Monday, June 22, 2009

Is Alice Martin an Incorrigible Liar?

Sunday was Father's Day for most Americans. But at The Birmingham News, it apparently was "Kiss Alice Martin's Fanny" Day.

Martin, who has spent the past eight years butchering the law as U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, stepped down last Friday. The News, her biggest booster, sent her out with enough bouquets to choke a brontosaurus.

Columnist Robin DeMonia weighs in with a piece titled "What Will Become of Corruption Cases?" The tone is, "Dear God, how can anyone carry on the prosecutorial masterpieces that Alice Martin has wrought?" This must be about the 20th such piece the News has produced since the November 2008 elections showed that Martin's days were numbered. Each piece seems to be written with several assumptions in mind: (1) Any indictment Alice Martin brought was soundly based on the facts and the law; (2) Political affiliation played no role in the cases Martin chose to pursue or ignore; (3) Political types targeted by Martin clearly were corrupt and guilty.

The News sticks to these assumptions, despite a mountain of evidence indicating that Martin herself was far more corrupt than any politician she went after.

Reporter Robert Gordon writes an opus about Martin's tenure as U.S. attorney, starting on the front page and jumping to two pages inside. It must take up 50 column inches or more, with roughly the first three-fourths of it devoted to Martin highlights. You have to dig deep into the story before you see signs that all was not peachy during Martin's reign. Consider this quote from a veteran prosecutor who left the office:

"It was just turmoil inside the office," former prosecutor John Earnest said. "She had a plan to transform the office into one of her making. She wanted to staff the office with her hires and nothing mattered about what was in place.

"In my opinion, we had highly professional and highly effective prosecutors and it was wrecked. She was partisan and preferential in her hires."

To his credit, Gordon does mention the Alex Latifi debacle, in which Martin's team apparently intentionally ruined a prosperous Huntsville business. And Gordon mentions that Martin is under investigation by the U.S. Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility. I'm not sure the News ever has mentioned either of these issues in previous articles.

Perhaps the most stunning item from Gordon's piece is this claim from Martin that she pursued political cases without regard to party affiliation:

Martin said there were no political motives to her public corruption prosecutions. The office actually won convictions against one more Republican than Democrat, she said. "We have never looked at their political affiliation," she said. "We have looked at their corrupt actions."

Gordon apparently regurgitates this quote without batting an eye or asking a question. And columnist John Archibald, who has become little more than Martin's lap dog in recent years, latches onto it in his column with the comical title, "Don't Hate Her 'Cause She's Dutiful."

Archibald proclaims, "Half of her victims came from the GOP." But neither he nor Gordon seems to have conducted any research to determine if that information is correct.

Let's do an off-the-top-of-our-head recounting of the politically oriented cases brought by Martin in the Northern District of Alabama. Let's see, I can recall cases against Don Siegelman, Chris McNair, Jeff Germany, Larry Langford, John Katapodis, Al LaPierre, Bill Blount, Sue Schmitz, E.B. McClain, and Samuel Pettigrue. I'm sure I've forgotten some cases, but that's 10 folks, all Democrats, targeted by Martin.

On the Republican side, I can think of Gary White and Mary Buckelew. Court documents indicate White was targeted because he refused to cough up false testimony about Siegelman. And Buckelew, a one-time Democrat, appears to have been targeted because she's been a friend and ally of Langford.

Is Alice Martin telling blatant lies about her record, knowing The Birmingham News will lap them up?

Well, I know from firsthand experience that Alice Martin lies the way most people blink their eyes. It's a reflex, one she apparently is incapable of controlling.

Archibald quotes Martin: "Not a week goes by that we don't get a credible tip on corruption."

What does Martin do when such a tip leads to one of her GOP cohorts? She intentionally covers it up and lies about what she's done. In a post just last week, we showed that Alice Martin had committed a crime--obstruction of justice--by intentionally sending my complaint about corrupt lawyers and judges in Shelby County to an agency that had no jurisdiction to investigate it.

We also have noted that Martin probably either engineered, or knows who did engineer, my unlawful termination from UAB. That was one of many intriguing storylines from Lindsay Beyerstein's investigative piece at Raw Story.

A few days after Beyerstein's piece ran, we noted that Martin had refused to answer question, issuing a written statement that was filled with more holes than the Oakland Raiders defensive line.

Alice Martin assumed her role as a U.S. attorney, apparently with a frail grasp on the truth and the role she should have played. Now she's going out the same way.

Looks like she didn't learn a thing in her eight years on the job.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You are so right, LS! And if you turned on local television news, it appeared to be an over-wrought praise-a-thon for Alice, with nothing at all about all the investigations, accusations, and proven corruption she oversaw.

I think my favorite part of The BN/BS was this confession at the very end, with quotation marks and everything: "I may have had a failure here or there, but the long-term goals were always clear to me: to build this into a larger office and do nationally significant cases. We did that."

Meaning, it was always about money, power, and press. Very disturbing. Nowhere in their mission statement does it say anything about "a larger office." And nowhere in her statement does she say it was ever about justice. Even Ron Brunson said, "I was taught to do justice, be careful with your power and never abuse it. I felt that was abandoned." And he was absolutely correct.