Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Federal Judge Madeline Haikala sprang into action on FOIA case on the same date Joseph Siegelman's run for attorney general hit the Alabama press -- hmmm

Joseph and Don Siegelman
Why did U.S. Judge Madeline Haikala sit on the Siegelman FOIA case for roughly 10 months before springing into action that brought the case to a close in February 2018? It's almost as if something happened in February that prompted Haikala to rip off three slap-dash rulings, ending with the case being dismissed in a fashion that almost certainly was contrary to law.

As it turns out, something did happen in February -- and if that caused Haikala to dismiss the FOIA case, it speaks to political payback and provides another example of hideous corruption in Alabama's federal courts.

Here is the really disturbing question: What if Haikala was taking signals from one or more "power brokers," someone who had an interest in making sure the truth about the Don Siegelman prosecution remains under wraps? What if the power broker was thinking ahead to concerns about the outcome of what likely will be the most bitterly contested race -- at least behind the scenes -- in Alabama's midterm elections of November 2018.

The peculiar handling and outcome of the FOIA case suggests something foul is in the air. And that almost always happens when politics and the federal judiciary intermingle in Alabama.

So, what happened in February that might have sparked action in the FOIA case? News broke on Feb. 9 that Joseph Siegelman had qualified with the Democratic Party to run as attorney general. Ironically, that's the same date Haikala -- after letting the matter lie dormant so long that many people probably forgot out it -- issued the first of three rulings that swept the case out the door, almost under cover of darkness. The docket shows Haikala's other rulings came on Feb. 23 and 28 -- and, boom, the FOIA case was gone, after many Alabamians likely had forgotten it ever arrived.

Joseph Siegelman brought the FOIA case, long before announcing his AG candidacy, seeking Department of Justice (DOJ) documents from his father's prosecution -- especially documents related to the dubious recusal of then U.S. attorney Leura Canary. Various attorneys connected to Don Siegelman had been seeking such documents, via FOIA, for roughly 12 years. The most recent effort, in the form of Joseph Siegelman's federal lawsuit, ended with the DOJ's Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) turning over requested documents -- but they were so heavily redacted due to claimed exemptions under FOIA -- as to be virtually useless.

Haikala did nothing to make OPR turn over information in a readable format. Was someone unhappy that Joseph Siegelman decided to run for attorney general? Were Haikala's hurried and nonsensical rulings on the FOIA matter a form of political payback? Was someone pulling the judge's strings, meaning Haikala is corrupt and accomplishing little other than to add to the sewer-like qualities of Alabama's justice system?

If the answer to that last one is yes, the power broker in question probably is named Doug Jones, as in the U.S. Senator who upset Roy Moore last December to claim Jeff Sessions' old seat. Consider the evidence we've already presented:

(1) Doug Jones is a "Democrat" (in name only) who once served as Don Siegelman's defense attorney, so a reasonable person might expect him to support Joseph Siegelman for AG. But that is not the case -- and Jones and Don Siegelman had a heated discussion on the issue in February, just before the senior Siegelman had emergency heart surgery. In fact, Don Siegelman's surgery was on Feb. 9, the same day his son qualified as an AG candidate and Madeline Haikala made her first ruling that would lead to dismissal of the FOIA case.

(2) Jones made it clear that he supported Bradley Arant lawyer Chris Christie, who was Joseph Siegelman's opponent in the Democratic primary. Another Christie supporter was Sirote Permutt lawyer Barry Ragsdale, who defended former federal judge Mark Fuller as he faced wife-beating charges. Fuller, of course, railroaded the Don Siegelman prosecution, causing the former governor and codefendant Richard Scrushy to unlawfully spend roughly six years each in prison.

(3) Alabama Democrats don't like to hear this, but evidence strongly suggests Doug Jones is more loyal to the Bob Riley wing of the Republican Party -- which includes such luminaries as Jeff Sessions; Bill Canary; Luther Strange; and Bob's oily son, Rob "Uday" Riley -- than he is to any Democratic causes. After all, Jones and Rob Riley teamed up on a federal HealthSouth lawsuit, which allowed them to take home a hefty chunk of $51 million in attorney fees. That probably is the No. 1 reason Jones could afford a Senate run.

(4) Could Joseph Siegelman, as Alabama AG, pose a threat to Doug Jones, Rob Riley, and their political allies? The answer is yes -- if the younger Siegelman is serious about cleaning up his home state, which badly needs cleansing. Doug Jones took a number of curious actions as Don Siegelman's defense lawyer -- including charging him $300,000 without even taking the case to trial. And Rob Riley played a central role in setting up the baseless Siegelman prosecution, which led to Bob Riley becoming two-term governor of Alabama -- with the help of Siegelman votes disappearing overnight in GOP stronghold Baldwin County, flipping the 2002 election.

(5) It's not clear how the Obama administration (Democrats) came to appoint a federal judge who clearly does not abide by Democratic principles, such as respect for the rule of law, due process, and equal protection. Doug Jones has touted his connections to Obama  VP Joe Biden, so perhaps Jones pushed for Haikala's nomination, even though she came from a conservative, pro-corporate law firm (Lightfoot Franklin), and like Jones himself, is more or less a Republican in disguise. Does Haikala owe here judicial seat to Doug Jones, and is that why he might have had her ear on the Siegelman FOIA matter?

Joseph Siegelman defeated Chris Christie in the June primary and is set to face incumbent Steve Marshall, who has the support of the state's white conservative elites -- and that group probably includes Doug Jones. A determined younger Siegelman in the AG's chair might lead to investigations that could expose the truth behind his father's prosecution -- and it could spell big trouble for Doug Jones, Rob Riley, and their allies.

Given the ugliness in Alabama politics over the past 25 years or so, this much is certain: Powerful white elites, both Republicans and Democrats, see Joseph Siegelman as a threat, and they will pull out all the stops to make sure he does not become the chief law-enforcement officer of Alabama. That includes the strong possibility that, if the race appears to be remotely close, it will be stolen for Steve Marshall, who is likely to protect the corrupt status quo.

If the Siegelmans are committed to a Joseph Siegelman victory, they had better develop a rock-solid plan to prevent election theft. Our bet is that they will definitely need it.


Anonymous said...

Methinks somebody doesn't want Joseph Siegelman to be attorney general of Alabama.

Anonymous said...

This is the same judge who found the cop in Madison, AL, did not commit a crime when he caused spinal injuries to a grandfather from India who was walking down the street.

legalschnauzer said...

How bad a judge is Madeline Haikala? For a full picture, I encourage you to read this:


Anonymous said...

Let me guess: Haikala got her appointment because she and her husband gave a bunch of money to Obama and Biden.

Anonymous said...

Scales will be falling from eyes when Alabama Democrats finally realize Doug Jones is a world-class phony

legalschnauzer said...

Jill Simpson has an intriguing Facebook post today, about the Manafort case and how it touched Alabama via the Air Force refueling-tanker deal. Also touches on Doug Jones:

"I might add had EADs got that deal instead of Boeing our country would have lost it has been projected 35,000 US jobs. Which the team we put together called the Resistance to stop this awful gang of folks who on top of being Russian fellow travelers were xenophobic, racist, sexist , and homophobic nuts. I am proud of my research work that tracked the money. But must add the work is not done until the whole gang ends up locked up which includes Sessions, Davis, The Riley's and a whole bunch of Sessions minions. I might add Doug Jones protected these folks and tried to keep much of my story from coming out because at that the time he was for Haskall and Slaughter and helping McCains campaign. He tried to control the narrative to help McCain win the election that is how I knew he was a DINO."


legalschnauzer said...

Here is more from Jill Simpson on Doug Jones, who is a two-faced con man to his party, his state, his law clients, and his country:

I ponder had Doug not covered for McCain the Russian story in 2008 whether Trump and this crew would have come into being in 2016. I also believe by him hiding part of my story he harmed me greatly as folks did not know all I told as it would have shown me to be believable and telling the truth and then the Riley Republican folks could not have claimed I lied when I did not. I told all they were up to with Sessions and one Oleg Deripaska and how they were trying to help Oleg get control of our refueling tanker for the Russians which my Fema and DHS contractors thought was a very bad idea and is how I came forward. Doug Jones was the cover up guy for the Riley and Republicans and that is why they in my belief stuck up Republicans for Jones campaign signs. I might add he called a friend of mine before the election and said I could get help with the bar getting off disability status as they thought I had suffered enough if I would help him and make peace with them but I will never ever help Russian Fellow travellers it is not how my parents raised me. I am glad it is all going to come out.

Anonymous said...

I bet my lunch money that Jones will vote for Brett Kavanaugh on SCOTUS.

legalschnauzer said...

@10:42 --

Agree. I think that decision is already made. Might change if Trump, or major members of his team, are indicted between now and the vote.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I'm sure it's a mere coincidence that Haikala jumped back on the FOIA case on the same day Joseph Siegelman announced he was an AG candidate.

Anonymous said...

This judge apparently thinks the public can't put 2 and 2 together.

Anonymous said...

No doubt this election could be stolen if it is close. Siegelmans and Democrats will need to be on the look out.

James Greek said...


Don’t hold your breath. Bill Baxley endorsed Joe Siegelman.