Friday, September 28, 2018

Brett Kavanaugh, Samuel L. Jackson, and "Pulp Fiction" combine to produce a comic video for the ages -- giving us something worthwhile from Senate fiasco

Anyone who watched a major portion of the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings in the U.S. Senate must have come away thinking our country has become so dysfunctional that it must be headed over a cliff.

The high-chamber charade, however, did produce some comedy for the ages. An unknown online genius spliced together portions of the Kavanaugh hearing and Pulp Fiction (featuring a slightly intimidating Samuel L. Jackson), and the result has me in stiches. I suspect many others are hooting as the video heads toward viral status. Enjoy it above.

Lindsey Graham and Orrin Hatch are staunch Brett Kavanaugh supporters, probably because they want to keep gay accusers from their own pasts underground

Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh

Two Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee are closeted gays who likely are staunch supporters of Brett Kavanaugh -- and doubters of his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford -- because they want to ensure that ugly incidents from their own pasts never surface, according to a report from a D.C.-based investigative journalist.

Wayne Madsen reports that Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) are well known among Washington insiders as closeted homosexuals with histories of having inappropriate physical contact with men -- not unlike the conduct Ford spelled out against Kavanaugh in yesterday's contentious Senate hearing.

Hatch blasted the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings as "worse than [those involving] Robert Bork -- I didn't think it could get worse than that." Graham essentially pitched a fit in the hearing room, claiming Democrats were trying to destroy the nominee's life.

Lindsey Graham
Why were Graham and Hatch so adamant in arguing that Kavanaugh was the "victim" of an unjust process? Wayne Madsen Report (WMR) provides clues about that:

Two Republican senators on the Judiciary Committee have had good reason to attack women who have come forward with allegations that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted them while they were teens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Orrin Hatch of Utah fear that if any credence is given to Kavanaugh's accusers, men who they have accosted in the past may be emboldened to reveal their stories.

Graham and Hatch, according to our well-informed sources on Capitol Hill and in the state capitals of Columbia, South Carolina and Salt Lake City, Utah, are two of the most closeted gay men in the U.S. Senate. Graham is a never-married bachelor, while Hatch, a Mormon, is married with six children. WMR was informed about Graham by two journalists with South Carolina's leading newspaper of record, The State, in Columbia. An opposition research official working for Hatch's 2004 Democratic opponent in the U.S. Senate race provided information on Hatch's closeted nature. Hatch was a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1991 and he took part in the grilling of Clarence Thomas's sexual harassment accuser, Anita Hill.

Madsen has written before about "lifestyle issues" surrounding Hatch and Graham. From a November 2017 WMR article:

It’s not just by Utah Mormon standards that Hatch is weird. In 2006, this editor was contacted by someone doing opposition research for Hatch’s Democratic opponent. I was asked, “Did you know Hatch is gay?” I knew Larry Craig from Idaho was gay, but I’d never heard about Hatch. It turns out that Hatch’s closet door was wide open in Utah, because just about everyone in Utah politics had heard about Hatch’s alternate life style.
Orrin Hatch
 An example of Hatch’s hypocrisy was on display in 1977, when Hatch said of gay school teachers, “I wouldn't want to see homosexuals teaching school anymore than I'd want to see members of the American Nazi Party teaching school.” Hatch now seems to be fine with the president of the United States being the son of a suspected member of the American Nazi Party in the 1920s and 30s. Hatch’s bifurcated personality on gay rights was evident when he opined that gay marriage will be legal across the country in time, though he doesn't agree with it. The U.S. Supreme Court later ruled that gay marriage is legal in the United States.

Madsen's reporting on whispers surrounding Lindsey Graham date at least to 2010:

WMR was recently told by South Carolina-based journalists that they are amazed that South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham's homosexuality has not been reported in Washington. Graham is also one of the beneficiaries of President Obama's overturning of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy that now permits gays and lesbians to openly serve on active duty. Graham is a Judge Advocate General Colonel in the U.S. Air Force. In 2004, Graham voted for the Federal Marriage Amendment, which prohibited gay marriages. Graham has recently received a zero rating from the gay rights Human Rights Campaign for his opposition to gay rights legislation.

Bottom line: Orin Hatch and Lindsey Graham are two of Brett Kavanaugh's staunchest defenders, and it might have nothing to do with the nominee's qualifications. It likely has everything to do with the desires of Hatch and Graham to ensure that no gay accusers from their pasts are emboldened to come forward.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Party for gay men in Montgomery produced volumes of information about Alabama right-wing politicos, but writer Mike Rogers kept the stories underground

Mike Rogers
A writer once known for breaking stories about gay Republican politicians attended a party in Montgomery about six years ago to obtain information about conservative Alabama politicians. Most of the attendees were gay men from the Capital City, and they shared a wealth of stories with Mike Rogers, who used to publish (which has been inactive for several years) and now serves as managing director and vice chairman at Raw Story Media. The men's stories never were published, and that causes an Alabama political insider -- who also attended the party -- to wonder if the information was used for ulterior political purposes that had nothing to do with journalism.

I've wondered the same thing, especially since Rogers initiated a peculiar email exchange with me in fall 2013, after I had reported about U.S. Circuit Judge Bill Pryor and his ties to 1990s gay pornography at In short, Rogers tried to convince me the person in the photos was not Pryor, but Rogers never provided any evidence to support that claim, and he did a miserable job of answering questions I posed to him. That experience caused me to question Rogers' motives, and whistle blower/oppo researcher/retired attorney Jill Simpson apparently has similar concerns.

Simpson posted her thoughts on the matter at Facebook yesterday in the wake of our report about Shane Rogers-Mauro, a Florida man who says Bill Pryor sexually harassed him (and others) while they were classmates at Northeast Louisiana University (now University of Louisiana Monroe.) Simpson said many of the stories she heard at the Montgomery party were of closeted Alabama politicians who had sexually harassed gay men or left them feeling used. Some of the names heard prominently at the party were Bill Pryor, Jeff Sessions, and Robert Aderholt. Here are some of Jill Simpson's thoughts after reading our post about Pryor sexually harassing Shane Rogers-Mauro:

It appears #MeToo goes both ways, and well, that is a good thing as many males are sexually harassed by predators, just as are women. Several years back, I was invited to a party for Mike Rogers, who was known as the Raw Story writer who specialized in Republican gay- politician stories. That night at the party I met about a dozen young men who were there to talk with Rogers about top Alabama Republican politicians who had sexually harassed them or broken their hearts. Their stories involved Pryor, Sessions, and Aderholt, and they were quite shocking. Quite a few had an element of sexual harassment to them. I had heard from one of the hosts this was going to lead to a series of stories, so I attended having no idea until I got there what the stories would be about.

Why did Mike Rogers never publish the men's stories? Simpson isn't sure about that:

When the stories did not happen I asked why . . .  and was told the DNC [Democratic National Committee] was going to use it in another way. To me, that sounded a whole lot like blackmail. I have often wondered if that is why Sessions turned on Trump so easily. I heard quite a few stories the night Mike Rogers came to town from the men at the party. The Log Cabin Republicans I met that night, who had been harassed and/or rejected, had some pretty amazing stories to tell of sexual exploits and hairy-bear clubs in D.C. with Alabama 's top Republicans.

Simpson discovered that Montgomery has a vibrant gay community, and its members are in on some of the state's biggest political secrets:

When I came forward in the Siegelman case, I started hearing from all these gay men in Montgomery, who were kind of like the court that surrounded these politicians. The gay men picked out their clothes, helped them lose weight, fixed food for their fancy political parties, cut their hair, ran their campaigns and did a whole lot of other things to service these men. I had never noticed this layer of folks before in a campaign, but I soon learned there is a group of gay men that like to take care of our male politicians in the Republican Party -- and meet their every need in Montgomery. They know all the politicians' secrets, and they share them at dinner parties to reporters -- and among their friends; I saw how they shared the night Mr. Rogers came to town. 
I learned at one of their dinner parties how Judge [Mark] Fuller beat his wife, as the gay men knew a hair dresser who told the story. At another party, I learned how Fuller was having an affair, as they heard it from a court clerk they helped dress. They are the most resourceful group for reporters in the state, as that bunch knows every bit of news going on.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

College classmate says Bill Pryor, of Alabama, sexually harassed him, so Brett Kavanaugh is not the only accused sexual predator on the federal bench

Bill Pryor, as a percussionist at
 Northeast Louisiana University (NLU)

A college classmate of Alabama federal judge Bill Pryor says Pryor sexually harassed him while they were at Northeast Louisiana University (NLU) in the early 1980s. Pryor joins Brett Kavanaugh, Donald Trump's nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, as sitting federal judges who face allegations of sexual misconduct dating back at least to college. The major difference: Kavanaugh's accusers are women, and Pryor's are men.

That is in keeping with our reports about Pryor posing nude for photos that wound up at in 1997. Pryor grew up in Mobile, Alabama, and the nude photos were taken while he was a student at NLU, which now is called the University of Louisiana Monroe (ULM). Pryor serves on the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, but his duty station is the Hugo Black Courthouse in downtown Birmingham and he lives in suburban Vestavia Hills.

The accusations against Pryor, in the wake of the Kavanaugh inferno, means two judges from Trump's list of possible SCOTUS picks stand accused of being sexual predators.

Shane Rogers-Mauro, a flight attendant who now lives in the Fort Lauderdale, Florida, area, says Pryor was well known as gay among NLU students, especially those in band and a group that worked in the same office on work-study assignments. Rogers-Mauro says the "Bill Pryor" in the Bad Puppy photos definitely is the individual with whom he attended college -- and now serves on the federal bench. As a right-wing appointee, Pryor has gone on to make a number of virulently anti-LGBT public statements. Says Rogers-Mauro:

I was in college with Bill and knew him very well. We were in band together at Northeast Louisiana University. I also had “work study” for about three semesters with him, so we worked in the same small office for many, many weeks as part of our band scholarship.

The stories are all true. The Bad Puppy pictures are him. He was pretty flamboyant, and actually hit on me quite a bit, but I brushed him off as irritating. He was College Republicans president, and I was president of the Young Democrats of NLU. 
In today’s world, [Pryor's actions] would certainly qualify as sexual harassment. In the early and mid 1980’s, we were all pretty closeted, and he was known to be gay. We used to argue for hours about Ronald Reagan’s 1984 win and other things, and I’m sure we are polar opposites today. He’s never tried to contact me nor have I spoken to him since college days.

What form did Pryor's harassment take? Rogers-Mauro provides details:

There was a lot of touching, in a way that absolutely would be considered inappropriate today. Back then, nothing was inappropriate; you just sucked it up and moved on. Bill was very manipulative. He always wanted to go have dinner and discuss certain types of politics, like he was going to change your way of thinking.

He toyed with closeted gay folks. Back then, it was a demon, and he was into outing certain people. That's a nasty thing, and it would mess with people's lives. But Bill didn't give it a second thought. I think it was part of his illness.

Pryor tended to incessantly ask for dates and not take no for an answer. Says Rogers-Mauro:

Bill was jealous of a relationship I was having. It was my first real romance, actually. Bill thought he had a chance with me. He was always wanting to go out and do things, and I wasn't interested. Harry Connick Jr. was another who was very aggressive. we were in all-state band together. I've had the experience with guys who turned out to be celebrities chasing me.

Bill hung around with a known small group of gay guys from band. Everybody tended to be friendly in band. I was going off in a different direction, with a new relationship. Bill  was antagonistic, and his group was real gossipy -- like little chickens, hens.

Rogers-Mauro has been active for years in Democratic Party politics.  He has served on the Broward County Democratic Party executive committee and is co-chair of Indivisible South Florida.

Shane Rogers-Mauro, as a trumpeter in the NLU band
Pryor and Rogers-Mauro became acquaintances mostly in the last two or three semesters of college. Rogers-Mauro says the Bad Puppy photos probably were taken a year or two before he knew Pryor -- but he definitely recognizes the guy in the photos:

The Bad Puppy pictures of him are a younger version of Bill than I knew -- by a few years. When you know someone from that period, you know for SURE when you see a picture of him. One thing that stands out: He has a somewhat caved-in right cheek. He had bad acne in his early years, and there are numerous acne scars that you can see in all the pictures. He had those creepy crossed eyes that kept many of us on edge when we were around him.

In recent years, Rogers-Mauro has heard from other NLU grads who say Pryor also harassed them in college:

By today's standards, what Bill did was sexual harassment, absolutely. And I'm not the only one. I talked to several people after the Trump Supreme Court list came out -- and Bill was on it -- and they were like, "Oh, my gosh, what's going on? I'm shocked he even has a family. It must be all for show."

We sought comment from Pryor for this post, but he has not responded to inquiries.

(To be continued)

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Brett Kavanaugh now faces four sets of sexual-misconduct allegations, and a second federal judge is about to face similar allegations -- with a twist

Brett Kavanaugh and Donald Trump
Four accusers now have lodged sexual-misconduct allegations against Brett Kavanaugh, Donald Trump's nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court. But Kavanaugh is not the only federal judge who is looking down the barrel of such accusations.

Yes, you heard that right: A second federal judge, one who (like Kavanaugh) currently sits on a U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, is aware that similar complaints have been brought forth against him -- and they will hit the press any day.

Are the allegations against Judge No. 2 directly in line with what we've heard about Kavanaugh? Not exactly; you might say they have a certain twist to them. But both cases raise this question: What kind of low-life pond scum have we been appointing to the federal bench. Our answer: It's a nasty and smelly form of pond scum -- and that does not even count the crooked opinions they help produce.

Nope, we have been allowing the appointment of "judges" who have no respect for the rule of law -- and maybe even less respect for the human rights of others, which include the right to be treated with respect and the right to, at a minimum, be left alone.

Let's review where we stand with allegations against Brett Kavanaugh -- assuming no new accusers surface between the time I end this sentence and hit "publish" on this post. We will examine them in reverse order, from newest to oldest:

(4) So much for senior prom

The Montgomery County (MD) Sentinel reported yesterday that authorities are investigating a possible second case of sexual assault in the area involving Kavanaugh -- this one from his senior year at the now-infamous Georgetown Prep. From the Sentinel report:

Government investigators confirmed Monday they’re aware of a potential second sexual assault complaint in the county against former Georgetown Prep student and Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh.

While investigators weren’t specific and spoke on background, they said they are looking at allegations made against Kavanaugh during his senior year in high school after an anonymous witness voluntarily came forward to speak with them this weekend.

(3) Boys will be gang rapists

Michael Avenatti, best known as the attorney for porn star and Trump accuser Stormy Daniels, says he has evidence that ties Kavanaugh to multiple gang rapes while in high school.  From a report at New York magazine:

Michael Avenatti, the lawyer for Stormy Daniels, says he is “aware of significant evidence” that Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh participated in multiple gang rapes while in high school.

In an email posted to Twitter Sunday night, Avenatti writes that Kavanaugh, his childhood friend Mark Judge, and others “would participate in the targeting of women with alcohol/drugs in order to allow a ‘train’ of men to subsequently gang rape them.”

Avenatti ended the email, which was sent to the chief counsel for nominations at the Senate Judiciary Committee, by saying that he will be releasing “additional evidence” of the allegations “in the coming days.” In an interview with Politico, Avenatti said he represents multiple people who were witnesses to the events described in his email. One of the people he’s representing could be described as a victim, he said.

On Twitter, Avenatti wrote that he will “be demanding the opportunity to present testimony” to the Senate Judiciary Committee. It’s unclear if that will happen, but a spokesperson for Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley says the committee will attempt to evaluate the claim

(2) Where did that penis come from?

Deborah Ramirez, a classmate of Kavanaugh's at Yale University, says he exposed himself to her at a drunken dormitory party. From a report at The New Yorker:

As Senate Republicans press for a swift vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Senate Democrats are investigating a new allegation of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh. The claim dates to the 1983-84 academic school year, when Kavanaugh was a freshman at Yale University. The offices of at least four Democratic senators have received information about the allegation, and at least two have begun investigating it. Senior Republican staffers also learned of the allegation last week and, in conversations with The New Yorker, expressed concern about its potential impact on Kavanaugh’s nomination. Soon after, Senate Republicans issued renewed calls to accelerate the timing of a committee vote. The Democratic Senate offices reviewing the allegations believe that they merit further investigation. “This is another serious, credible, and disturbing allegation against Brett Kavanaugh. It should be fully investigated,” Senator Mazie Hirono, of Hawaii, said. An aide in one of the other Senate offices added, “These allegations seem credible, and we’re taking them very seriously. If established, they’re clearly disqualifying.”

Deborah Ramirez
The woman at the center of the story, Deborah Ramirez, who is fifty-three, attended Yale with Kavanaugh, where she studied sociology and psychology. Later, she spent years working for an organization that supports victims of domestic violence. The New Yorker contacted Ramirez after learning of her possible involvement in an incident involving Kavanaugh. The allegation was conveyed to Democratic senators by a civil-rights lawyer. For Ramirez, the sudden attention has been unwelcome, and prompted difficult choices. She was at first hesitant to speak publicly, partly because her memories contained gaps because she had been drinking at the time of the alleged incident. In her initial conversations with The New Yorker, she was reluctant to characterize Kavanaugh’s role in the alleged incident with certainty. After six days of carefully assessing her memories and consulting with her attorney, Ramirez said that she felt confident enough of her recollections to say that she remembers Kavanaugh had exposed himself at a drunken dormitory party, thrust his penis in her face, and caused her to touch it without her consent as she pushed him away. Ramirez is now calling for the F.B.I. to investigate Kavanaugh’s role in the incident. “I would think an F.B.I. investigation would be warranted,” she said. . . .

“I remember a penis being in front of my face,” [Ramirez] said. “I knew that’s not what I wanted, even in that state of mind.” She recalled remarking, “That’s not a real penis,” and the other students laughing at her confusion and taunting her, one encouraging her to “kiss it.” She said that she pushed the person away, touching it in the process. Ramirez, who was raised a devout Catholic, in Connecticut, said that she was shaken. “I wasn’t going to touch a penis until I was married,” she said. “I was embarrassed and ashamed and humiliated.” She remembers Kavanaugh standing to her right and laughing, pulling up his pants. “Brett was laughing,” she said. “I can still see his face, and his hips coming forward, like when you pull up your pants.” She recalled another male student shouting about the incident. “Somebody yelled down the hall, ‘Brett Kavanaugh just put his penis in Debbie’s face,’ ” she said. “It was his full name. I don’t think it was just ‘Brett.’ And I remember hearing and being mortified that this was out there.”

(1) Disrobing Brett Kavanaugh

No matter what happens in the coming days, Christine Blasey Ford long will be known as the woman who figuratively disrobed Brett Kavanaugh, showing him to be something more than an august jurist with a devotion to the law. Ford is set to testify on Thursday before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee about her experiences with Kavanaugh. From a report at CNN:

Lawyers for Christine Blasey Ford said in a statement on Sunday that she has committed to testifying in an open hearing on Thursday about her allegation of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

The statement from attorneys Debra Katz, Lisa Banks and Michael Bromwich came after a call Sunday with staff for the Senate Judiciary Committee. Kavanaugh has denied the allegations and said he wants to testify before the committee. "Despite actual threats to her safety and her life, Dr. Ford believes it is important for Senators to hear directly from her about the sexual assault committed against her," the statement read. . . .

The statement from Ford's lawyers noted that she would still testify even though "important procedural and logistical issues remain unresolved" and expressed dissatisfaction that the committee does not plan to subpoena Mark Judge, who Ford said was in the room when Kavanaugh allegedly groped her and tried to remove her clothes during a party in their high school years.

What about Judge No. 2 and the accusations against him? That story is on the verge of breaking. Stay tuned to Legal Schnauzer.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Popehat blogger Ken White, a First Amendment "expert," admits I was in the right on Riley defamation case, so why does he claim I'm "creepy and crazy"?

Ken White, of Popehat blog
Have you ever had someone you don't know -- who clearly has not bothered to get his facts straight -- attack you on the Web? I have, and it's pretty unsettling -- especially when it comes in the aftermath of an arrest and incarceration even the critic admits is unlawful. And we are not talking about a garden-variety troll. This is a California-based attorney, who claims to be an expert on First Amendment law -- someone who should know better than to trash someone based on bad information that he admits is incomplete.

We're talking about Ken White, a Los Angeles lawyer who publishes the Popehat blog. White hardly is a household name, but he somehow managed to capture The New York Times' attention and bashed me in their pages to reporter Campbell Robertson -- while admitting the judge who ordered my incarceration (Claud Neilson) had gotten the relevant law wildly wrong.

We already have shown that White is a master of inconsistent thinking -- he acknowledges that our court system is prone to trample First Amendment rights, while attacking me -- the victim of exactly that kind of court. We recently discovered a Popehat post where the ever insightful Mr. White bemoans Americans' tendency to be inconsistent in their political speech. No kidding. Our response? Mr. Pot, meet Mr. Kettle.

As it turns out, White's hit job on me in The New York Times was mild. He really got out the hatchet on several posts at Popehat, seemingly without caring that he did not know what he was talking about. What does it mean when someone more than halfway across the country launches an attack that amounts to little more than name-calling -- with little or no basis in fact? To me, it suggests the writer has an agenda and is too lazy or dishonest to admit he is not a but a neutral observer. In essence, he is appealing to his readers' emotions -- the facts and law be damned.

Evidence has surfaced in our pending federal civil-rights lawsuit -- we called it "The Jail Case" -- and it hints at who might have been, at least in part, behind my wrongful arrest and incarceration. Ken White has ties to the individuals in question and is part of the system that apparently enabled their chicanery. In short, we suspect Ken White has insight on the "who, what, and why" questions regarding my incarceration.

In an upcoming post, we will address the question: What did Ken White know, when did he know it, and what (if anything) has he done about it? Our guess is that Ken White has an insider's knowledge that inspired the cheap shots he's taken at me. How cheap are those shots? Let's take a look:

"Creepy, Crazy, and Vexatious" (From Popehat, Oct. 27, 2013 -- four days after my arrest)

Popehat sez:There are a few things you should know about Roger Shuler, who blogs at Legal Schnauzer.

First, Shuler is creepy and crazy. (I formed that opinion by reading his blog.)

Second, Shuler is a vexatious litigant, a serial pro se abuser of the court system. (I formed that opinion by researching records of his litigation history.)

Third, Shuler is currently in jail, arrested for contempt because he violated an unconstitutional preliminary injunction — a classic prior restraint — prohibiting him from defaming the son of a former Alabama governor.

Some people excuse or applaud the third thing because of the first and second things. They shouldn't. The First Amendment protects everyone — even creepy, crazy vexatious litigants. You should demand that the First Amendment protect people like that, because if it doesn't, it won't protect you when you need it.

Schnauzer sez: Does White cite anything I've written at my blog that would lead him to conclude I'm "creepy and crazy." Nope, not one word. My seventh-grade English teacher would have flunked me for that kind of piss-pour writing.

Does White explain why he considers me a "vexatious litigant"? Not really. He pulls a couple of things out of his ass from federal cases I've been involved in. But he admits he knows nothing about my history in state court, where all of our legal travails began. He doesn't even know that the first lawsuit in my courthouse trail was one a criminally inclined neighbor (Mike McGarity) filed AGAINST me. The public record, which White could have looked up, shows the neighbor's case had no basis in fact or law -- and was brought by a lawyer (William E. Swatek) who has a lengthy disciplinary record -- but I had to defend it. And that makes ME vexatious? I'm not sure White even knows the meaning of the "V word."

Evading service? (From Popehat, Oct. 27, 2013)

Popehat sez: There is one other factor that may have influenced the judge: that Roger Shuler is creepy, crazy, and a vexatious litigant. In this case Shuler has engaged in the sort of litigation conduct that would enrage any judge, and that might cloud good judgment. Shuler is one of those litigants who seems to think that if he can successfully evade service of process he'll never have to face the case. So he refuses to answer the door when Sheriff's deputies come to his house to serve papers. Judges don't like that. . . . Eventually, the Sheriff served papers on Shuler by running a traffic stop on him for a purported moving violation and serving the papers on him in his car by the side of the road.

Yeah, you read that right. Sheriffs serve legal process on people all the time. It's part of their job. But how often, for how many litigants, do you suppose the Sheriff runs a traffic stop to achieve service?

Schnauzer sez: How does White know I was evading service? Does he cite a law that requires a citizen to answer the door when someone -- deputy or other -- knocks? No, he doesn't because no such law exists. White admits in his last sentence that something about the deputies' actions smelled funny. He thinks I can't see that, too.? After all, I actually was there and saw what they were doing -- and it did not look anything like serving papers. In fact, I later learned -- from an attorney who had viewed the sealed file -- that no summons had been issued at the time, so the deputies were not attempting to lawfully serve us. The deputies likely were there to execute an arrest White admits was unlawful. But he seems to be bashing me for being smart enough to figure out we were dealing with corrupt law-enforcement officers.

Refusing counsel? (From Popehat, Nov. 13, 2013)

Popehat sez: The system is designed to chew up people who represent themselves. It's not fair, it's not right, but there it is — a fact that won't go away just because you're in the right. Shuler's rejection of a lawyer seems to be part of the pattern of misguided antics that has robbed him of the opportunity to litigate the First Amendment issues. . . .

If Shuler continues to refuse counsel, it's highly unlikely that he will successfully navigate a system that's indifferent to him at best and hostile at worst. Does he have a right to do it himself out of some sense of pride or justice? Sure. But his bumbling may serve to lock in the orders against him and, through bad precedent, weaken everybody else's rights a little. It's crazy.

I'm aware of at least one substantial rights organization other than the ACLU that has expressed to me an interest in helping Shuler — if he will accept help. If anyone has any power to persuade him, now would be a good time to start.

Schnauzer sez: How does White know I rejected any lawyer? He doesn't because I didn't. I met with two lawyers while I was in jail. The first offered zero strategy for getting me free and even less strategy for seeking damages against those who had kidnapped me and thrown me in jail. He also exhibited the professionalism of a third grader in need of Ritalin. The other presented financial terms that were sketchy and could have presented problems for us down the road.

I would have been happy to meet with other lawyers and take on competent, thoughtful  representation. But none was forthcoming, and when you are in jail, your options are limited.

In a post on Nov. 17, 2013, White claimed I had refused a court-appointed lawyer. I never was offered a court-appointed lawyer in the defamation case -- filed by GOP operative and his "close friend," lobbyist Liberty Duke -- and I'm not aware of any process in Alabama where you can get a court-appointed lawyer for a civil case. White seems to forget I was in jail because of a 100 percent civil matter. Is he reckless, lazy, dishonest, or all three?

As for White's claim that he knew of organizations who were interested in helping me, why didn't they contact me -- or why didn't he contact me. My number was in the phone book, my email address was listed on the blog, and my wife Carol was home communicating with people from coast to coast. I couldn't be reached, but Carol was easily reachable, for anyone who truly wanted to help.

White admits I was in the right, and he claims to be interested in First Amendment rights, but he apparently made no effort to reach out. Why is that?

(To be continued)

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Was our Missouri eviction conducted for the ulterior purpose of causing us to miss the filing deadline in our federal "Jail Case" -- even though it failed to do so?

Trent and Sharon Cowherd
We recently passed the third anniversary of our unlawful eviction in Springfield, MO -- the event where deputies broke my wife Carol's arm and then brought bogus "assault on a law enforcement officer" charges against her, in an effort to cover for their wrongdoing.

The anniversary is significant for a couple of reasons: (1) It brings us closer to filing a federal civil-right lawsuit, within Missouri's five-year statute of limitations for such actions; (2) It's a good reason to ponder this question: Why were our landlord (Trent Cowherd) and his lawyer (Craig Lowther) so determined to proceed with an eviction that was unlawful on 10-12 grounds, and why was Sheriff Jim Arnott willing to go along with it?

With the passage of time, and the gradual accumulation of evidence via Carol's criminal case, we've developed a theory about what caused the Missouri "eviction gang" to act in such an irrational fashion. In short, we believe it is related to the statute of limitations in our pending federal case on my unlawful arrest and incarceration in Alabama. ("The Jail Case"). If our theory is correct, it points to coordination between bad actors in both Alabama and Missouri.

The question in item No. 2 above has been foremost in  our minds because . . . well, the actions of the "eviction gang" were so senseless, nutty, and contrary to Missouri law. Here, in our view, is what a rational landlord would have done in our situation: We had a lease that was to go month-to-month after one year had expired. Our rent had always been timely paid, and we were quiet, model tenants, so there was no reason to want us gone. In fact, after we received a Notice to Vacate (which was not timely, according to terms of the lease, or under state law), I called the landlord's office, and a woman named Megan admitted they had no grounds to force us out. They claimed we were due to sign a new lease, since my mother was exiting as co-signer, but there was no such provision in the lease, and they didn't try very hard to show one existed -- when it didn't.

When I noted they were breaching our contract, the response was, "I don't have to renew a lease with you, and we're deciding not to renew the lease." That, of course, did not explain their attempt to breach the contract. Regardless, they filed an eviction action.

Now, how easily could this situation have been resolved? Language in the lease called for it to go month-to-month, so why not . . . you know . . . let it go month-to-month. We have timely paid our rent elsewhere for three years, so that history suggests we were a good bet to pay Trent Cowherd -- had we been given a chance.

Here is what I've never understood: If Cowherd had followed his own lease, we definitely could have timely paid for several months. If we had hit a rough patch and were late or failed to pay, Cowherd could have given us a Notice to Vacate then, and we would have taken care of any pending bills and left.  I don't think an eviction would have been necessary, but if it had been, Cowherd could have given us a Notice of Eviction at the proper time, and we would have left, without any grounds to  challenge it. Following through on the eviction would not have been necessary because we would not stick around where we aren't lawfully entitled to be.

So, why did Cowherd and Co. fail to follow the simple, rational, lawful path? Well, let's keep this date in mind: Oct. 23, 2013. That's the date Alabama deputies broke into our home in Birmingham (without showing or stating they had a warrant), beat me up in my own garage, and hauled me to the Shelby County Jail, where I stayed for five months -- probably becoming the first person in history to be arrested for blogging.

Now, the statute of limitations (SOL) on civil-rights lawsuits (under Sec. 1983) is two years, so on the surface, it appears our "Jail Case" had to be filed by Oct. 23, 2015. And, what do you know, our eviction was scheduled for a little more than a month from that date -- Sept. 9, 2015.

It's clear the Alabama bad guys thought Oct. 23, 2015, was the key filing date in our lawsuit because almost all of them cited it in their responses, seeking dismissal because our case was filed -- guess what -- five months later. (Documents re: defendants' claims on the SOL, or our response to their claims, can be viewed here, here, and here.) Why five months later? Because I was incarcerated for five months, and federal law (which governs accrual of Sec. 1983 cases) holds that in cases involving allegations of false arrest and imprisonment, the limitations period begins when the imprisonment ends, which was March 26, 2014.

Alabama bad guys, as it turns out, are ignorant about the law, which seems to be a common affliction with them. We explained the law in a July 2018 post, noting the most concise description of it can be found at Restatement of Torts, a volume on the U.S. common law:

“For false imprisonment, the statute [of limitations] begins to run only when the imprisonment ends, since the period of imprisonment is treated as a unit." Restatement (Second) of Torts § 899, (1979). See Wallace v. Kato, 549 U.S. at 389,127 S. Ct. 1091 ("The running of the statute of limitations on [common-law] false imprisonment is subject to a distinctive rule—dictated, perhaps, by the reality that the victim may not be able to sue while he is still imprisoned."). The Restatement.

Notice the U.S. Supreme Court finding in Kato. That tends to be controlling law, even in Alabama.

We are left with these question: Did the Alabama Gang, thinking Oct. 23, 2015, was the drop-dead filing date for our "Jail Case," persuade the Missouri Gang to proceed with an unlawful eviction -- under the theory that throwing us out in the streets and wreaking havoc in our lives would cause us to miss the deadline for our federal lawsuit. And to make matters even "better " for us, did they intentionally rough up Carol and break her arm -- more or less incapacitating her for five months, which included eight hours of trauma surgery and months of extensive physical therapy?

Our guess is that the answer to both questions is yes. If we are right about that, it's another sign that we've been dealing with a truly perverse, evil group of individuals.

We do find a slight note of comedy in the notion that the actual drop-dead deadline for our filing was March 26, 2016 -- and we made it with room to spare. I kind of like the idea of the bad guys concocting a scheme that was based on a false premise -- or more accurately, a bad reading of the law -- all along.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

What happened to almost $40 million Alabama investors gave for a Russian lottery; did it wind up in an offshore account or maybe a Riley office building?

Rob Riley
Alabama investors, including the late VictoryLand owner Milton McGregor lost almost $40 million on a proposed Russian-lottery scheme that Rob Riley and his gaming partner, Robert Sigler, cooked up, according to a state political insider. Also, the insider says the Riley family and associates still could face criminal prosecution in the matter.

McGregor lost about $26 million, and Montgomery lawyer Tommy Gallion (and several of his friends) lost about $10 million, according to whistle blower, oppo researcher and retired attorney Jill Simpson.

As we reported yesterday, Gallion says an offshore account was set up in the Canary Islands by someone connected to the missing money. Do the Rileys have almost $40 million stashed away offshore -- and is that partly why they (and their allies) concocted a bogus perjury case to keep elected Democrat Charles Todd Henderson from taking office as Jefferson County district attorney?.Henderson beat one-time Riley appointee Brandon Falls, and before you know it, Riley-stooge attorney general Luther Strange was bringing a perjury charge that kept Henderson out of office.

Our investigation on those questions is continuing, but Gallion's statements, and our research, indicate the answer likely is yes. And that raises the specter of possible criminal activity related to the Riley family.

Jill Simpson shines important light on all of this in a post yesterday at her Facebook page. (with some editing for clarity.) Her comments were re-posted at

For years, Tommy Gallion and Milton McGregor tracked that Russian money they gave Rob Riley and Rob Sigler. Milton lost $26 million; in one instance, he gave Rob Riley's partner, Rob Sigler, a $13- million dollar check, and he showed me the check years later when he was tracking it. Tommy's buddies gave $10 million.

I knew, because Milton had shared with me, it was close to $40 Million that Rob Riley and Rob Sigler had stolen from folks from Montgomery,. Birmingham, and Tuscaloosa for their phony Russian lottery project -- with Oleg Deripaska and their Russian Amcham buddies.

If I add what Tommy told me and what Milton shared, that is $36 million, so it appears Tommy is not far from the number I have written that Milton shared with me several years back -- and he asked that I see it got out.

The Rileys are not out from under the cloud of possible criminal sanctions, according to Simpson:

The statute of limitations has not run, if someone finds the money, as the crime is ongoing and is part of the organized crime of the Alabama Gang. I found years ago what I believe to be $5-million of it paid to an Arab man that Rob and Rob had swindled, and it was part of a claims case. 
I am glad to see Tommy Gallion speaking out now, as Rob Riley and Rob Sigler should not get away with stealing $36-million dollars of Alabama funds. As some of you know, I have helped see this story told and started telling about it when I first came forward in the Siegelman case. I shared this with Richard Scrushy and his lawyers in February 2007, the first time I met with them. Rob Riley had made a mention of it, which is one of the reasons I quit helping him, as I wanted no part of his stealing $40 million dollars.

Simpson and Ohio attorney Cliff Arnebeck alerted federal authorities to the Russian-lottery scam, but they met mostly resistance or disinterest. States Simpson:

Cliff and I attempted to explain to the FBI what I knew, but the DOJ's Justin Shur would not agree to let me open my computer at the Montgomery FBI office, as he said he had heard I was a hacker, from an Alabama official in Washington (which I believe was Jeff Sessions). I did get Shur forced to resign over the incident, but I discovered along the way that the Alabama FBI is in Sessions' back pocket and would do nothing to Rob Riley and Rob Sigler, even though they stole $36-million in funds in a Russian lotto deal with the Russian mafia. 
I might add that we also knew Rob Riley and Bob Riley got nearly $1-million questionable dollars off the sheriff of Jefferson County, from taxpayer funds that they basically stole from the citizens -- and that the newly elected Democratic prosecutor (Charles Todd Henderson) was going to pursue what happened to it. That's when Henderson found himself being attacked in the press and prosecuted over a alleged perjury in a divorce matter. 
We believe much of the money went into the Rileys' fancy new office building in Homewood. That is pretty much par for the course of the Riley bunch. Haskell Slaughter in Birmingham, part of Gallion's group, went belly up when they would not play the crooked organized-crime bond game with kickbacks to the Riley Mafia Crime Family. The Bradley Arant firm played ball with the Rileys and made millions. 
That, plus all the other stories I have helped see told on this crime family, makes it clear corruption rules in the State of Alabama with the Alabama Gang. I have been tracking the Riley-Sessions Alabama Gang Political Mafia Crime Family for years and have been a victim of them a time or two. 
But I have never given up -- and have this time caught them in the biggest mess of espionage you can imagine, involving nuclear plants in various parts of the world, including Alabama. They are smack in the middle of doing a deal with Russian mobsters,  Canadian mobsters, and Middle Eastern interests-- and Franklin Haney of Chattanooga -- on a nuclear deal that will make our world very unsafe. They are doing it with the cover of DOJ chief Jeff Sessions, a long-time associate of Sergey Kislyak, who is close to Vladimir Putin.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Rob Riley, while his father was governor, apparently solicited bribes from law firms seeking state contracts, according to veteran attorney Tommy Gallion

Tommy Gallion
Rob Riley, while his father Bob Riley was Alabama governor (2003-11), suggested law firms seeking bond work via state contracts would need to funnel work to his Riley Jackson law firm in Homewood, according to a prominent Montgomery attorney who was involved in the process.

Tommy Gallion, of Haskell Slaughter and Gallion, said Rob Riley ran bond-work meetings as if he were governor. "Rob Riley ran meetings about bond work with the state and required that the winning firm send work to him. Haskell Slaughter had been doing that work for years, and it went to Bradley Arant because they agreed to Rob's terms."

Until recently, Bradley Arant was home to Rob Campbell, Rob Riley's brother-in-law and husband of Minda Riley Campbell (despite Rob Campbell's appearance at the Ashley Madison extramarital-affairs Web site.) Rob Campbell no longer is listed as an attorney at the Bradley Arant Web site, although the Alabama State Bar still lists him as working there. The firm reportedly raked in more than $10 million in taxpayer funds during the final two years of the Bob Riley administration. From Gallion:

At a meeting of our firm's executive committee meeting, when Bob Riley first took over as governor, Rob Riley appeared. He hinted that he could help our firm get considered in a major state upcoming bond issue, and he would like us to consider associating him in non-state related legal business. Our firm rejected his proposal after he left. Gov. Riley had a press release that he was putting out requests for proposals (RFP's) to all qualified law firms. Haskell Slaughter submitted the low bid, but the work went to his son-in-law's firm, Bradley Arant, who had recently hired him after Gov. Riley was elected. Bradley was the high proposal, and our firm was the low proposal; Bradley was selected by Gov. Riley.

Rob Riley's actions, as described by Gallion, appear to come close to being a classic quid pro quo ("something for something" deal) that forms the heart of federal funds bribery under 18 U.S.C. 666. The five-year statute of limitations clearly has run on Rob Riley's scheme, so why is it news now?

For one, the perjury case against duly elected Jefferson County District Attorney Charles Todd Henderson has Riley Inc.'s grimy fingerprints all over it, especially since Henderson (a Democrat) surprisingly ousted the Rileys' GOP favorite (and incumbent) Brandon Falls. Two, Gv. Kay Ivey has shown that she is willing to recycle members of the Riley Machine, such as general counsel Bryan Taylor, into positions of authority. That suggests the rank corruption of the Riley years could rear its head, with Ivey at the controls.

On top of that, Rob Riley has documented ties to efforts at establishing gaming/business enterprises that would connect Alabama investors and Russian interests. U.S. newspapers currently are filled with headlines about brewing scandals that involve Russian and American political/business figures. One of the biggest stories at the moment centers around Chattanooga property magnate Franklin Haney and his efforts to use a Canadian company (with ties to Russia) to bring a dormant nuclear plant in northeast Alabama back to life.

Rob Riley
A certain Montgomery lawyer had a front-row seat for some of Rob Riley's machinations related to Russia. Consider these words from Tommy Gallion:

My understanding is that Rob and Minda Riley made a substantial amount of money during the eight years their father was governor -- and Rob Riley could not make his house payments when Bob Riley went in.
I can tell you how they funneled the money; I've got all the documents on it. When Bob went to Congress, Rob was up there all the time working deals, and he's connected to big-time gambling interests. I know it first-hand because I invested with him and Robert Sigler. They were best friends . . . and (Sigler) lives in Las Vegas. He came in and did a sales pitch on the Russian lottery to a group of my friends. I actually invested in the pay-by-touch company, which was a helluva company, but to get that I had to get one of the units of this Russian lottery, which I never had any faith in. But (Sigler) raised over $10 million on the Russian lottery, and the money vanished.

They had the money with a bank that had a main office in London, with a branch office in Moscow. Sigler put $10 million in the Russian bank to procure a right to participate in the bid process. The money simply vanished. When everything started falling apart on the lottery, the stockholders -- which were a whole bunch of people in Montgomery -- said, "Where is our money?" Sigler had said, "We've got it protected." I got on the Internet and saw where Rob Riley set up offshore accounts for Sigler.

What happened to the Russian-lottery money and what about those offshore accounts? The answer remains unclear, but Gallion has thoughts on the subject:

I was told that an offshore account was set up in the Canary Islands by someone connected to the missing money. I don't know any more. I was told that Sigler had set one up there for Rob [Riley], but don't know for sure.

Another dubious deal involves Rob Riley's contract to represent the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department, headed by Mike Hale. That story begins with Bill Johnson, who was director of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) for part of Bob Riley's term. Says Gallion:

A million-dollar federal grant was sent to ADECA for law enforcement in the state. Bob Riley instructed Bill Johnson to send the full $1 million to the sheriff of Jefferson County, Mike Hale. Johnson later found out that to get the money, the sheriff had to put Rob Riley on a large legal retainer. He is still on the retainer.

How did Rob Riley and sister Minda Riley Campbell fare during their father's years as Alabama governor? The answer is "mighty well," according to Tommy Gallion:

I do not know what they made during their father's eight-year term. But I have been told it was substantial.

That is classic Riley-style corruption. With Kay Ivey in the governor's office, it might be returning soon to a theater near you. And with Donald Trump in the White House, the environment might be ripe for more attempted deals involving Alabama and Russia.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Popehat blogger trashed me to The New York Times, but his words about Hulk Hogan lawsuit against Gawker prove his thinking is an inconsistent mess

Ken White, of Popehat blog
You might expect that a First Amendment "expert" would be able to produce consistent thoughts in his area of specialization. But if you are looking for consistency from Ken White, Los Angeles-based attorney and proprietor of the Popehat blog, you likely will be disappointed.

White wormed his way into our lives by trashing me in a New York Times article about my unlawful arrest and incarceration in fall/winter 2013-14 -- all growing from a defamation lawsuit by Alabama GOP thug Rob Riley and his "close friend," lobbyist Liberty Duke.

After acknowledging that Judge Claud Neilson's temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction were unlawful prior restraints under the First Amendment, White decided to engage in classic "blaming the victim." From The Times' article, by reporter Campbell Robertson:

“You’ve got a situation where sometimes there’s no good guys,” said Ken White, a former federal prosecutor in Los Angeles who writes about and practices First Amendment law. . . .

. . . Mr. White and others say that before a judge can take the step of banning speech, libel must be proved at trial, or at least over a litigation process more involved than a quick succession of hearings, with the only evidence presented by the plaintiffs.

“Idiocy is not a zero-sum game,” Mr. White said. “I think you can say that what the court is doing is unconstitutional and troublesome and also that Shuler is his own worst enemy.”

Does White present any examples that cause him to conclude that I'm "not a good guy" in this matter -- or that "I'm my own worst enemy"? Nope. Is is possible Mr. White and Mr. Robertson were both being just a tad disingenuous? Yep.

Robertson mentions that the National Bloggers Club (NBC), a group led by the Republican activist Ali (Akbar) Alexander, had threatened to sue me for defamation, while failing to mention they had no grounds, under the law, for such a lawsuit, and they never actually filed one. Robertson also neglected to mention that, in the weeks leading to my arrest, Akbar's gang of right-wing mouthbreathers published numerous posts claiming I was "RogerS," a commenter at a liberal blog who was encouraging left-wing activist Brett Kimberlin to file a RICO lawsuit against the NBC. I, of course, was not RogerS and had nothing to do with the Kimberlin-NBC contretemps.

Hulk Hogan, at Gawker trial
Most glaringly, Robertson failed to mention that White had publicly supported the Akbar gang -- even though Akbar himself has a criminal record on the felony level and a history as a troller for gay sex on the Grindr geosocial app -- and even tried to arrange legal help for them in the Kimberlin case. In fact, White sought help for the NBC in a post dated Oct. 20, 2013, three days before my arrest. Hmmm.

Of all the lawyers in the country with knowledge of the First Amendment, Campbell Robertson sought out Ken White (from California) about my case (in Alabama)? And White just happens to be the guy who supported the right-wing blogging loons who had attacked me based on a rumor that had no basis in reality? Again, hmmm.

Even more curious is that White does not seem to agree with himself regarding the First Amendment issues in my case. In 2016, White wrote about the Hulk Hogan lawsuit, funded by Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel, that put Gawker Media out of business. From White's Popehat post on the subject:

Gawker has occasionally provided quality journalism and entertainment. That doesn't stop me from despising its amoral and repulsive ethos. Gawker's utter destruction produces a feeling of glee in my guts but disquiet in my heart. As I've written before, I'm not sure that the ruinous verdict against Gawker was just, I don't think that the amount of damages awarded was defensible, and I'm concerned that the result was a product of the brokenness of our legal system.

But observers seem eager to push the wrong message about that brokenness. The scary part of the story isn't that the occasional vengeful billionaire might break the system and overwhelm even a well-funded target with money. Such people exist, but getting sued by them is like getting hit by lightning. No, for most of us the scary part of the story is that our legal system is generally receptive to people abusing it to suppress speech. Money helps do that, but it's not necessary to do it. A hand-to-mouth lunatic with a dishonest contingency lawyer can ruin you and suppress your speech nearly as easily as a billionaire. Will you prevail against a malicious and frivolous defamation suit? Perhaps sooner if you're lucky enough to be in a state with a good anti-SLAPP statute. Or perhaps years later. Will you be one of the lucky handful who get pro bono help? Or will you be like almost everyone else, who has to spend tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to protect your right to speak, or else abandon your right to speak because you can't afford to defend it?

The system isn't just broken for affluent publications targeted by billionaires. It's broken for everyone, and almost everyone else's speech is at much greater risk. Don't point to Peter Thiel as an exception. He's just a vivid and outlying expression of the rule.

So, there you have it: Ken White admits courts allow plaintiffs (like Rob Riley and Liberty Duke) to abuse the system, by filing malicious and frivolous lawsuits, in order to stifle free speech -- and this was roughly three years after White had admitted an Alabama court ruled unlawfully against me.

Why in the hell was this guy trashing me to The New York Times? I have some thoughts about that, but first, I have another example of Popehat's confused and inconsistent thinking.

(To be continued)

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Confidential informant's letter on Brett Kavanaugh has been referred to FBI, and it appears to involve a #MeToo incident with a woman from nominee's past

Brett Kavanaugh
Senate Democrats have referred a confidential informant's letter about U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh to the FBI for investigation, according to reports today from multiple news sites. The Intercept is reporting that the letter appears to involve an alleged #MeToo incident involving Kavanaugh and a California woman.

CNN is reporting that a committee vote on the Kavanaugh confirmation has been delayed until next week. It's not clear if the delay is related to new information from a confidential informant. From a report at Alternet:

The Intercept and Buzzfeed News are reporting that Democrats in the U.S. Senate have referred a letter concerning Judge Brett Kavanaugh—President Trump’s second nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court—to the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice for investigation. Last week, the Senate held confirmation hearings on Trump’s nominee, with some of the most California’s Kamala Harris and New Jersey’s Cory Booker.

According to The Intercept, members of the Senate Judiciary Committee have asked to see a Kavanaugh-related letter that California Sen. Dianne Feinstein has in her possession. But so far, Feinstein—who is the highest ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee—has declined to share the letter with her colleagues.

Exactly what’s in the letter remains unclear. But according to The Intercept, the letter was written by someone associated with Stanford University and may describe an incident involving Kavanaugh and a woman that occurred when they were in high school. The Stanford associate gave the letter to Democratic Rep. Anna Eshoo, who represents the Northern California district where Stanford is located and passed the letter along to Feinstein.

On September 13, BuzzFeed reported that it had contacted the woman believed to be the subject of the letter, but she declined to comment. However, Democratic Sen. Dick Durban of Illinois did speak to BuzzFeed on September 13, saying, “This matter has been referred to the FBI for investigation.”

BuzzFeed also contacted Eshoo’s office, which declined to comment on the contents of the letter, noting, “Our office does not discuss casework.”

Feinstein’s office, as of 1 p.m. EST on September 13, had declined to give BuzzFeed or any other news outlet a comment. But Feinstein said that an official statement about the letter would be forthcoming later in the day.

From a report at The Intercept, which conjures up memories of Anita Hill's testimony in the hearing on Clarence Thomas' confirmation:

Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee have privately requested to view a Brett Kavanaugh-related document in possession of the panel’s top Democrat, Dianne Feinstein, but the senior California senator has so far refused, according to multiple sources familiar with the situation.

The specific content of the document, which is a letter from a California constituent, is unclear, but Feinstein’s refusal to share the letter has created tension on the committee, particularly after Feinstein largely took a back seat to her more junior colleagues last week, as they took over Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings with protests around access to documents.

The letter took a circuitous route to Feinstein, the top-ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee. It purportedly describes an incident that was relayed to someone affiliated with Stanford University, who authored the letter and sent it to Rep. Anna Eshoo, a Democrat who represents the area.

Different sources provided different accounts of the contents of the letter, and some of the sources said they themselves had heard different versions, but the one consistent theme was that it describes an incident involving Kavanaugh and a woman while they were in high school. Kept hidden, the letter is beginning to take on a life of its own.

Eshoo passed the letter to her fellow Californian, Feinstein. Word began leaking out on the Hill about it, and Feinstein was approached by Democrats on the committee, but she rebuffed them, Democratic sources said. Feinstein’s fellow senators want their own opportunity to gauge whether or not the letter should be made public, rather than leaving it to Feinstein to make that call unilaterally. The sources were not authorized to speak on the record, and said that no senators on the committee, other than Feinstein, have so far been able to view the letter.

Bob Woodward's latest blockbuster is about Donald Trump's "war on truth," but the famed reporter could write several volumes about the U.S. "war on law"

Bob Woodward
Acclaimed journalist Bob Woodward, speaking to MSNBC's Rachel Maddow this week, said his new book essentially is about the Trump administration's "war on truth." That is a profound statement, but it doesn't go far enough, in our view.

The release of Fear: Trump in the White House has been one of the biggest news stories of the past week. By all accounts that we've read, it's another stunning chapter in Woodward's long career as a ground-breaking reporter. But there is another war under way on the American landscape, and it might be even more dangerous than Trump's jihad against the truth. We call it the "war on law," and we've been reporting on it since Legal Schnauzer started in June 2007.

You might say Trump's "war on truth" dates to June 2015, when he announced his run for the presidency. The "war on law" goes back much further than that. The late Monroe Freedman, considered the modern-day father of legal ethics, spoke about it in 1989. Karl Rove and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce launched an effort to buy Southern appellate courts in 1994, and that essentially was an official declaration of war on the law.

What impact does this have on our democracy? It destroys fundamental constitutional protections, such as due process and equal protection. Those quaint notions already are on life support in many jurisdictions.

As for Trump, he is conducting a war both on truth and the law. His appointment of the abominable Jeff Sessions as attorney general -- with his long history of political prosecutions -- showed an utter disrespect for the rule of law. His nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court of Brett Kavanaugh, who lied repeatedly to Congress during his confirmation hearings, is a classic case of placing political considerations over the law.

Let's consider two examples of the "war on law" in our personal experience. They involve both Alabama state and federal courts, from our first encounter with a legal matter to a matter that is pending as we type:

Trampling the law of trespassing

Our legal nightmare began when Shelby County District Judge Ron Jackson found Mike McGarity, our former neighbor with the lengthy criminal record, not guilty of trespassing -- even though McGarity admitted under oath that he had committed the offense as charged.

Jackson butchered the facts and the law in a variety of ways. But here is the one that really stands out, citing the judge's words from a court transcript:

"I'm going to find that you had to give written warning, and there is reasonable doubt about whether the warning was received prior to the trespass. Therefore, I am going to acquit. But Mr. McGarity, you certainly are on notice now, and if you return here on these issues, the result might be different."

Jackson found that we had to give McGarity written warning to stay off our property. Is that a correct reading of Alabama law -- or law anywhere, for that matter? Not even close. Jackson made it up -- in crude terms, he pulled it out of his ass. The real law can be found in a case styled Chambers v. City of Opelika, 698 So. 2d 792 (Ala. Crim. App., 1996). From the Chambers opinion:

The appellant has cited no authority for his position that to be guilty of criminal trespass the intruder must be aware that he or she had no license or privilege to enter or to remain on the premises. There is authority, however, that states that when those premises are private and not open to the public, there is no requirement that the prosecution prove that a prior written or verbal warning was given to the intruder.

As you can see, no property owner (or renter, for that matter) is obligated to warn an intruder. If that were the case, there would be no such thing as private property in the United States. Rather, it is the would-be trespasser's obligation to make sure he is "licensed, privileged, or invited" to be on the property. McGarity admitted he was on our property, and he never claimed any of those defenses, so he was guilty. Jackson's finding of "not guilty" allowed McGarity to file a baseless malicious prosecution case against me -- and all of our other legal travails flow from that. Had Jackson decided the McGarity matter lawfully, none of our other legal cases would have happened -- and 18 years of our lives would not have been ruined.

Jerking around with the statute of limitations

Our pending "Jail Case" in the Northern District of Alabama provides a recent example of courtroom crookedness. It involves the statute of limitations and shows U.S. District Judge Virginia Emerson Hopkins can't get even the simplest matters correct.

Hopkins dismissed all six of our federal claims -- First Amendment, Fourth Amendment, Fourteenth Amendment, False Arrest, False Imprisonment, and Excessive Force -- by finding that we filed our complaint after the two-year statute of limitations (SOL) for claims under 42 U.S.C. 1983 had

Virginia Emderson Hopkins
It is standard around the country that the time bar for a Sec. 1983 claim is based on each state's statute of limitations for personal-injury cases. In Missouri, that is five years; in Alabama, it's two years. So, it's undisputed that our case, in fact, is governed by a two-year SOL -- and Hopkins is correct, up to a point..

But that is not the only time-related matter at hand. There also is the small matter of when the SOL begins to accrue. In other words, when does the two-year clock start ticking on a Sec. 1983 claim in Alabama, or any other state? The U.S. Eleventh Circuit (covering Alabama, Georgia, and Florida) answered that question in a case styled Kelly v. Serna, 87 F. 3d 1235 (11th Cir., 1996):

“Deciding what statute of limitations applies to this action gets us only half way to our destination. Secondly, we must decide at what point the applicable statute begins to run. A statute of limitations begins to run when the cause of action accrues. Accrual of a cause of action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 is a question of federal law. Mullinax v. McElhenney, 817 F.2d 711, 716 (11th Cir.1987).

So, what does federal law say on the matter? Here is how the U.S. Supreme Court put it in Wallace v. Kato, 549 US 384 (U.S. Supreme Court, 2007):

“The statute of limitations in a § 1983 suit is that provided by the State for personal-injury torts,e.g.,Owens v. Okure, 488 U.S. 235, 249-250, 109 S.Ct. 573, 102 L.Ed.2d 594 . . . For false imprisonment and its subspecies false arrest, "[t]he... cause[s] of action ... provid[ing] the closest analogy to claims of the type considered here," Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 484, 114 S.Ct. 2364, 129 L.Ed.2d 383, the statute of limitations begins to run when the alleged false imprisonment ends, see,e.g., 4 Restatement (Second) of Torts § 899.”

How does Hopkins butcher the law on this issue? By simply ignoring what Wallace v. Kato actually says. Hopkins claims "the statute of limitations does not begin to run until the facts which would support a cause of action are apparent or should be apparent to a person with a reasonably prudent regard for his rights." From that, Hopkins concludes that the SOL began to run when I was arrested, when my imprisonment began.

But that is not the law in cases of alleged false arrest and false imprisonment, as Wallace makes clear. You will notice the citation in Wallace to Restatement of Torts. The Restatement is a volume on U.S. common law, which applies across the country. It provides perhaps the most clearly worded statement on the SOL issue in our case:

“For false imprisonment, the statute [of limitations] begins to run only when the imprisonment ends, since the period of imprisonment is treated as a unit." Restatement (Second) of Torts § 899, (1979). See Wallace v. Kato, 549 U.S. at 389,127 S. Ct. 1091 ("The running of the statute of limitations on [common-law] false imprisonment is subject to a distinctive rule—dictated, perhaps, by the reality that the victim may not be able to sue while he is still imprisoned."). The Restatement.

This is not only succinctly stated law, it's also common sense. If Hopkins' version of the law was legit, someone could have you falsely arrested, keep you in jail for two years, and you would have no legal recourse  once you got out. I was kept in jail for a little more than five months, and the SOL on my claims began to accrue when my imprisonment ended. It's undisputed that our claims were filed within two years after my release from the Shelby County Jail -- and that's when the SOL began to accrue.

Virginia Emerson Hopkins can't get that right because she is a sycophant for Jeff Sessions and U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), and they are two of the "generals" in the war on law.

Bob Woodward could write several volumes on that war, and he would be doing a huge service for our citizenry.