Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Erik Davis Harp was arrested for carrying a concealed 9 mm handgun into a government building--the Bay County Courthouse in Panama City Beach, FL

Erik Davis Harp
Erik Davis Harp, a one-time gambling kingpin and business partner to former Luther Strange campaign manager Jessica Medeiros Garrison, was arrested in March for carrying a concealed firearm into a government building. Specifically, Harp is charged with taking a concealed Walther 9mm handgun into the Bay County Courthouse in Panama City Beach, Florida. (See documents about the charges at the end of this post.)

Trying to sneak a gun into courthouse? That raises the seriousness of this story by several levels.

Harp was indicted several years ago in Queen's, New York, as one of two ringleaders in an offshore sports-gambling ring, based in Panama, that brought in more than $20 million a month. Despite his connections to massive wealth, Harp applied for indigent status, which the Florida court denied. He hired Kevin D. Barr, of the Panama City Beach law firm Bryant Higby, who entered a not-guilty plea on his client's behalf.

A pre-trial conference is set for 1:30 p.m. on June 9 before Judge Brantley Clark Jr. Here are specifics of the charges against Harp, per Jennifer Hawkins, an assistant state attorney for the 14th Judicial Circuit in Florida:

Erik D. Harp, on or about March 15, 2016, in the County of BAY and the State of FLORIDA, did knowingly carry a Walther 9mm handgun, a firearm, concealed on or about his person, contrary to Florida Statute 790.01(2). 

Under Florida law, Harp is charged with a third-degree felony that is punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

According to charges from prosecutors, Harp "knowingly" took a gun into a courthouse. That suggests it was not an accident, and that raises a number of troubling questions:

(1) Did Harp have legitimate courthouse business on that date? If so, what was it? Was he present because of a criminal case, a civil case, or some other business usually conducted at the courthouse?

(2) If Harp had no business at the courthouse, why was he "knowingly" trying to enter with a handgun? Did he plan to shoot someone? If so, who was it, and why?

(3) If Harp intended to shoot someone, was he essentially on a suicide mission? Isn't a lone gunman likely to be way outnumbered in a courthouse, where multiple armed security types are likely to be on duty?

(4) Will investigators look into Erik Harp's communication records--e-mails, phone messages, texts, etc.--in an effort to determine the intentions behind his trip to a courthouse, with a gun?

Here are several key documents from the Harp case. (A hat tip to helpful readers who played a major role in preparation of this post.):


Anonymous said...

I figured Harp was walking down the street and had the bad luck of cops stopping him when he happened to be carrying a concealed weapon. But he carried it into a courthouse? Good Lord, man!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

This guy must be a few bricks shy of a load.

Anonymous said...

Anybody know the capabilities of a Walter 9mm handgun? I assume it's powerful enough to cause plenty of damage to someone.

Anonymous said...

The Walther is perfect for concealed carry. It's small, easy to handle, it looks good (sleek, etc.), and it's lethal.

My guess is that Harp made a habit of carrying it around. Why, I don't know.

Anonymous said...

That is also the gun 007 man carry. Are you sure you want to write about a "secret agent" gun carrying man? After all, he is a man who leads a life of danger, with everyone he meets he stays a stranger, with every move he makes, another chance he takes, odds are he won't live to see tomorrow. Secret Agent Man, Secret Agent Man.

legalschnauzer said...

Thanks for reminding us of a classic song, @2:55. Great stuff.

Anonymous said...

Just saw the news were Mr. Soon To Be President Trump is looking at our bad puppy judge for a seat on the high court. That conformation hearing should make for some tv. Time for the courts to order that PMO order. Penis Measurement Order the only sure fire way of answering the bad puppy question.

legalschnauzer said...

Is a PMO anything like a TRO?

Amanda Hugginkiss said...

Interesting article, as always, Roger - but when I saw "Panama" in the headline, for a second I thought you were going to be reporting on the so-called "Panama Papers". Are any prominent Alabama figures on that list, and if so, will you be shedding any light on them in the future? Sorry that this is a somewhat off-topic comment, but the mainstream media isn't giving this story the detailed coverage it deserves.

legalschnauzer said...


One of my favorite commenters, right up there with I.P. Freely and Hugh Jass. I LOL every time I see your name on a comment. Thanks for adding a classy touch of hilarity to LS.

Now, down to business: I've seen info on Panama Papers, and there definitely are prominent Alabamians on there (prominent to me, anyway). Most of the ones I've seen so far are from Bham area. Seen a number of names that are in the "wealth management" field.

I've got people helping me as we try to figure out the information. But so far, it's hard to tell exactly what we have with the P Papers. You have names of LLCs etc., and addresses, but finding names behind certain entities, how much money is involved, and whether anything is illegal . . . well, figuring all of that out is tough.

Hope to publish on Alabama ties to Panama Papers--they are definitely there--but need to figure out what is actually in the data and how to interpret it. Even some of my very knowledgeable tech people are struggling to figure it out.

I've read in some quarters where folks think there really isn't much useful information in the P Papers. Will try to find out if those folks are on target.

Anonymous said...

On the affidavit for insolvency.... how can someone claim they have zero dependents when they have two children? Or did I read the statement/question incorrectly? I am not literate in legal matters.

legalschnauzer said...

Good question, @7:57. Are you saying Mr. Harp has two children? If so, I wasn't aware of that.

I'd think he would list any dependents because that should be helpful to his claim of indigence.

Anonymous said...

Yes.... he does. So it bothers me that he would answer no on this court paper..... I don't run in his circle, but I know him

Greg said...

As mentioned, this guy is used to throwing around a lot of cash and doing what he wants without any consequences. Doesn't quite work that way at a courthouse, though. Of course there's the possibility that he's so used to having that Walther on his hip that he didn't give it a second thought. Probably gotten away with it in gun-free zones, etc. so it may be a natural thing for him. Wouldn't bet on it though.

Anonymous said...

Interestingly enough ... he pled guilty paid a fine and may have had some probation ... quite the character he is. No problem running books and raising two kids and entertaining "friends" at the same time. Travels frequently and spends major $$$ yet no "job". Doesn't take brains to know this dude is still up to the same old games.