Thursday, February 20, 2020

Evidence indicates Alabama Power officials were briefed on Superfund bribery scheme, suggesting rule of law took another beating in the Heart of Dixie

Jay Town and Mark Crosswhite

This has been a week to focus on the rule of law, mainly because of apparent interference from Donald Trump and William Barr in the Roger Stone sentencing, with Trump making the absurd declaration that he is the nation's "chief law enforcement officer." The real issue is failure by justice officials, usually judges and prosecutors, to uphold the rule of law -- causing massive suffering for everyday Americans (see here and here).

Unfortunately, Alabama seems to have an endless supply of such cases, with the latest news coming from the seedy and evolving North Birmingham Superfund bribery case. We thought it could not get much uglier than the photos that recently surfaced of Alabama Power CEO Mark Crosswhite and U.S. Attorney Jay Town meeting before the summer 2018 trial in an apparent bid to rig the outcome. Now we learn, via the Web site, that Alabama Power officials were regularly briefed about the scheme:

The tiny environmental group GASP, the alleged intended target of the “brilliant” North Birmingham bribery scheme, is digging into the federal criminal trial evidence from 2018 meticulously.

And what have they found?

More evidence that appears to show that Alabama Power was being regularly briefed about the scheme.

The evidence comes, in part, via an email from the Balch Bingham law firm to Alabama Power, as described by publisher K.B. Forbes:

In an email from July 2015, Balch-made millionaire Joel I. Gilbert tells his Balch colleague Steven McKinney to forward the “dues invoice” to Alabama Power’s point person, Matt Bowden, writing “we need to probably update him soon on new developments.”

This raises some alarming questions related to the rule of law:

Why was Alabama Power being briefed while other AJE (Alliance for Jobs and the Economy) donors were not?

Is it no wonder that now, today the “unmentionable” deal has become the talk of Birmingham?

The alleged secret deal that was hatched before the criminal trial did not allow criminal attorneys or defendants to mention or discuss Alabama Power unless cleared by Alabama Power’s criminal attorney.

What a farce!

The allegations have shaken the legal community and given U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town’s reputation a severe, swollen black-eye.

And the compromising, jaw-dropping photos of Town gulping down drinks at the Moon Shine Lounge with Alabama Power CEO Mark A. Crosswhite haven’t helped either; the photos affirm a dubious relationship.

GASP looks like a winner again; the tiny mouse that roared and spooked Mark A. Crosswhite onto a wobbly chair.

Did the rule of law guide the government's actions in the Superfund bribery trial? Evidence continues to mount suggesting the answer is no.

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