Monday, April 4, 2011

FBI Harassment Preceded Alabama Official's Suicide

Milton McGregor

Two FBI agents harassed an Alabama deputy attorney general before he committed suicide last November--all because the agents mistakenly thought the deputy AG was trying to help gambling magnate Milton McGregor.

Robert William "Bob" Caviness died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound on November 15, as FBI agents Keith Baker and John H. McEachren III were conducting a harassment campaign against him, according to a report in The Montgomery Independent. Baker and McEachren were involved in an investigation of McGregor, which led to the ongoing prosecution of 11 individuals connected to gambling-related measures in the Alabama Legislature.

We have reported on the Caviness story as one of several mysterious Alabama deaths that seem connected roughly to the last year of Gov. Bob Riley's administration. The most recent such death came just last week, when Birmingham businessman Charles "Bubba" Major reportedly committed suicide in Mountain Brook. Major was a first cousin to prominent attorney Major Bashinsky, whose death in March 2010 was ruled a suicide. Bubba Major had expressed doubts about the official circumstances surrounding his cousin's death, which came just days after the settlement in a lawsuit the Bashinsky family brought against an investment firm with ties to the Riley family and the gambling industry.

How did Bob Caviness incur the wrath of the FBI? Bob Martin, editor and publisher of The Montgomery Independent, reports:

The Deputy AG, Robert William “Bob” Caviness, was in the process of conducting a background check on an individual with the last name of McEachern, who lived in the Auburn-Opelika area. It was a matter involving worker’s comp fraud.

The Independent was told by the AG’s office that Agents Baker and McEachern became suspicious when they found out through the state’s computer data base that someone in the Attorney General’s office was conducting the search involving McEachern’s name.

“They went ballistic” according to a source at the AG’s office, “and began harassing Bob and accusing him of trying to help Mr. McGregor,” AG officials told us.
What was the fallout?
An internal investigation was conducted by the AG’s office, which, at that time was under the direction of Atty. Gen. Troy King.

The investigation completely cleared Caviness of doing anything improper.

“He was just doing his job but those idiots at the FBI wouldn’t let him alone. They (the FBI) were bound and determined to tie Bob in with trying to help McGregor,” one AG official told our reporters. Baker and McEachern were the agents who arrested McGregor at his home.

Martin reports that the AG's office confirmed that Caviness' death was a suicide. But a number of questions remain, in our mind. Did the AG's office, now under Luther Strange, provide any documents to support the suicide finding? Did the AG's office conduct an investigation of its own into Caviness' death?
What about Caviness' possible ties to Ralph Stacy, the Business Council of Alabama executive who reportedly committed suicide in his office last September. Multiple sources have told Legal Schnauzer that Stacy and Caviness were friends, that they shared a common faith and were lay ministers.

The question of the moment, however, is this: What do the actions of FBI agents Baker and McEachern tell us about the federal gambling prosecution? Based on their harassment of Bob Caviness, does it sound like they were disinterested truth seekers in the gambling probe? Or does it sound like they were out to get Milton McGregor?

From where we sit, it sure sounds like the latter. That should cast more doubt on a federal prosecution that already seems to be filled with holes.


Robby Scott Hill said...

The solution here is an internal house cleaning. Surely there are some FBI Agents who are senior and junior to Keith Baker and John H. McEachren III who could collaborate to do what is best for the FBI and advance their own careers. That's what happened when the supposedly all powerful Richard Nixon was forced to resign the Presidency. Some very low level federal agents got together with key people in Congress and the Democratic National Committee and cleaned up The Bureau.

Anonymous said...

Keith Baker is a piece of work. Baker's name consistently pops up in an unfavorable context. Seems like the FBI Regional office in Mobile should keep a tighter rein on the Montgomery office. RSH- The Montgomery office recently got a new supervisor who is "not from around here". Maybe the new supervisor will conduct a much needed internal house cleaning.

David said...

Were either of these two agents involved in the Sirlgelman case?
If so, were either sitting at the prosector's table?

legalschnauzer said...


Keith Baker played a starring role in the Siegelman case. I wrote about it here:

Anonymous said...

Baker is the FBI agent alleged to have been the object of juror affection in the Siegelman trial. During the trial, juror Katie Langner is alleged to have sent messages through the U.S. Marshals asking if Baker was married.

Anonymous said...

It is comforting to know that the Jones Law School has produced yet another scholar such as Robby Scot Hill. To suggested that fellow FBI Agents collaborate against other agents without any evidence of the agents even being involved with the "incredulous accusation" that they had anything to do with a suicide of anyone. Stick to preparing taxes and suing the Social Security Administration on behalf of your parents. The world is a better place with you practicing law in the justice system.

L K Tucker said...

It is unlikely that any action taken by the FBI agents directly caused this suicide. But there is something that would have done just that.

The problem was discovered when it caused mental breaks for office workers in 1964. The office cubicle solved the Subliminal Distraction exposure problem in offices by 1968.

It is so simple that all Caviness might have done is use a laptop computer in a location where pets or family members walked around in his peripheral vision.

The mental break happens after many days of exposure when your brain subliminally attempts but fails to trigger the vision startle reflex.

It has been known in design, Systems Furniture, cubicles, believed to be a harmless nuisance, for forty years.

When my late wife had this "harmless" mental break she heard voices, hallucinated, and had crying episodes from depressive psychotic beliefs she hallucinated.

For most this episode is temporary and they recover with no treatment or after effects in about a week.

VisionAndPsychosis.Net has other examples including 60 suicides at France Telecom, and 18 at Foxconn, an Apple computer supplier, in China.

I filed a harassment complaint with the AG's office against the UA payroll office. They changed Connie's office trying to get her to retire. That eliminated Cubicle Level Protection causing her mental break.The AG refused to investigate the UA Tuscaloosa for harassment.

Had they investigated they would have learned about Subliminal Distraction and Caviness would still be alive.