Thursday, November 15, 2018

Luther Strange tweet shows he knew in advance about Jeff Sessions' firing as U.S. attorney general, casting curious light on corruption in our federal "House Case"


Luther Strange
Former U.S. Sen. Luther Strange (R-AL) knew last week that Trump Attorney General Jeff Sessions (R-AL) had been fired, roughly two hours before the news had been released in the press, according to a report at the Washington Examiner. Is this an oddity, of little or no import? We think it is much more than that, adding to the mountain of evidence that federal courts in Alabama are a nauseating sewer.

Specifically, the new evidence suggests our "House Case" was decided by a trial "judge" -- R. David Proctor, in the Northern District of Alabama -- who issued an unlawful dismissal against us, even though he was disqualified from hearing the case. On top of that, we recently have uncovered evidence of a massive cheat job on the "House Case" in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, driven by a Gerald Ford-appointed fossil named Gerald Bard Tjoflat and a fellow named David J. Smith, who serves as clerk of the 11th Circuit.

We will have much more on the crooked actions of Tjoflat and Smith in upcoming posts. In short, their misconduct at the appellate level -- along with Proctor's "handiwork" at the trial-court level -- likely amounts to"fraud on the court," requiring that all orders be declared void, and the case reopened.

How does Luther Strange's head start on Jeff Sessions' forced resignation play into this? First, let's look at the Washington Examiner's Nov. 7 report:

Former Sen. Luther Strange, the Alabama Republican who filled Jeff Sessions' seat when he became U.S. attorney general, suggested Alabamians elect Sessions back to the Senate just before news broke Wednesday afternoon that Sessions had resigned from the Trump administration.

“Jeff Sessions for Senate in 2020!” Strange tweeted, about two hours before Sessions resigned as attorney general at the request of President Trump.

It had been rumored for some time that Trump would push for Sessions' ouster from his position leading the Department of Justice. Trump often vented about his frustrations with Sessions after the attorney general recused himself from overseeing the Russia investigation.

Strange was defeated in the Republican primary by Roy Moore, who lost in a special election last year to Democrat Doug Jones. The Democratic senator is up for re-election in 2020.

Sessions made no mention of what his future holds in his resignation to the president.

Sessions served as a senator from 1997 to 2017, resigning from that position to be attorney general.

We've already shown that Sessions and Proctor have been scratching each other's backs in unscrupulous ways for more than 20 years. Now, we learn the Sessions and Strange camps are so close that one knows what's happening with the other before everyone else does.

How does all of this connect and lead to unlawful rulings in our "House Case"? One of the primary connectors is Jake Proctor, the judge's son who seems to bounce from one U.S. Senate job to another -- which is pretty tall cotton for a guy who only completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Alabama in 2016. Here is what we know about Jake Proctor's work history, before he scrubbed most of it from his Facebook page after we challenged his father's bogus rulings in the "House Case."

(1) Jake Proctor went to work for Jeff Sessions in summer 2015.

(2) Jake Proctor, while completing his degree, worked off and on for Sessions, apparently until the latter was nominated as Trump's attorney general on Nov. 18, 2016.

Jeff Sessions and Jae Proctor
(3) Pre-scrubbing, Jake Proctor stated on Facebook that he went to work as a staffer in the U.S. Senate on Jan. 3, 2017.

(4) Jake Proctor's Facebook post did not say who he would be working for in the Senate, but why would he take a job with Jeff Sessions, who already was in line to give up his seat for the AG job?

(5) Alabama Gov. Robert "Luv Guv" Bentley did not formally appoint Strange to fill Sessions' Senate seat until Feb. 9, 2017 -- roughly five weeks after the date Jake Proctor said he went to work in the Senate.

(6) We now know the Strange and Sessions camps have inside dope on each other, raising this question: Did Luther Strange know roughly five weeks in advance that he was going to be Bentley's choice for the Senate seat, and one of his first acts -- likely at Jeff Sessions' urging -- was to hire Judge R. David Proctor's son? The evidence strongly suggests the scenario, in fact, played out this way -- and Judge Proctor knew all about it.

(7) Judge Proctor dismissed our "House Case" on Jan. 13, 2017, and he followed it with an order dated Feb. 23, 2017, acknowledging that he was due to recuse due to a conflict of interest of which he had just become aware. (The order is embedded at the end of this post, along with our Motion to Recuse.) From Proctor's order, explaining his recusal:

On February 10, 2017, approximately four weeks after the court’s dismissal order was entered, Luther Strange, a party-defendant in this action before its dismissal, was sworn in as Alabama’s newest United States Senator. One of Senator Strange’s initial hires is a young staffer who worked on Senator Jeff Sessions’ staff (until then Senator Sessions’ appointment as the 84th Attorney General of the United States) and who is related to the undersigned. Based upon these events, which occurred after the court’s dismissal of this action, it is appropriate for the undersigned to RECUSE.

What are the chances that Judge Proctor is lying here? I would put them at 99 percent, given that his own son stated on Facebook that he was working in the Senate as of Jan. 3, 10 days BEFORE the "judge" dismissed our case -- and that raises the serious issue of "fraud on the court." How would Judge Proctor react to a motion for an evidentiary hearing on his son's Senate employment? Probably not very well.

Note the curious wording Judge Proctor uses in his order:

* Proctor says Strange hired "a young staffer" who is "related to the undersigned," but he does not state the staffer's name (Jake Proctor), and he does not state the nature of the relationship (father-son).

* Proctor states twice that events involving his son's hiring came after he had dismissed our case. But that runs counter to Jake Proctor's own words on Facebook, which now have been well scrubbed. It also implies that he could not know in advance about machinations involving Sessions and Strange, when Strange's tweet last week shows that is not the case. Again, how about an evidentiary hearing on this issue?

* Even if Judge Proctor's version of events is accurate, that does not preclude a conflict of interest involving Luther Strange -- one the "judge" knew about long before our case ever landed on his desk. For example, has Jake Proctor used Luther Strange as an employment reference, and has the former senator helped him get various jobs? That would mean Judge Proctor was disqualified from our case and ruled unlawfully on it, anyway.

Here's how we sized things up in a March 2017 post:

What about the curious timing of Jake Proctor's employment? Consider this:

* Jake Proctor says he went to work as a Senate staffer on Jan. 3, 2017, but Luther Strange was not appointed to the Senate until more than one month later. Was Jake Proctor working for Sessions, even though the latter already had been nominated as Trump's attorney general, and then switched to Strange? Did someone know, well in advance, that Bentley was going to appoint Strange to fill Sessions' seat, and that made Jake Proctor comfortable about getting an early start on the job?

* Judge Proctor claimed in his recusal order that he dismissed "The House Case" before the issue of his son's employment with Strange came up. But if Jake Proctor was working in the Senate on Jan. 3, and his boss was Luther Strange, that isn't true. To be precise, Judge Proctor dismissed our case on Jan. 13, 10 days after his son went to work for somebody in the Senate. The latest version we can find of Sessions' Senate staff directory does not list Jake Proctor -- and one wonders why Sessions would make a new Senate hire when he knew he had been nominated as attorney general. All of that suggests Jake Proctor went to work for Luther Strange on Jan. 3 -- before Strange formally had been announced as Sessions' successor -- and Judge Proctor flat-out lied in a court order.

Either way, a disqualified judge decided our case -- and that isn't a matter of discretion for Proctor; a disqualified judge must step down, and he didn't do it.

This much is clear: Sessions, Strange, and the Proctors swim in a world of white entitlement. And thanks to Luther Strange's recent tweet, we know that's a world where the entitled learn about events before the rest of us.


(Hat tip to Morgan County WhistleBlower)









Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Indictment of Trey Glenn, Trump EPA administrator for the Southeast, suggests Superfund scandal might generate a reckoning for Alabama's white elites


Trey Glenn
Just when it seemed the North Birmingham Superfund scandal had ended -- and the Donald Trump administration could not get any dirtier -- along came Alabama indictments yesterday to show both of those propositions are off target.

Trey Glenn, the Southeast regional administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), was indicted yesterday by a Jefferson County grand jury for violating state ethics laws. Among the charges: multiple violations of Alabama’s Ethics Act, including soliciting a thing of value from a principal, lobbyist or subordinate, and receiving money in addition to that received in one’s official capacity. Scott Phillips, former member of the Alabama Environmental Management Commission (EMC), was indicted on similar charges. Both have ties to the Balch Bingham law firm.

Yesterday's indictments were shockers, since a federal jury found a Balch Bingham lawyer (Joel Gilbert), and a Drummond Co. executive (David Roberston) guilty of bribery in a July trial connected to the Superfund scandal -- and former state lawmaker Oliver Robinson pleaded guilty to accepting bribes. It seemed clear at the time that U.S. Attorney Jay Town went after only a sampling of legal, corporate, and political types who could have been subject to criminal charges.

The state indictments of Glenn and Phillips suggest Town, in fact, let a number of rogues off the hook, leaving these compelling questions: How many more white-collar types might be held criminally accountable? Could Glenn and Phillips represent a new, more wide-ranging round of indictments?

Donald Trump appointed Glenn to the EPA position (covering Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi) in August 2017. Before that, Glenn was a creature of the Alabama corporate swamps, working with the Balch Bingham law firm, Drummond Co., and the Business Council of Alabama. Along the way, Glenn acquired a reputation as an operative with shaky ethics and little concern for the environment. In a column yesterday at al.com, John Archibald declared himself "toxic shocked" by the charges against Glenn and Phillips:

Can this be happening? Really? Charges against powerful Alabamians who admittedly worked to protect the interests of powerful friends while demeaning low-income residents who must live and die with their choices?

I never dreamed they’d face the music in Alabama. I thought for sure judgment would come for Phillips and Glenn only at the Pearly Gates, where St. Peter would decide whether to send them toward a brownfield down below.

When Trump named Glenn to the EPA role, Alabama conservative honchos sang hosannas. They included U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), who said:

“As an accomplished environmental engineer from Alabama, Trey Glenn is well-prepared for this new role and challenge as the EPA Region 4 administrator. Having served as the director of the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, he understands the value and importance of state authority and control.”

Gov. Kay Ivey joined the happy chorus:

“His experience as director of the Alabama Department of Environmental Management places him in a unique position to be prepared to work with these southern states. We are also especially glad to know someone with in-depth knowledge of Alabama will be overseeing our region.”

Shelby and Ivey obviously know, and like, "a shill for polluters" (John Archibald's term for Glenn) when they see one. But their judgment is not looking so good at the moment, and it's likely to look even worse over the coming months.

Where is all of this heading? We don't have a clear answer at the moment, but we sought insight from the banbalch.com Web site, which has led the way on reporting of the Superfund scandal. From the site's post yesterday on the Glenn and Phillips indictments:

As we wrote in August, Phillips was given the boot by the Birmingham-Jefferson County Port Authority after Balch partner Joel I. Gilbert was convicted on all six federal counts.

During the criminal trial, Glenn admitted handing off confidential work product of public charity and environmental group GASP to Balch-made millionaire Gilbert during day 7 of the criminal trial.

And we are told this is only the beginning!

Where should all of this be headed? Jeff Martin, of the Montgomery Independent, provided insight on that question in an article dated August 22, 2018, shortly after guilty verdicts had been reached in the federal Superfund trial:

Environmental organizations throughout Alabama have joined together in asking Governor Kay Ivey to hold the Alabama Environmental Management Commission (EMC) accountable for actions revealed during the recent bribery and corruption trial in Birmingham. That investigation resulted in one Alabama lawmaker pleading guilty to bribery and half-dozen guilty verdicts against a partner in a prestigious law firm and the Vice President of Drummond Company.

These organizations want to make it clear that ADEM Director Lance LeFleur is not the only one that needs to be held accountable for the inappropriate actions of the state agency and it’s governing commission, all of which was revealed during the trial. The EMC should be as accountable to the people of Alabama as they are to the regulated industries they oversee. . . .

North Birmingham Superfund cleanup
Members of the EMC apparently have no objective to protect the environment. The only reason most are even appointed and serve on the EMC is because they or their employer have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. . . .
While three men will likely go to prison as a result of the investigation and trial, as I’ve written before, that number should probably be closer to a dozen. Everyone from Luther Strange to US Attorney General Jeff Sessions has this stench on them.

But, the man in charge of the investigation, US Attorney Jay Town serves at the pleasure of AG Sessions. (Trump, of course, fired Sessions last week, so Town might be on shaky ground.) Town was also a political advisor to Strange. So it should come as no surprise that he has announced no more charges are expected and the investigation is complete.

So with the trial concluded and most escaping retribution, it is back to business as usual in Alabama.

Jeff Martin, like many observers, expected the status quo to remain solidly in place. But yesterday's stunning news suggests an overdue shake-up among Alabama's white elites might be coming around the bend.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Court finds Missouri lawyer David Shuler provided ineffective assistance of counsel in child-sex case that had his client, Scott J. Wells, facing five life sentences


David Shuler
A Missouri man was found guilty of child sexual abuse in 2004 and faced a likely punishment of five life sentences, plus 55 years. Legal situations do not get much more dire than that, especially when you consider that the man insisted throughout the process that he was not guilty. Still, the man appeared to have "one foot in the grave" -- as courthouse types like to say -- until something unexpected happened. A second lawyer agreed to take a look at the case, which involved a bench trial, and he found rampant inconsistencies among the testimony of four girls who were complaining witnesses. He also found that the defendant's first lawyer had committed multiple blunders that contributed to the guilty finding.

The second lawyer filed  a motion for a new trial, based on ineffective assistance of counsel. In a stunning development, the judge found evidence presented at the new-trial hearing so disturbing that he overturned his own guilty verdict and ordered a new trial.

The first defense lawyer, the one a court determined to have provided ineffective assistance of counsel, was my brother, Springfield attorney David Shuler. This is the first in a series of posts about a case styled State of Missouri v. Scott J. Wells (No. 31302CF5509). I've sought comment from David Shuler for these reports, but he has not responded. His silence, and certain actions he's taken since the trial, indicate he's not particularly bothered by his dreadful representation of Scott Wells. Perhaps that is more evidence that some individuals check their consciences at the door when they enter law school.

Tried in Greene County, MO, the Wells case provides frightening evidence of the danger that lurks around every bend in our broken "justice system." From child witnesses who have faulty memories or problems with honesty (or both), to overzealous and game-playing prosecutors, to inept lawyers . . . the system can swallow innocent people whole and ruin their lives, while nobody seems to notice.

As for Scott Wells, he's still not out of the legal woods. He filed a legal-malpractice lawsuit against David Shuler, and the case got past the dismissal and summary-judgment stages -- and to the edge of a trial -- when Wells' attorney bailed out on him, and the case was dismissed. I've had enough experience with legal-malpractice cases to know they are difficult to get to trial, much less to win. That Scott Wells v. David Shuler got to the point of formulating jury instructions suggests that Wells had a strong case. That Wells' lawyer would exit when he was on the verge of a victory -- and a 30-40 percent share of what likely would have been a substantial judgment -- smells of fishy, behind-the scenes maneuvering.

Deposition testimony of expert witness Daniel Dodson, a lawyer from Jefferson City, MO, was devastating regarding David Shuler's performance. (Parts 1 and 2 of Dodson's testimony, plus David Shuler's testimony at the new-trial hearing, are embedded at the end of this post.) Documents we are publishing here, plus others, indicate Scott Wells was in a strong position to hold a lawyer accountable for malpractice -- and that does not happen often in a system designed to protect many of its worst practitioners.

Scott Wells' legal problems hardly end with the civil malpractice matter. He currently faces federal charges, filed in March 2017, of receiving and distributing child pornography -- and is being detained at the federal prison in Leavenworth, Kansas.

Our review of the case file indicates the child-porn charges against Wells were brought with barely a whiff of probable cause. And his detention appears to run counter to federal law on the subject. Are the child-porn charges a form of payback from the legal tribe because Wells dared seek compensation from a tribe member who had performed dismally in his criminal defense? We will be examining that question in the coming weeks.

Daniel Dodson
How poor was David Shuler's representation of Scott Wells? Expert witness Daniel Dodson stated that his review of the case presented instances of malpractice that were "staggering." Here is an example from Dodson's examination of Shuler at the new-trial hearing. The testimony begins on page 57 in the third document embedded below:

Dodson: The trial, you -- you pointed out numerous differences in the testimony of the complaining witnesses or what the complaining witnesses said in their original-taped interviews, as compared to what they said in their depositions. Do you recall that?

Shuler: Correct.

Dodson: Okay. What I'm trying to get at here when -- for instance Brittanie Wells [a complaining witness], do you recall that in her taped interview, that's the subject of these transcripts, that she said her father had touched her and -- basically had touched her and exposed himself to her and tried to get her to put her mouth on his genitals. Is that the gist of what she said at that time?

Shuler: Correct.

Dodson: Okay.

Shuler: And the story kept growing as time went on.

Dodson: Okay. And then in the deposition she gives testimony indicating that he turned her over and basically entered her from behind and had intercourse with her -- .

Shuler: Correct.

Dodson: -- is that correct? Did you consider at that point asking her why there was such a complete discrepancy between what she had said in the taped interview and what she was saying now under oath?

Shuler: I realized there was a discrepancy, but I did not ask the question.

Dodson: Did you consider asking the question?

Shuler: It's been so long, I couldn't honestly tell you if I did or not. I mean -- of course, it was something obviously noticeable that she -- and honestly at that point, I didn't see a whole lot of benefit to asking that question. I still don't see a whole lot of benefit to asking that question. What I was more concerned -- I wanted to hear what she had to say, and I -- her discrepancies were important,  obviously.

Dodson: Okay. So you didn't see any benefit to pointing out to her that she'd given two different stories and, for instance, and that one of them obviously had to have been false and exploring that --

Shuler: I did not ask her that.

Dodson: -- issue with her? Did you consider asking -- asking her that question and --

Shuler:  I -- can't say one way or the other, I really can't. It's been so long ago. But -- I mean, I noticed it, but I did not ask that question.

Dodson: -- Well, did you -- looking back, do you see any potential benefit in asking that kind of question?

Shuler: Possibly.

Dodson: Okay. Could it be, as would be indicated by the Tracy Hercher [another complaining witness] transcript, that perhaps you hadn't made a recent review of the videotapes or the reports and that you were not completely aware of the --

Shuler: No. I was aware of -- that that was -- I was aware that that was new information. The from-behind penetration was new, and I was aware of that.

Dodson: All right. And so throughout the depositions, you're saying that you -- it's your testimony now that you were aware of the changes in these girls' stories, and you chose not to address them at that point, but instead, to just address those discrepancies at trial?

Shuler: Well, you'll have to address "specific." I mean, there may have been some discrepancies I did not notice. I can't say one way or the other.


(To be continued)













Monday, November 12, 2018

Trump money man Robert Mercer coughs up $60,000 to bankroll GOP "fringe philosopher" Ali Alexander, he of the criminal history and trolling online for gay sex


Robert Mercer
A billionaire computer scientist and hedge-fund manager, considered a primary money man for Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, has bankrolled a PAC with ties to a fringe Republican operative -- one with a criminal record and a documented history of trolling online for gay sex.

Given the criminals and sketchy figures already in Trump's orbit, you might think Robert Mercer would distance himself from a character like Ali (Akbar) Alexander, who has been the subject of multiple posts at Legal Schnauzer (see here, here, and here) and appears to have launched attacks on Alabama progressives, such as Dana Jill Simpson and yours truly, perhaps via his ties to right-leaning scoundrels at the Alabama State Bar.

Mercer has made a fortune via his computer expertise and the Renaissance Technologies hedge fund, and he even played a key role in the United Kingdom's Brexit withdrawal from the European Union. But he has shown poor judgment by aligning himself with a number of sketchy individuals and entities -- including former Trump adviser and Breitbart News exec Steve Bannon, Karl Rove and his American Crossroads Super PAC, and the Koch brothers' political donor network.

Jumping in bed with Ali (Akbar) Alexander might prove to be another dubious move from Mercer. Observer.com recently reported on the alliance in an article titled "Robert Mercer Bankrolled PAC Advised By Notorious Fringe ‘Philosopher’ Ali Alexander." From the observer.com article:

Billionaire Robert Mercer gave money to a PAC advised by a self-proclaimed “interpreter of energy.”

The spiritualist in question is Ali Alexander, formerly known as Ali Akbar, a GOP political operative with a notorious reputation that allegedly includes fraud.

“On the eve of the 2016 election, Robert Mercer donated $60,000 to a PAC Alexander advises,” reported Politico . . . “Alexander, who identifies himself as black and Arab, brings a more new-age approach to the culture wars, calling himself an ‘interpreter of energy for this period.’”

Noting Alexander's "spiritual" side is only scratching the surface of the disturbing stuff that seeps from under the rock where he seemingly resides. Online reports list Baton Rouge, LA, as Alexander's current home base, and he also has ties to Forth Worth, TX. A good ole Southern boy.

Ali Akbar mugshots
Observer.com notes that Alexander's background "allegedly includes fraud." But there is nothing alleged about Alexander's run-ins with the law, and that likely explains efforts to change his name over the past year or so. Public records make it clear Ali Akbar has a criminal history from his days before the surname "Alexander" entered the picture, and the Web site Breitbart Unmasked (BU) has led the way in uncovering the ugliness on Akbar's "resume." From a July 2015 Legal Schnauzer post, based largely on BU's reporting:

How did Ali Akbar rise to a prominent role in the Republican media galaxy, despite his criminal record? That also is hard to figure, given the GOP's stance as the supposed "law and order" party.

According to a report at the progressive Web site Breitbart Unmasked, (BU) Akbar was convicted in 2007 of theft of property and in 2008 of credit-card abuse. Both charges, in Texas, were felonies.

Borrowing from public records, BU describes the theft case as follows:

Five MP3 Players, Twenty CD’s, Three Camcorders, Two DVD Players, One Back Massager (How ghetto is this thief?) One Clock, Four Shirts, Two Belts (WTF?) and a Piece of Luggage, which had the value of over 1500.00 USD but less than 20,000.00 USD. This theft was obtained pursuant to one scheme or a continuing course of criminal conduct which began on or about November 1st 2006, and continued until on or about November 29th 2006. In other words, he was stealing from this person more than once, and over a course of time that lasted almost a full month before it came to an end.

That's quite a crime spree--and the ugliness doesn't end there. BU reports that Akbar also was charged with burglary of a vehicle, but that charge was dropped in a plea bargain that resolved his theft and credit-card cases.

That doesn't even count Akbar's tendency to troll for gay sex on the Grindr geo-social app. From our 2015 post:

We've presented evidence that members of a right-wing bloggers club might have been involved in, or at least had knowledge of, my unlawful incarceration. Would it be a surprise if members of the group, called the National Bloggers Club (NBC), engaged in such underhanded activity? Given that the club president has a history of engaging in underhanded activity--including some that might be described as downright sleazy--the answer probably is no.

Ali Akbar at the Grindr gay-sex app.
NBC president Ali A. Akbar threatened to sue me for reporting accurately and fairly about a letter Alabama lawyer Jill Simpson wrote to Obama re-election counsel Robert Bauer in 2012. In the letter, Simpson wrote that her investigation turned up evidence that Akbar and Republican electoral guru Karl Rove had engaged in a homosexual relationship. Under the "neutral reportage doctrine," Akbar had no case for defamation against me--and his lawyer Baron Coleman, of Montgomery, Alabama, should have known that.

Threatening baseless lawsuits is pretty underhanded in itself. But that is a mere blip on the radar compared to the other shady stuff in Akbar's background, which includes trolling for gay sex online--plus multiple criminal convictions, including felonies.

Let's start with the online trolling because that's what prompted Simpson to take a closer look at Akbar. She obtained a copy of an ad Akbar placed at Grindr, a geo-social networking application "geared toward gay, bisexual, and bi-curious men." According to Simpson's letter, Akbar's ad stated that he "was looking for bisexual sex with men who were Republican, political, and loved to discuss politics and philosophy and just wanted to hang out and chill with them."

Akbar has a substantial criminal record and a history of trolling online for gay sex, but he's supposed to be a rising "conservative" media star? Perhaps that's a sign the GOP, in the age of Trump, has given up the masquerade of portraying itself as a party of "values."

The Trump administration might be on the verge of implosion, but Ali Akbar has managed to worm his way into the action -- a fraudster drawn by a White House built on fraud? -- so maybe he will wind up in the rubble.

Want a feel for the goofiness behind the Ali Akbar charade -- the one that apparently conned Robert Mercer, Foster Friess, and other GOP money men? We invite you to check out the video below. This is what passes as deep conservative "thought" these days. Where have you gone, George Will?



Thursday, November 8, 2018

Carol's first visit to an orthopedist shows her broken left arm, near the shoulder, already is on the mend, and surgery will not be required for the healing process


Carol Tovich Shuler
The healing process for Carol's broken left arm -- following a fainting spell at the Social Security Administration Building here in Springfield, Missouri -- began in earnest yesterday with her first visit to an orthopedist.

In fact, we learned that nature's healing process already has begun; Carol's doctor said images of her arm showed "stickiness" in the humerus (the large bone in the upper arm), near the shoulder. That means the bone is knitting itself back together.

Carol was fitted with a new sling, replacing the one she received at the Cox South Medical Center emergency room. The sling, plus a number of physical-therapy exercises, is expected to help move healing along. The bulk of that process, it appears, will take place over the next six to eight weeks, with a couple of followup visits set during that time.

The good news is that this break -- unlike the one Greene County deputies administered to the same arm, just above the elbow, during an unlawful eviction in September 2015 -- will not require surgery. The bad news is that Carol almost certainly will experience ongoing stiffness and limited motion in her left shoulder -- something surgery would not help, her doctor says.

We will provide updates as more information becomes available. Meanwhile, financial support and expressions of concern from loyal readers are keeping us afloat. They are much needed and greatly appreciated.

Jeff Sessions reportedly is planning a return to Alabama politics and the U.S. Senate, following his unceremonious ouster as Donald Trump's AG


Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions
(Updated at 9:30 a.m. on 11/8/18)

Less than 24 hours after Alabama voters essentially gave "two thumbs up" to corrupt politics, the man who is largely responsible for the state's toxic political culture was forced to resign as the nation's top law-enforcement official.

Now, we have news that Sessions is expected to return to state politics. From a report this morning at Alabama Political Reporter (APR):

Now-former Attorney General Jeff Sessions is reportedly eyeing a return to politics in the Yellowhammer State.

After Sessions announced his forced resignation Wednesday, two people familiar with his thinking told Politico that he is considering a run for his old seat as Alabama’s junior senator.

The seat is up for another election in 2020.

Democrat Doug Jones currently holds Sessions' old Senate seat. Here are details from the Politico report:

Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions is considering running for his old Alabama Senate seat in 2020, according to two people familiar with his thinking.

Sessions was fired as attorney general Wednesday, less than 24 hours after Republicans lost control of the House of Representatives in the midterm elections. President Donald Trump had publicly savaged Sessions throughout his tenure, and his dismissal had long been expected.

After Sessions left the Senate in 2017, his vacated seat was won by Democrat Doug Jones in a special election upset. Jones is up for a full term in 2020, and he is widely viewed as the most vulnerable incumbent senator facing reelection given Alabama’s conservative tilt. Republicans are certain to contest the seat aggressively as they look to protect their majority. 
Former Republican Sen. Luther Strange, who was temporarily appointed to Sessions’ former seat, took to Twitter on Wednesday evening to encourage a comeback bid. 
“Jeff Sessions for Senate in 2020!” Strange wrote.

Would Sessions cruise back into his old Senate spot. Politico says the answer is "not necessarily":

Sessions, who spent two decades in the Senate, is practically a household name in his home state, and speculation has been simmering for weeks within Alabama political circles that he might seek a return. Yet, party officials stress that the 71-year-old Sessions wouldn’t necessarily face a clear path should he wage a comeback. Trump’s relentless attacks on the former attorney general, they say, have taken a toll on his popularity in the state.

And others are certain to be interested in running. GOP Rep. Bradley Byrne is widely talked about as a potential contender.

A small detail -- that Sessions lied multiple times to Congress about his interactions with Russian interests during the 2016 presidential campaign -- seems to be left out of the political calculus. Also ignored is evidence that the Alabama State Bar is providing cover for Sessions by ignoring bar complaints based on his false statements to Congress.

Doug Jones
As for Wednesday's news, how ironic is it that Donald Trump would fire Jeff Sessions as U.S. attorney general so soon after voters gave the Alabama Republican Party -- largely forged in Sessions' smarmy, crooked image -- resounding victories in yesterday's midterm elections. As a citizen who repeatedly has been cheated in the dysfunctional legal and political environment that Sessions helped create, I find it highly ironic that "the Evil Elf" now is being shown the door for failing to adequately protect a man -- who likely will go down as the most corrupt president in U.S. history -- from criminal investigation.

If anyone has the off-kilter moral compass to protect a glorified mobster like Donald Trump, it's Jeff Sessions. After all, he essentially created the postmodern era of political prosecutions in the "Heart of Dixie." But even Sessions could not ignore the mountain of evidence that he was connected to Russian election meddling in 2016 -- and, in fact, has been tied to the Russian mafia and its oligarchs while serving as U.S. senator -- and thus, had no choice but to recuse himself from the Trump-Russia investigation of Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

In a brazen attempt to derail the Mueller investigation, Trump had to find someone -- since Sessions could not do it -- to protect him from being held accountable for selling out his country to Vladimir Putin. In short, Sessions' No. 1 political talent is cheating, but forced to remove himself from anything involving the Mueller probe, he was useless as a cheater on Trump's behalf.

Now, THAT"S irony, but it doesn't end there. Consider the schizophrenic actions of Alabama voters in recent days: In a poll published Oct. 28, they said government corruption and ethics were their top concerns going into the midterms. So what did they do? By sizable majorities, they decided at least four statewide races by choosing candidates -- all Republicans -- with clear ties to corrupt politicians. Here is a rundown:

* Governor -- Kay Ivey swamped Democratic challenger Walt Maddox, 61 to 39 percent. Ivey has been paying the legal fees of her scandal-plagued predecessor, Robert "Luv Guv Bentley, even though state law does not require it. Ivey long has been aligned with former Gov. Bob Riley, the Big Kahuna of Alabama corruption. Does any of that bother Alabama voters, who supposedly are concerned about unethical government? Apparently not.

Kay Ivey and Walt Maddox
* Attorney General -- Steve Marshall defeated Democrat Joseph Siegelman, 60-40 percent, even though Marshall was appointed to the position by the hideously corrupt Bentley -- in exchange for a promise to investigate prosecutors in the case of former House Speaker Mike Hubbard. On top of that, Marshall accepted more than $700,000 in apparently unlawful campaign contributions from the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA). Marshall could be prosecuted and removed from office, pronto, but that doesn't seem to trouble Alabama voters in the least.

* Alabama Supreme Court, Chief Justice -- Tom Parker easily defeated Democrat Robert Vance, 58-42 percent -- and that actually was the closest of these races. Parker long has been an ally of former Chief Justice Roy Moore, who was booted from the bench for directing lower-court judges to decline to issue same-sex marriage licenses in defiance of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling. In fairness to voters, they had no good choice in this race. Vance is nothing but a stooge for large corporate law firms, such as Maynard Cooper Gale, Balch Bingham, Adams and Reese/Lange Simpson.

* Alabama Supreme Court, Place 4 -- Jay Mitchell defeated Democrat Donna Smalley, 61-39 percent, even though he is directly tied to Mike Hubbard, who arguably is the poster boy for smelly political deals. As a partner at Maynard Cooper Gale, Mitchell was one of the architects of Hubbard's failed (so far) criminal appeal. Being tied to one of the most corrupt politicos in modern Alabama history did not hurt Mitchell's chances with voters.

How does a reasonable person even begin to explain all of the above? Well, some might claim large chunks of the Alabama electorate are ill-informed, backward, racist, or just plain dense -- and I would not necessarily argue with any of that.

But I think it goes deeper than any of those explanations. I think there is a more wide-ranging answer to what ails Alabama -- and many other states. We will address that in an upcoming post.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

As elections and criminality intersect in the age of Trump, Alabama's AG race -- featuring Steve Marshall and Joe Siegelman -- captures national spotlight


Joseph Siegelman
Leave it to Alabama to produce the strangest race in perhaps the most bizarre midterm- election cycle in American history.

Senate, House, and governor's races around the country certainly will receive more attention than the race for Alabama attorney general, between Republican "incumbent" Steve Marshall and Democratic challenger Joseph Siegelman (son of former governor Don Siegelman, who spent six years in federal prison because GOP thugs orchestrated a political prosecution against him.)

Marshall already carries the baggage of being appointed to office by former "Luv Guv" Robert Bentley, who resigned from office amid a sex-tinged scandal that our reporting brought to public attention.

As voters head to the polls today, the Alabama AG's race is making headlines because of a USA Today report about a $735,000 donation to the Marshall campaign from the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA), apparently in violation of state campaign-finance laws.

Joseph Siegelman has raised the possibility that Marshall, if he wins today's general election, could be removed from office for engaging in criminal acts. Perhaps that would be fitting, given the national political environment in the age of Trump. From a recent al.com report on the Siegelman-Marshall race:

Siegelman hammered the point that Marshall could be the latest state official booted from office -- preceded by former Gov. Robert Bentley, Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard and Chief Justice Roy Moore -- if elected to a full term next month.

Marshall took office in February 2017 after being appointed by Bentley following Bentley's appointment of Luther Strange to the U.S. Senate.

"We are on the verge of potentially losing our attorney general," Siegelman said. "And I don't know how our state recovers from that."

Asked by AL.com following the press conference to expand on that assertion, Siegelman said, "The law is clear. If the violation takes place, then it's criminal if done intentionally. I am not attorney general. I'm in no position to act on a violation. The ethics commission is. The district attorney in Montgomery County is. If they want to take up this issue, they can.

"Under the law, if my opponent took this money knowing it was illegal or should have known it was illegal, then he can be prosecuted. If that happens, he would be removed from office and we would lose our attorney general."

A similar scenario could be unfolding on the national stage. Multiple news outlets are reporting that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is expected to roar back into the news following today's midterms. From a report on that subject at New York Magazine?

Apart from filing a report to Congress and addressing [Roger] Stone’s fate, Mueller may have some other postelection surprises up his sleeve. The week before Christmas, Michael Flynn, Trump’s first and shortest-serving national security adviser, will go before a federal judge to be sentenced for lying to the FBI about the extent of his dealings with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador. When Flynn pleaded guilty last December, the special counsel included a clause in his plea agreement promising to ask the court for leniency at sentencing. The catch: In the course of his cooperation, Flynn must provide “substantial assistance in the investigation or prosecution of another person who has committed an offense.” If Flynn truly sang for federal prosecutors, Mueller’s holiday gift to the president may just be another indictment of a person close to him.

Consider the possible implications of the infamous Trump Tower meeting. Multiple legal experts have stated the meeting could constitute criminal acts -- violation of campaign-finance laws, conspiracy to defraud the United States -- at the highest levels of the Trump campaign. From a report at USA Today:

“Don’t be fooled by word games,” Victoria Nourse, a professor at Georgetown Law, told us via email. “There is no legal term ‘collusion.’ The legal term for collusion is the crime of conspiracy. If you agree to kill someone and take a step toward that (hired the killer, or encouraged the killer, met with the killer) you are guilty of conspiracy to commit murder.

“So, if you agree to defraud the U.S. or disrupt the elections (even if it’s not with the Russians) and you take a step forward (any step….meetings, payments etc.), that’s conspiracy,” Nourse said.

Nourse's comment was for an article published in August. Let's jump ahead to today's elections and consider what we might know, say, eight months from now. Perhaps we will have learned Trump became president largely because his team violated campaign-finance laws and, in fact, engaged in a conspiracy to defraud the government. Perhaps we will have learned Trump himself was right in the middle of it.

Steve Marshall and Robert Bentley
Consider just a few alarming questions that might raise:

* Has Trump ever been president, as a matter of law?

* If not, what happens with all of the actions he has taken, all the appointments (many of them for life) he has made?

* What about all of the campaign rallies Trump has conducted across the country in weeks leading up to today's elections? Were those the acts of an impostor, the product of fraud, a sham on the public? If Trump unlawfully affected the election outcomes, one way or another, would that invalidate the results? Would that mean Trump has tainted two elections (2016 and 2018)?

Monday, November 5, 2018

Ken "Popehat" White likely called me "creepy and crazy" in an effort to counteract my wife's ability to avoid capture and reach the press about my arrest


Ken white, of Popehat Blog
Why did Ken White, L.A. lawyer and publisher of the Popehat blog, trash me at his blog and in the pages of The New York Times -- even though he acknowledged I was in the right on the Rob Riley-Liberty Duke defamation case that caused me to be unlawfully incarcerated and admitted American courts are prone to trample First Amendment rights, especially of non-elites?

We have developed a theory about that, and it began to form after evidence recently surfaced that the Alabama State Bar had interfered with our pending federal civil-rights lawsuit ("The Jail Case"), which grew from the Riley-Duke matter. We already had seen evidence that Ali (Akbar) Alexander, president of the right-wing National Bloggers Club (NBC) had bragged online that he had ties to the governor of Alabama and planned to call in favors with state lawyers. (Akbar has used the services of Montgomery lawyer/radio host Baron Coleman, who is tied to Tripp Vickers, assistant general counsel at the Alabama State Bar.) We knew Ken White -- who has been called a "libertarian lawyer" in some circles -- sought legal help for Akbar and Co. in a RICO lawsuit liberal activist Brett Kimberlin had brought against them. White even made a reference to the bizarre "RogerS theory," which had the Akbar crowd aflutter in the days before deputies beat me in my own home and threw me in the Shelby County Jail for five months -- making me probably the only American ever to be arrested for blogging.

You probably are starting to get the picture: White was connected to, and supportive of, the right-wing bloggers who thought I was "RogerS," the anonymous commenter at Breitbart Unmasked who was encouraging Kimberlin to file a RICO lawsuit against them. The RogerS comments, which did not come from me, had the Akbar bloggers in a frenzied state of agitation in October 2013. And then, wham, I unlawfully get thrown in jail as an outgrowth of the Riley-Duke case.

But the right-wing scheme quickly developed a flaw. Riley and Duke had included my wife, Carol, as a defendant -- for no reason other than to have her arrested, too. But deputies failed to apprehend her on the night they nabbed me -- and they failed to get her on multiple visits to our house after I already was in jail.

Carol's ability to escape capture allowed her to get the story in the press -- where I quickly became known as the only U.S. journalist to be incarcerated in 2013. We think the plan was to extort us into silence on Legal Schnauzer, and if that didn't work, to kill us. If deputies had been able to arrest Carol, we both easily could have been murdered while in custody, and no one ever would have known what happened to us.

But Carol remained free and worked the phones and computer like a PR pro to get the story to the public. And we suspect that threw a major wrench into the plan to silence this blog -- permanently. In my only hearing before him on Nov. 14, 2013, I saw that Judge Claud Neilson was highly agitated about press coverage of my incarceration. I was shackled from head to toe, but I still could not help smile at thinking that Carol had caused a crooked Alabama judge to be so pissed off.

Ali (Akbar) Alexander at the Grindr geo-social app
for gay sex.
Where does Ken White enter the picture? Since Ali Akbar and Co. likely had worked with the Alabama State Bar to help orchestrate my arrest -- and White had openly been a supporter of the National Bloggers Club -- we believe he was enlisted to help counteract Carol's PR campaign.

The goal? Well, White could not publicly defend the actions of Riley, Duke and their lawyers -- or Judge Claud Neilson -- so he didn't even try. But he could try to make me look like a loon, causing me to be less sympathetic in the public eye and to discourage any competent lawyer, or civil-rights organization, from helping me.

That would explain White's tendency to engage in name-calling -- labeling me "creepy, crazy, and vexatious" -- while providing little or no evidence to back it up. It also would explain why, of all the civil-rights lawyers in the United States, New York Times reporter Campbell Robertson sought analysis from White -- who was in California, talking about an Alabama case he knew little about.

Does this make sense? The Times went all the way across the country to find a lawyer who happened to be supportive of the right-wing bloggers who thought I was "RogerS" and likely wanted me jailed because of it. Of course, it makes no sense, and it shows how far "The Gray Lady" has fallen.

Donald Trump and I don't agree on much, but I share his view that The New York Times, in some respects, is failing.

How is this for duplicity? Ken White falsely wrote on multiple occasions that, while in jail, I had refused to take on a lawyer. This was an absurdity, considering I had spoken to two lawyers while in jail, and Carol made it clear to Salon that we were very interested in having a competent, determined lawyer on our side. Both of us made this clear to Campbell Robertson, but he left that out of his story.

Bottom line? We have little doubt that Ken White knows who was behind my kidnapping and incarceration -- and a possible plan to murder Carol and me. White might not know about all elements of the scheme, but he likely knows about some of them. We suspect White was enlisted by various members of the legal tribe -- probably with the Alabama State Bar in a coordinating role -- to portray me as "creepy and crazy," providing a form of cover for the real bad guys in all of this.

We've read enough of White's blog to know that he is a devoted legal tribesman -- part of the gang, the fraternity. In his reporting on my case, White repeatedly said I needed to get a lawyer -- as if that would make my problems magically disappear. White, of course, ignored that all of my problems were caused by lawyers, in the first place. And I'm just one of many Americans who has found, through unpleasant experience, that many lawyers make matters worse, without ever making them better.

If our theory about Ken White is correct, perhaps he needs to take a breather from calling me "creepy" and take a look in the mirror. He might find that is where the real creepiness resides.

And  consider this: It's documented that Ali Akbar has a criminal record of a felonious nature, with a history of trolling for gay sex on the Grindr geosocial app, reportedly has engaged in a homosexual relationship with GOP strategist Karl Rove -- per a letter from Alabama oppo researcher Jill Simpson to Obama campaign counsel Robert Bauer. But Ken "Popehat" White supports Akbar? Ken White calls ME "creepy"?

If you want to view real creepiness in action, check out the video below of Ali (Akbar) Alexander, as he defends Brett Kavanaugh, philosophizes on sex, and rails against feminist lawyer Gloria Allred. In a stunning show of arrogance, Akbar declares that he is "an interpreter of energy for this period." Whoooo-hoooo.

As for Ken White, maybe he needs to clean up the company he keeps before dropping unmerited bombs on others. If he was involved in a conspiracy ("deprivation of rights"), or covering up a conspiracy, there could be criminal or RICO implications -- or both.



Thursday, November 1, 2018

Republican "conspiracy theorists" who launched smear campaign against Robert Mueller apparently have ties to right-wing bloggers with pull at Alabama State Bar


Robert Mueller
A Republican lobbyist and a young right-wing activist with a history of dubious Tweets apparently are behind a bizarre scheme to smear Special Counsel Robert Mueller with false sexual-harassment allegations. Mueller reportedly has asked the FBI to investigate the scheme, and one report refers to its perpetrators -- Jack Burkman and Jacob Wohl -- as "pro-Trump conspiracy theorists."

The story even showed up on The Rachel Maddow Show Tuesday night, under the title "Bumbling Trump booster botches Mueller smear, implicates own mom." I told you this story was bizarre. It also hits close to home, according to an Alabama political insider. Burkman and Wohl are tied to a fringe right-wing media outfit that has been active in "The Heart of Dixie," says Jill Simpson (retired lawyer, opposition researcher, and whistle blower) on her Facebook page.

Burkman reportedly hired a firm called Surefire Intelligence to unearth dirt on Mueller, with a press event set for today to reveal the first of Mueller's supposed victims.

Ali (Akbar) Alexander at Grindr gay-sex app
As for Jill Simpson, she says Burkman is tied to the National Bloggers Club (NBC), which is headed by a felon who now calls himself Ali  (Akbar) Alexander (as opposed to Ali Akbar) and reportedly has ties to GOP luminaries, such as Karl Rove, Steve Bannon, and Grover Norquist. Perhaps it should be no surprise that a fellow with a criminal history might be trying to change his name, and the Web site Breitbart Unmasked helpfully has provided an update on the seediness in Ali (Akbar) Alexander's background.

We have tackled that subject ourselves with posts about Akbar's criminal activities and his tendency to troll for gay sex via the Grindr geo-social app.  We also have pointed to evidence that Akbar has pull with the Alabama State Bar -- via connections to Montgomery attorney Baron Coleman and Tripp Vickers (assistant general counsel with the Alabama State Bar) -- and has used those ties to help launch attacks on Alabama progressives, including Jill Simpson and yours truly.

Now Simpson says the National Bloggers Club, the group Akbar heads, is tied to the goofballs who apparently are trying to smear Robert Mueller and might now be in serious trouble with the FBI. A serious probe into the Mueller scheme could lead to Alabama, Simpson suggests:

A Trump-supporting far right-wing blogger, and the News Club bunch of idiots, have been caught trying to set up Special Counsel Robert Mueller in a phony #MeToo deal. For years Roger Shuler and I have been telling folks how nutty this right-wing National Bloggers Club is, and they run with the Bannon and Rove-Norquist crowds. Now the dumb asses are caught trying to set Mueller up. They always brag to each other about what they do and are easy to catch -- and Mueller has got them. I certainly hope Mueller yanks the National Bloggers Club's chain and destroys them.

Simpson's interactions with the right-wing crazies go back several years, to the beginnings of the Don Siegelman case:
The NBC, as we call them, came to my attention when they harassed and told false stories about Siegelman activists. The NBC is a vicious group. What is such a hoot is that is how I first learned about crazy Steve Bannon's bunch. I started getting a master's degree in philosophy and religion, and the nuts in the National Bloggers Club started following me around in D.C. and California. The idiots were making a film for Andrew Breitbart and were trying to falsely claim I was a ring leader in Anonymous, as they were friends of mine, and that I was dating a guy who they believed was in Anonymous. The dimwits offered me all kinds of things to say I was part of it, through him.

Simpson knows these creepy wingers can get both scary and personal. She also says they are behind -- at least in part -- some of the abuse (false arrest and imprisonment, theft of house) that has been directed at my wife, Carol, and me. They also likely played a role in the allegations against Roy Moore that led to Doug Jones' victory in Alabama's special election for the U.S. Senate. Says Simpson:

Tripp Vickers
Even as late as 2013 they were threatening me and called my boyfriend (now husband) trying to advise him not to marry me, telling him I was going to jail. The GOP National Blogger bunch in 2014, due to me having a neck injury, worked with their Alabama State Bar buddy, Tripp Vickers and his former law partner,  Baron Coleman and a federal judge to try to set me up -- when in all likelihood it was them who set my office yard on fire and burned up my car and my shed with all my files in it. They spent months trying to frame me with all kinds of things. They were not successful. I might add, in my opinion, they were responsible for what happened to Shuler as well -- as some of their members bragged about it at their Web sites and were working with Rob Riley who first used a #MeToo deal in the Doug Jones-Roy Moore race. Now this group of dimwits, it appears, has gone after Mueller, with another couple of guys in their thug network (Burkman and Wohl). It is out of that GOP blogger and press group that all these wacko lies come from -- and Bannon is in the middle of it.
If the FBI gets on the trail, Simpson says, it likely will lead to Steve Bannon -- not to mention Jeff Sessions and Alabama:
If Mueller pulls the thread, I suspect he will find it leads to Bannon and the NBC, which  Bannon inherited from Breitbart. . . . This NBC group and their associates target folks in false campaigns. Around 2011 is when they started a blogger war with left-wing progressive bloggers and writers. I know, as I was a target of theirs. They try to destroy people. 
In winter of 2016, I went to the FBI as I had proof of what they had done to me and was told the bureau was not interested. I said, "Look, you have no idea how dangerous they are," and now they have targeted Mueller. What a hoot. The Alabama FBI should have listened but I guess they are too far up Jeff Sessions' butt. Sessions works with the NBC and Bannon to target Sessions' enemies. 
That is when I figured out if the FBI won't do anything, I am still going to start daily writing about these folks, and as you know, Jim and I outed their Project Alamo election- theft operation in December 2016. 
This bunch is closely tied to Jeff Sessions, as Bannon is an operative who adores Sessions; we found that out in our bloggers war. Now the FBI is investigating the NBC-connected folks we wrote about, as progressives demanded it, and now they are getting their own taste of what we have been dealing with, as the same bunch of thugs tried to set up former FBI chief Mueller.