|Jessica Medeiros Garrison|
That's a fair question, and here (I think) is a reasonable answer: Substantial evidence suggests Garrison's defamation lawsuit never has been about my reporting on her extramarital affair with Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange; that story is true, and Garrison, of all people, has to know that.
From a legal standpoint, Garrison has done nothing at trial, before a jury (as required by law), to show that my reporting was false and defamatory. On top of that, substantial evidence suggests she committed perjury during a hearing that led to a $3.5-million in her favor, and it's possible that a transcript of the proceedings would show that AG Strange also lied under oath.
That suggests Garrison's lawsuit, and her recent rant at women's fashion site Marie Claire, involve ulterior motives. I submit that's the reason Garrison's recent statements are filled with numerous falsehoods; it's pretty easy to keep your story straight when you are telling the truth--but Garrison isn't.
One of her bogus claims involves weighty, constitutional matters, and that's why I have pursued the story in considerable detail. Garrison portrays herself as a victim of defamation--even though my reporting never has been found to be false or defamatory at trial or in any adversarial proceeding--and she claims to be protecting other women from journalists. Given Garrison's political background, that is laughable.
In fact, Garrison is attacking journalism itself--and the First Amendment that is supposed to ensure a free press. That's why this story matters so much.
First, Garrison isn't just ranting about my reporting at Legal Schnauzer. She reportedly is trying to get Google to hide my posts in searches--even though they've never been found to be false or defamatory at trial. That is a blatant attempt at censorship. Google would be wise to steer very clear of that path.
Garrison also reportedly might speak at a National Lawyers Association (NLA) panel discussion on defamation law in the digital age. The public record, however, shows that, by law, she has not been defamed--at least not at Legal Schnauzer. Statements she might make at such a discussion likely would result in Garrison and the NLA defaming me. I sent an e-mail to the NLA, asking for information about the event, seeking a transcript (when it's available), and warning of the possible repercussions about possible false statements about me and my reporting on their platform. I have not received a reply.
Garrison likes to brag these days about trips to Apple Inc. in Cupertino, California, to apparently solicit funds for the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA), which was started by her mentor, the virulently homophobic Bill Pryor, now a Bush-appointed federal judge. (Apple's Tim Cook is the first openly gay CEO in American history.) But what is really going on with Garrison? What points to her lawsuit, and her recent PR attack, being about something other than our coverage of the Luther Strange affair? We spelled that out in a post dated September 11, 2013. Here is the key material:
We've established that the first of my two communications with Jessica Medeiros Garrison came on July 12, when I sent her an e-mail requesting an interview about her relationship with Attorney General Luther Strange. I gave Garrison more than four days to respond, and I never heard from her, so my first report on her extramarital affair with Strange was published on July 17.
From that date until August 13, I published six posts about the affair, and I never heard from Garrison or her attorney, Bill Baxley.
My second e-mail to Jessica Garrison was sent at 1:50 p.m. on August 14 and included questions about two issues that have little, if anything, to do with Luther Strange. One issue was her purchase of a house that was appraised for almost $440,000 in the Crestline section of Mountain Brook. The other involved her business relationship with a man named Erik Davis Harp, who was indicted in 2009 as one of two kingpins in an illegal gambling ring based in Panama. According to published reports, leaders of the ring had ties to the Gambino and Genovese crime families.
Regular readers probably remember my first e-mail to Garrison, requesting an interview about her relationship with Luther Strange. But readers might have forgotten that the first e-mail generated no response from Garrison or her lawyer--not even when I wrote six posts about the Luther Strange affair in the aftermath, Readers might also have forgotten that I sent a second e-mail, one month and two days later, and that prompted an almost instant response from Garrison and Baxley.
Here are the contents of that second e-mail, dated August 14, 2013:
I am a journalist in Birmingham, reporting on justice/legal issues at a number of Web sites, including the blog Legal Schnauzer. I have been reporting about your relationship with Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange and would like to ask you a few questions for upcoming related articles:
(1) A document from your custody case, dated 5/23/12, states that you had a new address of 119 Main Street, Mountain Brook. Another public document shows that the property was sold at "public outcry" on two different dates, 6/12/12 and 7/20/12.
A. How could you have this new address in May when the property wasn't sold to you at public auction until June and July?
B. Was there really a public auction, where the property was available for open bids, or was the house somehow cherry picked for you? If so, who assisted in this matter, and why?
(2) Public records indicate you've had a business relationship with a man named Erik Davis Harp, formerly of Tuscaloosa. Published reports show that Mr. Harp was indicted for helping to run an illegal offshore gambling operation, based in Panama. Published reports further state that the operation had connections to the Gambino and Genovese crime families.
A. What was the nature of your business relationship with Mr. Harp? Is that relationship ongoing?
B. Given your public statements against gambling, and considering Luther Strange's strong opposition to gambling, how could you be connected to a gambling kingpin with ties to major criminal factions?
I ask that you respond to this request by 5 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 16.
(205) 991-7438As you can see, the second e-mail had almost nothing to do with the Luther Strange affair. It primarily involved the following issues:
* Garrison's apparent sweetheart deal on a house valued at more than $400,000 in the Crestline section of Alabama's snazziest suburb, Mountain Brook;
* Garrison's business ties to Tuscaloosa native Erik Davis Harp, who was indicted for his role as one of two kingpins in an offshore gambling operation that was based in Panama and drew scrutiny from the district attorney's office in Queens, New York;
|The late Mafia kingpin|
John Gotti, of the
* Garrison's stunning hypocrisy on gambling.
So what's the real reason Jessica Garrison filed a defamation lawsuit against me for reporting about her affair with Luther Strange that has never been proven to be false?
Garrison's own actions suggest the lawsuit, and her recent Marie Claire rant, have nothing to do with the Strange affair. The real reason behind her jihad, I would suggest, lie somewhere in that second e-mail published above.
Translation: I likely wasn't sued for anything I reported; I was sued because of questions I was asking.
An attack on journalism? That's exactly what Jessica Medeiros Garrison is involved in.