Monday, August 19, 2013

Lawyer Doug Jones Charged Siegelman $300,000, And What Did The Former Governor Get For It?

Doug Jones
G. Douglas Jones, who was Don Siegelman's second chief defense counsel, charged the former governor $300,000, a source tells Legal Schnauzer.

What did Siegelman get for that hefty expense? The answer appears to be, "Not a whole lot." Jones did not take the case to trial, withdrawing from the matter in spring 2006. Based on his testimony before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee in fall 2007, Jones attended two meetings with prosecutors, had one substantive phone call with a prosecutor and . . . that's about it. (See document at the end of this post.)

Jones was on the case for roughly three years, attended a couple of meetings, engaged in one phone conversation, and charged Siegelman $300,000? Perhaps Jones did more than that to earn his fee, but when we first tried to ask him about it, he refused to answer questions. (See video at the end of this post. In a subsequent interview, Jones did answer questions.)

We already have pointed to evidence that Siegelman did not have Jones' full loyalty in the criminal case.

Did Jones accomplish much of anything during the time he represented Siegelman? Well, the former governor currently sits in a federal prison at Oakdale, Louisiana, so Jones certainly did not help get an acquittal--even though Jones' words before Congress show that he knew the main charge, involving alleged bribery and former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy, was brought well after the five-year statute of limitations had expired.

Has Jones spoken up publicly in the past five years or so about this gross injustice? It seems he's been pretty quiet.

The record shows that Jones did accomplish two things during his representation of Siegelman--and  both helped the prosecution:

(1) Jones agreed to toll the statute of limitations, giving prosecutors an additional 30 days to gather evidence against his client; (See pages 10-11 in document below.)

(2)  Jones told prosecutors he "would not hit the media with allegations of politics," as Siegelman's original defense lawyer, David Cromwell Johnson, had done. In other words, Johnson had boldly told the truth in the press that this was a political prosecution, while Jones promised to play softball with the feds.  (See page 7 in the document below.)

In retrospect, David Cromwell Johnson's death in January 2003 might be the single biggest reason Don Siegelman currently is in prison. A source close to the former governor told me "there was no way in hell" the case would have ended in a conviction if David Cromwell Johnson had lived.

Here's one other thing Doug Jones accomplished for $300,000: He managed to probably leave a permanent lip imprints on Bill Pryor's white, doughy butt. Pryor, now a federal appellate judge on the Eleventh Circuit, initiated the Siegelman investigation while serving as Alabama attorney general and is seen by liberals as a rabid, partisan right winger.

But consider this from Jones: He chose not to raise charges of a political prosecution in the press because "I had too much respect for Attorney General Bill Pryor and the U.S. Department of Justice."

Don Siegelman was paying Jones $300,000 for zealous representation. Meanwhile, Jones was busy sucking up to Bill Pryor and the feds.

A strong argument could be made that Don Siegelman is the most successful Alabama Democrat in a generation. A similar argument could be made that he's the most successful Democrat in state history, given that he held four statewide offices.

So why is the public record peppered with information that indicates Doug Jones pretty much sold Siegelman down the river? Here is my answer: Doug Jones was more loyal to the legal elites in the DOJ and the Alabama AG's office than he was to Don Siegelman--who paid him $300,000.

Check out the video below and note Doug Jones' response when I asked him about the money Siegelman spent, compared to the quality of representation he received. If I were Jones, and had screwed a client like that, I wouldn't want to answer questions either.

My conversation with Jones touches on several topics--the Alabama bingo case, Paul Bryant Jr., etc. But Jones' refusal to answer questions about his compensation on the Siegelman matter should speak volumes to the former governor's supporters.

(Note: This is the second of three attempts I made to interview Jones on a variety of topics. In the first two, he was so smug and snippy that we essentially had no interview. He simply refused to answer questions about matters connected to his role as a former public official or an officer of publicly funded courts. In the third conversation, Jones actually answered a number of questions in a fairly courteous manner. Why the change in his tone? It's probably because, prior to the third conversation, Jones left Haskell Slaughter to start his own law firm, Jones & Hawley, P.C. With his name now front and center in a law firm, Jones apparently is less inclined to act like a jackass with a reporter. That third conversation will be featured in an upcoming post.) 

Doug Jones Testimony


Anonymous said...

Highway robbery!

Anonymous said...

With "friends" like Doug Jones, who needs enemies?

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Don asked for at least a partial refund. In my estimation, a significant portion of that money should have been returned.

Anonymous said...

Lawyers are the only ones who get away with stuff like this. In any other profession, you would get your money back.

Anonymous said...

How many billable hours did Doug Jones actually work on the Siegelman case? I'm betting he made about $5,000 an hour, maybe more.

Anonymous said...

It would be interesting to see the contract Don signed with Jones. If it called for Jones to provide defense counsel at trial, or throughout trial, it seems to me Jones violated the contract and Don should get his money back.

Anonymous said...

Doug Jones had "too much respect for Bill Pryor" to aggressively defend Gov. Siegelman? I think I"m going to hurl.

Anonymous said...

Is it an absolute certainty that David Cromwell Johnson died of natural causes?

legalschnauzer said...

Nothing is an absolute certainty in the Siegelman case, @9:19--except that Scrushy and the former governor were railroaded.

Anonymous said...

Pretty clear to me that Doug Jones sold out long ago to the Riley clan in order to make money off the HealthSouth case with Rob.

Anonymous said...

Anthony "Tony" Farese charged Zack Scruggs $300,000 to screw, I mean, represent him. After Zack fired Tony and filed a bar complaint against him, Tony refunded $250,000 of the $300,000. In another case, Tony charged a client $50,000 then it appears worked with the feds to get his own client indicted then pressured the client into pleading guilty. After the fact, it has been proven by an independent legal researcher that the alleged events in the case do not constitute a crime either federal or state. In that case the client did not get a partial refund, a kiss or even any KY before the screwing.

Anonymous said...

What did he get? "Screwed"@

e.a.f. said...

$300K? and he went to jail and his lawyer "had too much respect for..." If he had too much respect for numbnuts he should have not taken the case. No one should represent a client unless they are prepared to go the whole 9 yards.

Giving the opposing side an extra 30 days? You don't do that unless "your client" is going to get something out of it. Now sometimes lawyers do that so "they" get something out of it. However, in that case, they shouldn't be charging $300K.

Most lawyers have a fee schedule which outlines how much they charge for "in house" work and how much for work "at trial".

The old saying of, a client who represents himself, has a fool for a client, may not apply in Alabama. You might be better off representing yourself and save a lot of money.

People in Alabama might look into hiring lawyers from other states to represent them if the stakes are high.

Many law firms charge about $300 to $500 an hr. for "in house" work. Court room work, starts at about $1K an hour and goes up. Now lawyers who make $5K an hr. in court, they are what I call the sharks. They just swim and kill the opposition. Obviously Siegleman's lawyer wasn't a shark or even a very good lawyer.

Can't Siegelman appeal his lawyer's fees? In B.C. clients actually have and won. Whatever Siegleman did to piss off that many people, to be in jail for that long, oh my god. They must be scared of him. People go to jail for less time, for more serious crimes. You'd think the Dems. might have helped the guy out.

Anonymous said...

How is it that the only (predominately) people that hold lawyers in high esteem are other lawyers... That should tell you all you need to know.

legalschnauzer said...

Tony Farese is in Mississippi, @11:06? I've heard another member of his law firm is in trouble related to a woman who was pressured to plead guilty to a questionable charge, and she has ties to the Mississippi Choctaws.

Anonymous said...

I hope Doug Jones' new law firm goes belly up. It would serve him right. Hopefully, the public is catching onto him, and not buying the BS he's been selling for years from the church-bombing case.

legalschnauzer said...

You make a profound point, e.a.f. Bill Pryor launched the Siegelman probe as Alabama AG, and it turned into a federal matter. But Bill Pryor is Ground Zero for the case. If Doug Jones could not go to the mat for his client out of "too much respect" for Bill Pryor . . . well, he should not have taken the case--as you pointed out.

Anonymous said...

I hope your readers will click on the video and listen to your attempt at interviewing Doug Jones. What a smarmy jackass he is! He sounds like one of the most disgusting human beings I've heard in a while.

Anonymous said...

Is there a call sign for Murph's Law yet?

Yes, Pryor has been, continues to be "Ground Zero", in more ways than one, uncommonly known his Achilles Heel; soon cometh his/their "Trojan Horse".

Anonymous said...

I once spent 125,000 on attorneys fees in a divorce case in two states and came out with $500 dollars a month in alimony. How many hours of worry, preparation, and days spent in court rooms to add to this ? Hundreds of hours.

Lawyers should be paid by performance perhaps.