|Jessica Garison, with Luther Strange|
It looks grim for Bentley and Mason, but someone else looks almost as bad as they do--and she is a GOP insider who has been the subject of numerous posts here at Legal Schnauzer.
We're talking about Jessica Medeiros Garrison, former campaign manager and all-around "gal pal" to Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange.
Garrison filed a defamation lawsuit against me for reporting, accurately, that she had an affair with Strange. Last October, Garrison somehow caught the attention of Liz Welch, a writer for women's fashion magazine Marie Claire. The two combined on an "as told to" article that touted Garrison's $3.5-million default judgment in the case and defamed me in more ways than I can count.
Did the "dynamic duo" of Garrison and Welch mention that her default judgment was void, as a matter of law? Nope. Did they mention that Garrison's lawsuit was built almost entirely on a mountain of fraud and perjury? Nope. Did they mention that Garrison's lawsuit, as a matter of law, proved that my reporting was NOT false or defamatory--and Garrison has publicly stated that she plans to try to have my articles censored, even though they've never been proven false or defamatory at trial? Of course not. That would take a level of honesty and integrity that Garrison and Welch apparently are not capable of reaching.
Which brings us to Garrison and Mason--and how their two stories of sleaze intersect. In her haste to defame me, Garrison apparently thought it would be a good idea to jump on the Mason/Bentley "love train." After all, I was the journalist who had broken the gubernatorial-affair story last August 31, almost seven months before the national press went gaga over it last week.
Garrison was in the process of trying to con the public into believing my reporting about her affair with Luther Strange was inaccurate, so she must have thought it was a good time to try to convince the public my reporting on the Bentley/Mason affair also was false.
In the wake of Mason's resignation--not to mention audio recordings of Bentley stating he liked to caress Mason's breasts and explore her nether regions--that doesn't look like such a good idea now.
For one thing, the Bentley/Mason contretemps could go way beyond the groping and groaning of two "family values" Christians who let lust lead them astray. Just how ugly could it get? Consider these words from Birmingham attorney Donald Watkins, in a Facebook post titled "Bentley Unmasked." Some highlights:
Federal and state criminal investigators are hot on the trail of Alabama’s newest “Bonnie and Clyde” couple. Bentley’s case is dripping with evidence of wire and mail fraud, money laundering, conspiracy, and racketeering violations under federal law, among other charges. At the end of the day, Robert Bentley is nothing more than a lovesick “swinger” and hardcore “racketeer” who ran a criminal enterprise out of the governor’s office and who sponsored his illicit love affair with taxpayer dollars and donations/funneled money to various organizations. . . .
Reports are flooding into our Facebook news team about certain “pay-to-play” contracts that implicate Bentley and Rebekah directly. It seems that the loving couple found an effective way to circumvent public oversight, transparency and competitive bid laws by channeling millions of public dollars into entities like the Workforce Councils of Alabama and others legitimate agencies and then directing the recipient agency to execute vendor contracts with certain special friends and supporters.
Now that federal investigators are following the money, Bentley has stopped talking.
Doesn't sound like anyone would want to hitch a ride on that train wreck. But Jessica Garrison did just that a few months ago. Here is what Garrison told Liz Welch, who apparently is incapable of asking a single question that might help determine if her source is trustworthy or full of horse feces:
I wish that's where my story ended. In a way, it is—but another chapter just opened.
The week before last, I got a call from a man who works in Alabama politics. He was upset about rumors swirling around the recent announcement of Governor Robert Bentley's impending divorce. Bentley's wife filed papers in late August, which prompted the same blogger who lied about me to write that the cause was primarily the result of an affair with one of his aides, Rebekah Caldwell Mason.
I had no idea if any of this was true—all I knew was that it brought back all the anxiety, stress, and sadness that had consumed me for months when I was the target of the same man.
I have since learned that Rebekah has retained a lawyer, and while I don't know the details of her case, I do know this: I am proud of her for fighting for her name and reputation. If more women fight back, then maybe, just maybe, people like Shuler will stop seeing us as easy targets—and more as forces better not reckoned with.
What was Garrison trying to accomplish here? Three or four things seem apparent:
(1) She was trying to "climb in bed with" Rebekah Mason and Gov. Bentley (pardon the terrible pun). She wanted to be seen as their ally, as someone who had been through an experience similar to theirs.
(2) She wanted the public to know that the mean old journalist who had "lied about [her]" was now targeting Ms. Mason in the same reckless manner.
(3) She is proud of Ms. Mason for retaining a lawyer to fight for "her name and reputation," issuing a thinly veiled threat to other journalists that they best not report on white, female GOP operatives.
Garrison's narrative was weak to begin with, but now it has sprung massive leaks:
|Rebekah Caldwell Mason|
* If Garrison wants the public to believe I "lied" about Mason the way I "lied" about her . . . well, the public now knows I didn't "lie" about Mason. That seems to blow a major hole in the Marie Claire claim that I lied about Garrison. It certainly shows that I am a professional journalist, I take my reporting here seriously, and I have darned good sources.
* If Garrison is fired up about Mason's fight for "her name and reputation" . . . well, that fight isn't going so well at the moment. Our guess is that quite a few Alabamians now think of Mason as a "political slut" and a "power-hungry whore." Mason will be lucky if she avoids the term "federal inmate." Based on Donald Watkins' insights, Mason might want to start considering how she will look in an environment where "orange is the new black."
The bottom line? Jessica Garrison went out of her way to side with Rebekah Mason, in an apparent effort to bolster her claim that I have a habit of reporting inaccurately on matters of political intrigue. Well, the Mason case now shows that I have a habit of getting it right--and Mason's career as a political advisor is toast.
Perhaps the public needs to take another look at my reporting on the Garrison/Strange affair. That's because--as a matter of law, and otherwise--it's on target.
In an effort to add levity to the proceedings, let's check out the 1976 KISS classic, "Calling Dr. Love." Sounds like Ms. Mason put out several calls to "Doctor Love"--and he was more than willing to respond. (BTW, is it just me, or does this song need a little more cowbell in the intro?)