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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Why is the Jessica Medeiros Garrison story so important? Evidence suggests it is about much more than her affair with Alabama AG Luther Strange

Jessica Medeiros Garrison
The careful reader might ask, "Schnauzer, why have you spent so much time lately on Jessica Medeiros Garrison and her attack piece at marieclaire.com? I realize this must be a topic that inflames your passions, but isn't it time to move on to something else?"

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:

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 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.

Thank you,

Roger Shuler

(205) 991-7438

As 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
Gambino family
* The gambling ring's ties to the Gambino and Genovese crime families--which, given Garrison's ties to Harp, raise questions about her connections to organized crime;

* 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.


Anonymous said...

Did Ms. Garrison or Luther Strange ever sit for depositions in her defamation lawsuit against you?

legalschnauzer said...

No, @11:54, there was no discovery at all in the case--no depositions, no interrogatories, no release of documents. Essentially, there was no evidence at all to support Garrison's claim. And some of the "evidence"--that I reported Luther Strange as the father of her child--was flat-out false.

Anonymous said...

You go out on a limb with your definite wording regarding the alleged affair. To save yourself legal troubles in the future, I suggest you try using more discreet working such as "alleged" "purportedly", things like that. I know you are convinced beyond a doubt about the affair, but there is no need to help them when you don't have to.

Anonymous said...

Luther Strange only recently entered the public political field, but he's been a behind the scenes power in Alabama politics for decades. Especially with his Pac involvement and being an attorney with Bradley Arrogant. (Arant). Jessica has managed to secure top positions in everything since her graduation from law school, which is impressive. But, it does make one wonder what her connections are to start off right at the top like she has. Whatever the reasons, the bottom line is, our states produces crooked political figures with their training ground being the SGA at Alabama. (Although, I've heard that with the University of Alabama expanding so much, that most of the Alabama elite is moving over to the University of West Alabama.)

Anonymous said...

When you look at the pictures of Jessica Medeiros Garrison and her son, the son favors Lee Garrison, for sure.

Anonymous said...

Plus the more you write about her, the more she shows up in Google search tied to this website. You're a sneaky one...

legalschnauzer said...

I hadn't thought about that, @1:04, but you are right. I guess I am a sneaky one.

legalschnauzer said...

I agree, @12:58, that the son favors Lee Garrison. Also, I interviewed Lee Garrison at some length about the "Luther as Baby Daddy issue," and Garrison admitted he had heard rampant rumors about that one. Based on my discussion with Lee Garrison, I came away convinced that the boy is his, and that's why I never reported that Luther Strange was the father. Jessica Garrison stated under oath in a default-judgment hearing (to which I received no notice) that I had reported Luther as the father, when I had not. I researched that subject, just as I researched the affair, and reported accordingly. Bottom line: Jessica's $3.5-million default judgment is unlawful on multiple grounds, which she should know if she is any kind of lawyer, but the key is that she lied under oath--and it's possible that Luther Strange did, too, but I would have to see a transcript to know that for sure.

legalschnauzer said...

Perhaps you aren't aware, @12:46, but Jessica Garrison already has sued me, so I'm beyond worrying about that. The result of her lawsuit? My reporting never has been found to be false or defamatory at trial, before a jury, or in any kind of adversarial proceeding. In other words, she utterly failed to meet her burden to prove the story was false.

Words like "allegedly" have a valid use in journalism, but I don't think it necessarily offers protection from a defamation lawsuit. Aside from that, it's my judgment that "allegedly" and similar words would not be used properly in this instance.

Anonymous said...

Keep sniffing on the Erik Davis Harp trail. I'm convinced there is a mountain of sleaze at the end of that path.

Anonymous said...

I think @12:49 makes a lot of salient points. Why has Jessica Garrison risen to considerable heights on apparently very average talent? I would suggest two possibilities:

* Her ties to organized crime and gambling via Erik Davis Harp

* Her ties to Paul Bryant Jr. via the Phelps Fowler law firm in Tuscaloosa. Scott Phelps, Bryant's right-hand man at Greene Group, recently replaced "Cubby" on the the UA Board of Trustees. Phelps' daddy was head of the Phelps law firm, where Jessica G worked for a decade or so.

Anonymous said...

Didn't Erik Harp's gambling ring net something like $20 million a month. Where did all of that money go? Was the ring broken up or merely inconvenienced for a time?

legalschnauzer said...

Yes, the Harp gambling ring generated $20 million a month. Not sure if that is gross or net, but either way, it's a staggering amount of money. I don't have solid answers on your other questions, but I am continuing to research the Harp case, which was called "Operation Betting It All." My big question: How did a guy from Tuscaloosa, AL, with ties to Jessica Garrison and probably Paul Bryant Jr., become not only a player, but a kingpin, in an illegal offshore gambling outfit that generated that kind of wealth? And how much of that wealth, if any, flowed through Alabama, Florida, and other SE states? My guess on that last question is, "A lot."

Was this money used for political purposes, perhaps to further the careers of people like Luther Strange and his allies (Rob Riley)? Did a lot of it flow into certain powerful law firms for corporate entities?

Anonymous said...

That second e-mail you sent Jessica G was filled with explosive stuff. I bet something in there made her--or Luther or somebody--extremely nervous.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't someone threatening a few days ago to out a member of your family for having an affair back in the day? What happened with that?

legalschnauzer said...

Yes, someone did leave such a comment a few days ago. It was on the following post if my memory is correct:


Haven't heard anything more about it.

Anonymous said...

What business does Alabama have with Portugal?!? There is a huge distinction between a reporter and a journalist. Perhaps they mistook you for the former. Suppose that there was concrete evidence that proves that the information was erroneous, isn't it standard to issue an apology and correction? The Internet is inherently inaccurate. Gambling, extramarital affairs, insider trading, it sounds like Vegas. This bread and circus requires a reporter.

Anonymous said...

How many persons with this name in the USA?

Same first middle and last?

legalschnauzer said...

Wow, thanks for sharing, @12:07. Very interesting, for sure. And the first name is spelled "Erik." Looks like Bay County is the Panama City area. I think I saw somewhere that Mr. Harp has a PO Box in that area, so perhaps that is where he lives.

I need to check with New York, Queen's DA, and see final dispensation of Harp's role in gambling case up there. You have to wonder why he's unlawfully carrying a concealed firearm. Wonder if there was another charge that caused cops to stop him (DUI maybe), and they found the gun in a search. That's how those things often work

I feel certain that's him, and he is quite the classy looking fellow. Please keep me posted of any additional info you come across.

Anonymous said...

Another report.

legalschnauzer said...

Thanks for sharing. The plot thickens. If he was on probation of some sort from gambling case, this one might present a problem?

Anonymous said...

At least one name of interest appears here.

legalschnauzer said...

Busy at the moment, but going to check for your "name of interest" here in a moment. BTW, this post mentions the NLA (National Lawyers Association), but I think Garrison is more aligned with the Republican National Lawyers Association (RNLA). Not sure if they've actually had a seminar where she spoke on defamation issues. Plan to look into that.

Anonymous said...

So you don't have to waste time it's the same name as in the previous comments. Haven't identified the date the donation was made yet.

legalschnauzer said...

Thanks for the hint. Pretty sure I know who you are talking about now. Definitely need to followup on that story.

Anonymous said...

Check back later for the answer to your question at 10:53am. It's not what you think.

Anonymous said...

The comment at 12:53pm has Name FML DOB and address. Be sure to save for future reference.

Anonymous said...

Just realized there is an opportunity for additional followup.

Somewhere didn't you post that you got additional information on an arrest of interest (see above)?

If there are any additional names obtained on reports or documents then it would be recommended to attempt match names from reports with names on arrests listed within a day or two of 3-15-2016 as seen on the list linked at the 1253PM comment.