Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Brutal beating of Troy, Alabama, teen KeAndre Wilkerson could land cops in federal prison for 10 years to life, with possibility of a death sentence

KeAndre Wilkerson

A state investigation is under way to determine if police in Troy, Alabama, used excessive force in arresting teenager KeAndre Wilkerson over the Christmas weekend. Is an investigation really needed? Look at Wilkerson's face, post arrest, in the photograph above. If that's not excessive force, what is?

Many details still are not known about the Wilkerson incident, but this question likely is on many minds: What could happen to the cops who administered this brutal beating? They certainly could face state charges, likely for assault, but they also could face federal civil-rights charges, which might place each of them in prison for 10 years or more.

Has the level of police violence in the United States reached epidemic proportions? Has it become a major public-health problem, on par with the opioid crisis? As a blogger, I know the "ink was barely dry" on my Dec. 21 post about the cop beating of a Michigan woman named Tiffany McNeil when word came of the Wilkerson beating in Alabama. You can click on this link to remind yourself what McNeil's face looked like after an encounter with cops. McNeil's face looks bad, but Wilkerson's face looks worse. I doubt friends and family can even recognize him.

As grim as the Wilkerson case is, it does produce some dark comedy. Consider this lede on a story from

Following a Christmas weekend incident in which a Troy teen was seriously injured, police officials are asking the state to investigate whether their alleged use of force was justified.

Gee, fellas, you really think it's possible such force was justified? How many lies are the cops likely to tell in an effort to get themselves off the hook?

What led to Wilkerson's brutal encounter with cops? This is from

According to a report from WSFA, police say a 17-year-old was seen walking behind a business in the city's downtown area late Saturday evening, around 11 p.m.

Officers exited their patrol vehicles to engage with the teenager when he began to flee on foot, reports say. Once the teenager was apprehended, police allege he failed to cooperate with officers' requests.

Police say the juvenile reached for his waistband, as if to go for a weapon, prompting physical force.

The teen was charged with obstructing governmental operations and resisting arrest. He was taken to a medical facility with serious injuries.

Why did cops even try to "engage" Wilkerson? Walking behind a business late at night might look suspicious to some -- especially if the person walking is black -- but was Wilkerson doing anything unlawful? If he was walking through a parking area, that likely is considered "open to the public" under the law, so perhaps he was not even trespassing. The charges against him -- obstructing governmental operations and resisting arrest -- make it appear the cops had no predicate charge against him; they couldn't even make one up.

Both of these charges usually piggyback on some larger, predicate offense. For example, if you are charged with burglary or theft and run from cops, you might get hit with resisting arrest, along with the more serious charge. But there appears to be no serious charge here. Based on what we know now, there should not have been a "governmental operation" involving Wilkerson; his only apparent offense was "walking while black." And the cops apparently had no grounds to arrest him, so he could not have been resisting under the law. There is no indication from the article that Wilkerson had a gun in his waistband. Did he get beaten because he hitched up his pants or tried to adjust his belt?

Here is the most important question for now: Was the arrest lawful? Was there even probable cause to believe Wilkerson had committed a crime? Under Alabama law, any use of force in an illegal arrest is unlawful -- and an officer has no authority to use force. From a case styled Jackson v. Sauls, 206 F. 3d 1156 (11th Circ., 2000):

" . . . if a stop or arrest is illegal, then there is no basis for any threat or any use of force, and an excessive force claim would always arise but only collaterally from the illegal stop or arrest claim."

As for federal charges, those would come under 18 U.S.C. 242 (deprivation of rights under color of law), and that could spell big trouble for the cops who beat Wilkerson. They could face up to 10 years in federal prison, and depending on the circumstances, punishment might become even more severe than that. The statute reads in part:

Whoever, under color of any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom, willfully subjects any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or to different punishments, pains, or penalties, on account of such person being an alien, or by reason of his color, or race, than are prescribed for the punishment of citizens, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; and if bodily injury results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include the use, attempted use, or threatened use of a dangerous weapon, explosives, or fire, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both . . . 

If a court finds the cops tried to kill Wilkerson -- and the photo above suggests that might have been the case -- the cops' problems grow exponentially. From the statute:

. . . and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.

Based on what we know at the moment, the Troy cops could face up to 10 years in federal prison -- and that could expand to life in prison or even the death penalty. Was it really a wise move to "engage" KeAndre Wilkerson because he was walking behind a building?

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Violent, bloody police beating of Michigan woman enhances our concerns about possible brain damage that Carol sustained during our Missouri eviction

Tiffany McNeil
A Michigan woman who was left bleeding and unconscious after her arrest in July is suing the police department whose officers brutalized her. The case of Tiffany McNeil produced one of the most horrifying videos of police violence we have ever seen. But it is similar, in a number of respects, to what Missouri deputies did to my wife, Carol, during an unlawful eviction in November 2015.

The video shows Coldwater, MI, officer Lewis Eastmead holding McNeil face-first against a brick wall at the police station before suddenly turning, and with her in handcuffs, throwing her to a concrete floor. The federal complaint says McNeil immediately was knocked unconscious, and the video shows blood coming from her face. A report at said McNeil had to be taken to the hospital, where she received 17 stitches for a cut over her eye and was diagnosed with a concussion. (The video is embedded at the end of this post.)

That last health-related item reminds us of an issue that has become of particular concern in Carol's case. As I've reported here at Legal Schnauzer, Greene County, MO, deputies burst into our duplex apartment and threw Carol, who had been looking out the peephole, up against a wall. While handcuffing her, one or more officers slammed her head, face-first, into the wall multiple times -- hard enough to knock her glasses off her face and a cell phone out of her hand.

About 30 minutes later, as the eviction was nearing an end, a male officer in a blue shirt grabbed Carol from behind as she was trying to enter the apartment -- as she had been given permission to do -- to retrieve our cat's litter box.  The officer body slammed Carol to the ground, butt-first, and then yanked viciously on her limbs -- breaking her left arm into more than two pieces and leaving her right armed bruised deep purple for pretty much its full length.

My view of the first incident was limited because Sheriff Jim Arnott was placing me in handcuffs and turning me around -- plus, Officer Scott Harrison had an assault rifle pointed at my head, so my attention was a bit diverted. I saw the full second incident, from 15-20 feet away, and immediately recognized that it was violent enough to possibly cause a concussion. Based on Carol's account of how hard her head was slammed during the first incident, it's possible (likely?) that she sustained two concussions in about 30 minutes.

One week after the eviction, Carol underwent almost eight hours of trauma surgery to repair her shattered left arm. During that time, she never was examined or treated for a concussion. I've written about our concerns about a possible concussion multiple times since the eviction, and those concerns only have grown stronger. In the roughly two years and three months since Carol's injuries, we've noticed a clear decline or disturbance in her cognitive abilities. The changes have become increasingly noticeable over the past 16 months or so.

We're talking about a 57-year-old woman who was valedictorian of her high school class, made straight A's at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), and worked 18 years for Alabama Power, one of the largest and most respected employers in her home state. In the 30 years that I've known her, Carol always has shown strong powers of perception and memory. But it now is almost a daily occurrence for her to have trouble expressing herself verbally. She will speak, for example, three sentences, and they might be so jumbled that I am left wondering what on earth she is trying to say.

X-ray of Carol Shuler's broken
arm before surgical repair.
I will go into more detail in future posts, but this is not the same woman I've known for most of our adult lives. That she was the victim of cop-induced head trauma -- not to mention the stress of then having cops bring bogus criminal charges against her . . . well, I don't think it's a coincidence that she now exhibits signs of garbled thinking. Is it because Carol has a scrambled brain that never has never been assessed or treated -- especially since we don't have health insurance, thanks to the conservative thugs (Rob Riley, Doug Jones?) who cheated us out of our jobs at UAB (me) and Infinity Insurance (Carol)?

Our concerns have grown severe enough that we intend to consult lawyers who specialize in traumatic brain injury (TBI) cases. My focus has been mainly with the injury we could see -- the broken arm. We now are increasingly focused on the possibility of an injury we can't see -- one that is inside Carol's head and affects her ability to function.

Unlike the Tiffany McNeil case, the pummeling Carol took did not produce blood or facial cuts. But we might have been better off if it had. That might have tipped emergency-room personnel -- the ones who diagnosed Carol's broken arm -- to check for head-related damage.

Speaking of the McNeil case, here is perhaps the most disturbing similarity it has with Carol's situation. We've shown that Missouri deputies lied repeatedly in their written reports about the incident, going so far as to suggest Carol broke her own arm by flailing about in the back seat of a patrol car. Of course, the worst example of dishonesty here in Missouri are the bogus "assault of a law enforcement officer" charges -- brought even though the "victim," Officer Jeremy Lynn, admits in writing that he "knowingly caused physical contact" with Carol, meaning she could not have assaulted him, under the Missouri statute.

Here is how police dishonesty reared its head in the McNeil case. Michigan attorney Solomon Radner is representing McNeil. From the Coldwater Daily Reporter:

The suit contends that Eastmead and [Officer Matt] Schoenauer both filed false police reports to justify charging McNeil with resisting arrest. It claimed [Officer Suleiman] Sumbal omitted facts from his report that would have shown the statements were false.

The suit claimed the reports allowed McNeill to be charged with felony resisting arrest in an effort to obtain a plea bargain.

That kind of deceit is right out of the playbook being used against Carol here in southwest Missouri.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Carson Jones, Doug Jones' oldest son, becomes a sensation in the gay press after his father's upset victory over Roy Moore in Alabama U.S. Senate race

Carson Jones, second from left

Carson Jones, the oldest son of new U.S. Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL), has become a sensation in gay corners of the Web since his father's win in last Tuesday's Alabama special election. That's because Carson Jones, a graduate student at Colorado State University, is openly gay and has a strong social-media presence.

Doug Jones barely had been declared the winner over Republican Roy Moore when reports about Carson Jones started popping up at gay news sites and blogs. Word about the gay status of a senator's son quickly spread to mainstream sites, such as

After earning a bachelor's degree in animal science at the University of Georgia, Carson Jones enrolled in Colorado State University’s two-year Professional Science Master’s program in zoo, aquarium and shelter management. He is in his second year with the program. Jones long has wanted to be a zookeeper, and he started volunteering at the Birmingham Zoo when he was 13 years old. He completed an internship at the Australia Zoo (home of the late Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin). From an article about Jones at

Jones is passionate about zookeeping and also about clearing up misconceptions around what zoos are.

“People tend to feel strongly about zoos ­– they either support them or they don’t support them,” Jones said. Some people believe zoos exist only for human entertainment or personal pleasure, and there was a time when that was true.

“All industries grow and change over time as we learn more about these animals. Today’s zoos are all about connecting people with animals and the natural world, ideally inspiring conservation awareness and action,” he said.

As for what zookeepers do every day, Jones said, some people think “we just play with animals all day.”

Actually, caring for zoo animals is “a lot of cleaning, and a lot of diet preparation,” he said. He also enjoys engaging with zoo visitors, sharing about the animals and about conservation. “I like getting on the microphone and talking to people,” he said.
Carson Jones: Long and Hard

For now, Jones' status as the gay son of a U.S. senator seems to be overshadowing his interest in animals. One of the first sites to spotlight him last week was From the site's article, titled "Meet Doug Jones's sexy gay son!":

Doug Jones, the newly minted senator from Alabama, is not only a progressive, he's also the father of a super cute gay son, Carson! Carson is a self-described southern gentleman, and a zookeeper.

Keep reading for more proof — that he's adorable, not that he's gay, he's out, guys.

Carson Jones, with former NSYNC singer Lance Bass
and his husband, Michael Turchin

A site called seemed even more enthused about young Mr. Jones. From its article, titled "Another Reason to Celebrate Doug Jones’ Victory: We’ll See More of His Hot Gay Son." The article is accompanied by several photos, including one where Carson Jones is wearing a shirt with the insignia, "Hard and Long." That seems to be a reference to something. I wonder what it could be?

Unless you live under a rock, you’ve probably heard that Democratic candidate Doug Jones beat homophobic, accused child molester and Republican candidate Roy Moore in last night’s special election for the Alabama U.S. Senate. But have you heard that Jones has a sexy gay son? Yep! Doug Jones’ gay son is named Carson Jones, and we’re totally infatuated with him.

He’s a self-described southern gentleman, zookeeper, gym junkie, adventurer and sushi addict. He is a graduate of the University of Georgia and is currently in graduate school at Colorado State University in Zoo and Aquarium Management.

He’s bearded, has a toothy smile and a furry chest. He also owns a Romphim and enjoys cooking, so we’re basically ready to be his boyfriend or help him celebrate his dad’s recent win — whichever he’s down for.

Here's the take from We sought comment from Doug Jones about his suddenly famous gay son, but the senator did not respond to our queries.

What about the rest of the Jones family? This is from an article about Doug Jones' wife, Louise, at

The Jones' have three children — Courtney, Carson, and Christopher. Courtney graduated from Birmingham Southern College and is currently studying for her Ph.D. at the University of Alabama. She and her husband, Rip Andrews, have two daughters. Carson is also in graduate school at Colorado State University, and Christopher is a sophomore at Alabama.

Here is a YouTube video about Carson Jones:

Public defender Patty Poe put "the cart before the horse," focusing on a defense for Carol before challenging weaknesses in the government's evidence

Patty Poe, on law-school graduation day
Missouri public defender Patty Poe is not stupid. After all, she made a special point of telling Carol and me that she had gone to law school for three years, paid $300 to take the bar exam, and passed it. Despite that, Poe tried her best to act dumb in the final weeks and months she represented Carol, before bailing out on the case without so much as a "good luck."

Here is an example. Carol sent written information to Poe, complete with proper citations, addressing this central question in her case: Was the eviction at our rented duplex in September 2015 legal or illegal? If it was illegal, and Carol presented to Poe 10 grounds that it was, it was an unlawful seizure under the Fourth Amendment, and any evidence gathered must be suppressed -- leaving the state with no case. This is all spelled out in a seminal 1961 U.S. Supreme Court case called Mapp. v. Ohio.

Mapp might be one of the 10 most important high-court cases of our lifetimes. On paper, it protects citizens from being the victims of a police state. If you are reading this post right now, Mapp protects you from being the target of an unlawful search and seizure -- in your home, your vehicle, your vehicle, anywhere. It makes sure you can't be incarcerated, based on evidence that was unlawfully gathered. If you ponder that for a moment -- and its possible ramifications in your own life -- you can see this is an issue of profound importance. In many ways, it separates our country from those run by despots and dictators.

You would think Poe might take such an issue seriously. But her response, as Mapp applied to Carol's case, was to shrug her shoulders. In so many words, said it didn't matter if the eviction was lawful or not because that was not a defense. She repeated that refrain over and over, to the point that we started to wonder, "Who are you working for, Carol or the prosecution?" Here are Poe's exact words on the subject, from a Nov. 2 email:

Whether or not the eviction was unlawful is not a defense. . . . As we discussed on Monday, I may discuss the eviction proceedings at trial to help the judge understand Carol's state of mind at the time, or why she would be mistaken in believing that the person at her door wasn't a police officer because she thought the eviction was stayed.

If you notice the two highlighted sections above, they both deal with Carol's defense. But in making this statement, Poe ignores a legal principle that any first-year law student should know. Heck, anyone who has watched Matlock for a few episodes should know this: In any criminal case, the burden of proof is on the government.

An online article tiled "The Four Phases of a Criminal Trial" makes that clear: At every phase in the process -- opening arguments, witness testimony, closing arguments -- the prosecution goes first. If the prosecution fails to make a prima facie (on its face) case, the defense can move for a Judgment as a Matter of Law. If the judge grants the motion, the case is over, and the defense doesn't have to defend anything. A defense only comes into play if the government sufficiently presents an "on its face" case.

If the defense is convinced the prosecution has not made its case, it can rest -- without calling any witnesses, including the defendant. This happens in many criminal cases, with varying degrees of success. I'm not a fan of this strategy, but many criminal-defense lawyers abide by it. If the government hasn't made its case -- the theory goes -- present little or no defense. That will keep the proceeding short and sweet -- which jurors are likely to appreciate -- and you won't have to deal with extraneous issues that might come up on cross-examination.

Preparing a defense is important, of course. But the first order of business is to see if you can attack the government's case -- and this often must be done via pre-trial motions. Poe, however consistently resisted the idea of filing any pre-trial motions. She also resisted the idea of pushing the state to produce key documents via discovery.

This would have had two negative impacts for Carol: (1) It would have forced her to trial, in a case that cannot go to trial, by law; (2) It likely would have waived key issues, meaning they could not be raised on appeal; (3) It meant Carol would have had little or no evidence with which to attack the government's case.

This suggests Patty Poe is not just incompetent or compromised; it points to her being downright evil -- that she was willing to cheat Carol at both the trial and appellate levels. And she was willing to let Carol go to trial without gathering evidence with which to fight back. Patty Poe is the equivalent of someone who would stand on the shore and watch a child drown in two feet of water rather than do anything that might cause her to get wet.

The first order of business for Patty Poe should have been to look for ways to attack the government's case. And one of the first questions in any criminal matter is this: Was the prosecution's evidence lawfully gathered, within the boundaries of the Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable and unlawful seizures? If not, it must be suppressed under Mapp, and the prosecution likely will be badly damaged or fully gutted.

That Patty Poe would let any client go to trial without filing pre-trial motions on any number of issues -- especially regarding the gathering of evidence -- raises questions about whether she is fit to have a bar card. That she would allow the state to get away with discovery abuses -- and Carol still has almost zero discovery, even material the court has ordered produced -- suggests to me that Poe is a hideously rotten human being.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Ashley Madison customers revealed: Johnny Aycock, long-time chief executive of West Alabama Chamber of Commerce, appears at extramarital-affairs Web site

Johnnie Aycock
The retired CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama appears as a paying customer at the Ashley Madison extramarital-affairs Web site, according to publicly available documents.

Johnnie R. Aycock spent almost 28 years with the chamber, before retiring in 2010. He now is special project assistant to the president at the University of West Alabama, plus he is owner and principal at Strategic Management Associates LLC.

Aycock has deep ties in the Tuscaloosa area. From an article about his retirement at The Tuscaloosa News:

Aycock became the chamber’s president in 1983 and oversaw its growth into an organization with more than 1,000 members.

“We are extremely proud of the work and devotion Johnnie has given to the chamber and the community for almost 27 years,” said Claude Edwards, chairman of the chamber’s board. “He has done an outstanding job ... and we are appreciative that he is allowing us to have a transition” period by staying on until March.

Aycock generally seems to have received high marks for his work at the chamber:

Dara Longgrear, executive director of the Tuscaloosa Industrial Development Authority and an ex-officio member of the chamber board, said Aycock devoted most of his professional career to the chamber and served it well.

“He has been very successful and has put the chamber and the community in a position to continue to move forward,” Longgrear said.

Aycock has been active in pushing for charter schools in west Alabama and recently appeared before the Alabama Public Charter School Commission on behalf of UWA's planned University Charter School:
UWA's Johnnie Aycock told the Commission that Alabama's Congressional delegation has been watching from Washington, D.C., and fully supports their efforts. "[U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos] actually knows about us," Aycock said, adding they hope to create a model for other rural areas to use. . . .

Aycock has worked in economic development in the past and said offering quality schooling is important to economic development in the region.

After the vote, Aycock said, "This is life-changing for the people of Sumter County."

Why, and how, did Johnnie Aycock, who appears to be a staunch conservative, become involved with Ashley Madison? When we asked Mr. Aycock for comment, he said he had been divorced and not married for nine years and that he never used Ashley Madison, even though he did sign up for it.


Article with links to 1-40 in Ashley Madison series

(41) David Armistead, director of enterprise sales, TekLinks, Birmingham (10/19/17)

(42) William House, VP and controller, HealthSouth, Birmingham (10/26/17)

(43) Olin B. Barnes III, VP, One Resource Group, Birmingham (11/1/17)

(44) T.J. Bunn Jr., ST Bunn Construction, Tuscaloosa (11/2/17)

(45) Todd Deffenbaugh, VP and controller, Express Oil Change, Birmingham (11/6/17)

(46) Richard D. Crites, lawyer and reserve deputy, Springfield, MO (11/13/17)

(47) Mark C. Trudeau, CEO, Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, St. Louis, MO (11/15/17)

(48) Peter Blasi, lawyer, Evans Blasi, St. Louis, MO (11/16/17)

(49) Todd Wiesehan, director of resource management, Christian Co., MO (11/22/17)

(50) Spencer Desai, lawyer, Carmody MacDonald, St. Louis, MO (11/27/17)

Missouri public defender Patty Poe develops a case of lockjaw when asked to identify her lawyer "friend" who helped make determinations about Carol's case

Patty Poe
When we left Missouri public defender Patty Poe, she was huffily telling Carol and me about the stringent nature of her legal education at the University of Missouri School of Law, while admitting her research skills were so limited she had to consult an unnamed "friend" for help with fundamental issues in Carol's case.

For some reason, Carol and I were alarmed that an unknown third party was helping make determinations about Carol's defense in a criminal case, which at that time, still carried the possibility of jail time. We also were concerned about the possibility that Carol's attorney-confidentiality rights had been violated.

With that in mind, Carol sent Poe an email, asking about a couple of issues -- including the status of Poe's mysterious "friend" and the role he or she was playing in Carol's case:


This is Carol. I need to check with you on a couple of things:

(1) I need copies of what little discovery has been produced in my case. If my memory is correct, the state has produced the following items:

a. Photos taken by Dep. Scott Harrison of my broken arm and other injuries;

b. Copy of 911 call from Burrell Health;

c. Photos taken of the back seat of the patrol car in which I was transported.

I need these items -- and any other discovery that has been produced-- ASAP. You are welcome to mail them, or I can stop by your office to pick them up.

(2) In our final in-person meeting, you mentioned that you had consulted a lawyer friend of yours, someone who was knowledgeable about tenant-landlord law, regarding my case. As I understand it, this person was helping make decisions about my case, and I don't even know who he is. Further, I'm concerned that this could have been a breach of my attorney-client confidentiality. I don't understand why you would deem it appropriate to consult someone else about my case, especially without my permission and without identifying this person. Aside from those concerns, I need that person's identity now. Please list the name, location, and contact information for this person in response to this email.

Thank you,

Poe's response was short and . . . well, short:

Hi Carol:

I closed your file, you may stop by the office and ask for a copy of it, all discovery will be contained therein.

In reference to my friend I consulted, I didn't disclose your name or any specific facts that would identify you as an individual. I simply asked her a couple questions regarding evictions as a whole -- nothing specific to your case.

Good luck!


Well, what do you know? There is the "good luck" Poe could not seem to manage on the day she bailed on Carol and left the courtroom in a rush, even before the hearing was over. You will notice -- Carol certainly did -- that Poe left a key questioned unanswered. So Carol sent this follow-up:


I will pick up the file and discovery, etc.

I do, however, need to know your friend's name, location, contact info, affiliation (law firm), etc. You cited the information she provided as grounds for your opinion that the eviction was lawful -- when, in fact, it was not lawful. Her statements most certainly did have an impact on my case, and I want to know who she is. I have a right to know who she is.


How did that sit with Poe? Well, it's hard to tell because she has yet to respond. Poe apparently thinks it's OK for a third-party lawyer to provide input on Carol's case, but Carol does not have a right to know that person's identity.

Carol and I suspect that does not square with Missouri ethics rules. We also have this question: If the third-party lawyer's impact was so benign, why does Poe have a problem identifying her?

Since Poe seems to have developed a case of lockjaw, perhaps Carol will need to take it up with a judge, the Missouri Bar Association, or some appropriate authority.

It was our understanding, that Carol's representation was under the auspices of Patty Poe and the Missouri public defender's office. If it was affected by someone other than Patty Poe -- someone apparently not affiliated with the PD office -- Carol wants to know who that was. And we are quite sure she has that right.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Doug Jones' comments about Donald Trump and Senate Republicans indicate he's already planning to sell out black, female voters who put him in office

Donald Trump should not resign from office over sexual harassment and assault allegations, newly elected Alabama U.S. Senator Doug Jones said in an interview yesterday on CNN's State of the Union. This is the same Jones who said during his campaign against Roy Moore that former Minnesota Senator Al Franken, a Democrat, should resign over sex-related allegations that seem far less serious than those leveled at Trump.

In the same interview, Jones said he likely would vote with Senate Republicans on certain issues, listing an upcoming infrastructure bill as one possibility. "Don't expect me to vote solidly for Republicans or Democrats . . . ," Jones said. "I don't think anybody should be able to count on my vote for anything."

What's going on here? Regular readers of Legal Schnauzer know what's going on. Not even a week has passed since the election -- and Jones hasn't been installed in office, and he is proving that our reporting on his right-wing leanings are on target.

How goofy are Jones' comments about Trump? Jones essentially is saying the most corrupt president in U.S. history, who has admitted to being a sexual predator, should be allowed off the hook on those issues. From a report at Huffington Post:

Doug Jones said it’s time for his fellow Democrats to “move on” from focusing on the numerous sexual misconduct allegations against President Donald Trump.

Jones narrowly won Alabama’s Senate race last week, defeating Republican Roy Moore, whose campaign was rocked by allegations he molested underage girls decades ago. On CNN’s “State of the Union” program on Sunday, Jones said Americans had a chance to decide whether the allegations against Trump mattered before the 2016 presidential election.

″People had an opportunity to judge before that election,” Jones said. “I think we need to move on and not get distracted by those issues.”

“I don’t think the president ought to resign at this point,” he continued. “We’ll see how things go.”

So, Jones wants to put the Trump sex scandals behind us, but here is what he said about Al Franken just 12 days ago:

The Democrat in Alabama’s heated Senate election says it is time for Minnesota Sen. Al Franken to “step aside and let’s move on.”

Doug Jones made the comments while greeting volunteers at a campaign phone bank in downtown Birmingham.

“Initially this was part of a Senate Ethics Committee. It seems to me now that we’re at a point that it would be best for the country and what would be best for his constituents is for Sen. Franken to step aside and let’s move on,” Jones told reporters.

Why would Jones call for Al Franken to resign, while seeking to let Donald Trump off the hook? That's an easy one to answer. Franken was the No. 1 thorn in the side of Trump attorney general and former Alabama U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions. And Jones' most important base of support -- financial and otherwise -- comes from Alabama Republicans connected to Jeff Sessions. This is a clear sign that Jones, even before taking office, is serving the interests of his Republican benefactors -- while more or less saying, "The hell with black voters who put me in office."

Those statements about Trump and Franken sound like they came from Jones' Republican handlers -- and we've presented evidence that he has handlers from the right wing. We published multiple posts during the campaign, showing that Jones is closely aligned with Alabama GOP operative Rob Riley (son of former governor Bob Riley). Jones and Rob Riley joined forces to help generate $51 million in attorney fees from a HealthSouth lawsuit, and that money reportedly helped Jones' 2017 campaign get off the ground; when he ran for U.S. Senate in 2002, his campaign was stillborn because of fund-raising problems.

Our posts (see here, here, here, and here) also showed that Jones drew strong support from other Republican stalwarts, such as Karl Rove, Jeff Sessions, Tom Donohue (U.S. Chamber of Commerce) and Bill Canary (Business Council of Alabama). Jones rode into office on the backs of black voters, especially black women, but the CNN interview is the first sign that he will answer to what many call the corrupt "Alabama Gang."

This likely will be the first of many times that Jones sells out his black supporters.

Alabama opposition researcher and whistle blower Jill Simpson was highly critical of Jones during the campaign, repeatedly saying he is an ethically challenged, backstabbing, DINO (Democrat In Name Only). The signs of Jones' dubious integrity are easy to find: (1) He called off an investigation of Paul Bryant Jr. and Alabama Reassurance after the company had been found during a Pennsylvania trial to have been connected to at least $15 million in insurance fraud; (2) Jones charged former Alabama governor Don Siegelman $300,000 for a criminal defense, did very little work on it and bailed out before trial because of Jones' scheduling conflict, and apparently did not return a dime of that money.

Jones, in essence, stole money from Don Siegelman and covered up for money stolen from insureds that involved Alabama Re and Philadelphia lawyer and entrepreneur Allen W. Stewart. Yesterday's interview with CNN's Jake Tapper likely is the first sign that Doug Jones' mask slowly is being peeled back.

We tried to warn Alabama voters about the scoundrel who was running opposite Roy Moore, but the message didn't seem to get through. Perhaps now, voters will start seeing they should have a serious case of "buyer's remorse" when it comes to Doug Jones.

What is Jones really all about? Here is a reminder, via the words of Jill Simpson:

What a hoot, I have never seen anything like this -- the Karl Rove, Tom Donohue, and Bill Canary Chamber of Commerce types claim they are staying out of the Moore/Jones race, when secretly they have all hands on deck helping Doug Jones. Doug is the Chamber of Commerce candidate in Alabama. Many progressives in Alabama have been viciously mistreated by the chamber, so that will not bode well for Doug. Many progressives have even been investigated by the chamber for working against Republicans, but by golly, the corporate guys are not helping Roy the Republican this time. Right now, it is all out war between Rove Republican elites -- Doug Jones is their guy -- and the Bannon Religious Right/White Republicans, and Roy Moore is their guy from the South and Heartland. . . .

The Rove Republicans behind the scenes are doing everything they can to help Doug Jones, and if he gets elected, he will owe them, just like they owe him for saving Rove from having to testify under oath -- by cooking the deal between the Riley/Sessions crowd and [Eric] Holder.

It's been proven over and over that Jill Simpson knows what she is talking about. The Tapper interview likely will be the first of many back-stabbings for the black voters who put Doug Jones into office

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Missouri lawyer David Shuler, asked for a comment on his son's speeding case, indicates he's keeping secrets that could wind up biting him on the ass

Noah Hayes Shuler
How did David Shuler (my lawyer-brother) respond after shown a draft of our post about his son Noah Hayes Shuler (my nephew, a student and soccer player at William Jewell College) being clocked at up to 88 mph in a 60 zone -- an offense that, if proven, is the equivalent of a Class B misdemeanor, such as a DUI?

David did respond, which surprised me. His words, in places, were peculiar -- and given that he's a lawyer and has stabbed me in the back on at least one obvious occasion (and, I suspect, quite a few more) -- I was not surprised by that. Here, in pertinent part, is David's response:

Roger: As you know, you are free to write what you want but I have not been authorized to talk to you about this matter. I should point out that you do have the alleged facts incorrect. It is my understanding that the alleged speeding occurred on Highway 65, not on Evans Road.

Roger, if you would like to get together to talk as brothers, I would be happy to do that. I can not and will not talk to you about other people's business.

Now, that was interesting, especially the last sentence. So, I responded thusly:


I will make the correction about U.S. 65.

As for anything else . . . (1) You say you are not authorized to talk about the traffic incident; and (2) You "cannot talk about other people's business." What does that mean?

The way I read your email, I don't see that there is much to talk about. If you can give me a reason for us to have a talk of substance, I will give that consideration. But right now, I don't see where any such substance exists.

I've heard nothing more from David. As you can see, I was bumfuzzled by his claim that he "can not and will not talk about other people's business." Since David does not seem inclined to elaborate on what that means, I can only take a whack at it myself.

Who are these "other people" and what is there "business"? David seems to be referring to people in the Springfield legal/business world (perhaps individuals from Alabama, too), and he feels an obligation to keep their secrets. Their "business," I'm guessing, is connected to the unlawful eviction in September 2015 that ended with cops breaking Carol's left arm. If I'm correct about that, David probably is speaking of landlord Trent Cowherd, attorney Craig Lowther (or someone at his firm), and Sheriff Jim Arnott (or someone affiliated with him).

Here are a few questions I wanted to ask David about Noah's traffic case:

* According to court records, Noah was clocked at 88 mph, 28 mph over the speed limit. How does one prepare a defense for that?

* Why didn't Noah pay the fine and be done with it?

* Are you hoping the state trooper doesn't appear for the trial, which would let Noah off the hook?

* Are you planning to claim the trooper was incompetent, corrupt, or both?

* In your communications with Carol and me, you generally have suggested that cops can do no wrong. If they lie about someone making a threatening 911 call, that's fine. If they break into a residence without having lawful grounds to be on the property, that's fine. If they break your sister-in-law's arm so severely that it requires trauma surgery, that's fine -- and it doesn't even merit a, "Gee, Carol, I'm sorry this happened, and I hope you are doing OK" from you. But if they nab your son driving 28 mph over the speed limit, that's not fine -- and the cops must be incompetent or corrupt? Is that how it works in your mind?

David Shuler
As for David's tight-lipped approach, the casual observer might say, "Hey, David is just trying to keep things in confidence -- "in house," "on the down low" -- to maintain the trust of those with whom he interacts." That sounds reasonable on the surface, but it takes on a different tone when you consider certain legal realities.

Consider, for example, Rule 4-8.3 of the Missouri Rules of Professional Conduct:


(a) A lawyer who knows that another lawyer has committed a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct that raises a substantial question as to that lawyer's honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects shall inform the appropriate professional authority.

We've noted the strong likelihood that the actions of cops (and any associates) in unlawfully evicting us and breaking Carol's arm constitute a federal crime under 18 U.S.C. 242 (Deprivation of rights under color of law). Was David actively involved in a conspiracy to commit such a crime? If so, he clearly has problems. Is David simply keeping his lips tight in order to protect members of the legal/business tribe? If so, he still has problems.

That points to 18 U.S.C. 4 (misprision of felony), which holds:

Whoever, having knowledge of the actual commission of a felony cognizable by a court of the United States, conceals and does not as soon as possible make known the same to some judge or other person in civil or military authority under the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.

Perhaps David is counting on his connections to save him from being held accountable. Perhaps that has happened before, especially in a legal-malpractice case (31107CC3401 -- SCOTT WELLS V DAVID SHULER ETAL) that ended in 2012. Records at show the Wells case started in 2007, rocking along for more than five years, and was set for trial. That means David could have been in serious trouble, especially if he did not have malpractice insurance -- and many small-firm lawyers do not. Shortly before trial, Wells' lawyer withdrew from the case, for reasons that aren't clear from the record. Forced to represent himself in complex malpractice litigation, Wells apparently was not able to pull it off, and the case was dismissed in David's favor.

Maybe David will pull one out at the 11th hour again. But speaking in "brother to brother" form, I'd say he's playing with fire.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Donald Trump develops a "Roy Moore Problem" as outtakes from "The Apprentice" reportedly show him speaking approvingly about sex with underage girls

Donald Trump on "The Apprentice"
Roy Moore went down in yesterday's Alabama special election for the U.S. Senate, largely because of lower-than-expected turnout in his rural strongholds -- and that likely was driven by allegations during the campaign that Moore had, as a 30-ish district attorney, dated teen-aged girls.

Now, another GOP politician might be developing a "Roy Moore Problem." And his name is Donald Trump.

Outtakes from The Apprentice include scenes of Donald Trump speaking approvingly about sex with underage girls, according to a report from a D.C.-based investigative journalist.

Officials at NBC have taken steps to make sure the outtakes remain out of public view, reports Wayne Madsen. From a recent article at The Wayne Madsen Report (WMR):

There are reports from media insiders that Donald Trump made favorable comments about sex with underage girls during several taping sessions of “The Apprentice” reality television show during its 11-season run. These comments are in addition to previously reported remarks by Trump that were racist, anti-Semitic, and misogynistic in nature.

The video outtakes of Trump are said to be secured in a vault at NBC Studios in Universal City, California. However, there are reports that the tapes were moved from NBC Universal to a more secure vault at MGM Studios.

Mark Burnett, producer of The Apprentice and Survivor, reportedly is behind efforts to keep the outtakes under cover. From WMR:

Although NBC broadcast “The Apprentice,” MGM originally claimed ownership of the series and “Apprentice” producer, Mark Burnett, has refused to release the tapes, claiming that they are his intellectual property. Burnett also produced another reality TV show, “Survivor.” In addition, Trump reportedly made lewd comments in the dressing room of the Miss Teen USA pageant, which was, along with the Miss Universe and Miss USA pageants, owned by Donald Trump. The tapes from all the pageants were bought, along with the Miss Universe Organization, by WME-IMG, whose co-chief executive officer is Hollywood super-agent Ari Emanuel, the brother of Chicago’s Democratic mayor Rahm Emanuel. Ari Emanuel has refused to release any outtakes or other recorded material from Trump’s appearances in the dressing rooms of all three pageants, including Miss Teen USA, where Trump barged in where girls between the ages of 15 and 17 were dressing and undressing.

According to an entertainment-industry journalist, the Trump scenes have connections to the recent Matt Lauer scandal at NBC. And the journalist describes Trump's comments as worse than revelations about Alabama's Roy Moore:

Many of the contestants and staff for “The Apprentice” and the three pageants under the Miss Universe corporate umbrella were forced to sign non-disclosure agreements. NBC reportedly was reluctant to take initial action against former “Today” co-host Matt Lauer, fired for several cases of sexual harassment of female employees of NBC, because it feared that any focus on sexual impropriety by the network would potentially raise issues with Trump and “The Apprentice.” One prominent journalist who has covered the entertainment industry for several decades recently said that NBC and MGM have no right to withhold the outtakes of Trump’s comments on the set of “The Apprentice,” suggesting there is much more to the Trump story and that it involved covering up Lauer’s indiscretions. The journalist also stated that Trump’s comments on the “Apprentice” outtakes, which include B-roll with audio, are worse than the more recent revelations about Alabama GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore’s stalking of underage girls in Alabama while he was a county district attorney in his early 30s.

There is little doubt that Trump has been a predator of underage girls over at least the past thirty years.

The Wayne Madsen Report is a subscription-only Web site, but Legal Schnauzer has received permission to publish portions of its content.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

FBI's release of internal email raises more questions about Attorney General Jeff Sessions' ability to tell the truth regarding his meetings with Russian officials

Jeff Sessions
The FBI has been unable to produce any evidence that corroborates claims from Attorney General Jeff Sessions' staff that the FBI instructed Sessions not to list certain contacts with Russian officials on a security-clearance form, according to a report from a group affiliated with People for the American Way.

Right Wing Watch (RWW) filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, but the FBI could produce no documents that back up the Sessions staff's claims. In fact, the FBI provided Right Wing Watch with an email from an FBI employee saying that he or she “did not recall” any such conversation with Sessions or his staff. From RWW:

Right Wing Watch asked the FBI for all records relating to instructions the bureau had given Sessions “concerning what contacts with foreign individuals to list on or to omit from his SF-86 or other security clearance form” and, for a point of comparison, made an identical request regarding instructions given to then-Rep. Tom Price, who was nominated to be secretary of Health and Human Services. People For the American Way, represented by People For the American Way Foundation and American Oversight, sued the FBI for release of the documents in September.

Sessions indicated on his SF-86, which he completed in November 2016, that he had not had any contacts with foreign government officials in the previous seven years. A Justice Department spokesman stated in May, after news reports had revealed that Sessions had met multiple times with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak while campaigning for President Trump, that Sessions' staff “consulted with those familiar with the process, as well as the FBI investigator handling the background check, and was instructed not to list meetings with foreign dignitaries and their staff connected with his Senate activities.”

The FBI did not produce much in response to the RWW request, but what it did provide was intriguing:

In a response on Thursday to RWW’s request, the FBI provided a single, internal email dated March 7, 2017 detailing a phone call the previous day from Peggi Hanrahan, an aide to Sessions who had previously worked in his Senate office. Hanrahan, according to the email, had called an FBI employee to inquire “whether or not she previously asked [the employee] if Senator Sessions needed to list foreign contacts on his SF-86 while on official government business when his background investigation was being conducted in December 2016.” The FBI employee told Hanrahan, according to the email, that the FBI employee “did not recall” such a conversation, “but that for the purposes of the SF-86, [Sessions] was not required to list foreign government contacts while on official government business unless he developed personal relationships from such contacts.”

According to an RWW press release, the March 6 call from Hanrahan seeking corroboration for Sessions’ claims came on the same day on which Sessions wrote a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee defending his statement during the confirmation hearing that he had not had contacts with Russian officials during the campaign. (The internal email is embedded at the end of this post.)

The FBI indicated that the single March 2017 email was its final response to RWW’s request for any records related to any instructions given to Sessions regarding his SF-86, and in the accompanying cover letter, the bureau stated that it was not withholding any other documents.

The FBI separately stated that it had no records responsive to RWW’s identical request for instructions to Price.

What is the public to take from this? For one, it seems to raise more doubts about Sessions' ability to tell the truth on his involvement with Russian officials. From RWW:

“This document raises more questions than it answers,” said Elliot Mincberg, senior fellow at People For the American Way. “If the FBI did not tell Sessions in 2016 to omit the conversations with Kislyak from his security clearance form, who did? Does the FBI think that Sessions’ conversations with Kislyak, at which he reportedly discussed campaign-related matters, were ‘official government business’? Did he cross the line into developing ‘personal relationships from such contacts’? Why did Sessions’ staff wait until Sessions was already confirmed to his position and facing criticism for his contradictory answers on these meetings to ask the FBI for this information? Sessions has been unwilling to provide clear answers on the extent and content of his contacts with Russian government officials during the presidential campaign, and this document does nothing to dispel that impression.”

“After getting caught lying to Congress and the FBI, Jeff Sessions asked us to take him at his word that the FBI instructed him to do it,” said Austin Evers, Executive Director of American Oversight. “We now have clear evidence that the FBI has no records that would support Sessions’ claims, and it is long past time for him to simply tell the truth about his Russian contacts.”

With his evasive non-answers and smarmy, smart-alecky, elitist tone, Doug Jones proves he can embarrass Alabama just as much as Roy Moore

Alabamians go to the polls today to elect a U.S. senator, and throughout the campaign, Democrat Doug Jones has been portrayed as the smart one, with the kind of integrity that would never embarrass us. Given that Republican Roy Moore is a theocrat who twice has been booted from public office -- and has been dogged by allegations that, while serving as a 30-ish district attorney, he pursued a taste for the tender flesh of teen-aged girls -- perhaps that is understandable.

Unfortunately, Jones is an accomplished con artist. He has documented ties to Republican thugs Karl Rove, Jeff Sessions, Bill Pryor, and Rob Riley -- four of the most hideously corrupt figures in postmodern American history. While Jones tends to be viewed as the relative newcomer in the 2017 race, he's been around long enough to deserve the title "swamp creature." He served as U.S. attorney under Bill Clinton in the late 1990s, he ran once before for the U.S. Senate (in 2002) and folded up shop early due to lackluster fundraising.

As both a public official and an officer of the court (while serving as a private attorney), Jones has advanced his career by using taxpayer dollars and taxpayer-funded facilities. Does Jones feel a responsibility to answer questions about his actions in those roles? We have two videos that show the answer is no.

In both videos, Jones dodges tough questions and does it with a tone that can only be described as smarmy, snarky, immature, defensive, insulting, and (perhaps worst of all) elitist. This is a guy who now claims he is a man of the middle class, of the people -- of women, gays, people of color, and others who have faced discrimination. I invite you to listen to both videos -- one at the top of this post, one at the bottom -- and see if those are the words and tone of a man who cares one iota about everyday folks.

I submit that Jones' statements in these videos are every bit as embarrassing as anything Roy Moore ever has said. And you will notice that Doug Jones responds to challenging questions with the mindset of a second grader -- he dishes out insults, but he offers no substantive responses on actions that call his integrity into question.

In fact, there is plenty of evidence -- in the Alabama bingo trial; the Paul Bryant/Alabama Reassurance investigation; the Don Siegelman/Richard Scrushy criminal case; the federal HealthSouth civil case; acts of arson and intimidation against Alabama whistle blower Jill Simpson; career assassinations, unlawful incarcerations, and a wrongful foreclosure and eviction against my wife, Carol, and me -- that Jones has tippy-toed to the edge of criminal activity. A real investigation probably would show that Jones has stepped way over that line.

Let's take a closer look at the two videos:

(1) Rob Riley's ties to Medicare fraud, the investigation of Paul Bryant Jr. and Alabama Reassurance, and snarky comments left at Legal Schnauzer from someone at Haskell Slaughter, Jones' old law firm

a. Asked about the irony of Rob Riley working with Jones on the HealthSouth fraud case, while Riley himself faced documented allegations of health-care fraud related to Performance Group LLC, Jones responded:

It's not my place to comment. You can ask any party [in the HealthSouth case] anything. Based on things I've seen that you've written, I don't think it's worth my time to comment.

b. Asked about an investigation of Paul Bryant Jr. and Alabama Reassurance -- which had been planned after convictions against Philadelphia lawyer and entrepreneur Allen W. Stewart -- but was canceled once Jones became U.S. attorney in the Northern District of Alabama . . . well, Jones really got on a role:

Jones: I'm trying to make sure you understand that I have read your stuff, I have seen your conspiracy theories, and I am not going to answer any of your questions because I don't trust what you will write, period.

Legal Schnauzer (LS): I'm taking it down word for word. . . . I'm asking you, who called off the investigation of Paul Bryant?

Jones: I am not going to respond to any of your questions.

LS: You were a public official then, Doug . . . 
Jones: I am not going to respond to any of your questions. . . . I've seen the garbage you write and the way you spin and the way you slant. It's the most disingenuous stuff I've ever seen. . . . It just doesn't matter to me. You're a nothing to me."

Do Jones' non-answers, and his unmistakable agitated tone, indicate he did, in fact, call off the Bryant investigation, which (according to public documents) involved roughly $15 million of insurance fraud? A reasonable person could reach that conclusion. I certainly have reached that conclusion.

c. Asked about snarky comments left at my blog by someone from his law firm, Haskell Slaughter, Jones responded:

LS: Did you write that?

Jones: Of course not.

LS: What is your IP address, Doug?

Jones: My IP address? I have no clue. I just sit at a computer and type. I don't give you the time of day, Roger. I don't read your blog anymore. I think I've wasted enough time with you. 
Click (Jones hangs up on me.)

(2) The Alabama bingo trial, and Jones' representation of Ronnie Gilley; Paul Bryant Jr. and Alabama Re investigation; Jones' representation of Don Siegelman, in which he charged $300,000 for a criminal defense that was not performed (Jones bailed out before trial because of his own scheduling conflict) -- and there is no indication that Jones repaid a dime.

a. Asked about his representation of Ronnie Gilley in the Alabama bingo trial -- where Jones bailed out and left Gilley with attorney David Harrison, who has a drug-trafficking conviction on his record -- Jones responded:

Jones: I've made it a policy with everybody, not just with you, that it would not be appropriate for me to comment on Mr. Gilley.

LS: Are you aware that his current lawyer, David Harrison, has a conviction for drug trafficking?

Jones: I don't want to comment at all, one way or another.

LS: But are you aware . . .

Jones: I keep trying to explain, and you ought to understand. There are ethical considerations here. It's no reflection on you and some of the things you've written about me.

b. Asked again about cancellation of the planned investigation of Paul Bryant Jr. and Alabama Re, in the wake of the Allen W. Stewart convictions in Philadelphia, Jones responded:

Jones: I'm not going to comment to you. (Keep in mind, this was while Jones held public office, as U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Alabama.)

c. Asked about charging Don Siegelman $300,000 for a criminal defense in which he bailed out before trial -- and apparently did not return one dime of the money -- Jones responded:

Jones: I'm not going to comment one way or another on any of those matters.

LS: You're not going to comment with me on any matters

Jones: Correct

LS: I hope you understand that you were U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, and the investigation of Paul Bryant Jr. involved $15 million in insurance fraud, and it was called off. You were a public official, taking tax-payer dollars, and I'm asking you as a citizen: Did you . . .

Jones: I've got other things to do, and I don't need a speech from you.

LS: It's not a speech, I'm asking you a question.

Jones: You're not going to change my mind.

LS: I'm asking you . . .

Jones: And I'm telling you I'm not going to comment.

LS: You were a public official, and I'm asking you as a citizen . . .

Click (Jones hangs up on me a second time.)

Anyone who thinks Doug Jones will act with integrity -- and be a stand-up guy while not embarrassing Alabama -- does not know the real Doug Jones. These videos represent the unvarnished Doug Jones, in all his "glory." Voters would be wise to give these videos a hard listen before going to the polls today.

For Alabamians, the choice today is between a child molester and a crook. That's really no choice at all.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Campaign finance reports for Democrat Doug Jones show quite a few of his boosters are longtime donors to GOP stalwarts like Sessions, Shelby, and Bachus

Doug Jones
Anyone who doubts Alabama Republicans have backed Democrat Doug Jones' run for the U.S. Senate should be able to take it to the bank now. An article over the weekend at Politico shows, in black and white, that long-time GOP donors make up a meaningful portion of Jones' financial support -- and still, polls show he is likely to lose tomorrow to Republican theocrat and child molester Roy Moore.

We've already shown that GOP luminaries such as Karl Rove, Tom Donohue, Rob Riley, and Bill Canary have been backing Jones. But Politico adds to the right-wing equation backing Jones. From the article by Daniel Strauss and Luis Sanchez:

A small group of Alabama Republicans have joined forces with Democrat Doug Jones’ campaign ahead of Tuesday’s special Senate election. But they are having trouble swaying many friends and family members to cross the aisle, too.

Democrat Doug Jones’ campaign finance reports are dotted with longtime donors to Alabama Republicans like Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Sen. Richard Shelby and former Rep. Spencer Bachus. Republican attorneys in Birmingham and Mobile who have disliked Moore since he was a judge have banded together to offer support to Jones. The Republicans for Jones include Gina Dearborn, an Alabama lobbyist and former Shelby staffer who has backed Jones on social media and is married to White House deputy chief of staff Rick Dearborn.

Roy Moore is a detestable candidate in the eyes of many Alabamians with functioning cerebrums -- and many held that view long before reports that Moore, as an early 30-ish district attorney, had a taste for the flesh of teen-aged girls. But what do you get with Jones? A "Democrat" who likely will be taking marching orders from right-wingers like Sessions, Shelby, Rove, Donohue, and Riley.

Jones' documented ties to Rob Riley should be troubling for anyone with the slightest hint of a moral compass. The two of them worked to help generate $51 million in attorney fees from a HealthSouth lawsuit -- while Jones, at the same time, was "defending" former Gov. Don Siegelman, whose co-defendant was former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy. It's hard to imagine a more glaring conflict of interest than that. Plus, Jones charged Siegelman $300,000 for a criminal defense he didn't perform; Jones bailed out before trial, because of his own scheduling conflict, and apparently did not repay a dime of the money he took from Siegelman.

You want to trust this guy with your taxpayer dollars?

On top of that, Jones has aligned himself with Rob Riley, one of the most grossly corrupt political figures in modern Alabama history -- and that is saying something. Noted Alabama whistle blower and oppo researcher Jill Simpson says she is convinced Jones played a role in her home catching fire and in several ugly highway incidents.

On a personal note, I have no doubt Jones was involved, directly or indirectly, in cheating me out of my job at UAB. It's undisputed that Rob Riley was directly involved in my unlawful incarceration in Shelby County, and that means Jones probably was involved -- or at least knows all about it, but has remained silent. For good measure, I have little doubt there is an "Alabama Underground Railroad" driving abuses against my wife, Carol, and me in Missouri -- including an unlawful eviction that led to cops breaking Carol's arm so severely that it required trauma surgery. We would not be surprised to learn (soon, hopefully) that Jones has been one of the conductors on the corrupt train from the Heart of Dixie.

Still, it appears Jones will lose in tomorrow's election. That might make him the first major political candidate to lose to an apparent child molester. That, if it happens, will be quite a distinction to take into history. From Politico:

Yet Moore has remained in the lead in most polls of the special election because of continued support from the vast majority of Republicans, according to surveys from the Washington Post and other outlets. Jones needs votes from at least 1 in 10 Republicans if he is to win, according to Alabama-based Democratic pollster Zac McCrary. But most GOP voters do not believe the allegations of sexual assault and other misconduct against Moore, and many are simply unwilling to cast a vote for a Democrat.

“I think there'll be a fair number of people that will just hold their nose and vote for a Republican candidate in the end,” said Blake Goodsell, an attorney and past Alabama Republican Party donor who gave $1,000 to Jones.

“I've got a lot of friends who are party loyalists, and I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that, but they're also having a really hard time on this one,” said Harlan Winn, an attorney backing Jones who describes himself as a moderate.

Public defender Patty Poe gets in a huff about her stellar legal credentials, but if she's so gifted, why did she turn to a friend for help with law in Carol's case?

Patty Poe, on law-school graduation day
When public defender Patty Poe informed us that her analysis of Carol's "assault" case in Missouri was based largely on the words of an unknown "friend," it was all we could do to keep from guffawing. Here, we thought all along that Poe was Carol's attorney, and it turns out Poe had a "mini Me" pulling her strings the whole time?

That was not the only moment of dark comedy -- one might call it absurdity -- in our communications with Poe.

During our final in-person meeting on Oct. 30, we challenged Poe several times about her assertions that our eviction in Springfield, MO, on Sept. 9, 2015, was lawful.

At one point, we must have struck a nerve because Poe got her back up, and speaking in her most huffy voice, said, "Let's get this straight. I went to law school for three years, I paid $300 to take the bar exam, I passed the bar exam, and I'm licensed to practice law -- and you haven't done any of those things."

As we say down South, "I'll de-clay-ah, aren't we soooo special?"

This is where comedy really enters the picture. Poe's rant about her credentials came less than five minutes after she told us about consulting her friend -- a supposed expert in the area of tenant/landlord law -- about various issues regarding the legality of our eviction.

Her friend, by the way, had no name, no affiliations, no location, no gender, no address, no cell phone number, maybe not even a law degree. But this veritable ghost was making decisions about Carol's case. Plus, he or she apparently was allowed to hear details about Carol's case, even though we had the impression Carol might be protected by this little item called "attorney-client confidentiality."

Sensing that Poe already was bent out of shape, and she perhaps knew she had stepped in it big-time, I decided not to let these words pass my lips. But here is what went through my mind: "If your legal education is so great, and your ability to pass the bar is so impressive, why did you need to consult a mystery friend to understand the incomprehensible vagaries of Missouri tenant-landlord law?

"Did they not have a course on legal research at the University of Missouri School of Law? Did you take such a course and skip it -- or sleep through it? Hell, I've conducted legal research to help write what has been ranked among the top 50 law blogs in North America -- and I've yet to have anyone prove my legal research to be inaccurate. I just went to the lowly Missouri J-School, but I can conduct legal research, and you have to rely on a friend to do it?"

As you can see, I was carrying on a bit of a rant in my mind. But here's where legitimate anger rose to a boil. Poe had admitted up front that the legality of the eviction was critical -- if it was unlawful, any evidence gathered in violation of the Fourth Amendment would be suppressed. And that would gut an already weak case for the state. Plus, Poe said right up top that she spent her time on criminal cases and knew almost nothing about tenant/landlord law.

"Fine," we said, "We'll be glad to help with research. We've lived tenant/landlord law for the past two years, so we know a thing or two about it." Poe seemed to think that was reasonable, and in that spirit, Carol sent her a series of five emails, focusing on issues related to the case -- including legality of the eviction.

Carol's research was on point, supported by citations to law, and concisely stated. Was Poe grateful to have a client who was engaged in the process -- and intelligent and committed enough to help shred the prosecution's case? No, all she did was bitch about it -- claiming (falsely) that this was wrong and that was wrong. Not once did she use a correct citation to law to show anything in Carol's analysis was faulty.

Poe did, however, have this friend -- the one with no name, address, credentials, etc. -- and we were supposed to believe anything this ghostly person said.

Perhaps you can understand why I have zero respect for Patty Poe, and Carol feels the same way. Poe might as well take a class on legal ethics and learn to tell the truth, because she is a piss-poor liar.

Here's the kicker: Poe did not just (falsely) claim that the eviction was lawful. She said, over and over, that it didn't matter whether it was lawful or not.

Now, that is a serious crock of elephant feces, and we will turn to it next.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Alabama listserv, which might become the target of an IRS audit, was the venue for Senate candidate Doug Jones to attack my reporting on his ties to Rob Riley

Doug Jones
U.S. Senate candidate Doug Jones used an Alabama listserv, which might soon become the subject of an IRS audit, to trash my reporting about Rob Riley's curious role in a HealthSouth lawsuit that generated roughly $51 million in attorney fees -- with Jones (a Democrat) and Riley (a Republican) happily partaking in the windfall.

Jones' harsh words about my reporting have a disturbing parallel to the cheat job I experienced at UAB, costing me my job of some 20 years. Retired attorney Jill Simpson, who blew the whistle on a Republican scheme to prosecute former Democratic governor Don Siegelman for political reasons, has stated in recent Facebook posts that she believes Jones was connected to blow back against her -- which included a mysterious fire at her home and multiple alarming highway incidents.

Simpson is calling for an IRS audit of a Huntsville-based listserv, run by Pam Miles, that reportedly raised millions of dollars to help with Siegelman's legal expenses, but now is supporting Jones in various ways -- including, it appears, raising money for his U.S. Senate campaign against Roy Moore. In short, Simpson and I have been two of Siegelman's most outspoken supporters, and yet evidence strongly suggests Jones has been involved in abuses targeting both of us -- or, at the very least, he knows who did direct the abuses -- and has been silent about it. And yet, Jones in his Senate campaign touts his "integrity." My question: what integrity?

The record is clear that Jones has benefited from his association with Rob Riley. In fact, it appears Jones' run against Roy Moore in a Dec. 12 special election got off the ground financially because of the HealthSouth-lawsuit funds. Jones ran for Senate once before, in 2002, but quickly folded his tent for lack of fund-raising support. That was more than four years before the HealthSouth case settled for $445 million, with Jones serving as co-liaison counsel. Who was the other liaison counsel, joining Jones as the chief local lawyers for plaintiffs? Why, it was Rob Riley.

Jumping in bed with Rob Riley is a way for Jones to show his "integrity"?

Legal Schnauzer published two primary articles about the curious nature of Rob Riley's ties to the HealthSouth case. The first -- "Did Rob Riley cash in on Siegelman prosecution (March 8, 2008) -- was based largely on original reporting by Sam Stein, of Huffington Post. Stein noted that Riley entered the litigation late, had virtually no experience with complex securities cases, and likely was brought in for his ties to the Don Siegelman-Richard Scrushy criminal matter. Stein concluded that Riley had engaged in what amounted to "legal insider training."

The second Legal Schnauzer story -- "Does Rob Riley engage in fraud as he 'fights fraud" (March 31, 2009) -- noted that Riley was a curious choice to fight health-care fraud, given that his own company (Performance Group LLC) was the subject of a qui tam lawsuit that alleged it had engaged in fraud related to physical-therapy services.

Jones' critique of my reporting, which ran on Miles' listserv, makes it clear he primarily was miffed about my first report on his alliance with Rob Riley -- the one dated March 8, 2008. Ironically, the post was published almost exactly three months before I was cheated out of my job at UAB -- and a tape-recorded conversation with a UAB HR administrator named Anita Bonasera makes it clear I lost my job because of my reporting on the Siegelman case, and not because of anything I had done wrong at work.

In other words, the record indicates Doug Jones is far more loyal to Rob Riley, a Rove Republican, than he is to Don Siegelman. After all, Riley helped generate the cash that now is fueling Jones' run for the Senate -- but Jones knows that is likely to turn off the black voters he desperately needs to defeat Roy Moore. Hence, Jones has held a grudge against me for almost 10 years, and likely has joined with the Riley Machine to heap all kinds of abuse on my wife, Carol, and me -- or to at least stay silent about that abuse. Integrity?

Rob and Bob Riley
Before we run Jones' full, unedited critique of my reporting, let's raise a few points (which will be highlighted below):

* Jones acknowledges he was involved with the HealthSouth civil case before becoming Siegelman's criminal-defense lawyer in 2003 -- where the former governor's co-defendant was former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy. We've called Jones "The King of Conflicts," and he has earned that title.

* Jones tosses around words like "innuendo" and "speculation" below, but he never points to anything in my posts that is inaccurate;

* Jones makes much of back-room legal wrangling, which my posts don't even address;

* Jones admits Riley entered the HealthSouth litigation late and had almost no experience in such securities cases:

* Jones' own words show he mainly is miffed about my March 2008 post, the one that came curiously close to the cheat job I experienced at UAB;

* Jones admits he knows nothing about alleged fraud against Rob Riley's company, Performance Group LLC. Furthermore, Jones gives the distinct impression that he really doesn't give a damn.

This guy is absolutely full of something -- but it isn't integrity.

Here is Jones' complete, unedited response, as posted on Pam Miles' listserv:

I try to limit my responses to most of the posts on Pam's distribution list, but when someone writes to something that they obviously know nothing about and hit hits close to home, then I am compelled to respond. Such is the case with Roger's post below. I have been involved as liaison counsel in the HealthSouth securities fraud case since the beginning of the case in August of 2002, even before the FBI raid that occurred in March of 2003. As such I have been privy to facts and not just innuendo and speculation. So let me try and clear the air on this once and for all:

To begin with I should explain that in any securities fraud case there are usually a number of complaints that are filed and both the plaintiffs and their lawyers seek appointment as "leads" from the court. The lead plaintiffs are usually large institutional investors with huge losses from the drop in the stock price. The law also states that there is a presumption that the investor or combination of investors with the largest loss should be appointed as the lead plaintiff to maintain the class action on behalf of all investors. The lead counsel is the law firm that brings that lead plaintiff to the table. Lead counsel will often have a local or liaison to assist in the case. Liaison counsel can and usually does do a good bit of work on the case, which is a all done on a contingency basis. To imply, however, that liaison counsel is some how a "lead" counsel is very misleading.

It is true that Rob Riley was not involved in the early stages of the litigation. His entry into the case, however, was more fortuitous than sinister. Until 2005, my former law firm and I were the sole liaison counsel in the case. The Coughlin Stoia firm from San Diego and the Lowey Danenberg firm from NYC were designated by the Court as the lead counsel and their clients were the lead plaintiffs. However, as the litigation progressed a conflict of interest developed for the institutional investor plaintiffs and they moved to withdraw from the case. At that time the Court opened up the lead plaintiff and lead counsel appointments again. A number of new institutional investors and their lawyers applied for the lead plaintiff and lead counsel positions, including the New Mexico Retirement Systems who had sought Rob Riley as their local counsel. The Court heard arguments from all plaintiffs and their lawyers seeking lead status. During the appointment process the primary lawyers for the New Mexico Retirement Systems, the Labaton Sucharow firm, and the Coughlin Stoia firm struck a deal whereby they would jointly put forth their respective clients as co-lead plaintiffs and the two firms as co-lead counsel. As part of the deal, Rob Riley (for the Labaton firm) and I (for the Coughlin firm) were named as co-liaison counsel. The appointment of Rob riley was solely the result of these negotiations by the lead counsel and had absolutley nothing to do with Siegelman, Scrushy or Judge Fuller. I tried to explain all of this to Mr. Stein of the Huffington Post. Anyone that was involved involved in the appointment of lead and liaison counsel will simply laugh at the suggestion that Rob Riley's entry into the case was somehow connected to Siegleman or the result of "legal-political insider trading." We both had to go through the appointment process with the court.

It is true that Riley had very little experience in securities fraud cases at time that he was selected by the Labaton firm as their local counsel. However, B'ham did not have many plaintiffs counsel that were experienced in this type litigation and all of those were already involved in the case and thus had conflicts. Moreover, while experience is helpful it is not a prerequisite for local counsel. All facets of the litigation are controlled by the lead counsel, which in the HealthSouth case was 2 of the best in the country. I will candidly say, however, that Rob Riley and his firm have provided assistance in all phases of the HealthSouth litigation and have done an outstanding job. It is a more than a stretch, however, to suggest that Rob Riley "engineered" the 445M dollar settlement paid by Healthsouth and their insurers.

I have no knowledge of whether or not Rob Riley has an interest in any health care related firm, but the fact is that the HealthSouth debacle was of Healthsouth's own making, not the plaintiff lawyers who brought the case for stockholders who lost literally billions of dollars, and certainly not Rob Riley. The settlement against HealthSouth was presented to the court for approval by lead counsel, not me or Rob Riley. The settlement against EY will be presented by lead counsel, not me or Rob Riley.

Rob Riley and I have many, many political differences, but the HealthSouth case and our duties to our clients and the stockholder class is not one of them. The bottom line here is before anyone decides to jump to absurd conclusions based on what appears to be purely political motivations they should check out facts from those involved and try and actually learn at least something about the legal proceedings they are writing about.

What "absurd conclusions" did I reach? What "purely political motivations" did I have? What "facts" did I (or Sam Stein, for that matter) get wrong? Jones doesn't say.

We do know that Jones charged Siegelman $300,000 for a criminal defense that he never really performed. After all, Jones developed a scheduling conflict and dropped out of the case before trial, apparently keeping hundreds of the thousands of dollars.

This much is for damned sure: Doug Jones defended Rob Riley (for free) in a way he never defended Don Siegelman (at an extremely high cost).

But Jones is pitching "integrity" to voters?