The statements shine new light on Garrison's lawsuit against Legal Schnauzer, alleging our reporting on her affair with Strange was false and defamatory. It also raises questions about a $3.5-million default judgment Garrison received primarily because my wife, Carol, and I had to leave Alabama when we lost our home of 25 years in a foreclosure that almost certainly was wrongful. We have shown that the judgment is void, as a matter of law, and it was based almost entirely on a mountain of fraud and perjury.
Public records show there was no trial in the Garrison matter, much less a jury trial as required by decades of First Amendment law. That means Garrison did not come close to meeting her burden of proof--and, by law, my reporting was neither false nor defamatory.
Barron, a Democrat from Fyffe, served in the Alabama Legislature for 28 years. His comments came in a recent interview with Marcus Echols at BlogTalk Radio on "Bringing Voices to Power." Strange brought an indictment against Barron in April 2013 on charges of campaign finance law violations, but the AG's office filed a motion to dismiss all charges in August 2014, and the court granted it.
Echols asked Barron about the current sex scandal involving Gov. Robert Bentley and former advisor Rebekah Caldwell Mason, which includes revelations that Mason and her husband, Jon, have made roughly $1 million since Bentley took office in 2011. Barron was quick to compare it to the Strange/Garrison relationship:
[Mason] got $500,000 in his campaign . . .That's the same thing Luther Strange did; he paid his mistress, Ms. Garrison, $450,000 to $460,000 during his campaign. They were fussing at me paying my assistant a $50,000 bonus when my campaign was over . . . these people have done much worse . . . With the evidence out on Bentley now, it's pretty obvious what has been going on behind closed doors with him and the young lady they say is really the governor. . . . It's just sad.
Barron said he's seen evidence firsthand that the Garrison affair affects the way Strange does his job. During the trial in DeKalb County, Barron's lawyers filed a subpoena, seeking to have Strange testify about his relationship with Garrison and payments he had made to her. The judge in the case did not immediately rule on Barron's efforts to have Strange testify, and the issue still was on the table when the AG's office asked to have the case dismissed.
|Jessica Garrison and Luther Strange|
Luther Strange is so compromised that he cannot go after the governor. What happened in my case . . . my attorney asked the judge to allow us to get Luther Strange to testify in my case. The judge left that open and didn't rule on it. Once the judge didn't rule on whether we could put Luther Strange on the stand, my case went away.
Luther Strange cannot stand to be deposed or be put on the stand because his shenanigans with Ms. Garrison would come out in the open. This whole bunch is compromised. You can't have clean government when you are dirty. Nothing is going to happen [in the Bentley case] with the attorney general's office. I'm shocked they've done anything about the speaker.
What does Barron expect to happen in the Bentley matter? He sees the governor in a tight spot:
I do not think Bentley will resign. After that disastrous divorce settlement, he's given away all his assets. He doesn't have another job. . . . He's getting older, and I'm not sure he could practice medicine anymore. What's he going to do to make a living? . . . He's ruined his history. I think [Ms. Mason] and her husband will milk this cow for all that's there; it's money for them. . . . Bentley is an old man getting his jollies off, but he got elected on Republican family values."
Barron traces many of Alabama's current problems to the public's tendency to vote based on perceived religious values:
Running for political office based on who is the most religious. . . . Ted Cruz is another example; it just came out that he's had five or six affairs. These are corrupt people hiding behind God. We are electing scummy, crummy people. The people who voted for Bentley and Luther Strange need to look in the mirror and say, "I'm responsible for this foolishness, and I'm going to be better informed voter in next election.
"There is nothing Christian about any of our current leadership. The speaker is indicted on 23 felony counts. Luther Strange carried on an infamous relationship with Jessica Garrison, and he's still in office. It goes on and on.