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Monday, January 7, 2013

A Prosecutorial Thug For Alabama AG Luther Strange Might Receive Some Much-Deserved Scrutiny

Matt Hart

One of Alabama's most notorious prosecutorial thugs over the past decade or so might be on the verge of receiving some richly deserved scrutiny.

Matt Hart currently serves as a "public corruption special prosecutor" under Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange. But Hart perhaps is best known for his actions as a federal prosecutor under Alice Martin, who served as U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Alabama during the George W. Bush years.

A Tuscaloosa contractor who was found not guilty in 2010 on corruption charges now is seeking to unseal records that might show Hart abused the federal grand-jury process in that case. Roger Taylor, president of Hall-Taylor Construction, was charged in connection with an investigation of the Alabama two-year college system, but a jury acquitted him on all eight counts.

Taylor's attorneys long have argued that their client was the victim of abusive prosecutorial tactics. They renewed that argument after recently receiving a call from a newspaper reporter working on an investigative series about the federal grand-jury system. From a report at al.com:

Tuscaloosa contractor Roger Taylor, who was found not guilty two years ago of bribery in the federal probe of Alabama's two-year college system, is now trying to unseal court records regarding his claim that prosecutors abused the federal grand jury system in his case. 
Taylor made the request after The Wall Street Journal recently contacted one of his attorneys seeking comment for that newspaper's investigation into the federal grand jury system. 
"The reporter had specific questions about this case which the undersigned (attorney) could not answer without fear of revealing information which had been sealed during the course of this case," according to Taylor's motion filed by attorney J. Mark White. 
"I think that the record pretty well shows that the abuse of the grand jury system was a significant issue in the case . . . and would have been on appeal if we would have not won." 

Matt Hart's reputation for thuggish tactics came to light for most citizens in 2004 when former U.S. Circuit Judge U.W. Clemon cited him for contempt of court in the Medicaid-fraud case against former Governor Don Siegelman and codefendants Paul Hamrick and Phillip Bobo. Prosecutors dropped those charges, in Birmingham, after Clemon ruled they had insufficient evidence for a conspiracy claim.

Siegelman and former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy later faced bribery-related charges in Montgomery, and that case led to convictions and has been widely called the most notorious political prosecution in U.S. history. Hart's fingerprints, it turned out, were all over that case, too--as we reported in a post titled "Prosecutors Used 'Sex Scandal' to Intimidate Key Witness in Siegelman Case."

Who led the effort to intimidate chief prosecution witness Nick Bailey? According to Andrew Kreig's reporting at Huffington Post, based on an affidavit from Tuscaloosa businessman Stan Pate, it was Matt Hart. From our July 2009 report on the matter:

What did prosecutor Matt Hart say that caused Bailey to be visibly shaken? Kreig provides the story: 
"Nick was told that the government was working to prevent the publicizing of an alleged sexual relationship between Nick and Don Siegelman," Pate wrote. "Nick also told me that one of the agents working the Siegelman/Scrushy prosecution asked him whether he had ever taken illegal drugs with Governor Siegelman or had a sexual relationship with him. These comments had a dramatic effect on Nick, and, in my observation, added significantly to the pressure he felt to go along with whatever the prosecutors wanted him to say."

Hart apparently used similar tactics in the Roger Taylor case, and Taylor's attorneys now are seeking to unseal court records that might prove it. From a recent al.com report:

Taylor's attorneys argued at that April 2010 hearing that their client's constitutional rights were compromised during the federal grand jury process and that the indictment should be tossed out. Augusta Dowd, another of Taylor's attorneys, had said at that hearing that assistant U.S. attorney Matt Hart used "unacceptable and unethical tactics" with grand jury witnesses, including misleading them and threatening them with prosecution.

Misleading witnesses, threatening them with sex scandals and prosecutions? Is there anything Matt Hart won't try in order to win a case? Will he ever be held accountable for years of such abuse?

Perhaps we are about to find out.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

don't forget the CIA and the thugs able to get whatever necessary "evidence" to convict, at the service of the system of course.

Anonymous said...

Matt Hart would look good in an orange jumpsuit.

Spasmoda said...

Are the Poarch Creeks paying Matt Hart's salary as a "special prosecutor"? They seem to be paying for everything else in Luther Strange's office.

Anonymous said...

One can only assume that Matt Hart is involved with the current grand jury process in Dothan?

Anonymous said...

Matt Hart is a victim of GMOs and therefore, the intended inside of him is what the people in the other side of the world say, the smart people that is who won't touch the GMO poisons: pus. our internal organs literally turn into pus.

He is a bag of pus and looks like a hog to be out in the back woods and put out of misery.

legalschnauzer said...

A "bag of pus"?

That's one of the best descriptions I've ever heard of a standard-issue pudgy Republican.

Anonymous said...

This is a good story, except for the fact that Bob Riley's ugly mug is in the background in the photo of Roger Taylor.

Where's PhotoShop when you need it?

Anonymous said...

Matt Hart is THE reason Don Siegelman is in prison. Without the bullying and the threats against Nick Bailey, there is no conviction in that case.

David in S. Alabama said...

Calling him a "thug' is being overly polite.

legalschnauzer said...

Good point, David. I hope thugs are not offended. "Bag of pus" remains my favorite description, from @12:05.

Anonymous said...

Luther Strange is just another Troy King. When this public corruption department was initiated last April, it was done so to give Matt Hart a job. It gives the AG's office more power and increases the size of our state government. When I hear Matt Hart's name, I think organized crime.

Anonymous said...

True diagnosis, LS.

In the most ancient of "medicine," the term for the inner organs once in terminal decay: pus.

Matt Hart is a bag of pus. That flying mad man in the movie DUNE, was a bag of hot air pus and thus, flew in the atmosphere to feel as though he were "alive."

Matt Hart's internal organs are all in decay and that is why he is looking like the hog that needs to finally go down. No eat that poisoned protoplasm of blubbering pus, no no no.

Republicans and all the American politicians are "Ponerology."

Pus on the inside while looking scary enough in the outer costumes, to keep the movie horror shows never ending.

Stink. These decaying pus bags truly stink and can't get the smell to disappear because it is rotting inner-outer.

Anonymous said...

You know, the first thing I thought when looking at that picture of Matt Hart was sexual deviant. He just has a creepy look about him. Then I read where he was allegedly trying to intimidate Bailey by asking if he had a sexual relationship with Siegleman. When thugs are accusing someone of something they are usually guilty of it themselves.
Anonymous would probably find his fat a-- in a gimp costume if they hacked his mail. Or maybe laying on a table with an apple in his mouth.

Anonymous said...

LOVE Anonymous at 10:41 PM!

And it's pus bag's Public Corruption Unit responsible for investigating Mike Hubbard's laundering of money in the 2010 elections.

Not holding my breath on this one.

Anonymous said...

That is Roy Johnson in the photo, not Roger Taylor

legalschnauzer said...

Thanks for sharing. Let me double check on that pic. I might have goofed.

legalschnauzer said...

I've swapped out the picture. Hopefully, I got the right guy this time. Thanks for the heads up.

Anonymous said...

My brother is a complete jerk. He has been a bully his whole life. A vile, dishonorable man.

His older sister