Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Missouri attorney Craig O'Dear, who appears as paying customer at Ashley Madison, announces exploratory committee for independent run at U.S. Senate seat

Craig O'Dear
A Missouri lawyer, who was a subject of our reporting on the Ashley Madison extramarital-affairs Web site, has formed an exploratory committee for a possible independent run at a U.S. Senate seat.

Craig O'Dear is a partner at Bryan Cave LLP and a founding member of the firm's Kansas City, MO, office. We reported on O'Dear's status as a paying customer at Ashley Madison in a series of posts from late 2016 (see here, here, and here). Our posts included extensive comments from O'Dear and from his ex-wife Stephanie O'Dear. At the time of our reports, the O'Dears stated they had reconciled as a couple, although they had not remarried.

Claire McCaskill (D-MO) currently holds the Senate seat that O'Dear has targeted. Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley is considered a prime contender on the Republican side.

Does Craig O'Dear believe Missourians are ready for an Ashley Madison customer at U.S. senator? We will seek additional comment from him, but so far, his timing seems a little off. O'Dear announced his exploratory committee on Jan. 10, the same day that Gov. Eric Greitens admitted to an extramarital affair that has sparked a criminal investigation, apparently based on allegations of blackmail and assault.

In his written comments for our earlier posts, O'Dear wrote all around various issues connected to Ashley Madison, but he did not deny being one of the firm's paying customers:

Mr. Shuler:

The article you have drafted and now threaten to publish conveys a false and misleading impression of people about whom you have little knowledge.

Stephanie was and is the love of my life. We were married in 1995, and legally divorced in November 2012. Many years prior to the effective date of our divorce, we ceased to be a married couple, and my marital obligations to Stephanie came to an end. I was not unfaithful in the marriage, and Stephanie never alleged in our divorce proceeding that I had been. Your draft article conveys an impression to the contrary. That impression is false.

Further, I have never at any time in my life been romantically involved with any woman who was married. Your draft article conveys a false impression to the contrary on that issue as well by highlighting the marketing tag line for the dating site you reference and implying anyone who might have used it did so for the purpose of engaging in an extramarital affair. The only possible purpose you could have to do this is to publish something you believe will draw traffic to your site, with an intent to embarrass and damage me and Stephanie and our children, both personally and professionally. During this difficult period in my life, whatever social activity I engaged in violated no marital obligations. My focus was being the best father I could be to my children and being the best lawyer I could be practicing law and taking care of my clients. If you took the time to interview anyone who has any personal knowledge of my life, you would know this.

O'Dear proceeded to describe the reconciliation with his ex wife, tossing in a few threats of legal action at me -- even though he could not cite any explicit statements in our posts that were false:

The good news in all of this is that in the Spring of 2014, Stephanie approached me and expressed a desire to re-establish our relationship and reunite our family. Unlike most of the stories of broken marriages, this one has a happy ending. We engaged in a process that achieved our objective, and Stephanie and I are again partners in life, living together with our children, and enjoying the blessing of all that entails. This is yet another point on which your draft article conveys a false and misleading impression, because you know nothing about the people and the family you seek to slander.

Stephanie O'Dear
I am copying Stephanie on this email. I told her of your communication to me. She has seen your draft "article" and she told me she had some comments to convey to you as well. You should refrain from publishing your false and slanderous "article." If you proceed to publish this false and misleading article, an act which is legally actionable, we insist you publish in full in the same article my response and Stephanie's response, which tells the real story of our lives and corrects the many false impressions your article conveys.

O'Dear has launched a campaign Web site, which looks top-notch, so he apparently is serious about this race. He already has drawn attention from Missouri's mainstream media. Bryan Lowry and Lindsay Wise wrote about O'Dear's plans at the Kansas City Star:

A Kansas City lawyer could shake up one of the most competitive Senate races in the country as he seriously considers running as a centrist independent against U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill and her eventual Republican challenger.

Craig O’Dear, a Kansas City attorney who has the backing of the national Centrist Project and has been quietly contemplating a run for a year, has launched an exploratory campaign committee for a possible independent bid for the Senate. O’Dear said Wednesday that he’ll make his official decision by the end of February.

The Missouri race promises to be one of the most expensive in the country and could determine which party controls the Senate.

Tony Messenger, a columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, also reported on O'Dear's political goals:

Craig O’Dear has an interesting sense of timing.

On Monday, television personality Oprah Winfrey dominated the political landscape after her Sunday night speech at the Golden Globes spurred speculation that she would run for president in 2020.

The next day, 85-year-old ex-sheriff Joe Arpaio, convicted of criminal contempt of federal court but pardoned by President Donald Trump, announced he was running for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in Arizona.

O’Dear, a Kansas City lawyer, is not a celebrity. Outside of certain trial lawyer and political donor circles, he’s not a big name.

But on Thursday he will be making a move that could make him one.

The longtime Republican is forming an exploratory committee to consider a run for the U.S. Senate in Missouri — as an independent.

“Our two-party system no longer serves the people,” O’Dear told me in an exclusive interview. “What we’re getting from it is division and gridlock.”

In one of the Senate races that will be most watched nationally, O’Dear, 60, intends to take on Democratic incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill, and whoever survives a three-way primary among Republicans, expected to be Attorney General Josh Hawley.

It is a Quixotic challenge, but O’Dear swears he’s not tilting at windmills.

“It’s not the first time somebody has told me I couldn’t do something,” says the partner at Bryan Cave. He expects to make a final decision about jumping into the Senate race by the end of February. And if he runs? “I absolutely believe we will win.”

Speaking of interesting timing -- and centrism -- O'Dear has ties both to Hillary Clinton . . . and Eric Greitens. He might want to be distancing himself from the latter in the near future. Writes Messenger:

In 2016, O’Dear donated to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

At the same time he was hosting a fundraiser at his home for Republican Eric Greitens, who became Missouri’s governor. O’Dear will always be grateful for the advice the former Navy SEAL offered his son, Cullen, now a sophomore at the U.S. Naval Academy. But Greitens’ political drift to the extreme ends of the Republican Party serves as a symptom of what O’Dear believes is wrong with the American political system.

“I’m not asking you to leave your political party,” he says. “But if you will support our movement to re-create a center, it will have the effect of moderating both parties.”

Monday, January 22, 2018

Daily Caller's shoddy journalism on Jessica's Garrison's $3.5-million default judgment has its roots in reporter's racist and misogynistic background

Tucker Carlson
Thanks to The Washington Post's Erik Wemple, we know The Daily Caller's (DC) shoddy reporting on Jessica Medeiros Garrison's $3.5-million default judgment against me was not an accident; that's the kind of journalism you get when you hire "reporters" with training at a racist and misogynistic blog. We also know the DC and reporter Chuck Ross have connections to some dubious characters in the right-wing blogosphere.

All of this is timely because my wife, Carol, and I have two pending federal lawsuits -- "The Jail Case," involving my unlawful incarceration in Alabama, and "The House Case," involving the theft of our Birmingham home of 25 years via a wrongful foreclosure -- and Garrison is a defendant in both of them, as is her one-time boss and paramour, former U.S. Sen. Luther Strange.

Here is an update on the two lawsuits: Service is almost completed in district court (Birmingham) on "The Jail Case," and responsive pleadings are flowing in from defendants. Most will seek unlawful dismissal via the notorious "Twombly" and "Iqbal" heightened-pleading standards -- which do not even apply in the Eleventh Circuit, but defendants surely will lean on them anyway. "The House Case" is on appeal in circuit court (Atlanta), and it has been delayed by a technical mistake I made on our Notice of Appeal. I've filed a Petition for Panel Rehearing, and The Eleventh Circuit's affirmance should be overturned, followed by reversal of Judge R. David Proctor's dismissal (that's the Proctor who is super close to Trump AG Jeff Sessions). That, of course, depends on appellate judges in Atlanta acting with integrity and showing respect for black-letter law -- and that is a huge if. I soon will be writing about my mistake that caused a delay in "The House Case," although it should have no impact on the ultimate outcome of case.

As for Chuck Ross' wretched article on the Garrison judgment -- which flowed from her lawsuit about my reporting on her extramarital affair with Luther Strange, for whom she once served as campaign manager -- it's bad on more than a half dozen levels. Here is one indicator of biased reporting: Neither Ross nor the DC has attempted a follow-up on former Alabama Senate President Lowell Barron and his statements that Garrison and Strange, in fact, had an extramarital affair that had a profound impact on Strange's ability to function as Alabama attorney general.

Has Garrison filed a defamation lawsuit against Lowell Barron? The answer is no. Is that because she knows his statements and my reporting are accurate. The answer is, without question, yes.

What about the hatchet job Garrison concocted with the assistance of Marie Claire, a Hearst-owned fashion magazine? That exercise in defamation is one of the subjects in our lawsuits. Have Chuck Ross or the DC pursued any of these angles to the story? We've seen no sign of it. Is that because Jessica Garrison works for the DC? Probably. That's "fair and balanced" right-wing "journalism" for you.

What about other shortcomings in Ross' story on the Garrison judgment? We addressed them in a July 2015 post. First, we showed that Wyoming-based investment guru Foster Friess kicked in $3 million to help get The Daily Caller off the ground. According to online reports, DC founder Tucker Carlson also lined up sponsorships from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Mining Association (Drummond Company), and Southern Company (parent of Alabama Power). Garrison used to work at Alabama Power law firm Balch Bingham, until the Birmingham Superfund scandal started getting too close, so that might explain her ability to get her opinion pieces published at DC.

Ali Akbar's profile at Grindr
We also showed that Friess provided seed funding for the National Bloggers Club (NBC), a consortium of down-scale right-wing pundits, such as Robert Stacy McCain, Aaron Walker, John Hoge, and John Patrick Frey, along with Karl Rove's American Crossroads. It's not clear if the NBC still is functional, but it once was headed by a felon named Ali Akbar, who has a documented taste for criminality and trolling for gay sex. More on this scuzzy bunch in a moment. But first, from our earlier post, are just a few of the problems with Chuck Ross' piece on the Garrison judgment:

What kind of journalism does Foster Friess support? If The Daily Caller story is any indication, the journalism would have to improve to reach the level of shoddy. In fact, I'm not sure you can call it journalism at all, based on the following:

* The story does not mention that the $3.5 million was awarded in a DEFAULT judgment. That means it was not based on the merits of Garrison's claim; it was based on the fact I did not appear at key junctures in the case because I did not receive notice of depositions, hearings, etc.

* The story does not mention that I didn't receive notice because my wife and I were forced to move due to a legally questionable foreclosure on our home, right on the heels of my unconstitutional jail stay in the Riley case.

* The story mentions neither the foreclosure nor the wildly unlawful nature of my arrest, in violation of more than 200 years of First Amendment law. Is that because right-wing interests connected to The Daily Caller were involved in, or at least had advance knowledge of, both the foreclosure and the arrest?

* The story states that Garrison and Attorney General Luther Strange vehemently denied my reports of an extramarital affair. The story does not say that their denials came at a hearing where no opposition was present. It does not say that their denials came without any cross examination, with no depositions, production of documents, or any other form of discovery. It also does not say that Jessica Garrison's divorce file remains sealed in Tuscaloosa County, for no apparent lawful reason.

* The story refers to my reporting on Garrison and Strange as "flimsy accusations." Oh, but wait, Jessica Garrison works for the outfit that produced the story. Did Tucker Carlson's team reveal that to its readers? Nope. Can't get much more "fair and balanced" than that.

* Has The DC followed up with reports about my efforts to have the default judgment overturned? Has it reported on my Motion to Vacate, which cites numerous cases that show the judgment is due to be set aside? Has it reported that my motion drew no written response from Garrison attorney Bill Baxley? Has it reported that much of the Garrison default judgment is based on allegations regarding her son that I did not even report? Hah, are you kidding? The DC has ignored all of that. (After all, Jessica Garrison works for them.)

As for the National Bloggers Club, Foster Friess' other foray into right-wing "journalism," it apparently has collapsed from the weight of its own sleaze. And what a load of sleaze it was. (Note: The NBC's Web site says a relaunch is coming in July 2016, but it's not clear if said relaunch ever happened, and there appears to be no new content on the site.) From our earlier post:

President of the NBC, of course, is Ali A. Akbar, he of the multiple felony convictions and a tendency to troll for gay sex on the Grindr geosocial app. Akbar threatened a lawsuit against me for reporting on the contents of a letter that Alabama attorney and whistleblower Jill Simpson wrote to Robert Bauer, counsel for President Barack Obama's 2012 re-election campaign.

The Simpson letter included allegations that Rove and Akbar had engaged in a homosexual relationship. Simpson's investigation of the matter came after she received a copy of Akbar's Grindr ad, which said he was looking for sex with "men who are Republican, political, and love to discuss politics and philosophy." I don't know about the philosophy part, but Karl Rove certainly seems to qualify under the rest of that description.

Case law dating back roughly 45 years shows that Akbar had no valid defamation claim against me. But he enlisted Montgomery lawyer Baron Coleman to send me a threatening letter, dated October 26, 2013, which was three days after Alabama deputies beat me up inside my own home, doused me with pepper spray, and hauled me off to jail for a five-month stay.

For good measure, The Daily Caller also lists Ali Akbar as a contributor--and that brings us back to Tucker Carlson's little toy and the "journalism" it practices.

Speaking of Tucker Carlson, WaPo's Erik Wemple recently conducted a lengthy and contentious interview with the Fox News host. Much of that interview focused on Chuck Ross' background and other political/media topics. Carlson more or less closed the interview with this: "It’s great to talk to you! Call me any time, I’m always around."

If Wemple takes Carlson up on that, here are just a few of the follow-up questions that come to mind:

* Is Carlson aware that one of the DC's contributors, Ali Akbar, has a criminal record?

* Does the DC plan to write a story about Akbar's criminal record?

* What about Akbar's documented trolling for gay sex on Grindr?

* What ties did Daily Caller have to the National Bloggers Club?

* Does Daily Caller plan to report on Jessica Garrison's default judgment -- and the fact it is void, as a matter of law, and can be attacked as such at any time?

* Does Daily Caller plan to report on Garrison's exit from the Republican Attorneys General Association in the wake of a New York Times expose, plus her exit from Balch Bingham law firm amid reports of Luther Strange's ties to the Birmingham Superfund scandal?

* Will Daily Caller report that almost all of Garrison's default judgment is based on false assertions she made, under oath, that I reported Luther Strange was the biological father of her son -- when, in fact, I never reported any such information?

* Will Daily Caller attempt to have Jessica Garrison's divorce file unsealed and report on its contents?

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Lies my Missouri public defender told me: With Carol's freedom at stake in bogus "assault" case, Patty Poe cooked up some double whoppers with cheese (Part 4)

Patty Poe
How can one stand accused of a crime without an accuser? It can't happen, under the law, but it has been happening for months in the case against my wife, Carol, in Missouri.

And that is just one of many issues on which Missouri public defender Patty Poe has attempted to blow smoke up our fannies. In fact, we have come up with this question: How many different ways can a public defender lie to her own client? If you are talking about Patty Poe, of Greene County, Missouri, the answer is "a lot."

Poe represented Carol, for about six months in an "assault of a law enforcement officer case" (1631-CR07731 - ST V CAROL T SHULER at case.net) before bailing out in late November after prosecutor Nicholas Jain filed a notice that he was waiving jail time. For the first month or two Poe was on the case, she conned us into believing she actually had integrity and was representing Carol's best interests. But then came a string of lies about case and procedural law in the matter, telling us Poe likely was working for someone else's best interests all along.

In a series of emails to Poe dated Aug. 9, Carol showed that the prosecution had violated her rights under the Confrontation Clause to the Sixth Amendment. (See Email No. 3 embedded with Carol's other emails at the end of this post.) Poe, as we came to realize was her usual style, responded with a crock of garbage. (All of Poe's responses are embedded at the end of this post.) Here is Poe's short, not so sweet, and downright deceitful answer:

The Confrontation Clause only applies at trial. It does not apply as to a probable cause statement. The probable cause statement is sufficient to proceed on the charge, even if untrue. If we proceed to trial though. Capt. Jeremy Lynn will have to testify or someone else who witnessed the "assault." It can't be Debi Wade.

Is Poe's contention about the Confrontation Clause supported by any citation to law. Nope. That's probably because there is no law to support it. To be sure, the U.S. Supreme Court has left some murkiness in the Confrontation Clause picture. Here is how a 2010 Illinois Law Review article described it:

The Supreme Court has never indicated that a defendant has no right to confrontation prior to trial, but it is not clear that the Confrontation Clause applies in full force to pretrial hearings either.

As you can see, that statement hardly is a model of clarity. But two things seem clear: (1) Nothing precludes a defendant's right for confrontation prior to trial; (2) And case law indicates Carol, at a minimum, has a right (pre-trial) to know the identity of her accuser. As it stands, the charges against her are based on the word of an unnamed "ghost," which probably makes them what we call "sub-hearsay.

What is the Confrontation Clause. It's an extremely important component of American criminal law, so important that it is a bedrock of the Sixth Amendment. Here's how we described it in an earlier post:

What about Carol's Sixth Amendment right to "confront her accusers in a criminal case," which is known as the Confrontation Clause. In essence, it holds that if someone accuses you of a crime, you have a right to know who that person is -- and you have a right to confront that person via cross-examination at trial. Historically, the Confrontation Clause has been considered fairly important in the U.S. justice system; it prevents an anonymous individual from accusing someone of a crime and then hiding from the consequences of making an accusation that might be false.

But that is exactly what is happening in Carol's case -- and it suggests that word of the Confrontation Clause, proposed to Congress in 1789, has not reached outposts such as Springfield, Missouri.

For Carol, the Confrontation Cause is critical because there is no accuser in her case. Debi Wade, author of the Probable Cause (PC) Statement, claims Carol pushed Officer Jeremy Lynn as he burst through the front door of our duplex apartment for an unlawful eviction on Sept. 9, 2015. But Wade admits she did not witness the event, that someone "advised" her that it happened. It now has been more than 10 months since Carol's arrest and this "adviser" still does not have a name.

Poe claims it doesn't matter because the Confrontation Clause only applies at trial, not for pre-trial matters. But she could not be more wrong. Who says so? The U.S. Supreme Court. From our earlier post:

Typically, the right to confront your accuser involves cross-examination at trial, and Carol's case has not reached that point. But Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36 (2004), one of the best-known Sixth Amendment cases in modern history, makes it clear the Confrontation Clause goes beyond trial proceedings. From Crawford:

The text of the Confrontation Clause reflects this focus. It applies to "witnesses" against the accused — in other words, those who "bear testimony. . . . " An accuser who makes a formal statement to government officers bears testimony in a sense that a person who makes a casual remark to an acquaintance does not. The constitutional text, like the history underlying the common-law right of confrontation, thus reflects an especially acute concern with a specific type of out-of-court statement.

Various formulations of this core class of "testimonial" statements exist: "ex parte in-court testimony or its functional equivalent — that is, material such as affidavits, custodial examinations, prior testimony that the defendant was unable to cross-examine, or similar pretrial statements that declarants would reasonably expect to be used prosecutorially, . . . statements that were made under circumstances which would lead an objective witness reasonably to believe that the statement would be available for use at a later trial, . . . " Statements taken by police officers in the course of interrogations are also testimonial under even a narrow standard. Police interrogations bear a striking resemblance to examinations by justices of the peace in England. The statements are not sworn testimony, but the absence of oath was not dispositive.

We learn that at least three types of pre-trial statements are covered by the Sixth Amendment's Confrontation Clause:

(1) An out-of-court statement that "bears testimony," such as the one made by Debi Wade's "adviser";

(2) A pretrial statement that would reasonably be expected to be used prosecutorially, at a "later trial."  This includes an affidavit, such as Debi Wade's PC Statement, which included the statement made by Debi Wade's unknown "adviser;"

(3) Testimonial statements taken by police officers in the course of interrogations, even if they are not taken under oath -- such as the one made by Debi Wade's "adviser."

Missouri case law borrows from Crawford to drive home the importance of the Sixth Amendment and its Confrontation Clause. Clearly, Carol has a right to know the identity of her accuser and to confront him in pre-trial activities, such as depositions, interrogatories, and requests for production of documents:

The term "at a later trial" indicates the Confrontation Clause applies to pre-trial activities, including the filing of an affidavit, such as a PC Statement. For good measure, a Missouri case styled State v. Stewart (MO Ct. of App., 2009), borrows from Crawford to drive home the same point. From Stewart:

Finally, while "[t]he Sixth Amendment's Confrontation Clause provides that, '[i]n all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right . . . to be confronted with the witnesses against him,'" Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36, 42 (2004), that safeguard applies only if the out-of-court statement was "testimonial" in nature. The Court in Crawford did not give a "comprehensive definition of 'testimonial'" but stated that "it applies at a minimum to prior testimony at a preliminary hearing, before a grand jury, or at a former trial; and to police interrogations."

The statement made to Debi Wade was part of a police interrogation, and under the Sixth Amendment, Carol is entitled to know who made the statement and to confront him both at trial and pre-trial. And yet, the person's identity has been kept from her for almost a year. Here is a summary from our earlier post:

Bottom line: The Sixth Amendment's Confrontation Clause ensures that you cannot be accused of a crime by a "ghost." Your accuser must be identified, even in pre-trial documents, and that has not happened in Carol's case. It means she never should have been arrested (twice), incarcerated (twice), or subjected to any criminal proceedings.

Patty Poe's lies have covered a wide range of legal subjects, from her fantasy that cops were on our premises to conduct a trespass arrest, to Missouri's Castle Doctrine Law, to critical constitutional issues (with guidance from Poe's mysterious "friend"), such as the Fourth Amendment right to be free from unlawful searchers -- now to Carol's Sixth Amendment right to confront her accuser.

But we are not finished. There is more about Patty Poe's tendency to obfuscate -- putting her own client at great risk.

(To be continued)

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

As more audiotapes become known, Missouri GOP governor Eric Greitens faces evidence that he used state resources to help cover up a personal sex scandal

Eric and Sheena Greitens
(From stltoday.com)
The sex scandal swirling around Missouri Governor Eric Greitens has officially entered cover-up mode, with revelations that Greitens used a state-paid attorney to try to keep the story from hitting the press. If Missouri history is an indicator, that could be a sign that Greitens, considered a possible future GOP presidential candidate, is headed down a slippery slope that ends with a forced resignation.

As if the news could not get much more treacherous for the embattled former Navy SEAL, reports broke last night that the ex husband of Greitens' mistress has more audiotapes than had originally been made known to the public -- and he has turned them over to the FBI and state law-enforcement officials. On top of that, five GOP lawmakers in Jefferson City called on Greitens to resign.

The angle of Greitens using a state-paid attorney in an attempt at damage control could prove to be his undoing. From an article at stltoday.com:

Before news of a scandal involving Gov. Eric Greitens broke on Wednesday, at least one of his taxpayer-paid attorneys was on an intelligence-gathering mission.

In audio obtained by the Post-Dispatch, an attorney who works in the governor’s office, Lucinda Luetkemeyer, is recorded speaking with St. Louis attorney Albert Watkins about the political storm that was brewing.

Watkins represents the man who has alleged that Greitens in 2015 took a compromising photo of the man’s then-wife and threatened to release it if she ever spoke of their affair.

It is unclear from the recording whether Luetkemeyer knew of those allegations.

“Can I just ask you this question, Al?” Luetkemeyer asks in the audio. “Is your client talking to anyone in the media right now?”

His client was talking to the media.

Watkins, who provided a copy of the audio recording to the Post-Dispatch, said the conversation occurred about 2 p.m. Wednesday. At 10 p.m., St. Louis television station KMOV-TV (Channel 4) first reported that Greitens, a Republican, had an extramarital affair as he was preparing his successful run for governor. Greitens has denied taking a photo or threatening the woman.

The use of public resources for personal business has serious implications:

The recording offered a behind-the-scenes view of the Greitens’ governmental team and how it was trying to gather information about the emerging story. It also raised questions, Watkins said, about whether taxpayer resources should have been used to help control possible fallout.

“I found it chillingly disturbing that she would make that call as a state-paid employee,” Watkins said.

Watkins said he did not tell Luetkemeyer that he was recording their conversation. Such a recording is generally legal in Missouri if one party is aware that a recording is being made.

Glendale Mayor Richard Magee, who has worked as an attorney for several St. Louis County municipalities, said state employees shouldn’t expend taxpayer resources on a public official’s private legal matters.

“That person should be working on state-related business,” he said. “This is a great example of a personal situation ... It has nothing to do with his position other than it may diminish people’s confidence in him.”

You don't have to go too far back in Missouri history to find another politician who paid dearly for using public resources for personal gain. Like Greitens, William Webster was considered possible presidential timber. But in the early 1990s, Webster became ensnared in a federal investigation:

The federal investigation of William Webster began in 1991. The U.S. attorney's office in Springfield received a tip about a land deal involving a partnership that included William, Richard Jr. and Sen. Webster [Bill's brother and father]. The partnership sold a financially troubled condominium development to a group that included Stephen Redford, a resort developer who had been investigated by the attorney general's office.

Then, prompted by several articles in the Post-Dispatch, the investigation turned to William E. Roussin, the St. Louis lawyer who defended the Second Injury Fund for the attorney general's office and collected campaign contributions for Webster.

Throughout his campaign for governor, Webster denied that he was under investigation, even though federal authorities had informed him in November 1991 — a year before the election — that he was a target.

Redford and Roussin pleaded guilty to federal corruption charges, implicating Webster as they did so. Webster hadn't been charged. By then the court of public opinion, in Missouri's Nov. 3 general election, had issued its verdict. Webster lost the governor's race overwhelmingly to Democrat Mel Carnahan.

Despite the $5 million that Webster collected for his campaign, he still shaved campaign expenses by using his staff and equipment in the attorney general's office for political purposes. He reluctantly pleaded guilty to that last week before U.S. District Judge D. Brook Bartlett.

Could Eric Greitens be headed down the same path as William Webster, also a Republican? The release of more audiotapes will not help matters. From an article at stltoday.com:

An attorney for the man whose secretly recorded conversation with his wife exposed Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens’ extramarital affair last week says his client made additional recordings as well, and that he has forwarded them to both the St. Louis circuit attorney’s office and the FBI.

The attorney, Albert Watkins, didn’t specify that the FBI requested the previously undisclosed recordings, but he said there was an “expression of interest” by the federal agency about them.

Watkins declined to comment on how many additional recordings between the then-spouses exist, or whether the additional recordings involved any discussion of Greitens.

Greitens last week acknowledged he’d had an affair with the woman, his hair stylist, in 2015, as he was starting his run for governor. Greitens has forcefully denied a related allegation that the woman made to her husband: that Greitens took a nonconsensual photo of her while she was bound, blindfolded and partly undressed during a sexual encounter and that he threatened to publicize the photo if she exposed their affair.

The taking of nonconsensual photos of a person in a state of full or partial nudity is a Class A misdemeanor in Missouri, punishable by up to a year imprisonment. Some legal experts say Greitens’ alleged threat regarding the photo also could constitute blackmail or extortion.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Arrogance and self-centeredness are at the heart of sex scandal that threatens to bring down Missouri Governor Eric Greitens and his presidential ambitions

Eric and Sheena Greitens
The sex scandal that has rocked the administration of Missouri Governor Eric Greitens is less than a week old, so it's probably too soon to tell where it is headed; it is in the mode where new revelations come almost every day. The latest is that Greitens has postponed a statewide tour to promote a Trump-style tax overhaul.

If we can't see clearly about the Navy Seal governor's future, what about his past? What does that tell us about the roots of the sex scandal? Was it driven by a deep reservoir of arrogance that seems to have engulfed Greitens and those around him, for years? The answer appears to be yes, and here are three prime examples of arrogance in Greitens World.

ericgreitensforpresident.com? WTH

It's long been known that Greitens has presidential ambitions. But the general public might not know just how far back this goes. A trusted reader/researcher/legal resource found the following Web domain information the other day:

Registry Domain ID: 1563106540_DOMAIN_COM-VRSN
Registrar WHOIS Server: whois.godaddy.com
Registrar URL: http://www.godaddy.com
Update Date: 2015-05-27T14:52:14Z
Creation Date: 2009-07-21T18:45:25Z
Registrar Registration Expiration Date: 2018-07-21T18:45:25Z
Registrar: GoDaddy.com, LLC
Registrar IANA ID: 146
Registrar Abuse Contact Email: abuse@godaddy.com
Registrar Abuse Contact Phone: +1.4806242505
Domain Status: clientTransferProhibited http://www.icann.org/epp#clientTransferProhibited
Domain Status: clientUpdateProhibited http://www.icann.org/epp#clientUpdateProhibited
Domain Status: clientRenewProhibited http://www.icann.org/epp#clientRenewProhibited
Domain Status: clientDeleteProhibited http://www.icann.org/epp#clientDeleteProhibited
Registry Registrant ID:
Registrant Name: Registration Private
Registrant Organization: Domains By Proxy, LLC
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You can see that way back in 2009, almost eight years before he took office as governor, someone saw Eric Greitens as presidential timber. The Los Angeles Times wrote about this the other day, in light of the emerging sex scandal:

Missouri Republican Gov. Eric Greitens courted controversy and touched off political disputes even before acknowledging an extramarital affair and facing bombshell allegations that he blackmailed the woman involved.

Greitens has been a rising star in the national Republican Party and a welcome partner for state GOP lawmakers, whose favored policies had faced a Democratic governor's veto pen until Greitens' election in 2016. He also seemed to have his sights set on even higher office, having secured the web address EricGreitensforPresident.com years before running for governor.

But he also made missteps as a first-time candidate and then as a freshman governor, raising questions in particular about secrecy.

Greitens acknowledged Wednesday that he had an extramarital affair in 2015, but he denies the blackmail allegations and is telling supporters that a St. Louis prosecutor's investigation will clear him.

Greitens and his wife focus on one family -- their own 

After acknowledging the affair, Eric and Sheen Greitens were stunningly self-centered in their public statements. Consider these words from Sheena Greitens:

“We have a loving marriage and an awesome family; anything beyond that is between us and God. I want the media and those who wish to peddle gossip to stay away from me and my children.”

It apparently has not occurred to Sheena Greitens that there is another family involved here -- that of Eric Greitens' mistress -- and that marriage broke up. Based on news reports, they have one or more children. So one term that could be applied to Eric Greitens is "home wrecker" -- although Mrs. Greitens only seems to be concerned with her own home.

A word of advice for Mrs. Greitens: Don't marry a man with gubernatorial and presidential ambitions and then say you want the media to stay away from you and your children. It makes you look clueless and wildly out of touch.

Snakes, vultures, liars, sociopaths -- oh my!

In early 2016, candidate Eric Greitens wrote an email to supporters in which he expressed an extraordinarily dark view of his opponents and Missouri's political climate. From a report by Tony Messenger, of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

“There is, obviously, something wrong with politics, and there is something particularly, deeply, disturbingly, wrong here in Missouri,” [Greitens] wrote in the message to backers. “I’ve never been in politics before, but even in the brief time that I’ve been running for Governor, I’ve been exposed to some of the worst people I’ve ever known. Liars, cowards, sociopaths. They are often deeply broken and disturbed people, who — like criminals who prey on the innocent — take their pleasure and make their living by victimizing honest people. They are drawn to politics as vultures flock to rotting meat — and they feed off the carcasses of vice.”

The future governor was just getting warmed up.

“The … most vicious punishment for the pathetic people who lower themselves like slime to slander, is that they have to live with themselves. They can hire people to praise them, slip cash to people who will tell ’em — like drug dealers pushing dope on kids — it’s ok, everybody does it. They can spend money to have other people tell them comforting lies. But I believe that, deep down, they know the truth about themselves, and they see it staring back at them in the rotted, bloated, self-serving soul in the mirror. ”

Greitens called them vultures. Liars. Sociopaths. Drug dealers. Criminals. Snakes. All in one email.

“They are corrupt in ways that I didn’t know people could be corrupt,” he wrote of those in his way.

Wow, that truly is a message of "hope." And we now know that had Greitens bothered to look in a mirror, he would have seen a snake smiling back at him.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Missouri Governor Eric Greitens is under criminal investigation, as allegations of assault and blackmail swirl around his admitted extramarital affair

Eric Greitens
(From cbsnews.com)
Eric Greitens, Missouri's "Navy Seal" Republican governor, is under criminal investigation over revelations about an extramarital affair that now includes possible elements of blackmail and assault.

When St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner announced her investigation on Thursday, it apparently was to focus on allegations that Greitens took a partially nude photograph of his mistress and used it to blackmail her into silence. But Greitens allegedly also slapped the woman, according to a report today from CBS News, and that could add assault to the criminal investigation. From the CBS report:

Missouri Republican Gov. Eric Greitens is under investigation Friday morning following new accusations of assault and blackmail he says are false. Gov. Greitens admitted to cheating on his wife with an unnamed woman, after the woman's now ex-husband exposed the alleged sexual affair.

He is now being accused of slapping the unnamed woman with whom he had the affair, reports CBS News' Dean Reynolds. Greitens spent his Thursday in damage control trying to rally support. But now, with an official state investigation, some Republicans are asking for clarity.

"With these allegations hanging out there, we need to get to the bottom of it," said Missouri state Sen. Doug Libla.

Republican lawmakers in Missouri want answers, which is why there is now an active criminal investigation into Gov. Greiten's alleged conduct, including an admitted affair with his former hairdresser and accusations of blackmail and assault.

The CBS report adds considerable detail to perhaps the most disturbing encounter between Greitens and his mistress, who had also been his hair stylist:

Recordings obtained by CBS News appear to show the unidentified woman detailing her alleged encounter with Gov. Greitens to her now ex-husband. 
"I knew he was being sexual and I still let him. And he used some sort of tape, I don't know what it was, and taped my hands to these rings and then put a blindfold on me," the unnamed woman in the recording said. "He stepped back and I saw a flash through the blindfold and he said you're never going to mention my name, otherwise there will be pictures of me everywhere….He tried kissing my stomach and tried to kiss me down there but didn't quite get there because I flipped out and I said you need to stop."

Gov. Greitens' attorney says the story is a hit piece driven by former Democratic state party chairman Roy Temple.

"If my goal was to have inflicted political harm on the governor, I would have brought this information public before the election," Temple said.

An attorney for the woman's ex husband provided details about what prompted Greitens to slap her:

Attorney Albert Watkins, who represents the ex-husband of the woman involved in the affair, alleges Gov. Greitens assaulted her.

"When she admitted that she'd had sexual relations with her husband during a period of reconciliation, that the governor slapped her," Watkins said.

Watkins claims Gov. Greitens first made physical contact with the unnamed woman in the hospital while Greitens' wife was delivering one of his children. Greitens' attorney denies any allegation of violence, and says the governor is confident he will be cleared in the investigation.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Ashley Madison customers revealed; Jake Reinbold, of Missouri's Turner Reid Law, appears at cheaters' site, even though he's married to a shareholder in his firm

Jake and Bethany Reinbold, with their children
(From facebook.com)
A Springfield, MO, lawyer who is married to a shareholder in his firm -- and they have two young children -- appears as a paying customer at the Ashley Madison extramarital-affairs Web site, according to publicly available documents.

George W. (Jake) Reinbold IV is one of eight shareholders at the Turner Reid Duncan Loomer and Patton law firm. Another shareholder at the firm is Reinbold's wife, Bethany Parsons Reinbold.

Information at Ms. Reinbold's Facebook page indicates the couple has been married for five-plus years, with a son and a daughter -- both under age 6. From a September 2016 post on the Facebook page:

Happy 5 years Jake Reinbold!! With Henry in 2012, Hannah in 2014, and a new home in 2015 . . . we've been busy! There's no one I would rather have by my side than you!!

Public records show the Reinbold's relatively new home has an appraised value of $368,800, which means its market value probably tops $400,000.

Jake Reinbold earned both his undergraduate and law degrees at the University of Missouri. His practice focuses on insurance defense and coverage disputes, product liability defense, legal malpractice defense and general civil and appellate practice.

Bethany Reinbold completed her undergraduate work at Southern Methodist University and her J.D. at New England School of Law. Her practice focuses on medical malpractice, products liability, insurance defense and general civil trial practice.

We sought comment from Jake Reinbold for this post, but he has not responded to our queries.


Article with links to 1-40 in Ashley Madison series

(41) David Armistead, director of enterprise sales, TekLinks, Birmingham (10/19/17)

(42) William House, VP and controller, HealthSouth, Birmingham (10/26/17)

(43) Olin B. Barnes III, VP, One Resource Group, Birmingham (11/1/17)

(44) T.J. Bunn Jr., ST Bunn Construction, Tuscaloosa (11/2/17)

(45) Todd Deffenbaugh, VP and controller, Express Oil Change, Birmingham (11/6/17)

(46) Richard D. Crites, lawyer and reserve deputy, Springfield, MO (11/13/17)

(47) Mark C. Trudeau, CEO, Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, St. Louis, MO (11/15/17)

(48) Peter Blasi, lawyer, Evans Blasi, St. Louis, MO (11/16/17)

(49) Todd Wiesehan, director of resource management, Christian Co., MO (11/22/17)

(50) Spencer Desai, lawyer, Carmody MacDonald, St. Louis, MO (11/27/17)

(51) Johnny Aycock, administrator, University of West Alabama (12/19/17)

(52) Chris McIntyre, district judge, County County, AL (1/3/18)

(53) William W. Smith, lawyer, Smith and Alspaugh, Birmingham (1/10/18)

Eric Greitens, Missouri's "Navy Seal" Republican governor, admits to an extramarital affair, as blackmail allegation hangs over his national political aspirations

Eric and Sheena Greitens
(From stltoday.com)
Missouri's Republican governor, who reportedly has national political aspirations, admitted to an extramarital affair last night as news reports broke on the subject.

How bad could this get for Eric Greitens, who rose to high office mainly because his bio includes a stint as a Navy Seal? Well, the admitted affair likely will stick a fork in any "pro family" credentials he might have had. And the affair story includes allegations of blackmail that could prove especially troubling for Greitens.

Greitens and his wife issued a joint statement last night after a St. Louis television station aired a segment about the affair, with the city's major newspaper (St. Louis Post-Dispatch) about to follow suit. From a report at stltoday.com:

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens and his wife, Sheena Greitens, issued an extraordinary statement late Wednesday acknowledging that he had an extramarital affair in the past and that the couple “has dealt with this together honestly and privately.”

The statement came as a St. Louis television station aired a segment alleging that, during that affair, Greitens took a compromising photograph of the woman and threatened to publicize it if she exposed him. The statement from Greitens and his wife didn’t address that part of the allegation.

Greitens’ attorney, James F. Bennett, issued a statement denying the blackmail allegation.

“There was no blackmail, and that claim is false,” Bennett said. “This personal matter has been addressed by the Governor and Mrs. Greitens privately years ago when it happened. The outrageous claims of improper conduct regarding these almost three-year-ago events are false.”

Is the blackmail claim false? There seems to be quite a bit of doubt about that. From stltoday.com:

KMOV (Channel 4), in its report, quoted the former husband of the woman who allegedly had the affair with Greitens. The station did not quote the woman in its story, nor did it name the woman or her husband.

The station played portions of an audio recording that the then-husband says he made in March 2015, surreptitiously, of his then-wife confessing to a sexual encounter with Greitens days earlier.

The Post-Dispatch also has possession of the audio and has interviewed the ex-husband. The newspaper had previously decided against writing a story based solely on the husband and the audio recording, because the woman in question has consistently declined to be interviewed. However, Greitens’ public acknowledgment of an affair made it necessary to revisit that decision.

“You’re never going to mention my name, otherwise this picture will be everywhere,” Greitens told the woman, she claims on the audio. She is heard telling her then-husband that Greitens made the statement after he took a photo while she was bound, blindfolded and partly undressed during a sexual encounter at Greitens’ St. Louis home in March 2015. That was about a month after his first public statements confirming he was considering a political run.

The affair has its roots at a hair salon:

The ex-husband said the woman had been Greitens’ hair stylist before he ran for governor in 2016. The woman claims in the audio recording that initial flirtation grew into an affair that became physically intimate for the first time on the morning of March 21, 2015, when she went to Greitens’ home in the Central West End.

The woman claims in the audio that they went into Greitens’ basement, where he bound her to a piece of exercise equipment with some kind of tape, put a blindfold on her and began partly undressing her and touching her.

That part of the encounter was consensual, she indicates in the audio, but the alleged taking of the photograph wasn’t. She said in the audio that she wasn’t aware he was doing it until she saw a flash of light through the blindfold, followed by his alleged verbal threat.

During most of 2015, as the alleged affair was under way, Greitens was publicly discussing his plans to get into politics. He confirmed his interest in running for an unspecified statewide office in a written statement given to the media in February 2015 — less than a month before the alleged sexual blackmail episode took place.

On Oct. 20, 2015 — three weeks after Greitens filed papers formally starting his 2016 campaign for governor — the woman sent an email to an account that contains Greitens’ name. It’s the same email account Greitens listed in setting up a political website he used in his gubernatorial campaign.

“Eric, I’m asking you to please consider all who are involved and the circumstances around us,” the woman wrote in the email, which the Post-Dispatch obtained. “I need you to not book at the salon anymore. This isn’t fair to me, nor anyone close to us. Please respect me and my wishes. I need to move forward in my life as I know you are doing as well. Take care.”

The woman’s ex-husband, in statements to the Post-Dispatch in the past two weeks, laid blame for the collapse of his marriage largely on Greitens.

“Throughout that summer … the power of manipulation that Mr. Greitens had over my wife had become undeniable,” he said in the written statements, which were provided through his attorney, Albert Watkins. “Yes, the affair between (his wife) and Mr. Greitens was the main reason for the irreparability of our marriage.”

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Ashley Madison customers revealed: William W. Smith, of Smith and Alspaugh personal-injury law firm in Birmingham, appears at notorious Web site

William W. Smith and William W. Smith Jr.
(From facebook.com)
A prominent personal-injury lawyer in Alabama appears as a paying customer at the Ashley Madison extramarital-affairs Web site, according to publicly available records.

William W. Smith has been designated a "Super Lawyer" since 2008. He is the chief named partner in Smith and Alspaugh, which has its offices at 4 Office Park Cir, Ste 212, Mountain Brk, AL. Joining Smith in the firm are attorneys Cone Owen and William W. Smith Jr.. It had been a four-man firm, but partner Marcus Clay Alspaugh died in late October.

An online report shows that Smith practices about 60 percent in personal injury. He also works in products liability (30 percent) and medical malpractice (10 percent).

What kind of cases has Smith tried. A fairly recent example comes from a matter styled Frye v. Smith, 67 So. 3d 882 (Ala: Supreme Court, 2011). Here are the facts behind Frye:

On or about June 19, 2006, Rhonda Rainey and minors Roderick Arthur and Ryan Arthur were involved in an automobile accident while they were passengers in a 1998 Chevrolet Blazer sport-utility vehicle being driven by Christopher Rainey, Rhonda's husband and Roderick's and Ryan's stepfather. Roderick and Ryan were injured, and Rainey died as a result of injuries sustained in the accident. On June 17, 2008, the plaintiffs filed a complaint in the Calhoun Circuit Court naming as defendants General Motors Corporation ("GM"), the manufacturer of the Blazer, and Massey Chevrolet-Olds-Geo, Inc., the dealer who sold the Raineys the Blazer. The plaintiffs sought damages for wrongful death as to Rhonda and for personal injuries as to Roderick and Ryan, alleging claims of negligence and breach of warranty, as well as claims under the Alabama Extended Manufacturer's Liability Doctrine ("the AEMLD").

On June 12, 2009, GM filed a notice of bankruptcy in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, thereby invoking the automatic stay codified at 11 U.S.C. § 362.

On September 22, 2009, the plaintiffs amended their complaint to state claims against the following individuals: John F. Smith, Jr., former chairman of the board of directors of GM; Harry J. Pearce, former vice chairman of the board of directors of GM; and J. Michael Losh, former executive vice president of GM (Smith, Pearce, and Losh are hereinafter referred to as "the individual defendants").

On November 2, 2009, the individual defendants moved to dismiss the claims against them for lack of personal jurisdiction. In support of the motion to dismiss, the individual defendants each submitted an affidavit.

Wesley Frye was personal representative for the Estate of  Rhonda Rainey, deceased. Smith and Alspaugh lost the case on personal jurisdiction grounds. All of the individual defendants claimed they did not maintain residences in Alabama, did not own real or personal property in Alabama, did not pay taxes in Alabama, were not registered to vote in Alabama, and did not regularly travel to Alabama. Therefore, they claimed they were not subject to personal jurisdiction of Alabama courts.

That argument won the day before the business-friendly Alabama Supreme Court. It's unclear if Smith and Alspaugh refiled the case in another jurisdiction. If so, it likely would have been Detroit, Michigan.

Jefferson County property records show that William W. and Jan G. Smith live at 4501 Old Brook Way, Mountain Brook, AL. The property has an appraised value of $899,100, which means its market value probably is well north of $1 million.

We sought comment from William W. Smith, but he has not responded to our queries.


Article with links to 1-40 in Ashley Madison series

(41) David Armistead, director of enterprise sales, TekLinks, Birmingham (10/19/17)

(42) William House, VP and controller, HealthSouth, Birmingham (10/26/17)

(43) Olin B. Barnes III, VP, One Resource Group, Birmingham (11/1/17)

(44) T.J. Bunn Jr., ST Bunn Construction, Tuscaloosa (11/2/17)

(45) Todd Deffenbaugh, VP and controller, Express Oil Change, Birmingham (11/6/17)

(46) Richard D. Crites, lawyer and reserve deputy, Springfield, MO (11/13/17)

(47) Mark C. Trudeau, CEO, Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, St. Louis, MO (11/15/17)

(48) Peter Blasi, lawyer, Evans Blasi, St. Louis, MO (11/16/17)

(49) Todd Wiesehan, director of resource management, Christian Co., MO (11/22/17)

(50) Spencer Desai, lawyer, Carmody MacDonald, St. Louis, MO (11/27/17)

(51) Johnny Aycock, administrator, University of West Alabama (12/19/17)

(52) Chris McIntyre, district judge, County County, AL (1/3/18)

Failure to affix Missouri county seal points to our eviction being invalid -- and it means landlord, sheriff, and others might have engaged in federal crimes, which are punishable by up to 10 years in prison

Multiple forms in Greene County, Missouri, state that the county seal must be affixed to a document for an eviction order to be valid. The words are bolded in red, so they are hard to miss. Here they are:

The seal of the Greene County Circuit Court must be affixed for this execution to be valid.

We had at least three documents attached to our door in August/September 2015, when landlord Trent Cowherd launched eviction proceedings. None of them included the Greene County seal. (See here, here, and here.) That strongly suggests our eviction on Sept. 9, 2015, was conducted without a valid court order. It also might point to federal crimes, which can carry hefty prison sentences.

Since public documents indicate both Cowherd and his attorney, Craig Lowther, have almost 50 years of experience with tenant/landlord issues, it's hard to figure what excuse they would have for getting this wrong.

Why the requirement regarding the county seal? Our guess is that, without it, landlords and their lawyers routinely would evict tenants outside court authority. Such "self evictions" are unlawful in Missouri, Alabama, and probably all 50 states. And that is what Cowherd and Lowther apparently did in our case.

We have cited at least 10 grounds upon which our eviction was unlawful, but this might be the most blatant of all. It indicates Cowherd and Lowther are true rogues -- knowingly acting outside the law -- and causing serious damage. In our case, the unlawful eviction led to cops shattering Carol's left arm so severely that it required trauma surgery -- plus Cowherd's eviction crew, according to statements from a neighbor named Fred Jones, were seen stealing many of our personal belongings.

Is it a good idea to conduct an eviction outside the auspices of a court? No, it isn't. It's a blatant violation of civil law -- and, since it involved collaboration with the state (Green County Sheriff's Office), it could point to a federal crime under 18 U.S.C. 242 (Deprivation of rights under color of law).

If Cowherd and Lowther think Carol and I can be a legal pain in the neck, they might soon learn that we are a joyride when compared to FBI agents and federal prosecutors. That also likely would apply to Greene County Sheriff Jim Arnott and his associates, Greene County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Patterson and his associates, and anyone else involved with a conspiracy to trample our civil rights.

Consider this section from 18 U.S.C. 242:

. . . and if bodily injury results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include the use, attempted use, or threatened use of a dangerous weapon, explosives, or fire, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years,

Did bodily injury result in our case? I'd say the comminuted fracture of Carol's left arm constitutes a bodily injury. Were dangerous weapons used? I'd say the assault rifle that was pointed directly at my noggin' constitutes a dangerous weapon. How steep can the punishment be? A fine and up to 10 years in a federal big house. Ouch!

Do the a-holes who pulled off this little charade have some legal problems on their hands? I'd say the answer is yes. Those problems could grow to have enormous consequences, way beyond possible civil damages. And it could be caused, to a great degree, by a failure to pay heed to warnings in red on two documents -- as shown here and here. (The documents, with their red warnings, also are embedded at the end of this post.)

Why would the Missouri mafia resort to such tactics, conducting an eviction completely outside the authority of a court? In our view, it adds to evidence of an "Alabama Underground Railroad" that wanted Carol and me and our late kitty kat, Baxter, thrown on the streets -- pronto. Consider some of the legal niceties, involving lawful evictions, that the mafia boys and girls ignored:

* Missouri law requires rent be late by one month before initiating eviction proceedings. Ours was late by five days, and it wouldn't have been late at all if we had not been told we were going to be forced out whether we paid it or not;

* Missouri law requires that a judgment be final before the 10-day window for filing a notice of appeal can appeal. Our judgment never became final because a hearing on Oct. 1, 2015, became a moot point when we were evicted on Sept. 9 by virtue of an interlocutory (non-final) judgment.

* Missouri law requires that a judgment -- a non-default judgment, in any type of case -- does not become final for 30 days. That means our eviction could not lawfully have happened until sometime around mid November 2015.

* Missouri law holds that the timely filing of a Notice of Appeal puts a stay on execution of a judgment, such as an eviction. As it turns out, we actually filed our Notice of Appeal too early --  premature application, if you prefer. We paid required fees, and payment of bond also is required for a stay of execution. Bond is determined by the amount of the judgment, and anyone can check the docket in Trent Cowherd v. Roger Shuler and see there was no money judgment against us, so there could be no bond. In other words, our eviction was stayed, but the Missouri mafia wasn't about to let anything stop its thugs from their appointed rounds.

Our eviction was conducted so far outside the law it might as well have been held on Front Street in Dodge City -- with Matt Dillon, Doc Adams, Festus, and Miss Kitty gathered around to watch.

Why were the Missouri Mafia and the Alabama A-holes so determined to make sure we were terrorized -- our lives turned upside down -- in September 2015? Why did my own brothers -- David (the lawyer) and Paul -- add to the turmoil by seeking to have Carol and me declared disabled and incapacitated in Sept./Oct 2015?

We think we know the answer to those questions -- and it provides the likely reason Cowherd, Lowther, Arnott, Patterson, my brothers, and others were willing to act so far outside the law, to essentially bury us in abuse. A very important date was looming as this campaign of terror was launched. It was designed to truly make us disabled, to keep us from taking steps to assert our legal rights.

We will explain further in upcoming posts. For now, we encourage you to keep that time frame -- Sept/Oct 2015 -- in mind. It explains a lot, we think.

(To be continued)