County special grand jury in 2014, which led to his trial two years later.

This story was updated at 3:03 p.m. on Sept. 12 to say that Hubbard is being held at the Russell County jail in Phenix City.

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