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Thursday, July 14, 2016

The process that led to Gov. Robert Bentley appearing before a grand jury began with Legal Schnauzer report last August about affair with Rebekah Caldwell Mason


Gov.  Robert Bentley (center) heads to the grand jury
room in Montgomery on Wednesday
(From alreporter.com
What impact has Legal Schnauzer had on the legal and political landscape of Alabama? We provided insights on that question in a post yesterday. (And yes, we still very much need donations. They keep us and the blog alive. A note about how to make donations is at the end of this post.)

For all the examples of this blog's impact cited yesterday, we have a new one today. Gov. Robert Bentley appears to be among those testifying at a special grand jury in Montgomery County, convened by Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange. That's from a report today by Bill Britt of Alabama Political Reporter (APR). The grand-jury was impaneled on July 11, following a court motion filed by Strange. (See motion at the end of this post.)

Another report today, from John Archibald of al.com, says the grand jury is focused primarily on activities surrounding the extramarital affair between Bentley and former senior advisor Rebekah Caldwell Mason.

How did the affair come to light? Legal Schnauzer broke the story last August 31, becoming the first news outlet to report Rebekah Mason and an extramarital affair were at the heart of First Lady Diane Bentley's divorce complaint, which ended a 50-year marriage. The mainstream press and al.com did not start taking the story seriously until March 2016, when audio tapes surfaced of "Doctor Love" Bentley and Mason discussing his tendency to caress her breasts and grope her nether regions.

In the roughly seven-month period from the time I broke the story until audio tapes emerged, al.com spent much of its time attacking me as a blogger with "dubious credibiltiy," who had produced a story that was "smoke." Has al.com ever offered an apology and given the slightest credit to the journalist who actually broke the story (with tips from outstanding sources who have helped me break a number of other stories the MSM doesn't want to touch.)? Of course not.

Would Gov. Bentley ever have been caught in his Web of sexual and financial treachery -- and wound up appearing before a grand jury -- without our reporting at Legal Schnauzer? That's hard to say. Attorney Donald Watkins started publishing on the Bentley/Mason affair, and it's possible fallout, about the same time we did. I think it's likely that Watkins also would have broken the story, but without Legal Schnauzer, I'm not sure any other news outlet would have picked up on his reporting to help spread the word.

This much is certain: The Web press -- mostly Watkins and me -- broke and did almost all of the early heavy lifting on the Bentley/Mason scandal, which now is the subject of a grand-jury investigation. Would that have happened without independent journalism from the Web, without constraints that advertisers, publishers, and editors can place on MSM reporters? The answer is "absolutely not."

Gov. Robert Bentley and many of his associates are facing the music of a grand jury because of Donald Watkins and me. No wonder there are reports that Bentley has unlawfully used state and federal databases in an effort to trump up criminal charges against the two journalists who have unmasked him.

Grand juries meet outside of the public sphere, but here is key information that has been reported so far. Bill Britt reports that Stan Stabler and Hal Taylor, from the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) joined Bentley among those who entered the grand-jury room. Taylor was chief of staff to former ALEA director Spencer Collier. Here's more from APR:

Not only was APR there to observe those entering the Grand Jury, sources around the courthouse confirmed that others who appeared earlier in the week were J.T. Jenkins, ALEA’s second-in-command under Collier, and Ray Lewis, who served as Bentley’s “Body Man” before becoming Chief of Protective Services.“

“Lewis knows what skeletons are stashed in Bentley’s closet and where to go looking for them,” said a former Trooper who spoke to APR on conditions of anonymity.

The presence of Stabler and former ALEA staff would indicate at this stage the grand jury is hearing testimony concerning events leading to Bentley’s firing of Collier, for filing an affidavit concerning the criminal trial of former Speaker Mike Hubbard.

John Archibald provides more details about the grand jury's apparent focus.

Those identified as testifying were all intimately involved in the events leading to revelations by Collier that Bentley long had an improper relationship with his former political adviser Rebekah Caldwell Mason.

Collier said in March that Lewis and Stabler made him aware of "improper" and sexually explicit cell phone messages between the governor and Mason. Collier said he confronted the governor about those messages, but the governor refused to break off the relationship.

The situation came to a head after confrontational meetings in February relating to the Hubbard investigation and involving Collier, Bentley, Mason, Bentley's lawyers, Taylor and others.

The grand-jury investigation appears to revolve around the Bentley-Mason affair -- and Legal Schnauzer broke that story. That means whatever comes from the grand-jury room in Montgomery, Alabama, will have its roots in this blog's Bentley-Mason reporting, which started on August 31, 2015.

As for donations, they are very much needed and appreciated. Some readers who primarily use mobile devices might experience difficulty in finding the donate button for Legal Schnauzer. Here is a note about that issue:


The PayPal donation button is on the upper right hand side of blog where it says "Support The Schnauzer." 💥However, please note that the donation button is NOT VISIBLE on the mobile version which typically is the default for cell phones and other mobile devices.💥To access the PP donate button on cell phones and other mobile devices, scroll to the very bottom of the mobile site and click on "View Web Version." The web version is where you will see the PayPal button above the photo of a schnauzer on the right hand side. Thank you!

Here is the motion that AG Luther Strange filed, seeking a grand jury:




17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Boy, this grand jury thing came out of the blue, in a big hurry.

Anonymous said...

It's almost as if Lutha is trying to beat the feds to the punch.

Anonymous said...

According to Britt: "The prosecution was comprised of Attorney General Luther Strange, Deputy Attorney General Alice Martin, and Special Prosecutions Divison Chief Matt Hart."

AG Luther Strange and DAG Alice Martin? What a bunch of hooey this will turn out to be. Where the hell are the Feds?

Anonymous said...

Lutha was gonna be eighteenth in line at the porta pottie unless he got that GJ empaneled and busy before the feds get in gear.

Anonymous said...

Where are all the commenters who claimed you were "delusional," a "nut job," "not a real journalist," etc. They seem to be in their holes, afraid to come out.

They were full of shiite then, and they are full of shiite then.

Robby Scott Hill said...

"Dr. Feelgood's" days are numbered. He just doesn't know it yet.

Anonymous said...

@RSH: We can only hope you are correct! I'm not liking the cast of characters in this particular chapter at all...

Anonymous said...

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
--Mahatma Gandhi

Anonymous said...

>>>Where are all the commenters who claimed you were "delusional," a "nut job," "not a real journalist," etc. They seem to be in their holes, afraid to come out.<<<

Busy talking to their criminal defense lawyers?

Practicing not dropping the soap in the shower?


Anonymous said...

Best comment at the Al.com article:

"Initial reports said that Bentley appeared to be excited when told he was going to be probed by a group and asked if they should lock the door when its going on"

Robby Scott Hill said...

Fox News is heavily subsidized by parasitic Capitalists like the Rollins Family which owns Orkin Pest Control. I'm sure the Rollins Gang would love to have Fox run some apologist pieces & spin the truth for Governor Bentley & Alabama Republicans, but Fox knows it would have to also provide coverage of your blog. So Fox News is steering clear of Alabama. After an Orkin commercial, one of the guests on Fox Business tried to bring up Alabama & the host jumped in & said we're not discussing Alabama & she advised investors to steer clear of Alabama. Lol

Anonymous said...

If Bentley comes down, and if Garrison's mafia connections get exposed by mainstream, and if more of your stories end up there, then you've gone beyond breaking the mold.

You've given the MSM and Americans a message that there are people in this country who care enough to live in poverty, face conflict, danger, jails, false allegations, and risk it all for the truth and for justice.

In comparison, the hefty, secure journalist and editor salaries, handsome benefits, pensions and profit sharing plans bind MSM employees to corporate, political and business agendas often while forsaking the truth and/or ignoring certain stories.

You well may have started a new trend in journalism for the sake of all people–– one that is not protective of the privileged and powerful, and serves facts to the citizens responsible for, at the polls and with their voices, making things right.

Look at Bentley now. Can you say that without your reporting he would be facing a grand jury? Your perseverance and commitment reminds me of an old Sinatra song, "HIgh Hopes"

BRAVO!

Anonymous said...

Big Luther's "probe" of Bentley will be over very quick. Big Luther will determine that the Feds do not have jurisdiction.

Anonymous said...

The FBI has jurisdiction if criminal activities are involved. Right?
https://www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/corruption

legalschnauzer said...

@1:36 -- I believe it depends on the crimes that allegedly are involved. If they are violations of state law, the AG's office would handle it, as it did with the Mike Hubbard case. If federal laws are involved, then the feds would be involved.

I'm not an expert on these kinds of issues, but I believe you can have both a state and federal investigation going on at the same time. In fact, I believe a federal investigation has been going on for a while, and now Luther Strange has thrown his hat into the ring from a state standpoint.

Would welcome any additions or clarifications who might be more familiar with these issues than I am.

legalschnauzer said...

Hah, good one, @12:07. Thanks for the LOLs.

Anonymous said...

A muster was called in the Eliza Battle's galley. Dr.Leonidas Foreman introduced his friend Admiral George Tryon. Upon inquiry from Mike as to how he knew Dr.Foreman,Tryon replied that he had ran out of chalk while writing down his sins at the Pearly Gates. Leonidas' wife was in line behind me. She broke her chalk in two pieces and gave me the largest piece.I owe my eternal salvation to Mary Eugenia.(died 1893) The Auburn land thieves destroyed Mary's grave at the same time they destroyed the Yancey grave sites. I am here to help you win this battle.
Tryon continued. Do not trust your destiny to the crew of the HMS Hibernia. The Court-Martial of the HMS Victoria and HMS Camperdown crews was a cover-up. My signal, to preserve the order of the fleet, was never mentioned at the trial.
A voice from the shadows said " Well Mike! There you have it. The Hibernia was only dispatched to give Big Luther's handling of the Bentley affair legitimacy. We have to come up with plan B."
Meanwhile aboard the Camperdown,the Love Guv while waiting to be called by the grand jury,was handed a package by security. Inside was a Volume 305 Wonder Woman comic book and the note;" one who can hurt my enemies and help my friends." The Love Guv upon seeing Wonder Woman on the cover with the lasso,let out a soft whimper. The Love Guv's attorney asked him if he was alright. Tom Cat Bentley replied that he was just tied up in his thoughts. The attorney glanced down and seeing the unattributed partial quote and the comic book said to himself,"IDIOT".