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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Indictment of incoming JeffCo DA Charles Todd Henderson reeks of Riley Inc. interference because its hand-picked GOPer, Brandon Falls, lost election


Charles Todd Henderson
In one of the smelliest Alabama legal episodes to come to my attention -- and that is saying something -- the incoming district attorney of Jefferson County was indicted last Friday on a felony charge of perjury. The smell emanates from the political machine of former GOP governor Bob Riley, who almost certainly is unhappy -- and concerned -- that his hand-picked DA for the county lost in the November 2016 election.

Charles Todd Henderson was booked into the Jefferson County Jail last Friday afternoon and released 12 minutes later on $2,500 bond. Henderson already had been sworn in and was scheduled to take office at 12:01 a.m. today. But the indictment means, under Alabama law, that Henderson will be suspended almost immediately upon taking office.

Riley appointed Brandon Falls as DA in 2008, and Falls was elected to a six-year term in 2010. That makes him a prominent member of Riley Inc., the term used for Riley acolytes, who (in many instances) have helped litter the Alabama political landscape with corruption. Falls was a heavy favorite to be re-elected in November 2016, but Henderson (a relatively unknown Democrat from Pleasant Grove) pulled an upset that rattled the Birmingham metro law-enforcement community.

Did it rattle someone enough that they conspired to bring dubious (bogus?) charges against Henderson? That's how it looks from here.

The charges against Henderson grew from his appointment early last year as guardian ad litem (GAL) in a divorce/child custody case styled Charbel Akl v. Yareima Carmen Valecillos Akl. A GAL usually is appointed to look after the best interests of a minor child in a court case. The indictment charges that Henderson gave a false statement under oath, material to a proceeding before Judge Patricia Stephens. From a report at al.com:

But on March 9 an attorney for the father, Virginia Meigs, filed a motion seeking to remove Henderson as guardian because of his relationship with the mother and an alleged bias against the plaintiff/father. "The mother/defendant has been actively participating in the political campaign of the Guardian Ad Litem ... for some time," according to the document.

Judge Stephens on May 20 removed Henderson as Guardian Ad Litem, a move that Henderson fought.

Then at the Sept. 26 trial at which Henderson allegedly perjured himself, the issue of whether there was a romantic relationship between Henderson and the mother, Ms. Akl, surfaced.

On Sept. 28, the day after the trial ended, the mother's attorney, Daniel Chambers, asked to withdraw from the case. Chambers' motion included information about evidence that the "defendant (mother) and the former Guardian Ad Litem (Henderson) have been in a romantic relationship."

Politics and romance allegedly have a role in the Henderson case. We might learn that Henderson did, in fact, commit perjury -- although this still would look like a case of selective prosecution because perjury, in our experience, happens all the time in court, with very few individuals ever being punished for it. In May 2012, we wrote a post titled "Lying under oath has replaced baseball as America's most treasured pastime." I've witnessed perjury numerous times in court cases, and I've yet to see a sign that anyone takes it seriously.

It apparently becomes serious when the alleged perjurer has beaten Bob Riley's personal choice for DA in Alabama's largest county. Could the issue become serious enough that individuals in the "justice system" might make up charges out of thin air? When you consider that these charges originated with the Alabama State Bar and the office of Attorney General Luther Strange -- both major centers of Riley influence -- the answer is yes. Jim Parkman, Henderson's attorney, noted that in the al.com article:

The indictment on first degree perjury was issued by a special grand jury called by Assistant Alabama Attorney General Matt Hart, who was the same man who led the prosecution of former Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard.

"The timing of this indictment is strange," Parkman stated. "At 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, seconds after Martin Luther King Jr. Day comes to an end, Mr. Henderson is set to begin work as Jefferson County's new District Attorney. However, mere days before that should happen, the Attorney General's Office convened a grand jury that returned an indictment thereby preventing Mr. Henderson from setting foot in office."

"The Attorney General's Office in Montgomery seized the democratic process with this indictment," according to Parkman's statement. "They decided votes don't matter. they decided to take democracy out of Jefferson County. It's a perversion of the process that cannot and will not stand. The power of a few should not quell the will of the majority."

Parkman did not stop there:

Parkman stated that the charge is false and Henderson can't wait to get into court to fight the charge. "We call on Luther Strange and his office to do the right thing and bring this case to trial as quickly as possible so that the truth can be heard. Dragging out this process - denying Mr. Henderson the right to take office because of a pending indictment - is nothing short of oppression because it denies the clear will of the people." he stated.

How is this for irony? I have absolute proof that Jessica Garrison, Luther Strange's mistress and campaign confidant, lied under oath in her defamation lawsuit against me. I also have evidence that strongly suggests Strange himself lied under oath in the same case. If Jefferson County had a real DA (say, Charles Todd Henderson) and not a Riley surrogate like Brandon Falls, such cases might be pursued. Is that part of the reason Henderson is under indictment? (Note: The false statements under oath from Garrison, and likely false statements from Strange, came in a hearing well before the November 2016 election. Were Garrison and Strange convinced Falls would win re-election, and went into "cover our ass" mode when their protector lost to Henderson? We will be covering the Garrison/Strange testimony in a series of upcoming posts.)

Brandon Falls
(From wbrc.com)
Here is another question: Bob Riley and two of his ethically challenged children -- Rob "Uday" Riley and Minda Riley Campbell -- live in Jefferson County. With Brandon Falls as DA, they could get away without just about anything. With a real DA (say, Charles Todd Henderson), the Rileys could be looking at serious legal problems, as could their cronies at certain law firms, such as Bradley Arant.

What are the chances Henderson actually lied under oath? I'd say they are small. What are the chances that, if Henderson committed a wrongful act, it's the same thing that has been ignored in thousands of other cases, but became a criminal charge against him for political reasons? I'd say extremely high.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Bill Pryor, homophobic, right-wing zealot with ties to gay porn, rides Jeff Sessions' coattails to interview with Donald Trump for seat on the U.S. Supreme Court


Judge Bill Pryor (left), nude Bill Pryor
(From snopes.com)
U.S. Circuit Judge Bill Pryor interviewed over the weekend with President-Elect Donald Trump for a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court, according to a report at Above the Law (ATL).

If nominated and confirmed, Pryor likely would be the first high-court justice to have posed nude for photos that have appeared at various gay-pornography Web sites, including bad.puppy.com, considered one of the leading sites in the industry. This would be quite a feat for a judge who has a history of making homophobic statements and taking anti-LGBT stances.

Pryor currently sits on the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which is based in Atlanta. But his duty station, and his office, are at the Hugo Black Courthouse in Birmingham. He lives at 2474 Tyler Rd. in the Birmingham suburb of Vestavia Hills. From the ATL report, by founder and managing editor David Lat:

On Saturday afternoon, here in cold and snowy New York, President-elect Donald Trump interviewed Judge William Pryor of the Eleventh Circuit for the open seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. The opportunity to meet with PEOTUS to talk about SCOTUS must have lifted Judge Pryor’s spirits, in the wake of the loss of his beloved Crimson Tide in Monday’s football championship.

The news of a Trump/Pryor meeting, while notable, is not surprising. At last week’s press conference, Trump said that SCOTUS meetings are underway and we should expect a nominee within two weeks of inauguration day. And Judge Pryor, beloved by conservatives, sits at the top of the Trump SCOTUS list.

Lat repeats what has been known for weeks: That Pryor is a favorite to take the seat vacated by the late Antonin Scalia, not because of his credentials or intellect, but because of his ties to Jeff Sessions, Trump's pick as attorney general. And as we will report shortly, those connections are much closer (and personal) than most might imagine. After all, it's a poorly kept secret that Sessions is a closeted homosexual who is subject to blackmail, and so is Pryor. Both are former Alabama attorneys general, and that office has a history of turning out closeted, right-wing homosexuals who are staunchly anti-gay in their public life.  From David Lat:

What are Judge Pryor’s chances of getting nominated? Here’s a big plus for Pryor’s prospects: the ease with which Jeff Sessions sailed through his hearings, making his confirmation as attorney general a near certainty. It helps in at least two ways.

First, Sessions is a major Pryor proponent — and now that Sessions is definitely going to be AG, having killed it at his hearings, his Trumpworld stock is way up and his views enjoy greater sway within the administration.

Sessions and Pryor are close friends and have known each for more than 20 years. They met in 1994, when Sessions was running for Alabama attorney general and a mutual friend introduced them. After Sessions won, he hired Bill Pryor as his deputy attorney general. Sessions cited Pryor’s work for him, among many other factors, when he spoke glowingly about Pryor at his Eleventh Circuit confirmation hearings in 2003 and 2005.

Second, the success of Sessions shows that what gets liberals all hot and bothered isn’t necessarily enough to stop a nominee — and this might encourage the Trump Administration to “go bold,” swing for the fences, and put up Pryor.

Lat is correct that Sessions and Pryor are close. The public soon will learn here at Legal Schnauzer just how close they are -- and have been. Here is how Lat, who holds an undergraduate degree from Harvard and a law degree from Yale, analyzes Pryor's chances:

Judge Pryor, more than any other potential Trump nominee, triggers strong opposition from liberal interest groups — civil rights groups, LGBT groups, and especially pro-abortion groups, who loathe his comments about Roe v. Wade (“worst abomination in the history of constitutional law”). But Jeff Sessions similarly entered his hearings as a hardline conservative with a Louis Vuitton steamer trunk of baggage, including accusations of racism that kept him off the federal bench in 1986.

Bill Pryor house in Vestavia Hills, AL
(From google.com)
One would have thought that if Sessions couldn’t get a federal judgeship — and not even one on the Eleventh Circuit, but on the lowly Southern District of Alabama (no offense, S.D. Ala.) — then he couldn’t get confirmed as attorney general of the United States. But Sessions came out swinging, calling the racism accusations “damnably false,” and proved that a strong performance in confirmation hearings can overcome a lot. (See also Clarence Thomas and his epic “high tech lynching” speech.)

Judge Pryor is very conservative and very outspoken — but he’s also very smart and a stickler for preparation, and he would likely perform well at confirmation hearings. He might not be able to bob and weave around the issues as well as some other nominees, given his paper trail and past pronouncements (and he might not even bother to; recall how he refused to disavow his “Roe is an abomination” comment in his 2005 hearings). But Bill Pryor is not going to self-immolate like Robert Bork in 1987; he’s too shrewd for that. And short of a self-immolation, he has a solid shot of winning confirmation, with 52 Republicans in the Senate . . .

In my view, Lat greatly overrates Pryor's intelligence and shrewdness. But Lat acknowledges that Republican trickery might be needed to get Pryor through:

Could the Democrats filibuster? Yes; the filibuster has not been eliminated for Supreme Court nominees. But as Ilya Shapiro points out, nothing prevents Republicans from exercising the “nuclear option” and eliminating the filibuster for SCOTUS nominees, just as the Democrats did for lower-court nominees. And if that’s what it takes to put Judge Pryor on SCOTUS, I could certainly see the Republicans doing it.

Would the Republicans pay a political price for “going nuclear”? Probably not; the Democrats didn’t. And as we learned from what happened to Chief Judge Merrick Garland’s SCOTUS nomination, the American public as a whole doesn’t get that worked up about the Court, at least not if it sounds like “technicalities.” If the American people couldn’t get excited over the Senate’s “advice and consent” duty, they certainly won’t get excited over judicial filibusters. Joe Sixpack will see a vote tally for the Pryor nomination in the newspaper the next day — even a straight party-line vote, 52-48 — and will think to himself, “Guy won a majority, sounds fair to me!”

Any chance the gay-porn issue will arise, especially given that Pryor almost certainly lied about it to the FBI and the Senate in his previous confirmation hearings? Well, Republicans certainly won't bring it up. And it's hard to imagine a Democrat having the guts to do it. That means Pryor likely will be confirmed easily, and even though he surely will be an abominable justice, his elevation might be good news for those who live in the Eleventh Circuit (Alabama, Georgia, Florida). It has been reported that, because of his closeted gay status, Pryor is subject to blackmail and has been used to fix cases to suit corporate GOP interests led by Karl Rove -- Pryor's former campaign manager in Alabama.

With Pryor on the nation's high court, he might do less damage to Alabama than he already has. What will he do to the rest of the country? Well, that likely will not be pretty.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Donald Trump supporters helped pay for foreign hackers to steal and leak information to damage Hillary Clinton campaign, according to dossier


Donald Trump
(From theguardian.com)
Donald Trump supporters helped pay foreign hackers to steal and leak information from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in order to damage the Hillary Clinton campaign, according to an intelligence dossier released this week.

Attention related to the dossier has tended to focus on sordid tales of Trump, Russian prostitutes, and "golden showers" in hotel rooms reportedly equipped by Russian spies with cameras and microphones. But by far the most important revelation from the document -- which includes raw, unverified intelligence -- could be reports about Trump supporters paying hackers, especially those from Romania.

What does this tell us? Here's how the London Telegraph described it in an article about the top five revelations in the dossier. The Telegraph ranked the financing nugget as No. 3, but it would be No. 1 in my book:

3: Trump's team knew about, paid for, and helped cover up the Russian hacking of the DNC

Not only did the Kremlin order hackers to steal and leak embarrassing emails from the Democratic Convention in order to damage Hillary Clinton . . . according to the author’s host of anonymous sources, Mr Trump’s team was aware of the operation, partially paid the hackers, and cooperated on contingency plans for a cover up should it be found out.

If this is proven to be true, Team Trump was not just an unknowing beneficiary of Russian interference. Trump supporters knew about the hacking, helped pay for it, and engaged in an effort to develop a cover-up  That points to a level of criminality that could send a sizable chunk of Team Trump, including the president-elect himself, to prison.

Information about paying hackers is on the last page of the 35-page dossier. Here is how it reads:




Many news reports have focused on Russia's alleged efforts to gather information for possible use in blackmailing Trump. But the dossier says Team Trump knowingly engaged in a conspiracy to gather and trade information with Russia, even having moles placed inside the DNC:




Meanwhile, at least one report has the dossier originating with opposition research, not by Democrats, but by a PAC connected to Trump's GOP opponent, Jeb Bush.

Has the dossier produced accurate information? It's probably too early to say for sure, but we have learned that the British spy who reportedly is responsible for most of its contents has gone into hiding. The man's name is Chris Steele, and he apparently has not been seen for more than 24 hours. From The Washington Post:

Christopher Steele, a former MI6 officer and the director of a private-sector security firm in London, was named as the author of the 35-page packet making the explosive — and unsubstantiated — claims.

According to British media reports, Steele, 52, fled his home in Runfold, a village about 40 miles southwest of London on Wednesday morning before he was identified later in the day in a Wall Street Journal report.

Before leaving his residence, Steele called his next-door neighbor Mike Hopper and asked if he could look after his three cats. Steele moved in about 18 months ago with his wife and four kids, his neighbor said.

We might learn of an explanation for Steele's disappearance that has nothing to do with Trump. But I'm guessing Steele's actions make it likely that his intelligence is on target. It also, in my view, suggests there is even more damaging information about Trump and Russia that has yet to be revealed.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Defendants compare me to founder of rap group the Fugees in absurd effort to have me declared a public figure in defamation case involving Jessica Garrison


Pras (right), with fellow members of the Fugees,
Lauryn Hill and Wyclef Jean
(From nydailynews.com)
Multiple defendants in our pending wrongful foreclosure-defamation lawsuit have tried to have the case dismissed by comparing me to one of the world's most famous rappers and claiming I am a public figure. I'm not making this up.

Hearst Corporation, publisher of the Marie Claire fashion magazine that defamed me in an article about Alabama GOP operative Jessica Medeiros Garrison, is one of several defendants to resort to this trick -- no matter how absurd it sounds. Hearst cites a case styled Michel v. NYP Holdings, 816 F. 3d 686 - Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit 2016, which revolves around "the well-known rapper and philanthropist Prakazrel ("Pras") Michel." Court documents go on to describe Michel as "a Grammy-winning artist and founding member of the music group the Fugees, who currently engages in a series of philanthropic and business ventures."

How famous are Pras and the music group he founded. This is from Pras' Wikipedia page:

Pras (/ˈprɑːz/; born Prakazrel Samuel Michel; October 19, 1972) is an American rapper, record producer, songwriter and actor, best known as one of the founding members of the critically acclaimed hip hop group, the Fugees, which included Wyclef Jean and recording artist Lauryn Hill.

Even I, as white as I am, have heard of Wyclef Jean and Lauryn Hill, and I know they are world-famous artists, along with Pras and the Fugees. Rolling Stone, in 1996, called the Fugees "Leaders of the New Cool." They have played The Apollo in New York City, drawing a crowd of more than 10,000. MTV ranked them the ninth-best hip-hop group of all time, even though they recorded only two albums.

And I, with my little Alabama-based blog, is supposed to compare with these folks in terms of notoriety -- in terms of being a public figure? That's nuts,

Why does the public-figure designation matter in a defamation case. It forces the plaintiff to prove that the false article was published with "actual malice," meaning the publisher knew in advance it was false.

Here's how I responded to the assertions in Hearst's Motion to Dismiss. (Both the Hearst motion and my response are embedded at the end of this post.)

Hearst cites Michel v. NYP Holdings, 816 F. 3d 686 (11th Cir., 2016), which is based on New York state defamation law, which is non-binding in this case. That case also involved a plaintiff who was described thusly: “[Michel] describes himself in his complaint as ‘a two-time Grammy winning artist, a founding member of the famous music group, the Fugees, and . . . an acclaimed philanthropist.’ And in subsequent court documents, he describes himself as a ‘world-renown[ed] philanthropist.’ Moreover, at oral argument before the district court, Michel's attorney conceded that his client ‘is a celebrity, he's a public figure.’" This was the basis for a finding that Michel was a public figure. But to claim Roger Shuler, because of his Alabama-based blog, is on the same level as a “two-time Grammy winner,” “a world-renowned philanthropist,” and a “celebrity” . . . well, it’s nonsense. If the court somehow determines this is a close call, it must find in favor of the nonmoving party (Shuler). Here, Hearst admits the Shulers pleaded malice anyway, “knowing the statements in question were false.”







John Caylor, who ridiculed me while I was in jail for "blogging," faces similar problems for reporting on expunged criminal record of Jeff Sessions' confidant


Jeff Sessions (right), with Thomas S. Smith Jr.
and Thomas S. Smith III
(From stopjudicialcorruption.com)
A self-styled investigative reporter, who ridiculed me on Facebook while I was unlawfully incarcerated in Shelby County, Alabama, now finds himself wrestling with similar circumstances.

John Burt Caylor reported on his Facebook page that he had just been released from a Florida jail, having been charged with publishing expunged criminal records -- and he now is wanted on similar charges in Alabama. Baldwin County Judge C. Joseph Norton ordered removal of Caylor's Web site, insider-magazine.com, because it included unflattering portrayals of Dothan attorney Thomas S. Smith Jr. and his son, Thomas S. Smith III, according to a report at stopjudicialcorruption.com (SJC).

The Smiths are confidants of U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Donald Trump's nominee for U.S. attorney general, even though the younger Smith has an arrest for methamphetamine possession in his background, SJC reports. Smith III apparently got his criminal record expunged and went on to clerk for U.S. District Judge Ginny Granade, who authored Alabama's gay-marriage opinion and also has strong ties to Jeff Sessions. Caylor wrote about the younger Smith's expunged criminal record, and that (on the surface) is what got him in trouble with law enforcement in two states. From SJC:

Apparently Judge C. Joseph Norton doesn’t believe Americans should have first Amendment Constitutional rights. Norton ORDERED the closing of, Insider Magazine, John Caylor’s website, at a time he knew Caylor was jailed for first amendment issues in Florida. Caylor had 5 Days to respond to prevent the shut down of his site. Norton knew Caylor couldn’t respond because he was a guest of Bay County Jail. NORTON THEN SEALED THE RECORD. Everything was perfectly timed and orchestrated through a consorted group of perfectly controlled public servants. That is how corruption rolls through Alabama; secret, backroom meetings where a plan is initiated, then rolled out clean and smooth in public. Typically as in this case, if it involves a court action, records are sealed, lost or expunged to cover soiled tracks and prevent the public from knowing the orchestrated truth about their public servants.

How does Jeff Sessions enter the picture, aside from his ties to the Smiths and Granade? Part of it is self preservation, according to SJC:

It appears John Caylor’s arrest and the closing of his online magazine were orchestrated to protect Jeff Sessions while he is undergoing congressional and media scrutiny prior to U.S. Attorney General confirmation hearings. Immediately prior to his arrest, Caylor had stated on Facebook that he was going to testify against Sessions’s confirmation before the Senate Judiciary Commission.

What does Caylor know, why would Jeff Sessions be afraid of him, and why would Caylor expect to be called before the Senate Judiciary Committee for Sessions confirmation hearings? I don't have the answer to any of those questions at the moment. But it is ironic that Caylor appears to be the victim of an injunction, an unlawful "prior restraint" under decades of First Amendment law, much like the one Alabama GOP thug Rob Riley and lobbyist Liberty Duke sought to have me thrown in jail.

SPC cites a portion of a letter from domain site GoDaddy.com, instructing Caylor that he must remove certain items from his Web site, per a court-issued injunction:

Dear John Caylor,

Per the attached order received you must remove the following information from the two websites above by Tuesday 12/20 in order to avoid suspension of the websites. You will need to respond to this email when this has been completed:
           Insider-magazine.com:

* First story contains a hyperlink headline stating that Mr. Smith is a member of the “Russian Mafia,” “Gangster’s Grandson,” and had his “Criminal History Hidden.” These statements are covered by the injunction. . . .

* Approximately the sixth headline reads as follows: “THIS STORY ABOUT FEDERAL JUDGE GINNY GRANADE ACCEPTING A BRIBE AND ENGINEERING THE GRANDSON OF A MAFIA BOSS TO CLERK INSIDE HER COURT AND COVER UP-COCAINE CABAL HAD CAUSED ME GREAT HARM AS SESSIONS, TRUMP, GRANADE AND OTHERS ARE DESPERATELY SEEKING TO SILENCE ME . . .

* Approximately the seventh headline reads as follows: “Click Here Ginny Granade the Lesbian Gay Marriage Judge does not want anyone to see this. US Marshall Josh Devine is working to keep it Silenced. . . . Granade is behind Judge Roy Moore Removal. I met with Judge Moore’s Chief of staff 3 to 4 weeks ago and gave him the info on Granade and Mafia. SPLC and Granade are trying to remove him. . . . ”

* Approximately the ninth headline reads as follows: “Scott Smith’s III, EXPUNGED METH TRAFFICKING record paved WAY FOR MAFIA SPY to Clerk as Chief Federal Judge Ginny Granade’s Law Clerk-Granade Reported to be Bi-Sexual is behind JUDGE ROY MOORE’S REMOVAL I met with . . . Judge Moore’s Chief of staff 3 to 4 weeks ago and gave him this info on Granade.”

As you can see by clicking this link to Caylor's Web site, it has, in fact disappeared. How could that happen? Well, it looks like a Baldwin County judge unilaterally issued an injunction, claiming certain material is false and defamatory -- even though there has been no trial, and no jury, to make that determination. That is very similar to what Rob Riley and Liberty Duke caused to happen in my case, using specially appointed and grossly corrupt judge Claud Neilson.

John Caylor
There might be at least two major differences between my case and Caylor's: It appears Caylor's arrest is based on alleged violation of Alabama's expungement law. (Published reports indicate his Florida arrest was for a probation violation.) If that's the case, Caylor's arrest is a criminal matter, and it likely does not involve the First Amendment issues present in my case. (Perhaps someone will challenge the expungement law on First Amendment grounds, and they might have a strong case, but that appears to be an issue for another day.)

It's possible Caylor did, in fact, violate the law. In my case, there never was any hint of a criminal claim (until deputies beat me up in my own home and then claimed I "resisted arrest"), and the civil-contempt charge that sent me to jail came even though I never was lawfully served with the complaint and never received a summons to appear in court.

As for Caylor, here is what Lagniappe Mobile says about the law connected to his case:

Caylor appears to be the first person in Alabama arrested under a 2014 law allowing people who have arrest records for non-violent offenses expunge those records. But the law also criminalized publication of such records, a situation that creates potential First Amendment issues and could put news organizations in danger of arrest for publishing factual information. . . . 

According to the law, sponsored as a bill by former State Sen. Roger Bedford (D-Russellville), persons charged with certain misdemeanor criminal offenses, traffic violations or municipal ordinance violations may apply to have their record expunged. Those charged with non-violent felonies can also seek an expungement if the charge was dismissed with prejudice, no-billed by a grand jury, the person was found not guilty of the charge or the charge was dismissed without prejudice more than two years ago and has not been refiled, or in the case of a pre-trial diversion program.

What happened in the Smith case? Lagniappe explains:

In Smith’s case, he was arrested in 2001 when he was 21 and charged with possession of methamphetamine, according to court records. His case was dismissed after he completed a pre-trial diversion program.

Reasonable people can debate the wisdom of Alabama's law, but as it's described at Lagniappe, Caylor appears to have violated the law, and his arrest likely was legitimate.

Caylor provided an update on his situation in a Facebook post dated January 8. Much of it is hard to decipher, so I will publish a portion of it below, in hopes readers can figure out what it means:

Senator Jeff Sessions ordered me arrested December 16th and jailed due to my published disclosures about his ties to the Mafia and infiltrating the federal courts with mafia people. He also had Court Order issued to take down "Insider-magazine.com" and .org. so being in jail and unable to respond I am without a publishing platform, so much for the First Amendment compliments the Dirty Bastards you work for.

Sessions who aspires to be US Attorney General is Tied to the Russian Mafia aimed at overthrowing democracy with bullshit from so-called journalists.

Luckily the FBI's Violent Crime Gang Task Force flew in to protect me for 5 days at Panama City, FL. . . . 

So, Jeff Sessions ordered Caylor's arrest and take-down of Caylor's Web site? Sessions is tied to the Russian Mafia and has infiltrated our courts with members of the Mob? (Maybe that's why Sessions and Trump have such a cozy relationship?) The FBI considers Caylor such a valuable asset that it flew task force members into Panama City, Florida, to protect him for five days?

Wow, that's heady stuff. I'm slow to discount anything about Alabama-related corruption. Our political and legal systems are so dysfunctional that almost any explanation for it seems possible. But even by my liberal standards, Caylor's assertions seem "out there."

If it's proven that Jeff Sessions did order Caylor's arrest, to protect certain legal and political cronies . . . well, this could become a significant national story. I'm not aware of any law that gives a U.S. senator the authority to enforce criminal law.

I've been receiving reports since last spring about Caylor being arrested in various jurisdictions, including Bay County, Florida.  In fact, I've had a few individuals suggest it might be good if I covered the story and helped bring it to wider public attention.

I haven't done that for a couple of reasons: (1) I wasn't certain that Caylor was wrongfully arrested; at this point, while I have concerns about the expungement law, it appears Caylor's arrest was legitimate.

As for the second reason I haven't moved on the Caylor story, we will address that in an upcoming post.


(To be continued)

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Jeff Sessions, Trump's choice as attorney general, is a closeted gay subject to blackmail; Obama admin. already has threatened to use "secret" against Sessions


Jeff Sessions
(From cnn.com)
Jeff Sessions, Donald Trump's nominee for U.S. attorney general, is at risk of blackmail because he is a closeted homosexual, according to a published report from 2009.

The Obama administration, in fact, was aware of Sessions' "secret" and held it over his head to ensure he did not block the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court, according to a report at Wayne Madsen Report (WMR). The White House had similar information on U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and was prepared to use it in a similar fashion.

Sessions and Graham had voiced strong opposition to Sotomayor's nomination, but that changed when the White House made it known that it was willing to unload the "G bomb" on both conservative senators if they sought to block her. From the WMR article, titled "The Democratic not-so-secret secret 'nuclear option' on Sotomayor nomination" and dated June 5-7, 2009. Sotomayor was confirmed on August 6, 2009, with only modest opposition from the GOP. From WMR:

Although there were some initial reservations among progressives over the nomination of U.S. judge Sonia Sotomayor to replace the outgoing David Souter on the U.S. Supreme Court, progressives are reassured that Sotomayor, while not an activist in the mold of William Brennan and Thurgood Marshall, is a staunch supporter of First and Fourth Amendment rights, including the right to privacy. Sotomayor's opinions on freedom of speech cases is also earning her praise from progressives.

Although ranking Senate Judiciary Committee Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and his committee colleague Lindsey Graham (R-SC) originally voiced strong reservations about President Obama's choice of Sotomayor for the Supreme Court, both conservative "family values" Republicans have had to back down from their original high visibility hostility to Sotomayor.

One of the reasons for the Republicans' change in demeanor is that Democratic opposition research made it known they were ready to pounce on both senators, re-elected in 2008, for hypocrisy on their gay rights policies.

What exactly does that mean? It means the president, contrary to his "No Drama Obama" persona, was willing to play political hardball (of the hardest kind) to get Sotomayor confirmed. That's because opposition research from Democrats proved to be quite fruitful. WMR provides details:

WMR learned from a very well-informed source that it is well known among gay circles in Washington that Sessions and Graham are both closeted homosexuals. Sessions is married with three children while Graham is a bachelor who has never been married.

Sessions and Graham are aware that the Democrats have at their disposal the nuclear option of dropping the "G Bomb." After seeming to agree with the "Sotomayor is a racist" remarks coming from Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich, the two influential Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee changed their tune, as did Gingrich a few days after he made his remarks about Sotomayor.

Sessions reported homosexuality fits a pattern for GOP Attorneys General in the state. Sessions, who served as Alabama's 44th Attorney General, was succeeded by William H. Pryor, Jr, now a member of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta and who, according to WMR's sources, is also a closeted gay man. Pryor was succeeded by Republican Troy King, also reported by a number of sources to be gay.

That last paragraph should pack quite a wallop for readers who live in Alabama. It suggests the state's attorney general's office has become a haven for closeted gays. And Madsen's reporting on U.S. Circuit Judge Bill Pryor, a likely Trump nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court because of his ties to Sessions, is in line with our reports about Pryor's ties to 1990s gay pornography via the badpuppy.com Web site, which has morphed into an online "gay-porn superstore."

Bill Pryor
WMR is a subscription Web site, but we have received permission to borrow from its reporting. What kind of source is Wayne Madsen? In my experience, he's been on the money about a number of major stories, especially of this nature. Madsen broke the story of former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) sexually molesting high-school wrestlers, during his days as a coach, nine years before it reached the mainstream press.

I know firsthand that Madsen has solid sources in Alabama.

Why is the "G bomb" of particular concern for Sessions and Graham? WMR explains:

As the GOP drifts further under the control of the fundamentalist Christian right, any hint of homosexuality among top Republicans in Congress is seen as a political death sentence, especially after the Larry Craig and Mark Foley scandals. Florida Republican Governor Charlie Crist also faces potential major opposition from Christian fundamentalists in his U.S. Senate run over rumors that he is also gay.

Another influential Republican on the Judiciary Committee, Orrin Hatch (R-UT), said it was likely that Sotomayor will be confirmed by the Senate. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), not a member of the Judiciary Committee, voiced some misgivings about Sotomayor. Hatch is treading carefully while Collins is potentially playing with political fire. Both have to watch their own "closet doors," according to our sources on Capitol Hill.

As Sessions confirmation hearing winds down today, we suspect his mind very much will be on a closet door that he wants to keep slammed shut.

We sought comment from Sessions, via both the contact page on his Web site and his spokesperson, Sarah Isgur Flores. No one responded to our queries

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Erik Davis Harp, ex gambling kingpin and Jessica Garrison business partner, gets pretrial intervention on gun charge, while adding reckless driving to resume


Erik Davis Harp
Erik Davis Harp, a former gambling kingpin and business associate of Alabama GOP operative Jessica Medeiros Garrison, has been placed in a one-year pretrial intervention (PTI) resulting from a concealed weapon charge in Bay County, Florida, according to court documents. In a separate incident, Harp was charged with reckless driving in a case that apparently involved road rage on the part of one, or both, drivers.

Harp reportedly has ties to the Gambino and Genovese crime families, and yet, Jessica Garrison and her ex-husband, Tuscaloosa school board chairman Lee Garrison, saw no problems engaging in a business relationship with him. Given Jessica Garrison's ties to Luther Strange, Jeff Sessions, and Bill Pryor, how high might Erik Harp's influence go in Alabama politics? Could those ties to Pryor, a judge on the U.S. Eleventh Circuit and likely Donald Trump nominee for U.S. Supreme Court, help Harp receive softball treatment on criminal matters in Florida?

Records in the weapon case show that Harp carried a gun and ammunition into a courthouse? How does one do that "accidentally"? How many people could do that and get off with barely a slap on the wrist?

The PTI was entered on September 28, 2016, and it requires Harp to perform 100 hours of community service and forfeit the seized firearm, plus he is to pay $700 in fees and fines. (Documents related to the gun case are embedded at the end of this post.)

The reckless driving incident happened on July 27, 2016. Harp was driving a 2016 GMC Yukon, owned by a company called Cani Investments. Harp admitted to cutting off a vehicle driven by Jackie Shannon Davis (a 32-year-old male); after some aggressive driving and abrupt braking, apparently by both parties, Harp wound up hitting Davis' vehicle from the rear.

Davis had a 25-year-old female passenger, Ashley Allen, in his vehicle. Harp had a 3-year-old male passenger, Marcellina Harp, in his vehicle.

Both drivers were charged with reckless driving, and the case was dismissed on "no information," meaning the drivers gave conflicting reports, and law-enforcement did not have enough reliable information to bring charges against either. (Documents from the reckless driving case are embedded at the end of this post.)




















Jeff Sessions was one of many parties to use family ties and unethical tactics to force black federal judge U.W. Clemon to disqualify himself from civil-rights cases


U.W. Clemon
Jeff Sessions, Donald Trump's nominee for U.S. attorney general, hardly is alone in trying to get a prominent black federal judge off a case in hopes of drawing someone less sympathetic to civil rights. The tactic was so common when U.W. Clemon was on the federal bench in the Northern District of Alabama that it almost was considered sport in the Birmingham legal community.

Even though quite a few litigants resorted to the underhanded tactic, they aren't currently nominated for U.S. attorney general. Jeff Sessions is -- in fact, his confirmation hearing is going on at this moment -- and the Clemon episode says a lot about Sessions shaky ethics and his tortured history on matters of race.

The Clemon issue became well known outside of Alabama, enough to draw coverage from The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) in 2002. The article, by reporter Michael Orey, makes clear that it is a breach of legal ethics to hire certain attorneys in order to get a judge removed from a case. But Sessions, who is about to become the nation's top law-enforcement officer, engaged in such unethical conduct. So did R. David Proctor, now a federal judge in Birmingham who is handling both of our pending federal lawsuits -- one over my unlawful five-month incarceration in Shelby County ("The Jail Case") and one over the wrongful foreclosure on our home of 25 year ("The House Case).

Proctor apparently engaged in unethical behavior over and over during his time as a private-practice lawyer. That's because he and Terry Price, Judge Clemon's nephew, worked together at the Birmingham firm Lehr Middlebrooks Price and Proctor. In fact, Proctor and Price jointly represented Sessions (then Alabama's attorney general) in USX Corp. v. Tieco Inc., a 1990s case that recently drew national scrutiny because of a CNN report about an Alabama state judge's opinion stating that Sessions and his staff had engaged in "pronounced and persistent" prosecutorial misconduct.

That Sessions would stoop to underhanded tactics to get a black judge removed from his case adds to the body of evidence that he is racially insensitive (at best) and flat-out racist (at worst). Such evidence cost Sessions a federal judgeship after the U.S. Senate refused to confirm him in the 1980s. The race issue likely will be raised again when Sessions faces confirmation hearings today and tomorrow as nominee for U.S. attorney general -- and the Clemon case could become a point of stiff questioning from Democrats, at least if they are on the ball.

That Sessions went after Clemon, a historic figure who confronted notorious Birmingham public-safety commissioner Bull Connor, marched with Martin Luther King, and sued Paul "Bear" Bryant to integrate the University of Alabama football team, seems even more flagrant.

As a private attorney before being appointed to the federal bench by Jimmy Carter, Clemon sued numerous corporations and institutions to challenge discriminatory practices that had held sway for decades. That Sessions would show such disrespect to Clemon calls the former's commitment to civil rights into question. It does the same for Proctor, appointed to the federal bench in 2003 by George W. Bush.

Jeff Sessions
How did many federal defendants, often corporations accused of employment discrimination, use unethical tactics to get Judge Clemon (now retired) off their cases? Here's how WSJ explains it:

Though Mr. Price denies it, the widespread view in the Birmingham legal community is that corporate clients routinely hire him to keep his uncle off their cases. Judge Clemon, the only African-American federal judge in Alabama's northern district, is generally perceived as sympathetic to workers' claims.

Federal judges have raised questions about the pattern for years. In 1995, Judge William Acker Jr. of the federal district court was assigned a case after Judge Clemon was forced to drop it. In a written opinion, Judge Acker cited 15 cases in the previous 12 years in which Judge Clemon had been knocked off a case because Mr. Price's then-firm had been hired to represent the defendants. Each case involved a different defendant, but Judge Acker wrote that an "intelligent guess" would suggest that Mr. Price had been hired to get rid of his uncle in at least some instances.

That would be the same Judge Acker who cheated me in my employment case against UAB (officially, the University of Alabama Board of Trustees) by granting summary judgment without allowing any discovery, a ruling prohibited by black-letter law. (See Snook v. Trust Company of Georgia, 859 F. 2d 865 [11th Cir., 1988)].) He has no business commenting on any matters related to ethics.

Putting that aside, Sessions (and Proctor and many others) clearly have crossed an ethical line. From WSJ:

Tactical maneuvering to try to get a favorable judge is common in the American legal system, but it can cross ethical lines. Seven justices on the U.S. Supreme Court issued a statement in which they expressed concern that parties hoping to remove particular justices from a case could hire law firms where their own relatives work.

Judge Clemon, in a recent interview, said his relationship with Mr. Price has suffered. The two men haven't spoken in months. "It's obviously not a very comforting feeling to think that one's close relative is being used to remove him from the case," he says.

Mr. Price says he has nothing to apologize for. He says his job is to represent clients, regardless of the judge assigned to the case. "I'm not doing anything wrong," he says.

This goes way beyond family strife to cut at the very heart of our justice system:

Court rulings say it's a breach of ethics to hire a lawyer "solely or primarily for the purpose of disqualifying the judge." Though deciphering motive is usually difficult, lawyers found to have engaged in such practices could face professional disciplinary proceedings.

Look for the Clemon matter to be raised at Sessions' confirmation hearings. If it isn't, Democrats are not doing their jobs. Our research indicates neither Sessions nor Proctor has faced disciplinary proceedings for unethical actions. It's time now that they both are unmasked.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Alabama CEO William Cashion wanted Dr. Mark Hayden to "rot in prison" and contributed $100,000 to Jeffco Sheriff Mike Hale, according to affidavit


Dr. Mark Hayden
A wealthy Alabama businessman vowed to see his physician nephew "rot in prison" and donated $100,000 to the campaign of the sheriff who helped orchestrate the nephew's arrest, according to a recently filed affidavit.

William Cashion, CEO of Western Steel Inc. in Bessemer, said he wanted Dr. Mark Hayden, of Wetumpka, to "rot in prison," according to an affidavit from George E. Pace, a reserve deputy with the Elmore County Sheriff's Department, Hayden, in fact, recently spent 25 days in the Jefferson County Jail due to a dubious civil-contempt order from Circuit Judge Michael Graffeo. Hayden's arrest writ recently was re-issued, and he now is back under threat of incarceration -- in a fully civil matter, which involves no allegations of a crime.

Pace's affidavit is included with papers Hayden is preparing for a federal lawsuit related to his original arrest on November 28, 2016. Jefferson County Sheriff Mike Hale was responsible for carrying out Graffeo's arrest order. Pace states in his affidavit that Cashion said he was an honorary deputy in Jefferson County and had contributed $100,000 to Hale's election.

Hayden's arrest stems from a 2012 lawsuit styled Cashion, et al v. Hayden, et alDuring a divorce, Cashion had appointed Hayden as his power of attorney. When Cashion spent roughly $6 million on an Alabama gold mine that produced no gold, Hayden used his authority to establish a Nevada spendthrift trust in an apparent effort to keep his uncle from spending even more money on the gold venture.

Cashion objected to his nephew's action and set off a string of legal actions that involve both state and federal courts, in Alabama and Nevada.

Was Cashion so angry that he bribed Hale (and perhaps Graffeo) to seek retaliation against Hayden? Pace's words suggest the answer might be yes. From the affidavit:

William B. Cashion met me in person in Wetumpka, Alabama, and discussed law enforcement in Alabama.

I, George Pace, showed him my constable badge from Elmore County, and he showed me his badge from the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department.

Cashion said he was some type of deputy, that Mike Hale had personally given him the badge.

He said he had contributed $100,000 per election to Hale.

Cashion said he wanted Steven Mark Hayden to rot in prison.




Jeff Sessions took unethical steps to have black U.S. judge removed from his case, with help of R. David Proctor--adding to Trump nominee's ugly past on race


Jeff Sessions
(From cnn.com)
The judge who is handling both of our pending federal lawsuits represented Jeff Sessions during the case that prompted an Alabama state judge to allege the Attorney General's office engaged in "pronounced and persistent" prosecutorial misconduct under Sessions.

R. David Proctor's appearance in the case came during an episode that should add to the evidence that Sessions (and Proctor, for that matter) has backward and divisive views on race. Those views already have cost Sessions a federal judgeship in the 1980s. Could the latest information help torpedo Sessions's shot at confirmation as Donald Trump's nominee for U.S. attorney general? The Senate Judiciary Committee certainly should review them in depth -- and Sessions confirmation hearing begins tomorrow.

The new revelations grow from the same mid-1990s case -- USX Co. v. Tieco Inc. -- that prompted Jefferson County Judge James S. Garrett (now retired) to write that Sessions and his subordinates had engaged in the worst prosecutorial misconduct he had ever seen -- including failure to turn over exculpatory evidence, deceptive testimony, and "blatant disregard of the constitutional rights of those accused." (CNN broke that portion of the story in a piece dated December 22, 2016.)

That was from a criminal proceeding in USX v. Tieco, but the case also involved civil matters, mostly in federal court. That's where Sessions and Proctor apparently engaged in some race-based underhandedness.

We don't have access to the full record in the Tieco civil matter, but it appears Judge U.W. Clemon originally was assigned to the case. Clemon is a historic figure. He confronted infamous public-safety commissioner Bull Conner over Birmingham's segregation laws, marched with Martin Luther King, desegregated the Birmingham Public Library, and sued Paul "Bear" Bryant to desegregate the University of Alabama football team. He filed employment-discrimination lawsuits against some of the largest employers in Alabama.

In 1980, Jimmy Carter appointed Clemon to the bench in the Northern District of Alabama, making him the state's first black federal judge. Clemon had a history of, and a reputation for, seeking justice for victims of civil-rights violations. To white right-wingers like Sessions and Proctor, they probably considered Clemon to view their positions unfavorably.

U.W. Clemon
(From atlantablackstar.com)
Is that true? I've never seen any signs to support it, although I have seen signs that Clemon was more likely than most Alabama judges to give civil-rights plaintiffs (many of them black) a fair shake. True or not, Sessions and Proctor designed a scheme to get Clemon off the Tieco civil case.

At the time, a relatively new law firm had formed in Birmingham called Lehr Middlebrooks Price and Proctor. The last name in that lineup stood for R. David Proctor, now a federal judge handling our cases. The third name stood for Terry Price, who just happened to be Judge Clemon's nephew (the middle son of the judge's oldest sister).

Did Sessions and his chief investigator, Edward F. McFadden, hire Lehr Middlebrooks to defend them to create a conflict that would force Clemon off the case? The judge addressed that question in a memorandum opinion dated June 21, 1966:

On June 17, 1996, counsel for defendants filed a "Motion for Hearing Concerning Representation 1461*1461 of Counterclaim Defendants Pursuant to Robinson v. Boeing." This Court treats the document as a Motion To Disqualify the new Birmingham, Alabama law firm of Lehr, Middlebrooks, Price and Proctor — one of whose partners is this judge's nephew, Terry Price.

The motion raises the pregnant question of whether the disqualification of this judge was a motivating factor in the decision of counterclaim defendant Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his Chief Investigator to hire that law firm.

On yesterday, June 20, 1996, Terry Price entered his appearance for Jeff Sessions, Attorney General of the State of Alabama; and for Edward F. McFadden, Chief Investigator for the Office of the Attorney General of the State of Alabama.

Section 455(b)(5)(ii) of the United States Judicial Code (Title 28) requires a judge to disqualify himself if a person within the third degree of relationship to him is acting as a lawyer in the proceeding. Terry Price, being the middle son of the oldest sister of this judge, falls into that category.

An opinion from the Fifth Circuit said a judge should be on the lookout for those who might seek to use Sec. 455 in an abusive fashion. From Clemon's opinion on that subject:

As the Fifth Circuit has observed and held:

".... If after seeing who the judge is or weighing his rulings for a period of years, a litigant could in effect veto the [assignment] and obtain a new judge by the simple expedient of finding one of the judge's relatives who is willing to act as counsel, it would become possible for any party to disrupt preparation for, or, indeed, the trial itself. The drafters of § 455 warned that `each judge must be alert to avoid the possibility that those who would seek his disqualification are in fact seeking to avoid the consequences of his expected adverse decision. . . . In light of Congress' intent and the needs of judicial efficiency, we hold that counsel may not be chosen solely or primarily for the purpose of disqualifying the judge. The district court threatened with such maneuvers need not confine itself to grievance proceedings against errant counsel. `A motion to disqualify counsel is a proper method for a party-litigant to bring the issue of conflict of interest or a breach of ethical duties to the attention of the court.' [footnote omitted]. Indeed, `a District court is obliged to take measures against unethical conduct occurring in connection with any proceeding before it.'" Woods v. Covington County Bank, 537 F.2d 804, 810 (5th Cir.1976)

Notice the terms applied to those who would resort to such a scam to disqualify a judge -- "breach of ethical duties" and "unethical conduct." In the Tieco case, it appears those terms could be affixed to Jeff Sessions, now nominated as U.S. attorney general, and R. David Proctor, now a federal judge hearing our two cases.

Did the Sessions/Proctor scheme work? The answer appears to be yes, at least in part. From Clemon's memorandum opinion:

Since this judge is automatically precluded from hearing the Motion to Disqualify the law firm chosen by the Attorney General and his Chief Investigator, consistent with Robinson v. Boeing, 79 F.3d 1053 (11th Cir.1996), the motion is hereby referred to the Clerk of this Court for reassignment to another judge of the Court consistent with the routine practices of the Court.[2] In the meanwhile, this judge shall proceed no further.

Based on those words, it appears Clemon stepped down and did not return to the case. If so, did the cheaters (Sessions and Proctor) win? That's how it looks from here. These headlines from the time period suggest the same thing:


* "A Company Suing Attorney General Jeff Sessions Has Accused Him Of Hiring The Nephew Of A Birmingham Federal Judge In Order To Make The Judge Step Down From The Case." [Associated Press, 6/20/96]

* “Tieco Inc., Which Sued [Jeff] Sessions On A Civil Rights Violation Claim, Has Asked That Another Judge Review The Matter To See If U.S. District Judge U.W. Clemon’s Nephew, Terry Price, Was Hired By Sessions To Get Clemon Off The Case.” [Associated Press, 6/20/96]

* "Lawyer That Represented A Company That Sued Jeff Sessions: Sessions’ Hire Of Judge U.W. Clemon’s Nephew To Represent The Attorney General “Appears To Be A Tactical Move To Disqualify Judge Clemon From A Civil Rights Case.” [Associated Press, 6/20/96]

* "A Company That Sued Jeff Sessions Claimed A Law Firm Hired To Represent The Attorney General In A Civil Rights Case Specialized In “Labor Law And [Had] No Special History Of Defending Civil Rights Cases Or The Attorney General” [Associated Press, 6/20/96]


That last headline is particularly disarming, indicating that Attorney Terry Price had no expertise in matters present in the Tieco case. Did his main area of "expertise" consist of being Judge Clemon's nephew? Is that all Jeff Sessions and R. David Proctor cared about?

If so, they engaged in clearly unethical conduct, under the law, and it should raise questions about their fitness to serve as U.S. attorney general and district judge.