Leaderboard 728 X 90

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Bill Baxley And His Client, Jessica Medeiros Garrison, Play Fast and Loose With Both Facts And The Law


Jessica Medeiros Garrison
Alabama lawyer Bill Baxley apparently believes in laying it on thick. Why level one bogus claim against someone, when you can level three or four?

That philosophy seems to be at play in the recent communications I've received from Baxley on behalf of his client, Republican political operative Jessica Medeiros Garrison. First, Baxley alleged that my reports on Garrison's long-running extramarital affair with Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange are false and defamatory. I soon will present evidence that indicates Baxley himself doesn't believe that. In fact, I have evidence that suggests Baxley's letters aren't about Jessica Garrison and her affair with Luther Strange--they might not be about Jessica Garrison at all.


But Baxley was not content to raise only a bogus defamation claim against me. He followed that up by suggesting I had engaged in a crime, harassing communications, against his client. Then, seemingly unable to contain himself, Baxley alleged that I had committed another crime, stalking, against his client.


Press reports indicate Baxley has downed copious amounts of Jack Daniels and other "adult beverages" over the years, so maybe that has done something to his brain cells. For whatever reason, he seems to have lost the ability to engage in facts and the law. So we will take over that job for him.


As for facts, I've never seen Jessica Garrison or, to my knowledge, been anywhere near her. I've engaged her in communication twice, both times via e-mail. On both occasions, I requested an interview and/or invited her to comment on matters of public interest. She is, after all, an attorney with a major Birmingham law firm (Balch & Bingham) and an official with a national political organization, the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA). On top of that, she served as campaign manager for Luther Strange in 2010.


In other words, Jessica Garrison has willingly stepped into the arena of statewide and national politics, and she should not be surprised when a reporter contacts her with questions or an interview request. As an attorney herself, she also should be familiar with the law on subjects such as defamation, harassing communications, and stalking.


My first e-mail to Jessica Garrison was sent at 12:31 p.m. on July 12, 2013. Here are the full contents:



Ms. Garrison:
I am a journalist in Birmingham, reporting on justice/legal issues at a number of Web sites, including the blog Legal Schnauzer. I've received reports from multiple sources that you and Luther Strange had an affair that culminated with your divorce and his election as attorney general of Alabama. I have been researching this matter for several months, and I'm at the point where the stories are ready for publication. I would like to give you an opportunity to respond to questions and ask that we schedule a time for an interview, either via phone or in person.
My plan is to begin running the articles in the next few days, so I ask that you respond to this request by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, July 16.

Thank you,

Roger Shuler

legalschnauzer.blogspot.com 
(205) 991-7438

As you can see, I identified myself and stated my affiliation and my purpose for contacting her. I stated that I wanted to give her an opportunity to respond to questions about her relationship with Luther Strange. I said I would be glad to conduct the interview by phone or in person--and I gave her more than four days to respond to my request. I treated her with respect and professional courtesy, but  I never heard from her, so I proceeded with my first report about the affair on July 17.

Jessica Garrison had every opportunity to address this issue. If she wanted to make verbal statements or present physical evidence that indicated no affair took place, I was prepared to listen, take notes, and report accordingly. She was contacted five days before the first word ever appeared on this blog about the Luther Strange affair.

Ms. Garrison never responded--never took advantage of a chance to discuss this issue--but now she's claiming my reports are false and defamatory. In a curious twist, Ms. Garrison did not communicate her claims to me until Bill Baxley's letter of August 16, exactly one month after she had failed to respond to my interview request.

That's not the only curious twist in this evolving tale.


(To be continued)

33 comments:

Anonymous said...

Bill Baxley has been a hard drinkin', hard gamblin' con man for a lot of years. This leopard hasn't changed his spots.

Anonymous said...

Looks like you have written proof that you requested an interview with Jessica Garrison, which is a standard journalism practice. And yet, Bill Baxley claims you aren't a journalist?

Anonymous said...

If Baxley has falsely accused of two crimes, wouldn't that give you grounds for a defamation lawsuit against HIM?

legalschnauzer said...

Based on my research, it might, @8:36. It depends on whether he has "published" (verbally or in writing) the information to third persons. Under the law, Baxley can accuse me, directly, of most anything--and it's not defamatory, as long as the communication involves only the two of us. But when it spreads to someone else, that's when defamation enters the picture. Defamation law is about the publishing of false information to third parties.

Anonymous said...

Why do you think Jessica Garrison didn't respond to your request for an interview? You made the request in a professional and courteous manner. Why do you think she ignored it?

legalschnauzer said...

I don't know, @8:42. What do you think? I'm curious as to how others view this.

Anonymous said...

I think she didn't want to be interviewed because the story about Luther is true, and she was embarrassed to be asked about it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the education on defamation law, LS. I hope you fire back at em if you get the chance.

Anonymous said...

A naïve young lawyer after having lost hard fought election founded on honesty, trust, and integrity, drained of personal coffers wandered into a bar.
Worn out, after sitting alone for sometime approached by beautiful young woman, to which he responds that he just wants some quiet and peace. The woman not completely understanding responded back, asking of him, if he had a BEN with him?
Himself totally worn out responded, no, it was just him, not any Ben[s], saying I guess
I'd better just go ahead and blow,
but was told again, not without a BEN.
Before leaving the bar stool next to him, she looks him straight in the eyes and says, I'll screw any body, any time, any where, any place, it doesn't matter. The young man finally raises his eyebrows and says no kidding, What law firm do you work for? I should've hire you.

Anonymous said...

After all Baxley did go on the record as having questioned her for 2-3 hours like a ole-timer New York cop would do; and was satisfied with her story.
Baxley's litigating these matters has now/will more than ever before shine not wanted sunlight on Alabama's political histories. Baxley is due to be the flagship that causes to be publicly exposed many ranking state Republicans never before known of.
Circumstances sure to dictate Assistant white collar/corruption Attorney General Matt Barr to launch an investigation; but will he, his credentials on the line, under microscope of Lutherrrrrrrr.

Anonymous said...

After all Baxley did go on the record as having questioned her for 2-3 hours like a ole-timer New York cop would do; and was satisfied with her story.
Baxley's litigating these matters has now/will more than ever before shine not wanted sunlight on Alabama's political histories. Baxley is due to be the flagship that causes to be publicly exposed many ranking state Republicans never before known of.
Circumstances sure to dictate Assistant white collar/corruption Attorney General Matt Barr to launch an investigation; but will he, his credentials on the line, under microscope of Lutherrrrrrrr.

legalschnauzer said...

Thanks, @8:54. If you look at Baxley's documents, it appears they are prepared by a secretary/assistant of some sort, so it appears he has shared the information, at least, with him or her. Not sure that amounts to "publishing" under the law, but I see quite a bit of evidence already that Baxley and Garrison have defamed me.

legalschnauzer said...

A note of caution: Just because Bill Baxley went on the record about something does not mean it's true.

TLR said...

LS, didn't you go to University of Missouri School of Journalism? I've heard a number of times that is considered one of the best journalism schools in the country. How is it that Bill Baxley has decided you aren't a journalist.

legalschnauzer said...

TLR:

Yes, I grew up in Missouri and went to the J-School there. It's believed to be the first journalism school to be established anywhere and has maintained an excellent reputation over the years. There are a number of other excellent J schools; Northwestern U has one of the best. Columbia U has a very strong graduate program.

Anonymous said...

I think Jessica G ignored your interview request because she knew the stuff about Luther is true, and she hoped it would go away. If it got out, she knew it would hurt her standing in the political world, and it has. That's what's behind all the lawsuit business, in my mind.

Anonymous said...

I'm not an expert on the law, but the info in this post seems to give you a pretty strong defense, LS. You requested an interview with Ms. Garrison, before you ever wrote anything about the affair. You gave her every chance to answer questions, make a statement, provide evidence, refer you to others who could support her story . . . all of that. She doesn't take advantage of that opportunity, but now she claims your reporting is false. Makes her look pretty bad. Makes Bill Baxley look even worse.

Anonymous said...

If Bill Baxley grilled his client so hard before taking the case, I wonder if he asked her, "Why didn't you respond to this guy's interview request?"

Anonymous said...

Did you see where Bill Britt is coming after you on AL Political Reporter?

legalschnauzer said...

Yes, a reader brought that to my attention. Glad I could help provide Mr. Britt with some material. It's a curious piece. Here are the key take-home points, as I see it:

* It's OK to use anonymous sources when reporting about a man, but it's not OK when reporting about a woman;

* It might be OK to use anonymous sources when reporting on a childless woman. But if she has a child who might grow up someday to read unpleasant news stories about his mother, then it's wrong.

* If Bill Britt can't track down a story, then the story can't be legit. No other reporter possibly could be capable of tracking down a story that escaped Bill Britt's grasp. Bill Britt is the alpha and omega of journalism.

Not sure where Mr. Britt developed these journalistic principles, but they would be unfamiliar to most reporters that I know. His piece reeks of arrogance and sexism, in my view.

A healthy chunk of his screed seems to reflect sour grapes over the fact he got beat on a major political story that took place, to a great extent, right under his nose, in Montgomery.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Bill Baxley grilled Jessica Garrison about why the file in her divorce case is sealed.

Anonymous said...

I read Mr. Britt's columns and sent him an email in response disagreeing with him on part of his column. I would disagree with you as to his motives as stated in your response above. As of this date, there is no "proof" that Strange and Garrison had an affair. Circumstances would seem to indicate that they did and may still do. I think anybody that is around state government would acknowledge that "affairs of the heart" are common place. That alone would not constitute proof. If the matter ever gets to discovery phase, it could get interesting.

Anonymous said...

Britt says he thinks the "rumors" were spread by Luther Strange's "political opponents." I assume that means Mike Hubbard and his crowd. That tells me Britt believes Hubbard's bunch is trying to smear Luther because of the AG's investigation of Hubbard.

legalschnauzer said...

Interesting point, @11:20. Hubbard & Co. might be trying to smear Luther. They also might have inside knowledge about the affair, which I guess would make it a political attack and not a smear. (I believe a smear, by definition, is not true.) I don't know if either is the case. My sources on the story have nothing to do with Mike Hubbard or anyone associated with him.

Anonymous said...

Britt has a hard-on for Mike Hubbard, and that is his No. 1 focus. He didn't want to piss off Big Luther by reporting on the Jessica Garrison affair. That's the unspoken "word" behind Britt's column. He wants the AG's office to go after Hubbard, and he was fearful the Garrison story might get in the way.

Anonymous said...

You nail it, @11:30. I can understand Britt not wanting to tick off Luther if he thinks the Hubbard story is more important than Luther's extramarital activities. But the attack on LS is uncalled for. I've read pieces by Britt that cite anonymous sources, so this seems to be the "pot calling the kettle black."

Anonymous said...

Much of the circumstantial evidence cited as proof (by Luther Strange's office) that Lowell Barron engaged in an improper sexual relationship with a campaign worker is identical to evidence supporting a possible improper extramarital affair between Luther Strange and Jessica Medeiros Garrison.

Anonymous said...

I believe Bill Baxley has been quoted as saying Jessica Garrison presented evidence to him that proves she didn't have an affair with Luther Strange. If that's the case, why didn't she present that evidence to you? She had the opportunity.

Anonymous said...

Not sure anyone can prove their not having an affair unless can prove never an opportunity as in never being in same country for example. Do you have to have all your "parts" to legally be considered having sex? If so maybe one party is missing crucial "part" or maybe this could be a distraction so something larger might go unnoticed. Or maybe she IS telling the truth. If she is telling the truth how could she clear her name?

Anonymous said...

http://www.alreporter.com/in-case-you-missed-it-2/5068-attorney-general-s-former-campaign-manager-sues-blogger-over-accusations-of-extramarital-affair.html

This is where Ricky Stokes got his story about the law suit

Anonymous said...

Murphhhhhh
Standing his turf,
So you wanta do rumble,
Well don't cha stumble,
If bringing unchecked facts,
Present in courtroom acts,
Perjury is proven so,
Book'em Dano!


Anonymous said...

You and your partner Stan Pate will have your day soon.....

legalschnauzer said...

My partner, Stan Pate? That's a good one. Thanks for the chuckle.