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Monday, May 22, 2017

Lawyer David J. Harrison, whose sketchy background includes a dubious plea deal for Ronnie Gilley, is arrested and charged with making false report to police


David J. Harrison
(From Dothan Eagle)
An attorney who played a major role in the Alabama Bingo Case recently was arrested in Dothan and charged with false reporting to a police officer. David J. Harrison, of Geneva, already had a sketchy history, and the latest run-in with the law just adds to it.

Harrison perhaps is best known as the attorney who filed paperwork for a guilty plea from Country Crossings developer Ronnie Gilley in the bingo case. Jarrod Massey and Jennifer Pouncy, lobbyists for Gilley, also pleaded guilty. Without those three guilty pleas, the case would have been a total wipe-out for the government. Every defendant who went to trial was found not guilty, a result that was described as "one of the most remarkable setbacks nationally" for federal prosecutors in decades.

As for Harrison's most recent misadventure, he was arrested on April 25. From a report at the Dothan Eagle:

According to Dothan police reports, Harrison was selling a vehicle at a car lot in Dothan and he alleged that forgery occurred in the paperwork. After an investigation, police determined no items had been forged, leading to the charge against him.

Harrison’s arraignment is scheduled for June 6. According to Harrison’s attorney, Shaun McGhee, they look forward to their day in court. McGhee believes his client will be found innocent of all charges.

Here is a rundown of colorful events in Harrison's past:

(1) Conviction on meth-trafficking charges

You might think having a conviction for meth-trafficking would put an end to your legal career. After all, lawyers are supposed to uphold the law and stuff. But you would be wrong. Harrison was convicted of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine in March 1997, but bingo, he still has his bar card. How does a lawyer with such a background wind up representing Ronnie Gilley in a case that drew national attention? Hmmm . . . that has never been made clear.

(2) And now appearing at Ashley Madison

Harrison is one of numerous Alabama lawyers who appear at the notorious extramarital-affairs Web site. (More on that in an upcoming post.)

(3) Representing man in a bestiality case

In 2015, Harrison represented a Geneva man in a bestiality case. From a news report on the case, which became a social-media phenomenon:

The man charged with having sex with his estranged wife's dog was in a Geneva courtroom today. Jonathan Medley's trial was continued to the December Circuit Court docket. Last June, the 39-year-old reportedly told police he had sexual contact with the shih-tzu named Buster because his wife paid more attention to the dog (than to him). Medley's attorney's, David Harrison, tells News 4 his client is innocent of the charge. The case has generated worldwide attention through social media.

Medley wound up pleading guilty to a misdemeanor and was sentenced to a 12-month sentence to be served for 15 consecutive weekends at the Geneva County Jail.

(4) Allegations of ineffective assistance of counsel

Gilley filed a document in October 2013, alleging that Harrison provided ineffective assistance of counsel in the bingo case. The document includes portions of a transcript from jailhouse phone calls in which Gilley makes clear to Harrison that he does not want to plead guilty and he does not believe he is guilty. (More on that in an upcoming post.)

Gilley was released in 2016 after serving four years in federal prison. Gilley now is working in construction and property development and hopes to return to the entertainment business.

(5) A peculiar relationship with current U.S. Senate candidate Doug Jones

Before Harrison joined the defense team, Gilley's representation came from Doug Jones and two other attorneys from the former Birmingham firm Haskell Slaughter. Court documents indicate that Harrison and Jones were on the case together for almost a month. When asked about his actions on Gilley's behalf, and about Harrison's criminal background, Jones refused to comment.

Jones, a Democrat who once served as U.S. attorney under the Bill Clinton administration, now is running for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Trump attorney general Jeff Sessions. What about Jones' ties to David Harrison and the dubious Gilley guilty plea? Is Jones someone Alabamians seriously should consider to represent them in the U.S. Senate? (More on that in upcoming posts.)

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mr. Harrison looks like he's been through the wringer -- or he put himself through the wringer.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like some rich content is on it's way around more shady dealings in Bama politics and legal profession!

Dexter Gilley said...

The reason this man represented my dad was because he and my dads ex wife worked a deal out together. Right after his sentencing Harrison then aided in their divorce then offered her a job after the fact. Just to clear things up my dad is Ronnie gilley. Because my dad got sentenced it caused him to loose all of his shares in country crossing then the next person in line opened it back up under a different name and left my dad and his investors out to dry. Harrison single handily caused my dad to loose over $43 million dollars.

Anonymous said...

I've never believed Ronnie Gilley willingly pleaded guilty. He was conned into it.

Anonymous said...

Doug Jones must be the worst lawyer on the planet. Does he ever get a not-guilty verdict on anyone?

legalschnauzer said...

@1:24 --

You raise an interesting point. I don't remember Jones getting a not-guilty verdict. He might have gotten a few people off in the two-year college deal, although I'm not sure any of his clients actually went to trial. My memory is that he represented several people who received subpoenas. Most of the high-profile people he has represented -- Don Siegelman, Ronnie Gilley, Chris McNair -- wind up in prison. And in the Siegelman/Gilley cases, Jones bailed out before the cases had a chance to go to trial.

Anonymous said...

I recall that you reported Jones bilked Don Siegelman out of $300,000?

legalschnauzer said...

I didn't use the word "bilked," but yes, Siegelman was charged $300,000 for Jones' "defense," which mostly amounted to Jones extending the statute of limitations to benefit the prosecution.

legalschnauzer said...

Dexter Gilley --

Thank you for writing. I'm very sorry for what your dad and your family have been though. Do you know what happened with your dad's motion re: ineffective assistance of counsel? I've read it, and it seems compelling to me. I assume it was denied? Do you know what happened with Doug Jones on your dad's case? As an outsider, I always thought it seemed weird that Jones seemed to be head lawyer, then Harrison appeared to get the guilty plea. Perhaps we can talk via phone at some point, if you are comfortable with that.

The Rileys seem more or less back in power now that Kay Ivey is governor, so I'm concerned that the special stench of Riley corruption soon will start wafting all over Alabama. Sure seems like their hands were all over the bingo case.

Anonymous said...

Doug Jones probably was taking instructions from Rob Riley the whole time.

Anonymous said...

Ronnie Gilley spent four years in prison, based on the advice of the guy in this picture? That's scary stuff, man.

Anonymous said...

So U.S. Senate candidate Doug Jones worked a case with meth-trafficker David Harrison? Gee, that certainly should impress "progressive" voters.

Anonymous said...

I hope Gilley brings Bama Jam back!

Anonymous said...

I could down 25 beers and engage the services of 5 streetwalkers -- all in the same evening -- and still not look as F'd up as David Harrison looks in that picture.

e.a.f. said...

OMG, this is better than T.V. convicted of screwing his wife's dog. OMG don't the police have better things to do.....????? I know, I know, the SPCA, but really, you can't make this type of stuff up and it would all make for such a nice book or t.v. series.