Governor Bob Riley has appointed state finance director Jim Main to an open seat on the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals. That means Alice Martin, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, lost out on a position she reportedly wanted in the worst way.
So where will Martin land once the Obama crowd gets around to ousting her from her Bush-appointed role? That should be an intriguing story.
Several theories are floating around.
One has her going after Attorney General Troy King so that she can step into that role when, and if, King is indicted.
Another has her asking the Obama team for a one-year extension so she can lead the prosecution of Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford, a black Democrat.
Scott Horton, of Harper's magazine, calls Martin perhaps the most corrupt public official in the country and notes that she is not the only Bush "true believer" who wants to stay on under Obama.
We have posited the notion that Martin is going after King only as a threat to Riley, sending the message that "you had better appoint me to the judgeship I want or I will come after you, too."
Martin and Riley have been long-time allies, so Martin undoubtedly knows all kinds of dirt on the governor and his son, Homewood attorney and general wheeler-dealer Rob Riley Jr.
With Martin being investigated by multiple federal agencies, our guess is that Riley considered her too "hot" for the judicial appointment. More importantly, Riley probably figured that such a controversial choice would send unwanted scrutiny his way.
So is Alice Martin seriously miffed at the governor and his son? Our guess is yes. Would she actually open an investigation of the Rileys as her days dwindle down in the Department of Justice?
Now that's an interesting scenario. If Martin pledged to do that, and vowed to come clean on political prosecutions she has brought against Democrats, a fair number of Alabama progressives might push Obama to keep her on for awhile.
And I might be first in line.
In fact, we've already reported about one case where Alice Martin has access to copious loads of dirt about Riley Jr. A physical therapy company owned by Riley, Performance Group LLC, has been hit with allegations that it practices health-care fraud.
Martin refused to intervene in the case not long after it was filed last summer, leaving the complainant hung out to dry. Of course, Martin was all palsy-walsy with the Rileys then, and it seems clear she refused to intervene in an effort to protect Junior.
Partially as a result of Martin's willingness to look the other way, Junior Riley has been able to move forward with his lead role in federal litigation against former leaders of HealthSouth Corp. That case already has generated more than $500 million in settlements, with more to come.
Junior Riley and a horde of some 150 plaintiffs' lawyers figure to bring home serious bacon from their fees in the HealthSouth case. But that little plan could be short-circuited if someone were to look into allegations that Riley himself is engaged in health-care fraud.
Alice Martin knows all about the case against Rob Riley, his partners, and Performance Group LLC. So does a certain Legal Schnauzer.