Does that first sentence lead to the second? Not necessarily, but it does suggest Donald Watkins Sr. has a sizable ego and perhaps that contributed to the legal problems he now faces.
On the other hand, the charges against Watkins grew from the Hugo Black Courthouse in downtown Birmingham. That building houses courtrooms, federal judges' offices, the clerk's office, and the office of U.S. attorney Jay Town. I've spent more time in the Hugo Black building than I care to remember, and while it is an attractive edifice, experience has taught me that it houses some of the sleaziest, most dishonest, and contemptible people on the planet. It's a sewer of organized crime, and my guess is that 70 percent of the people in the building have committed or know about indictable offenses.
My wife, Carol, and I have been involved in at least four or five (I've lost track) cases in the Hugo Black Courthouse, and every one has been decided by crooked federal judges, issuing rulings that run wildly contrary to black-letter law. Even in the clerk's office, we've seen signs that cases routinely are doled out to specific judges -- almost certainly for corrupt reasons -- rather than assigned randomly, as required by law.
The Hugo Black crooks are so low that it would not be beneath them to bring the Watkins charges as a diversion, to deflect public attention from legal concerns that hover over Alabama's ruling white elites -- such as the evolving North Birmingham Superfund scandal, the AG Steve Marshall/RAGA scandal, the firing of state prosecutor Matt Hart, the Bellefonte nuclear plant boondoggle, possible revelations about Jeff Sessions and other Alabama dirt bags in the Trump-Russia scandal, and more.
All of this means Donald Watkins and his son are about to enter a den of "reptiles, tramps, and thieves" -- to borrow a phrase modified from Cher -- and that's not a pleasant thought for anyone. In what promises to be a nasty, legal Battle Royale, I'm pulling for the Watkinses, hands down.
That's not to say I don't have quibbles with Mr. Watkins Sr. In recent years, he has added the role of "journalist" to his professional undertakings, and he has repeatedly claimed at his Facebook and Web page that he broke the story of former Gov. Robert Bentley and his extramarital affair with senior adviser Rebekah Caldwell Mason. In fact, Watkins made the claim again yesterday in his online response to the federal indictments:
Ironically, while federal prosecutors in Alabama elected to prosecute me on flimsy allegations, they forgave former Governor Robert Bentley for his many acts of public corruption in spending vast sums of tax dollars, campaign money, and dark money romancing his lover, Rebekah Caldwell Mason. As the Alabama public knows, I am the journalist who broke the “sex for power” scandal between Bentley and Ms. Mason that resulted in the governor’s resignation.
The highlighted statement above is false, and Watkins knows it is false. I have advised him of its falsity several times via response on Facebook. This blog, Legal Schnauzer, broke the Bentley-Mason story on Aug. 31, 2015 -- and that is an indisputable fact, as we spelled out in an April 2018 post:
Legal Schnauzer broke the story of Bentley's affair with "adviser" Rebekah Caldwell Mason -- and its associated financial and legal implications -- roughly seven months before the mainstream media (MSM) began to take it seriously. The first story on the Bentley scandal, anywhere in any form of media, was published here at Legal Schnauzer on Aug. 31, 2015.
We were way ahead of everybody in naming Rebekah Mason as a central figure in the scandal. Our guess is the MSM never would have touched the story if we hadn't broken it and followed up with key details. In fact, al.com (especially "reporters" John Archibald and Chuck Dean) spent months attacking my journalism on the story. They were more interested in sweeping the story under their GOP-tinted rug than actually pursuing it. . . .
Archibald, of course, was happy to go on The Rachel Maddow Show in spring 2017 and take credit for "breaking" the story, even though he was seven months late to the party.
Speaking of taking credit for the work of others, we have lawyer/businessman/Facebook "journalist" Donald Watkins, who repeatedly has taken credit for breaking the Bentley-Mason story. His most recent effort to falsely claim credit for breaking the story came three days ago. Much of Watkins' early reporting on the Bentley scandal focused on hints that the governor was having a homosexual affair with his security chief.
Watkins didn't even have the gender issue correct, and never mentioned Mason's name until well after we had broken it. Yet, just three days ago, he took credit for breaking the story. Perhaps that kind of fundamental dishonesty is the reason Watkins is up to his neck in federal investigations. (Given that many state and federal prosecutors are utterly lacking in integrity, it's also possible Watkins is being targeted because his skin is black and is seen as a threat to Alabama's conservative establishment.)
Am I displeased that Watkins has taken credit for my work? Yes. Am I so worked up about it that I've lost objectivity about his case? I hope not. Do my quibbles mean he is guilty of the charges feds now have brought against him? Of course not -- and I suspect the government's case is filled with holes.
Watkins did make important contributions on the Bentley/Mason story, and I have given him credit for that multiple times. He has broken or contributed to other important stories, such as the suicide of former University of Alabama student Megan Rondini. His journalism probably has earned him enemies in high places.
The government's efforts to charge Watkins have been percolating for years. It's a complex financial matter, and I'm still studying it to get a grip on the issues involved. But I've reached two conclusions already:
(1) I believe the charges likely were brought now to shine an ugly spotlight on a prominent black man in Alabama, diverting attention from possible criminal actions of white elites on issues noted above.
(2) Donald Watkins, without a doubt, is smarter than the prosecutors and investigators who will be trying to put him away. If he gets a reasonable judge and jury -- a big if -- I think he will kick the feds in the crotch if this thing goes to trial.
Based on what I know at the moment -- and what I've learned about the Alabama "justice system" over almost 20 years -- I hope Watkins does kick the feds in the delicates -- and may he keeps on kicking until they can squirm no more.