Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Sue Schmitz and Alice Martin: Who Is The Real Fraudster Here?

The fraud case against Alabama Representative Sue Schmitz is expected to go to a federal jury in Decatur, Alabama, today. And that raises the following question: Who is the biggest fraudster involved in the Schmitz case?

Drawing on the work of Huffington Post's David Fiderer, we have shown that the government's case against Schmitz is outrageously weak. Fiderer, who is trained as a lawyer and works in international banking, says the case against Schmitz is "nonexistent."

But that doesn't mean that an acquittal is a sure thing--or even likely. U.S. District Judge David Proctor is a George W. Bush appointee, and the Don Siegelman and Paul Minor cases have shown that federal judges with Republican pedigrees can come up with some highly creative jury instructions.

As we await the verdict, let's take the focus off Schmitz and turn it on the woman who is responsible for this prosecution--Alice Martin, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Alabama.

Schmitz is charged with arranging a bogus job for herself with Community Intensive Training for Youth (CITY), a program that is based at Central Alabama Community College. Federal prosecutors say she was paid $177,251 over 3 1/2 years while doing little, if any, work. Several defense witnesses testified that Schmitz worked by soliciting corporate and community support for the program.

But let's consider the actions of Alice Martin, the woman who stands in judgment of Schmitz.

We already know that Martin lied under oath in an employment-related case involving former assistant U.S. attorney Deirdra Brown Fleming.

We also know that Martin brought a bogus case against Huntsville defense contractor Alex Latifi, and her corrupt handling of that case is expected to cost taxpayers at least $500,000 in compensation to Latifi.

But we are about to produce even more damning evidence against Alice Martin. This will show clear misconduct, and perhaps criminal activity, in her handling of my complaints regarding wrongdoing by Republican judges in Alabama state courts--and wrongdoing by Alabama attorney William E. Swatek, the father of Martin's former campaign manager, Dax Swatek. I have irrefutable evidence that Martin intentionally sent my complaints to the wrong federal agency, an outfit that does not even have jurisdiction to handle such cases. Could this constitute honest-services mail fraud or obstruction of justice by Ms. Martin? That story is coming in a few days.

Also, we have uncovered evidence of wrongdoing in Martin's office that has cost taxpayers huge sums of money, sums that make the amounts at issue in the Sue Schmitz case look like pocket change.

This wrongdoing on Martin's part probably played a major role in my termination at UAB.

How? In a whistleblower case that started in 2001, Martin was presented with evidence that research fraud at UAB ran in excess of $400 to $500 million. My research indicates that Martin's office conducted a cursory investigation of the charges and let UAB off with a penalty of $3.39 million, a tiny fraction of the actual fraud that was going on at the university.

Because of Martin's willingness to let UAB off the hook, and cost taxpayers several hundreds of millions of dollars, the university owes our local U.S. attorney big time. Evidence suggests that one way the university paid Martin back was by getting rid of a certain employee who was writing a troublesome blog--on his own time, with his own resources. At this point, one can only wonder what else the university might have done to help pay back Alice Martin and her compatriots.

So let's tally up the case against Alice Martin:

* She will cost taxpayers about $500,000 to compensate Alex Latifi, and that figure doesn't count the wasted resources used to bring the bogus case in the first place;

* She cost taxpayers, conservatively, $500 million in the UAB research fraud case;

* She violated one of the foundations of our justice system by lying under oath in the Deirdra Brown Fleming case;

* And she violated her oath as a prosecutor, and perhaps federal law, by intentionally mishandling a citizen's allegations of wrongdoing. She did this without disclosing that she had a conflict in the case. And she clearly did it to protect her fellow "Loyal Bushie" Republicans.

No wonder Scott Horton, of Harper's magazine, called Martin perhaps the most corrupt and crooked person in public office.

How does this compare to the allegations against Sue Schmitz. Even though the government's case against Schmitz would have to improve to be weak, let's assume she actually did what prosecutors allege. That means she cost taxpayers less than $200,000.

We have evidence that Alice Martin has cost taxpayers about $500 million, and that probably is a conservative figure.

So again, we ask the question: Who is the real fraudster here?

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