Quite a few of our early posts documented the corruption that had been swirling around Pelham attorney Bill Swatek for years. Swatek filed a bogus lawsuit against me on behalf of our criminally inclined neighbor, Mike McGarity, and the unlawful rulings of Shelby County judges in that case prompted me to start this blog. It also drove my wife, Carol, and me into an ugly conservative world populated by GOP dirt bags like Karl Rove, Bill Canary, and Bob and Rob Riley.
What does this have to do with the Hubbard case? Well, the only two witnesses called as the trial opened yesterday were Tim Howe and John Ross, both partners in the Montgomery-based consulting/lobbying firm Swatek Howe and Ross. The chief partner, Dax Swatek, has not testified, but he is on the state's extensive witness list.
This is a story of apples not falling far from the tree.
Speaking of trees, Dax Swatek comes from a decidedly unwholesome family tree. His father is Bill Swatek, whose record of sleaze in the legal profession dates back some 35 years. (See here, here, and here.) His late brother, Chace Swatek, was a lawyer whose body was found beside a Pelham highway after he reportedly had died from huffing. His sister, Barret Swatek, could be called a fading Hollywood actress, but she never had much of a star to begin with. Perhaps her most significant claim to fame is having dated producer Mike De Luca, who is known for engaging in fist fights, drunken driving and public blow jobs. Barret Swatek puts her conservative family values on display by dating guys like that.
As for the Hubbard trial, it started with two witnesses who have strong ties to the dysfunctional Swatek clan. Not surprisingly, the witnesses testified to acts that were so corrupt that they were almost comical. What do you know . . . Bill Swatek's law career is filled with corrupt acts that are downright comical.
John Ross testified about a meeting designed to create a favorable position for his client, American Pharmacy Cooperative Inc. (APCI). How favorable was the proposed legislation to be for APCI? It would give the company a monopoly on Medicaid prescription in Alabama. That's pretty favorable.
When Ross learned from a lobbyist that Hubbard was taking boatloads of cash from APCI, he was angry because of the obvious ethics problems that presented. Was Ross concerned that he had rigged the Medicaid system to benefit one company, his client? Was Ross concerned this might be a bad deal for Alabamians. Based on news reports of yesterday's proceedings, the answer appears to be no. Ross, it seems, was concerned because Hubbard's actions had increased the chances of someone getting caught. Again, how very Swatekian.
How bad is Bill Swatek, who could be called the "Father of All Corruption Described So Far in the Hubbard Trial"? I've written dozens of posts on that subject, but here is my favorite story.
In the late 1970s, Swatek represented a Pelham policeman named Johnny Bailey in an employment case. During depositions, Swatek allowed opposing counsel to use his office for what they thought was a private meeting. But Swatek surreptitiously tape recorded them. The opposing attorneys found the running tape recorder and confronted Swatek with it. He eventually told multiple bar committees that he knew nothing about the recorder, it had been his client's idea to use it. Swatek was charged with perjury, and somehow was acquitted at trial, even though the following section from the audiotape was presented to the jury:
William E. Swatek and Johnny Bailey on cassette tape taken by Paul G. Smith from Swatek's office on May 30, 1979:Swatek obviously knew about the tape recording. He decided which recorder to use, where to place it, and he tested it. He clearly lied under oath to the bar committees about it. But still a jury--which almost had to somehow be tainted--found him not guilty.
Swatek: "Testing . . . one . . . two . . . three . . . four . . . five . . . "
Bailey: ". . . 'cause that's the one probably to use, or do you want to use that one?"
Swatek: "I'd rather use this one, 'cause you can't hear it at all, and I can stick it down under the desk and . . . "
No wonder partners in the Swatek Howe Rowe firm think they can get away with anything. No wonder Mike Hubbard thinks he can be found not guilty.
Below is a portion of the transcript from Bill Swatek's 1981 trial. Don't be surprised if something just as nutty emerges from the Hubbard trial.