|Jeff Sessions: CNN report raises questions about|
Sessions was Alabama attorney general from 1994-97, and you might expect the CNN report to make major news in his home state. But so far, we can find no coverage, at least among newspapers, in any of the state's four major media markets.
Ironically, the CNN report touches on unlawful rulings in our pending federal lawsuit over my five-month incarceration in the Shelby County Jail, which made me the first U.S. journalist since 2006 to be jailed -- apparently the first one in U.S. history to be jailed because of a preliminary injunction in a defamation case, which is an unlawful prior restraint.
How does the CNN report hit our little corner of the world? Well, it doesn't do it directly. But it shines light on the connections between Sessions and U.S. District Judge R. David Proctor, who has repeatedly violated black-letter law regarding our in forma pauperis (indigent) status in what we call "The Jail Case," currently on appeal before the U.S. Eleventh Circuit. Proctor also is handling "The House Case," which involves the wrongful foreclosure on our Birmingham home of 25 years (plus related issues, such as defamation and unjust enrichment).
We will provide details about the Sessions-Proctor relationship, and how it could explain Proctor's corrupt actions, in an upcoming post. We also will show how the case at the center of the CNN report adds to evidence that Sessions holds racially dubious views -- and so does Proctor.
For now, let's focus on the accusations against Sessions and his office, which grew from a tangled set of civil and criminal matters involving two Birmingham corporate entities -- USX Corp. and Tieco Inc. Allegations in the cases, which lasted for roughly five years, are convoluted, but here is the gist of it:
USX alleged that Tieco engaged in fraud and other wrongdoing, essentially stealing funds via accounting trickery and other deceitful methods. Tieco filed a counterclaim, alleging that USX unlawfully used a criminal prosecution to help collect an alleged debt. Tieco also alleged that USX's lawyers from the Birmingham firm Burr Forman conspired with the Attorney General's office (and Jeff Sessions) to improperly seize Tieco's business records.
During a criminal proceeding, former Jefferson County Circuit Judge James S. Garrett was unimpressed (to say the least) with the conduct of Sessions and his henchmen. From the CNN report:
As Sen. Jeff Sessions awaits a confirmation hearing in hopes of becoming the next US attorney general, a blistering legal opinion on a case he oversaw as Alabama's top prosecutor two decades ago could emerge as an issue for the nominee.
The 1997 "order and opinion" by an Alabama judge accused the state attorney general's office, which had been headed by Sessions, of the worst prosecutorial misconduct he'd ever seen.
"The court finds that even having been given every benefit of the doubt, the misconduct of the Attorney General in this case far surpasses in both extensiveness and measure the totality of any prosecutorial misconduct ever previously presented to or witnessed by this court," wrote James S. Garrett, a Jefferson County Circuit Court judge.
The misconduct was "so pronounced and persistent," Garrett wrote, that "it permeates the entire atmosphere of this prosecution."
Garrett went on to dismiss the criminal case against Tieco, but not before blasting Sessions and his team in a memorandum opinion. From CNN:
A year after the high-profile indictments, Garrett found that the case was rife with prosecutorial misconduct, including failures to turn over exculpatory evidence, deceptive testimony by assistants or agents of the Attorney General and "flagrant disregard of the constitutional rights of those accused."
"This court can only conclude it is dealing with either intentional and deliberate misconduct or conduct so reckless and improper as to constitute conscious disregard for the lawful duties of the Attorney General and the integrity and dignity of this court and this Judge."
An ethics complaint against Sessions was dismissed, and he stepped down as attorney general after being elected to the U.S. Senate in 1996.
|Retired Jeffco Judge James S. Garrett (right), who now|
lives in Lithia, Florida
The appellate panel found that Garrett's opinion in the criminal case had improperly been entered as evidence in the civil case. The appellate court found that Garrett's opinion was "inadmissible hearsay."
That more or less put Garrett's harsh words behind Sessions for about 15 years. But CNN's report has dug them back up. Soon, the nation will learn if its attorney general will be a man who was involved in what Judge James S. Garrett found to be the worst prosecutorial misconduct he had ever witnessed.
(To be continued)