Friday, July 24, 2020

Tales of intrigue from Tommy Gallion: An intrepid attorney, with deep Southern roots, shines a bright light in the darkest corners of Alabama politics

Shadow Government, Southern Style: A Saga of Political Corruption From D.C. to Dixie (2020), by Thomas T. Gallion III; available from Amazon and Kindle eBooks

Tommy Gallion's Shadow Government  might be the most searing examination of Deep-South political corruption in the postmodern era. It is a work of considerable depth and breadth, deserving of its own review -- which we will endeavor to provide in an upcoming post. It also is "in the moment," filled with essentially breaking stories, largely unknown to the reading public here in the midst of election season, that would merit space in any major newspaper. Gallion set out to become an investigative journalist before settling into a long legal career, with a base in Montgomery, AL. Shadow Government shows that he has the searching eye and inquisitive mind of  a reporter.

Tommy Gallion
 Before delving into our review in a few weeks, we will produce a series of posts that examine some of the breaking news found in Shadow Government's pages. This is the first of those posts:

Doug Jones and Rob Riley visit Richard Scrushy's barn to check out "antique cars"

U.S. Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) and Rob Riley (lawyer son of former GOP governor Bob Riley) might seem like an unlikely pairing. But here is how they resorted to subterfuge in an effort to gain information they could use against Richard Scrushy, former HealthSouth CEO and codefendant in the political prosecution of former Democratic governor Don Siegelman. From Shadow Government, Southern Style:

During the summer of 2018, I met with Scrushy to learn what had happened to him. . . . I asked Scrushy if they found any documents in his barn that they used against him. He said there were many documents in that barn, all of which were taken by [the law firm of Rob Campbell, Bob Riley's son-in-law] when Judge [Alwin] Horn issued his ruling against Scrushy. Since Scrushy isn't a lawyer, I explained to him that all Riley and Jones wanted to do do was look and see what was there so they would know what documents to take or subpoena. I explained to him that I considered Riley's and Jones's lying to him about why they wanted to go into his barn fraud in the indictment.

Scrushy explained to me how this all came about: "One day, Rob Riley and Doug Jones showed up at my home and said they wanted to look at my collection of cars I kept in our barn. So I showed them around, and they saw that I had numerous pallets of documents from the federal trial in which I had been found not guilty. I didn't suspect anything because I trusted Rob and took them to the barn and left them inside because I had to go to another appointment."

After I heard this, I explained to Scrushy that after I had retrieved the documents in my investigation, I thought I knew what had happened to him. It took me hours to reach the understanding that this was part of a scheme by these plaintiffs' lawyers to take Scrushy down and obtain control of all of his assets. After I revealed to Scrushy what I had uncovered, he realized that Riley and Jones were lying to him and this was just an unethical legal ploy to set him up for a lawsuit and take over everything he and his family owned. It was now apparent that they were there to look at his personal files, not his antique cars. I have checked and do not find that Riley nor Jones has any antique cars.

Apparently, though, they saw what they needed to see. Shortly after their barn visit, Doug Jones and Rob Riley, along with Campbell's firm and several other lawyers, sued Richard Scrushy and cost him everything he had. Since Scrushy was a big supporter of Rob Riley's father and even held a fundraiser for him, he naturally trusted Rob. He discovered, with my help, that Republican Rob Riley and Democrat Doug Jones were close and were both plaintiffs' lawyers. Scrushy brought me documents and told me the entire story as to what happened to him, and I was stunned as the whole picture of this fraud came together so clearly. Scrushy had been in prison several years when Riley, Jones, et al., filed the final lawsuit. The judge would not continue the trial and the judge knew that Scrushy could not get out of prison to defend himself. This was a non-jury trial, and it appears the fix was in: The judge ruled with the plaintiffs in this civil trial although Scrushy had been found not guilty by a jury in a previous criminal trial that contained the same facts. The judge stripped Scrushy of everything he owned. Three very significant factors merit being noted concerning Judge Horn's court in this case: There was no jury of Scrushy's peers, there were no live witnesses, and Scrushy was not allowed to attend the trial. Welcome to justice, Alabama style!

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