Wednesday, May 11, 2022

A message to our readers: Eye surgery forces Legal Schnauzer to take a break from the blogosphere

 

I will be undergoing cataract surgery over roughly the next two weeks, so Legal Schnauzer will go on hiatus while I focus on getting my vision back in focus. The right eye will receive treatment first, followed by a break for healing, and then the left eye.

This is my first experience with an eye-related procedure, so there is some nervousness involved. But I am in good medical hands, and I am deeply grateful for that. The cataracts definitely are affecting my vision, so it is time for them to go -- and I look forward to bidding them farewell. Wish me luck,, and I look forward to rejoining you in the blogger world before too long. Our best to all of you, from the Schnauzer family.

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Dubious past actions by Trump-appointed Special Counsel John Durham raise questions about the prospects for justice in Michael Sussmann trial

John Durham

Perhaps the most politically charged criminal trial of the 2000s is fast approaching, and a citizen might like to think the prosecutor bringing the case is the kind of honorable, bipartisan sort fit for such a task. But Special Counsel John Durham, appointed by Trump Attorney General William Barr, has incidents in his past that suggest he might not be the right guy to oversee the case against Hillary Clinton-aligned attorney Michael Sussmann, who is charged with lying to the FBI. That's from investigative reporting by Andrew Kreig at the Justice Integrity Project (JIP). And it suggests the Sussmann trial might produce plenty of political fireworks -- based in the RussiaGate scandal of the 2016 presidential election and even touching on the U.S. attorneys firings of the George W. Bush era. But will the jury trial, set to begin May 16, produce justice? Kreig's reporting produces serious doubts about that. From Kreig's post at JIP, under the headline "On Eve of 'RussiaGate' Trial, Questions Loom About Special Counsel Durham":

With final preparations under way for one of the most politically explosive federal prosecutions in years, U.S. Justice Department Special Counsel John H. Durham’s record reveals legal error that undercuts his image as a straight-shooting seeker of justice.

In a 2008 ruling that has never been reported by a major news outlet, a New York federal appeals court vacated bribery, wire fraud and racketeering convictions because a team led by Durham, then the Deputy U.S. Attorney in Connecticut (and Acting U.S. attorney for supervising the prosecution), illegally withheld evidence that could have helped federal defendant Charles Spadoni defend himself in a corruption case.

In another case, a Connecticut federal judge overturned a conviction in 2003 because of what she ruled in a 57-page decision was Durham's repeated prosecutorial misconduct at trial, a sanction that authorities stated is extremely rare in the federal system.

Is this the kind of conduct the public should expect from the prosecutor in a case that likely will touch on international relations and national security? Kreig's timely reporting suggests the answer is no. Kreig writes:

Past performance is relevant now because Durham's three-year probe of alleged illegality pertaining to the 2016 U.S. presidential election is reaching a pivotal and controversial juncture with the trial this month of the prominent cyberlaw attorney Michael Sussmann on a claim that Sussmann falsely denied that he was representing Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton when he sought to alert FBI general counsel James Baker in the fall of 2016 to suspicions of Russian interference.

Sussmann, his attorneys and some independent commentators have denied wrongdoing and claimed that the prosecution is exceptionally weak and also tainted by political partisanship by Durham, a career prosecutor who was also nominated by President Trump for the political post of U.S. attorney for Connecticut.

Several important pretrial motions were heard on April 27 by U.S. District Judge Christopher R. Cooper in Washington’s federal court. (See . . . Sussmann Prosecutors Seek Legally Dubious "Tactical Advantage" At Trial, Defense Claims.) The judge largely resolved them on May 7 in favor of the defense, as reported here in Judge spares Clinton camp in Sussmann ruling

What brings a special edge to the Sussmann case? Kreig explains:

Durham’s case against Sussmann, a former partner at the D.C. office of law firm Perkins Coie, has generated substantial interest in the national press, particularly in pro-Trump circles where some Trump supporters regard it as their last best hope to vindicate Trump’s 2016 election victory as a purely American popular effort, thereby debunking claims that Russian operatives interfered in the 2016 election to hurt Clinton and other Democratic candidates.

Sussmann and his defenders, on the other hand, have defended his actions as both non-criminal and reasonable, particularly in view of what they see as confirmed threats to the elections process posed by Russians, Trump and their allies. Sussmann’s defense lawyers accused Durham, for example, of promoting a “baseless narrative that the Clinton campaign conspired with others to trick the federal government into investigating ties between President Trump and Russia.”

Sussmann’s attorneys also have pointed to evidentiary problems in Durham’s case, including the lack of contemporary notes by the key FBI witness, James Baker, to support the Durham prosecution team's allegation that Sussmann criminally deceived Baker regarding his relevant clients.

The case, in other words, has come to be regarded in some quarters as either a rigorous and fearless application of the law by Durham and his team -- or, conversely, as an example of over-zealous overreach by an unaccountable prosecutor suspected of bringing a baseless prosecution to favor pro-Trump politics.

What about those ties to a George W. Bush-era scandal? Here's how they enter the picture:

A consistent theme in the news accounts exploring the Durham investigation is that prosecutor and his team, including Nora R. Dannehy, a former Acting U.S. Attorney in Connecticut and longtime Durham colleague, bring to their work outstanding reputations as career prosecutors long entrusted to fulfill their responsibilities with the highest standards of professional expertise and justice-seeking.

And this is why the 2008 federal court decision, invalidating Durham’s prosecution of Spadoni for prosecutorial misconduct, remains especially relevant today in Durham’s prosecution of Sussmann.

Here’s the story: New Questions Raised About Prosecutor Who Cleared Bush Officials in U.S. Attorney Firings, which we at the Justice Integrity Project originally reported in 2010 in Nieman Watchdog, a niche website published by Harvard University and edited by Barry Sussman, the former Watergate editor of The Washington Post who supervised its coverage of that scandal. Sussman is also the author of the recently released fifth edition of The Great Cover-up, a widely praised account of the Watergate probe.

The Nieman Watchdog story focused primarily on the appointment of Durham and Dannehy as special counsel investigating allegations of CIA and Justice Department misconduct. The story began this way:

"Four days before Nora Dannehy was appointed to investigate the Bush administration’s U.S. attorney firing scandal, a team of lawyers she led was found to have illegally suppressed evidence in a major political corruption case.....[T]his previously unreported fact calls her entire investigation into question as well as that of a similar investigation by her colleague John Durham of DOJ and CIA decision-making involving torture."

The New York-based U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals had ruled that Durham’s team should have known that the Spadoni defense was entitled to an FBI agent's notes, which could have been used by Spadoni to argue that his conduct was legal.

The three-judge court ruled unanimously in vacating the major convictions against Spadoni. Judges held that the evidence unconstitutionally withheld might have helped Spadoni's defense against prosecution claims that he and his employer, Triumph Capital, Inc., illegally conspired to hire a political consultant in hopes of winning a major contract from the State of Connecticut.

U.S. District Judge John Gleeson, a former federal prosecutor, authored the opinion, which is available here. It did not name the federal prosecutors at fault but the case caption and relevant filings were signed by Durham and Dannehy as the most senior attorneys.

Durham and Dannehy have maintained stellar reputations as public servants of high integrity and competence. But Kreig's reporting raises doubts about whether those reputations are deserved:

Durham and Dannehy have achieved widespread praise and career advancement as special prosecutors entrusted with reviewing several of the most sensitive Justice Department controversies of recent years. These include investigations of suppression of evidence, partisan prosecutions or other alleged serious wrongdoing by Justice Department and CIA personnel in major proceedings of historic stature.

That pattern continued after May 2019, when the Trump-appointed Attorney General William Barr named Durham, later assisted by Dannehy, to investigate the Trump team’s claims that the FBI and other Justice Department concocted phony claims of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election along with Democratic operatives associated with Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

Tabloids, pro-Trump media outlets and some leftist critics of the Democratic Party have labeled the claims of Russian interference "RussiaGate" in many news stories and commentaries that suggest that Russian "interference" is colossal fraud on par with the Nixon-era scandal of the 1972 break-in by GOP and CIA operatives of the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate complex in Washington, DC. . . . 

Fox News, pro-Trump Republican officers, and many bloggers have similarly advanced arguments that Trump and Russians have been falsely accused.

Thursday, May 5, 2022

"Radio silence" is beaming from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Birmingham, providing little illumination but raising questions about Matrix matters in Florida

Prim Escalona
 

Evidence points to  a federal investigation, possibly focused on obstruction of justice allegations related  to powerful entities in Birmingham. Such a probe likely would tie back to the highly publicized North Birmingham Superfund bribery scandal. But on current matters, no publicity is forthcoming from the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, headed by Prim Escalona.

Publisher K.B. Forbes describes the current scenario in a post at banbalch.com, under the headline "Radio Silence from the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama." Writes Forbes:

For almost two weeks, we have been seeking confirmation, denial or a “no comment” from the the public affairs officials at the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama.

We were told to go through the office by a top official at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that investigates child exploitation and human trafficking.

Texting, leaving voicemails, and emailing spokespersons produced radio silence.

What is the focus of Forbes query?

The two questions on two separate matters that we asked about are based in part on unsubstantiated allegations.

  1. What is the current status of the alleged pedophilia/child solicitation investigation related to Chase T. Espy and his former law firm [Balch & Bingham] that appears to have changed IP addresses weeks before he was terminated?
  2. William D. Lineberry committed suicide on April 12. Was he a person of interest in a federal investigation and/or served a search warrant on or about January 26th?

Since October, sources have told us of an alleged federal obstruction of justice probe of Alabama Power and its CEO Mark A. Crosswhite related to the North Birmingham Bribery Trial.

We know authorities at Homeland Security received a detailed debriefing on Espy and the change of IP addresses at Balch. We were trying to confirm if a probe was completed, ongoing or closed.

Questions regarding Lineberry are particularly puzzling because evidence indicates he did not play a major role in the North Birmingham matter. Writes Forbes:

On the other matter related to the North Birmingham Bribery Scandal, Lineberry, who lived just over a mile from Overton Road where the FBI raid in Mountain Brook supposedly took place on January 26th, sadly killed himself.

We understand some law enforcement authorities may obscure locations to protect the integrity of an ongoing investigation.

Frankly speaking, Lineberry’s work in the North Birmingham Bribery Scandal was limited. From the invoices presented at the criminal trial, his total billable hours to set up the Alliance for Jobs and the Economy (AJE) amounted to less that 5 hours at a cost of under $2,000.

So, where do things stand at the moment? Forbes does his best to provide an answer -- and he even adds an intriguing question:

The radio silence does not confirm or negate anything.

Something deep is going on and sources tell us that the Matrix Meltdown between “Sloppy Joe” Perkins and his once-protégé Jeff Pitts has now allegedly spurred a federal investigation out of Florida.

This new development could impact Matrix’s premier client Alabama Power, which of course impacts its sister-wife Balch & Bingham.

Follow-up question: Is the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama now collaborating with counterparts in Florida?

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

A panel of federal judges will hear oral arguments in Montgomery this morning in the appeal of prominent Alabama legal and business figure Donald Watkins

Donald Watkins

A panel of appellate judges will hear oral arguments in Montgomery this morning in the criminal case of longtime Alabama attorney, banker, and entrepreneur Donald Watkins. The hearing is set to begin at 9 a.m. at the Frank M. Johnson Jr. Federal Courthouse in downtown Montgomery. It is expected to last about one hour and is open to the public. Watkins wrote about the appeal recently at his Web site. Long known for his outspoken manner, Watkins does not mince words on this occasion:

Three years ago, I was railroaded and convicted in a U.S. District Court in Birmingham, Alabama (USA) on trumped up wire, mail, and bank fraud charges. On Tuesday, April 26, 2022, a three-judge panel of the U. S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit is scheduled to hear the appeal in my case.

The hearing will begin at 9 a.m. CST at the Frank M. Johnson, Jr., Federal Courthouse in downtown Montgomery, Alabama. It is open to the public.

[Click here to read the Watkins Opening Brief, the Government's Responsive Brief, and the Watkins Reply Brief in the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.]

USA v. Donald V. Watkins, Sr., and Donald V. Watkins, Jr., is the first case listed on the Court's docket for April 26th. The Court will hear legal arguments from attorneys representing my son, Donald V. Watkins, Jr., and and me, as well as the Government. The arguments are expected to last one hour.

I am represented in the appeal by Montgomery, Alabama, attorney, Mark Englehart, who is a true friend and remarkable human being. Attorney Englehart sat by my side thronughout my entire three-week trial in 2019. He has one of the best legal minds in the nation and is a brilliant appellate lawyer.

Watkins provides a summary of the difficult path he and his son have followed since their convictions:

Donald, Jr., was found "Not Guilty" of bank fraud charges, but "Guilty" of a conspiracy charge to commit wire and mail fraud. He was sentenced to 27 months in a prison camp and was released last year.

I received 60 months in prison. I was denied an appeal bond by U.S. District Court Judge Karon O. Bowdre and entered prison on August 28, 2019.

On April 14, 2020, the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) executed an agreement to transfer me to home confinement, but this transfer was blocked by Birmingham federal prosecutor Lloyd Peeples. Peeples feverishly lobbied the FCI Talladega Warden, the BOP's Central Office in Washington, and the U.S. Probation Office in Birmingham to oppose my release to home confinement.

On November 3, 2020, Judge Bowdre denied a motion filed on my behalf for a compassionate release based upon my age (71 at the time) and pre-existing health conditions that exposed me to the highest risk of serious illness or death from COVID-19.

Thereafter, the BOP deliberately placed me in prison cells with federal inmates who were unvaccinated and who were diagnosed with confirmed cases of COVID-19. The BOP also entrusted my daily care to convicted gang leaders and murderers for more than three months at the U.S. Penitentiary in Atlanta, even though my extremely low custody classification score prohibited my exposure to violent prisoners.

USP Atlanta was closed in July of 2021 due to widespread graft and corruption among the staff and inmate population. Convicted gang leaders literally ran the prison. The prison's 1,800 inmates were transferred to other BOP prison facilities.

I am presently incarcerated at the Federal Prison Camp at La Tuna in Anthony, New Mexico. By the time the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals decides my case, I will likely be released from prison.

As one might expect, Watkins does not hold cheery thoughts toward those responsible for the prosecution. Also, he touches on what appears to be a brewing scandal connected to the North Birmingham Superfund bribery case:

The singular goal of the Birmingham federal prosecutors was to imprison me, by any and all means necessary, whether I was innocent of the charges against me, or not. My son was taken as a hostage, with a proverbial gun to his head, in order to pressure me into pleading guilty. Both of us fought the bogus criminal charges because we were innocent.

The allegations of wire and mail fraud in my case were first reviewed and evaluated by top-flight career prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney's Office in New Jersey in 2015 and 2016, who found no wrongdoing on my part. The lead prosecutor in New Jersey congratulated me for my achievements in the international energy business.

In October 2017, the Birmingham U.S. Attorney's Office, under the supervision of Jay Town and Lloyd Peeples, asked Atlanta-based U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) officials, who had a substantial conflict of interest in the case, to give them a shot at the case. The SEC obliged them.

Jay Town is a small-time Republican political hack in Huntsville, Alabama. He was recommended as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama by U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) after Donald Trump became president. In July of 2017, Trump appointed Town to the job.

Town qualified for the U.S. Attorney's job because: (a) he was featured in a TV campaign ad attacking President Barack Obama that Sen. Shelby ran during his 2016 re-election campaign, and (b) he enjoys the "white male privilege" that is often accorded to inadequate white male political operatives in Alabama.

Prior to his appointment as U.S. Attorney, Jay Town was an obscure assistant district attorney in Madison County, Alabama, with a lackluster record as a state prosecutor.

Town resigned abruptly as U.S. Attorney in late 2020 after media organizations began looking into allegations that he "fixed" the outcome of a criminal investigation into a bribery scheme that paid more than $360,000 to state Rep. Oliver Robinson from a sham non-profit organization named the "Alliance for Jobs and the Economy" (AJE).

AJE was funded by Alabama Power Company, the Drummond Company, and their business alliance partners. Oliver Robinson was paid this laundered money to derail an initiative by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to designate a black neighborhood in North Birmingham as an EPA Super-Fund cleanup site. 
 
This money-laundering and bribery scheme was structured and overseen by the Balch Bingham law firm in Birmingham, which represents Alabama Power Company. Prior to becoming the CEO at Alabama Power Company, Mark Crosswhite was a partner in Balch Bingham.

In late 2020, a photograph surfaced showing Mark Crosswhite having celebratory drinks with Jay Town in a cozy lounge after Town steered the Oliver Robinson-North Birmingham bribery investigation away from Alabama Power's pivotal role in 2017. An embarrassed, flawed, and deeply compromised Jay Town left office amid allegations that he "fixed" the case for Alabama Power Company and Balch Bingham.

Town's right-hand man was Lloyd Peeples. Peeples was a failed pizza store operator when Town hired him in October of 2017 to run the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Alabama on a day-to-day basis as his First Assistant U.S. Attorney. With Peeples at the helm, Town remained in Huntsville and collected a full-time paycheck for performing ceremonial duties as the U.S. Attorney on a part-time basis.

Apart from being financially distressed and failing miserably in private business, Peeples came into the U.S. Attorney's office with a documented history of hostility to women and blacks.

Today, Lloyd Peeples is the Chief of the Office's Criminal Division. As a Trump political hack and holdover employee, Peeples has burrowed himself into the Office's bureaucracy where he continues to hustle a living off of federal taxpayers' money.

Watkins says he is taking a hopeful, but realistic, approach to today's proceeding and its outcome, which probably will not be known for several months:

My son and I are doing well. We learned a long time ago how to navigate life in Alabama's sea of racial hatred.

We also enjoy a very strong and loving family and friends support network that is derived from the interracial goodwill of five generations of Carmichael/Varnado/Watkins trailblazers who faced the same or similar racial hostility in the Deep South, and persevered.

Donald, Jr., and I are hopeful about the outcome of our appeal. However, we are also realists. We know how "rigged" the federal criminal justice system is today, particularly against black, brown, and poor people in the Deep South. It will be interesting to see whether the three-judge panel that hears our appeal is all-white and whether these judges are from Alabama.

In the end, my son and I are the masters of our fate and the captains of our souls. God has been on our side throughout this ordeal. He will deliver us safely to the other side of midnight. He always does.

Monday, April 25, 2022

Alabama might be entering an era where ingrained public corruption is unmasked and punished, thanks largely to a small public charity and its dogged CEO

K.B. Forbes
 

Alabama might be entering an era where the public corruption that has plagued the state for decades might finally be held to account. That we've reached such a point owes largely to a Birmingham-based public charity and its CEO, K.B.. Forbes, writing at the blog .banbalch.com, reports former attorney/banker/entrepreneur Donald Watkins.

How toxic has Alabama's corporate, political, and legal environment become? Watkins states that bad actors have "targeted for destruction" three online journalists who have reported widely on corruption -- Forbes, Watkins, and me (at this blog, Legal Schnauzer).  That doesn't count Shelby County attorney Burt Newsome, who was targeted for a head-on vehicle crash that appears to have been deliberately staged -- or Newsome client and former Drummond Company executive David Roberson, who had someone shoot into his vehicle while he was driving on U.S. 280.

Where might an apparent federal investigation be headed? It's probably too soon to say, but Watkins hints that more stunning events could lie ahead. That might include the resignation of a second federal judge in the Northern District of Alabama, accompanied by curious circumstances like those that  trailed the recent surprise resignation of U.S. Judge Abdul Kallon.

If accountability does come to pass, it apparently will be driven largely by non-traditional journalism, with Forbes blazing the trail. Writes Watkins:

As Alabamians, we all owe Kevin B. Forbes, co-founder and chief executive officer of Consejo de Latinos Unidos (CDLU), a great debt of gratitude. CDLU is a nationally recognized consumer healthcare advocacy group that exposed and helped to bring to an end hospital price gouging of uninsured patients. More recently, Mr. Forbes and CDLU have turned their attention to cleaning up ingrained corruption in the U.S. Attorney's office and U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, which is headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama (USA).

Mr. Forbes has authored nine investigative reports, spurred three Congressional hearings, and worked coast to coast to improve healthcare for all. His written complaints to the U.S. Department of Justice have succeeded in shining a much-needed spotlight on out-of-control public corruption in the Northern District's "rigged" criminal justice system. This time, criminal investigators in Washington, Georgia, and Florida are moving to curb it.

Born and raised in California, Forbes once taught English as a second language to working Latino students at a post-Secondary vocational school near Watts, South Los Angeles, California. As the son of a Latino immigrant, Mr. Forbes is fluent in Spanish. He has lived in Chile and Mexico.

Corruption in Alabama largely has gone unchecked. But the CDLU and Forbes have ushered in a new culture, Watkins writes:

On December 4, 2019, Forbes and CDLU launched a three-year long fight in Washington against public corruption in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Alabama. His unrelenting anti-corruption campaign is now bearing fruit that will benefit Alabamians and the nation for decades to come.

As a direct result of Mr. Forbes' and CDLU's courageous anti-corruption campaign, we have seen the following stunning turn of events that threatens to jail Alabama's most powerful political, business, and political figures:

Watkins then cites eight major incidents that were largely tied to Forbes' reporting at banbalch.com:

(1) The abrupt midnight resignation of U.S. Attorney Jay Town in 2020 after photographs taken in 2017 showed an ethically compromised Town chugging down cocktails with Alabama Power Company CEO Mark Crosswhite during the height of his office's criminal investigation into allegations of bribery and corruption that was linked directly to Alabama Power, former state Rep. Oliver Robinson (D-Birmingham), the Drummond Company, and the law firm of Balch & Bingham. The goal of the bribery scheme was to defeat an initiative by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to add a predominantly black neighborhood in North Birmingham as a Superfund clean-up site. Alabama Power provided $30,000 of the money that was used to bribe Rep. Robinson. At least 21 Balch attorneys played some part in the bribery scheme, as well. Yet, neither Alabama Power, nor Crosswhite, nor none of Balch's 21 participating attorneys, nor Drummond Company CEO Mike Tracy was charged in the bribery scheme. Over the objection of honest federal law enforcement officials in Birmingham, Jay Town shut down the bribery and money laundering investigation after meeting with Crosswhite. Only one "fall-guy" from Drummond and one from Balch were indicted, tried, and convicted, along with Robinson, who pleaded guilty. Borrowing a page from a 1980 RICO conspiracy, bribery, and fraud case in Birmingham federal court that was "fixed" to benefit executives at Alabama Power and the Drummond Company, Jay Town steered the North Birmingham Bribery case away from Mark Crosswhite and Mike Tracy and was rewarded with a cushy, high paying general counsel's job that U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) arranged for him with Huntsville-based defense contractor Gray Analytics after his resignation.

(2) The demotion of Jay Town's handpicked First Assistant U.S. Attorney Lloyd Peeples in 2021, who has burrowed himself into the Office as the head of its Criminal Division. Peeples is a failed Homewood, Alabama, pizza restaurant owner with a dismal record on operating businesses and a documented history of hostility towards blacks and women. Despite his failure as a businessman, Jay Town had Peeples running the multi-million dollar U.S. Attorney's office on a day-to-day basis while Town drew a full-time salary for ceremonial work.

(3) The 2021 meltdown of perennial political "dirty tricks" artist Joseph Perkins, Jr., and his PR firm, Matrix, LLC. In September of 2021, former Matrix CEO Jeff Pitts filed a lawsuit against Perkins in Florida alleging, for the first time in public, that Perkins engaged in (a) extortion, (b) abuses of the legal process in Alabama, and (c) an ongoing racketeering enterprise. Perkins, who is a confessed federal lawbreaker, has handled Alabama Power's "dirty tricks" operations on an outsourced basis for nearly two decades. Perkins and his companies are under a multi-agency and multi-state multiple law enforcement investigation that began in Florida. Alabama Power has historically funded Perkins and his entities using secret contracts that paid Perkins tens of millions of dollars, "without invoicing." Perkins' work as a "dirty tricks" operator is notorious and has garnered him lucrative contracts with Auburn University, Georgia Power Company (Atlanta), and the Southern Company (Atlanta) that deliberately obscure the nature of his work.

(4) The abrupt resignation of U.S. District Court Judge Abdul K. Kallon on April 5, 2022. Kallon presided over the 2018 North Birmingham Bribery Trial involving Oliver Robinson, Drummond Company executive David Roberson and Balch partner Joel I. Gilbert, which portrayed Roberson and Gilbert as "lone wolves" in the bribery scheme. Kallon's resignation comes as federal investigators are probing obstruction of justice charges in the North Birmingham Bribery Trial.

(5) The unexpected "retirement" of Drummond CEO Mike Tracy. Drummond is Alabama Power's longtime coal supplier for its dirty coal-fired power plants like the one Alabama Power operates at the Miller Steam Plant in Jefferson County, Alabama. This plant is the Number One air polluter in America. Tracy personally approved payments to two ethically-conflicted consultants who lobbied the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) to officially oppose the EPA clean-up initiative in North Birmingham. To conceal these payments from EPA officials and the public, Balch & Bingham General Counsel Blake Andrews paid these consultants directly and was later reimbursed by Drummond with Mike Tracy's expressed blessing. To the consternation of honest law enforcement investigators, Jay Town made sure Mike Tracy and Blake Andrews were not indicted or prosecuted for their roles in the bribery scheme.

(6) The April 2022 suicide of Balch & Bingham lawyer, William Dice Lineberry. Mr. Lineberry was the lawyer who helped set up the money laundering entity "Alliance for Jobs and the Economy" (AJE), which was the entity that was used to: (a) receive corporate donations from willing participants in the bribery scheme and (b) funnel over $360,000 in bribery money to Oliver Robinson.

(7) The April 7, 2022, resignations of two Assistant U.S. Attorneys in Birmingham with reported connections to the Office's investigation of the North Birmingham Bribery Scandal.

(8) The reported designation of Alabama Power Company CEO and ex Balch partner Mark A Crosswhite as a "target" of a multi-state federal probe into charges of RICO conspiracy, bribery, and obstruction of justice. Federal investigators are also probing the relationship between Southern Company CEO Tom Fanning and Mark Crosswhite. At Fanning's request and without any prior notice to Alabama Power ratepayers or its state and federal regulators, Crosswhite funneled tens of millions in "bailout money" from Alabama Power's coffers to the Southern Company for a boondoggle nuclear power plant in Mississippi that: (a) the Southern Company is constructing, (b) has been grossly over budget for more than a decade, and (c) is not intended to provide any electricity for Alabama Power's customers. An earlier probe into this matter by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission was reportedly "fixed" by Sen. Richard Shelby with senior SEC officials in Washington to extricate Alabama Power and the Southern Company from civil and criminal exposure for this secret and unlawful diversion of Alabama Power's ratepayer funds.

Watkins quickly adds that a number of "open questions" remain on the table:

There are open questions as to whether Joe Perkins is cooperating with federal authorities in the new multi-state probe. Perkins reportedly possesses "dirty secrets" files on compromised public officials and regulators who may have accepted laundered campaign contributions and other "things of value" in exchange for taking official action to help Alabama Power Company, Georgia Power Company, and the Southern Company sustained their respective business monopolies.

Because of the number of individual culprits and corporate entities involved and the scope of Perkins "dirty tricks" operations, it appears that federal investigators are considering a potential RICO charge against the principal participants.

Additionally, at least one more federal judge in Birmingham may be implicated in the criminal probe and may be forced to resign.

Forbes' role goes beyond journalism. As head of a public charity, he also engages in advocacy -- and that has helped bring a national focus to problems in Alabama. Writes Watkins:

Mr. Forbes and CDLU sent letters to the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) at the U.S. Department of Justice on December 4, 2019, January 9, 2020, and January 29, 2020 that detailed widespread and credible allegations of public corruption and obstruction of justice spearheaded by Jay E. Town while he served as U.S. Attorney and Lloyd Peeples served as his First Assistant U.S. Attorney. [Click here to view Forbes' 12/4/19, 1/9/20 and 1/29/20 letters to OPR.]

Both Jay Town and Lloyd Peeples have checkered backgrounds. Yet, they were warmly received in the Birmingham federal courthouse that served as the citadel for formal FBI COINTELPRO operations in Alabama, from 1956 to 1972, and informal COINTELPRO activities from 1972 to the present.

This is the same Birmingham federal courthouse where former Chief U.S. District Court Judge Frank McFadden reportedly "fixed" the 1980 "Coal Fraud Trial" case against Alabama Power Company chief financial officer and Drummond Company director Walter F. Johnsey, Drummond Company CEO Gary Neal Drummond, state senator Joe Fine, and four other defendants, all of whom were charged with operating an ongoing criminal racketeering enterprise. Lead prosecutor Broward Segrest would later explain how and why the case was "fixed." Segrest's account of how and why McFadden "fixed" the case for Alabama Power and Drummond was subsequently confirmed by former Blount, Inc., CEO and Republican gubernatorial candidate Winton Blount III, and another high level executive at Blount, Inc. After "fixing" the case for Alabama Power and Drummond, McFadden resigned and was promptly rewarded with a job as general counsel at Blount, Inc.

This appears to be the same playbook that was used in the North Birmingham Bribery Scheme. After the case was allegedly "fixed," Jay Town resigned and was rewarded with a cushy, high-paying job as general counsel at Huntsville-based Gray Analytics.

Does exposing Alabama corruption come with risks? Yes, it does -- as we know firsthand. Writes Watkins:

The only Alabama media organizations to investigate and publish news articles on the chokehold that Alabama Power Company, Drummond Company, Balch & Bingham, Joe Perkins, Matrix, and Senator Shelby have on federal law enforcement agencies and federal judges in Alabama have been Kevin Forbes and CDLU, Roger Shuler and his online publication, Legal Schnauzer, and www.donaldwatkins.com.

Despite his status as a confessed federal lawbreaker, Joe Perkins is the "hunting buddy" of Sen. Shelby and Chief U.S. District Court Judge Scott Coogler (Birmingham). It is unclear as to who picks up the tab for these hunting excursions.

Mr. Forbes, CDLU, Mr. Shuler, Legal Schnauzer, and I have been targeted for destruction by this band of culprits. Joe Perkins' handwritten notes outlined his plan to destroy me and was published on this news site in September of 2021. 

Note that Alabama mainstream publications have been largely absent on these stories. But Watkins hints that national news outlets might pick up the slack -- and he provides a much-deserved hat tip to K.B. Forbes and his public charity:

    A grateful public thanks to Kevin B. Forbes and CDLU for the courage and tenacity they have shown     in rooting out the ingrained corruption in the U.S. Attorney's Office and the U.S. District Courthouse     for the Northern District of Alabama. The job is not finished, but substantial progress has been made     in eradicating this corruption.

    The Washington Post, which reported on "Alabama's Watergate" on April 3, 1977, now has a chance     to report on the floodgate of public corruption at the highest level of federal law enforcement in           Alabama 45 years later. At www.donaldwatkins.com, we will do our part to support Mr. Forbes, CDLU, Roger Shuler, and Legal Schnauzer.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

In the wake of Birmingham attorney's shocking suicide, attention turns to possible obstruction of justice, criminal concealment, and civil RICO cases

 

The suicide last week of  Balch & Bingham attorney Bo Lineberry was a stunning and perhaps telling event in the years-long effort to unwind apparent scandal in the Alabama corporate, legal, judicial, and law-enforcement worlds. Where does attention turn next? Ban Balch Publisher K.B. Forbes provides clues, under the headline "After Suicide, National Media and Feds Zero in on Alleged Obstruction and “Criminal Concealment;” RICOs Coming?" The sub-headline -- "Suicide. Resignations. Internal turmoil. Corporate strife" -- provides insight into the unrest that seems to be roiling elite circles in Birmingham and beyond. Writes Forbes:

Since November, Birmingham is seeing what appears to be the collapse of the house of marked cards allegedly propped up by the deep resources of Alabama Power. The Three Stooges (Balch & Bingham, Drummond, and Alabama Power) have seen their dominance stumble.

High-level sources told us in late October that Mark A. Crosswhite, the Chairman and CEO of Alabama Power and a former partner at embattled law firm Balch & Bingham, was an alleged target of an obstruction investigation

Federal Judge Abdul K. Kallon resigned along allegedly with two Assistant U.S. Attorneys earlier this month, while Balch partner Bo Lineberry committed suicide last week.

What enormous pressure and worry caused Lineberry to end his life? Was he facing unbearable consequences? Was there an offer on the table that was too brutal for Lineberry to accept?

Seasoned law enforcement authorities tell us the Lineberry suicide spoke volumes about the depth and seriousness of the alleged federal probe.

Attention appears to be spreading beyond Alabama. Writes Forbes:

Now national media are focused on the alleged unsavory and criminal misconduct and alleged abuse of power surrounding the North Birmingham Bribery Scandal and the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama. once run by disgraced ex-U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town, who resigned in 2020.

Concurrently, federal investigators are allegedly looking at obstruction of justice and accusations of “criminal concealment.”

In what looked like sheer panic with the rebirth of the North Birmingham Bribery Scandal, the illustrious Mark White, Mark Crosswhite’s go-to criminal attorney, fumbled the ball and showed how concealment appears to be part and parcel of the work product and a standard operating procedure of the Three Stooges and their hired guns.

As we reported about the “Tale of Two Marks” in January of 2021:

[Alabama Power’s] team of attorneys at White, Arnold, & Dowd, led by white-collar criminal attorney Mark White, filed an avalanche of court pleadings in December [2020] at the courthouse office, over the counter as if it were 1950 not 2020. (We wonder if Mark White still uses a rotary phone, stencil duplicator, and Royal typewriter.)

The delay and “hiding the goods” tactic failed. The paper court pleadings were [immediately] scanned and uploaded by the clerk to Alacourt where we, the CDLU, were able to download them.

Concealment might be an unfamiliar legal term to the general public, but it seems to be central to the unfolding Birmingham story:

Concealment has been a consistent element.

  • Concealment was discovered in January when Alabama Power’s multi-million-dollar secret contracts (no invoicing required) with obscure political consulting firm Matrix and its founder “Sloppy Joe” Perkins were exposed.
  • Attorneys for “Sloppy Joe” attempted to call the secret contracts “trade secrets” and sent worthless demand letters to an environmental group and blog that published the concealed million-dollar agreements.
  • Allegations of non-disclosure and concealed indemnity agreements tied to Alabama Power and Balch have swirled since 2017.
  • Absolute concealment was achieved when ex-Drummond executive David Roberson’s $75-million civil lawsuit was sealed in its entirety in the Winter of 2021 in an attempt to hide alleged criminal misconduct. The secretive Star Chamber does not allow anyone to follow or read proceedings in the case.
  • The conservative Alabama Supreme Court reinstated Balch as a defendant in Roberson’s civil case this past February. Bloomberg reported that Balch must face fraud claims due to “misrepresention and concealment.”
  • Balch terminated an alleged pedophile months before he was arrested for soliciting a child online. Ex-Balch attorney Chase T. Espy had worked at the embattled firm for eight years. He then went on to work briefly for Alabama Governor Kay Ivey when he was arrested and immediately fired last August. What caused Balch to fire Espy? What did Balch conceal from the public and the governor regarding Espy?

The biggest concealment appears to be Alabama Power’s alleged secret deal during the North Birmingham Bribery Trial in which the company was “unmentionable” during the trial and criminal defense attorneys allegedly had to clear any mention of Alabama Power with Mark White.

The federal statute of limitations for obstruction of justice is five years. The timing of the alleged federal investigation makes sense. The trial happened in July of 2018. The statute would expire in the summer of 2023.

Those aren't the only worries likely knocking around Birmingham board rooms. Writes Forbes:

Now Alabama Power and their sister-wife Balch & Bingham appear to have even bigger issues coming.

If obstruction of justice indictments are handed down and/or alleged criminal information is disclosed related to the alleged federal probe and the Matrix Meltdown, expect a federal civil RICO lawsuit or two against Balch, Alabama Power, and others.

The first civil RICO lawsuit will be based on the Newsome Conspiracy Case, a travesty of justice in which an innocent man, Burt Newsome, was allegedly targeted, falsely arrested, and defamed by Balch in an attempt to steal his law practice providing legal services to banks.

Newsome was arrested by a cop who was the son of a now-retired Alabama Power executive. Ex-U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town allegedly blocked four investigations related to the Newsome Conspiracy Case.

Another, separate civil RICO lawsuit could be filed on behalf of “fall guy”and ex-Drummond executive David Roberson.

Either way, the Three Stooges and their defenders are exposed in the open no matter how many concealed deals, secret smear campaigns, or Star Chambers they create.

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Alleged broken taillight caused a Georgia state trooper to fatally shoot an unarmed black man, Julian Lewis, leading to a record-setting $4.8-million settlement

Julian Lewis

Georgia has reached a record settlement in the state-trooper shooting death of an unarmed black man. The Atlanta law firm of  Hall and Lampros represented the family of Julian Lewis in the $4.8-million pre-lawsuit settlement. From a report at the Macon Telegraph:

Julian Lewis, a 60-year-old unarmed Black man, was driving his Nissan Sentra to a store after work to pick up an orange soda for his wife when he was shot and killed by a Georgia state trooper in 2020, according to state investigators.

Now his widow will get $4.8 million.

The state of Georgia agreed to pay Betty Lewis before she took the case to court, making it the largest pre-litigation settlement in state history dating back to 1990, the law firm of Hall & Lampros LLP said in a news release. Betty Lewis’s lawyers said they were readying to sue the former trooper, the Georgia State Highway Patrol and related officials before reaching a settlement through mediation.

“Our hearts grieve for Betty Lewis, who lost her Golden Years with her husband because of unwarranted and unnecessary deadly force during what should have been a routine traffic stop,” attorney Andrew Lampros said in the release. Lampros added the “events of that August night should never have happened,” calling it “unconscionable".

What led to the shooting death of Julian Lewis? An alleged broken taillight. From the Telegraph

According to the law firm, Julian Lewis was driving to the store on Aug. 7, 2020, when a state trooper activated his blue lights to pull him over for a broken taillight. Lawyers said investigators later determined neither of his taillights were “in a condition to justify probable cause for a stop.” The Georgia Bureau of Investigation identified the trooper as Jacob Gordon Thompson, who is white and was 27 years old at the time.

Investigators said Thompson tried to pull Lewis over on Stoney Pond Road in Screven County, which stretches less than two miles through farmland and woods in rural southeast Georgia. Screven County sits on the border with South Carolina, about 78 miles northwest of Hilton Head. According to an initial news release dated one day after the shooting, Thompson intended to stop Lewis for a traffic offense but “the car refused to stop and led the trooper on a brief chase down several county roads.”

Lawyers for Betty Lewis said it is believed her husband was trying to “drive toward a more familiar area where he knew other people would be present” and that he turned on both his turn signals as a sign of acknowledgment to the trooper. Thompson then used what’s known as a Precision Intervention Technique, or PIT maneuver, to stop the Nissan, investigators said. The trooper hit Lewis with enough force to spin his car in the opposite direction before coming to rest in a ditch, according to the widow’s attorneys and the GBI.

“Less than two seconds passed from the time the trooper opened the door to his vehicle and fired a shot that killed 60-year-old Lewis instantly,” attorneys said, citing testimony from state investigators. Thompson fired one round. Lewis was pronounced dead on the scene, state investigators said.

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Suicide of Balch & Bingham attorney William "Bo" Lineberry adds a tragic and stunning turn to apparent federal probe related to North Birmingham scandal

Bo Lineberry

An attorney at Birmingham's embattled Balch & Bingham law firm committed suicide yesterday, adding a sad and shocking turn to reports of a possible federal investigation related to the North Birmingham Superfund bribery case. William Dice "Bo" Lineberry reportedly played a central role in setting up a financial entity that was at the heart of the Superfund scandal. From a report at banbalch.com, under the headline "Attorney Commits Suicide; Federal Investigation Rocks Balch and Southern Company; Crosswhite Out?" Writes Publisher K.B. Forbes:

Federal Judge Abdul K. Kallon resigned a week ago. Last Thursday, two Assistant U.S. Attorneys allegedly resigned, now sources told us and we confirmed this morning that Balch & Bingham partner William Dice Lineberry, known to many as “Bo,” committed suicide early yesterday.

Lineberry was the Balch lawyer who helped set up the money laundering entity Alliance for Jobs and the Economy (AJE) in the North Birmingham Bribery Scandal.

Former Balch partner Joel I. Gilbert and ex-Drummond executive David Roberson were convicted in the scandal and are currently in federal prison.

Hours after the suicide, Balch updated Bo Lineberry’s profile with an “in memoriam” and simply mentioned Lineberry had “passed away.”

We, the CDLU, set aside our differences, and extend our deepest sympathies to the Lineberry family and Bo Lineberry’s colleagues at Balch & Bingham during this very difficult and sad time.

Sources tell Legal Schnauzer that Lineberry attempted suicide at an unknown time in the hours prior to yesterday morning. He was transported to a local hospital and removed from life support early Tuesday.

Balch was at the center of the North Birmingham matter, but the case's impact goes well beyond the law firm's walls, Forbes writes:

In June of 2019, investigators in Washington, D.C. told us that Balch was not the problem but that Alabama Power was, due to the bottomless resources at their command. Now, this last fall, sources told us Mark A. Crosswhite, the Chairman and CEO of Alabama Power and former Balch partner, was the alleged target of this obstruction of justice probe.

Tom Fanning, the Chairman and CEO of Alabama Power’s parent company Southern Company, appears to have let their most profitable subsidiary do what they want with impunity.

Will Fanning lead by example and force Crosswhite to resign or retire?

The Three Stooges (Balch, Drummond, and Alabama Power) appear to have manipulated federal prosecutors during the North Birmingham Bribery Trial.

And CDLU’s three letters with documentation to the Office of Professional Responsibility at the U.S. Department of Justice in late 2019 and early 2020 apparently spurred a much-needed federal investigation.

The rebirth of the North Birmingham Bribery Scandal appears to be sweeping and strong, with three federal resignations and, sadly, a suicide.

Who and how many of the Three Stooges’ lackeys and alleged co-conspirators will be held accountable?

Lineberry's suicide likely stands as the most shocking incident in a string of troubling events related to the North Birmingham matter. But the scandal, whether it's in criminal or civil court, seems to keep growing, leaving this question: What will turn up next, and will someone (or some entity), ultimately, bring the corruption -- long tied to Alabama's business, legal, political, law-enforcement, and judicial communities -- to an end? Writes Forbes today:

The JeffCo Medical Examiner confirmed moments ago that they have Lineberry’s body,  and a detailed report will be issued in four to six weeks.

For years we have used the word “carcasses” figuratively to describe all the individuals who have been fired, arrested, or soiled by their relationship with Balch and/or their sister-wife Alabama Power.

And now someone has killed himself. A father. A husband. A respected lawyer.

Heartbreaking. Tragically heartbreaking.

Two assistant U.S. attorneys reportedly resign shortly after Judge Abdul Kallon's resignation announcement, adding to intrigue swirling at Hugo Black Courthouse

Hugo Black Courthouse
 

Two assistant U.S. attorneys (AUSAs) in the Northern District of Alabama apparently resigned about 24 hours after federal judge Abdul Kallon announced his resignation last week, according to a report at banbalch.com.

Who are the USAs, what do their resignations mean, and are they tied to the curious Kallon announcement, where he stated plans to give up a coveted lifetime appointment -- apparently because his wife had received an attractive job offer from out-of-state? Those are just three entries on a growing list of unanswered questions swirling around the Hugo Black Courthouse in downtown Birmingham. But the questions add to the sense that something big is brewing on the local legal scene.

A federal judge makes a stunning resignation announcement, followed by two U.S. attorneys hitting the exits? Those kinds of events are well outside the norm. Writes Ban Balch Publisher K.B. Forbes:

Over the weekend, the same high-level sources who accurately told us about Federal Judge Abdul K. Kallon’s abrupt resignation last Wednesday, alleged that two Assistant U.S. Attorneys in Birmingham have resigned a mere 24 hours later.

Yesterday, we, the CDLU, reached out to the Public Affairs Specialist for the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama.  We finally spoke at about 2:00 p.m. CDT yesterday afternoon.

We told her that we had heard that two AUSAs had resigned last Thursday.

She stated, “Oh yes…,” and then caught herself, saying after a pause, “I’ll have to check on this. Do you have names?” We told her that we did not, but we were calling to verify the news and obtain the names since it is highly unusual for two AUSAs to resign simultaneously.  

She asked what blog we were, and we told her BanBalch.com the site that published the photos of disgraced ex-U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town having cocktails with Mark A. Crosswhite, the Chairman and CEO of Alabama Power and former partner at embattled law firm Balch & Bingham. She acknowledged that she knew the site.

The public affairs specialist suddenly was in no hurry to confirm what a reliable source already had told Forbes:

We emphasized that we wanted to hear it from the horse’s mouth since last week our reliable source also told us of Judge Kallon’s resignation and we spoke to his clerk who confirmed the fact with a sigh.

She never replied even though we texted her cell phone Monday evening asking her to confirm or deny. This morning, we let her know we were on a drop-dead deadline. We left her a voicemail a little before 12:30 p.m CDT today.

The silence was beyond deafening, and confirmed to us that the reports of twin resignations had merit.

Now, moments ago she replied via text, “We have no comment.”

Maybe we know something we shouldn’t know.

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Aftershocks from the surprise resignation of federal judge Abdul Kallon continue in Birmingham as reports surface of stunning behind-the-scenes skulduggery

Abdul Kallon
 

Did U.S. Judge Abdul Kallon reach an immunity deal with federal investigators, and did that at least partially explain his stunning resignation last week -- giving up a coveted lifetime appointment for no clear-cut reason? Those questions hover over the Birmingham legal community as new chapters unfold in what now might be called the Kallon-Balch-Matrix-Drummond-Alabama Power caper. Meanwhile reports are surfacing of backstage trickery that sound like they come from the pages of a Tom Clancy spy novel. Reports K.B. Forbes at banbalch.com, under the headline "Federal Dragnet? All Eyes on Crosswhite, Alabama Power, and Newly Revealed Alleged Criminal Acts":

Was Kallon offered a deal?

Just three years shy from senior status, Federal Judge Abdul K. Kallon abruptly announced his resignation to a lifetime appointment. He would have had full benefits and privileges.

Multiple legal observers have told us that this resignation makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

And people are asking:

  • Was Kallon offered full criminal immunity for his cooperation in an alleged federal probe?
  • Was Kallon required to resign after he wrapped up current pending or ongoing cases as a condition of an alleged full criminal immunity deal?

Kallon has cited personal reasons in his decision to step down, but do those make sense for a federal judge who is virtually untouchable in his professional life? Writes Forbes:

What Kallon has said to media is that his spouse has taken a job in another state and the usual “shown-the-door” excuse: he wished to spend more time with his family.

But as a federal judge, Kallon could have easily adjusted his calendar and made time to travel back and forth. Kallon could have taken Fridays off; or a week here and there; and worked with his wife to make the sacrifice for three years until he reached senior status.

The Kallon resignation has indeed rocked Birmingham and the legal community. Our website has had unprecedented traffic these last several days not only from Alabama but across the country. We received an alert this morning from Google Search Console that average daily clicks increased over 1000% percent.

Is the alleged federal dragnet wider and deeper than most people have believed?

Mark A. Crosswhite, the Chairman and CEO of Alabama Power and former Balch & Bingham partner, is allegedly a principal target of the alleged obstruction of justice probe.

The secret deal during the North Birmingham Bribery Trial that kept Alabama Power “unmentionable” during the trial seems to be cornerstone of the allegations of obstruction of justice.

But what may have accelerated the probe are two factors:

 The intrigue extends beyond the borders of Alabama:

In Florida, the alleged “ghost candidates” scandal has shaken the vicious and bitter business divorce between Matrix founder “Sloppy Joe” Perkins and his once-protégé Jeff Pitts. While Florida state investigators have been probing since 2021, are the Feds now piggybacking on a broader federal investigation of alleged criminal acts?

Now let’s disclose some details of alleged criminal misconduct.

Were Alabama Power, Balch or Matrix’s hired guns involved or not involved in these alleged acts?

This is where the Clancyesque material gets disturbingly deep:

In the summer of 2020, an orchestrated campaign against us, the CDLU, completely and utterly backfired.

The buffoons targeted the wrong family at the wrong address, hired a rabble-rouser who was later issued multiple arrest warrants by three different law enforcement agencies, and even had a once-respected journalist amputate his brain to defend the indefensible.

As we reported before, at the height of the orchestrated campaign someone attempted stupidly to impersonate our Executive Director, K.B. Forbes, and his then-eight-year old daughter in two attempts to illegally obtain banking information from Bryant Bank, a regional bank in Alabama.

The criminal suspect(s) had private, confidential information including full bank account numbers. Federal investigators were briefed and intrigued.

At the time, in the fall of 2020, we learned from investigators of another incident that occurred at the same time reminding us of President Richard M. Nixon’s “White House Plumbers.”

The law offices of Burt Newsome saw a single corporate binder checkbook stolen from their offices. The weekly cleaning crew disconnected the security camera and alleged they needed to plug in a vacuum cleaner, an apparent lie. Four plug outlets were available on the eight plug outlet, according to investigators.

And what checkbook was stolen? Only one of several client trust accounts Newsome Law has at various financial institutions.

And what bank was targeted from all the multiple checkbook binders? Bryant Bank. Were the “plumbers” really this sloppy, this stupid?

Can happenstance explain the Bryant Bank connection to both of these incidents? We don't have a clear answer at the moment, but Forbes shares a number of insights:

    And what appears to have had Alabama Power and Balch & Bingham panties in a wad?

    The $2 million grant the CDLU received in 2019 (which we can declare on the record has nothing to do with Balch & Bingham, Alabama Power, Matrix or their competitors) caused them to defecate  rainbows. The grant is related to our two decades of healthcare and consumer protection advocacy, and helped us pay off debt, including multiple years of back-pay, long-ago legal fees, and unpaid rent as we honored promises made to our employees, consultants, landlords, and lawyers during the Great Recession.

    But the smear artists, hired whores, and yellow journalists do not care. The have no            honor. They  have no integrity. They have no moral compass.

    And now a dragnet appears to be sweeping them up.

    Kallon appears to be another carcass. Will more carcasses be wheeled out soon?