The Biden Administration is on "high alert" as new information surfaces about the North Birmingham Superfund bribery scandal, according to a report at banbalch.com. Recent revelations could spell trouble for Drummond Company and Balch & Bingham, among others, writes Publisher K.B. Forbes:
The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has dropped some explosive bombs with their 37-page unanimous order last week.
The aftermath could be devastating not only to ex-Drummond Executive David Roberson, but to Drummond Company and the Drummond Family directly.
Now those close to the Biden Administration are being briefed on the topic and allegedly key decision-makers in the Administration, we are told, are “on high alert” about the alleged corruption, prosecutorial misconduct, and environmental racism surrounding the North Birmingham Bribery Scandal.
We hope more investigation, more probes, and more indictments are coming soon.
What jumps out about the 11th Circuit's opinion? Here are some examples:
On Page 17, the order states:
The government proffered evidence that Appellants concealed Representative Robinson’s payments from both the AJE and Drummond by scrubbing invoices of information indicating his involvement, at Drummond’s behest and with Gilbert’s approval.
Why in heaven’s name was Drummond Company not indicted?
Why were not other senior Drummond executives like ex-CEO Mike Tracy or “confused” General Counsel Blake Andrews interrogated by the FBI? Why were not Drummond family members interviewed or brought before a federal grand jury?
More explosive are the unredacted portions of an FBI report which were not presented in the criminal trial.
From Page 33 of the order:
Specifically, the trial court excluded a portion of an FBI agent’s written summary of Roberson’s interview with the FBI in which Roberson states that he had checked with Gilbert to ensure “there was no problem with what they were doing.” The full passage at issue, with the portions excluded at trial underlined, states:
After the[Mike] Hubbard trial, Roberson considered what they were doing, i.e., contracting with a state representative, in light of the ethics law but determined that the area targeted by the campaign was not in Robinson’s district. Roberson stated that they (Drummond) have always been very careful, and he (Roberson) has a reputation to maintain. Roberson had a conversation with Gilbert about ethics considerations. Roberson wanted to know if it was a problem for him (Roberson) to be associated with the effort because he was a lobbyist. Gilbert later told Roberson that he checked with Greg Butrus and Chad Pilcher at Balch, and there was no problem with what they were doing.
Did Gilbert tell Roberson the truth? Nope:
We learned in court that Gilbert lied.
As we reported during the trial, Chad Pilcher, a Balch & Bingham government affairs attorney, provided bombshell testimony in that he warned Gilbert about using State Representative Oliver Robinson’s position or letterhead.
Pilcher regularly consults with the Alabama Ethics Commission, he testified.
But no one on the jury heard how Roberson was deceived by Gilbert and he was told “there was no problem with what they were doing.”
The jury was denied the whole-truth and nothing but the truth.
Was the Superfund trial flawed? Yes, badly:
How in heaven’s name was this injustice allowed to happen? Now, fairly or unfairly, hard questions are being asked:
- Did disgraced ex-U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town engage in prosecutorial misconduct?
- Why was David Roberson not allowed to testify in his own defense?
- Why did Roberson’s criminal defense attorneys reject a no-brainer, full-immunity deal?
- Were Roberson’s criminal defense attorneys more concerned about assisting Drummond Company (who was paying them) or their client?
Last week, we wrote about footnote 28 on Page 36. With seasoned investigators reading the passage, we are told the meeting discussed appears to have been a possible juncture in which Roberson looks like he was “set up” as the “Fall Guy.”
In particular, [Mike] Tracy, the CEO of Drummond Company, stated that Gilbert told him that the arrangement with Representative Robinson was legal, during a meeting in which Roberson was present….Additionally, Gilbert stated during cross-examination that he assured both Tracy and Roberson that everything was legal and ethical.
The optics are awful.
Where could the Biden Administration enter the picture? Forbes provides insight:
Using the utmost integrity, the Biden Administration, through various agencies, including the U.S. Department of Justice, needs to take a deep dive look at this alleged scam for what it is.
Is it of no wonder that people of integrity like George Martin, the Assistant U.S. Attorney who prosecuted Gilbert, Robinson, and Roberson moved to Mobile and relocated? Is it of no wonder that top FBI agents (all of the highest caliber) involved in the case and the public integrity unit in Birmingham left to new, better FBI positions in other cities?
Has Birmingham truly become a cesspool of corruption where justice, real justice is impossible to achieve?
Balch stooges Trey Glenn and Scott Phillips should be approached with full immunity deals to disclose everything they know about Drummond and Balch.
And then the Biden Administration should kick into overdrive.
Balch-made millionaire Joel I. Gilbert apologized directly to Roberson during his own sentencing hearing.
Will Drummond ever apologize for their misconduct and disloyalty?
Fundamental question: If the 11th Circuit found the Balch lawyer deceived Roberson, why did it uphold Roberson's conviction? Does that make sense?
We've written many times about clear evidence that the 11th Circuit is ethically challenged, short on competence, or both -- and this might be the latest example of that.
And don't get me started on the Northern District of Alabama, where this trial was conducted. If there is an honest judge in the Hugo Black Courthouse, I haven't encountered him or her. Just an atrocious cesspool, where justice goes to take its last breaths.
If I were a member of the Black family, I would want Hugo Black's name removed from that courthouse. Mr. Black, by all accounts, had a stellar reputation, and his name should not be sullied by being associated with that sewage plant in downtown Birmingham.
Here is a key point in Roberson's defense, taken from the 11th Circuit opinion:
Roberson also argues that the district court should have severed the trial pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 14(a), and failure to do so led to events requiring a new trial. Roberson states that because of joinder he was unable to properly present a reliance on the advice-of-counsel defense.24 Roberson argues that certain evidence was excluded at trial because it inculpated Gilbert, even though that evidence supported Roberson’s defense that he relied on counsel, Gilbert, in believing his actions were legal. Specifically, the trial court excluded a portion of an FBI agent’s written summary of Roberson’s interview with the FBI in which Roberson states that he had checked with Gilbert to ensure “there was no problem with what they were doing.”
The full passage at issue, with the portions excluded at trial underlined, states:After the Hubbard trial,25 Roberson considered what they were doing, i.e., contracting with a state representative, in light of the ethics law but determined that the area targeted by the campaign was not in Robinson’s district. Roberson stated that they (Drummond) have always been very careful, and he (Roberson) has a reputation to maintain. Roberson had a conversation with Gilbert about ethics considerations.
Roberson argues that pursuant to the rule of completeness, but for the fact that Gilbert was his co-defendant,26 the omitted passage would have been read into evidence.See FED.R.EVID. 106. Roberson claims this exculpatory evidence was critically important to his advice-of-counsel defense.
26 The Confrontation Clause prohibits the admission of a non-testifying defendant’s confession if that confession directly inculpates another defendant. See Bruton v. United States, 391 U.S. 123, 126 (1968). The district court redacted the portions of the FBI’s Roberson interview at issue pursuant to Bruton.
24 The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (“NACDL”), appearing as amicus curiae, filed a brief supporting severance. See Br. of the Nat’l. Ass’n. of Criminal Defense Lawyers as Amicus Curiae in Supp. of Def.- Appellant David Lynn Roberson, Supporting Reversal (Mar. 21, 2019). USCA11 Case: 18-14654 Date Filed: 05/27/2021 Page: 32 of 37
In plain language, Roberson claims the district court's failure to sever the trial cost him one of his primary defenses, and that defense would have been available if he had not been tried jointly with Gilbert.
I believe that is a strong point and should be grounds for a possible reversal (or a new trial) on en banc appeal before the full 11th Circuit.
In other words, Roberson claims, being tried with Gilbert likely cost him an acquittal. Seems like a strong point to me. As FN 24 shows, an amicus brief from the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) supporting severance and reversal.
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