Monday, October 23, 2017

Perjury conviction of elected Jefferson County DA Charles Todd Henderson shows Riley-driven corruption hangs over Alabama courts like slime


Charles Todd Henderson hugs his wife, Yareima,
after Friday's guilty verdict was announced.
(From al.com)
Just when it seemed the Don Siegelman political prosecution would go down as the smelliest court case in Alabama history, along comes the Charles Todd Henderson case to emit an odor almost as foul. Evidence strongly suggests -- surprise! -- the Riley GOP Political Machine is at the heart of both cases.

Henderson, the duly elected Democratic district attorney of Jefferson County, was convicted last Friday of first-degree perjury in a case that would have to improve significantly to reach the level of "putrid." The case against Henderson reeked from the moment his indictment was announced on Jan. 13 of this year. That's because it came roughly two months after Henderson had the audacity to beat Republican Brandon Falls, who held the position for nine years, after Gov. Bob Riley appointed him in 2008.

As long as Falls was in office, ex-Gov. Riley -- along with children Rob ("Uday") and Minda -- did not have to worry about anyone in law enforcement taking a critical glance at their unsavory activities. But that changed with Henderson's unexpected victory, suggesting an unfriendly DA might investigate the Rileys, leading to possible prosecution, conviction, and prison time.

Modern Alabama history tells us that when an election does not go the Rileys' way, they resort to underhanded tactics to steal it. In the Siegelman matter, that meant overnight vote manipulation in the 2002 governor's race -- followed by a Karl Rove-driven federal prosecution to ensure Siegelman would not beat an unpopular Bob Riley in 2006. In the Henderson case, it meant turning to a political ally -- former Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange -- to bring a bogus perjury case that would keep Henderson from taking office. And with a conviction, Henderson is precluded by state law from serving in an office that he won fair and square.

Why do we say the case against Henderson was bogus? Well, it was clear at the time of indictment the case was driven by politics; after all, the indictment did not even specify the false statement Henderson allegedly made under oath in a divorce case involving his campaign worker, Yareima Akl. The role of politics in the case is even more clear now that Henderson has been convicted. That's because a review of the trial plainly shows the prosecution was not driven by facts or law. That leaves only one driving factor -- Riley-based politics.

First, two hideously corrupt political figures ramrodded the proceedings. Luther Strange, who brought the case, has so many ethics complaints pending against him that investigators can't keep up with them all. Sibley Reynolds, the Chilton County judge who was assigned after Jefferson County judges recused, has a documented history of making wildly unlawful rulings. (See here, here, and here.) My record on predictions is so-so, but I knew when the Alabama Supreme Court appointed Reynolds -- likely with the assistance of Riley bot Jim Main -- that Henderson would be convicted.

That, in fact, happened -- even though the conviction has zero support in fact or law. And that turns our attention to political chicanery, which is easy to detect in the Henderson matter because Alabama perjury law is so simple. Here is how it's defined at Code of Alabama 13A-10-101:

A person commits the crime of perjury in the first degree when in any official proceeding he swears falsely and his false statement is material to the proceeding in which it is made.

What about specifics in the Henderson case? It presented two straightforward questions:

(1) Did Henderson falsely reply "no" when asked under oath if there had been a time when he "spent the night" at Ms. Akl's apartment"? and

(2) Was that answer "material" to the proceeding in which it was held -- the divorce case involving Ms. Akl and her now ex-husband, Charbel Akl?

What does it mean for a statement to be "material" under Alabama law? Here is the definition under Code of Alabama 13A-10-100:

MATERIAL. A statement is "material," regardless of the admissibility of the statement under the rules of evidence, if it could have affected the course or outcome of the official proceeding. It is no defense that the declarant mistakenly believed the falsification to be immaterial. Whether a falsification is material in a given factual situation is a question of law.

The question in No. 1 above is the only issue of fact in the Henderson case. Question No. 2 is the only issue of law. Sounds simple, right? So, how did an Alabama jury reach a verdict that is so palpably wrong and unjust?

We can think of numerous possible answers to that last question. But even al.com columnist John Archibald, whose analysis of the trial was comically wrong-headed, suggested potential jurors showed the combined curiosity and intelligence of a week-old burrito, during the voir dire process.

Perhaps that's why they fell for bogus contentions from prosecutors and the press that Henderson had lied under oath about a romantic relationship with Ms. Akl? (The couple now is married.)

In fact, Henderson was not asked, in the question where he was alleged to have committed perjury, about a romantic relationship with Ms. Akl. And he was not asked throughout the relevant proceeding about such a relationship.

In other words, jurors apparently convicted Henderson of lying about a romantic relationship when he was not even asked about one.

That's what serves as "Alabama justice" in an age of crooked Republicans, such as Bob Riley.

How does Charles Todd Henderson stand convicted of perjury when the facts plainly show he did not "swear falsely" to the question put to him? We will address that question in an upcoming post.


(To be continued)

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

So glad to see your reporting on this, LS. Al.com has been in its usual GOP-cheerleading mode, so there has been little objective reporting on the Henderson case in Bham press.

legalschnauzer said...

@9:33 --

Thank you. I will have a post later this week on al.com's coverage of the Henderson trial. It was laughably bad, and that's pathetic when you consider that a criminal trial hardly is a laughing matter.

Anonymous said...

I never could get a feel for what this was all about. I look forward to seeing it in the light of day. Thanks, Mr. Shuler.

legalschnauzer said...

@9:40 --

You're welcome. You probably can't get a handle on the case because mainstream coverage of it has been terrible. I plan at least four posts on the case this week (Mon.-Thurs.). It's a profoundly important case because the will of Jefferson County voters was usurped by a criminal prosecution that has no support in the facts or law. Please stay tuned.

Anonymous said...

The Rileys don't make much of an effort to hide their corruption. In addition to being morally bankrupt, they are lazy, too.

Anonymous said...

The verdict was not surprising but the defense not calling any witnesses was. But Hey! What did we expect from two attorneys who let Baker get away with "erasing "his phone records at FBI headquarters in Virginia during the Bingo Trials.

Anonymous said...

Somebody got paid to make this case turn out the way it did.

Anonymous said...

This is going to come as a shock, but I'm convinced race played a big role in an Alabama political-courtroom case. Henderson is white, but he's a Democrat, so it's probably safe to say he won because of black support. So what do the Rileys do? Essentially, they trample on black voting rights.

legalschnauzer said...

@10:55 --

Sounds like you don't think the defense attorneys did a very good job. I've been wondering about that myself. I do, however, give them a break, knowing that Reynolds was the judge. If Reynolds is determined to make a case turn out a certain way, lawyers are pretty much helpless to change that.

When you say the verdict was not surprising, were you expecting a verdict that was contrary to law?

legalschnauzer said...

@12:29 makes a great point. The Henderson case was drenched in race, even though he is white. No surprise, of course, given that the Rileys are wildly racist. Just look at Big Bob's membership in a Masonic lodge that does not allow black members

Anonymous said...

Wonder what the Rileys are trying to hide from a real DA. Wonder if Henderson already knew what they were trying to hide and was determined to look into it.

legalschnauzer said...

Sources have given me a good idea of what the Rileys are trying to hide. And my understanding is that Henderson did know, or was real close to knowing, what they were hiding. Don't quite have that story nailed down yet, but I'm getting closer.

My guess is that the Rileys are trying to hide a lot of unsavory activity, but I'm talking here about one really big one. Not surprisingly, it involves a significant amount of money.

Anonymous said...

Bet Gov. Ivey appoints Brandon Falls as the new DA. He's the Riley's favorite puppet, and Ivey is i their hip pocket.

Anonymous said...

With all the people Sibley Reynolds has screwed over in and around Chilton County, I'm surprised someone hasn't assassinated him.

Anonymous said...

Let's see . . . if you are a Democrat in Jefferson County, AL, how many times has your vote been nullified or outright stolen?

1994 -- Hooper v. Hornsby (Al Sup. Ct.)

2000 -- Bush v. Gore

2002 -- Riley v. Siegelman (Al gov.)

2004 -- Bush v. Kerrey

2016 -- Trump v. Clinton

2016 -- Falls v. Henderson (Jeffco DA)


Am I forgetting anything?

Anonymous said...

How do you get convicted when the indictment doesn't even say what you did wrong?

legalschnauzer said...

@2:17 --

That's where Reynolds, the crooked judge, came in. I suspect Strange's office did a crappy indictment because they knew a judge like Reynolds would be on the case and would allow it -- no matter how bad it was. No doubt in my mind that Luther Strange knew the Rileys had this case cooked before he ever brought the case.

Anonymous said...

Man, 2:02, you make one helluva point. Darned sobering. At some point, people are going to quit voting. Why waste your time? I'm about at that point myself.

Anonymous said...

Want to know what it's like to feel your brain cells dying? Try reading the comments on this case at al.com.

Anonymous said...

Black voters in Jeffco should stage a major protest at Riley headquarters in Homewood. I think Rob's law firm and Bob's lobbying outfit are in the same building. Maybe someone could torch it. Hah!

Anonymous said...

Mr. Charles Henderson and his new wife 'YAREMA' outrageous, scandalous shenanigans, colluding, CONNIVING, DECEITFUL plan to request on 01/06/2016 assigning Mr. Charles Henderson as GAL in the divorce case is wicked, repulsive, disgusting, shameful, appalling and shocking and sick.
There is overwhelming evidence of a sexual, romantic and intimate relationship between the YAREIMA and Charles Todd Henderson months prior to Henderson's appointment as GAL.
Judge Patricia Stephens was BRUTAL for Todd Henderson as witness in his trial. Judge Stephens cried as she testified Henderson tried to manipulate her court. Judge Stephens testified that Henderson lied about spending the night at Yarema's apartment was material to the divorce and custody of the child Henderson was previously appointed as GAL. Judge Stephens is a class act. The Jury had to believe either Judge Stephens or Henderson. The Jury believed Judge Stephens. The guilty verdict by the Jury was NOT political as the Jury was half African American and half white. Henderson played Judge Stephens and embarrassed her. That new wife of his must be a wily of a woman to get Henderson to destroy his professional integrity for several sessions of oral sex.

legalschnauzer said...

@11:06 --

Wow, congrats on knowing some fancy adjectives and having the courage to unleash them behind the veil of anonymity. A few questions:

(1) If there is overwhelming evidence of a sexual nature between Yareima and Todd, what is it? Will you send it to me? I assume you're saying this evidence was presented in court?

(2) How is that evidence relevant to the perjury charge? Can you show me where Henderson was asked about having a sexual relationship with Ms. Akl?

(3) So Judge Stephens crying is supposed to prove something? What? How is it Judge Stephens' court? Don't the citizens of Alabama pay for it, isn't it their court? How did Judge Stephens know Henderson lied about spending the night at Akl's apartment? What is the evidence that he lied, other than the fact Judge Stephens cried?

(4) The jury had to believe Judge Stephens or Henderson? Are you saying Henderson testified? I don't recall any news reports about that.

(5) How do you know the jury was half white and half black? Even if you are correct about that, how does that make it a non-political jury? Do you understand this is about a political prosecution, being brought for political reasons? It has nothing to do with the politics of the jury.

Glad you know lots of adjectives because it seems clear you don't know much about the facts and law of this case.

Anonymous said...

legalschnauzer, thanks for posting my comment @11.06. Regardless of our disagreements on this case, we have to admit that when something is not right, don't do it. Henderson should have never come in as a GAL when this woman was already working on his campaign.
Judge Stephens appointed Henderson per the mother's request, and Judge Stephens removed him when evidence surfaced of Henderson knowing the woman prior to his appointment as GAL. Then Judge Stephen around early Oct 2016 issued a restraining order against Henderson communicating with the child.
Again, i appreciate you posting my comments.
1. Henderson is a liar and he knows it. Thinking with the wrong head.
2. Judge Stephens does the right thing, explaining how Henderson played her.
3. Henderson married Yarema to prevent her from testifying against him. Check mate. Clever solution to a really bad problem. Henderson is a slime ball using slime ball tactics.
4. It was improper for Judge Stephens to appoint a guardian-ad-litem who was suggested by one of the parties' attorney, or who had any relationship to either of the parents. It was also improper for Henderson to accept the appointment. Henderson became friends with the woman months before her lawyers asked for him to be galitem. Henderson, he should have refused to accept the appointment since he was acquainted with the mother.
5. Henderson has been a scumbag since 1998 when he was fired from the Fairfield POLICE DEPARTMENT FOR altercation with his ex-wife. DA really does stand for DUMBA$$
6. In summary, an elected official lied under oath and will now be punished. You would think the DA (those initials can have multiple meanings) would be smarter.
7. At a minimum, Henderson had the woman in his employ, which means he could not be an impartial child advocate.
8. I don't care if you're Republican or Democrat -- if you mess around with someone who's married to someone besides you, you're a scumbag, plain and simple. Our esteemed guvnuh did the same thing (except without the involvement of an innocent child), but THIS guy is a double-helping of scumbag.
9. Guess Todd missed the lecture in law school about keeping the tallywhacker in the pants.
10. Zip it up Mr. Henderson. You let the wrong head do your thinking and now you are done.
11. Henderson is a dishonest jerk.What a jack-hole. Typical actions of someone who thought they were above the law.
12. Henderson is a bold face liar. Let Carr be the DA. The very last thing Jeffco needs with all this murder going on is a bold face liar. Henderson failed the child he was assigned to protect.
Again Mr. legalschnauzer, i appreciate your fairness in allowing me to post comments.

legalschnauzer said...

@1:54 --

As for your statements regarding me publishing your post, you're welcome. Must say, however, I think your comments are utterly bone-headed -- and most of the points you make have nothing to do with the perjury charge at issue.

You mention fairness, and I don't think you are being fair to Mr. Henderson. I've published a couple of your anonymous comments, but if you wish to continue down this road, I would suggest you attach your real name to the comment. If you are going to make some of the assertions you make, you should have the decency to identify yourself. That's only fair.

Anonymous said...

Once again, Legal Schnauzer provides the kind of coverage and analysis we can't get anywhere else in Alabama. Josh Moon wrote a strong piece a while back at APR, but even he hasn't done much on the Henderson conviction. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

@legalschnauzer. You asked i identify myself. Let's just say my grandparents did not fight in the confederacy. I belong to no political party or care about politics. I love this country, support Alabama football, but was not born or did not grow up in the South.
Henderson failed the child he was sworn to faithfully and independently represent. He put his own prurient interests above the law and his honor and a child.
He's lucky he was only charged with perjury. If selfish, repugnant, repulsive behavior were crimes he'd be a serial offender. A four-time loser.

Henderson began a relationship with Akl while the woman was embroiled in a heated divorce. She worked on his campaign and they became close. They began to date and spend the night together and call each other girlfriend and boyfriend.
And in the midst of it, acting as if he did not know Akl or her 10-year-old child, Henderson asked a judge to appoint him as the child's guardian ad litem in the divorce. He was supposed to look out for the child's interests as the parents fought it out. It's a position that must be unbiased, that cannot be tied to a parent.

When Jefferson County Domestic Relations Judge Patricia Stephens found out Akl worked on his campaign she removed him as guardian. When she learned he lied about the extent of the relationship she changed her whole ruling and awarded custody to the father.

"I was in stunned disbelief," she said on the witness stand Thursday.

Stephens was a devastating witness. She cried as she recounted a closed-door meeting with lawyers after Henderson testified that he and Akl never spent the night together. She was shown evidence then that it was a lie.
It was improper for Judge Stephens to appoint a guardian-ad-litem who was suggested by one of the parties' attorney, or who had any relationship to either of the parents. It was also improper for Henderson to accept the appointment, and Henderson whom Judge Stephens trusted never mentioned to Judge Stephens he knew the defendant and the child prior to his appointment as the GAL.

legalschnauzer said...

@3:59 --

The Schnauzer is displeased: (A) You didn't identify yourself; I mean your name, with contact info; (B) You simply copied John Archibald's lightweight column, which I will be analyzing in a post tomorrow. If you are going to post a stupid comment, at least have the decency to write your own stupid stuff.

The Schnauzer will not be trifled with. If I were in your presence, I would latch my teeth onto your crotch and dig a hole so that dirt flew up on your freshly cleaned pants.

This is your last rodeo here.