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Monday, August 22, 2016

Tuscaloosa lawyer John Fisher Jr. has deep connections in conversative political circles -- when he isn't busy allegedly trafficking in methamphetamine


John Fisher Jr. and family
(From Facebook)
A Tuscaloosa lawyer who was arrested on Friday for trafficking in methamphetamine has extensive ties in conservative legal, political, and media circles. In fact, John Fisher's Jr.'s Facebook friends include Gov. Robert Bentley, Sec. of State John Merrill, and just about every prominent right-wing blowhard that you've ever heard on Alabama radio.

Facebook and LinkedIn pages indicate Fisher, 48, has an attractive wife and a young daughter, plus multiple business interests, but he still found time to get trapped in a meth-trafficking investigation. How's that for "family values"?

When have you ever heard of a white-collar professional, especially one who is well connected in right-wing political circles, getting nabbed in a meth-trafficking operation? I can't recall ever hearing of such a case. That's what could make the Fisher arrest an extraordinary story, even though we only have bits and pieces of information at the moment.

Agents with the West Alabama Narcotics Task Force found Fisher and Christopher Shane Rushing (age 42, also of Tuscaloosa) with two active "one-pot" meth labs. Agents also seized 369 grams of meth oil during the investigation, according to police.

Based on press reports, the exact charges against Fisher are unclear. An al.com report says Fisher was released from jail after posting a $250,000 bond, while Rushing remains in jail on a $250,000 bond.

At mugshots.com, the charges against Rushing are listed as follows:

Agency    Bond Type                           Bond Amount     Count Charge
(1) TCSO      BONDSMAN/SECURED   $250,000.00       1 TRAFFICKING METHAMPHETAMINE 
(2) TCSO      BONDSMAN/SECURED   $500,000.00       1 UNLAWFUL MANUFACTURE OF CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE 
(3) TCSO      BONDSMAN/SECURED   $15,000.00         1 UNLAWFUL POSSESSION W/ INTENT TO DISTRIBUTE

The Web site does not appear to include information about charges against Fisher. The information above appears to conflict with that found at al.com. Mugshots.com shows Rushing facing three charges with a total bond of $765,000, which is more than twice the amount listed at al.com. Our understanding is that those arrested normally can be released by paying 10 percent of the total bond, which would be $76,500 in this case.

Does Fisher face the same charges and the same total bond amount. That is not clear at this point.

At the Tuscaloosa News, a police spokesperson said more arrests are expected in the case. That raises this question: How big a meth-trafficking operation is this and were other conservative legal/political figures involved?

Christopher Shane Rushing
According to his LinkedIn page, Fisher is owner and administrator of Adams Independent Living Home in Tuscaloosa. He has owned the Fisher Law Firm P.C., which is at 1609 Greensboro Avenue in Tuscaloosa, for 17 years. And he is host of the John Fisher Talk Show on WTBC (AM-1230). Before that, Fisher was an attorney with Rosen Harwood, one of the most prominent law firms in west Alabama.

The Web site for John Fisher Law Firm says it focuses on personal injury, criminal defense, business law, family law and mediation, estate planning, and probate.

A report at Raw Story, by reporter David Ferguson, states that Fisher is active in Alabama's Tea Party movement. In 2010, Fisher ran for a seat in the state legislator and appeared at multiple Tea Party rallies with Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore. Fisher lost the primary election to Republican Bill Poole. Ferguson notes that Fisher's show claims it is known for "“Plain Talk, Easily Understood with NO Political Correctness.”

Is Fisher well connected in conservative circles? In addition to Bentley and Merrill, consider just a few prominent figures who appear on Fisher's Facebook friends list:

* Jessica Mederios Garrison -- lawyer, GOP operative, closely aligned with AG Luther Strange and U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer. (Palmer has spent a significant amount of cash for Garrison's consulting services. More on that in an upcoming post.)

* Lee Garrison -- Jessica's former husband and president of the Tuscaloosa City School Board

* Cliff Sims -- publisher of Yellowhammer News

* Leland Whaley -- right-wing talk host

* Matt Murphy -- right-wing talk host

* Chip Beeker -- Alabama Public Service Commission

* Gary Palmer -- member of U.S. House of Representatives

* Brandon Falls -- district attorney, Jefferson County

* Cam Parsons -- attorney for real-estate magnate Stan Pate

* Allen May -- veterinarian and director at Paul Bryant Jr.'s Greene Group


Where is this meth-trafficking investigation headed, and who else might be arrested? Stay turned. It could get extremely interesting.

51 comments:

Anonymous said...

LS, i know that the picture is public, but can't you at least blur the daughters picture out from this? She holds ZERO responsibility for this and Journalistically you do not need her face to make a compelling story. I enjoy your work, but IMO the little girl's face should not have been shown

Anonymous said...

I knew you would be on this story like white on rice, Mr. Schnauzer. You didn't disappoint.

legalschnauzer said...

I appreciate your thoughts, @11:04, and that you expressed them in a respectful way. We've dealt with this issue before, on the Rebekah Caldwell Mason story. Here is my reasoning: (1) I think it's important that Fisher has a family, and it includes a daughter, not a blob who is covered up by Photoshop; (2) As with the Mason kids, I think children are tougher and smarter than we give them credit for. I don't think Fisher's daughter will be harmed by this photo; (3) I don't like doctoring photos. It's one thing to crop a photo, to take out material that is extraneous or doesn't fit the space. But to blur someone's face . . . I don't think that is good journalistic practice, and it's a distraction for the reader.

I'm sure others will disagree with me on this, and that's fine. But that's an outline of my thinking on the subject.

Anonymous said...

Best reporting I've seen on this story so far. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

LS, it's me from @11:04. I appreciate that you shared your reasoning. I'd like to ask you to reconsider in the future though - i have 4 daughters and can tell you that their childhood has been totally different than mine (or yours i'm guessing). the internet has presented challenges that never grew up with. I know you feel that its a distraction but once again IMO it wouldnt have taken away from the good work you put in to the article. Thank you for the conversation !

Anonymous said...

Will the feds get involved with this? Seems they would have to if it involved shipping meth across state lines.

Anonymous said...

Let's see, Jessica M. Garrison recently quit her job at RAGA and bought an $800,000 house in Mountain Brook AND she knows alleged meth trafficker John Fisher? Hmmmm . . .

Anonymous said...

Very peculiar story. I think there is a lot we don't know yet about this. For example what evidence made them think trafficking was going on?

Anonymous said...

I smell a coverup coming down the railroad tracks.

Robby Scott Hill said...

It has been said that time is the fire in which we burn & 6.994535519125683 seconds was how long it took to burn the Constitution of the United States on November 22nd 1963. The first shot was fired at Zapruder Frame 185 & the third shot hit its target at Frame 313. That's only 128 frames being exposed at a rate of 18.3 frames per second or not quite 7 seconds for the assassin to move the bolt on that Carcano back & forth two more times before the 2nd & 3rd shots were fired. If you believe Oswald was the shooter, he was right handed & would have needed to have taken his trigger finger off the trigger & the rifle out of his shoulder to work the bolt. Even most of the re-enactors who have shot the Carcano left handed had trouble making the three shots in less than seven seconds. Ever since JFK was killed, lying has become an artform in American Government. Lawyers & judges who were already decent liars began to train for the Super Bowl of Lying & nobody lays that shit on thicker & heavier than the American Lawyer.

Anonymous said...

Sadly, I think @ 2:49 is correct. I mean how much time does the AG's office have to spare anyway - Speaker of House in prison, Governor fondling staff, and the AG himself awfully busy with folks connected to this mess & to the yahoo in Panama City taking guns into courthouses while traipsing around with mobsters...

Anonymous said...

What's with all the Russian folks on Fisher's FB page? I keep expecting Vlad Putin to show up.

Anonymous said...

This is making national and international news. Have seen reports in NY Daily News and UK Daily Mail.

Should be great for Fisher's legal career.

legalschnauzer said...

Yes, and Jonathan Turley, one of the nation's best-known legal analysts, has an insightful blog post on it today:


https://jonathanturley.org/2016/08/22/can-you-guess-what-this-person-was-charged-with-11/comment-page-1/

Anonymous said...

When is your book coming out?

e.a.f. said...

That is going to certainly be a very interesting story. If all of those people are "face book" friends of his, I have come to my own conclusions how some maybe paying for either expensive houses. How far this will go is anyone's guess. If it went across state lines, then I would imagine other police forces and laws would come into play. That could make it even more "entertaining". Drugs are big business all of the world and I'm sure they fuel a lot of real estate deals.

Wonder if any of their meth was laced with fentanyl? In British Columbia we have had over 400 deaths this year from drugs laced with fentanyl.

There are huge profits to be made from meth and is would appear this man had enough companies to "clean" his money.

Anonymous said...

What if the Alabama State Bar was involved in Fisher's "late night" activities, or at least knew about them?

e.a.f. said...

p.s. I don't agree with posting the photos of children. They are innocent of the crimes of their parents and they don't deal well with this at all. It is enough to write the arrested person has children and them "bloob" out the faces of the children. These types of pictures get passed around on the kids phones. No child needs that now or in the future.

When pictures like this are taken, in the future some kid may well use it to bully the child. In Canada we have seen enough deaths of children who killed themselves because of cyber bullying. We do not publish the pictures of children regardless of the crimes of their parents. It is only by protecting the privacy of the child that the child will have any chance of growing up in any manner close to normal.

it is bad enough that a child has a criminal parent, but then for the child to be "outed", simply isn't on. I really enjoy this blog and it does some great exposing of crimes in the State. However, the display of photos of children whose parents are criminals and that child is a minor, ought never to be done. It simply creates too much harm for the child and the parent most likely doesn't care or they would not have done the crime. When a parent does the crime, frequently the whole family winds up doing the time.

legalschnauzer said...

That is a heck of a thought, @9:20, one that had not occurred to me. I would not put anything past the Alabama State Bar.

Anonymous said...

Of possible interest:
This:
http://georgia.arrests.org/Arrests/Christopher_Rushing_12646023/

This:
http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20060811/NEWS/608110331

"Police blotter Arrests wednesday Published: Friday, August 11, 2006 at 3:30 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, August 10, 2006 at 11:00 p.m."
"Christopher Shane Rushing, 32, 13800 block of Chism Road, Northport, was charged with unlawful distribution of a controlled substance. Bail was set at $20,000."

This:
http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20080205/NEWS/205983481

"Police blotter Published: Tuesday, February 5, 2008 at 3:30 a.m. Last Modified: Tuesday, February 5, 2008 at 12:07 a.m. Arrests MONDAY"
"Shane Rushing, 33, 13864 Chism Road, was charged with attempted first-degree theft. Bail was set at $10,000. "


legalschnauzer said...

e.a.f. -- always appreciate and respect your thoughts on things. A few things I might mention:

(1) When the person is a political conservative and makes a show of his status as a "family guy," I'm more likely to use such a picture. I think hypocrisy is a huge problem in U.S. society, and that's what such a photo represents.

(2) I don't think I would ever blob out anyone's face, child or otherwise. If I felt the need to protect someone's privacy, I would find a photo without them in it -- or not use a photo at all. I think clearly manipulated photos are jarring and off-putting to the reader, so I'm not a fan of them.

(3) In fairness to the wayward parent in such stories, they are not necessarily criminals. This issue first came up in our coverage of Rebekah Caldwell Mason, and she has not been charged with a crime -- at least not yet. In the case of Fisher, he's been charged, but he has not been convicted of anything.

(4) I guess I tend to err on the side of getting information out there in the most complete and accurate way possible, and trust that the public can handle it.

(5) The big point you raise, in my mind, is that bullying still is such a concern out there, and that points to a lot of parents doing a poor job with their kids. I guess I don't much care for the notion that I should alter my coverage because parents (some of them) can't do their jobs. No way Mr. Fisher's daughter ever should be bullied, but I don't see that as I problem that involves me. It involves parents who raise bullies -- and maybe teachers who don't do a good job of monitoring their students and taking steps to deal with kids who attack others.

Anonymous said...

I read all of the comments specific to publishing Fisher's daughter's pics (fyi- like you, i don't have kids).

For me, i see both sides and because i feel certain that you have a lot more to publish about a lot more corruption and want to reach as many readers as possible, maybe try to keep the focus on the bad guys, at least until you can get more info out to the public.

I realize that my opinion is just that (and unsolicited too). I just don't want you to lose any readers over an emotional backlash (one that you didn't intend) that would intervene with people "listening" to your blog.

At the end of the day, regular new publications don't print (don't have the guts) to print half of what you do

Anonymous said...

Another comment has probably been routed to the spam file due to having multiple hotlinks. Comment submitted after 9:00 pm.

Anonymous said...

Possible ties to AL State bar isn't such a crazy idea, based on everything else, now is it?

Phil Fleming said...

WOW!!

Kevin F. said...

In your rush to judge, has innocent before PROVEN, guilty entered into the minds of those that have convicted Mr. Fisher in the court of public opinion? Do the math please! Street value of that poison was less than 40k. That's pocket change for a prominent, successful, attorney and business owner such as Mr. Fisher. Some of you are educated fools. Let ALL the facts come out in a court of LAW. Then, make your judgement.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure if you check the facebook pages of all of the political/legal people in Tuscaloosa, they are all "friends" on facebook. That doesn't actually mean they really know each other very well.

Anonymous said...

Okay but how do all the Russians and Ukraine 'friends' fit in?

legalschnauzer said...

Good question about the Russian and Ukraine friends. Perhaps he studied over there, or they adopted their daughter from there. Just don't know.

legalschnauzer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

He has organized numerous mission trips to those regions in years past.

Chris and Heather Dryman said...

John Fisher has done missionary work with great church going people for over 15 yrs. They visit the orphanages in Russia, take them food and spread the word of Christ. They also have provided love and showed these children that someone does care about them year after year. John Fisher has only the best of intentions and for anyone to state otherwise does not know him at all!

Anonymous said...

@8:20 p.m. It would be nice if your opinion of Fisher is found to be absolutely correct and true. It's disconcerting for most of us to read article after article about people who behave one way in public and another in private, and it's hard not to become cynical. (think about Alabama's Speaker, Governor, and others who turn out to be real pieces of work when not in church)

Would love a happy ending and to learn that Mr. Fisher was/is innocent of anything criminal.

Carlos Ortigoza said...

Agreed.

Concerned defendant. said...

Fisher represented a group of investors who sued me. I had done nothing wrong and after years won in district, appellate and Alama Supreme Court. Plaintiffs included a businessman, a pharmacist, a doctor, and others. When I proved I was innocent no one wanted to press charges against the guilty party. Hmmmmmm! Needs a little investigating based upon alleged charges and connections. I always suspected drug money involvement.

legalschnauzer said...

Thanks for sharing, CD. If you feel comfortable doing so, please send me a key document or two (complaint, appellate decision), and I would be glad to look it over. My private email is rshuler3156@gmail.com. Would like to get a feel for the case.

Unknown said...

Amen,,,,,I AGREE WITH YOU!!!### HE IS AN AWESOME PERSON AND FRIEND!!!!! 💌

REBELGIRL said...

AMEN!!!! I TOTALLY AGREE!!!!!!💌😛

Kimberly Mason said...

Amen,,,,,I AGREE WITH YOU!!!### HE IS AN AWESOME PERSON AND FRIEND!!!!! 💌

Anonymous said...

Totally Agree !!!! Family pics shouldn't be broadcast. This is bad news, leave them out of it.

Anonymous said...

Yall !!!! Your minds are spinning out of control.
I guess that's why papers sell. Stretching truth and embellishments sell !!!!! John Fisher "may" be a good guy who did a bad thing. But he didn't apopt his daughter in Russia and he has done a lot of good things for the right reasons. He comes from a fine family and this tar and feathering before knowing the whole truth is not right. Beyond that, Keep His Wife and Daughter out of it. I am sure his family was as shocked as other people are.

legalschnauzer said...

My aren't we bossy and arrogant, @1:05 and @1:44? No wonder you belong to the Fisher gang of white privilege. You presume to tell me how to write a blog that I've been publishing for almost 10 years (ranking among top 50 law blogs in N. America), and I have a degree in journalism and 35-plus years of professional experience in the field?

And you are too cowardly to even tell us who you are?

Sorry, but I don't take advice from the likes of you.

Robby Scott Hill said...

No need to smear Roger just because he was the victim of a SLAPP or Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation. As for me, I empathize with Mr. Fisher because the ABC Board framed my mother. The ABC Board's Enforcement Bureau no longer exists due to how corrupt they were. Steve Burns who arrested my mom worked in Montgomery when I was in college there & my classmates who did their internships at the ABC Board knew Burns kept a bottle of whiskey in his desk drawer for his personal use. I also know that some of these state drug enforcement agents do illegal drugs & set up people who have learned too much about their unlawful behavior. Maybe it would not be a bad thing if the local narcotics cops were consolidated under one agency like what happened at the state level or maybe just leave drug enforcement to the Feds. It has become a money racket in my opinion.

S C said...

It seems to be that we have to assume people in all walks of life have an addiction to illegal drugs, and i'm sure that drug enforcement agents are no different.
Thinking about Robby Scott Hill's idea to consolidate local narcotics agents under one agency, it occurred to me how many different agencies run up against drug crimes such as burglaries/ folks arrested with illegal narcotics or paraphernalia or an absorbent amount of unexplained cash/ persons of interest on watch lists for drug crimes, etc.
First, there's the local PD, then the county sheriff's office, regional narcotics task force, ABI, DEA, FBI, and probably some that i haven't thought of...
Can you imagine what might get solved if they all talked/coordinated/shared data, and maybe they do to some degree, but something tells me they don't as much as they could... for a variety of reasons, i'm sure.

S C said...

I scanned the newspapers in Alabama, and nobody (that i found anyway) has reported on this subject since right after it happened. (except for Tuscaloosa article, which begged more questions than answers.)

Today, AL.com published an interesting article about meth, tying it to a horrific murder in fact, but never mentioned this case, and that got me thinking...In a society of reality TV and high profile criminal cases, people usually jump all over this stuff...make a mountain of a mole hill, pontificate on and on, make a big deal out of it, and blow it out of proportion just to get ratings. (especially if one of the arrestees is important, tied to the Statehouse, and somehow his mugshot doesn't make it online).

Why aren't the prime-time news stations discussing it or the newspapers making inquiries?

Why did nobody but LS look for Rushing's arrest records and find so much more, including out-of-state arrests?

I'm sure people will say that there's no story, and that's why no one else is digging/reporting, but really? That's just dumb.

legalschnauzer said...

Many good points and questions, SC. Here are my thoughts, based on hard-knocks experience: Today's mainstream media (MSM) is deferential to, and compliant with, corporate and powerful forces (PFs). They work with "The Man" instead of unmasking him. The less MSM reporting we see, the more likely (in my view) this is somehow tied to powerful individuals who want to shut the story down.

Someone made a surprising move -- or perhaps a big mistake -- that the PFs did not anticipate. My guess is that someone at the bail bonds place did something he wasn't expected to do.

Anonymous said...

Well....just saw on the Tuscaloosa News WEBSITE That Fisher was arrested, booked and bonded out for a felony stolen property charge!

legalschnauzer said...

That's interesting. Thanks for sharing. Will check it out.

Concerned. said...

Exactly. Mr. LS states he does not know about Fishers Russian connection. It sounds to me you know everything. It's been posted earlier that he did yearly mission trips to Russia. John is a good man. He may or may not have taken a wrong road. Do not convict him with public opinion.

Concerned. said...

I know John to be a good man. If he has strayed off the path, he and his family needs our prayers.

legalschnauzer said...

If I recall correctly, @8:32, the information about mission trips to Russia came from an anonymous comment. I have no idea who left the comment. It might be a factual statement, but at this point, it's not much to establish the "Russia Connection" on.