Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Jeff Sessions and Bill Pryor, while in Alabama AG's office, targeted companies for investigation and then solicited those companies, according to court doc

Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak and Jeff Sessions
As Trump attorney general Jeff Sessions prepares to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee today about his undisclosed meetings with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, new evidence has surfaced that Sessions and his chief protege engaged in misconduct while serving in the Alabama AG's office.

Sessions allegedly solicited companies the AG's office was investigating, according to a 2004 court document. U.S. Circuit Judge Bill Pryor, who followed Sessions as Alabama AG, also engaged in such schemes, according to the document.

The allegations suggest that Sessions and Pryor, using the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) as a conduit, targeted companies for investigation and then solicited the same companies -- apparently strong-arming them to make political contributions in exchange for the investigations being dropped.

Ironically, Alabama GOP operative Jessica Medeiros Garrison, who has worked for both Sessions and Pryor, has served as executive director and senior adviser at RAGA, until quietly backing away from the organization -- or being forced out -- in January 2016. Was Garrison involved in dubious activities at RAGA? The answer to that question remains unclear, but the 2004 court document clearly points to possible wrongdoing involving Sessions and Pryor.

If proven, the activity could amount to a blatantly criminal quid pro quo ("something for something" deal) and put Pryor and Sessions at the center of one of the most egregious abuses of the justice system in modern history. It also would suggest that Pryor's adventures in 1990s gay pornography amount to a relatively mild scandal in his closet.

The court document indicates the charges against Pryor came before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee during his confirmation hearings in 2003, but there is no sign that the George W. Bush Justice Department investigated the matter. The document also shows discovery that might have unmasked the scheme was not allowed.

The Pryor/Sessions allegations grew from a case style USX v. Tieco, which started in the mid 1990s and dragged well into the 2000s. Tieco argued that United States Steel (USX of USS) was one of the companies that Pryor/Sessions targeted, then solicited, then granted favorable treatment in court. In short, according to Tieco, USX was allowed to buy "justice" -- via Pryor, Sessions, and RAGA. From the 2004 court document:

In its most current form (Doc. 388, TIECO Supplement To Motion For New Trial), the heart of the newly discovered evidence claim relates to the relationship between the Alabama Attorney General’s office and USS. TIECO says it has now come to light that former Attorney General (now 11 Circuit Judge) Pryor, may have been involved in fund raising involving USS. TIECO says [2003] proceedings before the United States Senate Judiciary Committee contained allegations that former Attorney General Pryor may have been involved, as a member of the Republican Attorneys General Association, in solicitations of companies being investigated by the Attorney General’s office, and that this may also have been the case with companies (like USS) whose causes TIECO alleges were being championed by the Alabama Attorney General’s office. TIECO says a USS PAC made campaign contributions to then Attorney General Sessions and Mr. Pryor for their campaigns (Pryor was Deputy Attorney General under Attorney General Sessions and succeeded him in that office), and afterwards, and that this activity encompassed the period of time involved in the case and the “bad acts” of USS and the Attorney General’s office. TIECO seeks as part of its discovery an Order directing that all the documents relating to these activities be produced, along with documents relating to the Republican Attorneys General Association dealings with USS, and similar documents from the files of Senator Sessions and former Attorneys General Sessions and Pryor.

Was TIECO successful in its efforts to obtain potentially damaging discovery involving Jeff Sessions and Bill Pryor? Not exactly. Virginia Emerson Hopkins was the judge who wrote the 2004 opinion, and we've discovered evidence that she obtained her seat largely through significant contributions she and her husband (Anniston, AL, lawyer Christopher M. Hopkins) made to Sessions, the Bush-Cheney campaign, and U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby. (More on this in an upcoming post.)

Bill Pryor: Robed and disrobed
How did Judge Hopkins handle the matter? For the most part, she punted to the Eleventh Circuit, which would include Bill Pryor in 2005. She also denied TIECO's Rule 60 Motion for a New Trial. From Hopkins' 2004 order:

In light of the court’s ruling on the Rule 60 (b) Motion For New Trial, any TIECO discovery requests are moot. In the alternative, for the reasons stated infra, the court does not believe that any discovery TIECO could obtain could change in any meaningful or relevant way the core rulings of the 11 Circuit Court of Appeals in this action or persuade the Court of Appeals to revisit those rulings. Put another way, it is for the Court of Appeals, not this court, to say that the issues regarding the Alabama Attorney General’s office are to be revisited a third time.

Does that smell like a cover-up to you? If so, that's probably because it is one.

It suggests Jeff Sessions is quite experienced when it comes to cover-ups, and he likely is involved in one right now regarding the Trump/Russia scandal.


Anonymous said...

Wow, just wow!

Anonymous said...

I can't believe what I'm reading.

legalschnauzer said...

@8:27 --

I couldn't believe it either and had to reread the court document several times. For the record, here is how I understand the allegations from TIECO: Sessions and Pryor conducted a scheme where they launched investigations of companies and then solicited campaign contributes from the same companies, apparently in exchange for dropping the investigations. The companies then received favorable treatment in court from the AG's office.

If I read that correctly -- and again, these are allegations, on which a Bush-appointed judge denied discovery -- this would be (if proven) one of the worst violations of the public trust I've ever heard of. Your talking about a state AG's office being run by outlaws, cooking up money-making schemes that blow the mind.

Anonymous said...

It looks like these allegations arose from Pryor's confirmation hearings, and perhaps Sessions helped push them under the carpet?

legalschnauzer said...

@8:54 --

That's an excellent catch. How ironic that Sessions is testifying in Congress today, and perhaps he led a cover-up for Pryor (and himself) back in 2003.

Anonymous said...

Just saw that Trump nominated 3 for Alabama US Attorneys...Louis V Franklin, Sr., Richard W Moore, and Jay E Town. Any insight on these men? I imagine they have Session ties somehow.

Anonymous said...

Before TIECO, Medellin Cartel/organized crime tied to blackmails from investigations. A party to recorded fact based evidences and documents appeared before senate judiciary January 2017 and intentionally perjured himself result of his direct knowledge of same.

legalschnauzer said...

@11:56 --

Yes, those are interesting choices. Louis Franklin, of course, is best known for his involvement with Siegelman case. If Dems play hard ball with him, he likely won't get confirmed. Jay Town wrote a goofy piece for al.com, called "Let Trump, Be Trump." Doesn't seem to be an intellectual giant. Don't know anything about Moore. Hopefully, Trump and Sessions will be indicted before any of these people are confirmed.

Anonymous said...

Looks like Sessions and Pryor were a one-man crime spree.

Anonymous said...

You've written that Hopkins is a crappy judge, and this seems to confirm that. I can think of no lawful reason to deny discovery based on newly discovered evidence.

Anonymous said...

Just saw that Trump nominated 3 for Alabama US Attorneys...Louis V Franklin, Sr., Richard W Moore, and Jay E Town. Any insight on these men? I imagine they have Session ties somehow.

Someone had better check badpuppy.com for more of those artistic poses.

You never know what you will find until you look.

Anonymous said...

Spoken with a drippy Southern acccent:

"Mr. Schnauzer, your post is filled with detestable lies!"

Anonymous said...

Mr. Louis Franklin, performing in his official capacity as assistant United States Attorney for Alabama's Middle District while acting under color of law was complicit in the covering up Title 18 U.S.C. criminal activities best defined under the Hatch Act Title and its sub-sections in conjunctions with Title 21 U.S.C. Controlled Substances Act. Far worst troubling the complicity in covering up the continuing murder-assassination of a black narcotics Alabama law enforcement officer.

e.a.f. said...

Oh, my that was an entertaining read. Nothing on t.v., but reading L.S. is so much better than anything on t.v., well except the Trump shit show. Hope some one sends the post to those conducting the investigations, just for entertainment purposes.

L.S. you just never cease to amaze.

Anonymous said...

Lobbyist for Russian Interests fires one right up Session's six!

Lobbyist for Russian interests says he attended dinners hosted by Sessions

Richard Burt contradicts Jeff Sessions’ testimony that he didn’t believe he had contacts with lobbyists working for Russian interests during Trump’s campaign

An American lobbyist for Russian interests who helped craft an important foreign policy speech for Donald Trump has confirmed that he attended two dinners hosted by Jeff Sessions during the 2016 campaign, apparently contradicting the attorney general’s sworn testimony given this week.

Sessions testified under oath on Tuesday that he did not believe he had any contacts with lobbyists working for Russian interests over the course of Trump’s campaign. But Richard Burt, a former ambassador to Germany during the Reagan administration, who has represented Russian interests in Washington, told the Guardian that he could confirm previous media reports that stated he had contacts with Sessions at the time.

“I did attend two dinners with groups of former Republican foreign policy officials and Senator Sessions,” Burt said.

The Russians have Gazprom; thanks to the Republican Party, Trump and Sessions we have Azzprom!

Anonymous said...

Check out the latest Sessions analysis.


Someone thinks Jeff "Garden Gnome of Injustice"* Sessions was lying in his congressional testimony? GTFO!

*Strong words but it was Felonious Monk on the internet and not just some anonymous keyboard jockey posting shit about Sessions at the LS!

legalschnauzer said...

@2:10 --

Great stuff. Thanks for sharing. "The Garden Gnome of Injustice." Love that, too!