Nothing exemplifies the Obama administration's sorry record on justice issues quite like its mishandling of the U.S. attorney position in the Middle District of Alabama. A source tells Legal Schnauzer that the administration's bungling in Montgomery might be setting up Democrats for an "October surprise" just before the November elections.
The White House is unlikely to appoint a replacement for Bush holdover Leura Canary before the first of the year, according to a report at mainjustice.com. That means Canary will have time to carry out a plan that, according to our source, involves issuing indictments for several prominent Democrats over an investigation of gambling-related measures in the Alabama Legislature.
Our source, who has close ties to the Alabama legal community, says the plan is set to take flight around October 1 and might include an indictment of Ron Sparks, the Democratic candidate for governor. In other words, plans for a political prosecution that is designed to affect the outcome of an election might be taking place right under the Obama administration's nose.
Indictments might be coming down for about a dozen Democrats, our source says, plus Victoryland gambling magnate Milton McGregor. Canary, of course, is infamous for her role in the political prosecution of former Democratic Governor Don Siegelman. Obama apparently plans to let her stay in office almost two full years, perhaps allowing her to pull off one more scam on the citizens of Alabama.
Our source is not the only person talking about possible indictments. Dr. Robert Bentley, Republican candidate for governor, mentioned them at a recent debate with Sparks in Arab, Alabama. Reports television station WSFA of Montgomery:
The federal investigation into alleged vote buying in connection with gambling legislation in the Alabama Legislature surfaced during a gubernatorial debate in Arab Tuesday.
Republican nominee Dr. Robert Bentley suggested some state lawmakers will be indicted.
Dr. Bentley began by discussing the corruption that can stem from gambling.
Then, he talked about the grand jury.
"We're going to have some indictments coming down from a grand jury on some legislators and that's going to be in the near future," said Bentley.
Sparks, understandably, was taken aback. Imagine his shock if he knew that he might be among the indicted. Reports WSFA:
Democratic candidate Ron Sparks said the comment surprised him.
"I'd like to know how he knows. I thought that would be sealed indictments. I don't know. He must have some information I don't know," said Sparks.
Bentley said later, "I know of no specifics. It's just a rumor right now."
We've seen other signs that the plan is more than just rumor. Joe Turnham, chairman of the Alabama Democratic Party, pushed publicly last week for a new U.S. attorney in Montgomery. Was Turnham speaking out because of his concerns about Canary's possible October surprise? We suspect the answer is yes.
If Obama ever gets around to actually appointing a new U.S. attorney in Montgomery, it appears his choice will be a very questionable one. By virtually all accounts that we've heard, the best candidate is Mobile lawyer Michel Nicrosi, but the White House allowed U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions to scuttle her.
Now, it looks like Montgomery lawyer George Beck will get the nod. And many Alabama progressives, including Siegelman-case whistleblower Jill Simpson, have been deeply wary of that choice. Here's how we put it in a previous post titled "Is Obama About to Make a Terrible Nomination in Alabama?"
Why does Simpson object to Beck? Let us count the ways:
Mr. Beck works at Capell & Howard, a law firm that represents Leura Canary's husband and the Alabama Business Council--and is the office used by Karl Rove when he holds meetings in Alabama.
So Beck's firm has ties to Karl Rove. And Simpson is just getting warmed up. Beck's actions, or lack thereof, indicate he did everything possible to help the government earn a bogus conviction in the Siegelman case. Says Simpson:
Mr. Beck is the gentleman who represented Nick Bailey and let him be questioned 70 times and be bullied by Leura Canary's team of lawyers. And George never saw a conflict here even though his firm represents Mr. Canary who was causing (the Siegelman case to be brought).
It's hard to imagine how the White House could screw up the Middle District of Alabama even worse than it already was. But the Obama Department of Justice might have found a way. And Democrats could pay a huge price in a few weeks.