Thursday, August 31, 2023

Georgia Republican Geoff Duncan lets it rip; saying Donald Trump has the "moral compass of an ax murderer," with no respect for the rule of law

Georgia Republican Geoff Duncan

A Georgia Republican says Donald Trump has the "moral compass" of an "ax murderer," according to a report at The New Republic (TNR). Yikes! If someone from his own party uses such heated language to describe Trump, imagine what folks on the other side of the political aisle must think about "The Great Orange MAGA Cult Leader."

From a report by TNR's Torri Otten, which notes in the sub-headline that "Former Georgia Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan is not Mincing Words." No kidding, and that's a rare quality in a Southern Republican these days. Writes Otten:

Former Georgia Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan tore into Donald Trump for his attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, slamming the former president as having the “moral compass” of an “ax murderer.”

Trump surrendered to Georgia authorities last week on charges of felony racketeering for trying to overturn the state’s election results after the 2020 general election. Duncan, a Republican, was serving as lieutenant governor to Brian Kemp at the time.

“As a Republican, the dashboard is going off with lights and bells and whistles telling us all the warning things we need to know,” Duncan told CNN Monday night. “Ninety-one indictments, fake Republican, $8 trillion worth of debt—everything we need to see to not choose him as our nominee, including the fact he’s got the moral compass of, more like an ax murderer than a president.”

Has anyone dared speak with such honesty about Trump since he rose to power? I can't think of anyone. Writes Otten:

Duncan also described Trump’s wrongdoings as a “Ponzi scheme of lies” and a “two-plus-year crime spree from coast to coast.”

Trump and his 18 co-defendants will be arraigned in Georgia on September 6. Trump has repeatedly insisted that he did nothing wrong. But the state’s Republican leaders aren’t having any of it.

In addition to Duncan, Kemp is one of the few Republicans to have explicitly shut down Trump’s claims. Trump pleaded with Kemp to get the state legislature to override the election results and appoint new electors who would back Trump, but Kemp refused to cave.

“The 2020 election in Georgia was not stolen,” Kemp tweeted after Trump was indicted. “For nearly three years now, anyone with evidence of fraud has failed to come forward—under oath—and prove anything in a court of law. Our elections in Georgia are secure, accessible, and fair and will continue to be as long as I am governor.”

Trump also infamously begged former Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” 11,780 votes—the exact number needed to flip the state’s election results to Trump. Raffensperger has refused to play ball too.

Here is how Duncan sums it up, and potential Republican voters probably would be wise to consider his words:

“The most basic principles of a strong democracy are accountability and respect for the Constitution and rule of law,” he said after Trump was indicted. “You either have it, or you don’t."

Donald Watkins' Birmingham-based energy company joins with Canadian firm to pursue clean fuels project in the Durban/Mandeni region of South Africa


Masada's CES Oxynol Technology

A Birmingham-based energy company has signed an agreement with a Canadian firm to develop clean fuels in South Africa, according to longtime Alabama attorney and entrepreneur Donald Watkins in an article at his Web site,

Watkins, chairman and CEO of Masada Resource Group LLC since 20025,  says, "Masada is a leading waste-to-energy technology company with proven proprietary technology that converts ordinary garbage into fuel-grade ethanol."As for the company's project with a Canadian partner in South Africa, Watkins writes:

On October 12, 2022, I published an article titled, “Masada: The Demand for Clean Fuel Conquers All.” A lot of positive things have happened in the global marketplace since this article was published.

Since 1998, I have owned a company named Watkins-Pencor, LLC. It is the designated “Manager” of the Masada Resource Group, LLC, family of companies. Masada is an international waste-to-fuel technology company.

Between 2007 and 2017, Masada established 19 international partnerships to facilitate the commercial deployment of waste-to-fuel market opportunities in over 40 locations around the world.

Watkins-Pencor also holds an ownership interest in various Masada affiliates worldwide.

On August 22, 2023, Masada executed a Project Management Services Agreement with TWD Technologies Ltd., headquartered in Burlington, Ontario (Canada), to provide end-to-end project management services for its planned $300 million USD waste-to-energy project in the Durban/Mandeni area of South Africa.

TWD is an engineering, procurement, and construction management consulting company that provides project development, execution, and specialty engineering services to the Energy and Infrastructure sectors.

With soaring fuel costs, Masada offers common-sense solutions to the production of clean-burning fuels at affordable prices per gallon or liter.

Watkins has found another valuable partner, this one close to home, in Alabama:

Masada’s 2007 “Sponsored Research Agreement” with Auburn University broadened the company’s portfolio of energy-creating solutions and gave us a sustained competitive advantage, worldwide.

Masada and Watkins-Pencor enjoyed a reputation for excellence in the field of clean energy and international business. In 2015, Masada was the recipient of the Alabama Governor’s Trade Excellence Award. The company's achievements in business and accomplishments in the clean-energy sector have been recognized by global biofuels organizations and trade publications.

Donald Watkins at Bio Markets conference in Amsterdam

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

In seeking a 2026 trial date for Trump's election-interference trial in Washington, D.C., lawyer shows his ignorance of historic U.S. Supreme Court ruling

The Scottsboro Boys

In asking for a 2026 trial date for his client's election-interference case in Washington,D.C., Donald Trump lawyer John Lauro showed profound ignorance of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court Scottsboro Boys case, states longtime Alabama attorney and criminal-defense expert Donald Watkins. Watkins represented one of the Scottsboro Boys, so he knows a thing or two about the case, which Lauro obviously does not -- and that raises this question: If Trump reportedly is paying more than $40 million for this kind of representation, is the former president being taken to the cleaners. The answer appears to be yes.

Under the title "Trump Lawyer John Lauro Demonstrates a Profound Ignorance of the Law," Watkins writes in an editorial-opinion piece:

When Attorney John Lauro asked a federal judge in Washington, D.C. to set Donald Trump’s criminal trial for election interference activities in April 2026, he cited the landmark Scottsboro Boys case of Powell v. Alabama (1932) in his legal brief to support his request.

The legal brief was co-signed by Trump attorneys Todd Blanche (New York, New York) and Gregory Singer and Filzah I. Pavalon (Tampa, Florida).

Powell v. Alabama recognized the right of a criminal defendant who is charged with a serious crime to effective assistance of counsel. The case arose from a racially-motivated miscarriage of justice when nine innocent black teenagers were seized from a freight train in Paint Rock, Alabama, and falsely accused of raping two female white hobos on the train.

The Scottsboro Boys were brought to trial six days after their indictment. They were defended by frightened, court-appointed, local white attorneys. The grand jury and trial jury in their case were all-white. They were convicted and sentenced to death with the “haste of the mob.”

A companion Scottsboro Boys case of Norris v. Alabama (1935) recognized the right of blacks to serve on grand juries and trial juries.

I was the last counsel of record for Clarence Norris, the defendant in Norris v. Alabama. In November 1976, approximately 45 years after his false arrest, I secured a full and unconditional pardon from the state of Alabama for Clarence Norris based upon a “showing of innocence.” Norris was the last living Scottsboro Boy at the time.

Donald Watkins and Clarence Norris

Over the course of time, the Scottsboro Boys were sentenced to death on multiple occasions and saved from execution by the U.S. Supreme Court at the last moment each time.

A highly paid lawyer should not be ignorant of such a historic case, but that is the look John Lauro presented on behalf of Donald Trump. Writes Watkins: 

John Lauro and his co-counsel obviously knew nothing about the facts and circumstances surrounding the Scottsboro Boys cases when he cited Powell v. Alabama in the “Introduction” paragraph of his legal brief to support his request for the April 2026 trial date, even though every law school in the nation teaches first-year law students about the Scottsboro Boys cases in their Constitutional Law classes.

Powell v. Alabama was a case of white mob justice playing out in an Alabama courtroom in the 1930s. Two white prostitutes had falsely accused nine black teenagers of raping them on the freight train.

The facts and circumstances surrounding Trump’s legal representation in U.S. v. Donald Trump are totally different and distinguishable from the experience of the Scottsboro Boys.

How different were the two cases? Watkins spells that out in stark terms:

Unlike the Scottsboro Boys, Donald Trump has an army of retained lawyers representing him.

Unlike the Scottsboro Boys, Donald Trump has had more than two years to prepare for potential criminal charges arising from his election-interference activities between November 3, 2020, and January 6, 2021.

Unlike the Scottsboro Boys, Donald Trump has an additional seven months to prepare for four felony counts in a single-defendant case.

Unlike the Scottsboro Boys, Donald Trump has been treated with dignity and respect by every trial judge in his four criminal cases. This is true even though Trump has repeatedly disrespected each one of these judges on social media.

Lauro's argument fell flat with U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, and Watkins says that is a just result:

U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan rightfully rejected John Lauro’s request for a 2026 trial date. It was absurd and amateurish.

Judge Chutkan knew the appropriate application of the law in Powell v. Alabama, even though John Lauro did not. The case simply did not apply to the facts in Trump's case.

Additionally, Judge Chutkan has been on the receiving end of death threats related to Trump’s case. The longer Donald Trump's case lingers in Chutkan's court, the greater the chances are that some misguided Trump supporter will resort to violence against the judge and court personnel.

Like former Alabama governor George C. Wallace, Donald Trump panders to the worst instincts in white extremist groups, which he refuses to denounce.

Armed with this knowledge, John Lauro peddled a historically ignorant version of Donald Trump’s request for a distant trial date to Judge Chutkan. Judge Chutkan rejected Lauro's misguided request.

There was a proper way to request and receive more time to prepare Donald Trump's case, but John Lauro did not know how to do it.

Donald Trump is paying a lot of money for that kind of inept performance from his lawyers, but Trump has only himself to blame, Watkins states:

Donald Trump is definitely experiencing “ineffective assistance of counsel,” but this is a circumstance of his own making. Trump has personally chosen all of the defense attorneys who have been hired to represent him.

At the rate Trump’s lawyers are “crashing and burning,” the former president will certainly be convicted of some, if not all, of 91 felony charges against him.

Trump's defense counsel are clueless, inexperienced litigators who are running a clown show. They are blowing opportunities to win Trump's cases on a daily basis, and they are getting hammered in court.

Threats of violence on QAnon forums against Georgia grand jurors include references to a "hit list" and "long-range rifles," with Trump himself stirring the pot

Trump leads threats against Georgia grand jurors

The story of Georgia grand jurors receiving threats of violence from Donald Trump supporters is growing uglier and more extreme by the day. How ugly has it gotten? Areeba Shah, of Salon, describes it under the headline "'Hit list': Trump grand jurors face violent threats after names and addresses shared on QAnon forums; Experts warn of "chilling effect" that personal targeting can have on jurors, on voters, on elected officials""

Users on far-right online forums are publishing private information about members of the Georgia grand jury that indicted former president Donald Trump and 18 of his allies in a sweeping criminal case focused on alleged 2020 election interference earlier this month, leading to jurors receiving threats online.

The Fulton County Sheriff's office announced last week that it was working on tracking down where the threats were coming from and were coordinating with "law enforcement partners to respond quickly to any credible threat and to ensure the safety of those individuals who carried out their civic duty."

After the release of the indictment and the grand jurors' names, users on far-right message boards began sharing their addresses, identities, social-media accounts and other information targeting the jurors, according to Media Matters.

"It's a serious problem," Heidi Beirich, co-founder of the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism, told Salon. "These grand jurors' names and other personal information have been linked on dangerous sites, in particular 4chan. That's where multiple terrorist manifestos have been posted, and the site is filled with white supremacists and other extremists."

What kind of information about the grand jurors is getting out there? Shah explains:

On a forum that has served as a hub for "Q," the central figure of the QAnon conspiracy theory, a user shared the names of the jurors alongside their addresses. Meanwhile, on another platform where the QAnon conspiracy theory originated, a user appeared to make a veiled threat about following these individuals to their residences and photographing their faces, Media Matters found.

Some users also made explicit threats aimed at the jurors on these message boards. One user referred to the grand jurors' names as a "hit list," prompting another user to reply with, "Based. Godspeed anons, you have all the long-range rifles in the world." 

In addition to facing online harassment, jurors are at risk of several other dangers — varying from receiving menacing phone calls to having people show up at their houses to swatting and even receiving death threats, Beirich said.

"We've seen this in other cases where people have been targeted by far-right figures," she added. "Their families can also be targeted. It can be a dangerous and scary situation. We can never forget the two poll workers in Georgia that Trump targeted and who had to go into hiding afterward."

Elements of racism have even entered the picture, writes Shah:

After Trump posted on his social media website Truth Social that authorities were going "after those that fought to find the RIGGERS!" — Advance Democracy, a nonpartisan research group founded by Dan Jones, a former FBI investigator and staffer for the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee,  pointed out that Trump supporters were employing the term "rigger" as a substitute for a racial slur in their online posts.

"There is a lot of anger out there on the part of pro-Trump actors and given the harassment that is faced by public officials lately, the same could happen here," Beirich said. "It's unfortunate Georgia law doesn't provide any protections. These people are doing their civil duty; they shouldn't have to face this."

Under Georgia law, the names of grand jurors are included on indictments – a practice aimed at promoting transparency. However, this approach has come under scrutiny given the continuing threats following the recent indictment of Trump and 18 co-defendants.

The only way Georgia or any other state would change the current practice is if there is a widespread outcry over the harassment or if there is actual violence that takes place, said Donald Haider-Markel, a University of Kansas political-science professor who studies domestic extremism.

"Much like election workers after the 2020 election, we may begin to see more efforts from potential jurors to ask for an excuse not to serve on a [grand jury], which could also incite a change in the law," he added.

Verbal attacks and harassment have been common for a long time on the extreme right and left, Haider-Markel explained. He pointed to the example of "wanted" posters targeting doctors who perform abortions by the anti-abortion movement since the 1980s.

Individuals would go as far as disclosing the addresses, phone numbers, car descriptions, and license plates of abortion clinic workers, he said. 

"This practice won't influence the way most people behave, but it only takes one true believer to use the information to harass and potentially use violence against the target and/or their family members," Haider-Markel said. These tactics are not new in domestic terrorism:

The same tactics have been employed by environmental and animal-rights activists against those they believe are threatening the environment or exploiting animals, he continued. The Unabomber, for example, selected targets for his mailing campaign in the same manner, going after executives and researchers.

"Many observers believe that these practices have led to violence against abortion-clinic workers and that these practices have led to individuals leaving the field," Haider-Markel said. "Certainly, there are plenty of stories about election workers that have left the field since 2020 because of the harassment and threats they faced."

Members of the press also have been targeted, Shah reports:

These message boards have even gone as far as targeting two NBC News reporters who wrote about the grand-jury incident. They had their own supposed addresses posted online, according to Advance Democracy's latest report, Reuters found.

The group also identified posts containing aggressive language targeting Fani Willis, the Fulton County district attorney who brought state racketeering and conspiracy charges against Trump and his allies. 

Trump himself has gone after the DA and accused her of prosecutorial misconduct. He also criticized her time in office, asserting that she had been excessively lenient on crime allowing Atlanta "to become one of the most dangerous cities anywhere in the world."

"He makes everything worse because he just doesn't seem to care what effect his words have in inciting his followers," Beirich said. "That has been true since his 2016 campaign. I'm sure Willis is facing a deluge of threats and will need protection."

His verbal attacks against Willis come as no surprise though, as the former president has a habit of denigrating prosecutors who are investigating him. 

Trump has used Truth Social to harass Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, New York's Attorney General Letitia James and special counsel Jack Smith, who brought two federal indictments against him.

In a post against Bragg, he warned that there would be "death and destruction" if he was indicted. Shortly after his threat, the Manhattan DA's office received a death-threat letter with suspicious powder, which was later determined non-hazardous, with the letter saying: "ALVIN: I AM GOING TO KILL YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!" 

In other posts, Trump has called Smith "deranged" and accused him of taking away his First Amendment rights. The former president even called for U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan's recusal, saying he was calling for the move "on very powerful grounds." 

Chutkan is the federal judge overseeing the criminal case of Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election in Washington DC.

According to a report at Reuters, the FBI has joined the investigation into threats against Georgia grand jurors. Reports Reuters:

A spokesperson for the FBI Atlanta office said that the agency is “aware of threats of violence” against Fulton County officials and that it is working with the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office to investigate — but declined to identify specific targets or whether anyone has acted on those threats.

“It is our policy not to discuss details of ongoing investigations,” the FBI statement said. “However, each and every potential threat brought to our attention is taken seriously. Individuals found responsible for making threats in violation of state and/or federal laws will be prosecuted.”

An expert on anti-extremism points a finger directly at Trump, Shah reports:

"It's important not to underestimate the chilling effect that personal targeting and online harassment can have on jurors, on voters, on elected officials [and] on community members," Lindsay Schubiner, director of programs at Western States Center — an anti-extremism watchdog, told Salon. "And the publication of personal details, especially physical locations, is a huge risk factor for potential violence."

Schubiner pointed to the examples of mass shooters, who were active in online hate forums prior to their crimes. There's also a "big risk" for the translation of online harassment into direct physical violence, she added. 

"Trump's words and his actions have normalized bigotry and harassment, and even political violence for a long time," Schubiner said. "From the beginning of his campaign,  he opened the door to normalizing overt bigotry in politics and opened the door for bigoted and anti-democracy groups like the Proud Boys, like the Oath Keepers, to play a much more prominent role in our political system."

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Donald Trump's legal team turns into a comedy troupe, with high-priced lawyers contradicting each other and providing "ineffective assistance of counsel"

Shannon Bream and Alina Habba

Donald Trump's lawyers are engaging in "a comedy of errors," which includes contradicting each other in court, according to longtime Alabama attorney and criminal-defense expert Donald Watkins. How badly have things gone for Trump's legal team in recent days? Watkins describes it in a post titled "Trump’s Lawyers Are Getting Hammered in the Courts":

On Fox News Sunday, host Shannon Bream asked Donald Trump's go-to attorney, Alina Habba, how his legal team plans to prepare the embattled former president for his upcoming trials in four criminal cases in jurisdictions across the country.

Trump has been charged with 91 felonies in Georgia, New York, Florida, and Washington, D.C. over allegations that he worked to overturn the 2020 presidential election, paid "hush money" to adult film star Stormy Daniels, and mishandled classified documents after he left office in 2021.

In response to Bream's question, Habba said preparing Donald Trump for the trials simply won't be an issue as Trump is "not your average person," "incredibly intelligent," and "knows the ropes." Habba said she believes Trump is well aware of the facts of the various cases and will not need to "prep much" for the trials amidst his presidential campaign.

Trump’s New York trial has been set for March 25, 2024. His Miami trial is set for May 20, 2024.

No trial date has been set in Atlanta, Georgia on Trump’s RICO Indictment and 12 other charges.

Did anyone disagree with Habba's assessment? Yes, someone did, and that would be John Lauro, another Trump lawyer -- although you might not realize he and Habba are on the same side. Writes Watkins:

Contradicting Alina Habba in court [Monday, 8/28/23], attorney John Lauro claimed the defense team needed until April 2026 to prepare for Trump's trial in Washington. U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkin rejected Lauro’s request and set Trump’s four-count Indictment for trial for March 4, 2023. Trump is the sole defendant in this case.

Lauro argued that the March 4th date was unfair to Trump. "We will certainly abide by your honor's ruling, as we must. We will not be able to provide adequate representation ... the trial date will deny President Trump the opportunity to have effective assistance of counsel."

Based upon the litany of miscues and mistakes Trump’s legal teams have made since August 2022, there is no question that the former president has subjected himself to “ineffective assistance of counsel.”

However, Donald Trump, himself, chose and paid his defense attorneys.

What is the won-loss record of these lawyers Trump hand-picked? Well, that is hard to say, Watkins writes:

For obvious reasons, won-loss records matter in criminal trials more than they do in sports contests. If a defendant loses a criminal case, he/she goes to prison. If an athlete loses a sports contest, he/she simply looks forward to a rematch at some future date.

What is the overall won-loss record in jury trials for Alina Habba, John Lauro, Steven H. Sadow, Todd Blanche, and Trump’s other criminal-defense attorneys? A “win” is defined as a dismissal of the criminal charges, with prejudice, and/or “not guilty” verdicts. A plea deal does not count as a “win.”

Nobody knows. It is not posted on the websites for Trump's attorneys.

It appears that none of Trump's criminal-defense attorneys has a respectable overall won-loss record in jury trials. Likewise, none of them has won a landmark criminal case for a high-profile white-collar defendant under difficult circumstances.

What these attorneys are very proficient at is billing Donald Trump for more than $40 million in legal fees, even though they have not won one round in their respective cases.

Any blame for poor results should not all be dumped on the lawyers. Much of it rests with Trump himself, in Watkins view:

Donald Trump is sorely lacking in his ability to pick attorneys with respectable track records for winning jury trials. He picked Michael Cohen as his New York “fixer.” Cohen “flipped” on him in the New York “hush money” case.

Trump picked Jeff Sessions as his first Attorney General. Sessions, a former U.S. Senator from Alabama, turned out to be an imbecile in the job.

Sessions was forced out of office and replaced by William Barr, who turned against Donald Trump shortly after leaving the Attorney General’s job in December 2020.

Trump is obviously NOT selecting his criminal-defense counsel based upon any respectable and demonstrated track-record of winning in jury trials.

Trump's defense attorneys are "crashing and burning" before they have entered their respective gladiator pits for the criminal trials.

In short, Trump runs his legal team the way he ran the White House from 2017-21 -- very poorly, with chaos and dysfunction in all directions. In that sense, Trump's "Courtroom Comedy Hour" should come as no surprise.

Monday, August 28, 2023

Mark Crosswhite and Jay Town appear to be at the center of Southern Company plan to intimidate Newsome and Forbes families, plus the CDLU charity

Jay Town and Mark Crosswhite chug cocktails

Why did Atlanta-based Southern Company, the nation's second largest utility, launch an intimidation campaign against Alabama lawyer Burt Newsome and his family. Ban Balch Publisher K.B. Forbes and his family, and the CDLU public charity and advocacy group (of which Forbes is CEO)? The evidence, so far, points to Southern Company subsidiary and its former CEO Mark Crosswhite and former U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Alabama Jay Town as the likely instigators.

The alleged actions of Crosswhite, Town, and their associates reportedly could lead to a $13-billion lawsuit, with Newsome as the likely lead plaintiff. Under the headline "The Big Reveal: Why Did Southern Company Viciously Go After Newsome, Forbes, and the CDLU?" Forbes writes:

While documents, expenditures, and insiders close to Southern Company’s executive leadership have verified and confirmed that the criminal enterprise engaged in surveillance, targeted, harassed, and spearheaded a campaign of fear and intimidation against the Newsome family, the Forbes family, and the CDLU, the key question brought up by federal investigators, regulators, and others is:


We have learned that Mark A. Crosswhite, the disgraced ex-CEO and Chairman of Alabama Power, was allegedly furious in January of 2020 when we published jaw-dropping photos of him slamming back cocktails with then-U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town.

Town, being investigated by the Office of Professional Responsibility of the U.S. Department of Justice because of the photos, allegedly told Crosswhite of the investigation in April of 2020, and  announced that he would probably resign to prevent a career-ending probe.

Unhinged with the news, Crosswhite reportedly spoke to his most-trusted advisors, white-collar criminal attorney Mark White and the Oompa Loompa of Alabama politics, “Sloppy Joe” Perkins, about the tremendous setback.

Perkins, seeing a way to justify his multi-million-dollar secret contracts with Alabama Power, allegedly began to investigate the CDLU.

Perkins' investigation hit a few snags along the way, Forbes reports:

The year before, in 2019, a payroll company failed to pay the State of Alabama payroll taxes due from the CDLU because of an internal error.

Although a final assessment was placed against the CDLU, the payroll company eventually paid the payroll taxes and assessments on November 1, 2019.

Perkins used this information to reportedly tell Crosswhite, falsely, that the CDLU had been given enormous amounts of money compared to previous years to attack Jay E. Town, Balch & Bingham, Alabama Power, and Southern Company.

Crosswhite apparently speculated that George Soros was funding the CDLU.

Perkins allegedly held up CDLU’s tax assessment and waved it in Crosswhite’s face, stirring up the Godfather and the imaginary Don Corleone of Alabama.

Crosswhite swallowed the bait, hook, line, and sinker.

The Godfather foolishly gave Perkins the green light, and Zeke Smith of Alabama Power authorized expenditures of more than $300,000 against the CDLU, Forbes, and Newsome on the eve of Jay E. Town’s resignation.

Disgraced, Town fled in the middle of the night on July 15, 2020.

According to internal spreadsheets,  Southern Company paid accounting firm Carr, Riggs, and Ingram.

That same July, the accountants allegedly estimated how much CDLU staff were compensated, in order to pay Alabama state payroll taxes of $9,487.50.

The discredited envelope journalists at Alabama Political Reporter (APR) allegedly used the estimate, stating individuals were paid at least $186,000 and maybe as much as $580,000.

The reality is that individuals at the CDLU were paid in 2019 for up to four years of back pay, but the idiots at APR never asked.

Evidence suggests that Crosswhite, once known as the "most powerful man in Alabama," veered well off track in his pursuit of Newsome, Forbes, and the CDLU. Writes Forbes:

APR, like the whores of Bangkok, were hired by Southern Company to perform tricks and smear us for $120,000 according to internal spreadsheets and documents.

Three smear pieces appeared in APR that July of 2020, followed by the creation of a vicious website in August of 2020, falsely calling Newsome a rapist.

So why did Southern Company terrorize Newsome’s and Forbes’ young children? Why did Southern Company target, harass, and put these families under surveillance? Why did they smear them?

Because Crosswhite drank the Kool-aid, thinking George Soros or an environmental group was funding us, the CDLU, to attack Town, Balch & Bingham, Alabama Power, and Southern Company.

All of it a lie. All of it bullshit.

And Southern Company still has Sloppy Joe on contract.


Sunday, August 27, 2023

Donald Trump's lawyers have blown chances to win his RICO case in Georgia -- or at least improve his position by connecting with potential jurors in Fulton County

Former Marine Harrison Floyd, Trump's co-defendant

Donald Trump's lawyers have blown several opportunities to win his RICO case in Georgia -- or at least put him in a better position to win it by building good will with potential jurors, according to longtime Alabama attorney and criminal-defense expert Donald Watkins. This is what might be called "outside the box (of the courtroom)" strategic thinking, and it involves a legal team understanding the demographics of a jury pool and having their client -- especially a well-known client, such as Trump -- take steps to show that he cares about issues that likely matter to potential jurors.

Trump's legal team apparently has not given much thought to such tactics, and they have already missed chances to have Trump interact with potential Fulton County jurors in a way that could increase his chances of getting "not guilty" votes.

It's not clear if such strategic thinking is taught these days in law schools. But over a legal career of almost 50 years, Watkins has learned that cases not always are won, or lost, inside the courtroom. Actions outside the courtroom also can matter -- a lot. Under the headline "Trump's Lawyers Have Blown Huge Opportunities to Win His RICO Case," Watkins writes:

Last Thursday, Donald Trump’s lawyers in the Georgia RICO case blew a huge opportunity to win the case.

Thursday was the day Trump flew into Atlanta to surrender for booking and processing after his August 14, 2023, indictment on 13 felony charges. The event was covered on worldwide television.

Trump will be tried in Fulton County, Georgia, by a state prosecution team headed by District Attorney Fani T. Willis, a highly successful and experienced prosecutor.

On August 14, 2023, Willis flexed her prosecutorial muscle and demanded the surrender, arrest, and booking of Donald Trump and his 18 co-defendants by noon on August 25, 2023.

The media hype since August 14th has been about Trump’s surrender to Willis in an urban, Democratic county.

Trump could have easily changed the narrative in a way that created a strategic advantage for him to cultivate potential Fulton County jurors. His lawyers missed a unique and rare opportunity to do so.

Having lived and conducted business in Atlanta, Watkins understands the area's demographics well -- and he sees how Trump could have used such knowledge to his advantage. Watkins writes:

It is important to note that trial courts in Georgia randomly select potential jurors from a pool of all eligible county residents. In Fulton County, 42.5% of the  county’s population is Black, 39.3% is White (non-Hispanic), 8.7% is Asian, and 8.1% is Hispanic/Latino, according to the 2020 census.

As such, Trump’s Fulton County trial jury is likely to be at least 50% to 60% black and Hispanic.

Trump also could have shown solidarity with Harrison Floyd, a Black man who is a former U.S. Marine, a disabled veteran, and now is one of Trump's 18 co-defendants. Watkins explains the role Floyd could have played in furthering the chances of earning "not guilty" votes from potential jurors. Trump's lawyers could have used Floyd's ongoing detention to their client's advantages. But they did not, Watkins reports:

The narrative around Thursday’s trip to Atlanta should have been two fold: (a) the timely surrender of Trump and (b) the rescue of fellow co-defendant Harrison William Prescott Floyd III, who has been locked up at the filthy, rat-infested, unsafe, Fulton County jail since he voluntarily surrendered himself earlier last week.

Mr. Floyd, who is Black, heads an organization named Black Voices for Trump. He is also a former United States Marine. Floyd is a disabled veteran who lives off his military pension.

Mr. Floyd is the only one of the 19 RICO defendants who has not been released on bond.

Trump's attorneys could have easily shifted the media focus to Trump's rescue of a former Marine (Harrison William Prescott Floyd), who is down behind enemy lines. Trump’s legal team could have assisted in pre-arranging bond for Mr. Floyd.

Trump and Floyd should have emerged from the jail together, with their arms raised in a victory gesture. Trump could have taken full credit for securing Floyd's release. The optics and messages from that one photo would have been priceless.

The image of Trump and Floyd with raised arms in victory, coupled with Trump’s rescue narrative wrapped around it, could have cultivated at least 2 to 3 “not guilty” votes from potential Black members of the 12-person trial jury. What is more, this narrative would have played out on worldwide TV throughout the weekend and during the lead up to the trial itself.

No story is more compelling in the court of public opinion than one about a former commander-in-chief coming into hostile territory to rescue one of his former Marines.

Because Trump’s lawyers blew this opportunity, the only narratives that came out of Thursday event were (a) the minimum amount of time Trump spent at the jail and (b) the use of Trump's mugshot for fundraising and merchandising initiatives. Neither one of these narratives is likely to cultivate potential “not guilty” votes at trial.

What about Trump's mugshot? Watkins says Trump and his legal and political teams made a mistake in how they approached that:

Dr. Martin Luther King's mugshot

Rather than trying to look menacing in his Fulton      County mugshot, Donald Trump should have emulated the dignified and stoic look captured in this iconic mugshot of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Ironically, Donald Trump was arrested in the city where Dr. King pastored Ebenezer Baptist Church. Like Dr. King, Trump is the face of a national movement in America, although Trump's MAGA movement is one that seeks to roll back the civil rights gains Dr. King paid for in blood with his life.

What is more, Donald Trump’s mugshot was taken two days before the 60th anniversary of the Dr. King’s historic 1963 March on Washington. The timing of Trump's arrest and booking event could not have been better for him to liken his alleged law enforcement "persecution" to what Dr. King experienced during the COINTELPRO era..

The mugshot released by the Trump campaign should have been juxtaposed with Dr. King’s mugshot. The subtle message to potential white jurors would have been simple and easy to understand – "When you are the leader of a national movement for political and social change in America, you should expect to be treated like a criminal."

This approach to the mugshot event could have cultivated at least 2 to 3 “not guilty” verdicts from potential white jurors in Trump’s case.

Demographics and numbers often play critical roles in court cases. Watkins explains the numbers related to Trump's  case:

Remember, Donald Trump only needs 12 jurors in his RICO case to vote "not guilty" on all 13 counts against him. A highly skilled defense lawyer NEVER waits for the trial to commence before he/she starts the cultivation of "not guilty" votes.

The concept of "jury nullification" begins in the court of public opinion. Then, it spills over into the court of law. Trump's legal teams have repeatedly blown prime opportunities for creating the right atmosphere for "jury nullification."

In short, Watkins says, psychology can play almost as big a role as textbook lawyering in court cases. But Trump's lawyers seem oblivious to the role psychology can play. Writes Watkins:

The other blown defense opportunities in Donald Trump’s criminal cases are discussed in my August 18, 2023, article titled, “Trump’s Criminal Defense Team is Running a Clown Show.”

To date, the legal moves made by Trump’s defense teams have been basic textbook stuff. Prosecutors Alvin Bragg, Jack Smith, and Fani T. Willis can see these moves a mile away and can easily defeat them all day long.

There is zero creativity and strategic thinking taking place on Trump’s criminal defense teams. Apparently, Trump's lawyers simply lack the litigation experience to seize synergistic opportunities to score major points in Trump's cases. They also lack the vision to undertake actions today that will win over potential trial jurors tomorrow.

It is apparent that Donald Trump’s lawyers are representing him just for the money. His criminal cases are nothing more than business transactions for them. I see no commitment on their part to winning Trump's cases by all lawful means necessary.

Trump's attorneys are definitely NOT the legal profession's equivalent to a Navy Seals special ops team.

To date, the number and severity of miscues and mistakes that Trump’s legal teams have made are staggering. These miscues and mistakes virtually guarantee that the former president will be convicted in each one of his four criminal cases.

Donald Trump will NOT be saved by his criminal-defense attorneys. To save himself, Trump must win the 2024 presidential election. Losing the election is not an acceptable option.

Saturday, August 26, 2023

Criminal-defense expert: Donald Trump's toughest challenge in the "gladiator pit" of the courtroom will come in Georgia against Fulton County DA Fani Willis

Donald Trump and the 18 other defendants in Georgia

Who is the toughest prosecutor Donald Trump will face in the four criminal cases against him? According to longtime Alabama attorney and criminal-defense expert Donald Watkins, the answer is Fulton County, GA, district attorney Fani Willis -- and it's not a close call. In fact, Watkins says the Georgia charges will be the most difficult ones for Trump to beat -- because of Willis' talent and tenacity, along with other factors.

Under the headline "The Fani T. Willis Roundup!" Watkins writes:

Above are the world's best-known criminal defendants today, courtesy of Fulton County, Georgia,  District Attorney Fani T. Willis. She brought them all together in one case. Over the next few months and years, they will get to know each other very well.

State of Georgia v. Donald John Trump, et. al., will be the most watched RICO trial in U.S. history.

As a retired criminal-defense lawyer, who holds the U.S. record for defeating the most felony counts (85) in a single-defendant criminal case (U.S. v. Richard M. Scrushy), I plan to sit back and enjoy watching the televised legal battles between Fani T. Willis and these 19 criminal defendants in a Fulton County courtroom (a/k/a the "gladiator pit").

Fani T. Willis

What makes a tough prosecutor? Watkins has almost 50 years of experience on the front lines in criminal cases, and he knows the kind of prosecutors he did not want to see on the other side, writing:

I have met and defeated plenty of good prosecutors in the gladiator pit during my 48 years as a criminal defense attorney. The best and toughest ones were smart, well prepared, experienced, courageous, and female.

Of the three prosecutors in Donald Trump's four criminal cases, Fani T. Willis poses the greatest threat to his freedom. Willis is the best and most prepared prosecutor I have seen in my entire legal career. She is smart, strategic, focused, courageous, and highly experienced. Every fiber of her body exudes confidence in her ability to fight in the gladiator pit.

Of the other prosecutors in Trump cases, Watkins gives poor to mixed reviews, As for Jack Smith, who heads the prosecution team for the classified-documents case in Florida and the election-interference case in Washington, D.C. Watkins has interacted with Smith in a highly publicized Alabama gaming case and came away unimpressed:

I have personally interacted with Special Counsel Jack Smith on behalf of my client Milton McGregor, and I was not impressed with him. Smith lost on all of the 39 felony counts his prosecution team tried in U.S. v. Milton McGregor (2010 to 2011), a criminal conspiracy and bribery case.

I published an article about my personal experiences with Jack Smith in McGregor's case. He is a highly overrated federal prosecutor.

If Smith litigated cases as a defense attorney, as opposed to a prosecutor in what Trump calls the "rigged" federal criminal justice system, he would get his ass kicked all day long.

From what I have seen to date, none of the defense attorneys in Donald Trump's Miami or Washington, D.C., federal criminal cases has the skills, experience, and ability to kick Jack Smith's ass.

The prosecutor in U.S. v. Richard Scrushy was Alice Martin, former U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Alabama. She left a strong impression on Watkins, and it sounds like he would prefer not to have to do courtroom battle with her again:

It took everything I had in me as a gladiator to battle U.S. Attorney Alice Martin and win on all 85 felony counts in former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy's fraud case (2003 to 2005). Alice Martin and I fought each other in Scrushy’s case for two very long years. I was totally exhausted at the end of Scrushy's case, and I never wanted to fight Alice Martin again.

To this day, I respect and admire Alice Martin as one of the smartest and toughest federal prosecutors in America.

Unlike most prosecutors, Alice Martin actually led her troops into battle and bled with them on the battlefield. She actively participated in the pre-trial hearings and examined witnesses during the six-month trial. She directed the government’s litigation strategies and in-court battles, from start to finish. She was a fierce, skilled, smart, and well-trained adversary.

Fani T. Willis embodies much of Alice Martin's tough, aggressive, participatory spirit and approach in Trump's criminal case.

The big question of the moment: Will Fani T. Willis win Trump's case? Here is Donald Watkins' answer:

Today, I do not know of any criminal defense lawyer who has the knowledge, skills, ability, and experience to beat Fani T. Willis in her RICO case against Trump. Willis is the real deal. She is a gladiator of the first order.

The defense lawyers hired in this RICO case thus far do not have a chance of beating Willis. They simply lack the skills and experience required to compete with Fani Willis, and win. Willis is in a league of her own.

There is going to be a bloodbath in the Fulton County gladiator pit, but Fani T. Willis will not be the gladiator who bleeds out.

Based upon my professional training and experience in the gladiator pit, I already know who will win this courtroom fight -- Fani T. Willis!