Friday, September 29, 2017

Three more indictments come in Superfund scandal, putting Balch and Drummond "mules" on the run and producing absurdist comments from defense counsel

U.S. Attorney Jay Town announces indictments
Yesterday's announcement of federal indictments against two Balch Bingham lawyers and one Drummond Co. executive is a rare sign that members of Alabama's white ruling elites (also known as "Big Mules") might be held accountable for their underhanded acts. It also brought a quote that might represent one of the most damning statements ever about the legal profession. The quote came from a member of a Birmingham law firm that has a recent history of making ludicrous arguments in court. We've seen that firsthand -- and our experience suggests defense attorneys will be making quite a few nonsensical arguments as they try to keep Big Mules out of federal prison.

A six-count indictment filed in U.S. District Court charges Joel Iverson Gilbert and Steven George McKinney, both partners in the Birmingham law firm Balch Bingham, and David Lynn Roberson, vice president of government and regulatory affairs for Drummond Co., with conspiracy, bribery, wire fraud, and money laundering. The indictment alleges they conspired to provide former state Rep. Oliver L. Robinson Jr. with a valuable and confidential consulting contract in exchange for his taking official action favorable to Balch and its client, Drummond, regarding a Superfund cleanup site in north Birmingham.

A press release from the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Alabama provides no clues if additional indictments are coming. But according to one recent press report, U.S. Sen. Luther Strange (R-AL) was present when a Drummond representative offered State Rep. John Rogers a bribe. Jessica Medeiros Garrison, Strange's one-time campaign manager and mistress, served in an "of counsel" role at Balch until exiting the firm in May -- and her social-media presence mostly vanished in the weeks after Strange's name was raised in connection to the Superfund case. For good measure, Trump attorney general Jeff Sessions, who already is at the center of the RussiaGate scandal, is closely aligned with Balch.

We highly recommend a relatively new local Web site, Its report on yesterday's indictments is titled "Will Balch Bingham Partner Turn Federal Witness?" From that post:

Looks likes Balch has seen the writing on the wall and appears to have thrown the indicted partners under the bus. (Putting them on administrative leave and deleting their Web pages.)

We note the silence from Steve McKinney. Will McKinney turn federal witness? Will he, too, start singing like a canary?

On his web page at Balch (since taken down), McKinney wrote, “I 'get the call’ when an environmental problem has developed and legal or strategic help is needed fast.”

So who called McKinney when Drummond needed help in suppressing the African-Americans in North Birmingham? Who did he report to about the Robinson Bribery scheme? Did any other partners or Balch lobbyists know about this scheme?

The post ends with this, which offers sound advice and sobering thoughts:

On that same now defunct web page, McKinney noted, “I come from a blue-collar home where education and a serious work ethic came in daily doses.”

Maybe its time to use blue-collar smarts to shorten one’s possible prison sentence, a potential death sentence.

At 62 years of age, even a 15 year federal prison term would mean McKinney could die in prison. Now that’s a bitter dose of reality.

As for the extraordinary comment we mentioned at the beginning of this post, it came from Gilbert's defense attorney -- Jack Sharman, a partner at Lightfoot Franklin and White. Before the indictments were announced, Sharman said, as stated at Alabama Political Reporter:

“Joel Gilbert is innocent of these charges,” Sharman said. “He did not bribe anyone. This is a case that never should have been brought. Joel represented a client in a legal dispute with the EPA, a powerful and, in this case, over-reaching federal agency. Everything he did while representing that client was lawful and ethical. He is a longtime partner at a leading law firm. A lawyer with a reputation for honesty and integrity, he did what is routine for good counselors to do for corporate and individual clients every day – he engaged a consultant through a written contract to perform real and lawful services.

The way I read that, Sharman is saying: "The line between bribing someone and providing routine legal work is so thin that reasonable minds hardly can tell them apart." Gee, the Alabama State Bar should be delighted to learn that.

It's not unusual for members of the Lightfoot firm to make off-the-charts legal arguments. We've seen it in what we call "The House Case," a federal lawsuit that is on appeal before the Eleventh Circuit in Atlanta. The Lightfoot firm represents multiple defendants -- Marie Claire, Hearst Corp.,, and Yellowhammer News -- in "The House Case."

One of Lightfoot's arguments is that demonstrably false and defamatory statements are "substantially true." No kidding. They also argue that the Marie Claire fashion magazine is a "well-respected news source." Again, no kidding. You can check out a Marie Claire cover (left) and decide for yourself if it appears to be a serious news source. Here is how we reported it in a January 2017 post:

Lawyers for Hearst Corporation take a demonstrably false claim from their Marie Claire fashion magazine -- that there was a trial in Jessica Medeiros Garrison's lawsuit against me -- and argue that it was "substantially true," and, thus, not defamatory. The same lawyers -- from Birmingham's Lightfoot Franklin and White firm -- represent the right-wing propaganda site Yellowhammer News (YH) and argue that its reporting on the Garrison case is not defamatory because it came from a "well-respected news source."

Anyone can check the public docket in Garrison's underlying defamation case -- the one where she was awarded $3.5 million in a default judgment that, by law, is void for failure to notice the opposing party -- and see there was no trial. From our January report:

As noted in an earlier post, Hearst can't keep its story straight. It claims the Marie Claire article was based in part on court records from Garrison's lawsuit. But the article repeatedly misstates facts that easily could be found from a check of the court records. For example, the article states there was a trial when there clearly was no trial. There wasn't even any discovery or summary-judgment proceedings that generally must precede a trial.

Still, Hearst wants the court, and the public, to believe that the article's false statement regarding a trial is "substantially true" -- that a hearing and a trial are more or less the same thing. I'm sure that would be news to anyone who has the slightest knowledge of our justice system. I guess it means that a rhinoceros and a rabbit are substantially the same thing, given that both words begin with "r"

Here is part of our argument in response to the Lightfoot nonsense:

Hearst’s false claim that there was a trial in the Garrison matter: 
. . . Hearst claims the statement is “substantially true” and “not capable of defamatory meaning.” Hearst claims “a trial is synonymous with an evidentiary hearing,” but it provides zero citations to law to support that statement. In fact, Hearst cites Alabama law holding, “A communication is considered defamatory ‘if it tends so to harm the reputation of another as to lower him in the estimation of the community . . . “ The statement in the Marie Claire article does exactly that to Roger Shuler. It claims that Mr. Shuler was hit with a $3.5-million judgment after a trial (supposedly a jury trial, as required by First Amendment law), after discovery and a trial on the merits. But none of that happened; there was no discovery, there was no trial, there was no jury, and there was no valid judgment. The report of a trial is false, and it clearly harms Roger Shuler’s reputation as a journalist and as a human being. It suggests Roger Shuler was found liable for a huge award by a jury of his peers; in fact, that did not happen at all. Finally, Hearst claims this ruling is a question for the court. If that is so, the court is required to make all findings while viewing matters in “a light most favorable to the nonmoving party (the Shulers).” On multiple grounds, the court is required to find for the Shulers on this issue.

As you can see, Lightfoot lawyers can't keep their stories straight, often can't support their arguments with citations to law, and they even tend to wind up admitting that their own statements are horse manure.

Look for more of that kind of thing as the Superfund scandal unfolds. We've seen it up close.

Thursday, September 28, 2017 publishes "five fast facts" on Luther Strange's wife, but it butchers facts about my reporting on Strange's extramarital affair with Jessica Garrison

Luther and Melissa Strange
A New York-based Web site known for its "fast facts" published an article on Tuesday about the wife of U.S. Sen. Luther Strange -- and it had a few problems with "facts." I know because it addressed our reporting here at Legal Schnauzer about Strange's extramarital affair with former campaign manager Jessica Medeiros Garrison. On that subject,'s reporting might have been "fast," but it certainly did not deal in "facts."

As part of its election-day coverage on the Strange vs. Roy Moore U.S. Senate runoff, ran an article about Strange's wife, with the title "Melissa Strange, Luther's wife: Five Fast Facts You Need to Know." On the same day, the Web site also ran similar factoid-filled pieces on Luther Strange; Roy Moore; and Moore's wife, Kayla.

The item on Melissa Strange included "fast fact" No. 2, which carried this title: "A Blogger Claimed Strange Had an Extramarital Affair With a Campaign Aide, Who Won a $3.5 Million Settlement." That segment apparently was based totally on Garrison's "as told to" article with writer Liz Welch, published in October 2015 at the Hearst-owned fashion magazine and Web site Marie Claire. With that in mind, it's no surprise that the segment is factually challenged.

Factual problems begin with the headline; there was no settlement in Garrison's defamation lawsuit against me. There also was no discovery, no trial, and no jury -- only a determination by Jefferson County Circuit Judge Don Blankenship, who essentially acted as a one-man censor in the case. U.S. law long has held that defamation cases must be determined at trial, before a jury. That's because of the First Amendment's exalted status in American law -- and no judge, by law, can unilaterally act as a one-man censor. But that is exactly what Blankenship did in the Garrison case

There also was no judgment on the merits in the case. It was a default judgment, the fallout from my unlawful five-month incarceration in Shelby County (Oct. 23, 2013 to March 26, 2014). That helped lead to a wrongful foreclosure on our house of 25 years in Birmingham, and with insufficient time to save our house after my release from jail, Carol and I were forced to move to Springfield, Missouri, where I grew up.

Living like a refugee in Missouri, I could not defend myself against Garrison's allegations. In fact, I never received notice of her default application or the default hearing -- and the docket shows such notice never was sent. You'd be surprised how hard it is to appear at court hearings when you receive no notice that they are being held. That's what led to the default judgment.

None of this is mentioned in the article, written by Daniel S. Levine. The author clearly has zero knowledge of relevant law in the Garrison case, and it appears he made no effort to research it. But aside from the law, Levine can't get his facts straight -- and that's because he relied on a lousy original source, the Marie Claire article.

In fact, the Marie Claire article is so bad that it is the subject of a defamation claim in a federal lawsuit that currently is on appeal in the U.S. Eleventh Circuit. That's right, I am suing Garrison, Marie Claire, and Hearst for defamation -- but Levine did not bother to learn about that.

Let's check out the beginning of the section about my reporting on the Strange-Garrison affair:

Strange and Melissa have been married for over 30 years, but in a 2013 blog post, Legal Schnauzer blogger Roger Shuler, claimed he had an affair with former campaign staffer Jessica Garrison. The post was titled “AG Luther Strange Has A Messy Extramarital Affair With Ex Campaign Aide Jessica Medeiros Garrison” and was published in July 2013.

Read literally, that says I claim to have had an affair with Jessica Garrison. My response? (A) You'll never hear that claim coming from my mouth; (B) The sentence is so poorly written that it becomes inaccurate to an absurd level. Then, we have this:

Garrison responded with an interview for Marie Claire and a lawsuit for $3.5 million. Garrison told Marie Claire that Melissa knew it wasn’t true and even called her.

The byline on the article says, "By Jessica Garrison, as told to Liz Welch." Garrison is listed as the author, with Welch essentially serving as her stenographer. We can find no indication that Welch asked Garrison a single question, so it was not an interview. And there is no evidence that either checked the court docket for the simplest facts. For example, Garrison claims there was a trial in the case -- but if there was, it was held without me, the defendant. A check of the docket, of course shows there was no trial.

What about this?

The rumor continued to follow her, even though it wasn’t true. She sued and the judge awarded her $3.5 million.

Levine makes a blanket statement that my reporting on the Strange/Garrison was not true. But there is zero evidence from an adversarial proceeding to prove that. As noted earlier, there was no discovery, which means Blankenship's default judgment was rendered on the basis of almost no evidence. Luther Strange and Garrison supposedly testified at a hearing, but I wasn't present, so there was no cross-examination. (And there is substantial evidence that Garrison committed perjury.) As we've shown in multiple posts, the ultimate finding of the court -- under relevant law -- was that my reporting was neither false, nor defamatory. But you don't read that at

You also don't read that, as a matter of law, Garrison's $3.5-million judgment is void because I was not noticed on her default application or hearing -- and I have an unlimited amount of time to attack it. In other words, Garrison's judgment isn't worth a nickel, much less $3.5 million.

Finally, we have this:

Shuler vowed to fight the judgement. He was previously jailed for five months after his reporting on former Governor Bob Riley’s son. Shuler continues to report on Alabama politics today.

First, I haven't just vowed to fight the judgment, I have fought the judgment, via the aforementioned federal lawsuit. But more importantly, consider that second sentence, in yellow. Shouldn't any journalist who writes that -- or any citizen who reads it -- say, "How does a journalist get thrown in jail for writing about Rob Riley, or anyone else"?  The answer: He can't, under the law. I was thrown in jail based on a preliminary injunction -- issued by a judge, no trial, no jury -- that has been prohibited by more than 200 years of First Amendment law. But Levine apparently did not bat an eyebrow when writing the sentence in yellow.

Strangely, Levine acknowledges that he checked my blog before writing his piece, but he must not have looked for the multiple posts (such as this one) that show the Marie Claire article is pretty much a fact-free piece of rubbish. does serve up some heavy irony, which it apparently does not recognize. Let's consider this from the introduction to the piece about Melissa Strange:

[Luther] Strange has been serving as Alabama’s Senator since President Donald Trump chose Jeff Sessions to be his U.S. Attorney General. The 64-year-old Strange was appointed by Governor Robert J. Bentley shortly before he resigned due to a sex scandal.

How did the public come to learn about the Bentley sex scandal? Because I broke the story, here at Legal Schnauzer -- roughly seven months before the mainstream media picked up on it.

Without knowing it, acknowledges my track record of accurately reporting on subjects that many other news outlets won't touch. The Strange/Garrison story is a classic example of such reporting.

But you wouldn't know that from reading It apparently is so busy being fast that it can't bother with being factual.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

With beatdown from Roy Moore in Senate runoff, Luther Strange's political career tumbles -- adding to the list of politicos that our blog has helped bring down

Luther Strange and Mike Pence
That sound you hear this morning -- timber! -- is Luther Strange's political career falling in the forest. The other sound you hear is from members of our Legal Schnauzer staff patting themselves on the back.

Strange's loss to Roy Moore in yesterday's Alabama GOP runoff for a seat in the U.S. Senate marks the sixth major political/legal figure that our little blog has helped take down. And that doesn't count a federal judge who might have been denied a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court because of our reporting.

Does our staff deserve a pat on the back? Given that our hard-hitting and accurate reporting on Alabama corruption has caused us to be cheated out of our jobs, our home of 25 years in Birmingham, our savings, almost all of our personal belongings -- and also led to my unlawful arrest and incarceration, plus a shattered arm and bogus criminal charges for my wife, Carol -- well, I'd say we deserve some congratulations, even if it is self-applied. (Also, financial support, via the PayPal button on the upper right side of the blog is much needed and greatly appreciated.)

It doesn't take our staff long to congratulate each other. There's only Mrs. Schnauzer, myself, and a third member of our team whose identity will remain under wraps for now. But his contributions to our work here cannot be overstated. We hope to introduce you to him someday.

As for the political pelts hanging from our wall, let's take a brief look at each one, in more or less reverse order:

( 1) Luther Strange -- By almost all accounts, Strange's political demise grew from his decision to accept an appointment to Jeff Sessions' Senate seat from hideously corrupt Alabama Gov. Robert "Luv Guv" Bentley. Strange apparently accepted the appointment in exchange for having his state attorney general's office go light on Bentley. It was such a blatant quid pro quo that it even made many Alabama conservatives want to wretch. But here is a key point to remember: Bentley would not have been radioactive if we hadn't broken the story of his extramarital affair with top adviser Rebekah Caldwell Mason. It's possible the mainstream press never would have picked up on the Bentley story if we had not broken it. Without our reporting, Strange does not make a devil's deal with Bentley -- and Strange might have beaten Moore in yesterday's runoff. Goodbye, Luther.

(2) Robert "Luv Guv" Bentley -- How many one-man blogs (plus two staff members) have taken down a governor? I can't think of any -- and make no mistake, Legal Schnauzer took down Bentley, who resigned on April 10, 2017. We reported on both the affair with Mason -- and its financial implications -- well before anyone else. Attorney Donald Watkins picked up on the story, at his Facebook page, not long after we broke it. But it was roughly seven months before the mainstream press took serious notice.

(3) Cooper Shattuck -- The former chief legal counsel at the University of Alabama resigned in December 2016. That came just eight days after former Bentley security chief Wendell Ray Lewis filed a lawsuit naming ACEGOV, a nonprofit that Shattuck formed, apparently to funnel money to Mason. We were among the first news outlets to report on Shattuck's role in forming ACEGOV and its central role in the Bentley scandal. We were the only news outlet to report on Shattuck's own problems with sins of the flesh, and those revelations likely weakened his position as top lawyer at the state's flagship university.

(4) Rebekah Caldwell Mason -- Mason was the first casualty in the Bentley scandal, resigning as senior political adviser in March 2016. She left with these words: "My only plans are to focus my full attention on my precious children and my husband who I love dearly." The old "I want to spend time with my family" excuse. It never seems to go out of style.

(5) Mike Hubbard -- The former House Speaker was convicted on 12 felony ethics charges in June 2016. Bill Britt and his team at Alabama Political Reporter played the lead role in breaking and reporting that story, but we played an important supporting role by providing analysis that readers were not likely to find in the mainstream press.

(6) Mark Fuller -- The former U.S. district judge, who butchered the Don Siegelman case and sent two innocent men (Siegelman and former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy) to federal prison, resigned in August 2015 after a wife-beating incident came to light. A number of news outlets reported on the wife-beating story, but we had earlier broken a story about court records that showed Fuller's divorce from his first wife involved allegations of physical and emotional abuse. That helped establish a pattern of abusive behavior -- making it hard for the mainstream press and judicial establishment to ignore the story -- and it probably played a key role in Fuller's forced resignation.

Finally, we have . . .

(7) Bill Pryor -- The U.S. Circuit Judge widely was considered the front-runner as Donald Trump's choice to fill the late Antonin Scalia's seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. The seat, however, went to Neil Gorsuch, of Colorado, with Pryor fading badly to third. Several knowledgeable observers have said they believe our reporting on Pryor's ties to 1990s gay pornography via cost Pryor a lifetime appointment on the nation's highest court. Who am I to argue? With the RussiaGate investigation of Special Counsel Robert Mueller closing in, it appears doubtful Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions (Pryor's No. 1 booster, among other things) will be around long enough for Pryor to get another chance.

Speaking of Jeff Sessions, perhaps he will be the next name we can add to our list. Wouldn't that be interesting?

In summation, our "Little Blog That Could" has helped take down, or greatly reduce the influence of, a U.S. senator, a governor, a governor's senior adviser, chief counsel of Alabama's flagship university, a House speaker, a U.S. district judge, and a U.S. circuit judge who appeared headed for SCOTUS.

I'd say Legal Schnauzer, in spite of everything our team has been through, makes a difference in trying to bring a sense of integrity to Alabama public life. I like the sound of that, and we are deeply grateful for our readers, sources, and supporters who have made it possible.

We might be a team of three, but it takes a village to bring down sons of bitches like Luther Strange. We come from a village of smart, tough cookies -- and, together, we have more sons of bitches in our sights.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Dash-cam recordings, computerized dispatch logs, and electronic communications are targets of Carol's discovery request to defend against "assault" charge

Dash cam
Dash-camera recordings are among the types of media my wife, Carol, is requesting in her defense of an "assault on a law enforcement officer" charge connected to our September 2015 eviction in Greene County, Missouri.

We have reported seeing six to eight officers on the scene that day. If they each drove individual vehicles, that means quite a few dash cams could have been in the area. Discovery documents show that Christian Conrad was one officer present at the eviction, and we have found a court case involving an incident from March 2010 in which Conrad is described as having a dash cam in his vehicle.

Our understanding is that deputies with the Greene County Sheriff's Office (GCSO) do not have body cams. But other forms of "media" likely were involved with our eviction, and they were a focus of Public Defender Patty Poe's Motion to Compel Disclosure, which was heard on Sept. 20 before Judge Margaret Holden Palmietto. After oral argument, Palmietto took the matter under advisement and scheduled the next appearance for Oct. 4.

In her Motion to Compel (embedded at the end of this post), Poe states she served all parties with a request for discovery, on or about May 15, 2017, pursuant to Missouri Supreme Court Rules 25.03 and 25.07. Poe goes on to state:

3. On July 10, 2017, an email was sent to Evelyn Keith of the Greene County Prosecuting Attorney's Office requesting media discovery pursuant to local practice. [Exhibit A]. 
4. The media request included CAD (Computer-Aided Dispatch) logs and recordings, 911 calls, dash camera recordings, and phones.

The prosecution received this request more than two months ago, but has it been responsive? Not exactly. From Poe's Motion to Compel, dated Aug. 29, 2017:

5. To date, defense counsel has only been provided a 911 call and photographs of Ms. Shuler.

Photos produced probably are ones Deputy Scott Harrison took of Carol's injuries at the Cox North Emergency Room after she complained of pain in her left arm. X-rays showed she had suffered a comminuted fracture, which means her arm was broken into three or more pieces, above the elbow.

How badly has the prosecution been stonewalling. Poe states in her motion that she sent an email to assistant prosecutor Nicholas Jain and requested the following material under No. 7:

a. Copies of all communications between or among the Greene County Sheriff's Office regarding the eviction dated September 9, 2015.  (This apparently includes emails, text messages, voice messages, and other forms of communication. We're not clear if it includes communications from outside the GCSO to anyone on the inside, regarding us or our eviction. If not, it needs to.)
b. Notes or reports from Deputy Scott Harrison regarding Ms. Shuler's injuries. 
c. Statements of any officer present at the scene on September 9, 2015. 
d. Citizen complaints or allegations of excessive violence or force by the Greene County Sheriff's Office in the past five years.

Item d was the focus of oral argument on Sept. 20 and likely will be at the heart of any ruling Judge Palmietto announces on Oct. 4. But there seems to be little doubt that items a, b, and c must be disclosed, by law. In fact, Poe argues that some of those items are required disclosures:

9.  The documents requested in 7(b) and 7(c) are required disclosures under 25.03. Deputy Harrison's notes or reports are "written or recorded statements" from a witness endorsed by the state. Deputy Harrison is an endorsed witness in the misdemeanor information. The statements of any officers present at the scene on September 9, 2015, is required under 25.03 (A)(1) as to Christian Conrad and Jeremy Lynn, as they are endorsed witnesses in the misdemeanor information. As to the other officers present at the scene, but not endorsed by the state, disclosure should be court ordered under 25.04. . . . The relevancy of any witness statement, report, or note is self-explanatory, as they are witnesses to an alleged crime.

Are Carol and her counsel in the position of just hoping the prosecution coughs up information it apparently wants to keep hidden? The answer is no:

13. Alternatively, since the state has either chosen not to comply, or does not have the ability to comply, Rule 25.03 (9)(c) provides that the court shall issue subpoenas or orders "to cause such material or information to be made available" to the defense.

How important is it for Carol to obtain this discovery? Poe spells it out:

15. The defense is unable to identify important legal issues and file relevant motions herein without disclosure of the aforementioned evidence from the state. As a result, the defendant would be prejudiced by the state's failure to disclose all of the aforementioned evidence.

If Roy Moore beats Luther Strange in today's GOP runoff, look for Strange's establishment-Republican base to throw support behind Democrat Doug Jones

Jill Simpson
If Roy Moore beats Luther Strange in today's Alabama GOP runoff for a seat in the U.S. Senate, look for Strange's pro-business Republican backers to throw their support to Democrat Doug Jones, a retired attorney and prominent whistleblower says.

Dana Jill Simpson, who testified before Congress about a Republican plot to politically prosecute former governor Don Siegelman, says Jones colluded with GOP operative Rob Riley to hurt the chances of Siegelman and codefendant Richard Scrushy (former CEO of HealthSouth) getting a reversal of their convictions on appeal. Jones and Riley used the convictions to help generate more than $50 million in attorney fees from a lawsuit against HealthSouth -- and as co-liaison counsel, they took a significant chunk of the money.

Given Jones' documented ties to Rob Riley, it would not be a surprise to see him receive support from the Riley Political Machine, which largely was built by Karl Rove and the kind of right-wing luminaries who now support Luther Strange. That is exactly what Jill Simpson sees happening if Strange comes up short against Roy Moore today. In fact, the following scenario could play out: Jones uses his ties to the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing case to attract black voters, all the while taking marching orders from establishment, white Republicans.

In other words, a vote for Doug Jones could turn out to be a lot like a vote for Luther Strange. If you are a Democrat, and that doesn't make you gag, something must be wrong with your gagging reflex. The following (with some editing for clarity) is from Simpson's statement on Facebook over the weekend. She wrote it in response to attacks on me in Democratic circles for writing critically and accurately about Doug Jones in a post last week about the Moore/Strange runoff.

Doug Jones
Please note in Simpson's words below, her references to three overlooked factors in the Senate special election to fill Jeff Sessions' seat: (1) The possibility of election theft; (2) Ties between GOP business elites, and the Dixie Political Mafia, to Russians; (3) The irony of "civil rights" Doug Jones casting his lot with the Riley family and its ties to neo-Confederate, all-white organizations:

Doug's problem, the way I see it, is that he is better friends with the Republican Riley bunch than with Progressive Democrats. Those of y'all running your mouths about Roger telling about Doug have no clue what we went through dealing with Doug being the Rob Riley snitch who often warped stuff.

I want to tell you what I think is going to happen if Luther loses the primary.  They -- the Rove, Riley, Sessions, Canary, and McConnell Dixie Political Mafia -- are going to support Doug against Roy because he is one of their DNC Centralist Elitist Democrats that has snitched for them -- and that is the way they are planning to beat Roy if he makes it out of the primary. Moore should beat Strange unless foul play happens with the Canary/Chamber of Commerce Election Thieves who could play games with Russians and rock the vote.

If you want to pick on Roger for telling the truth, I think you are a nut. In my opinion, Roger suffered, as did his wife, to see the world knew a great injustice occurred in the Siegelman case -- and he helped out for years on all the Alabama GOP Dixie Mafia ties to Russia.

I might add that I am not worried in the least if you elect Doug, as I think it will become apparent who he has to answer to to stay in office. Doug is a Republican lite candidate, in my opinion. 
In closing I will say this: It doesn't matter which one of these jokers gets elected, as the Republican Ringmasters have control of both parties in Alabama. I might share that I do admire that Doug did some special things against the Klan. But for the life of me, I have never been able to understand how he could then team up with the Riley folks, who are part of the all-white Mason Lodge bunch and also have been reported to have strong ties to the Sons and Daughters of the Confederacy, who helped put them in office.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Republican establishment is clutching its pearls as Luther Strange appears on the ropes in GOP runoff with Roy Moore for Alabama seat in the U.S. Senate

Luther Strange and Donald Trump
The White House and establishment Republicans are concerned about Luther Strange's chances in tomorrow's Alabama GOP runoff for a seat in the U.S. Senate, according to a new report at Politico. Meanwhile, Breitbart called Donald Trump's endorsement of Strange "tortured" and quoted Trump admitting that he "might have made a mistake" in getting involved with the race.

Strange and Roy Moore square off tomorrow in a runoff that has become the nation's No. 1 political story. The winner will face Democrat Doug Jones, who is as shallow and ethically compromised as either Republican, in the Dec. 12 general election.

Polls have shown Moore as the front-runner in the GOP runoff, and that apparently is causing furrowed brows in the Republican hierarchy. Perhaps Strange should adopt the No. 1 GOP electoral strategy of the past 20 years or so: Keep the race close enough that Karl Rove and his minions can steal it at the 11th hour. Roy Moore and his supporters would be wise to keep an eye out for that one. From Politico:

Top administration officials and allies of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have spent days poring over public and private polling that shows Moore consistently leading Strange, though the race has tightened, say those familiar with the numbers.

On his way to Huntsville on Air Force One Friday to campaign for Strange, President Donald Trump was joined by a small team of aides that included Rick Dearborn, a veteran of Alabama politics, and Bill Stepien, the White House political director. Both aides, as well as a number of other administration officials, have privately expressed apprehension about the state of the race. Stepien brought a sheaf of the latest polling data.

Are McConnell, Rove, and the Trumpistas getting desperate? It's looking that way:

With Strange on the ropes and time running out, the party has launched a coordinated, scorched-earth campaign to take down Moore. The sheer breadth of the anti-Moore campaign has stunned Alabama’s political class: It includes non-stop TV ads, a meticulously-crafted get-out-the-vote effort, and detailed, oppo-research-filled debate prep sessions for Strange.

Moore, a 70-year-old former state Supreme Court chief justice who rose to national fame after refusing a federal order to remove a monument of the Ten Commandments from a judicial building, is a staunch social conservative who has called for McConnell’s ouster and lambasted Republican leadership. If he comes out ahead on Tuesday, mainstream Republicans worry it would instigate a broader offensive by the activist right to unseat other GOP incumbents in the 2018 midterms.

"Winning here means we'll be able to focus our energy on defeating Democrats next year, instead of fighting useless and divisive intra-party battles," said Steven Law, a former McConnell chief of staff who serves as president and CEO of the Senate Leadership Fund, which has spent millions of dollars in Alabama.

Republicans could wind up coiled and hissing at each other, like the snakes so many of them tend to be? Gee, wouldn't that be fun?

Moore has hammered Strange for receiving support for national Republicans, casting him as a pawn of the party establishment and especially McConnell. He has framed his campaign as a David vs. Goliath battle that would provide momentum to other insurgents if he wins.

“Everybody in Washington, as I said tonight, is watching this election,” Moore said at a post-debate rally in Montgomery with former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. “The 2018 senatorial elections are coming up, and they see this could bring a change in our direction for the country. So this is a very important election.”

Moore’s side is gearing up, too. Palin, the GOP’s 2008 vice presidential nominee, has cut a robocall that's expected to go out to voters starting Monday. And that evening, former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, who has broken with Trump in the race, will join “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson and Brexit leader Nigel Farage for what is expected to be a raucous pro-Moore rally in Fairhope, Alabama.

Speaking of Bannon, his Breitbart sites says Trump is less-than-enthused about his support of Strange. Polls are showing that Trump's visit to Huntsville, AL, did little to help Strange's chances:

If Sen. Luther Strange (R-AL) was hoping for a full-throated, straightforward endorsement from President Trump, he will have been disappointed with the somewhat tortured thumbs-up he received from the president at a rally in Huntsville, Alabama, on Friday night. 
Strange, the establishment favorite in the Alabama Senate primary, is trailing in multiple polls to conservative opponent Judge Roy Moore and has clung to Trump’s endorsement as he seeks to sell himself as a candidate who will help drain the swamp and help Trump pass his agenda in Congress. 
Yet Strange’s history as a D.C. lobbyist, his wobbly stance on DACA, and his big-money backing by the establishment GOP has not warmed him to deep-red Alabama Republicans, and he needed a big win from Trump on Friday to get him back on track. 
But while Trump praised Strange as a “real fighter and a real good guy” and a “tough cookie” who “doesn’t deal and kowtow to anyone,” Trump also admitted he may have made a mistake getting involved in the race.

“We have to be loyal in life,” Trump said. “There is something called loyalty, and I might have made a mistake and I’ll be honest, I might have made a mistake.”

Critical reporting on Doug Jones draws fire from know-nothing Democrats, but Jill Simpson stands tall on Jones' alliance with GOP bottom-feeder Rob Riley

Doug Jones
Alabama Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Doug Jones conspired with Republican operative Rob Riley to hurt the chances for reversal on appeal of former governor Don Siegelman and HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy, a retired attorney and prominent whistleblower said in a Facebook post over the weekend.

Dana Jill Simpson, who testified under oath before Congress about a Republican meeting (including Rob Riley) to plan a political prosecution of Siegelman, was responding to attacks against me for my critical reporting of Jones last week. Simpson, by the way, was not the only legal figure with deep knowledge of the Siegelman case to support my reporting on Doug Jones. (More on that in a moment.)

Simpson's comments come as Roy Moore and Luther Strange meet tomorrow in the GOP primary, with the winner to face Jones in the Dec. 12 general election. Moore and Strange offer a laughably bad choice for Alabama voters, but Simpson agreed with my assessment that Jones is not any better. From her Facebook statement:

Tonight I got an email saying Roger Shuler was being hit pretty hard over daring and writing negatively about Doug Jones. As most of y'all know I will not be voting for Doug or Roy or Lying Luther Strange. I think the citizens of the state picked the absolute worst slate of candidates for the Senator race and I don't like any of them enough to turn out and vote. I instead plan on using my pen to get rid of all of them in the next race as Alabamians are not going to be happy with any of these losers.

Why is Simpson down on Doug Jones? She says essentially that Jones jumped in bed with the hideously corrupt Rob Riley so they could garner millions in attorney fees from a civil case against HealthSouth -- by harming Siegelman and Scrushy on appeal of their criminal convictions. Simpson does not provide too many specifics, but she hints that Jones and Riley engaged in, or tried to engage in, obstruction of justice. From the Simpson Facebook statement (with some editing for clarity):

I must admit like Roger I don't like Doug Jones. I watched him run around with Rob Riley and do everything in his power to hurt Mr Scrushy and Mr Siegelman appeal so he and Rob could collect 55 Million in legal fees against Mr Scrushy [and] Healthsouth. I watched him say ugly things about Mr Scrushy in the Village Voice at a critical time during the appeal and I was repeatedly told he told folks in DC I was not believable or ready for Primetime. Well he isn't either in my opinion.

(Note: Public records in the HealthSouth case indicate the legal fees were closer to $50 million. With numerous plaintiffs' lawyers involved, the money was split quite a few ways; it all did not go to Jones and Riley. But they likely made a significant amount, as we explained in an April 2011 post:

As we reported in December 2009, the court awarded almost $28 million in fees and expenses for the plaintiff attorneys in the HealthSouth case. The exact figure was $27,937,317. A recent check of court records reveals that in July 2010 lawyers were awarded another $22,815,000, plus $521,003.17 in expenses--a total of 23,336,003.17.

That brings the grand total, if our math is correct, to $51,273,320.17. It's a massive case, involving 50 to 100 plaintiff lawyers, so the money will be spread around. But court documents indicate that a big chunk of it will go to the lead firms in California and New York and to the co-liaison counsel--Doug Jones and Rob Riley.

(Jones worked at the time with the Birmingham firm of Haskell Slaughter. Records from the Alabama Secretary of State show that Jones formed G. Douglas Jones LLC in November 2008. Sources tell Legal Schnauzer that Jones did that to ensure he would not have to share proceeds from the HealthSouth case with the firm. That sounds like a swell way to endear yourself to co-workers.)

Dana Jill Simpson
Jones' skulduggery was not lost on Jill Simpson -- then or now. Jones, she says, is all about the money, and he even will pucker up to Rob Riley's behind in order to get it. From Simpson's Facebook statement:

I additionally have never understood why [Jones] would have extended Mr Siegelman's case time except for the fact that he and Rob had a deal to screw Scrushy to get a big legal fee in a case against Scrushy -- and [it] helped [to have] . . . Scrushy [go to jail], so they could collect a large fee.

As for my reporting on Jones, it came in a post last Thursday that mostly was about the Moore-Strange showdown. Here is a sampler about Doug Jones, and we will be reporting much more between now and Dec. 12;

What about Democrat Doug Jones, who already has a spot in the Dec. 12 general election? Despite a recent poll showing that Jones could make it close against either Moore or Strange, my guess is that he will get swamped by either. On top of that, Jones is a one-trick pony candidate and a sorry human being. He has conned a few Alabamians into believing he stands for social justice and the rule of law because of his ties to the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing case; Jones constantly brings up the case because, well, he has nothing else to stand on.

Here is the truth about Doug Jones: (1) He's a suck-up to the Riley Political Machine, thanks to his cash-grabbing alliance with Rob Riley in a HealthSouth civil case; (2) He's a cover-up for former UA trustee Paul Bryant Jr. and Bryant's ties to massive insurance fraud. I have asked Jones multiple times the following question: Did you, as U.S. attorney, call off a planned federal investigation of Bryant, based on revelations from the Allen W. Stewart case in Philadelphia, in which Bryant's company (Alabama Reassurance) was implicated? Jones has refused to answer the question -- and that's because he had become U.S. attorney in the Bill Clinton administration when the Stewart case ended, and that's when the Bryant investigation was called off. It's hard to think of anyone, besides Doug Jones, who could have made that decision.

The Stewart case meant tens (maybe hundreds) of thousands of Americans were left with worthless life-insurance policies. But evidence strongly suggests Doug Jones was more interested in protecting Paul Bryant Jr. than enforcing the law. If you still think Jones is a good dude, ask Don Siegelman about the $300,000 Jones charged him for criminal defense -- and accomplished little beyond helping the prosecution (while praising the despicable Bill Pryor) with its statute of limitations problems. Within Siegelman's inner circle, it widely is thought that the former governor never would have been convicted had his original defense lawyer, David Cromwell Johnson, not died. (And that makes you wonder if Johnson died of natural causes.) Anyone who thinks highly of Don Siegelman -- and still supports Doug Jones in the Senate race -- is blindingly ignorant, easily duped, or both.

That did not sit well with certain Democrats who apparently know little about Jones, beyond his involvement in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing case. Jill Simpson and I have seen a side of Doug Jones that he tries to keep hidden from everyday Democrats. Andrew Kreig, a lawyer and journalist who publishes the D.C.-based Justice Integrity Project, also has seen the ugly side of Doug Jones. Here is an Andrew Kreig Facebook comment on Jill Simpson's statement:

I believe what Jill says about the relevant history of Doug Jones, Roger Shuler and the overall circumstances of the Siegelman case. I can appreciate how Alabama Democrats can feel fortunate to have a relatively rich candidate in Doug Jones, and one who comes with the Birmingham Klan victory and good connections with DC Democrats. But it's important to think about how a lot of that money was made -- from the Scrushy case as co-counsel with Rob Riley -- and some of the rest of that history. More generally, part of the reason the Democratic Party is in such trouble nationally is that they've been picking deeply flawed candidates like this. Readers here may believe it's too late to do anything. But one thing people could do is not to blame Roger for pointing out, as here, things people need to know and letting the chips fall where they may.

As for Jill Simpson's thoughts on Doug Jones, she has much more to say. More on that subject is coming shortly.

(To be continued)

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Subject of law-enforcement violence against Carol, leading to her broken arm and surgery, takes center stage at hearing yesterday in Greene County, MO

Judge Margaret Holden Palmietto
Police violence against my wife, Carol -- and not the assault "cover charge" cops caused to be brought against her -- was the focus of a hearing yesterday at the Greene County Courthouse in Springfield, Missouri.

It was the first time Carol's injuries -- her left arm was broken so severely that it required hospitalization and trauma surgery (see here and here) -- have been revealed or discussed in court. What impact did that have on Judge Margaret Holden Palmietto? She has a pretty good poker face on the bench, so it's hard to answer that question. But a reasonable person might have thought, "The cops claim Mrs. Shuler assaulted one of their own -- Officer Jeremy Lynn -- and yet Mrs. Shuler was the one who wound up in the hospital, with a broken arm that required surgery. Who assaulted whom here, and did cops push for criminal charges against Mrs. Shuler to help cover up their brutal acts against her?"

Assistant Prosecutor Nicholas Jain has been stonewalling on producing discovery in the case, so Public Defender Patty Poe filed a Motion to Compel on Carol's behalf, and a hearing on that motion was conducted yesterday. Discussion quickly turned toward the injuries Carol sustained during our unlawful eviction from a duplex apartment, owned by landlord Trent Cowherd, in September 2015. (Motion to Compel is embedded at the end of this post.)

Oral argument centered around four items the prosecution has failed to produce, and Poe spells them out in items 6 and 7, on page 2 of the motion:

6. Additionally, Ms. Poe emailed Assistant Prosecutor Nicholas Jain for additional discovery that falls outside of the media category. [Exhibit B].

7. That request included:

a. Copies of all communications between or among the Greene County Sheriff's Office regarding the eviction dated September 9, 2015.

b. Notes or reports from Deputy Scott Harrison regarding Mrs. Shuler's injuries.

c. Statements of any officer present at the scene on September 9, 2015.

d. Citizen complaints or allegations of excessive violence or force by the Greene County Sheriff's Office in the past five years.

Palmietto took the matter under advisement and scheduled the next appearance for Oct. 4. (See docket entries for 1631-CR07731 - ST V CAROL T SHULER at The judge appeared set to order production of items a, b, and c. Item d was the main point of contention.

Jain argued that citizen complaints of excessive force were not relevant, based primarily on his interpretation of a case styled State ex rel. City of Springfield v. Brown, 181 SW 3d 219 (Mo. Court of Appeals, Southern Dist., 1st Div. 2005) Poe argued that Carol's injuries made any citizen complaints about excessive force relevant. From the Motion to Compel:

10. The last requested piece of material consists of citizen complaints or allegations of excessive violence or force by the Greene County Sheriff's Office in the last five years. The reason for such a request is based on the fact that after this altercation between Ms. Shuler and the Greene County Sheriff's Office, Ms. Shuler had to be taken to the hospital for a broken arm.

Our impression was that this might have been the first time Palmietto (or Jain, for that matter) had heard about Carol's injuries. They were mentioned prominently, with copies of X-rays, in at least one motion Carol filed while acting pro se. (See Amended Motion to Dismiss Charges Under Missouri's Castle Doctrine Law . . . ) Unfortunately, we've seen no sign that Palmietto has read any of Carol's pro se motions; the judge certainly has not heard oral argument on any of them, or ruled on them.

What do yesterday's developments mean for a bogus criminal case we've had hanging over our heads for eight months now? That the judge now knows Carol was brutalized by Greene County deputies seems to be a positive. At the same time, we continue to pick up troubling vibes from those involved in the case.

Carol filed pro se documents in March, April, and May that should have led to the case being dismissed; by law, it should not have dragged on this long. But Palmietto seems to have ignored those motions, and both she and Poe seem fine with the case going to trial -- even though the case cannot go to trial, on multiple constitutional and state-law grounds.

So, where is this case headed? You might say that Carol and I are "traffled" -- a combination of troubled and baffled. About all we can say for sure is that we should know more on Oct. 4

Black Wednesday for "Big Lutha": Breitbart News plans to go negative on Strange Senate campaign, while finance chair Mike Thompson is linked to nonprofit at the heart of Superfund bribery scandal

Luther Strange and Roy Moore
The Luther Strange U.S. Senate campaign took two blows to the chin yesterday. If we're lucky, one or both will prove to be a knockout blow for "Big Lutha." Win or lose, Strange surely will maintain his spot among the five most vapid, craven, and morally bankrupt political candidates in Alabama history -- and you have to work to earn those spots.

Does this mean I'm pulling for Roy "Ten Commandments" Moore in the Sept. 26 Republican run-off? "Pulling" isn't exactly the right word, but if Luther Strange is the alternative, count me in for Roy Moore.

What about Democrat Doug Jones, who already has a spot in the Dec. 12 general election? Despite a recent poll showing that Jones could make it close against either Moore or Strange, my guess is that he will get swamped by either. On top of that, Jones is a one-trick pony candidate and a sorry human being. He has conned a few Alabamians into believing he stands for social justice and the rule of law because of his ties to the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing case; Jones constantly brings up the case because, well, he has nothing else to stand on.

Here is the truth about Doug Jones: (1) He's a suck-up to the Riley Political Machine, thanks to his cash-grabbing alliance with Rob Riley in a HealthSouth civil case; (2) He's a cover-up for former UA trustee Paul Bryant Jr. and Bryant's ties to massive insurance fraud. I have asked Jones multiple times the following question: Did you, as U.S. attorney, call off a planned federal investigation of Bryant, based on revelations from the Allen W. Stewart case in Philadelphia, in which Bryant's company (Alabama Reassurance) was implicated? Jones has refused to answer the question -- and that's because he had become U.S. attorney in the Bill Clinton administration when the Stewart case ended, and that's when the Bryant investigation was called off. It's hard to think of anyone, besides Doug Jones, who could have made that decision.

The Stewart case meant tens (maybe hundreds) of thousands of Americans were left with worthless life-insurance policies. But evidence strongly suggests Doug Jones was more interested in protecting Paul Bryant Jr. than enforcing the law. If you still think Jones is a good dude, ask Don Siegelman about the $300,000 Jones charged him for criminal defense -- and accomplished little beyond helping the prosecution (while praising the despicable Bill Pryor) with its statute of limitations problems. Within Siegelman's inner circle, it widely is thought that the former governor never would have been convicted had his original defense lawyer, David Cromwell Johnson, not died. (And that makes you wonder if Johnson died of natural causes.) Anyone who thinks highly of Don Siegelman -- and still supports Doug Jones in the Senate race -- is blindingly ignorant, easily duped, or both.

As for Luther Strange, here is how his "Black Wednesday" went: First, we learned that Breitbart News and former Trump strategist Steve Bannon have vowed to attack "Big Lutha," even though he is Donald Trump's favored candidate. News on that front can be found at a CNN report titled "Bannon orders Breitbart to step up negative coverage of Trump-backed candidate." Ouch! Then came word that Mike Thompson, Strange campaign finance chair, is listed on federal tax documents as an officer in a nonprofit agency prosecutors say was used to bribe former State Rep. Oliver Robinson. That makes the second time Strange's name publicly has been linked to the evolving Birmingham Superfund scandal -- and it probably makes sphincters tighten on the campaign team.

What is the gist of Breitbart's plans to bash "Big Lutha"? This is from CNN:

Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon on Tuesday morning ordered top editors at Breitbart to step up its overwhelmingly negative coverage of the Alabama Senate candidate backed by President Trump, a person familiar with the matter told CNN.

Trump has endorsed Luther Strange in the race that will decide who will fill the Senate seat vacated when Jeff Sessions became attorney general. Bannon, who returned to Breitbart as executive chairman following his exit from the White House, is supporting anti-establishment candidate Judge Roy Moore.

Shortly after Bannon told top editors to increase the site's volume of reporting on the race, Matthew Boyle, Breitbart's Washington editor, told staff "the only story that matters until next week is Alabama."

"As of now, everyone is working on the Alabama race," Boyle wrote in a message obtained by CNN in the company's internal Slack channel. "If anyone has any questions please let me know."

The "only story that matters is Alabama"? Wow, the Breitbart crowd is taking this seriously. (Hmmm . . . wonder if Boyle knows about the Luther Strange/Jessica Garrison extramarital affair?) Why is Breitbart intent on going after Strange -- not that he doesn't deserve it?

Bannon and his allies are readying primary challenges against Republican senators, a person close to Bannon told CNN earlier this month. Bannon has said he does not believe the Republican establishment supports Trump and has promised to fight for the ideas that got him elected from outside the White House.

"They do not want Donald Trump's populist, economic nationalist agenda to be implemented," Bannon said during a recent "60 Minutes" interview. "It's very obvious."

So, Bannon plans to bash Trump's candidate for Trump's own good? Does anybody believe that? Sounds to me like Bannon has a mad-on over being booted from his cushy White House gig -- and this is his way of getting back at, not helping, Trump. If Luther Strange gets caught in the cross fire? Well, it couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

Steve Bannon
Meanwhile, the Mike Thompson story might prove to be more troublesome for Luther Strange than anything Steve Bannon can concoct. From a report at

Neither prosecutors nor court documents have said Thompson was in any way involved in the bribery scheme, but tax records show he was one of only two officers for the Alliance for Jobs and the Economy. According to the nonprofit's tax filings, Thompson served as secretary for the AJE from its incorporation in 2015 through at least the end of 2016, the time period when, prosecutors say, every dollar raised by the nonprofit was used to buy influence from then-state Rep. Oliver Robinson.

Strange named Thompson to lead his campaign's Financial Leadership Committee in June.

"Mike not only played a crucial role in President W. Bush's re-election campaign in 2004, he also has a proven track record of helping conservative Republicans win in Alabama," Strange said in a press release announcing the appointment in June.

The Thompson story originated with the D.C.-based Project for Government Oversight (POGO). From the POGO report, which hits close to home for a number of major names in Alabama -- including Jeff Sessions, Drummond Co., and Balch Bingham:

Thompson isn’t Strange’s only link to the bribery investigation. In late 2014 and early 2015, as Alabama’s Attorney General, Strange took official acts to oppose the EPA’s proposed actions at the Superfund site around the same time he took a total of $50,000 in campaign contributions from Drummond.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions and U.S. Attorney for Alabama’s Northern District Jay Town, who was confirmed by the Senate in August, both have personal and political connections to parties that have a stake in the outcome of the investigation. POGO has called for them to recuse themselves from the investigation. The investigation is being run by the U.S. Attorney’s Office now headed by Town.

As POGO and others have previously reported, Drummond Co. and Balch were among two of Sessions’ top campaign funding sources over the course of his Senate career.

Thompson has also made campaign contributions to Sessions.

Many Balch partners have worked directly for Sessions; a top Sessions deputy runs the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division and was a Balch lobbyist until Inauguration Day (that deputy has recused himself from any matter involving Balch, including the Birmingham Superfund issue).

As for Town, he has advised Strange on political campaigns, and Strange supported Town’s nomination as U.S. Attorney.

Where is the Superfund scandal headed? That's hard to say, but POGO puts matters in perspective:

The DOJ began and publicly announced its investigation prior to Town’s confirmation as U.S. Attorney.

“This case gets at the heart of public corruption in Alabama,” Acting U.S. Attorney Robert Posey, a career official, said in June.

With Robinson’s guilty plea and pledge to cooperate with federal investigators, the investigation is now more likely to threaten members of Alabama’s political establishment and its key business allies. But parties connected to the case, such as Sessions, are in positions to influence the investigation’s direction. U.S. Attorney Town, a political appointee with no civil service protections who can be fired at will by Sessions, could also simply think twice about pursuing leads that would take him higher up the food chain from Robinson and could threaten his and Sessions’ political benefactors.

The Bannon story might cause headaches for Strange between now and next Tuesday. But the Superfund story could produce headaches that last much longer than that.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

When my brothers' bogus reports to our health-care provider didn't result in much, they contacted cops directly to claim Carol and I were mentally unstable

David Shuler
How desperate were my brothers to portray Carol and me as threats to law enforcement regarding our unlawful eviction in September 2015?Documents obtained via discovery in the bogus "assault" case against Carol reveal they were pretty darned desperate.

My brothers contacted Burrell Behavioral Health to report a "threat" we had never made -- and on top of that, we likely had withdrawn permission for Burrell to communicate with any of my family members. According to 911 records, that resulted in a finding that I had no significant call history, and "no other police action [would be] taken at this time." To be precise, there probably was no call history at all on me, and no police action ever was taken -- much less "other" police action.

So, it seems my brothers' efforts to cause a stir failed, but they didn't stop there, according to police documents. What would make David Shuler (an attorney, with an apparently busy divorce practice) and Paul Shuler (who long has worked as a radiology technician at Mercy Hospital Springfield) spread word that we were dangerous, without any evidence to support that?

The scary and disturbing question in my mind is this: Were they trying to get us killed, and if so, who put that notion in their minds? If that was their plan, it damn near worked. A thuggish cop almost ripped Carol's left arm apart at the elbow, requiring trauma surgery. And another cop barged into our home and pointed an assault rifle at my head, with his finger on the trigger. The slightest bump or flick could have caused my brains to land all over the wall behind me.

Calling our health-care provider did not accomplish much, so David and Paul apparently tried calling cops directly. (Documents are embedded at the end of this post.) This is from Deputy Debi Wade's written report, dated 9/10/15, the day after our eviction:

On August 30, 2015, we received the Writ of Execution to post at the residence. It was posted by Deputy Harrison on the morning of September 1, 2015, with a deadline date of 09-09-15 @ 9 a.m. given. Between the 1st and the 9th of September, two deputies with our agency were contacted by two different brothers to Roger Shuler. The brothers . . . both wanted to warn deputies that their brother was mentally unstable. They both stated that they feared for our officer's safety during the eviction. I was told that one of the brothers stated that Roger's wife Carol had the same mental instability and belief system as Roger and would more than likely go along with whatever her husband did or said. We were not aware that Roger had a wife in the home up to that point.

This is pretty mind-blowing stuff, so let's try to digest it:

(1) Between Sept. 1-9, roughly three weeks after the 911 call from Burrell hadn't accomplished much, both of my brothers contacted deputies to claim I was mentally unstable. What evidence did they present of that? We have no idea.

(2) Why did my brothers consider it their concern to worry about officer safety? Most officers have the equipment and training to take care of their own safety, right? Were my brothers at all concerned about the legality of the planned eviction or danger to OUR safety that their call was causing? Doesn't sound like it. Perhaps they wanted us to be in danger.

(3) Carol and I have a "belief system" that makes us a threat? What the hell belief system is that -- being a Democrat, expecting courts and law enforcement to act without corruption? Has our country dropped into such a hole that these "beliefs" and expectations are considered unusual, even threatening? Sheesh.

What about the words of Deputy Scott Harrison, who seems to have been involved in this up to his eyeballs? The first word of a 911 call came via an e-mail from David Shuler, based on information supposedly provided by Scott Harrison -- and it claimed I had issued a threat via 911, which even officers now seem to admit was false. Harrison notes the "threat" was issued via a 911 call from Burrell Health, and then writes:

Roger's brothers, David Shuler and Paul Shuler, had also both independently expressed concerns for our officers' safety due to this threat made by Roger to harm the Law Enforcement officers tasked with enforcing the eviction. David Shuler and Paul Shuler both advised that they were unaware of whether or not Roger owned any guns or other weapons, but both felt he was capable of carrying out his threats given his current mental state and psychological issues. We were . . . told that Roger Shuler's wife Carol also suffered from mental illness.

What jumps out here?

(1) Harrison fails to mention that, based on records of the 911 call, David and Paul created the "threat" out of thin air. There is zero evidence that I made such a threat.

(2) David and Paul admit they have no idea whether I have any weaponry to carry out a "threat." In fact, I didn't and never have. Ironically, Paul is the gun nut in our family; he has taken several trips out west to shoot moose, elk, and other animals. But he thinks I have an issue with guns?

(3) What makes Paul and David experts on my mental state, or Carol's? Since we've been in Missouri, we've barely spoken three sentences to either of them. Neither ever has voiced the slightest concern about Carol's shattered arm, or that I came close to having my head blown off with an assault rifle.

Let's not leave out the words of Officer Jeremy Lynn, who also referenced the 911 call, noting supposed "violence" that seems to have grown from David and Paul's fertile imaginations:

In addition to the above information, two of Mr. Shuler's brothers, one of which is an attorney, had contacted members of the Sheriff's Office to share the fear they had of what he may do during the eviction process to law enforcement.

Probably unknown to Officer Lynn -- it's a matter of public record, via a vicious ex parte letter to the judge in our eviction case -- is that David Shuler was working against us and in favor of landlord Trent Cowherd. And he was doing so, even though Cowherd's eviction action was unlawful on four grounds at the time, with two more (a. acting before rent was at least one month late; b. acting contrary to Missouri's Castle Doctrine Law) discovered later.

The actions of my brothers, according to law-enforcement records, were so outrageous that I'm left with two alarming questions: (1) Were they trying to get us killed? and (2) On whose behalf were they working? It certainly wasn't ours.

If there are other explanations for their actions, I can't think of any.