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Friday, March 3, 2017

Trump AG Jeff Sessions once was known mainly for bigotry while a senator from Alabama, but now his crookedness is on display for the whole world to see

Jeff Sessions announces his recusal
(From slate.com)
No one should be surprised that Trump Attorney General Jeff Sessions twice met with a Russian envoy during the 2016 campaign and then lied about it to Congress. Around the country, until now, Sessions probably has been best known as the most prominent bigot in a high government position. But to view Sessions only in terms of bigotry would be to underestimate him. Those of us who lived through his tenure as a U.S. senator from Alabama know he is ethically challenged, with exceptionally poor judgment -- especially on matters of personnel and justice.

You might say Jeff Sessions is a crooked bigot, or a bigoted crook. Either way, his widely reported tendency to use racist language is not his only "distinctive" feature. He also is fundamentally dishonest, as the nation has learned in the past 38 hours or so. Sessions yesterday recused himself from any investigation related to the Trump-Russia scandal, and prominent Democrats are calling for him to resign. Even some of the nation's sleaziest Republicans are having trouble defending him, which makes us think Sessions soon will hit the exits, probably within a week.

How much doo-doo might Sessions have stepped in? An article by Zack Beauchamp, of vox.com, provides the best analysis I've seen. The headline on his story: "Legal experts think Jeff Sessions is in a whole mess of trouble." From the article:

The million-dollar questions: Did Sessions break the law? And, if so, could he lose his job — or even be charged with perjury like someone who lied in court? To find out, we reached out to several legal experts who study relevant topics. The general sense was that if Sessions didn’t commit outright perjury, he came uncomfortably close.

“I think a jury presented with evidence that he did have meetings with the Russians during the relevant time period could conclude that he perjured himself in front of the Senate committee,” Stuart Green, a law professor at Rutgers who studies the law of lying, wrote via email.

Sessions' ouster can't come soon enough for me. I lived in Alabama for more than 35 years -- and I hope to return there, sooner rather than later -- so I've seen his chicanery up close. In fact, I'm pretty sure I've felt it personally in recent days. Perhaps that's because I've reported many times on this blog about the underhandedness that seems to permeate the actions of Sessions and those affiliated with him. Here are just a few examples from the Legal Schnauzer archives:

Using "unethical conduct" to steer clear of a black judge

In a 1990s civil case, Sessions retained the Birmingham law firm of Lehr Middlebrooks Price and Proctor to represent him in a case styled USX v. Tieco, where Sessions (as Alabama attorney general) was a defendant. Why did Sessions choose that firm? Well, partner Terry Price is the nephew of U.W. Clemon, the first black federal judge in Alabama history. Hiring Price was a not-so-subtle form of "judge shopping." Clemon had built his career by representing plaintiffs and taking on powerful corporations and institutions in civil-rights cases, and Sessions knew such a judge might not view him and his activities favorably. Hiring Price forced Clemon to recuse himself, and that became such a common practice in Alabama legal circles that The Wall Street Journal wrote about it. An opinion from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals described such actions as "unethical conduct." But Sessions used them anyway, with the help of another Lehr Middlebrooks partner, R. David Proctor. (Remember that name.) By the way, the USX case also generated a criminal case, in which a former Alabama state judge said Sessions' office had engaged in "pronounced and persistent" prosecutorial misconduct.

Having your crony judge cheat a journalist who has reported on GOP corruption

This one gets personal. My wife, Carol, and I have two pending federal lawsuits -- "The Jail Case" (re: my unlawful five-month incarceration in Shelby County) and "The House Case" (re: the wrongful foreclosure on our Birmingham home of 25 years.) Both cases just happened to wind up with R. David Proctor. Yes, that's the same guy who helped Sessions steer clear of Judge U.W. Clemon. Perhaps as a thank you from Jeff Sessions, Proctor wound up with a lifetime appointment on the federal bench. From that lofty perch, in the Northern District of Alabama, Proctor repeatedly has cheated us in both of our cases. Gee, could that be because at least five defendants -- Jessica Medeiros Garrison, Cliff Sims, Rob Riley, Yellowhammer News, and Bill Pryor -- are closely aligned with Sessions? Proctor recently recused himself from one of our cases, when his conflicts became so glaring that even he had to acknowledge them. In fact, that sounds a whole lot like Sessions' recusal in the Russia scandal. Is this a case of "like mentor, like judge"? Has Jeff Sessions, or someone affiliated with him, instructed Proctor to cheat us in order to protect his cronies who are defendants? Given what the world has learned about Sessions in the past two days, that question is not unreasonable at all. If the answer is yes, it points to a crime called obstruction of justice -- to go along with lying to Congress, which already is obvious with Sessions in the Russia matter.

Being a closeted homosexual who is vulnerable to blackmail

One of the worst-kept "secrets" in Alabama politics is that Sessions is a closeted homosexual. D.C.-based Wayne Madsen was the first journalist to report on the subject, and he showed how the "secret" has been used against Sessions. When President Obama nominated Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court, reports had Sessions determined to block her. That changed, Madsen reports, when the Obama administration (in a rare show of toughness) let it be known it was prepared to drop "The G Bomb" on Sessions if he tried to obstruct. And what do you know? Sotomayor made it smoothly onto the Supreme Court.

Paying late-night visits to the home of your youthful protege

After Sessions was elected to the U.S. Senate, he strongly pushed for his youthful deputy, Bill Pryor, to be appointed as his successor. After Pryor spent a few years in that post, Sessions pushed for him to be nominated to the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. When Vladimir Putin selected Donald Trump as president, Sessions pushed for Pryor to fill Antonin Scalia's seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. (The nod went to Neil Gorsuch of Colorado.) Is Sessions overwhelmed with admiration of Pryor's legal abilities? No, it appears he admires more than that about Pryor. We already know about nude photos of Pryor that appeared at the gay-porn Web site badpuppy.com in the 1990s. Perhaps Sessions knew of his former deputy's proclivities. After Alabama law-enforcement officials became aware of the badpuppy.com photos, they were concerned about possible blackmail of the new state AG. They conducted surveillance on Pryor's residence and caught Sessions making frequent late-night visits. Were they studying briefs? Maybe, but we doubt they were the legal kind. (See video embedded at the end of this post.)

Paving the way for the political prosecution of Don Siegelman

Former Alabama governor Don Siegelman, a Democrat, recently was released to home detention from federal prison. That Siegelman and former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy spent more than a combined 12 years in prison, is one of the most grave injustices of the modern era. And Jeff Sessions helped make it happen. How? First, he pushed for his favorite "boy," Bill Pryor to become Alabama AG -- and Pryor launched a state investigation of Siegelman that turned into a federal probe, driven by the wife of Karl Rove crony Bill Canary. Sessions also supported Mark Fuller for a seat on the federal bench in the Middle District of Alabama, and Sessions likely knew of plans to make Fuller "hanging judge" in the Siegelman case. Fuller allowed the prosecution to proceed, even though it was brought almost a full year after the five-year statute of limitations had expired. Fuller allowed a hopelessly compromised jury to convict, even though the trial produced zero evidence of an illegal quid pro quo ("something for something") agreement. Does the Siegelman case happen without Jeff Sessions? Almost certainly not.

Supporting a judge who proves to be a wife beater

How poor is Jeff Sessions' judgment? Well, he supported Mark Fuller as a federal judge. That's a lifetime appointment, the kind that is damned near impossible to lose. But Fuller managed to lose it, following his arrest for beating his second wife in an Atlanta hotel room. Documents from his divorce case indicated Fuller had abused his first wife and their children, while also drinking heavily, engaging in extramarital affairs, and abusing prescription painkillers.

Evidence suggests Jeff Sessions would not know someone with integrity if the person landed on the AG's little tiny hands. Maybe that's because Sessions lacks integrity himself, as the whole world now is finding out.


Anonymous said...

Good wrapup, LS. And this is just the stuff we know about from reading your blog.

Anonymous said...

Don Siegelman must be laughing his ass off.

Anonymous said...

What's that great old Chicago song, "Make Me Smile"? It's blasting away on Richard Scrushy's stereo. And I guarantee Scrushy has a nice stereo.

Anonymous said...

Perjury is minor league compared to all the other stuff Sessions has been involved in -- for years. Hell, it's minor league just among the crimes Sessions probably has committed on the Russia stuff.

Anonymous said...

Have you ever noticed that every major GOP scandal seems to have connections to Alabama?

Anonymous said...

The Alabama MSM has ignored Sessions' closeted homosexuality for years. Glad to see you aren't ignoring it.

Anonymous said...

"Jeffy goes to jail." Stay tuned.

legalschnauzer said...

I like the sound of that. How about "Proctor goes to prison"?

Anonymous said...

The interview with the guy about Sessions' late-night visits to Bill Pryor is a classic.

Anonymous said...

Morning Joe says timing of Sessions story was politically motivated.


legalschnauzer said...

Morning Joe is a stooge for the Rileys. He's also a former Congressman who had a dead female staffer turn up in his Florida office.


Anonymous said...

Somebody needs to ask Morning Joe, on air, about the name "Lori Klausutis."

Anonymous said...

Apologies for the distraction, but you might want to note the Ashley Madison mention in this piece about Hunter Biden's divorce. http://pagesix.com/2017/03/02/ex-claims-hunter-biden-blew-money-on-hookers-drugs/

legalschnauzer said...

Thanks for sharing, @11:44. That Biden story is "out there."

legalschnauzer said...

From the story about Hunter Biden:

"Meanwhile, Hunter waited until age 43 to join the military.

"But his stint in the Navy Reserve ended a year later, in 2014, when he tested positive for cocaine, The Wall Street Journal reported at the time.

"And Hunter’s name cropped up in 2015 on a leaked list of users of Ashley Madison, the online dating site for married people.

"He denied any connection to the site.

"Hunter is currently a partner in a small investment-management firm, Rosemont Seneca Partners, LLC, which has offices in New York and Washington."

Anonymous said...

Moscow is blaming Sessions' troubles on "anti-Russian hysteria":


Why aren't we more trusting of the Good Ship Putin?

Anonymous said...

A "crooked bigot" or a "bigoted crook." Hah! I like that.

Anonymous said...

Jeff Sessions used campaign funds at RNC in Cleveland but said he never met there with any Russians re: campaign matters. Doesn't this blow up Sessions "explanation" for his answer to Al Franken?


Anonymous said...

Is Jeff Sessions playing with fire?


legalschnauzer said...

of his license tLaw prof. says Sessions might be subject to sanctions from the Alabama State Bar. The prof is from Michigan and probably does not realize the Alabama State Bar is not a serious organization when it comes to discipline:

“As a licensed attorney, Attorney General Sessions must adhere to Alabama Rule of Professional Conduct 8.4(c), which states that it is professional misconduct for an attorney to engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation. Failing to disclose material information can be deemed fraudulent and dishonest if the statement would lead the listener to a different conclusion than if the information had been disclosed. If a complaint is filed with the Alabama legal disciplinary agency, it is likely that Attorney General Sessions would be subject to, at minimum, a pubic reprimand and possibly suspension o practice law. It would be highly inappropriate to have a sitting Attorney General be the subject of professional discipline.”

-Professor Victoria Vuletich, WMU-Cooley Law School

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't that be a hoot if Sessions lost his law license, just like Bill Clinton?

legalschnauzer said...

Jeff Sessions used to be a tough guy on Russia. What caused his 180-degree change of heart?


Anonymous said...

Even Vanity Fair is admitting Sessions didn't lie. The questions was specifically did he meet with Russians regarding the 2016 campaign. He answered truthfully in the negative. He met with the ambassador, but not about the campaign.
Get your story straight.

Anonymous said...

I'm still waiting for the official LS analysis of Big Luther's appearance(s?) to defend all this Sessions ReSessions stuff. I thought he was bad enough as an AG, but cain't hardly bring myself to type the word Senator anywhere near his name!


legalschnauzer said...

@12:25 --

You and Vanity Fair are both wrong. Franken did not ask Sessions if he had met with Russian officials, about anything. Sessions answered a question he wasn't asked. To be more specific, Sessions made a simple declarative statement: I did not have communications with the Russians. And we know that is false.

It's real simple: Sessions lied, and he was under oath.

legalschnauzer said...

@12:46 --

Thanks for sharing the Fox News interview with Luther Strange. I agree that it's hard to put the words "Luther Strange" and "senator" in the same sentence.

Lutha is so pathetic, I don't know where to begin. Main thing that came to mind is this: While Lutha is defending Jeff Sessions, his old AG's office (in a case launched while he was still there), has a pending perjury case against duly elected Jeffco DA Todd Henderson. Just when you think Strange can't get more two-faced . . .

Did you see his official statement to APR? It's even worse than stuff on Fox:

US Senator Luther Strange (R-Alabama) said, “I have not been in Washington very long, but I did not think Democrats could stoop much lower than they did during Jeff Session’s confirmation hearing. As we found out today, they can, and the hypocrisy of it is hard to stomach. For eight years, Democrats turned a blind eye to serious breaches of public trust, but they did not miss a beat in trying to undermine President Trump’s administration as it gets to work cleaning up their mess.”


Anonymous said...

Now if the words "Senator Luther Strange", "Bad Puppy" and "Attorney General Sessions" were to be said by Fox News in the same sentence that might be different. You know how all the Fox news personalities are when the news topic is the types of kinky sex that get the family values folks all wee-weed up!

e.a.f. said...

It is interesting to watch the questioning of Sessions because the answer he gave is not to the question asked. He moved the answer away from the question, as in deflection. He was asked what would he do. He started saying....well we know what he said and it is that which got him mixed up. My sense of it while watching was that Session's body language indicated "less than truthful". He was very nervous. Had he simply told the truth he would have been home free but men like Session always think they are smarter and can get around people and questions.

How long will Sessions last? depends upon how many people sign those petitions going around. Received 5 different ones in one day. If other Republicans start to feel the heat they may "suggest" he leave, but given Trump's outburst on the weekend, Sessions won't be fired. Trump needs him to "control" things in his department.