Imprisoned lobbyist Jarrod Massey, a key government witness in the Alabama bingo trial, was assaulted recently at the Maxwell Federal Prison Camp in Montgomery. Details about the event are sketchy, but a source tells Legal Schnauzer that the beating caused Massey to be placed in intensive care. We have received no further word on his condition, and our source says the beating actually took place about a week before news of it broke in the press.
As this story unfolds, I think back to a couple of e-mails I received from Jarrod Massey a little more than a year ago. And I wonder if the contents of those e-mails might provide clues about an apparent attempt on his life.
The limited information we have at this point raises a couple of issues:
(1) A beating that was severe enough to leave the victim in intensive care sounds like an attempted assassination. Depending on Massey's current condition and chances for recovery, it still could prove to be a homicide;
(2) Given Massey's status as a high-profile prisoner, it's hard to understand why authorities were slow about releasing information.
Why would someone want to kill Jarrod Massey? Well, it's curious that the beating coincides with a grand jury that Attorney General Luther Strange has called in Houston County. The focus of the grand jury has not been publicly disclosed, but news reports hint that prosecutors likely are interested in gambling-related activity. (Things never seem to change in Alabama, do they?)
Dothan-based rickeystokesnews.com has produced two insightful posts in recent days:
* Lottery Used to Select Members of Grand Jury . . .
* Will Special Grand Jury Expand Their Investigation Into Areas of Allegations?
Could the grand jury focus on Strange's own documented ties to gambling, plus those of his ally, former Republican Governor Bob Riley? Stokes puts that question front and center:
At this time we do not know if the scope of the Grand Jury investigation will extend to the reports of the Indian money and contributions being given to former Governor Bob Riley and the current Attorney General Luther Strange. That is certainly within the discretion of the members of the Grand Jury as I understand from some legal minds.
Did someone think Jarrod Massey had damaging information that could wind up in front of the grand jury? If so, who might have been concerned about such information, and what did it involve?
I've never met or spoken with Jarrod Massey, but the assault story hit home in a personal way. I wrote last December about a pair of e-mails Massey sent me, offering to share information about Republican consultant Dax Swatek and others connected to the Riley administration. Here is the key part of what Massey wrote:
I would . . . welcome an opportunity to discuss my past associations with Dax Swatek. In summation, he is a very unscrupulous sort who is well protected by the Riley net and his linked-at-the-hip connection to Billy and Leura Canary and the Bradley Arant law firm. This of course is nothing you are not already familiar with. I can point you in the right direction for your information gathering purposes. You'll find it quite interesting.
At the time of the e-mails, Massey had pleaded guilty and testified against other defendants in the Alabama bingo trial, which ended with zero convictions in August 2011. He was set to testify again in the retrial, which started in January 2012--and again, resulted in zero convictions.
I would have been glad to meet with Mr. Massey, but given the circumstances, I thought it best not to communicate with an individual who was under the control of federal prosecutors. Visions of someone trying to frame me for witness tampering or obstruction of justice convinced me that any conversation with Jarrod Massey would have to wait for another day.
Now it sounds like Mr. Massey's life might be hanging in the balance. And I have to wonder if that might be connected to unflattering information he apparently was willing to share about those close to the Riley regime.
Am I being overly dramatic? Well, it's important to consider the toxic political environment in our state. We have reported several times on a string of mysterious Alabama deaths during the later years of the Riley administration. Was someone trying to add to that number with the beating of Jarrod Massey?
Bob Riley no longer is in office, but the crusade he started against non-Indian gambling is ongoing--with Luther Strange now in a leading role, and Governor Robert Bentley seemingly out to lunch.
Did that ugly combination put Jarrod Massey's life in danger?
This sure sounds like an attempted hit to me, too. Let's hope Mr. Massey recovers.
Sounds like the idea of taking a guilty plea to rat out others and get favorable treatment from the feds didn't work out so well for Mr. Massey.
Sad story, especially when you consider that be probably would have been found not guilty if he hadn't cut a deal with the government.
I've never been clear about the strength of evidence against Massey, Gilley, and Pouncey. My impression is that it was quite a bit stronger than the evidence against the folks who pleaded not guilty.
It will be a cold day in Palm Beach when this grand jury looks at the dirty deeds of Big Luther and Bingo Bob. The whole deal is rigged.
Isn't it peculiar that Massey's own lawyers can't seem to get info about his condition and location?
I've heard for years that Massey is a prick-head. But he didn't deserve to have this happen to him.
I had forgotten about your post on the e-mails from Jarrod Massey. Looking back now, the content of those e-mails certainly seem interesting.
I'm a new reader, so I never knew about Massey's contact with you. This was about one year ago?
Yes, he contacted me in October 2011, and I wrote about it in December 2011. The bingo retrial was not long after that, started in January 2012. That's why I didn't respond to him. I didn't want to be seen as communicating with a witness in an upcoming federal trial. Perhaps Massey's intentions were fine, but I didn't think it was a good time to be communicating with him.
This is creepy.
I remember your post about Massey. He was going to spill some beans on Dax Swatek, Bill and Leura Canary, Bradley Arant, and more. Now he's been beaten within an inch of his life. Hmmmm.
Isn't it interesting that Massey apparently had all sorts of dirt on GOP thugs, but the feds apparently weren't interested in that during the bingo trial?
Did Massey want to talk with you over the phone?
No, he wanted to meet in person.
I'm glad you didn't respond. Sounds like a set up to me.
I'm hearing that Ronnie Gilley now is under heightened security.
I know that Judge Thompson was on ythis case, but I also know that Judge Fuller has very good conection in the Federal prison system. H is also well connected to the Riley Crime Family.
I've heard that Jeff Sessions cut a deal with Obama, that he wouldn't filibuster on SCOTUS appointments if Obama left Canary in office to carry out the bingo charade.
Now we are hearing that Sessions and Strange might be involved in the scandal the new president seems to have uncovered about bogus contracts at Alabama State.
Could there be any connections between the ASU scandal, and the Massey beating? Seems like there might be some dots that need connecting.
Anon at 3:48--
You raise some interesting issues, to say the least. The Jeff Sessions angle had not occurred to me, but will keep an alert out for that. The timing of the Massey beating and the ASU scandal do seem to dovetail. Is that a coincidence? Good question.
my though, a strong message is being sent to any politition that is even thinking of lottery/bingo. look at the indian casino money being funneled into riley/strange/hubbards campaign to keep gaming out of al. could a strong message be sent from the state house
Maxwell is on FEMA camp list. Maybe that's just how they roll.
Didn't you say he made a deal with Feds? Why does that deal involve prison? LS, was it you or a commenter who said those he testified against were found not guilty?
I'm not sure exactly how the feds rolled on this case. My memory is that Massey was looking at a very long prison sentence if he had been found guilty by a jury, and he opted to plead guilty in exchange for a more lenient sentence. Seems to me his sentence isn't all that lenient. I think the feds recommended prison time, even though he had helped them. Did they get pissed at him because they lost the case, twice? That's how it looks to me.
I was the one who said those Massey testified against were found not guilty. In fact, through two trials, the feds got zero convictions.
My guess is that the feds were unhappy with the results and decided to blame/punish Massey for it. Not a good idea to make a deal with the criminals in the DOJ.
Looks like Massey was set up and someone wanted to end him. How convenient to make those he testified against now loath him thus making the list of suspects more broad if and more so when he is taken down! Good thing you didn't meet with him!
They knew what result would be.
But how can this be? Maxwell is the "easy prison" where the rich and famous do their time. Everybody is supposed to get along.
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