We probably will see Sheryl Crow bear Karl Rove's love child before Alabama Governor Bob Riley makes good on his threat to sue television stations for running ads that link the governor to Mississippi Choctaw gambling money.
Even Bob Riley is smart enough to know that when you sue people, they tend to fight back--particularly when you have no case. And that means Riley would have to answer questions under oath about his sources of campaign funding.
Riley was so desperate to avoid answering such questions in a lawsuit filed by Montgomery businessman John Goff that, according to Scott Horton of Harper's magazine, he pushed the Bush Justice Department to initiate a criminal investigation of Goff--on a matter that already had been decided in an administrative case.
That's how low Riley will go to avoid answering questions about his ties to disgraced Republican lobbyists Jack Abramoff and Michael Scanlon. And it's doubtful the guvnah wants to invite questions about his son Rob and Junior's myriad ties to gambling--particularly not with Junior trying to bring home serious amounts of bacon from lawsuits against HealthSouth Corp.--all the while hiding his own connections to a company that allegedly practices health-care fraud.
So the idea of Bob Riley suing TV stations and opening himself up to depositions from opposing lawyers is laughable.
Shows you that Riley has no respect for the people he governs. He thinks Alabamians are a bunch of rubes who will believe anything he says.
News reports give no indication under what tort Riley would sue the TV stations. I assume he's talking about some form of defamation.
But the governor would have a slight problem in bringing such a case: Truth is an absolute defense against a defamation claim. And the TV ads are based on news reports that grew from a U.S. Senate committee report--and Riley never has produced a shred of evidence to refute that report.
Is Riley going to sue the Senate committee, and the numerous news organizations who ran stories about the report, long before the bingo ads appeared?
In fact, an e-mail that has drawn almost no attention in the Alabama press proves Riley's ties to Abramoff. As Sam Stein of Huffington Post reported in February 2008, the e-mail showed that Abramoff expected Riley to take favorable action for the Mississippi Choctaws in exchange for their generous financial support. That expected action included fighting gambling initiatives in Alabama that would provide competition for the Choctaws next door.
The e-mail in question can be viewed here. And we're supposed to believe that Bob Riley is going to bring lawsuits with that kind of evidence out there showing that the ads are, in fact, true? Hah.
Tiffany Craig, a broadcast investigative reporter in Mobile, has produced an excellent report on the Riley threats.
You can check out the three ads that have Riley so exorcised here.
Someone who has spent a lot of time around the Rileys once told me that lying is almost a congenital defect in the family. They simply cannot help themselves.
Bob Riley's bluster about the bingo ads is the just the latest indication that my source was right on target.