Monday, June 22, 2015

Alabama GOPer Rob Riley has a fractured relationship with the truth, leading to plenty of pointed questions

Rob Riley
We have shown that Alabama Republican Rob Riley lied to The New York Times about the defamation lawsuit he and lobbyist Liberty Duke filed against my wife, Carol, and me. But why should Riley stop there? Why not extend his oily ways to an interview on the same subject with the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), the organization that identified me as the only incarcerated journalist in the western hemisphere for 2013?

CPJ's Sara Rafsky interviewed Riley for an article titled "Censorship in Alabama's Shelby County." It sounds like Riley mostly blew off steam while sidestepping substantive questions, but Rafsky summarized his words with these two paragraphs:

Riley said in a telephone interview he has a right to seek injunctive relief in a defamation case and there is legal precedent for doing so. He said someone who decides "to make up a lie, destroy someone's reputation, that's not journalism."

Riley told CPJ: "Shuler has a history of making up things and writing things that are outlandish lies...I am going to pursue every avenue possible to me in the courts to defend my name, my family and my business. . . . He has no proof this is true. He has just decided to be a cyber-bully and make stuff up and I've had enough."

Let's take a closer look at the first paragraph:

* Riley says he has a right to seek injunctive relief in a defamation case--The truth: No he doesn't. Near v. Minnesota, the "foundational" 1931 U.S. Supreme Court case on the subject, makes it clear that a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction (Riley sought both) are unlawful prior restraints under the First Amendment. Legal experts ranging from Erwin Chemerinsky on the left to Ken White (of the Popehat blog) on the center/right, have shown that Riley's statement is false.

* Riley says there is legal precedent for seeking injunctive relief in a defamation case--The truth: No there isn't. In its amicus brief to the Alabama court, the ACLU showed that key U.S. Supreme Court decisions prohibiting preliminary injunctions were not presented in the Riley/Duke case, and the injunction itself cites cases that do not support its issuance. (See ACLU brief at the end of this post.) This is from Footnote 4 in the ACLU brief, and we will address this issue further in an upcoming post:

Indeed, not only were these substantial U.S. Supreme Court cases not presented to the Court, the cases cited in the Preliminary Injunction (see p. 2 and n.3) demonstrate that injunctive relief in a defamation case requires a final determination on the merits of the litigation.

Now, let's look at the second paragraph from the CPJ article, where Riley claims that I have "a history of making things up and writing things that are outlandish lies"; he is "going to pursue every avenue possible" to defend his name, family, and business; and I have "no proof this is true."

Riley seems to be frothing at the mouth here, and his statements are so generic that perhaps it would be instructive to consider some followup questions the reporter could have asked:

* If Shuler wrote "outlandish lies" about you, why didn't you file an affidavit stating specifically how Shuler's reporting was false and defamatory? Why did you rely only on an affidavit from Liberty Duke, while you filed no similar sworn statement? Why have you never denied under oath the allegations in Shuler's reporting?

* If you were going to pursue "every avenue possible," why didn't you seek a full adjudication at trial, as spelled out in Pittsburgh Press Co. v. Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations, 413 U.S. 376 (1973)There was no trial in the Shuler case because you didn't seek one, correct?

* Why didn't you pursue the avenue of placing your claim before a jury? Why did you allow Judge Claud Neilson to essentially serve as a one-man censor, in apparent contradiction of Bernard v. Gulf Oil Co., 619 F. 2d 459 (1980). Did you want Neilson to act as censor because he has longstanding ties to Birmingham attorney Bill Baxley, with whom you now are working in the ongoing Lee County grand-jury probe? Was Neilson hand-picked to give you favorable treatment and ensure that you would not have to face scrutiny from a jury--or answer uncomfortable questions under oath?

* You claim Shuler "has no proof this is true," but as plaintiffs, the burden is on you and Ms. Duke to prove the allegations are false, correct? Given that, why did you not engage in the discovery process to prove the allegations are false? Why did you and Ms. Duke not sit for depositions, why were there no interrogatories in this case, why did you not turn over relevant documents (e-mails, text messages, phone records, etc.)? Why did you apparently avoid the discovery process altogether?

* If you are confident about the power of your complaint, why did you try to hide it from the public by insisting that the case file be sealed? You claim that Mr. Shuler reported "lies," but as of now, no jury in any legitimate court of law ever has found his reporting to be false or defamatory, correct?

* You complain about Roger Shuler's reporting, but why did you sue his wife, Carol Shuler? Is this just beating up on an innocent party, someone who had nothing to do with your claims? What does this say about your treatment of women in general? Are you just a bully who happens to wear nice suits?

Wouldn't it be interesting if Sara Rafsky conducted a followup interview with Rob Riley and posed these questions (among others) to him? How long do you suppose Mr. Riley would stay on the phone?

(To be continued)


Anonymous said...

You need to get some new material. Everyone is tired of hearing about your vendetta against the Riley clan. You lost your case in court, failed to appeal, and just won't let it go. Find something more interesting to write about!

Anonymous said...

Gee, I hope you didn't strain yourself intellectually to come up with that insightful comment, @7:52. Brilliant stuff.

legalschnauzer said...

I'll second @8:27's comments and add this: You aren't up on your facts, @7:52. There was no "case" in court. There was no trial, there was no jury, the court had no personal jurisdiction over me, and Judge Neilson was hopelessly incompetent or a Riley plant (or both). As for an appeal, it's pretty difficult to file an appeal in a civil case when you are in jail. You should try it sometime.

Besides that, the Riley case isn't necessarily over, on several fronts--not by a long shot. Rob Riley, Liberty Duke and others will be held accountable. Is that interesting enough for you?

You have revealed yourself to be ignorant, shallow, stupid, and lazy. That's one hell of a combination for going through life, so don't be surprised if your opinions don't carry much weight around here. I would sooner go ask the stump in my backyard what he thinks of the blog.

F Fender said...

Congratulations, LS. You are attracting trolls . . . that means you must be doing something right.

Anonymous said...

I, for one, am interested in any article that shows the Rileys for the lying cheats that they really are.

legalschnauzer said...

Thanks, FF. I might suggest that "roach" would be a better name for the troll. Roaches don't like sunlight, and that's what seems to be disturbing this individual.

Anonymous said...

Q: What's the difference between a jellyfish and a member of Rob Riley's law firm?

A: One is a spineless, poisonous blob. The other is a form of sea life.

Anonymous said...

To borrow a phrase from Jack Nicholson, "You can't handle the truth," @7:52.

Anonymous said...

@7:52 makes a good point Roger, the CPJ article interviewing Riley was published November 13, 2013

legalschnauzer said...

So, what does that have to do with anything, @10:20? Have you read anywhere else that Riley lied his butt off in this article? You haven't because it hasn't been published anywhere else, and that makes it news--right now. Sorry, but @7:52 has no point, and you have even less of one.

Anonymous said...

In @10:20's world, if something happens over a year and a half ago, it's not news. I guess if someone produces audiotape or e-mails from 2005 of Karl Rove ordering a fix on the Don Siegelman case, then no one is going to care? That's just stupid.

Berle said...

Just my impression, but I don't think the author of the CPJ article believed a word Riley said. She didn't do the research you've done to show exactly how big a liar he is. But I believe her BS antennae told her, "This guy is full of it."

Anonymous said...

Newsflash for certain readers--Court cases often drag on for years, and this one isn't over just because Rob Riley wants it to be over. An article that arose from 18 months or so ago in a court case is not old news. In fact, when an article shows a member of the Riley clan to be a cut-and-dried liar--given the family's ongoing influence in Alabama politics (see the Lee County probe) then it very much is news.

Anonymous said...

Q: What's the difference between a mosquito and a member of Rob Riley's law firm?

A: One is a blood-sucking parasite. The other is an insect.

Anonymous said...

If the Rileys have one or two sockpuppets hanging around to whine about your reporting, that means you have them worried about something. That's excellent. Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Rob Riley is a spoiled brat who has gotten away with lying his entire life. His cronies are upset because you are the only Alabama journalist who has been willing to show him for what he really is. And his "Diddy" is the same way. Rob learned to lie at the foot of his papa. Keep exposing them, over and over. Their lies provide an endless trove of material.

Anonymous said...

Wayne Madsen reported on Dennis Hastert's activities in 2006, and it's taken nearly 10 years for the truth to come out to the general public and main stream news. Time doesn't matter as long as the truth emerges and the general public is spared being victimized by unscrupulous leadership and/or political activity. Public scrutiny is one of the expenses of living off the public's payroll. If a person doesn't want his personal laundry hanging out on the clothesline, the best thing to do is avoid public service, political campaigns and avoid the people who create all the plans and designs around them.

Lee Atwater regretted his nastiness on his death bed. I'm sure many of these people involved with Roger's persecution, and Siegelman's persecution will have regrets in time, probably at the last minute: just before the Great Day of Reckoning.

Anonymous said...

I seem to recall that Mr. Schnauzer built this site from scratch and turned it into one of the top 50 law blogs in North America. And I suspect he did that without any assistance from Rob Riley trolls. I think it's wise to trust Mr. Schnauzer's judgment when it comes to content on his blog. Not only do many of Mr. Schnauzer's readers trust his judgment and find his content enlightening, so do his peers in the blogging world.