|Jessica Medeiros Garrison|
Perjury. the offense of willfully telling an untruth in a court proceeding after having taken an oath or affirmation, is a crime. In fact, the kind of perjury that appears to be present with Garrison (and possibly Strange) is a Class C felony in Alabama. Here's how it's described in the Code of Alabama:
A person commits the crime of perjury in the first degree when in any official proceeding he swears falsely and his false statement is material to the proceeding in which it is made.
Should Garrison, and maybe Strange, be referred to Jefferson County District Attorney Brandon Falls for a perjury investigation? Court documents in Jeffco Circuit Court show that Garrison clearly committed perjury. It's less clear exactly what Strange stated under oath, but given his status as our state's chief law-enforcement officer, the matter merits serious investigation.
For now, let's follow the evidence trail, as we know it.
In her article at marieclaire.com, as told to writer Liz Welch, Garrison says she was able to handle my reports here about her affair with Strange, in part because she has a "pretty thick skin." (Never mind that the article reveals her to have an extremely thin skin.) Garrison then lays this on her readers:
The final straw was when Shuler wrote a follow-up post claiming my then five-year-old son was actually Luther's illegitimate child. I could handle the professional stuff—I have pretty thick skin—but this crossed a line. . . .
I decided I had nothing more to lose—so I rolled up my sleeves and fought back.
In other words, Garrison didn't decide to sue me until I wrote a follow-up post about the parentage of her son. One could reasonably conclude that her lawsuit was based almost entirely on that follow-up post about Luther Strange being the father of her child.
For Garrison, there is a slight problem with all of that--I never wrote such a follow-up post. In fact, I never reported--at any time or any place--that Luther Strange was the father of her child. I invite readers who are interested to go to the search box at the top of this blog, key in "Jessica Medeiros Garrison and Luther Strange" (which should call up everything I've written about them), and see if there is any reporting about the parentage of Garrison's son. I can tell you the answer in advance: It's no.
In his order awarding Garrison a $3.5-million default judgment, Jefferson County Circuit Judge Don Blankenship indicates Garrison testified falsely on this issue. Were her statements "material," as required by Alabama law? Well she has admitted they were the basis of her lawsuit, and Blankenship's order suggests they were the determining factor in the $3.5-million award. It's hard to get more "material" than that.
Here is a key section from Blankenship's order, which was issued on April 13, 2015, even though the court record shows I never was served with notice of an earlier default-judgment hearing: (Failure to notify the opposing party of a default-judgment hearing, under Alabama law, makes any judgment void.)
The Court first heard testimony from the Plaintiff. She testified that the Defendant [me] had written, in a blog dubbed Legal Schnauzer, several misleading and inappropriate comments concerning her and Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange. The comments suggested that the Plaintiff received preferential treatment from the Attorney General because the two were engaged in an ongoing extramarital affair; and that the Attorney General was the father of the Plaintiff's minor son.
Garrison's claim that I had reported that Strange was the father of her son was made in court, presumably under oath--and it is glaringly and indisputably material and false. That probably equals perjury. It certainly merits a criminal investigation.
Blankenship's order is less clear about Strange's testimony. But transcripts should be available that would shine more light on the AG's statements under oath. (A copy of the full Blankenship order is embedded at the end of this post.)
Do the people of Alabama have an interest in whether Jessica Garrison and Luther Strange committed perjury? Well, Strange's office is leading a long-running investigation of House Speaker Mike Hubbard, and its dubious raids have led to the closure of the VictoryLand casinio in Macon County. Strange's office has spent millions of taxpayer dollars on these investigations--and others; his honesty, or lack thereof, matters.
Garrison served as Strange's campaign manager in 2010, and according to some reports, also helped in his 2014 re-election. She helped get him elected, so her honesty matters, too.
The evidence is clear that Jessica Garrison lied under oath. We would say the odds are better than 50-50 that Luther Strange did the same thing. The public should demand a formal and objective inquiry.
For now, let's consider Garrison's reaction when she learned that she had "won" her lawsuit, where the opposing party was kept almost totally in the dark, not even notified of key hearings. This is from her account to marieclaire.com, which apparently the fashion magazine accepted without asking a single question of Garrison:
One day a month later, I was running late for a meeting with a close colleague when my lawyer called with the news: Not only had I won my case, but the judge had awarded me $3.5 million in damages. I ran into my meeting literally shouting, "I won! I won!" I was elated—not about the money, but about the fact that I'd seen justice done.
Here's what she should have said in her meeting: "I won because I lied! I won because I lied! I lied under oath and got away with it! Isn't it great to be a Republican and an insider and a member of the elite? We can lie under oath and Win! Yeeeeeee . . . .!
I suppose that might have reduced some of the elation in her meeting and raised questions about whether justice really was done--and we certainly would not have wanted that.