|Bill Pryor, in a "family|
friendly" version of his
Based on inquiries I'm receiving from major news outlets, the story might go viral on the Web at any moment. Pryor once was considered a conservative boy wonder, whose boyish looks and right-wing credentials made him a possibility for future appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court. Pryor might be watching that dream, and maybe quite a few others, slowly swirl down the drain.
(Perhaps the most fair and thorough report I've seen on the story so far comes from the "U.S. Eleventh Circuit Blog" at findlaw.com. Written by William Peacock, Esq., the piece is titled, "Accusations of Bias in 11th Circuit Judge: Pryor's Nude Photo Scandal." I recommend it as a solid overview and analysis of the evolving story.)
How has Pryor responded to all of this? In a dumbfoundingly ignorant way, by apparently aligning himself with three Alabama lawyers who have dubious records on mattes of ethics. Who forms this unholy alliance? We are talking about Birmingham-based lawyer Bill Baxley, Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange, and Strange's mistress/former campaign manager Jessica Medeiros Garrison.
What signs point to Pryor joining hands with Baxley, Strange, and Garrison? Well, let's consider Pryor's response late last week when D.C.-based lawyer/journalist Andrew Kreig contacted the judge for comment about the gay porn story. Our understanding is that Kreig plans to use Pryor's response in an upcoming article at the Justice-Integrity Project.
Did Pryor grant Kreig an interview? No, he brushed off that possibility, just as he did when I submitted multiple interview requests before writing the post that broke the gay porn story. Did Pryor respond directly to Kreig with a comment. No, the judge assigned that task to Jennifer Bandy, one of his former law clerks who now works for the Washington, D.C., law firm of Kirkland & Ellis.
What does Jennifer Bandy know about this story? Probably nothing. Why on earth did Bill Pryor choose her to issue a "statement" to Andrew Kreig? I haven't a clue. Did the words come from Bandy or Pryor? We don't know.
Anyway, here is Bill Pryor's "official statement" on the matter, per Andrew Kreig:
"Over the last week, I have been smeared by a widely discredited blogger with a political agenda. His allegations have now been picked up by other bloggers. The person in the unsourced, undated photographs is not me, and I deny these allegations. I have been twice vetted by the FBI, including as recently as this past year; I have won two contested statewide elections; and I have been in the public eye for almost twenty years. I will not dignify these disgraceful accusations with any further comment."
That paragraph raises all sorts of issues, but let's focus on just one for now. Notice that Pryor calls me a "widely discredited blogger." That raises this obvious question: "Discredited by whom?"
It certainly isn't Harper's legal analyst and Columbia University law professor Scott Horton, who has referenced my work. It isn't Kreig himself, a University of Chicago law school graduate who has referenced my posts on scores of occasions. It isn't Alan Colmes, the long-time Fox News political commentator who picked up on my coverage of the Pryor story last week. It isn't David Lat, a Harvard and Yale law grad whose widely read Web site, Above the Law, also picked up on my Pryor coverage last week. It isn't members of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, who saw my work cited in a 2007 hearing on political prosecutions of the George W. Bush administration.
If some of the best known and most respected legal and political analysts in the country have not discredited me--and neither have members of Congress--to whom is Bill Pryor referring? It seems clear that Pryor is referring to the individuals behind an alleged lawsuit that Bill Baxley filed on behalf of Jessica Garrison, claiming defamation because of my reporting about the Garrison/Luther Strange extramarital affair.
As I was coming home and about to pull our car into the driveway, my wife saw the man run down our driveway and throw something toward our closing garage door. The man then drove off, without ever saying a word to either of us, without even confirming who lived there or who was home at the time--and we haven't found whatever it was he appeared to throw in our driveway.
Aside from drama over Bill Baxley's failed attempts to serve me, what do we learn from Bill Pryor's official statement to Andrew Kreig?
It tells me that he has jumped in bed with Bill Baxley, Luther Strange, and Jessica Garrison, who are the only people who've made any serious effort to discredit me--even though they can't even get me lawfully served.
What kind of company is Bill Pryor keeping? I addressed that when Andrew Kreig asked if I had any response to the Pryor statement. Here is a portion of my reply on Saturday morning, after Kreig and I had communicated about the Pryor statement last Friday night:
Just a thought on Pryor's statement about me being a "widely discredited blogger." It didn't occur to me last night, but I feel certain that is a reference to the apparent lawsuit that Alabama lawyer Bill Baxley has filed against me . . . over my reporting on the extramarital affair involving Attorney General Luther Strange and his former campaign manager Jessica Medeiros Garrison. I say "apparent lawsuit" because I haven't been served with it and haven't seen it, but I hear it's out there.
The point, though, is that it seems Pryor now has joined an unsavory alliance that has formed in an effort to attack me for reporting accurately about judicial/legal sleaze in Alabama and beyond. This alliance includes a judge who engaged in gay porn (Pryor); a former politician who is a notorious drunk and was caught having an affair with an AP reporter and is known for all sorts of colorful deeds in Las Vegas (Baxley); plus two people who have engaged in financial, professional, and extramarital hanky panky (Strange and Garrison).
I then provided Kreig with some context about what's really going on with Bill Baxley's alliance from hell:
As you report on this, you might want to keep in mind that Jessica Garrison used to work for Pryor (and his No. 1 supporter, Jeff Sessions), and she has called Pryor her mentor. . . . When Garrison couldn't take a job with Big Luther in AG's office because of her divorce/custody case, she landed at the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA), which Pryor started. How does Garrison live in Birmingham and work at D.C.-based RAGA? (BTW, property records show Garrison bought a $440,000 house in Mountain Brook, Alabama's most prestigious suburb, for $30,000. How did she pull that off? I will be reporting on that soon.)
I know the apparent lawsuit isn't about my coverage of the Strange/Garrison affair, because all parties involved know that is true. But I've been working on 2-3 stories that the lawsuit is designed to shut down. One involves Jessica Garrison's funky real estate deal. Another involves her business ties to a guy name Erik Davis Harp, who was indicted in an offshore illegal gambling ring (Panama) that has ties to Gambino and Genovese crime families. Another involves a major Alabama judicial figure who has issues similar to those involving Pryor.
We have much more coming on this story, but let's consider this for a moment: Many Americans probably assume that men and women who wind up on the federal bench get there because of keen intellects and sharp observational powers.
By aligning himself with Bill Baxley's "Coalition of the Corrupt," Bill Pryor has proven that he's got the intellectual skills and moral acuity of a dead stump. Of course, Pryor was nominated by George W. Bush, so maybe we shouldn't be surprised.