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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Has The Baxley Family Conned Ricky Stokes News On My Reporting Of The Garrison/Strange Affair?



A Dothan-based news Web site, one with a substantial readership, apparently has been hoodwinked regarding my reporting on the extramarital affair between Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange and his former campaign manager, Jessica Medeiros Garrison.

Rickey Stokes, editor of RickeyStokesNews.com (RSN), reports in a post dated August 17 that our posts at Legal Schnauzer on the Strange/Garrison affair are "highly questionable." Stokes says he reached that conclusion after conversations on Saturday afternoon with two sources, one of which Stokes "would trust with my life in his hands."


The timing of the Stokes report is curious, coming one day after I received a letter from Birmingham attorney Bill Baxley, claiming my reports were false and defamatory and threatening a lawsuit on Garrison's behalf. It becomes even more curious when you consider that Bill Baxley is from Dothan, and his brother (Wade Baxley) and nephew (Hamp Baxley) are lawyers with the Dothan firm of Ramsey Baxley & McDougle.  For good measure, Hamp Baxley is Dothan city commissioner for District 6.


The Baxley family clearly is influential in Dothan, and its members are quite capable of grabbing Rickey Stokes' attention. RSN takes pains to mention that its two sources for the August 17 post are "not related to each other." But that doesn't mean that at least one of them isn't related to Bill Baxley. 


In fact, we would pretty much bet the ranch--if we owned one--that one of Rickey Stokes' sources is related to Bill Baxley. We further would bet that Stokes' source did not reveal to the newsman that Bill Baxley represents Jessica Garrison and had sent me a threatening letter just one day earlier.


Did the source of RSN's post reveal that he, as someone likely related to Bill Baxley, had a vested interest in trying to undermine my reporting? My guess is that the answer is no. 


Sadly, that means Rickey Stokes and his readers probably have been the victims of a con job. Who might have participated in the con job? Well, let's look to an August 15 RSN post about Wade Baxley's appointment as a special master in the ongoing forfeiture case involving the seizure of cash and electronic-bingo equipment at Center Stage Alabama in Houston County. The seizure, of course, was conducted by the office of . . . Luther Strange.


Stokes notes that Judge Mike Conaway has appointed Wade Baxley to count money and help resolve a dispute about the amount seized at Center Stage. From the RSN report:



Judge Conaway wants the money counted. That is what Dothan Attorney Wade Baxley is under order to do. He is to travel to Montgomery Alabama and count the money. Baxley is the brother of former Attorney General Bill Baxley. He is one of the senior attorneys who practices in Dothan and highly respected.

Let's follow the trail here: In an August 15 report, Rickey Stokes describes Wade Baxley as "highly respected." In an August 17 post, Rickey Stokes describes one of his sources, claiming my reporting on the Strange/Garrison affair is "questionable," as someone "I would trust with my life in his hands."

Could that be one and the same person? I will leave that for individual readers to decide. 


While Rickey Stokes questions our reporting, one of the most experienced and respected journalists in the state apparently has no such concerns. Bob Martin cites our reports in writing about the Strange/Garrison affair in the current issue of the Montgomery Independent.

To be sure, the Stokes post of August 17 is a curious piece of work. The author can't seem to decide how to characterize my reporting on the Strange/Garrison affair. Let's consider some of the phrases he uses. (I am quoting them here verbatim, with no editing for grammar or spelling; first, it should be noted that Stokes identifies me as "Robert" Shuler.)


* "The articles in the Legal Schnauzer we have come to learn are very questionable as to the truthfulness and accuracy.
* " . . . there is no evidence what so ever that the article in the Legal Schnauzer was anything other than questionable. No evidence any truth to the allegations."
* " . . . my research and conversations, appear that Jessica Medeiros Garrison is a victim of someone wanting to use her to discredit Luther Strange."
* "Never do you have to use a tactic like that to discredit a politician. They do it enough themselves without involving people on something that all evidence appears to be as false and untrue."
* "I do not know Jessica Medeiros Garrison and if I have ever met or spoke with her, I do not know it. . . . She worked in the Strange campaign. And from what I have learned as I have spoke to people who do know her, she is a hard worker that is aggressive and attempts to succeed at what she takes on. . . . When the evidence points otherwise, it is unfair to her, her son and family or Luther Strange, and Luther Strange’s wife and family, to make up something that is not true."

Stokes concludes with this pearl:


The truth is the truth, and there is no reason or need to lie about the truth.

If someone can figure out what that means, don't hesitate to clue me in.

Notice that Stokes goes from describing my reports as "questionable," to saying they are supported by "no evidence," to labeling them as "false and untrue," to asserting that it is "unfair" for me to "make up something that is not true."

Why are we to trust what Rickey Stokes tells us? Because someone Stokes would trust "with my life in his hands" told him. What information did this person impart to convince Stokes my reporting is "false and untrue" (as opposed to being just "false" or just "untrue)? Stokes doesn't tell us.

Is the source connected to Bill Baxley, the lawyer who sent me a threatening letter on behalf of Jessica Garrison? Stokes doesn't tell us that, either. (Update: A source tells Legal Schnauzer that one of Stokes' sources, in fact, was Bill Baxley.)

I appreciate the fact that Rickey Stokes appears to be a hard-working guy who has built a nice audience for  his Web site. But methinks he, and his readers, have been conned on this one.

48 comments:

Anonymous said...

Bravo. Connecting the Baxley's financial interests to thr Center Stages raid is a masterstroke. Checkmate.

Anonymous said...

DNA would solve everything. You think that will happen??? Nope.

Anonymous said...

What better way to take the focus away from Strange than to have LS and RSN start discrediting each other. Roger keep your eyes on Strange, Pryor, Garrison and Brant...

Anonymous said...

I agree, @7:22. This likely is a convenient diversionary tactic for the Baxley clan.

Anonymous said...

Interesting comment, @6:35. Your thought is that the Baxleys benefited financially from the raid at Center Stage? Do they have a financial interest in a competing facility?

Anonymous said...

LS, it will be interesting to see how Rickeystokes responds to your comments. He always has a rebuttal when someone calls him out. If he goes radio silent on this it will only confirm your suspicions.

legalschnauzer said...

Like a lot of people in the news business, Rickey Stokes operates on tight deadlines. Journalism has been called "history in a hurry" for a reason, and I know all about the challenges of deadlines. Rickey's piece says he talked to the trusted source on Saturday afternoon and posted the same day. If he'd had the time, or taken the time, to call me, I would have told him about the threatening letter from Baxley--and that would have told him something about Baxley's motives. I don't have a particular problem with Rickey Stokes; I like his Web site, which is built on what you might call "instant reporting," getting news out fast. A member of a powerful Dothan family used him, and that happens to reporters sometimes. My guess is that Baxley was pressuring him to put something on his site in a hurry.

Anonymous said...

LS: I find it ironic that Baxley is threatening you with a defamation lawsuit. Depending on what was said in his conversation with Stokes, you might have a defamation lawsuit against Baxley--and maybe Stokes.

Anonymous said...

Bill Baxley has been a con man for a long time. He conned his former wife, Lucy. He conned the people of Alabama. Rickey Stokes is just another in a long line of Baxley victims. Stokes should feel fortunate if he comes out of this in a relatively pain-free state.

Anonymous said...

I want to know more about Baxley's ties to Vegas casinos. Apparently that was an issue back in the 70s, and that was before my time--or at least before I was keeping up with news closely.

legalschnauzer said...

Thanks for sharing, @9:12. I am aware of the possibility that I might have a defamation claim against Baxley & Co. I will be looking into that for sure.

Anonymous said...

LS, Do you have the link to Bob Martin's article in the Montgomery Independent?

legalschnauzer said...

I don't have a link directly to it because I don't think it's on the Independent's Web site. But I did put an image of the article on my Scrbid page, and a link to it is in the 12th paragraph of this post.

Here is the URL to Martin article at Scribd:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/161755834/Bob-Martin-Article

Anonymous said...

Another one-eyed Jack revealed in the strange saga. Soon his other side too, having been cloaked from public, will be politically exposed. Number of individuals previously enjoying being shielded from continuous public fact finding exposures beginning to mount up. Wonder how many backroom conversations Strange has been the topic of for bringing some of these thought to have been before honorable people into public's awareness. "Let the sunshine in, let the sunshine in". Stokes is readying his retractions.........

Anonymous said...

I went to Stokes website and first thing I noticed was the name "Robert" Shuler. Research he said. How much research did he do and when did he do it? The other interesting thing is the use of the lawyerly phrase.."no evidence". OK so neither of the two parties have come right out and said they had an affair. There no pictures of them actually having sex. No DNA testing. Lots of circumstantial evidence at this point.
A lawsuit might be interesting if discovery is allowed. Big time lawyer Baxley and Strange just might be able to avoid that. Wonder why Big Luther felt the need to turn up the heat.

Anonymous said...

Just tried to access Montgomery Independent website and had a notice
from Google Chrome that malware has been inserted to the site. Happened twice. Interesting.

Anonymous said...

Do Bill Baxley and Luther Strange have any political/financial connections? Perhaps Luther dropped some Poarch Creek money on "Dollar Bill," enticing him to draft a threat letter for LS.

Anonymous said...

As I recall, Baxley often talked about his close relationship with Bear Bryant, and I think Bear endorsed him for AG or Gov or some position. Does Baxley also have a close relationship with Paul Bryant jr.?

legalschnauzer said...

Very good question, @9:58. Reminds me that Jessica Garrison is deeply embedded in the Tuscaloosa conservative culture. She once worked at Phelps/Fowler law firm, which is Bryant's outfit in T-town.

Anonymous said...

I believe Rickey Stokes is a good person, and I think he will do the right thing. I think he will denounce Bill Baxley and his actions on this. If I'm Rickey, I'm really pissed off at Baxley and any other source who pulled a con game on him.

Anonymous said...

I'm starting to wonder about the propriety of Wade Baxley being appointed a special master in the Center Stage case. Is he a stooge for Luther Strange? Can anyone in the Baxley family be trusted at this point?

Anonymous said...

I'm starting to hear the sounds of Indian gaming cash flowing into the Baxley coffers. Listen closely, and I bet you will hear it too.

Anonymous said...

MONOPOLY MONEY

Murphy dug and found bugs
scuttling here there everywhere Roaches In Robes
Got away again darkness won

But as it is with
sunshine and light in the darkness glowing
Truth Murphy's Spirit doesn't

Lie or get down too
dirty until the filthy Robed Roaches corrupt
all the time good law

Strange bedfellows Baxley exposed Terra
eyeballs spinning tongues elongated dry mouth hooves
clawing down down down down

MONOPOLY MONEY won't hide
cupboards bare a$$e$ up elbows grounded empty
no hands grabbing Human Savioring

Lost souls hearts heads dead
beating life isn't but a child's
last dream earth slaughtered lambs

And MONOPOLISTS Alabama style
USA digital lies tried to do all
BUT MURPH'S LAW GLOBAL BARKED

Louder than GOP
Alabamy OLD MONOPOLY MONEY WHITE TRASH human
Filth ready for China's recycling

Porn Pom

Legal Schnauzer, Murphy has dug out the biggest baddest ROACHES in the land of Sunshine! What a DAWG SPIRIT GOD DOG!

Anonymous said...

Did Jessica provide Bill with a 12-pack of Jack Daniels in exchange for the threat letter to LS?

Anonymous said...

Hey "Robert" (LOL)! I have nothing bad to say about Rickey Stokes as he does occasionally report on issues that our politically owned MSM won't touch with a ten foot pole. With that said, I think he is being used. There are just a handful of honest reporters in Alabama that inform us on very critical issues involving our elected officials as well as other "taboo" MSM reports. IMO this group includes both you and Stokes. I would hate to see bad blood in this small but critical group of journalists.
From what I understand there are more than a few people that are well aware of the affair. Hopefully Stokes will do his research and realize he has been manipulated to be the spin doctor.

legalschnauzer said...

Thanks for your comment, @10:59. Good points, well stated. Certainly no bad blood on my part because of this. I think Rickey Stokes provides a valuable service, and I wish him well.

Anonymous said...

I will have to say I was disappointed in Ricky Stokes article. If he had bothered to check he would have learned this affair between Strange and Garrison has been the talk around Montgomery for a long time you just brought it to the forefront. It's amazing to me we never heard a peep from Garrison until Bob Martin published her affair in his newspaper on the 15th. I guess the truth scared her to the lawyer’s office. Much less to a lawyer that has been there done that.

Anonymous said...

LS you handled the RSN circumstance with the greatest of gentlemanly approach. Anyone that follows your blog or the long standing Strange situation completely understands the reason why she employed Baxley as simply to distance herself from Strange. That didn’t work with your loyal readers. Luther must have forgotten the Baxley saga to remarriage else he would have surely chosen a different venue for Ms. Garrison. Anyone that reads Ricky Stokes News appreciates his methods and quick reporting. As such, in his circles Dothan is really a small town after all when it comes to the Baxley clan. Certainly Wade is a very well thought of member of the community, while all of us would give anything to revisit pictures of drunken Bill standing at a craps table at the Desert Inn with his coat pockets bulging with chips. Mr. Stokes may have been temporarily misled, but nonetheless the truth will soon be known; which we will enjoy.

Anonymous said...

As Alabama's Attorney General, going to Las Vegas, $90,000.00 winnings at blackjack, bulging pockets with clips speaks for themselves, apparentely witnessed by Birmingham individuals there too. That being said, what is not known, him being an elected official, that being a organized well developed organized crime environment at the time; is how did he get there and back all of those visits to gamble, and at whose out-of-pocket expenses, or was it on junkets, if so, arranged by who? Maybe the Alabama Secretary of State's office could provide help by producing each election's campaign contributions. Sorry, but Ricky Stokes knows more about what should be known about especially when involving political betrayals of public trust and integrity. This might be another one-eyed Jack having become entangled in the strange surfacing of.....; as unknown to Murph now sits wondering about another domino falling, as it is sure to do. "Going To A Party In The County Jail; I'm All Shook Up" Elvis Presley.

Anonymous said...

I don't know for sure, but I think it's a safe bet that Baxley is fairly close to Bear Jr. They both seem to have a taste for gambling of all sorts. Still don't understand why Red Elephant Club has any particular interest in Tuscaloosa muni elections.

Anonymous said...

When this information was first publicly revealed both Garrison and Strange removed all pictures of themselves together from both their Twitter and Facebook accounts (and there were plenty). If they are not hiding anything why would they take such drastic measures?

Anonymous said...

If you believe they are going to sue you for defamation, you need to write baxley back and demand that luther and garrison preserve any and all e-mails, text messages or other electronic forms of communication, that refer, reflect or relate to any and all communication between luther and garrison whether of a business or personal nature.

Also, demand that they do not destroy or delete any and all tweets, e-mail accounts, instant messages or other such forms of communication.

If they are having an affair, I bet you they are covering their tracks as we speak.

If there is any truth to your allegations so as to support a defense of truth, that is where the bones will be buried. otherwise it is he said, she said.

I would also request that they preserve any and all travel records and itineraries, including hotel and restaurant receipts, to see if you can put them together.

legalschnauzer said...

This is excellent advice, @2:01. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

2:01 makes some good points, especially since:

(1) Ms. Garrison may not actually be a "public figure" in relation to LS's allegations, and

(2) LS's allegations could constitute defamation per se under Alabama law.

If true, those two things would mean that LS has the burden to show the truth of his assertions. Truth would still be a defense to the defamation claim, but Ms. Garrison would not need to show falsity to make her prima facie case. If LS cannot get the evidence to show that there actually was an affair, he would be bringing a knife to a gun fight.

Anonymous said...

Why would Baxley go to the trouble of pulling a con job on Rickey Stokes if he thought his client had a legit defamation claim against LS? Answer: he wouldn't. Baxley did it as a smokescreen, and even he knows his client has no valid defamation claim. Unfortunately, Baxley got caught--another embarrassing incident for a man who has brought lots of public embarrassment upon himself.

Anonymous said...

Well, you don't tug on Superman's cape, you don't spit in the wind. You don't pull on the mask of old Long Ranger and you don't mess around with Murph!

Anonymous said...

e.a.f.

f.y.i.

The Conservatives’ militarism is unrelenting.

Last month the Harper government launched a Civil Military Leadership Pilot Initiative at the University of Alberta. The program “allow[s] people to simultaneously obtain a university degree while also gaining leadership experience in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Reserves.” The four-year Civil Military Leadership Pilot Initiative will be “co-directed by the University of Alberta and the CAF” and the government hopes to export this “test model” to other universities.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/harper-promotes-canadian-militarism-introducing-university-undergraduates-to-a-form-of-military-service-on-campus/5346493

In the USA Israelis get to attend HARVARD, after serving in the IDF, remember LS, you should be so fortunate to get Murphy into the best pedigreed sheepskin kennel.

But, hey de HO Garrison and a Strange show to distract the people while a military violates the Third Amendment to steal whatever can be stolen and call it the 'government' or worse, the gambling away of sanity, clearly.

The people in the public receiving the public 'trust' and other public support such as 'digits' to support 'life', are in the public scrutiny for the purpose of the public government of the people and by-for the people.

NOT PRIVATE the public that has formed a gang of shadow-government too weird, too-too insane.

What to do, how to know what to do as the public has to demand all accountable servants acting as though no morality whatsoever, provide an entire accounting of the public cost for the breach of contracts repeatedly.

Anonymous said...

e.a.f.

and ALL who consume any 'water food' whatsoever

‘Response’ from Canadian Government

Vancouver 24 hrs, Aug 11, 2013: [Morton] says Fisheries and Oceans Canada [FOC] is ignoring the problem. [...] According to emails from FOC, the federal authority had asked the marine biologist to send in 20 to 30 herring in September 2011, saying that would be “more than sufficient for the lab to look for clinical signs of disease and provide sufficient diagnostics.” She did, and hasn’t heard back since. [...] FOC officials did not respond to a request for comment by the 24 hours presstime.

http://enenews.com/biologist-pacific-herring-in-canada-bleeding-from-eyeballs-faces-fins-tails-ive-never-seen-fish-looking-this-bad-all-100-caught-were-bleeding-hemorrhaging-first-noticed-in-summer-of-201

Anonymous said...

Who among us ?

Anonymous said...

Question, Did not Baxley defend one of the people in the McGregor trial. So why would his brother be appointed to count the money at Ronnie Gilleys old place? Why is Baxley now apparently cozy with Luther? Family Ties?

Anonymous said...

This is all too obvious! Stokes took a payoff to wtote that about you LS! Either that or he was intimifated into it. He must have something to lose. What a coward and a sell out! His following are fools to trust his reporting from here on!

e.a.f. said...

Was Rickey Stokes educated using text books from Texas? In the past, journilsts usually used 3 sources and tried to get a comment from the person they were writing about. Like in an opportunity to give their side of the story or "set the record straight".

NOTE: To the A. writer, who has addressed some comments to me, e.a.f., This section is discussing Rickey Stokes and his news, lets stay on topic will we.

Robby Scott Hill said...

More mischief with my Internet connection. Luther is pissed...

Robby Scott Hill said...

The very fact that Strange & Garrison reached across the isle to a veteran Democrat shows their growing isolation in GOP circles. They are being shunned by their own kind. Luther's ability to prosecute, Bentley's ability to govern & Roy Moore's ability to discipline the bar are compromised. It's time for Strange & Garrison to surrender their licenses to practice law.

Anonymous said...

Judge Conway removed from the case.

Anonymous said...

I believe you are referring to Judge Young in Macon County. He's been removed from that case, in a ruling that is unlawful, but predicable, for our Supreme Court.

Anonymous said...

@3:55pm
You make some interesting points. Probably not a defendant discovery free for all, lets hope LS has his affidavits and supporting documentation in order.

Anonymous said...

Be careful of the Baxley’s I put nothing past them. But, I have a huge amount of respect for their ability to get in trouble and walk away untouched. They are slowly loosing the power they once had. When Bill and Wade go to heaven Hamp can’t hold it together. He is a common idiot and the sad thing he doesn’t know it.