Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Birmingham debt-collector and "Dog Wars" participant Angie Ingram attacks me and others on Facebook, almost as if she is begging to be sued

Angie Ingram
An Alabama lawyer recently claimed during a Facebook dust-up that I had threatened to kill her. No joke. The absurd claim arose from what I call "The Great Unexplainable Birmingham Dog Wars" (TGUBDW). As the title of this blog suggests, I happen to be pretty fond of dogs myself. And I've never committed, or threatened to commit, an act of violence against anyone. So, how did I get dragged into the dog wars? Have some of its participants become a bit unhinged?

We're talking about Angie Ingram, the Birmingham debt-collection lawyer whose firm violated federal law in a multitude of ways in their interactions with Carol and me a few years back. (See video at the end of this post.) Ingram got away with it because our own lawyers, Darrell Cartwright and Allan Armstrong, stabbed us in the back -- and federal judge Abdul Kallon, a horrific Obama appointee, is corrupt, incompetent or both.

Court-related news has been out there for about five years, suggesting Ingram has become a bit unstable herself. I had heard about a 2013 case styled Ingram v. Allred, where a Walker County judge found Ingram to be in contempt of court and ordered her jailed for 60 days -- that finding was overturned on appeal -- but I thought Angie Ingram no longer was an issue in my life. A reader, however, alerted me a few weeks back to a nasty exchange on Ingram's Facebook page among participants in TGUBDW

What are the dog wars? Well, I've never been able to figure it out, but it seems certain dog breeders and rescue types disagree about how to conduct such business -- and Angie Ingram is on one side, with a lot of people who disagree with her (hate her?) on the other. I've heard from a number of Ingram's opponents over the years -- and I would love to help anyone who is an enemy of Angie Ingram -- but I haven't posted on the subject because I just can't figure out the convoluted nature of the conflict.

Someone alerted me to a spirited debate that had broken out on Ingram's Facebook page, and my name got in the middle of it. A reader who did not take kindly to Ingram's position on dog-related matters fired back by posting a Legal Schnauzer report about our experiences with Ingram's law firm. That apparently got Ingram riled up, so she decided to take a few shots at me. From an Ingram comment:

As to my "legal" history, do your research and do it properly. I don't post anything but facts and those that have come to a conclusion and I can document. Since you're not a lawyer, you probably wouldn't understand that since you and your friends seem to know and believe everything you can "google". I don't use google for my fact finding.

You idiots posting things about the Legal Schnauzer and me and my being a debt collector make yourself look like fools. Look at this man's blog. He is a conspiracy theorist. Oh yeah, birds of a feather ... I think one of your friends said that.

Then take a look at the the $3.5 million judgment awarded against Roger Shuler aka the Legal Schnauzer. That's what happens to people like him that post defamatory crap. So you think you know it all ... that man sued me twice. Guess what - he lost TWICE. He even threatened to kill me, all the defense attorneys, and the federal judge Abdul Kallon. So go ahead and promote what that man has to say about me. Do a little more research on him ... he has sued probably 10 or more people or companies and LOST EVERY SINGLE CASE. He worked at UAB and was fired for blogging that crap on their time. Oh, he sued them too ... and lost.

Wow, this woman seems to have lost her mind. First, nothing I've written at Legal Schnauzer ever has been proven in court, as a matter of law, to be false or defamatory. Second, it's a matter of public record that I was fired at UAB for writing a blog, on my own time and resources, about the Don Siegelman case. The evidence is tape recorded, just like the violations of the Federal Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) against Ingram's law firm.

Not content with those lies, Ingram really becomes unhinged -- claiming I threatened to kill her, certain defense attorneys, and a federal judge? Where on earth does she get this stuff? In fact, it's like she's begging me to sue her for defamation -- and she might get her wish.

Perhaps this is the kind of behavior that got her in trouble with a Walker County judge. From the opinion in the Allred case:

Ingram's office is in Jefferson County, but she represents creditors in collection actions throughout the state. During the last several years, she has represented creditors in a number of collection actions in the district court. In May 2011, the district-court judge who had been presiding in those actions ("the trial judge") ordered Ingram to appear at a show-cause hearing on May 20, 2011. That show-cause hearing related to actions she was handling in general rather than the underlying action in particular. At that show-cause hearing, the trial judge stated, in pertinent part:

"THE COURT: Over the last two-and-a-half years there's a lot of times that ya'll either haven't had anybody here, or you have local attorneys, for whatever reason, and they don't know what cases they are here on, they don't know what's going on with the cases. And then what I do—well, what I started out doing is continuing those because I figured, well, mistakes happen and somebody got mixed up somewhere. As it continued to happen, I dismissed those cases. If there was a good reason why you missed, I would consider reinstating those cases. Now what I'm seeing is, nobody shows up. I have people that take off work, people that hire lawyers, they're here, and nobody is here on your side. I dismiss them and then I get a slew of motions to reinstate, which is further a waste of my time. You know, I'm ruling on everything two or three times because ya'll can't be bothered to come up here, and I'm very unhappy about that, Ms. Ingram." 
Ingram explained that she had arranged for a local attorney to appear on several occasions in the district court but that he had proved unreliable and that she would not be relying on him in the future. Ingram also apologized to the trial judge.

The following colloquy then occurred:

"THE COURT: Well, I'm not necessarily—

"MS. INGRAM: And it's not—

"THE COURT:—casting stones at anybody. And I didn't bring you over here to throw you in jail or anything like that. I don't think that's appropriate. I just want you and I to be on the same page on this.

"MS. INGRAM: I understand.

"THE COURT: If this continues to happen, here's where I am at. I want you to know so there's no misunderstanding.

"Particularly, in cases where I have other attorneys that are here and there's nobody here from your office, I'm going to entertain motions for attorney's fees on those cases. I'm going to start fining you if I feel like somebody has come here. A lot of these people can ill-afford to miss a day of work anyway. And if they take off work and come up here and there's nobody up here to prosecute that case, there's going to be some punitive damages—"

Ingram then failed to appear at another hearing, and she did not give the judge advanced notice. The judge found her in contempt:

Also on March 6, 2012, the trial judge had the Walker County Sheriff's Office send a deputy sheriff to Jefferson County to arrest Ingram. At the March 21, 2012, show-cause hearing, the Walker County deputy sheriff testified as follows. He met a Jefferson County deputy sheriff on the afternoon of March 6, 2012, and the two deputies went to Ingram's office. When the deputies arrived at Ingram's office on the second floor of a building, the receptionist told the deputies that Ingram was in the yogurt shop downstairs. When the deputies went to the yogurt shop, Ingram was not there, and the deputies asked an employee of the yogurt shop where Ingram was. The yogurt-shop employee telephoned an unidentified person. Upon concluding his telephone call, the yogurt-shop employee told the deputies that Ingram would come down to the yogurt shop in a few minutes. The deputies waited, but Ingram did not appear. The deputies asked the yogurt-shop employee if Ingram was coming down, and the yogurt-shop employee made a telephone call to an unidentified person but told the deputies he did not get an answer. The yogurt-shop employee later made another call to an unidentified person and reported to the deputies that Ingram would not be able to meet with them because she was meeting with a client. The deputies then went back upstairs to Ingram's office and told the receptionist that the yogurt-shop employee had told them that Ingram was in her office. The receptionist told the deputies that Ingram had left the office for a meeting. The deputies asked to search Ingram's office to verify that she was not there, and the receptionist allowed them to do so. The deputies did not find Ingram in her office. The deputies then left the building but stopped in the parking lot to have a conversation before getting into their automobiles. While the deputies were conversing in the parking lot, a man who identified himself as Ingram's husband approached them and asked the deputies if they were looking for Ingram. When they responded in the affirmative, the man either said that Ingram knew the deputies were coming or that she knew the deputies were looking for her, that she was not at her office, and that the deputies would not be able to contact her. The Walker County deputy then called the trial judge, who told the deputy to tell the man who had identified himself as Ingram's husband that, if Ingram would come with the deputy, she could get out of jail but, if she did not come with the deputy, the trial judge was going to be gone for a few days and the trial judge did not know when Ingram would get out of jail. The deputy relayed to the man who had identified himself as Ingram's husband what the trial judge had said. The man who had identified himself as Ingram's husband then walked off, and the deputies left.

The opinion indicates the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals let Ingram off the hook on a technicality. But the record indicates she ran into a judge who refused to let her run a debt-collection outfit in a shoddy fashion. That might be why Ingram's current Web site suggests she now is focusing mostly on tenant-landlord law and animal law, not so much on debt collection.

By the way, I'm not the only one to incur Ingram's wrath recently. In a Jan. 3 Facebook post, she attacked Lisa Sharlach, director of women and gender studies at UAB. It appears to have something to do with TGUBDW, but I can't figure out exactly what.

Angie Ingram seems to be engaging in erratic behavior that could lead to the two of us crossing swords in court again. When someone wrongfully accuses you of threatening to kill people, it's serious business.

It appears I might not be the only one who has grounds for doing battle with Ingram.

Below is a video that captures Ingram's debt-collection thugs committing multiple violations of the FDCPA. Having this or a related video thrown in her face probably is what got her pissed off enough to make all kinds of false statements about me.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Investigation of sexual misconduct on Capitol Hill is in the works, and our sources say it's expected to have a strong focus on U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer and Alabama

U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer (R-AL)
Two of the nation's most prominent newspapers are working on investigative reports about sexual-misconduct in Congress, sources tell Legal Schnauzer. The stories are expected to name names -- both of senators, representatives, and staffers involved and employees who were their victims -- and to have a strong Alabama angle. If the stories come to fruition, they could form the most explosive journalism to come out of D.C. in decades.

The brewing scandal was a major topic of discussion at a meeting of Alabama lobbyists and legislators in early January at Mobile, sources tell LS. In fact, it sounds like little substantive work got done because of the swirling scandal. For now, U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer  (6th Dist, AL) appears to be the most likely Alabamian in Congress to face scrutiny. He won a 2014 election to fill Spencer Bachus' old seat.  From our source:

Two weeks ago there was a lobbyist meeting in Mobile held to discuss the Alabama Legislative Agenda and what Candidates for State Offices and Federal Offices would be supported or Defeated. 
During this meeting 2 Major Alabama Lobbyists (that represent the 2 Largest money making businesses in Alabama) . . . made the comments that the NY Times and Washington Post were working on stories that would expose a large number of US Representatives and Senators as a part of the Sexual Assault and Cover Up Payments Scandal.

That's enough to get your attention, but then there is more:

This story will list names of Congressmen and show the amounts paid to each woman/man and the actual crime. One of those names was said to be Gary Palmer.

Gary Palmer may also be overseeing the fund. Gary Palmer has been accused by two women but the NYT and Washington Post have not released the story.

This will go much deeper.

This needs to go much deeper, and it needs to expose all the Alabama creeps in D.C., not just Gary Palmer. Stories of alleged sexual misconduct have been swirling around Palmer, going back to his days  as director of Alabama Policy Institute (API). This time it sounds like the stories might come with significant traction.

How ugly could all of it get? Just last December, we learned the following from The Hill:

In the backdrop of the Al Franken scandal is the recent revelation that Congress has its own special “shush” fund through the Office of Compliance to pay off victims of abuse and harassment. Those payoff amounts are no trivial matter. According to a recent Washington Post article, 264 complainants received a total of $17.2 million between 1997 and 2017. Before American taxpayers were even able to process the underlying scandal that our tax dollars have been misused to silence sexual harassment victims, we learned two new facts that further cast a dark shadow over Capitol Hill.

What are those facts, and how bad could they get for members of both parties?

The first revelation is that Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) allegedly sexually harassed women, including his own staff members. But this scandal comes with a different twist. Rather than use the designated “shush” fund, Conyers used his own office budget (again, all taxpayer-funded money) to pay off at least one woman, a former staffer who alleges the congressman repeatedly asked for sexual favors. To disburse the hush money, Conyers added her to his books as a “temporary staffer,” paid her the sum of $27,111.15, and then removed her from the payrolls.

A second, and closely related, scandal is the news that Rep. Raul Grijalva (R-Ariz.) used taxpayer funds to silence a staffer who claimed the congressman’s drunkenness contributed to a hostile work environment. Relying on the House Employment Counsel, the House’s legal counsel, Grijalva provided a “severance package” of $48,395. The severance package in question was developed and disbursed outside of the House Ethics Committee’s rules governing severance packages.

So in the span of a month, Americans have learned about three distinct “shushing” methods that members of Congress use to funnel taxpayer dollars to silence and pay off their accusers -- the Office of Compliance with its designated “shush” fund, the individual members own allocations for office funds, and the off-the-books severance packages orchestrated by Congress’s lawyers. And at the center of all of it are the laughably weak Ethics Committees in both the House and the Senate.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Robert Mueller interview with Jeff Sessions suggests Trump-Russia probe might be barging down 20th Street in Birmingham, thanks to Balch Bingham

Jeff Sessions and Robert Mueller
Robert Mueller's investigation of the Trump-Russia scandal might be marching down 20th Street in Birmingham, according to a Web site that is playing an increasingly prominent role on stories that involve the intersection of Russia, Alabama, and corruption -- an intersection that seems to be getting pretty crowded.

According the, Mueller's interview with Sessions almost certainly involved the softening of sanctions against Black Hall Aerospace, a Huntsville-based defense contractor.that has connections to Russia. The Birmingham firm Balch Bingham, Sessions's No. 2 financial supporter, did the sanctions work, and apparently wanted to keep that under wraps.

Sessions' announcement and rally in support of Trump reportedly was set for Black Hall Aerospace. But the location was changed to Mobile when word got out of's reporting on the Black Hall sanctions. The Balch law firm's Web site then scrubbed all references from its Web site about work it had done on Black Hall's behalf. made sure the Mueller team knew about Balch Bingham skulduggery related to Black Hall:

As we told Mueller’s team:

On or about March 2, 2017, after we had exposed them in our public education campaign, Balch scrubbed their website of all references to their successful lobbying in D.C. of changing Russian sanctions for Black Hall Aerospace. The website scrub not only created a cover-up, it magnified to what lengths Balch would go to sugar-coat the past. In addition, their [now former] top lobbyist in Washington changed his resume, removing all references to his success in changing Russian sanctions. What in the world is Balch hiding?”

From a post last week about the latest on the Mueller investigation, and its apparent ties to Alabama:

So did Sessions talk to Mueller about the Russians in his backyard and his cozy relationship with Balch Bingham?
Balch Bingham’s relationship with and lobbying efforts on behalf of Russian-linked, Huntsville-based aerospace company Black Hall Aerospace, Inc. a/k/a AAL USA, Inc. may be under a growing microscope.
In November of 2015, Balch successfully had Russian sanctions changed on behalf of Black Hall. As published, the sanctions “shall not apply to subcontracts at any tier with ROE and any successor, sub-unit, or subsidiary thereof made on behalf of the United States Government for goods, technology, and services for the maintenance, repair, overhaul, or sustainment of Mi-17 helicopters….”
ROE is the state-owned Russian defense conglomerate. 
According to our conversation with Thomas M. Countryman, the former U.S. Department of State official who drafted that exemption, the decision to make those changes to Russian sanctions came from either the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, State, or Defense.

How does this point to Jeff Sessions -- and likely make it of interest to Robert Mueller? explains:

As U.S. Senator, Jeff Sessions was a senior member of the Armed Services Committee and had a close relationship with the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD). Balch was Sessions' #2 lifetime contributor when he was U.S. Senator, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Did he or his staff lobby to have Russian sanctions changed directly with DOD after meeting with Balch lobbyists? Did Jeff Sessions or his staff ever meet with Soviet-born immigrant Oleg Sirbu, the owner of Black Hall, or his management team? Did Sessions or his staff open doors at DOD for Black Hall Aerospace or their lobbyists?

Exactly three months and three days after the publication of those changed sanctions, Sessions endorsed President Trump. Originally the backdrop was going to be at Black Hall, but was changed due to crowd size.

How was that original venue chosen? Who made the decision? What favors were they seeking?

As we mentioned before, Balch scrubbed their website of their success in changing the sanctions. Worse, Balch appears to have lied about their relationship with Black Hall Aerospace to

Black Hall Aerospace, Inc. a/k/a AAL USA, Inc. was allegedly once a subsidiary of AAL Group, Ltd. which is certified by Mil Helicopters. 
Talk about tangled affairs: Mil Helicopters was merged into Russian Helicopters, which is owned by the Oboronprom holding company, which is a subsidiary of Rostec, the state-owned not-for-profit with numerous holding companies and hundreds of entities under its belt, including ROE.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Lies my Missouri public defender told me: With Carol's freedom at stake in bogus "assault" case, Patty Poe cooked up some double whoppers, with cheese (Part 5)

Patty Poe
Trying to quantify the outrageous nature of lies Missouri public defender Patty Poe told Carol and me over the past four or five months is a difficult task. But on a scale of 1-10, the following lie about a key element in the "assault of a law enforcement officer" case against Carol probably ranks at 9.98.

Poe's nutty response grew from emails No. 4 and 5, in which Carol showed that both the Misdemeanor Information (MI) and Probable Cause (PC) Statement in her case were wildly defective, meaning the charges must be dismissed. (All of Carol's emails, plus Poe's responses, are embedded at the end of this post.)

Poe responded with the following drivel to email No. 4 regarding the defective MI:

The information is sufficient as to count I, it states: caused physical contact with Jeremy Lynn, a law enforcement officer without the consent of Jeremy Lynn by pushing him" and those allegations are contained in the probable cause statement. Often probable cause statements contain information that is not relevant or that is uncharged, such as the "barreling head first" is not charged. At trial, I would argue it is irrelevant and therefore should be excluded.

Here is how Poe responds to email No. 5 regarding the off-the-charts defective PC Statement:

Again, the probable cause statement and the information is sufficient to support count I.

In both of these responses, you will note that Poe resorts to one of her standard "literary techniques." She makes zero citations to law that might support her point. Even in the rare instances when she does throw in a citation, it's almost always wildly off target.

Why do the issues here matter? Taken together, the MI and the PC Statement are the charging documents against Carol. Under Missouri law, the MI shall "“[s]tate plainly, concisely, and definitely the essential facts constituting the elements of the offense charged." If done properly, this should fulfill the defendant's Sixth Amendment right "“to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation."

The PC Statement is supposed to provide evidence that supports the MI. Missouri law requires a PC Statement to set forth sufficient facts to "support a finding of probable cause to believe a crime was committed and the accused committed it." In short, a PC Statement is a document of facts, which is supposed to support the MI, which is a document of law.

In Carol's case, both fail miserably. As we have shown, the PC Statement includes numerous false statements, plus multiple omission of facts that point toward Carol being not guilty. Either shortcoming, under Missouri law, is grounds for the charges to be dismissed. But we have not even touched on perhaps the most grave shortcoming of all.

That goes back to Poe's claim that the MI and PC Statement are sufficient. Well, no they aren't -- not even close. That's probably why Poe included no citations to law to support her claim. Carol and I most certainly can cite law to show that both charging documents are deficient.

Our law comes from a case styled State v. Kirby (MO Ct. of App., 2004), which involved a detective named Kirk Rose, who swore in an affidavit about evidence pointing to alleged possession of a controlled substance. The affidavit stated that a "cooperative individual" had informed Rose that the defendant possessed marijuana at his residence.

This is almost identical to what happened in Carol's case. Debi Wade, author of the PC Statement, claims Carol made physical contact with Officer Jeremy Lynn by pushing him after he burst into our duplex apartment for an unlawful eviction on Sept. 9, 2015. Wade admits that she did not witness the alleged pushing incident but was "advised" of it by . . . well, we have no idea. Like the "cooperative individual" in Kirby, this person has no name or identifying characteristics. It could have been another cop, it could have been landlord Trent Cowherd or one of his associates, it could have been one of the thieves that serve on Cowherd's eviction crew (which helped steal almost all of our personal belongings), it could have been a ground squirrel out in the front yard. (The PC Statement and MI are embedded at the end of this post.)

The court in Kirby made it clear that the use of such an unidentified source, with no effort to corroborate the source's account, will not support a finding of probable cause. From the Kirby opinion:

In the present case, although the affidavit included facts which indicated the personal knowledge of the “cooperative individual,” there was no reference to any corroboration of this information by Detective Rose in the affidavit. Detective Rose did testify at the suppression hearing that he took steps to corroborate the information given to him; however, this testimony was not presented to the issuing court in support of the application for the search warrant.

Here, there was no discussion in the application or affidavits of Detective Rose's verification or corroboration of the information provided to him by the “cooperative individual.” Thus, there was no substantial basis for the issuing court's conclusion that probable cause existed to issue the warrant, and the trial court did not err in granting the motion to suppress.

Are there any signs of verification or corroboration in Debi Wade's PC Statement? Nope, not even close. That means Patty Poe, when claiming the charging documents were sufficient, was full of horse feces.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Federal statute and recent case outcomes suggest "Mr. Blue Shirt" could face serious prison time for breaking Carol's arm during our unlawful eviction in Missouri

A federal civil-rights lawsuit soon will be filed against the Missouri cops, landlord/lawyers, and others responsible for the unlawful eviction that ended with my wife, Carol, being beaten so severely that she suffered a comminuted fracture of her left arm.

We recently reported that such excessive-force cases can lead to both civil and criminal liability. Members of the Greene County Sheriff's Office (GCSO) who were involved in brutalizing Carol -- and pointing one or more assault weapons at my head -- likely know they are at risk for landing in prison. That probably explains the stonewalling on discovery in the pending "assault of a law enforcement officer" case, which was brought as a "cover charge" to impede Carol's efforts to seek civil justice.

If we are fortunate enough to receive a federal judge with integrity, the civil damages in our case could be substantial -- especially for "Mr. Blue Shirt," the cop who played the most direct role in breaking Carol's arm. But that might be the least of the worries facing cops who broke Carol's arm. Online research shows the threat of prison time is very real for cops who engage in "deprivation of rights under color of law," per 18 U.S.C. 242. This language from Sec. 242 should make a few sphincters tight around the GCSO:

. . . 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,

Missouri cops could be looking at up to 10 years in federal prison? Yes, indeed. And we've found a number of recent cases from around the country where cops wound up in the slammer for roughing up citizens and depriving them of their right to be free from the use of excessive force.

The most recent case comes from early December 2017 in Atlanta, GA, and involved an off-duty police officer who mistakenly thought a man was stealing a tomato at a Wal-Mart and used a baton to beat the man and break his leg. (See video above.) From a report at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

A now-retired Atlanta police officer was found guilty Friday in a case in which he beat a man accused of stealing a tomato at Walmart, Channel 2 Action News reported.

While off duty in October 2014, Trevor King, 49, severely beat Tyrone Carnegay after accusing him of stealing a tomato, for which Carnegay said he had a receipt in his pocket.

King was in uniform at the store on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard downtown when he stopped Carnegay, grabbed his shirt and started to strike him with his baton, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a December 2016 statement, when King was indicted on charges of excessive force.

King’s retirement took effect in January and a trial began in July.

The case caught the attention of the FBI after a mistrial that resulted from inconsistencies in the police report, Channel 2 reported.

King testified over the summer that Carnegay reached for King’s gun belt, but store surveillance footage failed to show any such action, the news station reported.

Charges against King included falsifying a police report and use of unreasonable force.

False police reports? Gee, that sounds familiar. Carol's case is littered with them. And prosecutors in her criminal case have been stonewalling on discovery for more than 10 months -- probably with good reason. What about other recent cases around the country where cops have been found guilty in federal excessive-force cases? Here they are:

Charleston, SC, December 2017

Officer Michael Slager was sentenced to 20 years in prison in the shooting death of Walter Scott. Slager pleaded guilty in May to criminal civil-right violations. Aggravating factors apparently led to a sentence beyond the normal 10-year limit. From a report at CNN:

At the time of the shooting, Scott was only the latest black man to be killed in a series of controversial officer-involved shootings that prompted "Black Lives Matter" protests and vigils.

Federal prosecutors sought a life sentence, arguing Slater, then a North Charleston police officer, had committed second-degree murder and also should be punished for obstructing justice by providing the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division with false statements.

Slager, 36, shot Scott five times in the back "for running away, simply for having a broken taillight," Jared Fishman of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division told the court in his closing statement this week. It's "time to call it what it was -- a murder," Fishman said, specifying second-degree murder.

As for aggravating circumstances, the statute gets serious. If a court finds cops tried to kill a suspect, punishment can 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.

Boynton Beach, FL, November 2017

Officer Mike Brown was found guilty of using excessive force in the beating of an unarmed man who was a passenger in a car that led police on a high-speed chase. The beating was caught on Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office helicopter footage, and the case included charges of falsifying records. From a report at the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel:

Brown faces up to 15 years in prison. The judge let the widower go home after the conviction to make arrangements for his 8-year-old son, who is undergoing psychiatric treatment after Brown’s wife died in October 2016.

Brown’s attorney, Bruce Reinhart, said the father of three also cares for his 72-year-old mother. His eldest son, who serves in the United States Navy, will likely take custody of his younger son while his 22-year-old daughter attends college.

Las Vegas, NV, September 2017

Former officer Richard Scavone pleaded guilty to use of excessive force and falsifying police records for slamming a woman's face into the hood of his patrol car. The incident was caught on video. From a Fox News report:

In a plea deal, Scavone, 50, admitted shoving the woman to the ground, grabbing her by the neck, slapping her head with his hand, then slamming her face twice into the hood of the car, FOX5 in Las Vegas reported.

He also slammed her into one of the car’s doors, the report said.

The woman suffered unspecified “bodily injury,” the indictment said.

The officer had become angry when the woman tossed her coffee at him after he told her to leave the area, FOX5 reported.

Scavone admitted knowing that what he did was against the law, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. He faces a maximum sentence of up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.

Chicago, IL, August 2017

Officer Marco Proano was convicted for a shooting that injured two teens. From a report by Chicago's NBC TV affiliate, Channel 5:

Police dashcam video captured the moment Officer Marco Proano fired his service weapon into a car full of teenagers the night of December 22, 2013.

Investigators found that he fired 16 shots in all, and a grand jury indicted Proano in 2016 on charges that he violated the civil rights of the teens – whose families already reached a civil settlement with the City of Chicago.

Proano was charged with two counts of unreasonable use of force, with each count carrying a maximum sentence of 19 years in prison.

The trial marked the first time in at least 15 years that a Chicago police officer faced federal criminal charges in connection with an on-duty shooting.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Missouri attorney Craig O'Dear, who appears as paying customer at Ashley Madison, announces exploratory committee for independent run at U.S. Senate seat

Craig O'Dear
A Missouri lawyer, who was a subject of our reporting on the Ashley Madison extramarital-affairs Web site, has formed an exploratory committee for a possible independent run at a U.S. Senate seat.

Craig O'Dear is a partner at Bryan Cave LLP and a founding member of the firm's Kansas City, MO, office. We reported on O'Dear's status as a paying customer at Ashley Madison in a series of posts from late 2016 (see here, here, and here). Our posts included extensive comments from O'Dear and from his ex-wife Stephanie O'Dear. At the time of our reports, the O'Dears stated they had reconciled as a couple, although they had not remarried.

Claire McCaskill (D-MO) currently holds the Senate seat that O'Dear has targeted. Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley is considered a prime contender on the Republican side.

Does Craig O'Dear believe Missourians are ready for an Ashley Madison customer at U.S. senator? We will seek additional comment from him, but so far, his timing seems a little off. O'Dear announced his exploratory committee on Jan. 10, the same day that Gov. Eric Greitens admitted to an extramarital affair that has sparked a criminal investigation, apparently based on allegations of blackmail and assault.

In his written comments for our earlier posts, O'Dear wrote all around various issues connected to Ashley Madison, but he did not deny being one of the firm's paying customers:

Mr. Shuler:

The article you have drafted and now threaten to publish conveys a false and misleading impression of people about whom you have little knowledge.

Stephanie was and is the love of my life. We were married in 1995, and legally divorced in November 2012. Many years prior to the effective date of our divorce, we ceased to be a married couple, and my marital obligations to Stephanie came to an end. I was not unfaithful in the marriage, and Stephanie never alleged in our divorce proceeding that I had been. Your draft article conveys an impression to the contrary. That impression is false.

Further, I have never at any time in my life been romantically involved with any woman who was married. Your draft article conveys a false impression to the contrary on that issue as well by highlighting the marketing tag line for the dating site you reference and implying anyone who might have used it did so for the purpose of engaging in an extramarital affair. The only possible purpose you could have to do this is to publish something you believe will draw traffic to your site, with an intent to embarrass and damage me and Stephanie and our children, both personally and professionally. During this difficult period in my life, whatever social activity I engaged in violated no marital obligations. My focus was being the best father I could be to my children and being the best lawyer I could be practicing law and taking care of my clients. If you took the time to interview anyone who has any personal knowledge of my life, you would know this.

O'Dear proceeded to describe the reconciliation with his ex wife, tossing in a few threats of legal action at me -- even though he could not cite any explicit statements in our posts that were false:

The good news in all of this is that in the Spring of 2014, Stephanie approached me and expressed a desire to re-establish our relationship and reunite our family. Unlike most of the stories of broken marriages, this one has a happy ending. We engaged in a process that achieved our objective, and Stephanie and I are again partners in life, living together with our children, and enjoying the blessing of all that entails. This is yet another point on which your draft article conveys a false and misleading impression, because you know nothing about the people and the family you seek to slander.

Stephanie O'Dear
I am copying Stephanie on this email. I told her of your communication to me. She has seen your draft "article" and she told me she had some comments to convey to you as well. You should refrain from publishing your false and slanderous "article." If you proceed to publish this false and misleading article, an act which is legally actionable, we insist you publish in full in the same article my response and Stephanie's response, which tells the real story of our lives and corrects the many false impressions your article conveys.

O'Dear has launched a campaign Web site, which looks top-notch, so he apparently is serious about this race. He already has drawn attention from Missouri's mainstream media. Bryan Lowry and Lindsay Wise wrote about O'Dear's plans at the Kansas City Star:

A Kansas City lawyer could shake up one of the most competitive Senate races in the country as he seriously considers running as a centrist independent against U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill and her eventual Republican challenger.

Craig O’Dear, a Kansas City attorney who has the backing of the national Centrist Project and has been quietly contemplating a run for a year, has launched an exploratory campaign committee for a possible independent bid for the Senate. O’Dear said Wednesday that he’ll make his official decision by the end of February.

The Missouri race promises to be one of the most expensive in the country and could determine which party controls the Senate.

Tony Messenger, a columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, also reported on O'Dear's political goals:

Craig O’Dear has an interesting sense of timing.

On Monday, television personality Oprah Winfrey dominated the political landscape after her Sunday night speech at the Golden Globes spurred speculation that she would run for president in 2020.

The next day, 85-year-old ex-sheriff Joe Arpaio, convicted of criminal contempt of federal court but pardoned by President Donald Trump, announced he was running for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in Arizona.

O’Dear, a Kansas City lawyer, is not a celebrity. Outside of certain trial lawyer and political donor circles, he’s not a big name.

But on Thursday he will be making a move that could make him one.

The longtime Republican is forming an exploratory committee to consider a run for the U.S. Senate in Missouri — as an independent.

“Our two-party system no longer serves the people,” O’Dear told me in an exclusive interview. “What we’re getting from it is division and gridlock.”

In one of the Senate races that will be most watched nationally, O’Dear, 60, intends to take on Democratic incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill, and whoever survives a three-way primary among Republicans, expected to be Attorney General Josh Hawley.

It is a Quixotic challenge, but O’Dear swears he’s not tilting at windmills.

“It’s not the first time somebody has told me I couldn’t do something,” says the partner at Bryan Cave. He expects to make a final decision about jumping into the Senate race by the end of February. And if he runs? “I absolutely believe we will win.”

Speaking of interesting timing -- and centrism -- O'Dear has ties both to Hillary Clinton . . . and Eric Greitens. He might want to be distancing himself from the latter in the near future. Writes Messenger:

In 2016, O’Dear donated to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

At the same time he was hosting a fundraiser at his home for Republican Eric Greitens, who became Missouri’s governor. O’Dear will always be grateful for the advice the former Navy SEAL offered his son, Cullen, now a sophomore at the U.S. Naval Academy. But Greitens’ political drift to the extreme ends of the Republican Party serves as a symptom of what O’Dear believes is wrong with the American political system.

“I’m not asking you to leave your political party,” he says. “But if you will support our movement to re-create a center, it will have the effect of moderating both parties.”

Monday, January 22, 2018

Daily Caller's shoddy journalism on Jessica Garrison's $3.5-million default judgment has its roots in reporter's racist and misogynistic background

Tucker Carlson
Thanks to The Washington Post's Erik Wemple, we know The Daily Caller's (DC) shoddy reporting on Jessica Medeiros Garrison's $3.5-million default judgment against me was not an accident; that's the kind of journalism you get when you hire "reporters" with training at a racist and misogynistic blog. We also know the DC and reporter Chuck Ross have connections to some dubious characters in the right-wing blogosphere.

All of this is timely because my wife, Carol, and I have two pending federal lawsuits -- "The Jail Case," involving my unlawful incarceration in Alabama, and "The House Case," involving the theft of our Birmingham home of 25 years via a wrongful foreclosure -- and Garrison is a defendant in both of them, as is her one-time boss and paramour, former U.S. Sen. Luther Strange.

Here is an update on the two lawsuits: Service is almost completed in district court (Birmingham) on "The Jail Case," and responsive pleadings are flowing in from defendants. Most will seek unlawful dismissal via the notorious "Twombly" and "Iqbal" heightened-pleading standards -- which do not even apply in the Eleventh Circuit, but defendants surely will lean on them anyway. "The House Case" is on appeal in circuit court (Atlanta), and it has been delayed by a technical mistake I made on our Notice of Appeal. I've filed a Petition for Panel Rehearing, and The Eleventh Circuit's affirmance should be overturned, followed by reversal of Judge R. David Proctor's dismissal (that's the Proctor who is super close to Trump AG Jeff Sessions). That, of course, depends on appellate judges in Atlanta acting with integrity and showing respect for black-letter law -- and that is a huge if. I soon will be writing about my mistake that caused a delay in "The House Case," although it should have no impact on the ultimate outcome of case.

As for Chuck Ross' wretched article on the Garrison judgment -- which flowed from her lawsuit about my reporting on her extramarital affair with Luther Strange, for whom she once served as campaign manager -- it's bad on more than a half dozen levels. Here is one indicator of biased reporting: Neither Ross nor the DC has attempted a follow-up on former Alabama Senate President Lowell Barron and his statements that Garrison and Strange, in fact, had an extramarital affair that had a profound impact on Strange's ability to function as Alabama attorney general.

Has Garrison filed a defamation lawsuit against Lowell Barron? The answer is no. Is that because she knows his statements and my reporting are accurate. The answer is, without question, yes.

What about the hatchet job Garrison concocted with the assistance of Marie Claire, a Hearst-owned fashion magazine? That exercise in defamation is one of the subjects in our lawsuits. Have Chuck Ross or the DC pursued any of these angles to the story? We've seen no sign of it. Is that because Jessica Garrison works for the DC? Probably. That's "fair and balanced" right-wing "journalism" for you.

What about other shortcomings in Ross' story on the Garrison judgment? We addressed them in a July 2015 post. First, we showed that Wyoming-based investment guru Foster Friess kicked in $3 million to help get The Daily Caller off the ground. According to online reports, DC founder Tucker Carlson also lined up sponsorships from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Mining Association (Drummond Company), and Southern Company (parent of Alabama Power). Garrison used to work at Alabama Power law firm Balch Bingham, until the Birmingham Superfund scandal started getting too close, so that might explain her ability to get her opinion pieces published at DC.

Ali Akbar's profile at Grindr
We also showed that Friess provided seed funding for the National Bloggers Club (NBC), a consortium of down-scale right-wing pundits, such as Robert Stacy McCain, Aaron Walker, John Hoge, and John Patrick Frey, along with Karl Rove's American Crossroads. It's not clear if the NBC still is functional, but it once was headed by a felon named Ali Akbar, who has a documented taste for criminality and trolling for gay sex. More on this scuzzy bunch in a moment. But first, from our earlier post, are just a few of the problems with Chuck Ross' piece on the Garrison judgment:

What kind of journalism does Foster Friess support? If The Daily Caller story is any indication, the journalism would have to improve to reach the level of shoddy. In fact, I'm not sure you can call it journalism at all, based on the following:

* The story does not mention that the $3.5 million was awarded in a DEFAULT judgment. That means it was not based on the merits of Garrison's claim; it was based on the fact I did not appear at key junctures in the case because I did not receive notice of depositions, hearings, etc.

* The story does not mention that I didn't receive notice because my wife and I were forced to move due to a legally questionable foreclosure on our home, right on the heels of my unconstitutional jail stay in the Riley case.

* The story mentions neither the foreclosure nor the wildly unlawful nature of my arrest, in violation of more than 200 years of First Amendment law. Is that because right-wing interests connected to The Daily Caller were involved in, or at least had advance knowledge of, both the foreclosure and the arrest?

* The story states that Garrison and Attorney General Luther Strange vehemently denied my reports of an extramarital affair. The story does not say that their denials came at a hearing where no opposition was present. It does not say that their denials came without any cross examination, with no depositions, production of documents, or any other form of discovery. It also does not say that Jessica Garrison's divorce file remains sealed in Tuscaloosa County, for no apparent lawful reason.

* The story refers to my reporting on Garrison and Strange as "flimsy accusations." Oh, but wait, Jessica Garrison works for the outfit that produced the story. Did Tucker Carlson's team reveal that to its readers? Nope. Can't get much more "fair and balanced" than that.

* Has The DC followed up with reports about my efforts to have the default judgment overturned? Has it reported on my Motion to Vacate, which cites numerous cases that show the judgment is due to be set aside? Has it reported that my motion drew no written response from Garrison attorney Bill Baxley? Has it reported that much of the Garrison default judgment is based on allegations regarding her son that I did not even report? Hah, are you kidding? The DC has ignored all of that. (After all, Jessica Garrison works for them.)

As for the National Bloggers Club, Foster Friess' other foray into right-wing "journalism," it apparently has collapsed from the weight of its own sleaze. And what a load of sleaze it was. (Note: The NBC's Web site says a relaunch is coming in July 2016, but it's not clear if said relaunch ever happened, and there appears to be no new content on the site.) From our earlier post:

President of the NBC, of course, is Ali A. Akbar, he of the multiple felony convictions and a tendency to troll for gay sex on the Grindr geosocial app. Akbar threatened a lawsuit against me for reporting on the contents of a letter that Alabama attorney and whistleblower Jill Simpson wrote to Robert Bauer, counsel for President Barack Obama's 2012 re-election campaign.

The Simpson letter included allegations that Rove and Akbar had engaged in a homosexual relationship. Simpson's investigation of the matter came after she received a copy of Akbar's Grindr ad, which said he was looking for sex with "men who are Republican, political, and love to discuss politics and philosophy." I don't know about the philosophy part, but Karl Rove certainly seems to qualify under the rest of that description.

Case law dating back roughly 45 years shows that Akbar had no valid defamation claim against me. But he enlisted Montgomery lawyer Baron Coleman to send me a threatening letter, dated October 26, 2013, which was three days after Alabama deputies beat me up inside my own home, doused me with pepper spray, and hauled me off to jail for a five-month stay.

For good measure, The Daily Caller also lists Ali Akbar as a contributor--and that brings us back to Tucker Carlson's little toy and the "journalism" it practices.

Speaking of Tucker Carlson, WaPo's Erik Wemple recently conducted a lengthy and contentious interview with the Fox News host. Much of that interview focused on Chuck Ross' background and other political/media topics. Carlson more or less closed the interview with this: "It’s great to talk to you! Call me any time, I’m always around."

If Wemple takes Carlson up on that, here are just a few of the follow-up questions that come to mind:

* Is Carlson aware that one of the DC's contributors, Ali Akbar, has a criminal record?

* Does the DC plan to write a story about Akbar's criminal record?

* What about Akbar's documented trolling for gay sex on Grindr?

* What ties did Daily Caller have to the National Bloggers Club?

* Does Daily Caller plan to report on Jessica Garrison's default judgment -- and the fact it is void, as a matter of law, and can be attacked as such at any time?

* Does Daily Caller plan to report on Garrison's exit from the Republican Attorneys General Association in the wake of a New York Times expose, plus her exit from Balch Bingham law firm amid reports of Luther Strange's ties to the Birmingham Superfund scandal?

* Will Daily Caller report that almost all of Garrison's default judgment is based on false assertions she made, under oath, that I reported Luther Strange was the biological father of her son -- when, in fact, I never reported any such information?

* Will Daily Caller attempt to have Jessica Garrison's divorce file unsealed and report on its contents?

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Lies my Missouri public defender told me: With Carol's freedom at stake in bogus "assault" case, Patty Poe cooked up some double whoppers with cheese (Part 4)

Patty Poe
How can one stand accused of a crime without an accuser? It can't happen, under the law, but it has been happening for months in the case against my wife, Carol, in Missouri.

And that is just one of many issues on which Missouri public defender Patty Poe has attempted to blow smoke up our fannies. In fact, we have come up with this question: How many different ways can a public defender lie to her own client? If you are talking about Patty Poe, of Greene County, Missouri, the answer is "a lot."

Poe represented Carol, for about six months in an "assault of a law enforcement officer case" (1631-CR07731 - ST V CAROL T SHULER at before bailing out in late November after prosecutor Nicholas Jain filed a notice that he was waiving jail time. For the first month or two Poe was on the case, she conned us into believing she actually had integrity and was representing Carol's best interests. But then came a string of lies about case and procedural law in the matter, telling us Poe likely was working for someone else's best interests all along.

In a series of emails to Poe dated Aug. 9, Carol showed that the prosecution had violated her rights under the Confrontation Clause to the Sixth Amendment. (See Email No. 3 embedded with Carol's other emails at the end of this post.) Poe, as we came to realize was her usual style, responded with a crock of garbage. (All of Poe's responses are embedded at the end of this post.) Here is Poe's short, not so sweet, and downright deceitful answer:

The Confrontation Clause only applies at trial. It does not apply as to a probable cause statement. The probable cause statement is sufficient to proceed on the charge, even if untrue. If we proceed to trial though. Capt. Jeremy Lynn will have to testify or someone else who witnessed the "assault." It can't be Debi Wade.

Is Poe's contention about the Confrontation Clause supported by any citation to law. Nope. That's probably because there is no law to support it. To be sure, the U.S. Supreme Court has left some murkiness in the Confrontation Clause picture. Here is how a 2010 Illinois Law Review article described it:

The Supreme Court has never indicated that a defendant has no right to confrontation prior to trial, but it is not clear that the Confrontation Clause applies in full force to pretrial hearings either.

As you can see, that statement hardly is a model of clarity. But two things seem clear: (1) Nothing precludes a defendant's right for confrontation prior to trial; (2) And case law indicates Carol, at a minimum, has a right (pre-trial) to know the identity of her accuser. As it stands, the charges against her are based on the word of an unnamed "ghost," which probably makes them what we call "sub-hearsay.

What is the Confrontation Clause. It's an extremely important component of American criminal law, so important that it is a bedrock of the Sixth Amendment. Here's how we described it in an earlier post:

What about Carol's Sixth Amendment right to "confront her accusers in a criminal case," which is known as the Confrontation Clause. In essence, it holds that if someone accuses you of a crime, you have a right to know who that person is -- and you have a right to confront that person via cross-examination at trial. Historically, the Confrontation Clause has been considered fairly important in the U.S. justice system; it prevents an anonymous individual from accusing someone of a crime and then hiding from the consequences of making an accusation that might be false.

But that is exactly what is happening in Carol's case -- and it suggests that word of the Confrontation Clause, proposed to Congress in 1789, has not reached outposts such as Springfield, Missouri.

For Carol, the Confrontation Cause is critical because there is no accuser in her case. Debi Wade, author of the Probable Cause (PC) Statement, claims Carol pushed Officer Jeremy Lynn as he burst through the front door of our duplex apartment for an unlawful eviction on Sept. 9, 2015. But Wade admits she did not witness the event, that someone "advised" her that it happened. It now has been more than 10 months since Carol's arrest and this "adviser" still does not have a name.

Poe claims it doesn't matter because the Confrontation Clause only applies at trial, not for pre-trial matters. But she could not be more wrong. Who says so? The U.S. Supreme Court. From our earlier post:

Typically, the right to confront your accuser involves cross-examination at trial, and Carol's case has not reached that point. But Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36 (2004), one of the best-known Sixth Amendment cases in modern history, makes it clear the Confrontation Clause goes beyond trial proceedings. From Crawford:

The text of the Confrontation Clause reflects this focus. It applies to "witnesses" against the accused — in other words, those who "bear testimony. . . . " An accuser who makes a formal statement to government officers bears testimony in a sense that a person who makes a casual remark to an acquaintance does not. The constitutional text, like the history underlying the common-law right of confrontation, thus reflects an especially acute concern with a specific type of out-of-court statement.

Various formulations of this core class of "testimonial" statements exist: "ex parte in-court testimony or its functional equivalent — that is, material such as affidavits, custodial examinations, prior testimony that the defendant was unable to cross-examine, or similar pretrial statements that declarants would reasonably expect to be used prosecutorially, . . . statements that were made under circumstances which would lead an objective witness reasonably to believe that the statement would be available for use at a later trial, . . . " Statements taken by police officers in the course of interrogations are also testimonial under even a narrow standard. Police interrogations bear a striking resemblance to examinations by justices of the peace in England. The statements are not sworn testimony, but the absence of oath was not dispositive.

We learn that at least three types of pre-trial statements are covered by the Sixth Amendment's Confrontation Clause:

(1) An out-of-court statement that "bears testimony," such as the one made by Debi Wade's "adviser";

(2) A pretrial statement that would reasonably be expected to be used prosecutorially, at a "later trial."  This includes an affidavit, such as Debi Wade's PC Statement, which included the statement made by Debi Wade's unknown "adviser;"

(3) Testimonial statements taken by police officers in the course of interrogations, even if they are not taken under oath -- such as the one made by Debi Wade's "adviser."

Missouri case law borrows from Crawford to drive home the importance of the Sixth Amendment and its Confrontation Clause. Clearly, Carol has a right to know the identity of her accuser and to confront him in pre-trial activities, such as depositions, interrogatories, and requests for production of documents:

The term "at a later trial" indicates the Confrontation Clause applies to pre-trial activities, including the filing of an affidavit, such as a PC Statement. For good measure, a Missouri case styled State v. Stewart (MO Ct. of App., 2009), borrows from Crawford to drive home the same point. From Stewart:

Finally, while "[t]he Sixth Amendment's Confrontation Clause provides that, '[i]n all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right . . . to be confronted with the witnesses against him,'" Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36, 42 (2004), that safeguard applies only if the out-of-court statement was "testimonial" in nature. The Court in Crawford did not give a "comprehensive definition of 'testimonial'" but stated that "it applies at a minimum to prior testimony at a preliminary hearing, before a grand jury, or at a former trial; and to police interrogations."

The statement made to Debi Wade was part of a police interrogation, and under the Sixth Amendment, Carol is entitled to know who made the statement and to confront him both at trial and pre-trial. And yet, the person's identity has been kept from her for almost a year. Here is a summary from our earlier post:

Bottom line: The Sixth Amendment's Confrontation Clause ensures that you cannot be accused of a crime by a "ghost." Your accuser must be identified, even in pre-trial documents, and that has not happened in Carol's case. It means she never should have been arrested (twice), incarcerated (twice), or subjected to any criminal proceedings.

Patty Poe's lies have covered a wide range of legal subjects, from her fantasy that cops were on our premises to conduct a trespass arrest, to Missouri's Castle Doctrine Law, to critical constitutional issues (with guidance from Poe's mysterious "friend"), such as the Fourth Amendment right to be free from unlawful searchers -- now to Carol's Sixth Amendment right to confront her accuser.

But we are not finished. There is more about Patty Poe's tendency to obfuscate -- putting her own client at great risk.

(To be continued)

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

As more audiotapes become known, Missouri GOP governor Eric Greitens faces evidence that he used state resources to help cover up a personal sex scandal

Eric and Sheena Greitens
The sex scandal swirling around Missouri Governor Eric Greitens has officially entered cover-up mode, with revelations that Greitens used a state-paid attorney to try to keep the story from hitting the press. If Missouri history is an indicator, that could be a sign that Greitens, considered a possible future GOP presidential candidate, is headed down a slippery slope that ends with a forced resignation.

As if the news could not get much more treacherous for the embattled former Navy SEAL, reports broke last night that the ex husband of Greitens' mistress has more audiotapes than had originally been made known to the public -- and he has turned them over to the FBI and state law-enforcement officials. On top of that, five GOP lawmakers in Jefferson City called on Greitens to resign.

The angle of Greitens using a state-paid attorney in an attempt at damage control could prove to be his undoing. From an article at

Before news of a scandal involving Gov. Eric Greitens broke on Wednesday, at least one of his taxpayer-paid attorneys was on an intelligence-gathering mission.

In audio obtained by the Post-Dispatch, an attorney who works in the governor’s office, Lucinda Luetkemeyer, is recorded speaking with St. Louis attorney Albert Watkins about the political storm that was brewing.

Watkins represents the man who has alleged that Greitens in 2015 took a compromising photo of the man’s then-wife and threatened to release it if she ever spoke of their affair.

It is unclear from the recording whether Luetkemeyer knew of those allegations.

“Can I just ask you this question, Al?” Luetkemeyer asks in the audio. “Is your client talking to anyone in the media right now?”

His client was talking to the media.

Watkins, who provided a copy of the audio recording to the Post-Dispatch, said the conversation occurred about 2 p.m. Wednesday. At 10 p.m., St. Louis television station KMOV-TV (Channel 4) first reported that Greitens, a Republican, had an extramarital affair as he was preparing his successful run for governor. Greitens has denied taking a photo or threatening the woman.

The use of public resources for personal business has serious implications:

The recording offered a behind-the-scenes view of the Greitens’ governmental team and how it was trying to gather information about the emerging story. It also raised questions, Watkins said, about whether taxpayer resources should have been used to help control possible fallout.

“I found it chillingly disturbing that she would make that call as a state-paid employee,” Watkins said.

Watkins said he did not tell Luetkemeyer that he was recording their conversation. Such a recording is generally legal in Missouri if one party is aware that a recording is being made.

Glendale Mayor Richard Magee, who has worked as an attorney for several St. Louis County municipalities, said state employees shouldn’t expend taxpayer resources on a public official’s private legal matters.

“That person should be working on state-related business,” he said. “This is a great example of a personal situation ... It has nothing to do with his position other than it may diminish people’s confidence in him.”

You don't have to go too far back in Missouri history to find another politician who paid dearly for using public resources for personal gain. Like Greitens, William Webster was considered possible presidential timber. But in the early 1990s, Webster became ensnared in a federal investigation:

The federal investigation of William Webster began in 1991. The U.S. attorney's office in Springfield received a tip about a land deal involving a partnership that included William, Richard Jr. and Sen. Webster [Bill's brother and father]. The partnership sold a financially troubled condominium development to a group that included Stephen Redford, a resort developer who had been investigated by the attorney general's office.

Then, prompted by several articles in the Post-Dispatch, the investigation turned to William E. Roussin, the St. Louis lawyer who defended the Second Injury Fund for the attorney general's office and collected campaign contributions for Webster.

Throughout his campaign for governor, Webster denied that he was under investigation, even though federal authorities had informed him in November 1991 — a year before the election — that he was a target.

Redford and Roussin pleaded guilty to federal corruption charges, implicating Webster as they did so. Webster hadn't been charged. By then the court of public opinion, in Missouri's Nov. 3 general election, had issued its verdict. Webster lost the governor's race overwhelmingly to Democrat Mel Carnahan.

Despite the $5 million that Webster collected for his campaign, he still shaved campaign expenses by using his staff and equipment in the attorney general's office for political purposes. He reluctantly pleaded guilty to that last week before U.S. District Judge D. Brook Bartlett.

Could Eric Greitens be headed down the same path as William Webster, also a Republican? The release of more audiotapes will not help matters. From an article at

An attorney for the man whose secretly recorded conversation with his wife exposed Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens’ extramarital affair last week says his client made additional recordings as well, and that he has forwarded them to both the St. Louis circuit attorney’s office and the FBI.

The attorney, Albert Watkins, didn’t specify that the FBI requested the previously undisclosed recordings, but he said there was an “expression of interest” by the federal agency about them.

Watkins declined to comment on how many additional recordings between the then-spouses exist, or whether the additional recordings involved any discussion of Greitens.

Greitens last week acknowledged he’d had an affair with the woman, his hair stylist, in 2015, as he was starting his run for governor. Greitens has forcefully denied a related allegation that the woman made to her husband: that Greitens took a nonconsensual photo of her while she was bound, blindfolded and partly undressed during a sexual encounter and that he threatened to publicize the photo if she exposed their affair.

The taking of nonconsensual photos of a person in a state of full or partial nudity is a Class A misdemeanor in Missouri, punishable by up to a year imprisonment. Some legal experts say Greitens’ alleged threat regarding the photo also could constitute blackmail or extortion.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Arrogance and self-centeredness are at the heart of sex scandal that threatens to bring down Missouri Governor Eric Greitens and his presidential ambitions

Eric and Sheena Greitens
The sex scandal that has rocked the administration of Missouri Governor Eric Greitens is less than a week old, so it's probably too soon to tell where it is headed; it is in the mode where new revelations come almost every day. The latest is that Greitens has postponed a statewide tour to promote a Trump-style tax overhaul.

If we can't see clearly about the Navy Seal governor's future, what about his past? What does that tell us about the roots of the sex scandal? Was it driven by a deep reservoir of arrogance that seems to have engulfed Greitens and those around him, for years? The answer appears to be yes, and here are three prime examples of arrogance in Greitens World. WTH

It's long been known that Greitens has presidential ambitions. But the general public might not know just how far back this goes. A trusted reader/researcher/legal resource found the following Web domain information the other day:

Registry Domain ID: 1563106540_DOMAIN_COM-VRSN
Registrar WHOIS Server:
Registrar URL:
Update Date: 2015-05-27T14:52:14Z
Creation Date: 2009-07-21T18:45:25Z
Registrar Registration Expiration Date: 2018-07-21T18:45:25Z
Registrar:, LLC
Registrar IANA ID: 146
Registrar Abuse Contact Email:
Registrar Abuse Contact Phone: +1.4806242505
Domain Status: clientTransferProhibited
Domain Status: clientUpdateProhibited
Domain Status: clientRenewProhibited
Domain Status: clientDeleteProhibited
Registry Registrant ID:
Registrant Name: Registration Private
Registrant Organization: Domains By Proxy, LLC
Registrant Street:
Registrant Street: 14455 N. Hayden Road
Registrant City: Scottsdale
Registrant State/Province: Arizona
Registrant Postal Code: 85260
Registrant Country: US
Registrant Phone: +1.4806242599
Registrant Phone Ext:
Registrant Fax: +1.4806242598
Registrant Fax Ext:
Registrant Email:
Registry Admin ID:
Admin Name: Registration Private
Admin Organization: Domains By Proxy, LLC
Admin Street:
Admin Street: 14455 N. Hayden Road
Admin City: Scottsdale
Admin State/Province: Arizona
Admin Postal Code: 85260
Admin Country: US
Admin Phone: +1.4806242599
Admin Phone Ext:
Admin Fax: +1.4806242598
Admin Fax Ext:
Admin Email:
Registry Tech ID:
Tech Name: Registration Private
Tech Organization: Domains By Proxy, LLC
Tech Street:
Tech Street: 14455 N. Hayden Road
Tech City: Scottsdale
Tech State/Province: Arizona
Tech Postal Code: 85260
Tech Country: US
Tech Phone: +1.4806242599
Tech Phone Ext:
Tech Fax: +1.4806242598
Tech Fax Ext:
Tech Email:
DNSSEC: unsigned
URL of the ICANN WHOIS Data Problem Reporting System: >>> Last update of WHOIS database: 2018-01-12T21:00:00Z <<<

You can see that way back in 2009, almost eight years before he took office as governor, someone saw Eric Greitens as presidential timber. The Los Angeles Times wrote about this the other day, in light of the emerging sex scandal:

Missouri Republican Gov. Eric Greitens courted controversy and touched off political disputes even before acknowledging an extramarital affair and facing bombshell allegations that he blackmailed the woman involved.

Greitens has been a rising star in the national Republican Party and a welcome partner for state GOP lawmakers, whose favored policies had faced a Democratic governor's veto pen until Greitens' election in 2016. He also seemed to have his sights set on even higher office, having secured the web address years before running for governor.

But he also made missteps as a first-time candidate and then as a freshman governor, raising questions in particular about secrecy.

Greitens acknowledged Wednesday that he had an extramarital affair in 2015, but he denies the blackmail allegations and is telling supporters that a St. Louis prosecutor's investigation will clear him.

Greitens and his wife focus on one family -- their own 

After acknowledging the affair, Eric and Sheen Greitens were stunningly self-centered in their public statements. Consider these words from Sheena Greitens:

“We have a loving marriage and an awesome family; anything beyond that is between us and God. I want the media and those who wish to peddle gossip to stay away from me and my children.”

It apparently has not occurred to Sheena Greitens that there is another family involved here -- that of Eric Greitens' mistress -- and that marriage broke up. Based on news reports, they have one or more children. So one term that could be applied to Eric Greitens is "home wrecker" -- although Mrs. Greitens only seems to be concerned with her own home.

A word of advice for Mrs. Greitens: Don't marry a man with gubernatorial and presidential ambitions and then say you want the media to stay away from you and your children. It makes you look clueless and wildly out of touch.

Snakes, vultures, liars, sociopaths -- oh my!

In early 2016, candidate Eric Greitens wrote an email to supporters in which he expressed an extraordinarily dark view of his opponents and Missouri's political climate. From a report by Tony Messenger, of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

“There is, obviously, something wrong with politics, and there is something particularly, deeply, disturbingly, wrong here in Missouri,” [Greitens] wrote in the message to backers. “I’ve never been in politics before, but even in the brief time that I’ve been running for Governor, I’ve been exposed to some of the worst people I’ve ever known. Liars, cowards, sociopaths. They are often deeply broken and disturbed people, who — like criminals who prey on the innocent — take their pleasure and make their living by victimizing honest people. They are drawn to politics as vultures flock to rotting meat — and they feed off the carcasses of vice.”

The future governor was just getting warmed up.

“The … most vicious punishment for the pathetic people who lower themselves like slime to slander, is that they have to live with themselves. They can hire people to praise them, slip cash to people who will tell ’em — like drug dealers pushing dope on kids — it’s ok, everybody does it. They can spend money to have other people tell them comforting lies. But I believe that, deep down, they know the truth about themselves, and they see it staring back at them in the rotted, bloated, self-serving soul in the mirror. ”

Greitens called them vultures. Liars. Sociopaths. Drug dealers. Criminals. Snakes. All in one email.

“They are corrupt in ways that I didn’t know people could be corrupt,” he wrote of those in his way.

Wow, that truly is a message of "hope." And we now know that had Greitens bothered to look in a mirror, he would have seen a snake smiling back at him.