A curious case is brewing in south Alabama. Charlie McNichol, the law enforcement coordinator and spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Mobile, has been charged with leaking information about a grand jury probe.
The leak case stems from the investigation that led to charges against former Orange Beach, Alabama, mayor Steve Russo and three others. Russo and two other people were found guilty on corruption charges, and a third person plead guilty and became the government's star witness. (Sound familiar?)
Several factors make this story particularly interesting:
* Scott Horton, of Harper's, has written several times about the body of evidence that suggests the U.S. Attorney's Office in Montgomery leaked information related to the prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman. McNichol evidently plans to plead guilty, so now we have a confirmed case of leaking in at least one federal prosecutor's office in Alabama. Press reports have not revealed the recipient of McNichol's leaks.
* Orange Beach is in Baldwin County, the site of the controversial vote count that gave Alabama's 2002 governor's race to Republican Bob Riley, over Democrat Siegelman. Interestingly, Baldwin County shares much in common with Shelby County (just south of Birmingham), where my Legal Schnauzer case originated. Both are among the wealthiest, fastest growing, and most Republican counties in Alabama. In fact, I believe they rank 1-2 in all three categories.
* I don't know much about the Russo prosecution. But Alabama blogger Robby Scott Hill, of Novationeering News, seems to have some personal insight into the case. He says Russo might have been targeted in much the same way that Siegelman was. Evidently Russo was a Siegelman supporter in a strongly Republican county.