Tuesday, July 17, 2018

"Luv Guv" Robert Bentley admits in deposition that he talked with law enforcement about investigating me and Donald Watkins for our reporting on scandal


Robert Bentley's mugshot after guilty plea
and resignation.
Former Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley talked with a member of his cabinet about investigating me and attorney/Facebook blogger Donald Watkins, according to a deposition in a pending lawsuit.

The deposition, conducted in June, is part of a wrongful-termination lawsuit that Spencer Collier, former secretary of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA), brought against Bentley and others. (A transcript of the full deposition is embedded at the end of this post.)

I apparently was targeted for investigation because I broke the story here at Legal Schnauzer, on August 31, 2015, about Bentley's extramarital-affair with aide Rebekah Caldwell Mason. Watkins followed up on my reporting, and that apparently prompted an investigation of him. In other words, Bentley and his team retaliated against Web-based journalists for accurately reporting on the "Luv Guv" scandal. In addition, it appears Mike Echols, Bentley's former CPA, was investigated.

The mainstream press largely ignored the scandal for roughly seven months -- and al.com reporters John Archibald and Chuck Dean attacked me for breaking it -- until audiotapes of Bentley and Mason surfaced in March 2016.

Reports of Bentley's team investigating Watkins and me have surfaced in several news outlets, including Alabama Political Reporter (APR), which published a Bill Britt story with the headline "Bentley Ordered Law Enforcement to Target Critics." In the deposition, Bentley admits he discussed such matters with . . . of all people, Spencer Collier. Here is Bentley, from page 207 of the deposition:

Spencer and I talked two or three times about all these things that had transpired, you know, the things that were on blogs and things like this. The thing about Donald Watkins, so much of that had been fed to him by, obviously, somebody, and so he was one of the ones that was putting out some of this material that I felt was somewhat threatening. So Spencer told me -- I remember on three occasions, Spencer said, "Now, Governor, you're not telling me to investigate this, because I don't know how they investigate things," but he said, "I am going to investigate this." He investigated -- I don't know how much they did on Donald Watkins, I don't know what they looked into on it, I don't know what they used, but he was one of the ones that we talked about. The guy at Legal Schnauzer, whatever his name is, he was one of the others. I also gave Spencer some e-mails from my former accountant that Spencer felt like were extortion. So Spencer investigated some things. I don't know exactly how much was investigated, though.

Legal Schnauzer
Bentley seems to be laying the investigations at Collier's feet -- this was while Collier still was a loyal sergeant, before he, too, was investigated and then terminated. But Bentley's tone changes a bit on page 208 of the deposition, under questioning from Collier's lawyer, Kenneth Mendelsohn. Suddenly, it doesn't seem the investigations were all Collier's idea:

Q. And the things on Donald Watkins, Legal Schnauzer, and Mike Echols are all things that Spencer did on his own?

A. No. We had talked about it, but Spencer said, "If you feel threatened" -- basically, if we feel like that was a threat, if the governor feels threatened, then it's the duty of the law enforcement to do whatever they need to do. I don't know how much investigation was done.

Q. And what Donald Watkins was posting on his blog, or whatever you call it, his Facebook page --

A. Right.

Q. -- was matters concerning your relationship with Rebekah Mason?

A. Primarily, yes.

Q. The same thing with Legal Schnauzer?

A. I guess, yes.

On page 210 of the deposition, we find this, again with questioning from Mendelsohn:

Q. Do you have any information, other than what you just referred to about your conversations with Spencer, that he ever did any background checks on Donald Watkins or Legal Schnauzer?

A. I don't.

MR. MENDELSOHN: That's all I've got now.






25 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Schnauzer reports the news and makes the news. Important story here.

Anonymous said...

I wondered if your name would appear in the deposition, but had not had a chance to read through it all. Looks like my suspicions were on target.

Anonymous said...

Glad to see Bentley was put on the hot seat about this.

Anonymous said...

Bentley was the governor, but he claims he did not tell Collier to investigate?

Yeah, right.

Anonymous said...

Bentley is lying about this because it would be a crime if he ordered Collier to use state resources to investigate his personal issues.

legalschnauzer said...

@12:34 --

Agree. Looks to me like Bentley needs to be referred for a perjury investigation.

Anonymous said...

So journalists who report accurately on corrupt politicians are considered "threats" and should be investigated? That's the "rule of law" in Alabama.

legalschnauzer said...

@12:36 --

That mindset has been around for a while in Alabama. I was arrested in Oct. 2013 and thrown in jail for five months because I was seen as a threat to Rob Riley and his cronies.

legalschnauzer said...

I should mention, too, that our unlawful eviction in Missouri -- which led to deputies breaking my wife, Carol's, arm -- came nine days after I broke the story about Bentley's affair with RCM.


Hmmmm . . .

Anonymous said...

Gotta quit writing those threatening posts, LS. That's troubling to the Luv Guv.

Anonymous said...

Bentley is lying about two things --

(1) He did tell Collier to investigate LS and Watkins.


(2) And he does know what Collier discovered.


He wants us to believe that Collier conducted these investigations, but did not share the info with Bentley? We're not that stupid, "Luv Guv."

Anonymous said...

God, Bentley's a creep. He hasn't changed one bit.

legalschnauzer said...

Here is Donald Watkins' take on the Bentley-deposition story:


https://www.facebook.com/donald.v.watkins/posts/10216757952803332

Anonymous said...

Bentley doesn't know your name, Schnauzer! You gotta be pissed.

legalschnauzer said...

I was a bit pissed initially, but then I realized he knows the blog's name, and that's the most important thing. That tells me we're doing something right.

Anonymous said...

Props to Bill Britt. His reporting on Bentley targeting you and Watkins hit the nail on the head.

Anonymous said...

Should we believe a word Bentley says, even under oath? Wasn't he the guy who said LS's original reporting was false.

I'm not sure Bentley is capable of telling the truth.

Anonymous said...

One of the most interesting revelations is that the old goat has hired an office manager for his medical practice @ $5,000 a month. Well, that and the aforementioned office manager is one Rebekah Mason. See page 11 and 12 of the deposition.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if it was some joker posting the following comment on your blog with a link to a Kiss song that put you and your blog under the Luv Guv's evil eye?

Anonymous said...

The new Robert Bentley campaign theme song . . .


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsOoHciUJkE
August 31, 2015 at 2:23 PM

I also remember a produce aisle comment or two...

Anonymous said...

Governor FeelYou WeGonna Lockthatdoor in the produce section handling the melons...
August 16, 2016 at 2:10 PM

legalschnauzer said...

@8:12 --

I don't know about the comment and the KISS song. But I do know that audio surfaced of a conversation between Bentley and State Rep. Allen Farley, where Bentley referred to me as a slimy guy, and that conversation was recorded on the same night I broke the Mason-affair story. Here is URL to that story:


https://legalschnauzer.blogspot.com/2016/08/new-phone-tape-captures-alabamas-luv.html

legalschnauzer said...

@7:56 --

Thanks for sharing. That's an amazing part of the story. He's addicted to her.


Reminds me of this classic Robert Palmer video:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XcATvu5f9vE

legalschnauzer said...

I made a reference to a KISS song in one post about the Bentley story. Not sure if it's the same one referenced in the comment. Might be.


https://legalschnauzer.blogspot.com/2016/03/freaky-becky-mason-and-dr-love-bentley.html

e.a.f. said...

That certainly was an interesting read. You wonder why the old buzzard is finally telling the truth. You obviously were correct in your suspicions over the years

Just because the Gov. "felt" threatened, didn't mean he was actually being threatened. If you and others were investigated for reporting the news, the U.S.A. was already on a downward slide some years ago and its easy to see how Trump wound up being President.

Wonder if they charge him with an abuse of power/position or using his position for his own "benefit". it really is amazing what Americans will elect to office.

Anonymous said...

Both references to the Kiss song are to the same song, "Calling Dr Love".

Even after reading the deposition I'm still having some difficulty believing that Dr Love never ever shared his special sauce with Ms Home Wrecky. On the one hand- truth is stranger than fiction, one the other hand- perjury. Hmmmm.

Anonymous said...

--Just because the Gov. "felt" threatened, didn't mean he was actually being threatened. If you and others were investigated for reporting the news, the U.S.A. was already on a downward slide some years ago and its easy to see how Trump wound up being President.-- @e.a.f. The US has been on a downward slide for the last 50-60 years. Trump is simply the reflection in the baby boomers' mirror--horrifying to some and gratifying to others.