Why would a star witness in the Alabama bingo prosecution, which is set to begin a retrial on January 30, 2012, want to communicate with your humble blogger?
I've been asking myself that question since I received an e-mail from Jarrod Massey in late October. Massey, a former lobbyist for pro-gambling interests, pleaded guilty to various federal charges and testified against other defendants in the first trial--which ended with zero convictions on August 11.
Why would Massey want to talk with me? I can think of only one reason: Someone in officialdom is using him to help set me up for an arrest on bogus charges. Is this a case of The Schnauzer simply being paranoid? Perhaps. But I consulted a friend who has a legal education and extensive experience in government. His verdict? He thought it sounded like someone was trying to lure me into a conversation with Massey so that I could be framed for witness tampering or obstruction of justice.
I value this friend's opinion, and I know that both federal and state prosecutors in Alabama can be grotesquely corrupt. I also know that my reporting has agitated some powerful figures in our state and beyond. That's why I got fired from my job at UAB after working there for 19 years. It's also why I have received numerous anonymous e-mails that could be interpreted as death threats.
Suffice to say, that I have not returned Jarrod Massey's messages, and I don't plan to any time soon. Nothing against Mr. Massey personally; I've never met him and know very little about him. If something is fishy about his e-mails, I'm not sure he realizes it. Perhaps he is just doing what he's told.
That a star witness would contact a journalist, while the witness is waiting for a high-profile case to be retried, raises all sorts of questions. But first, let's look at what's been on Jarrod Massey's mind. Here is his first e-mail, which arrived on October 27:
from: Jarrod Massey firstname.lastname@example.org
date: Thu, Oct 27, 2011 at 8:49 AM
subject: Points of Mutual Interest
Important mainly because of the words in the message.
I am sure you recognize my name, but if not I am the Jarrod Massey implicated in the federal bingo investigation. In light of your post today on your blog I want to be clear before I state anything further that I have absolutely no interest in discussing Judge Thompson's recent order or anything for that matter directly related to pending trial points. It is out of an abundance of caution that I state this in writing as a pretext to my comments to follow.
I would however welcome an opportunity to discuss my past associations with Dax Swatek. In summation, he is a very unscrupulous sort who is well protected by the Riley net and his linked-at-the-hip connection to Billy and Leura Canary and the Bradley Arant law firm. This of course is nothing you are not already familiar with. I can point you in the right direction for your information gathering purposes. You'll find it quite interesting.
If you are interested in having a discussion in person feel free to contact me on my mobile at 334.467.3337 or at home 334.270.0894 to schedule.
When I did not respond to that message, Massey followed up with another one on November 1:
from: Jarrod Massey email@example.com
date: Tue, Nov 1, 2011 at 8:29 AM
subject: Fwd: Points of Mutual Interest
Important mainly because of your interaction with messages in the conversation.
I assume you are not interesting in discussing? If so, please contact me by phone as referenced below. I am starting a job this week that has somewhat odd working hours. The best time to reach me will be post 9:30pm in the evenings or 7:00-11:00am daily.
As you can see, Massey is quite familiar with some frequent characters on my blog. He knows I have written extensively about Dax Swatek, Bob Riley, Bill Canary, and Bradley Arant. I have no doubt that Dax Swatek is an unscrupulous individual, and I feel certain that Jarrod Massey could shine light on him and other bad actors.
But let's consider the environment in which these communications took place. I'm not an expert on the process that surrounds a federal criminal case, but here is my understanding of some key issues:
* Prosecutors generally want a witness to stay underground until it's time to take the stand. Anything the witness says to an external party, such as me, could come back to bite the prosecution on its collective fanny.
* For that reason, it's hard to comprehend that prosecutors would want Jarrod Massey to communicate with a journalist--unless the prosecutors had an ulterior motive in mind.
* When a witness has entered a guilty plea and agreed to testify against other defendants, he is at the mercy of prosecutors. If he pleases them, they can push for a greatly reduced sentence. If he displeases them, they can turn on him in an instant. I see no way that Jarrod Massey would contact me on his own, without approval of federal (or maybe state) prosecutors. And that tells me that prosecutors are using Jarrod Massey to serve some agenda.
We should keep in mind that the content of this blog already has cost me my job--and yet I am still writing; in fact, I'm writing about even more sensitive subjects now than I was before I got unlawfully terminated at UAB. So what else can corrupt forces do to shut me up? I can think of only two alternatives--try to cook up a bogus arrest or assassinate me.
That sounds melodramatic, I know. But given the string of mysterious deaths in our state over the past 12 to 18 months, I don't rule out anything.
As for Jarrod Massey, I would be happy to talk with him someday, once he is out from under the thumbs of federal prosecutors. I'm sure the two of us could have an enlightening conversation. But for now, he could have pictures of Dax Swatek, Bob Riley, Bill Canary, and the whole Bradley Arant law firm having sex with goats . . . and I'm not interested.