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?


Anonymous said...

Some of this stuff boggles the mind. I couldn't make it up if I tried.

Anonymous said...

Kallon's wife must have one heckuva job if it's big enough for him to give up a federal judgeship.

legalschnauzer said...

Yes, if that's the one and only reason for his resignation, you'd think her job must be pretty substantial -- or at least her new job is substantial.

legalschnauzer said...

ABC3340 apparently was first to report that Kallon's resignation was due to his wife receiving a job offer in another state:


legalschnauzer said...

From ABC 33/40:

United States District Court federal judge Abdul Kallon has submitted his resignation to President Joe Biden, ABC 33/40 confirmed Wednesday afternoon.

Judge Kallon's resignation from the Northern District of Alabama is effective August 31.

Former President Barack Obama nominated Kallon to the bench in 2009 and he was confirmed in 2010.

Sources confirmed the resignation was a family decision due to Judge Kallon's wife receiving a job offer in another state.

legalschnauzer said...

Some folks might have forgotten this, but in Feb. 2016, President Obama nominated Kallon to a spot on the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.I don't recall what happened to that nomination, but I'm guessing Mitch McConnell ran out the clock until Trump was elected president in Nov. 2016.

If confirmed, Kallon would have been one step shy of the U.S. Supreme Court.


legalschnauzer said...

Here's a story that describes what happened to Kallon's nomination to the 11th Circuit. It involves Mitch McConnell (we figured), Richard Shelby, Jeff Sessions, and the Senate's one-time "blue slip tradition


legalschnauzer said...

From " How Ending the Blue Slip Damaged the Federal Courts Forever," by Al Franken . . .

What’s the blue slip? It’s a form. On blue paper. Since 1917, home-state senators could either turn in their blue slip, showing that they approved a district or appeals court nominee for their state’s slot on an Article Three court, or they could withhold their blue slip to block a nominee they opposed.

The blue slip served a number of purposes, which both parties had repeatedly affirmed. Both Grassley and Pat Leahy, his Democratic predecessor as chair, recognized the critical role the blue slip played in ensuring that presidents respect the Senate’s constitutional obligation to provide “advice and consent. . . .”

When Alabama Senator Richard Shelby had refused to return the blue slip for the nomination of Judge Abdul Kallon for the 11th Circuit, he said, “a Republican President will do a lot better job. I don’t want somebody selected by President Obama getting a lifetime appointment here in Alabama.” That seat remained vacant until President Trump named a nominee, who was quickly processed by Grassley’s Judiciary Committee and confirmed. Sounds like a veto to me.

That had been the case with Obama nominees blocked by Shelby’s Alabama colleague Jeff Sessions, McConnell and Rand Paul of Kentucky, John Cornyn and Ted Cruz of Texas, Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran of Kansas and others, even though the Obama White House had consulted with them, some over the course of years. And still, obvious as it was that many of these Republicans were operating in bad faith, Chairman Leahy honored his commitment to the blue slip.

legalschnauzer said...

It's interesting that the ABC33/40 piece says Judge Kallon's wife had been offered a job out of state, but it did not say she had accepted.