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Hubbard Ethics Case Update, Pelham Divided on National Championship

Pelham football
Brynn Anderson
Pelham High School football coach Tom Causey with a Clemson football from Dabo Swinney

An Alabama judge has given House Speaker Mike Hubbard until Friday to ask for a delay in his impending ethics trial currently scheduled to overlap with the upcoming legislative session.

Lee County Judge Jacob Walker gave Hubbard's lawyers a Jan. 15 deadline to file a motion to continue after a departure in his legal team. Hubbard's lead lawyer, Mark White, was given permission to withdraw from the ethics case Friday. White cited an undisclosed conflict of interest as his reason for leaving the team.

Hubbard faces 23 counts of violating Alabama's ethics law, using his political position to obtain business investments. The House Speaker is currently scheduled to go to trial March 28.That trial date coincides with the 2016 regular legislative session.

Defense lawyer Lance Bell told Judge Walker in a hearing Friday that, given White's departure, it was unlikely the defense could be ready for trial in March.

State prosecutors told the judge that they would oppose another delay in the trial, which has already been postponed once.

Fans are converging on Glendale, Arizona for the College Football Playoff National Championship game between the University of Alabama and Clemson. APR's Mackenzie Bates reports one central Alabama Town has ties to both teams.

Clemson head football coach Dabo Swinney grew up in the town of Pelham, about 15 miles south of Birmingham. Swinney also played wide receiver for the Crimson Tide in the 1990s.

Rick Rhoades is the president of the Pelham Board of Education. He was a former assistant coach at Alabama when Swinney played there. He says the town is divided on who they will be cheering for.

“And certainly we’re proud of our state university playing in the National Championship game and wish them well. But I don’t think you’ll find many people in Pelham, Alabama that will pull against Dabo Swinney.”

Rhoades adds that no matter what happens between Alabama and Clemson, the citizens of Pelham will have plenty to cheer about later tonight.

One Alabama business is so certain the Crimson Tide will win tonight’s title game against Clemson, they’re putting their money where their mouth is.

The Alabama-based Shoe Station store chain has pre-ordered 3,000 men’s and women’s t-shirts proclaiming Alabama the national college football champions.

Chief Operating Officer Brent Barkin says as soon as the Crimson Tide wins, the shirts will go on sale at Shoe Station’s 8 locations around the state.

“We have employees on staff and ready. And the second Alabama wins, they come back to the store, we open back up, our stores will be open for an hour or when the t-shirts sell out. And, we’ve actually had it before that the shirts sell out within about fifteen, twenty minutes.”

The men’s shirt has a football helmet with the number 16 on it. The women’s style has a 16 with an elephant pattern in the background.

Barkin says Shoe Station has a “plan B” in case Clemson wins. The store chain will box the shirts up and donate them to charity.

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