|Jessica Medeiros Garrison
and Luther Strange
A demand letter from Birmingham attorney Bill Baxley, dated August 16, 2013, claims posts here at Legal Schnauzer about the Garrison/Strange affair are false and defamatory. (See copy of the demand letter at the end of this post.) I responded with an e-mail to Baxley, stating that the posts in question are neither false nor defamatory, and they will not be retracted.
Baxley does not specifically threaten a lawsuit, but that appears to be the point of the letter. He closes with this:
There is not a grain of truth to warrant the horrible defamation published by you regarding our client. Each has no factual basis. Your outrageous, despicable conduct will be addressed in another forum: the Circuit Court of Jefferson County, Alabama.
It's ironic that Baxley's letter emphasizes his concern about my reporting on Jessica Garrison's extramarital affair with Luther Strange when substantial evidence suggests he actually is concerned about something else. In fact, I suspect Baxley is concerned about one of two other stories that he has reason to know I am working on--and one of those stories has nothing to do with Jessica Garrison. (We will address this in a series of upcoming posts.)
In his letter, Baxley cites six posts about the Garrison/Strange affair--from July 17 to August 13, 2013--and claims they include material that is false and defamatory. States Baxley:
Our client has not "engaged in a long-running extramarital affair" with Luther Strange, has not engaged in sexual relations with Luther Strange. . . . We hereby demand retraction of these charges in the same medium of publication as these charges were originally promulgated and in a prominent position therein, and demand public retraction of these charges and matters published in as prominent and public a place or manner as the charges or matter published occupied, and demand a full and fair retraction of such charges or matters.
Baxley then turns to various reader statements about Garrison that have been published in the comment section at Legal Schnauzer. Baxley seems to hint that I am responsible for these statements when he says, "Your blog, Legal Schnauzer, states: 'Comment moderation has been enabled. All comments must be approved by the blog author.'"
After highlighting about nine comments that he finds objectionable, Baxley states as follows:
Our client is not a whore, has no addiction to strangers, has no mental disorder, has had no sexual relationship with Luther Strange, has not allowed herself to be used sexually to advance herself in Alabama or the Republican Party, and has engaged in no financial arrangements for which anyone should be indicted. . . . We hereby demand retraction of these charges in the same medium of publication as these charges were originally promulgated and . . .
By the way, Montgomery Independent Editor and Publisher Bob Martin, one of the most experienced and respected journalists in the state, apparently does not believe my reporting on Luther Strange and Jessica Garrison is false. He cites my reports at his column in the paper's current edition.
Will Bill Baxley's bullying tactics be successful? No, they will not. Are they actually driven by concern about Jessica Garrison's affair with Luther Strange? I strongly suspect they are not, in part, because Bill Baxley is a well-connected fellow, and he likely knows my reporting on the affair is true.
So what is this really all about? We invite you to stay tuned.