|David J. Harrison|
(From Dothan Eagle)
Harrison perhaps is best known as the attorney who filed paperwork for a guilty plea from Country Crossings developer Ronnie Gilley in the bingo case. Jarrod Massey and Jennifer Pouncy, lobbyists for Gilley, also pleaded guilty. Without those three guilty pleas, the case would have been a total wipe-out for the government. Every defendant who went to trial was found not guilty, a result that was described as "one of the most remarkable setbacks nationally" for federal prosecutors in decades.
As for Harrison's most recent misadventure, he was arrested on April 25. From a report at the Dothan Eagle:
According to Dothan police reports, Harrison was selling a vehicle at a car lot in Dothan and he alleged that forgery occurred in the paperwork. After an investigation, police determined no items had been forged, leading to the charge against him.
Harrison’s arraignment is scheduled for June 6. According to Harrison’s attorney, Shaun McGhee, they look forward to their day in court. McGhee believes his client will be found innocent of all charges.
Here is a rundown of colorful events in Harrison's past:
(1) Conviction on meth-trafficking charges
You might think having a conviction for meth-trafficking would put an end to your legal career. After all, lawyers are supposed to uphold the law and stuff. But you would be wrong. Harrison was convicted of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine in March 1997, but bingo, he still has his bar card. How does a lawyer with such a background wind up representing Ronnie Gilley in a case that drew national attention? Hmmm . . . that has never been made clear.
(2) And now appearing at Ashley Madison
Harrison is one of numerous Alabama lawyers who appear at the notorious extramarital-affairs Web site. (More on that in an upcoming post.)
(3) Representing man in a bestiality case
In 2015, Harrison represented a Geneva man in a bestiality case. From a news report on the case, which became a social-media phenomenon:
The man charged with having sex with his estranged wife's dog was in a Geneva courtroom today. Jonathan Medley's trial was continued to the December Circuit Court docket. Last June, the 39-year-old reportedly told police he had sexual contact with the shih-tzu named Buster because his wife paid more attention to the dog (than to him). Medley's attorney's, David Harrison, tells News 4 his client is innocent of the charge. The case has generated worldwide attention through social media.
Medley wound up pleading guilty to a misdemeanor and was sentenced to a 12-month sentence to be served for 15 consecutive weekends at the Geneva County Jail.
(4) Allegations of ineffective assistance of counsel
Gilley filed a document in October 2013, alleging that Harrison provided ineffective assistance of counsel in the bingo case. The document includes portions of a transcript from jailhouse phone calls in which Gilley makes clear to Harrison that he does not want to plead guilty and he does not believe he is guilty. (More on that in an upcoming post.)
Gilley was released in 2016 after serving four years in federal prison. Gilley now is working in construction and property development and hopes to return to the entertainment business.
(5) A peculiar relationship with current U.S. Senate candidate Doug Jones
Before Harrison joined the defense team, Gilley's representation came from Doug Jones and two other attorneys from the former Birmingham firm Haskell Slaughter. Court documents indicate that Harrison and Jones were on the case together for almost a month. When asked about his actions on Gilley's behalf, and about Harrison's criminal background, Jones refused to comment.
Jones, a Democrat who once served as U.S. attorney under the Bill Clinton administration, now is running for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Trump attorney general Jeff Sessions. What about Jones' ties to David Harrison and the dubious Gilley guilty plea? Is Jones someone Alabamians seriously should consider to represent them in the U.S. Senate? (More on that in upcoming posts.)