|Jessica Medeiros Garrison and Luther Strange|
(From Yellowhammer News)
The Garrison article is more or less in first-person form, as told to someone named Liz Welch. Did Ms. Welch bother to actually question Garrison about any of her statements? Sure doesn't look like it.
Al.com, the largest news organization in the state, picked up on the marieclaire.com piece today, and reporter Leada Gore proceeded to mangle the simplest facts about the case. For good measure, the right-wing site Yellowhammer News ran the original piece verbatim, repeating all of the false statements it contains.
Did any of the "journalists" involved contact me for comment--or question me about key legal and factual issues that they got wrong? Nope. Did any of them check the court file, which is public record and easily available at alacourt.com? They clearly did not.
The story in question involved allegations that Garrison had an affair with Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange, for whom she was campaign manager in 2010 and (according to some press reports) in 2014. Did any of the "journalists" involved in the latest Garrison coverage point out that my reporting never has been found false or defamatory before a jury? Did they report that Jessica Garrison, in her original filings, did not even seek a jury trial--and her lawyer, Bill Baxley, only asked for one after I had demanded one in my answer to her complaint? Did the "reporters" note that my posts never have been found false or defamatory in any adversarial proceeding in a court of law?
Have Garrison or Strange ever sat for cross examination under oath, such as in a deposition, or have they ever turned over documents (emails, text messages, phone records, etc.) related to their relationship? Have Garrison or Strange ever volunteered to unseal records from her divorce case in Tuscaloosa County, where she once was married to school-board member Lee Garrison?
The answer to all of those questions are no. And none of the reporters wrote that I was the victim of a default judgment only because I was unlawfully thrown in jail for five months and then got out to find our home of 25 years going into a foreclosure that smells to high heaven. The foreclosure almost certainly was wrongful, and no one benefited from it more than Jessica Garrison--because I was not able to defend myself against her lawsuit, or bring a valid counterclaim.
Did any reporter question Jessica Garrison about her knowledge of my incarceration and the foreclosure? No.
Here are a few items that did come out in the marieclaire.com article:
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. It upset his father, my ex-husband, who sent Shuler a comment to set the record straight, which of course he never posted.
There is a slight problem with this statement from Garrison--it isn't true. I never reported that Luther Strange was the father of her child. Anyone can go to Legal Schnauzer, go to the search box at the top of the page and key in "Jessica Garrison and Luther Strange," and review every post I've written on the subject. Never have I reported that Luther Strange is the father of her child. In fact, I contacted Lee Garrison and interviewed him on the subject. He said he was convinced the child was his, and I never reported otherwise.
I have that interview on tape and will be running it shortly. I'm not aware of Lee Garrison ever sending me a comment. If he did, he certainly did not identify it as being from him. And there was no reason for him to "set the record straight" regarding his son's parentage because I never reported anything about Luther Strange fathering the child.
Jessica Garrison really goes off the deep end with the following:
There is no second place in politics—you either win or you lose—and this ridiculous little blog was being used as a tool to try to gain a competitive advantage. I was livid.
Then, it got worse.
Shuler posted photos of my home on his website, which felt like a threat, not to mention a huge violation of privacy. Had he been at my house? Was he stalking me? I installed a home security system and put the police on notice. I was so paranoid that I called the cops in tears one night, convinced someone was outside, and was relieved—and slightly mortified—to learn it was the police doing a drive by.
Garrison implies that I was stalking her, but she fails to mention that the home in question was subject to a foreclosure, and documents related to that proceeding are public record. Also, the home apparently had recently been on the market, and the photos in question came . . . right off the Web. I also ran a photo of her and Luther Strange, which might have been taken in her yard--I don't know. But I do know the photo came straight from . . . Garrison's own Facebook page.
a significant factor in a child-custody case that grew from her divorce.
Do I now have a defamation case against Jessica Garrison? I'm not sure; that question will require some research. But I do know that the law, in general, frowns on making "imputations" that someone has committed a crime that they have not committed. And stalking, last time I checked, is a crime.
As for al.com and reporter Leada Gore, consider this from her article that was published today:
In April, a Shelby County judge entered a default judgment against blogger Roger Shuler and his website Legal Schnauzer, ordering him to pay $3.5 million in damages to a former campaign manager for Attorney Gen. Luther Strange.
Again, we have a little problem. The Garrison case was in Jefferson County court, not Shelby County. Nothing like screwing up your story--and ruining your credibility--in the very first paragraph.
We can excuse, Ms. Gore, because her error is in keeping with the whole Garrison public-relations charade. The original marieclaire.com article reads like it was written by the cast from Fantasy Island. So we probably shouldn't expect much from any of the followups.