|Luther Strange's campaign team, with Kevin Turner in
the middle and Jessica Medeiros Garrison to his left.
(From Alabama Political Reporter)
Strange has appointed Kevin Turner, his former chief deputy in the Alabama attorney general's office, to be his chief of staff in D.C., according to a report at Alabama Political Reporter (APR). Turner, once an attorney at the Birmingham firm of Bradley Arant, abruptly left the AG's office after reports that he was interfering with the Mike Hubbard investigation by trying to have chief prosecutor Matt Hart removed from the case.
Turner landed at the Venable LLP law firm in Washington, but his bio already has disappeared from the firm's Web site, and his LinkedIn page already shows him as Luther Strange's chief of staff. Boy, that happened in a hurry.
How did it happen? Well, blackmail -- or fear of blackmail -- might have played a big role. Consider these words from an August 2014 Legal Schnauzer post, that drew heavily on a report by Bill Britt at APR. The title of our post was "Top Aide To AG Luther Strange Might Be Using "Secret" To Derail Alabama Corruption Probe." How underhanded can Kevin Turner be? The following provides an idea:
The chief of staff to Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange is trying to derail a corruption probe of House Speaker Mike Hubbard, former Governor Bob Riley and his children, and more, according to a new report at the Alabama Political Reporter.
Bill Britt reports that Chief of Staff Kevin Turner is leading an in-house plot to have chief prosecutor Matt Hart removed from the case. Turner, who used to be at the Bradley Arant law firm in Birmingham, is holding a secret over Strange's head as leverage to get Hart off the case, Britt reports.
Turner was holding a secret over Strange's head? That sounds like serious stuff, with criminal implications. Here is more from the post:
Inside the Attorney General’s Office, the effort to sabotage the Grand Jury, by eliminating Hart, is thought to be the work of Strange’s closest ally, Turner.
The seemingly unbreakable bond between Strange and Turner is rumored to be based on more scandalous motives, and not mere loyalty. As Strange’s driver and body man during the 2010 campaign for AG, there is speculation that Turner holds a dirty secret over his boss' head. Whatever the reason may be for Strange’s particular loyalty to Turner, there are more than a few questions raised by Turner’s recent actions against Hart.
What secret could Turner have acquired while serving as Strange's "driver and body man" during the 2010 campaign? Well, we broke the story of Strange's extramarital affair with 2010 campaign manager Jessica Medeiros Garrison, whose divorce from Tuscaloosa City School Board president Lee Garrison dovetails with her activities on the Strange campaign. We addressed that issue in an October 2014 post titled "Could Jessica Medeiros Garrison's sealed divorce file help shine light on "secrets" in State House probe?" From the post:
Where does Jessica Medeiros Garrison fit into this picture? She managed Luther Strange's 2010 campaign, which would have more or less made her Kevin Turner's supervisor at the time. Any "dirty secret" that Kevin Turner has on Luther Strange, probably would be known to Garrison.
What's the nature of this secret? Is it personal, professional, political, financial--a combination of all the above? We don't know, but Garrison's divorce case ended in October 2009, and a related child-custody case went into 2011--all in the general time frame of the 2010 campaign for attorney general.
Could the sealed Garrison divorce file include information about the secret? It certainly could, and if so, that means it's relevant to the Lee County investigation--and Kevin Turner's actions that appear to be unethical (at best) and maybe criminal (at worst).
How likely is it that Kevin Turner's "secret" involves Luther Strange's affair with Jessica Garrison? The evidence suggests it is very likely. How likely is it that Turner is a mediocre attorney, and his career at Venable was going nowhere fast -- and when Strange was appointed to fill Jeff Sessions' U.S. Senate seat, Turner made a quick play for the chief of staff post, and Strange had little choice but to go along with it. After all, published reports indicate Strange would be wise to keep Turner's heart happy and his mouth shut.
Based on all the intel we've received, Luther Strange, as AG, ran a wildly dysfunctional office in Montgomery. It looks like he is heading down the same path in D.C.