Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Deconstructing Brett Blackledge

An alert Legal Schnauzer reader had an excellent idea today: He suggested that I compare certain press reports on the Sue Schmitz case to those we spotlighted yesterday by Brett Blackledge of The Birmingham News.

And what do we learn? That Blackledge's reporting is even more biased and fishy than we thought.

How did Bob Lowry of the Huntsville Times handle the story of a motion to dismiss in the Schmitz case? And what about Bob Johnson of the Associated Press?

Both Lowry and Johnson tell us up top that the motion to dismiss is based largely on claims of misconduct by prosecutors in grand-jury proceedings. Blackledge never mentions this.

Hmmm, wonder why Blackledge would ignore what clearly was the main point of the Schmitz motion in favor of trashing last week's U.S. House Judiciary Committee report on selective prosecution? That was the report, of course, that called for sworn testimony from former White House adviser Karl Rove.

Isn't it interesting that Blackledge would write his story in such a "Rove-centric" way, ignoring the main point of the Schmitz motion? It was almost as if a certain bespectacled and doughy "birdie" was whispering in Brett's ear as he knocked out his "objective" report.

When I said Blackledge's story sounded like it was written by the Republican National Committee, I was semi joking. Heck, I might have understated things! Maybe Turd Blossom himself was behind it.

But back to Lowry and Johnson. Both provide examples from transcripts of prosecutors badgering and harassing witnesses in the grand jury. Lowry's story is particularly illuminating--and downright frightening.

Here is where all of this hits close to home for your humble blogger. Read Lowry's account of the bullying tactics by prosecutors who work for Alice Martin, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Alabama. Then read this recent account of my suspicions about who might be behind efforts to unlawfully seize and auction my house.

Pick up the "police state" tone in one? Pick up the "police state" tone in the other? I sure do.

And here's another interesting point. A central character in Lowry's story is Assistant U.S. Attorney Matt Hart, who sounds like a glorified thug as he tries to pound the "truth" out of witnesses.

Well, Mr. Hart has played a bit part in our Legal Schnauzer story. You can read the entire post involving Mr. Hart here. But here is the key part:

I sent an e-mail to Matt Hart, white-collar crime director in U.S. Attorney's office in Birmingham. No reply. So I called one day and managed to catch Hart on the telephone. He blew me off. Said he "kicks" cases all the time, and he was "kicking" mine. Funny he would "kick" it when I wasn't even aware he had looked at it yet.

Compare Hart's handling of alleged wrongdoing by Schmitz, a Democrat, to his handling of my allegations of wrongdoing by state judges in Alabama, almost all Republicans.

When the "bad guy" is a Democrat, Hart is aggressive to the point of bullying and intimidating witnesses. When the "bad guys" are Republicans, Hart kicks the case, evidently without even looking at it. This came, by the way, after Hart had blown copious amounts of smoke up my fanny about honest-services mail fraud, the primary crime in the material I had sent. When I made it clear that I had researched the relevant law--and that his efforts to "snow" me weren't going to work--Hart just cavalierly kicked my case. Didn't matter whether a crime had actually been committed or not. So much for justice in the Age of Rove.

By the way, which is a more serious matter? Alleged wrongdoing by a retired school teacher who represents one district in the Alabama Legislature? Or wrongdoing by multiple judges, including about a dozen who hold statewide offices on our highest courts?

I'm assuming Matt Hart is a career justice department employee. And it's possible that, under normal circumstances, he is a fine and noble public servant. But we have considerable evidence to suggest that there is nothing normal about working under Alice Martin.

So what do we learn from comparing the Schmitz case to the Schnauzer case? We learn that Matt Hart's boss is extremely interested in one and not remotely interested in the other. What's the difference in the two cases? The political affiliations of the alleged "bad guys."

That's why they call it political prosecution. And that's why, when the book is written on this ugly chapter in American history, Alice Martin will be front and center.


Anonymous said...

In other words Blackledge did not report that the main point in the motion to dismiss in the Schmitz case is that Blackledge copied and the Pravda of the South published illegally obtained grand jury testimony. And that the evidence of the crime is found in the words published under Blackledge's bi-line. Come January Blackledge may well have something to worry about.

Anonymous said...

not as much to worry about as the schnauzer when he and his wifey are living under a bridge a cardboard box

Anonymous said...

Matt Hart doesn't give a shit about your little case Schnauzer.As for Brett Blackledge,If you dont like his reporting quit reading the Birmingham News you stupid shit.Yours is coming sooner rather than later.

Kevabooks said...

Matt is my brother. I can call him an ass, but you cannot. I can tell you this: he does what is right. Right is rarely popular. And down there in backwards Bama, you wouldn't know right if it hit you square in your face. I trust my little brother Matt can share the concept of right with you.

Best Regards,
Ava Batte Jordan

legalschnauzer said...


I didn't call Matt an ass. I said the description of him in one article made him sound like a "glorified thug." And I stand by that. The one time I talked with Matt on the phone, he did sound like a bit of an ass--but I didn't use that term in the blog. I also take issue with your assertion that Matt knows what's right. I sent him a gift-wrapped case of honest-services mail fraud and possibly other crimes, and he ignored it. That's probably because he worked for a Republican U.S. attorney, and he wanted to curry favor with his boss. That's not doing what's right. That's doing what is expedient. I'm not aware of Matt Hart, or anyone else in Alice Martin's office, pursuing a Republican--unless it was Gary White, who was prosecuted mainly because he refused to testify falsely against Don Siegelman. You should contact Judy White, Gary's wife, and ask about her firsthand experience with prosecutors in that case. It's scary. If your brother was connected to the Alex Latifi case in Huntsville, well . . . that was one of the biggest atrocities in the history of the U.S. justice system--and that's not just my opinion; the judge in the case pretty much said that. I see now Matt has been hired to work for Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange, another Republican, and I'm guessing we now can look forward to political prosecutions at the state level. Tell Matt I've got clear-cut evidence of crimes involving a GOP state judge and possibly a prominent right-wing Birmingham law firm. Could not be more clear and would be a great way to kick off his time in the AG's office. I await his call. We'll see if Matt Hart really does what is right.

Also, will Matt investigate the apparent bribe that former Gov. Bob Riley offered near the end of his term to Luther Strange? Again, does Matt Hart do what's right or what his GOP bosses want him to do?