Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Did Judge on Siegelman Appellate Panel Act Out of Fear From a Failed Attempt on his Life?

U.S. Circuit Judge J.L. Edmondson

Former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman is due to report to federal custody today in Oakdale, Louisiana, providing absolute proof that large chunks of Americans are perfectly willing to accept the idea of political prisoners in our "democracy," circa 2012.

We have written probably several hundred posts about the Siegelman travesty, and you might think that we wouldn't have anything left to say at this point. But you would be wrong, and that's largely because the case was so profoundly screwed up on so many levels that the news just keeps on coming.

In fact, the following question is on our mind today: Was the appeal in the Siegelman case botched in part because one member of the three-judge panel operates out of fear from being the target of a failed assassination attempt more than 20 years ago?

Law-enforcement officials initially believed that U.S. Circuit Judge J.L. Edmondson was the target of a gunman when a limousine window shattered in April 1990, with the jurist inside. This came just weeks after Robert S. Vance Sr., Edmondson's colleague on the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, was killed when he opened a mail bomb at his home in Mountain Brook, Alabama.

Both events came as the Eleventh Circuit was about to hear an appeal in Avirgan v. Hull, a lawsuit alleging operatives connected to the Reagan and Bush I administrations were responsible for a bomb that killed one journalist and injured another in Costa Rica. The lawsuit threatened to blow the lid off the Iran-Contral scandal of the 1980s, and we recently presented powerful evidence that Vance was killed because, as chief judge of the Eleventh Circuit, it was feared he would push to overturn a lower court's dismissal of the Avirgan case.

Was Edmondson targeted for the same reason? Well, all these years later, it's not clear that Edmondson was targeted at all. But this much is certain: Edmondson was on a three-judge panel that unlawfully upheld bribery convictions in the Siegelman case--and that's why the former Alabama governor is set to return to federal custody today, on the curious date of September 11. (For what it's worth, Edmondson and his Siegelman-case colleague, Gerald Bard Tjoflat, also were on a panel that unlawfully upheld a trial-court's dismissal of a lawsuit over my wrongful termination at UAB. Are the two cases intentionally being linked in the Eleventh Circuit? Is this a case of "Let's screw Siegelman and the journalist who has written tons of posts about his case"? It sure looks that way to me.)

We've shown that the Eleventh Circuit panel botched the Siegelman ruling on multiple grounds--failing to overturn convictions in a prosecution that clearly was brought well after the statute of limitations had expired.

How could veteran judges get it wrong on simple procedural matters? Is it because Edmondson knows that his life, in fact, was targeted in 1990--and he wants to keep a lid on any case with possible ties to Iran-Contra? Does this add credence to reports that Siegelman was targeted for a political prosecution partly because he knew about drug and gun smuggling, using Alabama airfields, that was part of Iran-Contra? Does this mean that U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller, in fact, had ties to the smuggling operations and was elevated to the federal bench by the Bush family specifically to keep Iran-Contra secrets under wraps? Was going after Siegelman a key part of that plan?

To shine light on those questions, it helps to consider the shattered window in Judge Edmondson's limousine, back in spring 1990.

First, it is clear that Edmondson was traveling via limousine, under armed guards from the U.S. Marshals service, because of the Vance assassination. It's established that a second bomb was found, and defused, at the Eleventh Circuit's clerk's office. A third bomb killed a civil-rights attorney.

Authorities had reason for deep concern when a loud pop was heard and a window shattered on a vehicle carrying Judge Edmondson. Press reports quickly went out that an attempt had been made on the judge's life. Nerves were calmed when the FBI issued a statement saying the window broke because of an accident. From a press report at the time:

FBI agents investigating what caused the rear window of a federal judge's car to shatter have nabbed their culprit--a two-way radio antenna attached to the car's trunk--and have declared the case closed. 
When 11th Circuit Court Judge J. Lawrence Edmondson's rear window shattered Wednesday with a loud popping sound, police panicked, thinking the colleague of slain Judge Robert Vance was the victim of an assassination attempt. Federal agents descended on the city, searching for a gunman. Roadblocks were set up, helicopters buzzed the Lawrenceville area and students were locked inside nearby schools for their safety. 
The FBI said Friday the window shattered because a two-way radio antenna on the car repeatedly scratched the glass, weakening it.

Manny Sinkin, an attorney with the Christic Institute that was bringing the Avirgan case, never has bought that explanation. His thoughts can be found in "Murder in the Eleventh Circuit," an article that originally appeared in the Portland Free Press. A reprint by The Lighthouse Report can be found about halfway down the page at this link.

Sinkin recalls hearing about the Edmondson incident while he was traveling with a colleague named Marlene Smith, who was about to begin working for the Christic Institute:

When we heard the story, we pulled over to call Washington. I contacted the office of Congressman Henry B. Gonzalez and asked what information they had on the attempted assassination. An aide to the congressman pulled up their wire service and told me that there was a massive manhunt under way and that helicopters were circling an apartment building where they believed the assassin was trapped. 
As we drove across country that day, we continued to listen for more information. There was nothing further. The next morning, National Public Radio broadcast a story saying that the police had concluded that a defect in the glass or a rapid change in temperature had caused the window to shatter and that there had been no assassination attempt. 
Marlene and I just laughed at the speed of the cover up.

Sinkin obviously did not buy the official story. And he provides this explanation:

When I returned to Washington, I looked up the profiles of the two judges. Judge Robert S. Vance was one of the great liberals in modern United States history. He led the Mississippi Freedom Democratic delegation to the 1968 Democratic Convention. That delegation was the first integrated delegation to be sent from Mississippi. The convention unseated the official segregationist delegation and seated the delegation headed by Judge Vance. 
A man of such courage in challenging the status quo might well have been willing to go against the national security tide and reverse Judge King's order (dismissing Avirgan).
Judge J. L. Edmondson is a true conservative. If the government is on one side of a case against an individual, his assumption is that the government has all the resources and, therefore, a heavy burden to do everything exactly right. To the right of Judge Edmondson are ideological conservatives, who would not be the least sympathetic to the Institute's appeal. 
When I reached Washington, I called the Eleventh Circuit to check on the status of the appeal. The clerk asked what case. When I said "Avirgan v. Hull," she said "Oh, Lord!" I asked "Oh, Lord?" She said "Avirgan v. Hull means duck and run for cover." Clearly in the minds of court personnel the death of Judge Vance and the attempt on Judge Edmondson were associated with the Christic appeal.

A three-judge panel ultimately upheld dismissal of the Avirgan case. "I have always believed the court acted under duress," Sinkin said.

Sinkin has returned to his native Texas, where he is executive director of Solar San Antonio. Edmondson  now is on senior status at the Eleventh Circuit, and he just happened to wind up on the three-judge panel for the Siegelman case--and on the panel for my appeal.

Meanwhile, Don Siegelman is set to return to federal prison today--for his conviction on a crime that does not exist under the law, in a prosecution that was barred by the statute of limitations.

Are the Eleventh Circuit, and J.L. Edmondson, still acting under duress? It sure looks that way from here.


Anonymous said...

Just FYI, Judge Vance was not from Mississippi and never led a delegation from Mississippi to any convention. A small point perhaps, but it causes one to question the accuracy of the rest of this guy's "facts."

Anonymous said...

Frankly speaking, in one acronym

CIA, and this cannot be other than what is is: DANGEROUS to the point of killing fields and the justices know full well what has happened to "America." North, that is.

The CIA has been in charge of the North American continent via the "masters" of the CIA and these deadly vipers are now finding the entire EARTH,


are quite through with this same injustice, globally.

Anonymous said...

Americans are not waking up.

The international community are not going back to sleep and ARE NOT going to allow Americans to continue in a coma state while the world is being bombed, just like what has been done in the U.S.

Dumb the judges down too?

Please, look-see, where does the reality prove any CITIZEN as "Pro Se" can actually be in a stand of "equal!" LOL.

Our elections are chosen by the Central Intelligence Agency which is the Crime families militant operation of North America, a continent for the Golden Army to rule via CIA owners, and these "PEOPLE" are easily and effortlessly, AMERICANS, found when we wake up and take back our country:


We do NOT have a voting system, we have KARL ROVE in a "bat cave" making certain George W. Bush WON, via the SUPREME COURT.

Now come on, a "JUDGE" not at the Supreme Court level, takes orders from the top!

When the Supreme Court chose George W. Bush, whose family IS the CIA, know your "POTUS."

Anonymous said...

"... Judicial Elections ....

Lauren Paulson, attorney at law:

Willamette Week and bulletinsfromaloha.org exposed Justice De Muniz’ eCourt multimillion dollar fiasco last year. Justice De Muniz then decided it was time for him to retire.

This dynamic duo’s (Comstock and De Muniz) new project is the Oregon Law Commission. They want to do away with Oregon’s Constitutionally mandated judicial elections. All Oregon judges are supposed to be elected by Oregon voters. Only 25% of Oregon judges are actually first elected. 75% of new Oregon judges are appointed by the Governor. It is a rigged system ..."


jeffrey spruill said...

Not only do I learn about the law & its brother--corruption by reading LS--I learn things that pertain to writing like this rhetorical question:

Is this a case of "Let's screw Siegelman and the journalist who has written tons of posts about his case"?

Cliff Arnebeck said...

Interesting article.

I knew about Judge Vance's assassination as a way of defeating the Christic Institute/Iran Contra appeal, but not about this additional possible assassination attempt.

It occurred to me that Judge Fuller's reference to Don Siegelman not really accepting the justice system for 21 years was alluding to the conviction of Walter Moody as Vance's lone assassin. The FBI had investigated it as a conspiracy--"VanPAC," for Vance Political Assassination Conspiracy.

Judge Vance had been Don Siegelman's law partner before each of them went into public service, Vance on the federal bench and Siegelman as Alabama Secretary of State.

The other interesting connection is investigative journalist John Caylor's report that Mark Fuller, prior to becoming a federal judge, was not just an owner but also a principal figure in the management of the enterprise connected to various nefarious activities over which Siegelman would have had oversight responsibility in the public interest.

Anonymous said...

wow so sorry about the link, to your site, too long, an emergency was in order. good luck, should this message reach you.

legalschnauzer said...

Anon at 9:58--I wondered about that reference to Mississippi. Judge Vance's Wikipedia page says he was chairman of the Alabama Democratic Party at the time of the 68 convention, so maybe the fellow quoted just got his Southern states mixed up.

Anonymous said...

Just watched WKRG-TV in Mobile where the tri-weekly Press-Register's unabashedly biased reporting for years on Don Siegelman helped set in motion the shocking turn of events that led today to the ex-governor's return to prison. WKRG, which failed to note that the Press-Register's biased reporting probably - hopefully - resulted in the paper going from a daily to a glorified three-day weekly, continues to follow the Press-Register's example. They have Bob Riley on the tube regularly, and today, in connection with Siegelman returning to prison, they had a bloated, tallowy Eddie Curran interview. (The adjectives describe both the man and interview.)Curran is the hard drinking ex-Press-Register hatchetman, who vowed for the umpteenth time how he's the only journalist in the world to get the Siegelman story correct. Not CBS News or the New York Times, nor a hundred attorneys general from all over the country who petitioned the court on Siegelman's behalf; Eddie got it right in his self-published book that he probably hawks at yard sales and door to door! Eddie, Eddie, Eddie! You have no life apart from Don Siegelman and certainly no career. Admit it, Siegelman is your fantasy, that and getting rid of all those paperweight and door stop books you carry around. Here's a story idea for WKRG: Investigate and see what the probabilities are that the same thing could happen to a TV news organization that happens to a print news organization if both practice biased reporting. Naturally, you'll need to consult with Jo Bonner before proceeding with the investigation.

Anonymous said...

When John Kennedy Jr. announced he was going to run for US President, his death was a carefully examined "accident," and rumored George W. Bush Jr., got his "initiation," to be the POTUS, in 2000.

John Kennedy Jr. and his beautiful wife and her sister, would have been an incredible leadership power for the United States of America into the future.

Diana of Whales would have been also one of the greats to lead in going forward into the freer earth period of time.

That was not to happen.

Don Siegelman is nobody's fool. He trusts the system to do exactly what it does, and John F. Kennedy Jr., his wife and her sister, as well as Diana of Whales, prove the system needs to be not what it is. Just as Israel is NOT what was to be, neither is America.

Check lawlessamerica.com ...

... there are stories and in one of the states I am living in, Washington, well I knew the corruption was deep, but this reading and other judges' vile acts are beyond what America can tolerate. We've got Iran, China and Russia as well as the other two Americas, Latin and South, ALL are standing against this "new world order." Disorder is the real truth, chaos is the energy that drives terrorism in ITS' wars sold via the news, globally ad nauseum.

The NEWS is owned, as Timothy F. Geitnher said, by his children and him, which is of course then, the BLOB: see Jeff Connaughton,

"The Payoff: Why Wall Street Always Wins."

Roberta Kelly

Anonymous said...

ad nauseam misspell, can't do that to one of my favorite words!

jeffrey spruill said...

I know for a fact you can "NEVER" believe "ANYTHING" coming from the FBI.

And I ain't afraid to use my REAL name Mr. FBI.

jeffrey spruill said...

Mr. FBI:

I think you know why FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III was visiting the Norfolk Field Office Friday-Dec.1,2006.


You knew it would be published by that Operation Mockingbird rag the Va. Pilot:


So seven U.S. Attorneys could be fired Thursday--Dec.7,2006.

You had the criminal & your criminal--David W. Bouchard doing your dirty work by having me locked up.

jeffrey spruill said...

Mr. FBI:

Just to make sure folks understand "the DOJ racket" your involved with here's a confirmation of the seven U.S. Attorneys firings:

dismissal of seven United States Attorneys on December 7, 2006 by the George W. Bush administration's Department of Justice.


jeffrey spruill said...


All kinds of STRANGE things happening in Norfolk,Va.