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Thursday, June 2, 2016

New court document acknowledges Rebekah Caldwell Mason is under criminal investigation--suggesting the Web press is set to take down a governor and his staff


Gov. Robert Bentley and Rebekah Caldwell Mason
A court document filed yesterday indicates former advisor Rebekah Caldwell Mason is under federal investigation in a scandal that seems to be mushrooming around Alabama Governor Robert Bentley. Would we have gotten to this point without the Web press? Almost certainly not.

The document, filed by Mason's own lawyers in a civil case, provides the most direct evidence yet that Mason is in deep doo-doo. If Mason knows she is under criminal scrutiny, Bentley likely also knows the feds are on his tail--although his lawyers have yet to file a motion similar to the one Mason's lawyers filed in the wrongful-termination lawsuit of former ALEA chief Spencer Collier.

Multiple news outlets, including this one, have reported for more than a month that Bentley, Mason and perhaps other members of the administration are the targets of an investigation led by Georgia federal prosecutor John A. Horn. Now, Mason's lawyers are asking for a stay in the Collier civil case because of the criminal investigation--and the possibility that Mason's testimony in the civil case could incriminate her in the brewing criminal matter.

This has all kinds of potential implications, as attorney Donald Watkins explains on his Facebook page:

Yesterday, attorneys for Rebekah Mason publicly acknowledged in a court filing what our Facebook news team first reported in April 2016 – Rebekah and Governor Robert Bentley are the targets of a federal criminal probe into their racketeering and public corruption activities. What was once a torrid love affair between Bentley and Rebekah is now a game of survival for each lover.

Bentley, 73, and Mason, 44, are expected to be criminally charged by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) for using Bentley’s position as governor to execute a wide ranging racketeering conspiracy involving wire and mail fraud, tax fraud, bribery, money laundering, the unauthorized use of the federal National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and the Law Enforcement Tactical System (LETS) databases, and related criminal charges.

That is powerful stuff, and one wonders if Mason and Bentley realize how much trouble they could be in. Mason's lawyers seem to understand, and they have provided the most direct evidence yet that the Good Ship Bentley is taking on water and listing badly--with perhaps dire consequences for those on board. Writes Watkins:

Federal investigators are aggressively probing the couple’s racketeering enterprise with an eye toward expediting the initiation of criminal charges against Bentley, Mason, and other co-conspirators. The governor and his accomplices are staring down the barrel of a criminal indictment that is expected to set a record for the number of felony charges in a single federal criminal case. Bentley has been identified as the “kingpin” of the couple’s racketeering enterprise.

Bentley and Mason are well aware of their status as targets of the federal criminal investigation. This is why Mason formally requested a state court in Montgomery to place a hold on a wrongful termination case filed by Spencer Collier, the former head of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA). In March 2016, Collier publicly confirmed the Bentley-Mason “sex for power” affair. Collier has also confirmed that Bentley ordered him to use the NCIC and LETS databases to impermissibly target and harass online journalists Roger Alan Shuler and me, which Collier refused to do.

As you can see from that last sentence, this hits close to home. That a governor allegedly would attempt to use criminal databases to intimidate and harass citizen journalists--Watkins and me--well, it sounds like the mafia has taken over the governor's mansion. I've seen signs that elements of organized crime have infiltrated Alabama government for 15 years or more.

From Bentley's warped perspective, an intimidation campaign probably made sense. After all, his scandal probably would have gone away a long time ago if it weren't for the "non-traditional press," specifically Watkins and me.

Legal Schnauzer broke the story of the Bentley/Mason affair in a post dated August 31, 2015. Watkins was right there, at the same time, writing a four-part series titled "Forbidden Love – Robert Bentley’s Secret Love Affair," which provided details about the affair and its implications for Alabama government. In a searing piece last September 16, titled "Executive Betrayal – Robert Bentley’s Fleecing of Taxpayers and Donors," Watkins described financial shenanigans that made this much more than a sex scandal.

Bill Britt and Alabama Political Reporter (APR), another Web-based news site, broke key elements of the story, including news that Bentley had targeted Watkins and me--and that the governor apparently had sought medical records on at least one of his critics.

Could Bentley, Mason, and perhaps others, be headed for federal prison? One can never predict what an Alabama jury might decide--if the matter gets that far. But this much seems clear: The Bentley/Mason story, which might expose unimaginable corruption in Alabama government, probably would have fizzled out long ago without the Web press.

The mainstream press, led by al.com, has produced some solid journalism since reports broke in late March of audio and text messages between Bentley and Mason. But until then, al.com spent much of its time attacking me as a blogger with "dubious credibility," whose reporting generated nothing more than "smoke."

Well, we now know that "smoke" was right on target--that it included  raging fire, you might say. With the help of Watkins and Britt, our blog has helped bring us to a point where we know the governor and his mistress are aware they are in deep trouble--that an entire administration might soon be crumbling.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Al.com is trying to grab the glory now, but they wanted nothing to do with it at the start.

Anonymous said...

Has the blue dress with the suspicious stains been seized yet?

Any word on whether the testing has been ordered yet?

Will the DNA match the governor?

Anonymous said...

Maybe Obama DOJ finally has awakened? Maybe Donald Watkins shamed them into taking action?

legalschnauzer said...

Interesting point, @3:00. Mr. Watkins certainly has enjoyed a distinguished legal career and he has proven to be a savvy businessman in a number of endeavors--including possible ownership of several spots teams. Wouldn't it be interesting if his reporting on Facebook proved to be maybe his most important contribution to our democracy?

Anonymous said...

I suppose it's every man/woman for their self in the game of throw you under the bus. Let the games begin!!

e.a.f. said...

Most likely the Gov. will blame Mason and try to walk. Mason, if she gets ahead of things, might find a deal is to be made.

Ah, how the worm has turned. Never piss off retired people. they have nothing but time and usually some talent, given their years in the work force. In British Columbia most "scandals" are uncovered by the bloggers, and a number of them are retired people. That is where we find out our news as it pertains to government because the MSM is too busy getting advertising from various government agencies.

Same thing in Alabama. Now Roger, isn't it about time you wrote a book or screen play. Really, you have the material, it pays well and there are those of us who really could use a good read.

Congrats on all your hard work.

Anonymous said...

Check out the website Illinois Leaks!

http://edgarcountywatchdogs.com/

Another example of a small blog muckraking big scandals.

Anonymous said...

The most disturbing part of this is to ask Collier to dig up dirt on y'all.

Anonymous said...

Collier has also confirmed that Bentley ordered him to use the NCIC and LETS databases to impermissibly target and harass online journalists Roger Alan Shuler and me, which Collier refused to do.

Roger has this happened before? Can you find any precedent on it?

Anonymous said...

The web press and bloggers are the last and only hope for Americans to get background, hidden information and ultimately the truth about leaders, localities, political activities and scandals. Long live the freedom to speak, publish and inquire! Rewards may be small for bloggers but the personal satisfaction in knowing you made a huge difference is priceless. Thanks Roger!!

Janis Joplin sang: "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose." Many of us were taken to that state and beyond for seeking the truth and/or attempting to expose corruption. You and others broke through the wall corporate-controlled-news uses to manage information and public opinion. Now that you've stood your ground, maintained your credibility and kept your life and sanity in the face of incredibly powerful and devious adversaries, maybe you and Carol can begin to get your lives back on track.

It is very sad that the corporate controlled news does not acknowledge nor reward citizen diligence and bravery in unraveling public corruption. Were it profitable for them, surely they might consider the value of it.

Anonymous said...

New Mexico:

Martinez's crew saw enemies everywhere. A former staffer recalls the campaign on multiple occasions sending the license plate numbers of cars believed to be used by opposition trackers to an investigator in Martinez's DA office who had access to law enforcement databases. In one instance, a campaign aide took a photo of a license plate on a car with an anti-Martinez bumper sticker and emailed it to the investigator. "Cool I will see who it belongs to!!" the investigator replied.

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/04/governor-susana-martinez-new-mexico-2016

Anonymous said...

That's similar @10:45 but here were got a journalist uncovering public corruption and may have been retaliated against by the one he's investigating using law enforcement tool which he has special access too. This is more aggravating becuase Roger and Donald were exposing criminals who were harming the public you and I.

legalschnauzer said...

Excellent question, @7:34. I've never heard of it happening before, but need to learn more about the whole issue. The presence of these databases, and the potential penalties for abusing them, is new to me. Welcome insight from others, but I've never heard of another such case, especially involving a journalist.

Anonymous said...

Journalist who once worked in government and government who work in media. Corporate executives who now work for government, government insiders who now work in corporate america or lobby. This phony bolgna, fake plastic world of public relations and marketing disguised as fill in the blank/ whatever is pathetic. Americans have no critical thinking skills or are apathetic. Or lastly, their own self interest may be involved either directly or indirectly so they look away. That's why stories like this will remain in high quantity perpetually.