Monday, October 15, 2012

Is Don Siegelman In Prison Partly Because of Missteps and Conflicts With His Defense Team?

Doug Jones

Former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman has been back in federal prison for more than a  month now, and that should be appalling to citizens who care about justice. After all, court documents show that Siegelman was convicted of a "crime" that does not exist under the law, and the prosecution brought its case almost a full year after the statute of limitations had expired on the key charge of bribery.

We have written several hundred posts about the Siegelman case and shown without a doubt that the case was driven largely by corrupt prosecutors, a conflicted and perhaps chemically clouded judge, and a compromised jury. But we also should ask this difficult question: Was Siegelman well served by his own lawyers? Did they make mistakes that contributed to his wrongful imprisonment? Did some of them have questionable motives?

Siegelman employed a revolving cast of lawyers, one that changed through the various stages of the case--from pre-trial, to trial, to circuit-court review, to U.S. Supreme Court appeal. It's hard to keep track of the lawyers without a scorecard, and one can only wonder how much Siegelman, his family, and his followers spent on the defense--and he still wound in prison, even though the facts and relevant law show that could not happen.

I know from first-hand experience that it can be extremely difficult to deal with a corrupt trial-court judge--and equally hard to deal with an appellate panel that refuses to follow its own legal precedent. But when a team of lawyers is paid big money--probably well into the seven figures--someone should figure out a way to keep an innocent man out of prison.

That raises questions about the performance of Team Siegelman. As a journalist who has followed the case closely since its inception, my impression is that some members of the defense team performed honorably. Others, however, merit serious scrutiny.

No. 1 on that list is G. Douglas Jones, a former U.S. attorney in the Clinton administration who now works at the Birmingham firm of Haskell Slaughter.

Veteran Birmingham lawyer David Cromwell Johnson was Siegelman's original defense counsel, but he died unexpectedly in January 2003. That's when Siegelman turned to Doug Jones, who was then with the firm of Whatley Drake and Kallas. Did it prove to be a good decision? Multiple sources tell me the answer is no. In fact, several say they believe Siegelman never would have come close to being convicted  if David Cromwell Johnson had lived.

Jones testified in October 2007 before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee on possible political prosecutions in the Bush administration. A transcript of his testimony provides insight on the actions he took, and the curious connections he carried, during the Siegelman case. (See document at the end of this post.) On the surface, Jones said many of the right things about the unlawful motives behind the prosecution. But upon closer inspection of the transcript, plus other written statements from Jones, a reasonable observer might ask, "What side was this guy on?"

Let's examine Doug Jones' actions in light of three key issues:

* Tolling the Statute of Limitations--Jones met with prosecutors in early July 2004, and they made it clear that their focus was on HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy, his contribution to Siegelman's education-lottery campaign, and Scrushy's subsequent appointment to a hospital regulatory board--on which he had served under three previous governors. (See page 10 and 11 of transcript.) The government had a clear problem at this point: Scrushy's appointment had come in late July 1999, and that meant the five-year statute of limitations was about to run out. Prosecutors asked if Siegelman would sign a tolling agreement, extending the statute of limitations for 30 days. Jones, in an act of naivete, incompetence or intentional subterfuge, went along with the idea.

This would be like Auburn football coach Gene Chizik approaching Alabama's Nick Saban before the start of the 2012 Iron Bowl and saying, "You know, Nick, our star quarterback is sick as a dog today, puking his guts out. Would you mind putting off the big game for 30 days, so our stud player can mend and be at his best when we play you guys?" (Never mind that Auburn doesn't have a star quarterback; this is a theoretical exercise.) Can you imagine Nick Saban agreeing to that? Uh, neither can I.

Prosecutors essentially said to Doug Jones: "We admit we don't have a case against your client. If we had to bring the case today, we couldn't nail him with a parking ticket. How about you give us an extra 30 days beyond the legal limit, and that will give us a fair chance to send your guy to the Big House for the rest of his natural life."

Doug Jones, in so many words, said, "Sure, no sweat."

Don Siegelman was paying this guy to represent his best interests?

* Showing Love for Bill Pryor--Democrats don't agree on much, but they almost universally agree that Bill Pryor is a bad guy--and an even worse public servant.

Pryor was the Alabama attorney general who started an investigation of Siegelman almost before the new governor's fanny had hit his chair in 1999. President George W. Bush named Pryor to a seat on the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, making a recess appointment because Pryor was such a controversial choice among Senate Democrats.

Here is what Scott Horton, of Harper's, had to say about Pryor:

William Pryor, a ferociously partisan figure and one of the most controversial judicial nominees in recent memory, previously served as Alabama’s attorney general. He used his position to initiate a criminal investigation of Siegelman within weeks of Siegelman’s inauguration as governor. Throughout the history of the Siegelman investigation and prosecution, Pryor figures right at the center of it, concocting new theories, discarding old ones, and ultimately, after concluding that there was an insufficient basis under Alabama law to act, lobbying the Justice Department to bring a case. Throughout this period, Pryor consulted with and involved senior Alabama GOP figures in the matter. Pryor is also a friend and confidant of Karl Rove, whom he hired to manage his election campaign, and who played a key role in his ascendancy to the federal bench.

An assessment of a legal figure cannot be much more scathing than that. But guess what? Doug Jones likes Bill Pryor; he believed it when Pryor told him the Siegelman case had nothing to do with politics. (See page 4 of transcript.)

Jones even calls Pryor a "trusted colleague and friend." Are Scott Horton and Doug Jones talking about the same guy?

* Showing Love for Rob Riley--This might be Jones' most curious connection of all. Homewood attorney Rob Riley is the son of former GOP Governor Bob Riley, who probably stands as Don Siegelman's No. 1 political enemy. Bob Riley became governor in 2002 only when votes for the incumbent, Siegelman, mysteriously disappeared overnight in heavily conservative Baldwin County.

So how could Jones, as Siegelman's one-time defense counsel, become buds with Rob Riley? Well, they found a way to make lots of money together--and they were willing to overlook glaring conflicts of interest in order to grab for serious cash. This all stems from a massive federal lawsuit against individuals and entities connected to HealthSouth Corporation. The case generated more than $50 million in attorney fees, and as co-liaison counsel, Jones and Riley stood to make hefty sums.

Jones seems to be highly sensitive to his alliance with Rob Riley--and the boat loads of cash they raked in together. How sensitive is he? On March 31, 2009, I wrote a piece titled "Does Rob Riley Engage in Fraud While He 'Fights' Fraud?" noting that Riley faced charges of Medicare fraud in a federal whistleblower lawsuit at the same time he was helping to sue others for health-care fraud.

Taking issue with my post, Jones blasted me that evening on a well-known progressive listserv that is based in Huntsville, Alabama. I reported on Jones' response in a May 14, 2009, post titled "Striking a Nerve With a Key Figure in the Siegelman Case," going so far as to run Jones' listserv comment word for word.

Jones claimed I had jumped to "absurd conclusions," based on "political motivations," but he failed to point to anything that was plainly inaccurate in my reporting. That would have been hard to do, of course, because my post was based almost entirely on published reports and court records.

I've tried, on two occasions, to ask Jones about the issues noted above--and other matters. Both times, he has refused to answer my questions. He made a vague reference to "things you've written about me." But at the time of Jones' listserv attack, I had not written much of anything about him.

I had written about Rob Riley's apparent conflicts from his association with both the Siegelman/Scrushy criminal case and the HealthSouth civil case, borrowing heavily on the reporting of Huffington Post's Sam Stein.

Evidence strongly suggests that Jones had no reason to be displeased with anything I had written about him, but was peeved about my reporting on Rob Riley and the legal fees from the HealthSouth lawsuit.

Don Siegelman supporters, and he still has a lot of them in this state, might ponder this thought: "The Legal Schnauzer blog has been one of the foremost sources of news and analysis about the former governor's case. Heck, the blog's author even was cheated out of his job at UAB because of his bold stance in support of Governor Siegelman and the rule of law--and against politically driven prosecutions in the Bush years.

"Why would Doug Jones, as former defense counsel for Siegelman, refuse to take questions from Legal Schnauzer, of all people?"

In a series of upcoming posts, we will take a closer look at that question. We also will present powerful evidence of where Doug Jones' loyalty rested--and it wasn't with Don Siegelman.

(To be continued)

Doug Jones Testimony


Anonymous said...

Antonia Tolbert v. Monsanto Company;
Pharmacia Corporation; and Solutia Inc., N.D. Ala., No. CV-01-C-1407-W


Geraldine Oliver v. Monsanto Company,
Pharmacia Corporation; and Solutia, Inc., N.D. Ala., No. CV-02-C-0836-S

'Guy?' "C. Douglas Jones" ??

Monsanto Genetically Modified Organism? No no understanding IT!

First, brain has been shrunk. Thyroid is shrunk and the entirety of ITs' internal system has been in a process of 'melting' in essence, since IT began to be the 'man' for the criminally insane eugenics programs via the BIG AGRICULTURE and BIG PHARMA globalists.

CDJ's decisions are Agenda 21, and therefore, Don Siegelman was clearly not one who would agree to the anti-American agendas.

Don's real attorney got dead and could not defend, then, convenient?

legalschnauzer said...

Anon at 7:04--

It's G. Douglas Jones--I believe the "G" stands for Gordon--and that's the same guy who was involved in the Siegelman criminal case and the Health/Scrushy civil case (with Rob Riley). Tolbert v. Monsanto apparently was a class-action, involving PCB contamination etc, and I believe it was initiated by the Birmingham firm of Burr Forman. Records show that Doug Jones was appointed a special master in the case. Not sure exactly what that role entails, and I'm not familiar with the ins and outs of the Tolbert case. Thanks for bringing up this case. Will try to learn more about it. At this point, I don't see any signs of questionable conduct on Doug Jones' part in Tolbert. I'm sure he made some money off of it, but that's what lawyers do. Not sure if this was a good result for victims or not.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad to see this article. I've often wondered what kind of defense lawyer is unable to get a client off in a case where the charges obviously are bogus. I haven't seen that question asked about the Siegelman case, and I think it's about time it is asked.

legalschnauzer said...

Here is a definition of a "special master" in federal court:

In law, a special master is an authority appointed by a judge to make sure that judicial orders are actually followed.

In England, at common law, there were "Masters in Chancery," who acted in aid of the Equity Courts. There were also "Masters in Lunacy," who conducted inquiries of the same nature as modern civil commitment proceedings. In the table of precedence for England these two offices rank immediately above Companions of the Bath.

In the United States of America a special master is an "adjunct to a federal court," and Rule 53 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure allows a federal court to appoint a master, with the consent of the parties, to conduct proceedings and report to the Court.

Anonymous said...

I've never understood Jones' decision to extend the statue of limitations. How did that help his client? Looks to me like it only helped the feds.

legalschnauzer said...

Anon at 8:05--

Join the crowd. I guess it was a no-risk decision for Jones. He's not the one sitting in federal prison right now.

James Greek said...


I think Dougie knows his conflicts. He just doesn't like you pointing them out. But too bad so sad. You'll do it anyway and you aren't too scared!

Crabby Appleton said...

Doug Jones' comments about Bill Pryor make me want to puke. Bill Pryor is his "trusted colleague and friend"? Give me a break!

Anonymous said...

Sounds to me like Siegelman has grounds for a legal malpractice case.

Anonymous said...

The corruption is well planned and MONSANTO is R.I.C.O., BIG TIME.

Any "lawyer" that "masters" a Monsanto decision is indeed an insider for the "BLOB" ...


Barrack Hussein Obama aka Barry Lolo Soetoro rkelly 10/15/12

Jihad Democrat Muslim Semi-Christian rumors never ending, Who is Barry Soetoro?
Whom IS U.S. President Number 44!

Barack Hussein Obama is hiding past bads of criminality ... aka Barry Soetoro?
official legal Indonesian citizen, AND Barry's father ... he himself may not know!

What Barry’s mother’s passport records produced IS-was Barry permanently resided in,
Indonesia and Hawaii, living with alleged grandparents ‘after’ mom and dad ‘divorced?’

When raised in Indonesia as a Muslim Barry attended a Catholic funded school,
that allowed all faiths to assemble and Barry's mother did not claim him as a dependent?

Where can We The People discover Barry’s real birth father and mother of the druggie,
Barry Soetoro, that attended Occidental high school, flunked out, to New York homeless!?

Indonesia redux ‘new boyfriend’ Pakistani national to obtain all the necessary papers,
passport as an Indonesian male prostitute global, world traveler, Afghanistan the hub heroin ..

New York’s Obama’s Barry, first federal income taxes were filed in Connecticut POB,
"Barrack Hussein," a felony with no statute of limitations, evading taxes in NY NY!?

Barry did not attend Columbia, and lied about Harvard, fake diplomas and selling the Saudis,
a Jihad against the Russians in Afghanistan as a Muslim, and so law school $20 million!?

Why does the news in the U.S. not obey the law of information truth? Harvard also gave George W. Bush “gentlemen Cs” which means he flunked out, and Harvard also gave Barry Obama a special Law Review anointment appointment love fest?

How do the Agencies pick the leadership globally Clinton lawyers via Saudi Arabia, too?
ET AL, pushers for Bar exams, lawyers not legally investigated, Michelle got Barry a job.

“... Barry never filed a case alone and never filed a motion .. He wrote lots of memos according to the law firm where Barry worked. (I think they knew Barry was a fraud and don't want to be sued by previous clients.) Barry rescinded his law licenses, so as not to be disbarred for fraud .. The Bar knows Barry lied on his application .. Michelle also had to turn over her law license for her involvement in corruption with the Chicago mayor’s office .. Barry’s Selective Service registration is not normal either…” The Govenor, 04/13/11

Anonymous said...

I looked up Doug Jones at the law firm and did not intend to say a C. when it is G. simply a keyboard error and therefore, still stand on the Monsanto corruption.

Monsanto and Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems [MERS] were and are two (2) of the biggest Stalinesq gulags for America via "digital debt slavery," how best to wrap up the collapse of America.

Study Monsanto very carefully.

Then study MERS.

The 'Guy' G. Douglas Jones is a zombie just like our entire "Congress" has been manufactured into for the obvious.

Michelle and Barry are adament about ORGANICS, and yet the investments and support for Monsanto is clearly worth the countless 'wealth' earned?

Don Siegelman may want to truly investigate the "lawyers" who and whom are not licensed legally, or are not sane brains for using other than organics.

Barb said...

Scott Horton's words about Bill Pryor and Doug Jones' words about Bill Pryor present quite a juxtaposition.

Anonymous said...

"... We must ask the question, why would Bill Pryor change his views?

.. When you look at the possible answers, none of them are impressive. The short list of possible answers follows:

.. 1. Bill Pryor LIED to Governor Fob James when he was interviewed. If this is true then Bill Pryor should be removed from office as being unfit to serve. His nomination to the federal bench should be rescinded by President Bush

.. 2. Bill Pryor has become politically correct in the years since he was appointed by Fob James. If this is true he should be removed in his next election as he no longer represents the citizens of Alabama. He certainly should not be appointed to the federal bench and his nomination should be rescinded.

.. 3. Bill Pryor will cater to special interests and let them determine his position. In this case, persecuting Judge Moore to gain favor for his pending nomination to the federal bench. If this is true he should be impeached from now and his nomination to the bench should be rescinded.

.. All of the possible answers are bad. All of them represent a man of little character and lost integrity.

"... Affidavit of Forrest H. "Fob" James Jr.

.. 1. I am a citizen of the United States and the State of Alabama. I had the privilege of serving as Governor of Alabama twice.

.. 2. One of the primary reasons I ran for Governor in 1994 was a forty-year pattern of illegal acts by the U.S. Supreme Court. Forbidding pre-game prayer by young athletes, the removal of the 10 commandments from the schools, and the ever-expanding grab for power by the courts, especially the federal courts, concerned me. I repeatedly spoke on these matters throughout my campaign. The so-called "equity funding" case in Alabama was an example of judicial arrogance on the home front that I also vigorously opposed as a candidate for Governor in 1994....

Anonymous said...

Why would Doug Jones consider Bill Pryor to be a "trusted colleague and friend" when it was clear that Pryor's staff members were corrupt in the Siegelman case. Jones states in his testimony that Pryor's staff members said they "hoped" the investigation would go to the top of the Siegelman administration. Is Jones too dense to see that reflects on Pryor himself?

jeffrey spruill said...

"Why would Doug Jones, as former defense counsel for Siegelman, refuse to take questions from Legal Schnauzer, of all people?"

Probably because he's a coward & doesn't give a damn about the Constitution or the rule of law.

Basically the same reason Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson had the audacity to lie to the American public as to why he could not have a Senate confirmation hearing:

legalschnauzer said...

Anon at 1:13--

It's a little like saying you don't trust Michael and Sonny Corleone, but you think Don Vito Corleone is a "trusted and good friend."

Anonymous said...

Actually LS, the Bush control factor rules, I cannot upload the "Great Rings O Words" at Scribd, Biloxi Marx 3752, no matter what I do, change the name and upload, but no the disappearance act is automatic.

Uploaded Questioning Obama, but absolutely scrubbed any and all the George W. Bush questioning.

Iron Curtain, no real news in America, except at Legal Schnauzer.

Definitely scary.

Challenge any and all to upload a document at Scribd that truly questions the power that got us into all this horror.

Is not, the question here, about still at large: Bush the War Criminal that appointed more corruption to the "court system," and started the intentional pretend it is about over there, the terror forever on America?!

Anonymous said...

Can anyone state with absolute certainty that David Cromwell Johnson died of natural causes?

legalschnauzer said...

Anon at 3:12--I certainly can't say that with certainty. The conventional wisdom is that David Cromwell Johnson died of natural causes, and that might be the case. But he was only 60 years old, fairly young by modern standards. The AP report on his death says a family friend named Stephen Arnold confirmed the death, but provided no other details. I assume that is the same Steve Arnold who is with the Birmingham law firm White Arnold & Dowd.,216838

Anonymous said...

From the BhamWiki entry on David Cromwell Johnson:

"He died at his Crestline home in 2003 of natural causes, survived by daughter Dagney Johnson, also an attorney. Sympathies to his family were made by the Birmingham City Council by formal resolution."

There is no citation to the info about death by natural causes and no specifics given.

legalschnauzer said...

From the blog by Birmingham lawyer Ed Still:

David Cromwell Johnson
I just heard that David Cromwell Johnson died in his sleep last night. David and I worked together on just one case, the 1986 election contest between Bill Baxley and Charlie Graddick (for the Democratic nomination for governor). David was the head of the whole Baxley team, putting together a massive operation to check the signatures of Democratic runoff voters on the sign-in lists against those of Republican voters 3 weeks earlier. (There was a Democratic Party rule making those who had voted in the Republican Primary ineligible to vote in the Democratic runoff.) I was in charge of the brief writing and arguing of motions, appeals, etc.

Even then, David had a large reputation as a criminal attorney. Since then, his reputation has only grown. One of David's tactics was to attack the prosecution. I was still practicing in Washington DC when Gov. Don Siegelman hired David to represent him in the investigation the Republican US attorney had mounted against him. I told a lawyer with whom I was working about David's tactics and then was pleased to see he did it again in Siegelman's case. I told him that story when I talked to him recently. He laughed and said, "I had to do it, Ed. The US Attorney's office was leaking all sorts of damaging information. And you saw that it stopped after I filed my motion."

David was a great lawyer. He will be missed. Rest in peace, David.

legalschnauzer said...

Here is one of the Mobile P-R stories, which came about six months after David Cromwell Johnson's death. Did prosecution leaks start again after Cromwell Johnson's death? Sure looks that way. Did someone have a motive to want Cromwell Johnson out of the way? I'll let readers decide on that one.

Anonymous said...

G. Douglas Jones

"... Doug Jones represents individual, institutional and corporate clients in ... Mr. Jones served as United States Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama from ...

The video scares or the viewer is not with healthy brain chemistry.

Brain controlled robots are very much tied together:

Doug Jones, Esq. is copied as legal counsel, via letter, the Environmental Protection Agency, of course, regarding the case he was in charge of with the most impressive title.

On to the private sector to carry on the agendas, don't look behind the curtains.

"Monsanto Mike" 'Taylor' Federal Drugs Administering poisons,

Are the 'people' that go into government and back into private practice OR the other way around ??! believe the people are not all chipped and mind controlled?


Don Siegelman got a FUBAR from his so called "legal team."

F*ucked up beyond all repair, had to correct the definition to fit Don's.

Monsanto devotees are all brain dead from their own product belief system of brain dead.


Do the time on Don's mind-brain, there is to be the same blubbering pile of protoplasm as the video of Don Jones.

What a tragedy.

David Walters said...

Doug Jones served as United States Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama from 1997 until 2001. There have been questions about his cases there and his relationship to some who still work in thaqt offfice. The questions about his service to Don Siegelman are by the questions about who he may have been "fronting" for. More recently he "represented a defendant in the great Bingo trial while "fronting for the same party as before. My gues is that it was aguy who can't chew bubblegum and ride a motorcycle in Alaska at the time.

Anonymous said...

it is perfectly acceptable for soldiers in the Russian military to publish all classified information. If they do, they will be recognized as a national hero"

Do not worry about the Russian Army, American DOLT. They have not invaded unpteen countries and committed mayhem and unspeakable evil all over the world.

Killed any babies in Afghanistan and Pakistan lately with your useless drones, targetting civilians? Have you machine gunned any civililians for target practice from your helicopters? Etcetera! Etcetera! Etcetera!

Etcetera by the way, Mr. Uneducated is the Latin from which we get, etc. and means, 'and so on'.

Keep up the evil! Keep pushing! Keep exploiting and attack poor countries. Sooner or later you are going to come to loggerheads with a real army. Then like your grand pappy Adolph Shekelgruber you will have a true epiphany.

I'll bet dollars to donuts that you are one of those "Repiglicans" with your Anti-Christ Mormon messiah, Mitt the frontal lobotomized inbred worshiper of filthy lucre.

Try learning some proper English.

"If they do, they will be recognized as a national hero"
"...they..." is plural and hence requires the plural of "...hero...".

Proof that you must me a 'merican IDIOTOS...That is Greek by the way from whence we get......Duh...!!! Guess which word.av
remains the same

Emmy129 said...

Re Monsanto case: I can see why the judge would appoint someone to assure proper proceedings. He had major ..ahem, butt covering to do, and made sure he did so. In a move that made someone somewhere a very wealthy and powerful man, he entirely cut all veterans, even civilian family members of military persons serving at nearby Fort McClellan from the ruling against Monsanto, thereby saving them multiple hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars in damages. Instead military/veterans/dependents were left to the tender mercies of the VA which promptly ignore the cause/effect abundantly proved in Tolbert v Monsanto and still denies claims to this day, despite the fact that entire sections of McClellan, which used the same water and was equally if not more damaged by Monsanto chemicals since the WWII era. Parts of the base were paved over because reclamation efforts were impossible, and the military/VA has swept the issue and us under the rug. Please see HR 411 for this year's congress if interested. We could use all the support we can get. We are dying out here, and being called depressed, psychosomatic and malingerers, when in fact what we are is POISONED BY MONSANTO! I'm as much an Agent Orange vet as anyone who served in the jungles of Vietnam, but because McClellan trained women, cops and bio-chem specialists, the mainstream media, as always, sides with power. Hope this has been informative even if you choose not to publish it.