Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Doug Jones, now a U.S. Senate candidate, colluded with Rob Riley to funnel damaging information about Milton McGregor to DOJ on Alabama bingo case

Milton McGregor
U.S. Senate candidate Doug Jones, a Democrat, conspired with Republican operative Rob Riley to funnel information to the Department of Justice (DOJ) about the Alabama bingo prosecution and VictoryLand owner Milton McGregor, a retired attorney and prominent whistleblower said in a recent Facebook post. McGregor happened to be one of the largest clients for Haskell Slaughter, the firm where Jones worked at the time.

In other words, Dana Jill Simpson said, Jones was willing to stab his own law firm, and one of its most important clients, in the back -- all, apparently, to help advance the interests of the Riley Political Machine and associated white, conservative elites.

Disloyalty seems to be a recurring theme in Doug Jones' back-channel machinations of recent vintage. Exhibit A is former governor Don Siegelman, whom Jones charged $300,000 for criminal defense and then bailed out of the case because of a conflict, apparently without returning any of the money. Exhibit B is Milton McGregor, and according to Simpson, Jones played a role in making sure federal investigators wiretapped the VictoryLand owner and Haskell Slaughter lawyer Tommy Gallion.

Simpson says she contacted Gallion to report what she had learned about Jones and Riley's activities with the DOJ, and neither Gallion nor McGregor believed Jones would stoop to such a level. Writes Simpson:

But a couple of months later, it all came out that, indeed, [Jones] would -- and the feds had been listening in on Mr Gallion and indicted Milton on bullshit that cost him millions to defend, even though he won.

The McGregor-related chicanery started with Rob Riley developing a pipeline to Justin Shur, a DOJ lawyer who became the primary prosecutor on the bingo case. According to Simpson, Jones gathered information about McGregor and passed it along to Riley, who passed it along to Shur. That led to McGregor and Gallion being wiretapped, with McGregor being indicted.

Simpson says she went through contacts in D.C. to get Justin Shur removed from the bingo case. She writes (with editing for clarity):

I got Justin Shur thrown out of that case when I discovered what was going on and provided information to folks [at DOJ] that he had been partying it up with Rob [Riley's] folks.

Shur wound up leaving the DOJ and now works in private practice at the D.C. firm of  MoloLamken. Exactly what kind of partying were Shur and the "Riley folks" doing, and who was included among the Riley folks? That's a question worth pursuing.

Here are a few other key questions in all of this: Was the information Jones provided accurate? It apparently did not sway a federal jury, which cleared McGregor of all charges. Was Jones privy to  information because McGregor was a client of Haskell Slaughter, where Jones worked? If so, did Jones betray his own firm and did he betray attorney-client confidentiality? Should this be the subject of a complaint to the Alabama State Bar, and could it lead to serious sanctions against Doug Jones -- perhaps including disbarment. How would that look to those who might consider voting for him in the U.S. Senate race?

Doug Jones
As Jones squares off against Roy Moore for the Dec. 12 general election, he undoubtedly will be appealing to progressive voters, especially blacks, playing off his connection to the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing case.

Liberals who might buy that appeal should look closer at Doug Jones' record of disloyalty. Jill Simpson already has predicted that Jones likely will receive the backing of pro-business, white conservatives -- the Karl Rove acolytes who supported Luther Strange over Roy Moore in the GOP primary. Is it possible Jones will take his marching orders from them, as opposed to acting on behalf of liberal voters?

It seems not only possible, but highly likely.

Readers of a certain age probably remember one of the classic scenes from The Graduate. It involves Mr. McGuire and Benjamin (Dustin Hoffman):

Mr. McGuire: I just want to say one word to you. Just one word.

Benjamin: Yes, sir.

Mr. McGuire: Are you listening?

Benjamin: Yes, I am.

Mr. McGuire: Plastics.

Benjamin: Exactly how do you mean?

I just want to say one word to you about Doug Jones: Disloyalty.

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