Monday, September 25, 2017

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)

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