Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Doug Jones was required under ethics rules to return unearned portion of $300,000 he charged Siegelman, but it appears Jones ignored rule and kept the cash

Doug Jones, with Don Siegelman and family.
When a lawyer withdraws from a case, Alabama ethics rules require him to return fees that were paid in advance and not earned. Evidence suggests U.S. Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) owes former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman a hefty sum in unearned fees from Jones' short-circuited criminal defense in the case that caused Siegelman to spend roughly six years in federal prisons.

Jones charged Siegelman $300,000 in advance fees, withdrew from the case before trial (because of a scheduling conflict on Jones' end), and our research indicates Jones never returned a dime of the money -- much of which apparently was unearned. That signals Alabama's newly elected senator, supposedly a "Great White Hope" for Democrats in the South, is a glorified thief. Our investigation shows Jones essentially stole money from Siegelman, while doing almost nothing to earn it.

The theft of so much money likely crippled Siegelman's efforts to obtain legal counsel, especially when former U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller (since kicked off the bench for wife beating) ensured a crooked trial and unjust conviction -- forcing Siegelman to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on appeals that should not have been necessary.

No wonder Jones has refused to answer questions from us about his handling of the Siegelman case. Who benefited most from the convictions of Siegelman and co-defendant Richard Scrushy? That would be then-Governor Bob Riley, who was assured a second term when Siegelman went to prison, via underhanded actions of Riley benefactors, such as GOP felon Jack Abramoff and the Mississippi Choctaw gaming operations.

That points to Jones' alliance with Rob Riley (Bob Riley's son) in a lawsuit against Scrushy and HealthSouth, which generated $51 million in attorney fees. Jones' share of those fees reportedly helped bankroll his Senate run, and multiple news sites have reported that an operative close to former Florida Governor Jeb Bush (who is close to Karl Rove, who is close to the Rileys) helped spread stories about sex-related misconduct regarding Jones' general-election opponent, Republican Roy Moore.

Is there any doubt Doug Jones owes Don Siegelman a lot of money? Well, this is from Rule 1.5 of the Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct:

Terms of Payment

A lawyer may require advance payment of a fee, but is obliged to return any unearned portion. See Rule 1.16(d).

That seems simple enough; Jones was obligated to return any unearned portion of $300,000. But Jones seems to get a case of lockjaw when asked about the Siegelman representation. Did Jones return unearned portions of the fee? How much was that? Can Jones produce time sheets that show how much time he spent on the Siegelman case -- and at what hourly fee?

When we presented the opportunity to answer such questions, Jones was less-than-forthcoming. Here is his response, and a video of the full discussion is embedded at the end of this post, along with a video about his cozy relationship with right-wing thugs Rob Riley and Paul Bryant Jr.:

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.

I encourage you to read Jones comments above, and listen to his tone in the video below, and see if you think that's the voice of an honest man. It sure isn't, to me. That's especially so when we have a decent record of what Jones did on the Siegelman case. It comes from Jones' 2007 testimony before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee.  Here are the sections from the 15-page document that give an idea of the "work" Jones did on the case:

From page 6 -- "My partner, Jack Drake, and I traveled to Montgomery in the spring of 2003 and met in the Attorney General’s office with Attorney General Pryor, one of his assistants, Ms. Weller,  and Mr. Scott. Again, this was a courtesy meeting and very little substance was discussed."

From page 7 -- "For the next year, the investigation continued. During this time we were attempting to do our own work, learn the facts and to keep up as to where we thought the investigation was headed. We had little contact with prosecutors in Montgomery during this time and my friend Bill Pryor leaves office in February following his appointment to the Court of Appeals." ("My friend Bill Pryor?" Cough . . . cough . . . Jones is not aware that Pryor was No. 1 on the hit parade of thugs who helped railroad Siegelman? Unreal.)

From page 8 -- "Other than an initial contact with the Government to make sure that they were not going to seek arrest and perp walk the Governor, I had nothing to do with the defense of the Birmingham case (involving Dr. Phillip Bobo)."

From page 8 -- "The matters in Montgomery were a different matter, and during the summer of 2004, we learned that a new team from the U.S. Attorney’s office was now in place to handle the Siegelman investigation and for the first time the Government was calling us with a request to discuss the case. There was also some sense of urgency because it was believed that the statute of limitations was about to run on a matter involving Richard Scrushy and Healthsouth, an issue which was being brought up for the first time.

"In early July 2004, my partner, Jack Drake, and I, along with another Siegelman attorney, Bobby Segall, met with the prosecutors to discuss the case. Included in the meeting was John Gibbs from the Attorney General’s office, Louis Franklin, the Criminal Chief in the U.S. Attorney’s office who was now, after Ms. Weller left the office, the Acting U.S. Attorney in the case, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Feaga . . . "

From page 11 -- "As the 30 day period (that extended the statute of limitations) was about to expire I had telephone discussions with the Assistant U.S. Attorneys. I can’t recall all of the specifics, but I know that we were asked to extend the statute of limitations for another 30 day period. I responded that Governor Siegelman would not do that, that the investigation had dragged out long enough, that the evidence was not going to get any better, that Nick Bailey’s credibility was not going to get any better and that it was time, as we say down South, for the prosecution to fish or cut bait. I was told that despite earlier concerns, the lawyers in Washington did not believe there was a statute of limitations problem, but that in any event they would make a decision within the month."

From page 11 -- "A month came and went. I started to call the U.S. Attorney’s office, but could not get any response. Two months, then three months went by with no substantive conversations with prosecutors. However, in October of 2004, a day or two after the trial started in Birmingham, the Government moved to dismiss all charges against Governor Siegelman after the Court made an adverse evidentiary ruling. . . ."

From page 12 -- "It was just about a month later, in late November or December, 2004, that my partner and I were able to have the first substantive conversation with prosecutors about the Montgomery investigation since our meeting in Montgomery in July. It was on a phone call that Assistant U.S. Attorney Feaga first apologized for not giving us a definitive answer any earlier as he told us he would do back in the summer. “But,” he said “we had a meeting in Washington and we were told to go back and look at everything again from top to bottom.”

From page 13 -- "In fact, as we continued to press for meetings in an attempt to dissuade prosecutors from bringing charges, we were told that any meetings would have to take place in Washington because Mr. [Noel] Hillman’s schedule did not allow time for travel to Montgomery. That summer, the summer of 2005, at least two meetings were held in Washington, D.C., at the Department of Justice. Because of a trial and other scheduling conflicts, I did not attend either of those meetings."

From page 13 -- "Some on our team, however, remained optimistic that the door was still open for us to convince prosecutors to close the investigation without charges and we felt it our duty to our client to keeping trying. So we pressed on with additional discussions in Montgomery as late as September and October.

From page 14 -- "I do not believe that discussions that took place over a series of months while sitting on a sealed indictment were in good faith. There is simply no way in my view that the Government would seek the dismissal of a sealed grand jury indictment. When a superseding indictment was finally returned and made public in October, 2005, it simply confirmed that we had not only been wasting our time . . . "

From page 14 -- "Because of a trial conflict in the spring of 2006, and the Governor’s insistence on a speedy trial before the June 2006 primary, I had no real choice but to withdraw as lead counsel. However, facing incredible challenges in sifting through mountains of discovery in a short period of time . . . "

What does this tell us? We learn that Jones engaged in at least two meetings with prosecutors -- the first with those from the state, the second with feds. Jones did not participate in two meetings that took place in Washington, D.C. Jones describes a series of phone conversations with prosecutors over a period of months, but indicates most did not produce substantive information. Jones says members of his team pressed for additional discussions in Montgomery, as late as September of October 2005, but gives no indication that such discussions actually took place. Jones eventually concludes that he and his staff had been "wasting our time" in discussions with the feds. After stating he withdrew from the case, Jones says Siegelman's new lawyers faced "mountains of discovery" to sift through -- suggesting Jones and his team did not do much discovery work.

For now, we can only guess at how much time Jones spent on these matters. But let's say the two meetings with prosecutors took 10 hours each, including travel time. It sounds like none of the phone conversations took very long, although there might have been quite a few calls, so let's give them a total of 10 hours. Jones says nothing about preparing motions or similar documents, but we'll give him credit for 10 hours of miscellaneous paper shuffling. It's not clear if anyone from Jones' staff attended the meetings in Washington, D.C., but we will assume at least one junior person did. That probably meant 12 hours of work time, plus travel and lodging, etc., so that could have gotten expensive.

Our calculations come to 42 hours, which likely is generous to Jones, plus travel and lodging expenses. Let's say Jones charged $400 an hour, which I would call an obscene figure for a lawyer of his limited skills, and a fair amount of work likely was done by subordinates who should charge less than that.

If my math is correct, 42 hours x $400 = $16,800. Travel and lodging might take the sum to about $20,000, and if you throw in a few mysterious charges that law firms are good at finding, you might reach a total of $25,000 -- and I believe that is being generous to Jones. I believe the true hours and fees involved in Jones' representation of Siegelman should be less than that. After all, Jones makes no mention of preparing motions or similar documents, he does not describe conducting legal research. His actions on Siegelman's behalf -- in Jones' own words -- were pretty darned limited.

Giving Jones the benefit of the doubt, we conclude that he used $25,000 of Siegelman's pre-paid fees -- meaning he owed the former governor a refund of about $275,000.

Could I be off in my calculations? Yes. What if Jones actually had legit expenses and fees of $100,000? I think that is very unlikely, but even if that is the case, he still owes Siegelman $200,000.

Doug Jones, as a U.S. senator, is subject to intense media scrutiny, and he should be asked about the fees he charged Don Siegelman -- and to produce documents that show he actually did $300,000 worth of work. If Jones can't produce such documents, it indicates he is more or less a thief, and he's not fit to serve in any public office.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Missouri prosecutor Nicholas Jain, who brought "assault" charge without probable cause against Carol, is doing the same thing in case of alleged drunk driving

The Missouri prosecutor who is pressing bogus "assault of a law enforcement officer" charges against my wife, Carol, is doing much the same thing in a pending DUI case. And how is this for irony?Prosecutor Nicholas Jain is a convicted drunk driver himself, and he spent two years on probation as a result. You might think that little imbroglio -- not to mention three years of law school, which he entered while on probation -- would have taught Jain something about probable cause. But apparently, you would be wrong.

When I say the charges against Carol are "bogus," I mean they were brought without probable cause -- to arrest her, much less prosecute her. Anyone can read the Probable Cause Statement in her case (embedded at the end of this post) and see that not a single named human makes any accusation of wrongdoing on Carol's part. That means there is no probable cause. Even Officer Jeremy Lynn, the alleged "victim" of a push from Carol as he launched an unlawful eviction, states in his incident report that he initiated contact with Carol, by grabbing her -- and under Missouri law, with the central element of the offense being who "caused (or initiated) physical contact" -- that means Carol is not guilty. That has been apparent since we learned about the charge in January 2017. (Incident reports from Lynn and other officers also are embedded below.)

The Greene County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, under the direction of Dan Patterson, seems to make a habit of bringing cases without probable cause. And Nicholas Jain seems to wind up in the middle of such cases. Patterson and Jain recently received an undeserved victory when the Missouri Court of Appeals overturned a trial-court ruling that a DUI case -- State v. Charles Hollis Roux -- was launched without probable cause.

We do not yet have access to the full file on the Roux case, but our preliminary research indicates the appellate court cut a huge favor for Patterson and Jain. The record before us makes it clear trial judge Margaret Holden Palmietto (who also is handling Carol's case) was correct to find the Roux charge was brought without probable cause -- and there was no probable cause to even administer a portable breath test (PBT) in the matter.

The record we have so far shows Deputy Jason Flora, while on routine patrol, stopped Roux's vehicle because it had a non-functioning tail light. After a brief discussion, Flora asked Roux to step out of the vehicle and submit to a PBT.

According to the case file, Flora reported smelling the odor of alcohol and stated Roux had watery and bloodshot eyes. Roux admitted to drinking two beers, and an occupant of the vehicle also admitted to drinking alcohol. Did the deputy notice anything else that gave him reason to believe Roux was driving while impaired? According to the record before us, the answer is no.

Dan Patterson
In fact, Roux's vehicle did not even have a broken tail light. He simply had forgotten to turn it on. Did Flora observe Roux driving erratically? Nope. Did he notice Roux stumble or slur his words as he got out of the car? Nope. Did a dash-cam video show that Roux was uncooperative in any way? No. Did the deputy administer any field-sobriety tests, other than the PBT, which measured .08 -- the Missouri minimum for intoxication? No.

At a hearing on a motion to suppress, at which Roux argued all evidence was unlawfully gathered without probable cause and was due to be excluded, Judge Palmietto granted the motion and pretty much eviscerated the state's case. Here is her notation in the docket at (State v. Charles Hollis Roux, Case No. 1631-CR00195.):


Is Palmietto's finding supported by Missouri law? Yes, it is. From a case styled Hinnah v. Director of Revenue, 77 SW 3d 616 (Mo. Supreme Court, 2002):

The trial court, in setting aside the revocation of Hinnah's driver's license, simply indicated that the arresting officer "did not have probable cause to arrest" Hinnah for driving while intoxicated or an alcohol-related traffic offense. "Probable cause to arrest exists when the arresting officer's knowledge of the particular facts and circumstances is sufficient to warrant a prudent person's belief that a suspect has committed an offense." State v. Tokar, 918 S.W.2d 753, 767 (Mo. banc 1996). Whether there is probable cause to arrest depends on the information in the officers' possession prior to the arrest. State v. Wiley, 522 S.W.2d 281, 287 (Mo. banc 1975). There is no precise test for determining whether probable cause exists; rather, it is based on the particular facts and circumstances of the individual case. State v. Pruitt, 479 S.W.2d 785, 788 (Mo. banc 1972).

Notice that there is no precise test for determining whether probable cause exists in a Missouri DUI case. It's left largely to the trial judge, based on the particular facts and circumstances of an individual case.

Here is additional relevant law, from a case styled York v. Director, 186 SW 3d 267 (Mo: Supreme Court, 2006):

The circuit court correctly noted that the only uncontroverted indicia of York's intoxication were the smell of alcohol, the fact that York's eyes were watery, bloodshot and glassy, and York's admission to drinking one or two beers. However, the trial court, in its discretion, was free to draw the conclusion that there was no probable cause based upon its assessment of this evidence and the officer's own equivocation of the existence of probable cause.

That's two cases -- Hinnah and York -- where Missouri appellate courts upheld a trial-court finding that probable cause did not exist in a DUI case. And the circumstances of both were very similar to those in Roux.

So, why did an appellate court overturn Judge Palmietto's finding in Roux, which clearly was supported by Missouri law? Our best guess is that the three-judge appellate panel (two of them Republican appointees) felt they owed Patterson and Jain a favor. They also probably reversed in order to earn political points, in an era where the public largely is disinterested in the facts and law surrounding a DUI -- or any other kind of case.

Given Patterson and Jain's habit of bringing cases without probable cause, they do not deserve any favors. In fact, they deserve to be investigated by the U.S. Justice Department.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Ashley Madison extramarital-affairs Web site is adding 20,000 customers every day, proving that the old adage "a sucker is born every minute" must be true

Ashley Madison, the Canada-based extramarital-affairs Web site that was at the heart of perhaps the most notorious scandal of the digital era, has recovered to the point that it now is adding 20,000 customers per day, according to a report at CBS News.

Most of us have heard the adage "a sucker is born every minute." Based on the latest data about Ashley Madison's customer growth, that must be true.

What do we know about Ashley Madison? It has a history of failing to protect customer data, leading to a 2015 hack by a group calling itself The Impact Team. The company has displayed an utter lack of integrity, admitting it used chatbots to lure would-be cheating males and then threatened to expose them when they complained; in other words, many of the available "women" on the site aren't women at all -- they are fake bots, designed to arouse easily conned men. Finally, the company reached an $11.2 million settlement in a federal lawsuit claiming widespread damages for customers who were exposed in the Ashley Madison hack.

Here at Legal Schnauzer, we have covered the Ashley Madison story more extensively and in more depth, than any other news site -- focusing on customers with high-end financial status, as reported in an article at

You might think a company that coughed up $11.2 million to compensate customers it had damaged would have a hard time finding new customers. But according to a recent report at CBS News, you would be wrong; Ashley Madison, in fact, is reeling in new suckers at an astonishing rate.

Focus of the CBS story was "Infidelity: Why the oldest taboo continues to be broken." For example, we learn this:

It's a subject as old as marriage... and usually more taboo than divorce.

"It is the only commandment repeated twice in the Bible, right? Once for doing it, and once for thinking about it," said psychotherapist Esther Perel, who has been studying infidelity for more than a decade.

"Ninety-three percent of Americans think that infidelity is morally wrong -- more morally wrong than cloning, than suicide, or than domestic violence," Perel said. "It's an interesting location for something that is not criminal, that is totally consensual."

The contradictions of unfaithfulness raise a question: why do so many people cheat?

These days, there's ample chance to examine the issue. In recent weeks, we've seen President Trump deny new reports of a affair with an adult film star and a Playboy model in 2006. Meanwhile, Missouri Governor Eric Greitens has acknowledged an affair with his hairdresser, and Nashville Mayor Megan Barry has apologized for sleeping with her bodyguard … which makes her part of a trend.

According to a survey by the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University, female philanders (19%) are catching up with their male counterparts (23%) for the first time on record.

The story focused on a woman named Kristie, and that led to . . . Ashley Madison:

Human beings such as Kristie, a mother of two, who asked that we not use her real name or reveal where she lives.

"I can't blame him and I can't blame me -- it's 50-50," she told Dokoupil. "We just didn't like each other. We got to a point where we just didn't like each other anymore."

"I was not looking for love, was not looking to leave my husband, was just looking for companionship."

Like many women, she resolved to stay in an unhappy marriage for the sake of her kids, until one night a few years ago when she also resolved to stray.

"I was sitting on the bed, and he said something to me very disrespectful, very hurtful," said Kristie. "And I just snapped. I pulled my phone out, and I went, 'Woman looking for men to have affairs with.'"

She ended up on Ashley Madison, a website that helps men and women pursue what's known as "married dating."

Yes, married dating.

The CBS reporters seemed flummoxed by the notion of "married dating." So they went to a supposed expert on the subject:

Who came up with that term? "I think it's been around a long time," said Ruben Buell, the president of Ashley Madison's parent company, Ruby Life. "A lot of this came out of singles dating, where you're on single sites, but 30-plus percent of the people on the site were married. So somebody took a category and created Ashley Madison."

Even after a damaging leak of user names in 2015, Buell says the Ashley Madison site is booming, with 20,000 new members a day.

A reasonable person might expect the doors to Ashley Madison's Toronto headquarters to be shuttered, with cob webs hanging from windows. But hey, the place is thriving -- even though it's proven to be a fraud, conning customers and threatening them when they complain.

If The Impact Team or similar outfit is so inclined, I'm guessing there will be another hack at Ashley Madison within the next couple of years or so. Our reports on the first hack regularly attract comments that disparage our coverage and express sympathy for the customers who were stupid enough to sign up with Ashley Madison. (Note: I've seen extensive evidence that many such comments are from automated bots, so like most things related to AM, they aren't legit either.)

Will the customers still rushing to sign up with AM merit our sympathy when (and if) a future hack hits the headlines?

They won't get any from me.

Judge Sibley Reynolds violated courtroom procedure in Charles Todd Henderson perjury case, meaning the guilty verdict should be overturned on appeal

Charles Todd Henderson
The judge in the perjury trial of duly-elected Jefferson County District Attorney Charles Todd Henderson communicated with deliberating jurors outside the presence of the defendant and counsel, sources tell Legal Schnauzer.

That is in keeping with Sibley Reynolds' reputation as perhaps the most corrupt state judge in Alabama -- and there is a lot of competition for that "honor." It also should force an automatic reversal of Henderson's conviction on appeal -- and it could lead to Henderson actually taking the office he earned with a victory over incumbent Brandon Falls in the November 2016 election.

It's a fundamental principle of criminal (and civil) law that a judge cannot communicate with a deliberating jury outside the presence of the defendant and counsel. How important is this principle? A 2015 case from Georgia provides insight:

Unquestionably the trial judge should not in any manner communicate with the jury about the case, in the absence of the accused and his counsel, pending the trial; and the better practice is for the judge to have no communication with the jury on any subject except through the medium of the sworn bailiff in charge of the jury; and the communication should be restricted, in the absence of the accused and his counsel, to matters relating to the comfort and convenience of the jury. There should be no communication which would tend in any manner to prejudice the accused ․; and unless the character of the communication clearly shows that it could not have been prejudicial to the accused, the presumption of law would be that it was prejudicial․ We state again: “[a]ll communications with the jury are to be discouraged except in open court with all persons present․ . . .”

This Court cannot sanction communications of a substantive nature between a trial judge and a jury outside the presence of the defendant and counsel in a criminal trial, and it should not do so in a civil trial as such actions are no less a violation of a party's right to be present during trial. . . . There is a personal element to the right to be present. The right is based not only on what the party can do to the case, but on what the case will do to the party. It is the party's interests that are being determined by the jury and the judge, and it is the party's life that will be directly affected by the outcome of the case.

Why did Reynolds violate such a fundamental rule? We can only think of one reason: He is a rotten, corrupt judge, and he's been treating the rule of law with disdain for so long that he probably has no idea how to handle a case in a lawful manner. And how about this for an oddity: There was no bailiff  on duty at the Henderson trial. Reynolds apparently took that to mean he could act as his own bailiff, handling communications with the jury.

Sibley Reynolds
The case against Henderson has been an enormous waste of taxpayer dollars from the outset -- not to mention an end-around past the will of Jefferson County voters, almost certainly orchestrated by individuals aligned with former governor Bob Riley and his oily son, Rob "Uday" Riley, big supporters of Brandon Fall, Henderson's opponent. (Note: Shortly after his election, Henderson made a public statement that he was going to focus as DA on public-corruption cases; three weeks later,  he was indicted for perjury. Hmmm.) Now, we have Sibley Reynolds adding to the waste by ensuring there a new trial -- assuming the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals applies the law, and that hardly is a given.

Jurors in the Henderson case reportedly had been deliberating for quite some time when they sent word to the court that they were not close to a decision. Reynolds visited the jury room, over objections from Henderson's counsel, and about 30 minutes later, jurors returned (several of them in tears), with a guilty verdict.

Sentencing in the Henderson case is set for March 8, and prosecutors reportedly are seeking six months in the county jail as punishment. That's ironic because prosecutors did not come close to proving guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and chief prosecutor Matt Hart surely knows that -- unless he's as dumb as a turnip. Now we know Henderson likely would never have been convicted without unlawful intervention by Judge Sibley Reynolds.

Will the travesty of a guilty verdict in the Henderson case eventually be overturned, replaced by a lawful not-guilty verdict, so the person who actually won the DA election in Jefferson County can serve as DA? That would involve achieving justice in the Alabama court system, and that never is an easy outcome to reach.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens is indicted on charges related to photograph taken during his extramarital affair -- and he could face up to seven years in prison

Eric Greitens mugshot

The sitting governor of Missouri -- a "family values" Republican, with presidential ambitions, and a spectacular biography that includes a stint as a Navy SEAL -- has been indicted on charges related to an admitted extramarital affair that became public last month.

Gov. Eric Greitens was booked earlier today on a felony invasion of privacy charge for allegedly taking and transmitting a non-consensual photo of his partly-nude lover shortly before his campaign for governor started, according to a report at

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly M. Gardner's office announced the indictment Thursday afternoon. A Post-Dispatch reporter saw Greitens being led down a hallway by several St. Louis city deputies on the first floor of the Carnahan Courthouse in downtown St. Louis at about 3:45 p.m. Officials later confirmed Greitens had been taken into custody and then booked at the St. Louis Justice Center.

Greitens, a Republican, declared his innocence in a written statement, and alleged the indictment is a "misguided political decision" by a "reckless liberal prosecutor." Gardner is a Democrat.

Greitens' legal team immediately filed a motion to dismiss the indictment, on grounds that any activity Greitens engaged in was "consensual."

Judge Rex M. Burlison allowed Greitens' release on a personal recognizance bond that permits him to travel freely throughout the United States. Greitens was scheduled to travel to Washington this weekend for an annual meeting of the nation’s governors.

Online court records indicate Greitens is due back in court on March 16.

Members of the Missouri House, which is led by Republicans, released a statement that they will conduct a joint investigation of the allegations against Greitens. The statement noted that any impeachment proceedings would begin in the House.

Circuit Attorney Gardner explained the legal grounds for the indictment. From

Gardner, in her statement announcing the indictment, said the grand jury found probable cause to believe Greitens violated a Missouri statute that makes it a felony if a person transmits the image contained in the photograph or film in a manner that allows access to that image via a computer.

"As I have stated before, it is essential for residents of the city of St. Louis and our state to have confidence in their leaders," Gardner said in the statement.

Earlier reports indicated Greitens took the photo and then erased the image. But today's indictment suggests his actions went much further than that. It also suggests Greitens lied to the public:

Gardner's written statement Thursday indicates there is now an allegation that he did in fact "transmit" the image at some point.

"This statute has a provision for both a felony and misdemeanor," Gardner said in her statement. "The law makes it a felony if a person transmits the image contained in the photograph or film in a manner that allows access to that image via a computer."

Under Missouri law, the crime of “invasion of privacy” includes creating “an image of another person” by any means, “without the person’s consent, while the person is in a state of full or partial nudity and is in a place where one would have a reasonable expectation of privacy.”

That offense alone — taking a compromising photo without a person’s consent, even without disseminating it or threatening to — is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail.

Invasion of privacy becomes a felony offense in Missouri if the person taking the nonconsensual picture subsequently "distributes the image to another or transmits the image in a manner that allows access to that image via computer." In that case, the crime is a Class E felony, punishable by up to four years in prison.

Vox News reports that the offense could be a Class D felony, which carries a term of up to seven years in prison.

The Kansas City Star has called for Greitens to step aside, at least temporarily:

We are not yet prepared to call for the governor to resign. But he should seriously consider declaring to the legislature — as allowed by the state constitution — that he is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”

Lt. Gov. Mike Parson would then serve until the case is resolved.

We take no joy in writing this recommendation. But Missourians deserve a full-time governor devoted to their welfare, not one focused on a felony accusation in court.

Greitens can blame no one but himself for this problem. He must make the problem his own and figure out a way to protect Missourians from the impact of his unacceptable behavior.

Birmingham civil-rights lawyer Chevene Hill wants info about his professional background removed from post re: status as a customer at Ashley Madison

Chevene Hill
When we left Birmingham civil-rights attorney Chevene Hill, he was denying having paid for an account at Ashley Madison, threatening me with a cease-and-desist order, and asking me to call him.

I did call him, and Hill said little about his name appearing on the list of paying Ashley Madison customers for Alabama. He did try to rework the draft of an article I sent him, namely by asking me to remove his picture, remove any references that he went to Miles College School of Law, and remove any references that he used to work at NBC 13.

All of that information is on the Web and is easily available to anyone who wants to look for it. I told Hill that his background information was relevant to the story, and I likely was not going to remove it. Hill was not too pleased with that response, and a circuitous conversation ensued, including some language you don't generally hear in church.

Ultimately, Hill promised to send me a comment for my post via email, but I never received one.  Our back-and-forth was one of the more interesting experiences I've had in reporting on 45 to 50 posts about Ashley Madison customers. Here are the highlights:

Chevene Hill (CH): "I know I can't stop you from running it, but there are some things I would like you to take out of it. Any reference to Miles College and any reference to NBC 13, that needs to come out of it.

Roger Shuler (RS): "I've got your request, but journalistically, I can't think of any reason to take those out."

CH: "Journalistically, they have no relevance to anything you're trying to talk about. If you're going to play the journalism card, let's be responsible. Don't start this shady bullshit; you just want to run it for the hell of it. . . . My resume has nothing to do with whatever it is you're trying to report on.

RS: That's your take on things. I don't agree with it.

CH: You tell me how . . .

RS: I'm asking you for a comment. In any news story . . .

CH: No, I'm not going to let you dance around it. I asked you a direct question. How does my background have anything to do with your story?

RS: It gives people an idea of who you are. If I write an article about Donald Trump, his background is important.

CH: I'm not Donald Trump, I'm not the president. My work history and law school has nothing to do with it. What kind of comment do you want? I'll work with you if you work with me.

RS: It can be whatever comment you want to make.

CH: This bullshit isn't journalism. You didn't call me before you ran this.

RS: I haven't run it. I'm calling you pre-publication.

CH: I will work with you and give you some type of statement. It has to be edited. I don't want my picture in it, and I don't want this stuff about law school and NBC 13 in there.

RS: I understand your request, but I don't agree with it. The information is on the Internet and on your LinkedIn page, so it's public information.

CH: If I have to file some kind of invasion of privacy . . . I don't want to spend the money on it. But if I got to, I got to.

RS: I can't give you any advice there.

CH: If you're going to run it, take the NBC 13 out. I wasn't a lawyer back then.

RS: I hear you, but I can't promise that. I think it's relevant to the story.

CH: As I said before, I don't recall being on this goddamned site, so what am I supposed to comment on.

RS: I don't know. You don't have to comment at all.

CH: You're the journalist, quote unquote, ask the question. What am I commenting on, that this is bullshit?

RS: If that's what you want to say . . . . I can't put words in your mouth.

CH: You're really terrible. This is bullshit, first of all. I'm trying to work with you, man. Ask me a question, maybe I can answer it. You're just trying to paint a picture of these lawyers being out there on Ashley Madison. I'm asking you to ask me a legitimate question. You're trying to slander me, for whatever reason, to get hits on your fucking blog. Basically, that's what you're trying to do.

RS: That's your take, it's not accurate. The question is, "Were you on Ashley Mad . . .

CH: Why am I involved in it?

RS: Your name shows up on the list of Ashley Madison . . . that's just fact. If you think somebody put you on there by mistake, maybe you need look into that.

CH: What is your story about?

RS: Did you read the draft I sent you?

CH: I see all my information on here, and what the hell does that have to do with anything. What's the point?

RS: If you feel there's no point, feel free to make that comment.

CH: I'll give you a comment.

RS: You can see what the story says.

CH: I'm going to say this as a professional courtesy: You suck as a journalist, Roger. I'll give you a comment.

RS: I can't put words in your mouth.

CH: Where do I send my comment.

RS: Back to this email.

CH: I'll send it, I sure will. 
RS: Good, thanks.

Did Hill send a written comment via email, as he promised? If he did, I didn't receive it -- and he had my email address. I have to give him credit for an interesting dialogue, although I still have no idea why he's so sensitive about Miles Law School and NBC 13? Furthermore, I can't figure what made him think it's a good idea to try to tell a journalist how to write a story.

For those who might engage in public-relations careers, here are three big no-nos: (1) Never try to tell a journalist how to write a story; (2) Never insult a journalist; (3) Journalists tend to be foul-mouthed creatures, but it's best not to use foul language with them; (4) Don't threaten journalists with cease-and-desist orders and invasion of privacy lawsuits; most journalists have taken courses in communications law, and such threats are not likely to impress them -- or scare them.

In short, Mr. Hill could use some help with his PR game. I have no idea if he is a good, bad, or indifferent lawyer -- but as a professional courtesy, I can say he kind of sucks as his own spokesperson.

Our experience, plus recent excessive-force cases around the country, suggest Troy, AL, cops probably falsified reports in KeAndre Wilkerson beating

KeAndre Wilkerson

Much remains unknown about the late December police beating of Troy, Alabama, teen KeAndre Wilkerson. But our experience, plus findings in several 2017 civil-rights criminal cases that grew out of similar events, suggest you can almost count on one thing: Cops engaged in dishonest behavior while trying to cover up their dirty deeds.

We recently reported on five excessive-force cases that resulted in convictions or guilty pleas for law-enforcement officers (LEOs) across the country -- and three of them involved falsifying of police records. Our experience here in Missouri -- where cops brutalized my wife Carol so severely during an unlawful eviction in September 2015 that they broke her left arm into more than three pieces -- follows that path.

Investigative reports, obtained for Carol's defense in the bogus "assault of an LEO" charges against her, are filled with lies or intentional efforts to withhold evidence -- the kind that should send several cops to state or federal prison. But we will narrow it to just two examples that show how desperate cops can get when they know they are in big trouble for excessive force:

(1) The 911 call I never made

Deputies from the Greene County Sheriff's Office (GCSO) brought roughly six to eight officers and multiple assault rifles and other weaponry to our eviction. Their explanation was that I had placed a 911 call, threatening to take physical action against anyone who tried to evict us.

That story apparently originated with Deputy Scott Harrison, via a communication with my lawyer-brother David Shuler. This is from a September 2016 post on the subject:

But let's examine the more important issue: Numerous readers and friends have asked me, "Why did the Missouri cops enter your apartment like a SWAT team, and with an attitude that led to Carol's arm being broken?" David's e-mail, I think, helps explain that. Here it is:

Roger: Per your request and your threat to sue me, I am doing my best to stay out of your business. As a good faith effort to stay out of your business, I would appreciate it if you would not respond to this e-mail. A deputy called me today and asked me to have you contact him. He said he posted the notice to vacate on the Cowherd property. He also said he was concerned because his dispatch contacted him and said you had called 911 and threatened to shoot anyone coming on the premises to get you out. I certainly hope that you did not really do that, but he asked me to make you aware that they take such threats seriously and that you are setting up a potentially dangerous situation. He stressed to me that he would like to help you find housing and that he did not want you or anyone else to get hurt. His name is deputy Harrison and his phone number is 501-6092. He is very concerned and stressed to me that he did not wish for you or anyone else to get hurt.

So that established the myth that I had made a threatening call to 911. Except that the cops' own investigative reports show I never made any such call. The call came from an administrator at Burrell Behavioral Health, and his information came from . . . both of my brothers, Paul and David Shuler, From a post on the subject:

Do the documents provide any evidence that I actually communicated an unlawful threat to anyone? Nope. But officers used information based on fourth- or fifth-hand hearsay to justify barging into our home and pointing assault rifles and pistols at us. . . . 

In other words, an individual from Burrell Behavioral Health and my brothers (Paul and David) damned near got us killed.

Records show that the 911 call came at about 10:22 a.m. on Aug. 12, 2015, from a Burrell Health case manager named Joshua Davis. Here is the key note regarding the call:

CLR (caller) is a Burrell case manager. SUS (suspect) threatened to shoot anyone who came to evict them. There is an eviction notice on the door.

SUS: DOB 1956. MW, 55-60, gray hair, he owns a gun, prescription medication for PTSD and depression. Last spoke to Roger on 8/4/15. Roger's relatives called Josh with Burrell to report threats. Burrell made a Dept. of Health and Senior Services on (sic) 8/7/15

Roger's phone number is 205-381-5673.

So, did I place a threatening call to 911, as a Missouri cop claimed? Nope. The call came from a Burrell Health case manager and was based on fourth- or fifth-hand hearsay that had nothing to do with me. How riddled with inaccuracy is this report? It said I owned a gun. Is that true? Nope.

Don't be surprised if a similarly outrageous lie surfaces in the KeAndre Wilkerson story.

(2) A female cop claims Carol "barreled, head first" into her

Here is what Officer Debi Wade claims happened in the moment before her colleagues body slammed Carol to the ground and yanked viciously on her limbs in a motion that broke her left arm:

Just as she appeared to be getting into the passenger side door to the car, [Carol] started screaming that she needed her cat's litter box. I was trying to tell her that I would go back into the residence for it, when she suddenly took off on a dead run toward the front door of the residence. Knowing that Deputy Harrison would be exiting that door at any moment, I feared that she would catch him off guard, so I jogged up behind Carol and attempted to tell her I would get the litter box for her. Just as I caught up to her, she suddenly pivoted and barreled into me head first. I was caught off guard, and as my left arm automatically came up to block my face in a reactive manner, I automatically turned my body to my right in an attempt to blade my gun side away from her while I regained my footing. At this time both Lt. [Christian] Conrad and Deputy Harrison came in from either side to secure Carol's arms and place her in handcuffs.

By "secur[ing] Carol's arms," Wade means "breaking Carol's arm" -- and we think it's likely that an officer other than Conrad and Harrison, an officer who remains identified only as "Mr. Blue Shirt" to us, was involved.

Did such a "barreling head first" incident actually happen? Of course not, as anyone who has ever known Carol could attest. Here's how I explained it in an earlier post:

A Missouri deputy claims in a Probable Cause (PC) Statement that my wife, Carol, "barreled into [her] head first" in the moments before another officer broke Carol's arm during an unlawful eviction in September 2015. The claim, from deputy Debi Wade, is preposterous -- and it apparently was designed to buttress a bogus "assault on a law enforcement officer" charge against Carol, which led to her arrest in January.

I use the term "preposterous" to describe Wade's claim for two reasons: (1) She places the "barreling" event near the front door of our duplex apartment, and I saw everything that happened in that area, from the front seat of our car, parked about 15 feet away in the driveway. Carol never initiated contact with Wade, and I never saw Wade make contact with Carol, unless it was to help her off the ground after another officer had body slammed Carol and broken her left arm by yanking on both arms in an upward and back motion; (2) Greene County Prosecuting Attorney (PA) Dan Patterson apparently does not believe Wade's account because, in his Misdemeanor Information (MI) filed with the court, he charged Carol with only one count of assault on an officer -- and that allegedly was against a male officer named Jeremy Lynn, and it was inside our apartment, just as officers had thrust open the door.

Carol is not charged with assaulting Wade, so one has to wonder why Wade included false information that even the PA does not believe -- or at least, he does not believe it amounted to a criminal offense. It also raises questions about Wade's credibility, especially when you consider all the other hokum in her PC Statement.

Yes, Wade's story was so wild that even a prosecutor apparently did not believe it, so Carol is not charged with the "barreling" business. (Probable Cause Statement and Misdemeanor Information are embedded at the end of this post.) I know it didn't happen because I saw the whole thing from about 15 feet away. And with multiple cop cars on the scene, it's likely at least one dash cam caught the incident on video, which will prove Debi Wade is a liar of the most foul variety. And she could face criminal charges for that.

When the lies start flying in the KeAndre Wilkerson case, don't be surprised if they get so wild that you are forced to suspend belief.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Nicholas Jain stays silent about dropped charge and breath score in his DUI case, plus on questions about drugs, his pilot's license, and political connections

Nicholas Jain
Missouri prosecutor Nicholas Jain had shown a tendency to appear transparent about the drunk-driving conviction in his background, while carefully avoiding certain questions related to it. That trend continued as we posed a few follow-up questions.

Public records at (11BA-CR00648 - ST V NICHOLAS DAVE JAIN) leave quite a few questions unanswered. So we sought answers to those questions via an email to Jain. (Links to previous posts in our serious are here, here, here, and here.)

Mr. Jain:

Court records indicate that you were required to pay into a victim's fund. Was a person injured, or his property damaged, as part of your DUI? Records also suggest a charge was dropped, with you pleading guilty to DUI. What was the dropped charge? If you took a breathalyzer test, what was the score on that?

Thank you,

Roger Shuler

Here is Jain's response:

No one was injured and there was no property damage. Most criminal cases require a civil judgment to be paid to the Crime Victim's Compensation Fund. In this case it was $10.

You will notice that Jain's response did not address all the questions posed. So we responded with this:

What was the dropped charge, and what was your breath score?

How did Jain respond? With silence.

We still had a few questions, so we sent one more email:

Mr. Jain:

I have a few follow-up questions:

(1) Public records show you were ordered "not to enter a private motor vehicle after consuming intoxicants and to submit to a chemical test at the request of any law enforcement officer." You were to "reimburse any law-enforcement agency for laboratory charges related to drug testing." Were drugs involved in your DUI?

(2) You appear to be using an MU student e-mail address? Why?

(3) You appear to have a pilot's license. Was your drunk-driving record disclosed to authorities who oversee such licenses? Is it routine for a convicted drunk driver to be given the license to fly an airplane? Here is public information about your pilot license:


Medical Class 3 (Expires: Nov 2018)

Address: 1033 E KINGSBURY ST, Springfield city, MO 65807

Pilot License: Private - Airplane Single Engine Land

Since you've proven you have problems with the responsibility of driving a motor vehicle, how is the public suppose to feel about the fact you've been given authority to fly airplanes?

(4) You seem to be granted courtesies that others in your position would not receive? Do you have special political connections, maybe because your father is a doctor? Do you have supporters among politicians from your home area around Kennett? Has your father made donations to any politicians in the Kennett area? If so, who are they and would you please identify them? Who were your references on applications you've filed for various educational and professional pursuits?

Nicholas Jain did not answer our questions about the dropped charge and his breath-test score. He did not address any of the issues raised in questions 1-4.

How to sum this up? Jain was quick to say that no one was injured and there was no property damage as a result of DUI. But other questions -- whether he disclosed his DUI to authorities who oversee pilot's license, whether drugs were involved in his DUI -- went untouched.

Certain issues connected to the drunk-driving offense seem to be sensitive for Mr. Jain. A reasonable person might say, "I wonder why that is?"

We intend to find out.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Whistle-blowing blog in Morgan County, AL, has helped bring down Sheriff Ana Franklin, who has a federal lawsuit and FBI investigation hot on her trail

Ana Franklin
An Alabama sheriff, with an apparent tendency to violate the public trust, has announced she is not running for re-election. The public can thank a small-town blog for that, and it's another example of the Web press' power in the Heart of Dixie, whether the site is located in Birmingham or a north Alabama burg of fewer than 15,000 people.

Legal Schnauzer has helped bring down or neuter a number of prominent political figures, including "Luv Guv" Robert Bentley,  Bentley aide Rebecca Caldwell Mason, U.S. Sen. Luther Strange, and federal judges Mark Fuller and Bill Pryor. But we can't take any credit for the exit of Morgan County Sheriff Ana Franklin, the only female sheriff in the state. All of the credit for that goes to, a blog published by Glenda Lockhart, of Hartselle.

Ana Franklin was elected sheriff of Morgan County in 2010 and soon developed a reputation for playing fast and loose with public funds and playing rough with critics of her office. One of those critics was Glenda Lockhart, and her persistent reporting on Franklin's dubious actions led to a recent announcement that Franklin would not stand for re-election when her term expires in 2019. From an report on Franklin's decision to step down:

Ana Franklin, the only woman in Alabama currently serving as a county's top cop, is not running for re-election.

Franklin was first elected Morgan County Sheriff in 2010, taking office the following January. She plans to serve the remainder of her second term, which ends in January 2019.

"Today is a difficult day for me and comes only after endless hours of painful, deliberate thought and constant prayer over this decision," Franklin said in a video message posted to her Facebook page today. I have decided that I will not be seeking a third term as your sheriff.

"I am truly honored and blessed to have been given this opportunity to serve the people of my county," Franklin continued. "I love Morgan County and the people I work with. I love the office of sheriff and what that office means to the people."

How nasty has the environment become in Morgan County? As notes, even The New York Times has taken notice, with a piece last December about a federal investigation that revolves around Franklin:

Franklin's seven years in office haven't come without controversy. Most notably, Franklin was found in contempt of court last year because she loaned $150,000 of the jail's inmate feeding funds to a crooked used car lot. She's the subject of a federal investigation, as reported recently in The New York Times. The sheriff and her office have been blasted by the local Morgan County Whistleblower blog.

How did Franklin draw Lockhart's attention and become the primary focus at one of the state's best-known investigative blogs? The New York Times explains:

Ms. Lockhart first took an interest in the sheriff after deputies came to her rural home in July 2011 to investigate a supposed disturbance. What happened next is in dispute, but she and her husband, Harold Lockhart, say the officers found nothing but refused to leave when asked.

Deputies arrested the couple after Mr. Lockhart, a retired military police officer, said he had had enough and was calling his lawyer. The Lockharts successfully sued the sheriff for false arrest. And while the sheriff was not present for the arrest and later said she knew nothing about it, Ms. Lockhart did not forget.

Franklin's questionable handling of public funds soon surfaced, and Lockhart and her blog were there to make sure the public knew about it:

There was, however, more than enough evidence to link the sheriff to Priceville Partners L.L.C., a get-rich-quick scheme that spread a toxic cloud over the business community.

A used-car dealership offering title loans, Priceville Partners had begun opening branches around the county, and investors were welcome. Ordinarily, law officers might investigate rather than invest in a business co-owned by the likes of Greg Steenson, who had done prison time for a multimillion-dollar check-kiting scheme. But several officers from the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, along with Morgan County deputies, became financially involved, records show. One agent texted another asking if he wanted a one-month $7,000 profit on a $10,000 investment. Sheriff Franklin’s father worked there; her daughter did the bookkeeping.

The sheriff invested $150,000. She would later say that she had not known Mr. Steenson was a co-owner, even though her daughter said that was clear from her first day on the job.

Sheriff Franklin eventually admitted the money had been withdrawn from an account earmarked for feeding inmates.

In 2016, Franklin chose to launch an under-handed attack on the Lockharts -- and it might have proven to be the sheriff's undoing:

In October last year [2016], armed with a warrant, the sheriff’s drug task force seized Ms. Lockhart’s computers and electronic devices, court records show. In preparing for the raid, the sheriff hired an unusual spy — Ms. Lockhart’s 19-year-old grandson, Daniel Lockhart, who aspired to work in law enforcement.

Glenda Lockhart
Mr. Lockhart said the sheriff’s technology expert had instructed him on how to plant spyware. The raid took place about a week after he said he installed the software.
Mr. Lockhart had been living with his grandparents and working in their business. He gained access to the office after hours, he said, by telling Ms. Lockhart that his girlfriend needed an office computer for homework. Ms. Lockhart said she later discovered the spyware on her home computer as well and took it to the F.B.I., which has retained it.

Sheriff Franklin admits to hiring the grandson, but denies that she or anyone in her office asked him to install spyware. “We have absolute proof, ” Mr. Lovelace, the sheriff’s lawyer, wrote to The Times. He produced an analysis of Ms. Lockhart’s business computers by a firm he hired that, he said, found no spyware. Several parts of that report were omitted, he said, because of a continuing criminal investigation that he was not at liberty to describe.

The sheriff’s denial is undercut by four people who told The Times separately that they had knowledge that the sheriff’s office taught Mr. Lockhart how to install the spyware. Among them was Ricky Brewer, the sheriff’s former technology officer, who said he told the F.B.I. that his replacement acknowledged giving the grandson the software.

The sheriff's problems, even if she steps down as announced, might just be getting started. From The New York Times:

Here in Morgan County, Ms. Lockhart has filed a federal lawsuit accusing Sheriff Franklin of violating her right to free speech, invading her privacy and slandering her, charges the sheriff denies. Ms. Lockhart’s computers, containing vital company records, were returned only after a court hearing.

Glenda Lockhart's small-town blog keeps marching along. Meanwhile, Sheriff Franklin is headed out the door, with a federal lawsuit, an FBI investigation, and all sorts of unpleasantness on her tail.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Lawyer who defended federal judge Mark Fuller against wife-beating charges throws his support to Joseph Siegelman's opponent in Alabama AG race

U.S. Sen. Doug Jones (right) has thrown his support to
Chris Christie (left) over Joseph Siegelman in the Democratic
primary for Alabama attorney general. Also supporting Christie
is Sirote Permutt lawyer Barry Ragsdale, who defended former
federal judge Mark Fuller against wife-beating charges. Fuller,
of course, corruptly sent Don Siegelman to prison. Jones reportedly
worked behind the scenes to soothe his GOP friends by making sure
Fuller did not go to prison. In short, Christie's campaign is supported
by friends of wife-beating, corrupt judge Mark Fuller.

Joseph Siegelman's opponent in the Democratic primary for attorney general of Alabama is drawing support from a Birmingham attorney who defended a former federal judge on wife-beating charges that eventually forced him off the bench.

How bad are the optics on this for AG candidate Chris Christie? According to prominent whistle blower and opposition researcher Jill Simpson, they hardly could be worse.

In a post at her Facebook page, Simpson reports that Barry Ragsdale, of the Birmingham firm Sirote Permutt, hosted a campaign kick-off party last week for Christie at B&A Warehouse. That's the same Barry Ragsdale who defended former U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller as he faced wife-beating charges that eventually led to his exit from the bench. And that's the same Mark Fuller whose corrupt handling of a federal bribery case caused former governor Don Siegelman (Joseph's father) and former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy to be wrongfully convicted and spend about a combined 12 years in prison.

Chris Christie, an attorney with the wildly corrupt Birmingham firm of Bradley Arant, actually wants a boost from supporters of a wife-beating federal judge -- right here in the midst of the #MeToo movement, ushered in by male abusers such as Harvey Weinstein, Charlie Rose, Kevin Spacey, Dustin Hoffman, Steve Wynn, Matt Lauer, Dr. Larry Nassar, and more? How thick must Christie's tin ear be?

Mark Fuller
Christie apparently isn't the only "Democrat" with a tin ear. Simpson reports that U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, who once was Don Siegelman's defense attorney, supports Christie -- who is the preferred candidate of those who support notorious wife-beater Mark Fuller. Billy Beasley, the brother of prominent Montgomery tort lawyer Jere Beasley, also supports Christie, Simpson reports. Jere Beasley has made it a practice to work with GOP lawyer/thug Rob Riley on a number of personal-injury and nursing-home cases. And Jones jumped in bed with Riley to help snag a nice chuck of $51 million in attorney fees generated by a federal lawsuit against HealthSouth and related firms.

Rob Riley, of course, is noted for proclaiming, well in advance, that Mark Fuller would prove to be a "hanging judge" in the Don Siegelman case.

What is Jill Simpson's take on the support Joseph Siegelman's opponent is receiving from the unholy trinity of Barry Ragsdale, Doug Jones, and Billy Beasley? Here is part of it (with editing for clarity):

I heard from some old Republican and Democrat friends . . . that Doug Jones' buddy,  Chris Christie who is running for AG in Alabama against Joseph Siegelman, had a campaign kick-off party at B& Warehouse. Guess who the host and MC was for that event? Judge Mark Fuller's lawyer, Barry Ragsdale, Dougie and Christie's buddy.

Yep, "beat your wife "Judge Fuller's lawyer Barry Ragsdale is helping Democrat Chris Christie, along with Doug Jones. I never would have been able to prove that Fuller's bunch of lawyers are helping Doug the DINO with AG Candidate Christie but for Religious Republicans explaining, "Hey, this is what happened the other night." I'm certainly glad for the tips I got on this.

It also was explained to me how Doug ran interference for the GOP Alabama Gang against putting Fuller in jail with the Democrats in D.C. I knew Doug had helped Fuller, but never knew all the details -- but now I do. I am hearing if that y'all watch this election, it is all going to come out all the connections involving Jones -- as the Republicans are mad about the last election and are going to be putting out how Christie is being helped by a wife beater's attorney.

I use to tell folks Doug was constantly working against us in D.C., and folks in the Siegelman camp would say, "No, he loves Siegelman," and I would say, "No he does not." Every step of the way he was back stabbing us, and folks in D.C. were telling on him and his folks -- and y''all watch this race closely; you will see Doug is helping the guy against Joseph, and Christie is part of the Alabama Gang and is tied to them through his firm (Bradley Arant).

Also, as it turns out Christie is tied to Mark Fuller, who shackled and chained Don Siegelman. Barry Ragsdale was Christie's MC and host of activities at the campaign kick-off, and it was noticed by Republicans and Democrats all over the state -- and they do not approve of of Ragsdale representing and trying to keep known wife beater Mark on the federal bench -- after he dragged his wife at the time all over a room in the fancy Ritz Carlton in Buckhead.

I might add Barry Ragsdale is well known for protecting creepy now removed federal judge Mark Fuller all over the state -- and this stage performance at Christie's campaign is really being talked about as clearly it was a FU message to Joseph and Don Siegelman. . . .

I also want folks to know I am very proud to have been the one who wrote the first article in the nation demanding President Obama and Biden remove Fuller to show zero tolerance for judges who beat up on women -- and I want each and every one of my friends and fellow progressives to know I had Barry Ragsdale and Doug Jones working against me. 
They were Fuller's protectors, along with the Riley folks and Alabama Gang of Republicans, which in my opinion is ran by Sessions, Rove, and Canary. Make no mistake, Alabama Progressives, a vote for Chris Christie is a vote for Fuller's protectors. I might add it has always been a sick, sad joke to me how folks act like Jones and Ragsdale are good Democrats, when these are the folks who fought against me so hard when I was trying to hold wife- beating Judge Mark Fuller accountable. I have a lot of battle scars from that fight, but by golly I removed Fuller -- and Alabama Democratic women would be foolish to support anyone Ragsdale supports. My God, he tried to keep a wife-beating judge on the bench, and now, he supports Chris Christie, as does Doug Jones.

Why is Joseph Siegelman's run for the AG's office generating blow back from establishment Democrats and Republican? The answer, to me, is obvious. Many of those establishment types -- Rob Riley, Bob Riley, Jeff Sessions, Doug Jones, Bill Canary, Mark Fuller, Leura Canary and many more -- were deeply involved in the crooked prosecution that caused Don Siegelman to land in prison.

Barry Ragsdale
The establishment knows that a real attorney general, such as Joseph Siegelman, still could pursue any number of civil or criminal claims that are not barred by the statute of limitations. And that means a Joseph Siegelman tenure as AG could help put some of them -- and their brethren -- behind bars, where they belong. No wonder they support Chris Christie, who likely is to serve as their protector.

Andrew Kreig, of the Justice-Integrity Project, already is following what promises to be a fascinating AG race in Alabama:

Joseph Siegelman, son of a former Alabama governor convicted in one of the nation's most notorious political prosecutions in recent American history, [has] announced his candidacy to become their state's next attorney general.

The young Democratic attorney faces many obstacles in the deep Red state before emulating his father — former Gov. Don Siegelman, now 71 and recovering from emergency open heart surgery Feb. 9 — in winning their state's top elective law enforcement post. The elder Siegelman . . .  was Alabama attorney general for a term in the late 1980s before election as lieutenant governor for two terms. . . .

His son, managing partner of a Cochran Law Firm office in Birminghan, faces a long shot but highly dramatic and nationally important race to overcome a Democratic opponent in a June primary and, in November, the winner of a four-person Republican primary.

Although Joseph Siegelman will doubtless continue to frame his race in terms of justice for all Alabamians his father's conviction is known to virtually every voter. It is not just an implicit part of the current candidacy but will surely weigh on the minds of voters.

Commentators will note, as here, that political figures from the long-running prosecution are still part of Alabama's landscape on both Republican and Democratic sides of the attorney general race. . . .

But there's more, much more, to the upcoming race, including divisions among Democrats and Alabama's ongoing massive problems with public corruption.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Ex Alabama Rep. Micky Hammon gets three months in prison for essentially stealing more than $50,000, showing our justice system is hopelessly broken

Micky Hammon
A former Alabama lawmaker yesterday was sentenced to three months in prison and ordered to pay more than $50,600 in restitution for converting campaign funds to his personal use. The downfall of former House Majority Leader Micky Hammon (R-Decatur) represents another sad chapter in Alabama's culture of corruption. But it also provides more evidence of gross inequities in our justice system -- whether it crosses jurisdictional boundaries from Alabama to Michigan, or whether it's contained in The Heart of Dixie.

How soft was the court's treatment of Hammon, who became majority leader when Republicans took over the Alabama House in 2010 and maintained that position until 2017? (He was a close ally of former House Speaker Mike Hubbard, who has been convicted on corruption charges.) Prosecutors actually asked U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson to order no prison time for Hammon. When is the last time you've heard of federal prosecutors going that easy on a defendant? Heck, even Thompson could not believe it -- and he could not abide by the request. Reports

Thompson said he found the recommendation for no prison time unusual. The judge indicated he thought that would send the wrong message to other public officials. He said Hammon violated the trust of those who gave to his campaign.

"I don't see how I cannot give him some time in prison," Thompson said.

Thompson ordered Hammon to serve three years of supervised probation after release.

[Stephen] Shaw, Hammon's attorney, asked Thompson to reconsider the sentence or allow Hammon to serve it on weekends. Shaw said that would allow Hammon to continue to work.

Thompson said the sentence was reasonable, fell within guidelines and was "sufficient but not greater than necessary."

The guidelines allowed the judge to impose a fine of up to $20,000, but he imposed no fine, citing Hammon's inability to pay.

Hammon wound up pleading guilty to one count of mail fraud. From the report:

Former Alabama House Majority Leader Micky Hammon of Decatur was sentenced to three months in prison today and ordered to pay $50,657 in restitution for converting campaign contributions to personal use.

U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson sentenced Hammon this morning in Montgomery. Hammon will report to a federal facility to begin his sentence on March 29."

"Converting campaign contributions to personal use"? That's a polite way of saying Hammon stole funds intended for campaign purposes and used them for personal reasons. So did Hammon get off unbelievably easy? The answer is yes, and we can compare his case to three others -- showing the justice system makes little or no effort to produce even the appearance of fairness or "equal protection under the law."

(1) Don Siegelman -- The former governor was sentenced to more than six years in federal prison, even though no evidence pointed to him benefiting by one penny from a contribution that went to a campaign fund for an education lottery. No evidence pointed to an unlawful "explicit quid pro quo" -- the standard required for a bribery conviction involving a campaign-contribution -- and no such jury instruction was given. On top of that, it's undisputed that the government brought its case almost one full year after the five-year statute of limitations had expired, meaning the Siegelman case never should have gone to trial, much less ending with a conviction.

Bottom line? Siegelman spends six-plus years in federal prison, while not pocketing any money. Hammon steals more than $50,000 and is sentenced to three months -- and prosecutors don't want him to serve any time. Fair? Don't make us laugh.

(2) Charles Todd Henderson -- The duly elected district attorney of Jefferson County, Henderson is set for sentencing on March 8 after his conviction last October on perjury charges. Evidence at trial, however, showed Henderson did not come close to committing perjury -- suggesting either the case was fixed, or jurors were smoking a powerful form of meth during deliberations. Here is how described the Henderson trial:

Henderson's perjury case was based on information he was in a relationship with Yareima Carmen Valecillos Akl during her divorce with then-husband Charbel Akl. Henderson was appointed in January 2016 as the guardian ad litem of the Akls' young child, but was later removed from the position.

After his removal, Henderson testified during the Akls' September divorce trial and twice denied staying with Mrs. Akl at her apartment, but surveillance evidence showed Henderson had stayed at the apartment on several occasions.

Just a slight problem with's version of events: It's not true.  As we've shown in several posts (see here, here, and here), the key question in the Henderson case came when he was asked if he had ever spent the night at Ms. Akl's home. Did a surveillance report prove Henderson spent the night at Akl's home? Not even close, as we reported multiple times. In fact the private-investigator report showed huge gaps in the surveillance -- four hours, five hours, 15 hours, 19 hours -- when Henderson clearly could have left, with PIs having no idea where he was.

The conviction in the Henderson case is a joke, and it must be overturned on appeal if the Alabama court system cares about maintaining any signs of competence or fairness. For sure, Henderson should not spend one moment in prison, and he should be returned to the position he won fair and square -- as a Democrat, over Republican incumbent Brandon Falls.

(3) Legal Schnauzer -- I spent five months in the Shelby County Jail (from 10/13 to 3/14) as fallout from a defamation lawsuit filed by GOP operative Rob Riley and lobbyist Liberty Duke. In essence, I was incarcerated for reporting on this blog about a personal relationship involving Riley and Duke -- and my reporting, by the way, has never been proven false or defamatory as a matter of law.

My case involved nothing remotely criminal. My arrest was based on a preliminary injunction and contempt order, both of which have been prohibited by more than 230 years of First Amendment law. I spent five months in jail for practicing journalism, becoming the first U.S. reporter to be incarcerated since 2006. I was the only journalist in the western hemisphere to be incarcerated in 2013.

But get this: I spent two more months in jail -- for lawfully practicing journalism, in a totally civil matter -- than Micky Hammon will spend for essentially stealing more than $50,000. Don Siegelman spent almost six more years behind bars than Hammon will spend -- and the record is clear that Siegelman committed no crime and was the target of the most grotesque political prosecution in American history. The Charles Todd Henderson perjury case is a travesty -- clearly driven by the Riley political machine, upset that Henderson beat their boy (and protector) Brandon Falls -- but there is no telling what kind of sentence Henderson will receive from wildly corrupt Judge Sibley Reynolds.

The American "justice system"? Ain't it grand?

It is, for some reason, if you're Mickey Hammon.