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- 09/11/18--04:20: _"Luv Guv" Bentley h...
- 09/12/18--04:17: _Alabama Gov. Kay Iv...
- 09/13/18--04:01: _Bob Woodward's late...
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- 09/18/18--04:09: _Rob Riley, while hi...
- 09/19/18--04:10: _What happened to al...
- 09/20/18--04:19: _Was our Missouri ev...
- 09/24/18--04:20: _Popehat blogger Ken...
- 09/25/18--04:13: _Brett Kavanaugh now...
- 09/26/18--04:06: _College classmate s...
- 09/27/18--04:02: _Party for gay men i...
- 09/28/18--04:08: _Lindsey Graham and ...
- 09/28/18--15:37: _Brett Kavanaugh, Sa...
The law bit Trump on the fanny last week when Cohen reached a plea agreement in which he admitted to discussing or making hush payments to two women who alleged they had extramarital affairs with candidate Trump. In the process, Cohen implicated Trump in a criminal conspiracy, and that raises all kinds of troubling questions for the White House.
What if Donald Trump isn't the only office holder who could be facing such questions? What if they might apply to a prominent politico from Alabama? If payments intended to cover up sexual misconduct constitute a crime, what about payments intended to uncover alleged sexual misconduct against an opponent?
That last question could apply to U.S. Doug Jones (D-AL), who pulled off one of the biggest political upsets in the modern era, mainly because multiple women came forward to claim his opponent, Roy Moore, had acted in an improper manner with them over the years, mostly while they were under-age.
Roy Moore has been running for public office since 1982, but female accusers did not come forward until 2017 -- a span of 35 years. Why did they come forward when Moore ran against Doug Jones? Were financial incentives involved?
A D.C.-based watchdog group already has filed a complaint that Jones violated campaign-finance laws. That complaint focuses on the Highway 31 super PAC, which allegedly failed to disclose its donors before the 2017 special election. From a report here at Legal Schnauzer:
The Campaign Legal Center is accusing the Highway 31 super PAC of engaging in a "secrecy scheme to spend $4.2 million in the race" to aid Jones, a spokesman for the center told AL.com.
Highway 31's sole report to the Federal Election Commission before the election said it spent $1.15 million but raised no money. The group, headquarted in Birmingham, claimed its vendors lent them the money on credit.
Moore has filed a lawsuit that could take the issue in a different direction, especially if it unearths information that the female accusers were paid "to influence the outcome of the election." From our report in May about the lawsuit:
Roy Moore's lawsuit, against three women who accused him of sexual misconduct before Alabama's 2017 U.S. Senate special election, has been treated as pretty much a joke in several corners of the media world. Moore's complaint contains little of substance and is filled with the "craziness" for which "Ten Commandments Roy" has become known, says one columnist. The complaint sets out no facts to prove a conspiracy, makes Moore look like a "sore loser" (to Democrat Doug Jones) -- and, hey, the defendants are mostly fictitious -- writes another.
But I disagree with the analysts above about Moore's lawsuit. I believe it does have substance, it provides more than enough information to get past the Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss stage (which is all a complaint really is designed to do), and it could pose a serious threat to major political players -- including Doug Jones; his right-wing compadre Rob Riley; Bush family associates (including perhaps Karl Rove?) -- if it's proven they cooked up false stories about Roy Moore to turn the election.
Moore's complaint does not name Doug Jones as a defendant, but it does list 19 "fictitious defendants," which means room is left to add defendants, as discovery allows:
Moore probably knows his accusers did not cook up a scheme to cost him the election on their own. And even if they did, they probably do not have the power and deep pockets that could make this a national story. By naming 19 fictitious defendants, Moore's lawyer essentially is leaving space for the names of those who really did concoct a scheme to spread false and defamatory stories about Roy Moore -- if, in fact, such a scheme existed. It might be difficult to prove the stories are false, but it could be easy to prove a conspiracy -- by using discovery to seek emails, text messages, memos, phone records, etc. If such discovery points to names like Doug Jones, Rob Riley, Karl Rove, the Bush family (Jeff Sessions, Richard Shelby?) -- well, copious amounts of feces could start hitting the political fan.
We raised the issue of possible illegal payments in the Jones-Moore race back in May, months before the Michael Cohen plea-deal came out:
I don't pretend to be an expert on all the possibilities here, but discovery in the Moore lawsuit certainly could unearth evidence of election fraud and (if the accusers were paid or compensated in some fashion) campaign finance violations. Could that cause some corrupt low-life types to wind up in federal prison? I would not rule it out.
As with most lawsuits, it all will come down to discovery -- or the fear of discovery, by one side or the other. If the case lands with a judge who allows thorough and wide-ranging discovery, certain "fictitious defendants" might become very nervous.
|Donald Trump and Brett Kavanaugh|
Trump officials cited executive privilege as grounds for withholding documents from Kavanaugh's time as a lawyer in the George W. Bush administration, which likely was the most corrupt presidency in U.S. history -- until Trump himself came along. Senate Democrats said it was the first time the executive branch has invoked the Presidential Records Act to avoid handing over documents to Congress. Most rational Americans likely will realize what the White House's actions really mean -- that withheld documents would reveal Kavanaugh to be a partisan hack who is not remotely qualified to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court. Those Americans, perhaps thinking back to Trump's refusal to release his tax returns during the 2016 presidential campaign, likely will agree with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who tweeted this about the Kavanaugh caper:
We’re witnessing a Friday night document massacre. President Trump’s decision to step in at the last moment and hide 100k pages of Judge Kavanaugh’s records from the American public is not only unprecedented in the history of SCOTUS noms, it has all the makings of a cover up.
Federal judges are supposed to be the last line of defense for the constitutional rights of everyday Americans. Corruption related to the judiciary -- whether it's the big-scale kind in the Kavanaugh hearings or the small-scale kind that produces baseless rulings victimizing middle- and lower-class Americans on a regular basis, gnaws at our democracy. My wife, Carol, and I have witnessed the small-scale kind of corruption, trampling our civil rights, more times than we can count. In fact, we recently were the victims of a judicial scam that was so brazen in its lawlessness as to almost be comical.
Here is the gist of what happened to us in the Northern District of Alabama: We moved for the disqualification of Judge Virginia Emerson Hopkins in our "Jail Case" -- providing a supporting affidavit, as required by law -- and the judge who ruled that Hopkins did not have to step down is related to an opposing party. And -- get this -- Presiding Judge Karon Bowdre found that to be perfectly OK.
We're not making this up. Imagine that you sued a man named Herman Blokes in the Northern District of Alabama. Imagine that a judge who is Mr. Blokes' uncle or cousin (or whatever) made a critical ruling in Mr. Blokes' favor. Finally, imagine that the chief judge of the district found such a ruling is squarely within the law. Would you call that "justice"? That's what federal judges in Alabama call it.
Judge Virginia Emerson Hopkins has demonstrated bias and prejudice in the instant case that is both “extrajudicial” and “pervasive” in her unlawful rulings.
A report titled "Money Trails to the Federal Bench," from the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) indicates Hopkins wound up on the federal bench because of the cold-hard cash she helped funnel to Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), with some also going to Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), now attorney general in the dysfunctional Trump administration.
The CIR report states the following under the header: Hopkins, Virginia Emerson, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Alabama Nominated: October 14, 2003 | Confirmed: June 15, 2004
Summary: In May 2003, five months before her nomination, Hopkins and her husband, attorney Christopher Hopkins, each contributed $1,000 to Sen. Shelby, who strongly supported her nomination. On Halloween 2003, two weeks after Hopkins was nominated by the White House, President Bush received $2,000 from Hopkins’ husband. Sen. Sessions, also a backer of her nomination, later received $1,000 from husband Christopher Hopkins several months after her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, of which Sessions is a member. Overall, Hopkins’ husband made nearly $9,000 in federal contributions between 2000-2004, with all but $500 going to Republicans.
Virginia Hopkins, formerly an attorney in private practice, gave President Bush $250 in 2000.
What does this tell us? Virginia Hopkins and her Anniston-attorney husband, Christopher Hopkins, bought a seat on the federal bench. The following chronology from the CIR report, along with a summary from our affidavit, makes that clear:
Chronology:*May 21, 2003: Shelby receives $2,000 total from Hopkins and her husband
* October 14, 2003: Bush nominates Hopkins
* October 31, 2003: Bush-Cheney campaign receives $2,000 from Hopkins’ husband
* November 19, 2003: Confirmation hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee
* March 2, 2004: Sessions receives $1,000 from Hopkins’ husband
* June 15, 2004: Hopkins is confirmed by the Senate.
The summary? Christopher Hopkins made $9,000 in federal contributions just before, and after, his wife was nominated to the federal bench. Then, we see a regular money trail leading from Christopher and Virginia Hopkins to Richard Shelby, the Bush-Cheney campaign, and Jeff Sessions. All of these contributions came between May 2003 and March 2004, just before and after Virginia Hopkins was nominated. In essence, Christopher and Virginia Hopkins bought a seat on the federal bench, in a thinly disguised pay-to-play scheme and it had nothing to do with the nominee's judicial qualifications.
We learn that Virginia Hopkins owes her judicial seat to her allegiance (and financial contributions) to Richard Shelby, Jeff Sessions, and George W. Bush.
What impact does all of this have on our case? After all, that is the central question at hand. From our affidavit:
Why does this matter in the instant case? Almost every defendant in this case is tied, directly or indirectly, to Shelby, Sessions, and Bush – or all three. And I, Roger Shuler – on the blog Legal Schnauzer– have written numerous highly critical articles about these three prominent political figures (and their appointees or associates). In other words, I have shined unflattering light on the individuals who have supported, championed, and enhanced Judge Hopkins’ legal career – creating a deep animosity in her that is personal, extrajudicial, and way outside the four corners of the courtroom. Judge Hopkins has exhibited a consistent bias and prejudice toward Carol and me because we have unmasked the individuals (and their associates) who have been her personal boosters.
I figured even the Northern District of Alabama could not ignore Hopkins' obvious bias, and the money trail that helped produce it. But I was wrong.
Presiding Judge Bowdre assigned our Hopkins-disqualification motion to a senior federal judge named Lynwood Smith. When I received notice of that, I immediately did a face palm.
Why? We will address that in an upcoming post.
(To be continued)
|Brett Kavanaugh, on the first day of his confirmation hearings,|
as aide Zina Bash appears to make a white-power symbol,
near her left elbow, behind him.
The Senate Judiciary Committee began the Brett Kavanaugh hearings yesterday amid shouts from angry protesters and heated debate among committee members over the failure to receive more than 100,000 documents from the nominee's professional history. One member called the hearings a "charade," while another heavyweight politico said the process had "all the makings of a cover up."
It was hard to dispute that characterization. Heck, the festivities even included Web-fueled speculation that Kavanaugh aide Zina Bash made a white-power symbol in full view of a national-television audience. You might call all of this judiciary-related corruption at the "corporate office" level. Meanwhile, "retail level" corruption continues unabated in federal courts across the country -- and far greater legal minds than mine have spoken about it. Meanwhile, my wife, Carol, and I have witnessed it -- in up close and personal ways -- over and over again.
One of the most recent examples came from our efforts to have U.S. District Judge Virginia Emerson Hopkins disqualified from our pending "Jail Case" due to bias or prejudice. Presiding Judge Karon Bowdre referred the matter to Senior Judge Lynwood Smith, which caused me to do a face palm.
Why? Several news outlets have reported that Smith and former Gov. Bob Riley are cousins. It's hardly a secret. One of the defendants in our case is Rob Riley, the former governor's son. That means Smith was set to rule on an issue to which a family member was a party. The judges involved apparently thought we were too stupid to realize what was going on. But when we filed a motion pointing out Smith's conflict and seeking his recusal, Bowdre ruled the whole thing was perfectly fine. (Our motion and Bowdre's ruling are embedded at the end of this post.)
In the process, Bowdre butchered the relevant law -- proving that you, too, can become a presiding judge if you fulfill the apparent requirement that you be both crooked and incompetent. That's justice in the Northern District of Alabama. Talk about a charade.
To no one's surprise, Lynwood Smith ruled that Hopkins could stay on the case, allowing her to continue making unlawful rulings to benefit Rob Riley, members of his law firm, and his political allies -- including a female lobbyist with whom he has been reported to have a particularly "close relationship." (Smith's ruling is embedded at the end of this post.)
Smith essentially pulled out every excuse possible for Hopkins' actions, while largely ignoring the proper standards by which the motion was to be reviewed. The gist of his finding can be found on page 3 of his opinion:
Plaintiffs' allegations do not rise above the level of mere speculation. There is no indication that plaintiffs' criticism of political figures who have supported Judge Hopkins's political career actually caused her to harbor any bias against plaintiffs that has affected her decision-making in this case.
Where does Smith go wrong? Here are two key grounds:
* Eleventh Circuit law holds that allegations in an affidavit must “convince a reasonable person that a bias exists.” United States v. Alabama, 828 F.2d 1532, 1540 (11th Cir. 1987). In fact, a law-review article on the subject states: "Indeed, virtually every circuit has adopted some version of the 'convince a reasonable person' test." Judge Smith makes no mention of applying such a test.
* The Eleventh Circuit also has held "the benefit of the doubt is now to be resolved in favor of recusal."United States v. Alabama, 828 F.2d 1532, 1540 (11th Cir. 1987). Judge Smith makes no mention of this requirement.
One of the primary defendants in this matter is Rob Riley, son of former Gov. Bob Riley. Most of the other defendants are politically or professionally connected to Rob and Bob Riley.
According to published reports, Judge Lynwood Smith and Bob Riley are cousins. That means Judge Smith is related to Defendant Rob Riley.
No wonder Judge Smith denied the Shulers’ motion to disqualify Judge Virginia Emerson Hopkins for obvious bias and prejudice. He obviously is biased and prejudiced toward defendants who either are members of his family and connected to members of his family.
A 2009 article from the Enterprise Southeast Sun states: “[Bob]Riley released a statement Monday praising U.S. District Judge Lynwood Smith's ruling in favor of a Madison County sheriff who seized 200 machines from a bingo hall in Triana. He called the action a definitive ruling on the illegality of electronic bingo machines as a whole throughout the state. . . . A press release from [Ronnie] Gilley's office countered Riley's assessment of the ruling, stating the ruling "is not representative of the legality of other charitable electronic bingo operations in Alabama.""Gov. Riley's comment calling his cousin's ruling 'definitive' is a misrepresentation of the ruling," the release further states. "Smith's decision in favor of the sheriff's accusations that the bingo operation in question was operating illegally was warranted based on facts surrounding the allocation of revenue received from the bingo operation and failure to comply with Amendment 387. Smith's ruling was not in reference to the legality of the machines, but rather the legality of how the Department of Texas Veterans of Foreign Wars was operating its business."In reference to allegations that Riley and Smith are cousins, Jeff Emmerson with Riley's press office confirmed the men are "distant cousins."
What does this mean for our case? Well, it shows Lynwood Smith has a history of ruling in favor of his family members, the Rileys -- and Ronnie Gilley called him out on it. History repeated itself in our case, with Smith again favoring the Riley family and failing to disclose his conflict of interest. From our Motion to Disqualify Lynwood Smith:
So, it’s undisputed that Lynwood Smith and Bob Riley are cousins, meaning Smith is related to defendant Rob Riley. Smith also has a history of cheating on behalf of the Rileys, taking cases where they are involved and he is disqualified. That Smith ruled on the Shulers’ motion without disclosing this blatant conflict of interest shocks the conscience– assuming any of the judges in the Northern District of Alabama has a conscience. Smith unmasks himself as a glorified con man, which is on par with the bias and prejudice Hopkins has shown from the outset of this case.
Summary: Judge Smith is disqualified, and his judgment is due to be vacated as void, per Liljeberg v. Health Services Acquisition Corp, 486 US 847 - Supreme Court 1988. Judge Hopkins remains disqualified, and her judgments are due to be vacated as void, per Liljeberg.
How did Presiding Judge Karon Bowdre handle the matter? She found that it's perfectly fine for Judge Smith to rule on a matter where one of his family members is involved. No kidding. Of course, Bowdre had to butcher the law to get there. From her ruling:
In response to the plaintiffs’ present motion, Judge Smith submitted an affidavit describing his genealogical relationship to Rob Riley, and demonstrating that the degree of their kinship, “calculated according to the civil law system,” is seven degrees — far more than the three degrees of relationship proscribed by 28 U.S.C. § 455(b)(5). Accordingly, the provisions of 28 U.S.C. §§ 455 do not support plaintiffs’ motion and Judge Smith was not disqualified from ruling on the motion referred to him.
Notice that Bowdre cites law from 28 U.S.C. 455, which is one of two statutes related to judicial disqualification. But Bowdre acknowledges in the first paragraph of her ruling that we filed our motion under 28 U.S.C. 144, the other federal disqualification statute. In short, Bowdre knew our motion was filed under one statute, but she decided the motion based on another statute.
Even if Sec. 455 applied to our motion, Bowdre still butchered the law. She acknowledges that the overriding standard is as follows:
Any justice, judge, or magistrate judge of the United States shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned.
Lynwood Smith is related to an opposing party in our case -- and that is undisputed. Might his impartiality "reasonably be questioned"? The answer obviously is yes. Only in a federal courthouse might someone come up with a different answer.
Bottom line: Sen. Richard Blumenthal nailed it yesterday when he called the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings a charade. But the dubious nature of our federal courts is not breaking news. They have been a sewer long before Kavanaugh was nominated for the U.S. Supreme Court.
When you have lived next door to a "Neighbor From Hell," it's somehow comforting to know that others have gone through the same miserable experience. That was my first thought recently after a dispatch from Indianapolis crossed our news desk about a 67-year-old woman who apparently has made it her mission in life to be an asshole to the people who live around her.
A video of Vicki New tearing up "No Trespassing" signs, throwing the pieces at her neighbors, and threatening to kill them went viral last week after one of the neighbors, Luvia Roman, posted it on her Facebook page. (See videos above and at the end of this post.) Last Wednesday, New was in the Marion County Jail on preliminary charges of criminal trespass and battery resulting in bodily injury. The county prosecutor's office said it is still reviewing the case before formal charges are filed.
The story even made Newsweek, which reported that the dispute has involved issues over property lines and calls to police, who seemed unable to get the situation under control.
If much of this sounds familiar, that's because it's a lot like our experience in Birmingham, Alabama, with a criminally inclined neighbor named Mike McGarity.
McGarity, his son, and guests trespassed on our property numerous times; McGarity threatened to sue us for attempting to protect our property rights; and we repeatedly were the targets of vandalism -- including an effort to burn down our mail box and having a metal object thrown at night through our front window. Also, McGarity fenced in about 400 square feet of our back yard -- and when we had the property re-surveyed and forced him to move his fence -- he refused to compensate us for land that he had essentially stolen.
We did not learn until later that McGarity has at least eight criminal convictions on his record; the records we found all involved misdemeanors, but they included offenses involving sex and violence.
It came as no surprise when McGarity struck me in the back with a roadside sign, which constituted a felony assault, under the law, but officials in Shelby County, AL, wrongly claimed it was a misdemeanor. (Much more on that incident, which included an eyewitness report, in a series of upcoming posts.)
The response from law enforcement on the assault was typical of deputies' inability to enforce Alabama's criminal-trespass law. Ms. Roman and her companion, Miguel Rios, apparently have faced a similarly inept response from cops in Indianapolis -- at least until New was stupid enough to get caught acting like a bully on a video that went viral. Only then did Indiana cops do something that might help resolve the situation.
Despite his lengthy criminal record, McGarity managed to find a job with a reputable employer -- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama -- which, as a federal Medicare contractor, is supposed to do extensive background checks on potential employees. The BC/BS background-check process apparently is deeply flawed because it allowed McGarity to slip through the cracks.
While we essentially were dealing with a career criminal, the Indiana case apparently is driven by a neighbor who appears to be a racist. From the Newsweek account:
Miguel Rios and Luvia Roman are faced with the difficult situation of living next door to a woman who has allegedly harassed them repeatedly.
The couple lives in Indianapolis and Roman told Newsweek that they purchased their home about a year and a half ago. Since moving in, they’ve had multiple problems with their neighbor, including having the health department, narcotics and child protective services called to their home.
Roman explained that part of her believes it’s been a targeted attempt to get them to move because they’re Hispanic, but the woman also had problems with people in the neighborhood who are white. Roman posted a video of Sunday’s confrontation on Facebook, during which the woman is seen pulling a “no trespassing” sign out of the grass, snapping it over her knee and throwing the pieces at Rios.
“Touch me, I’ll kill you,” she tells Rios, who advised her to calm down.
The woman then takes a second “no trespassing” sign and does the same thing, snapping it in two and throwing it at the couple. She calls the couple “trash” and Roman encouraged her to call the police and have them come to the neighborhood. At least one other neighbor can be heard yelling from what appears to be across the street and the woman tells her to go “back in her f**king house” before making an obscene gesture.
What led up to this? Newsweek provides background:
Roman told Newsweek that there have been disputes over property lines in the past and to resolve the issue, she purchased the signs, the woman agreed to have them put up and a police officer put them in the woman’s yard.
However, on Friday night, when Rios and Roman came back from dinner, the signs had been thrown in their driveway. On Sunday, while Rios was cleaning his car, he put the signs back up in her yard, where the officer had placed them, which is when the confrontation ensued.
Roman and Rios aren’t the only ones in the neighborhood to feel threatened by the woman and Corey Banks, who lives across the street and witnessed the encounter, told WFTS that she’s called him the n-word multiple times.
Another neighbor told WFTS that the woman has harassed multiple neighbors who are minorities and one family ended up breaking their lease and moving out because the woman made living there “unbearable.”
What can we learn from the Indiana contretemps?
(1) Neighbors from Hell can be found anywhere, and it's damned hard to avoid them -- no matter how hard you might try. If you are wealthy enough to afford an estate-sized lot, with serious fencing, that probably helps.
(2) There probably is not a jurisdiction in the country that does not have criminal-trespass laws, but cops tend to be useless in dealing with such matters;
(3) An Indiana neighbor said New's actions made living in the neighborhood "unbearable." Based on experience, I can vouch for that assessment.
(4) Our neighbor issues started in December 1998, and we still are dealing with the legal fallout. Fortunately, advances in technology can provide a major weapon to fight back against neighborhood bullies. I'm pleased to see that Roman and Rios are making video and social media their friends. And I believe that's what caused police to finally take the matter seriously.
|Did SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh|
help cover up Judge Bill Pryor's ties
to gay pornography via badpuppy.com?
|Bill Pryor, from his gallery of|
Kavanaugh told the late Sen. Ted Kennedy in 2006, under oath, that he was not involved in the Pryor nomination. But documents released yesterday in Kavanaugh's confirmation hearings for a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) show he was involved in the process that led to Pryor landing on the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta.
Elie Mystal, executive editor at Above the Law (ATL), says the documents released by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) prove Kavanaugh committed perjury before Congress in 2006. From Mystal's article, which is titled "Brett Kavanaugh perjured himself. He should be impeached from the D.C. Circuit soon: Are Republicans really going to confirm a judge who will need to be impeached?":
Since Kavanaugh’s perjury occurred in 2006, Democrats in the House should move NOW to impeach Kavanaugh. Papers should be drawn up by tomorrow.
We should have a House vote on the impeachment of Kavanaugh from the D.C. Circuit before we have a Senate vote on his confirmation. Each House member running for reelection this fall should be asked to vote on whether a member of the Court of Appeals can lie to Congress and still have his job.
And we should be able to know the answer to that question before we ask senators to vote on his nomination. Potentially, they’ll need to conduct an impeachment trial on Kavanaugh before they can vote on his confirmation.
That's powerful stuff, and it hits close to home here at Legal Schnauzer. That's because in September 2013 we broke the story that Pryor, while a college student, posed nude for photographs that wound up at the gay-pornography site badpuppy.com. Our posts were picked up by numerous Web sites around the country (including Above the Law) and reportedly played a major role in Pryor falling out of favor as a possible Donald Trump appointee to SCOTUS.
|Bill Pryor: Robed and disrobed|
On the evening of Oct. 23, 2013 -- after an unflattering post that morning about Pryor's ties to the tobacco industry -- deputies broke into our home, beat me in our garage, doused me with pepper spray, and hauled me for a five-month stay in the Shelby County Jail. That's all without a whiff of any criminal allegation. I became the first U.S. journalist since 2006 to be incarcerated and likely the first person in U.S. history to be arrested for blogging -- and to be jailed because of a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction that have been unlawful under more than 230 years of First Amendment law.
How does our experience intersect with revelations yesterday at the Kavanaugh hearings? Many ways are possible, but this might be the key question: Did Kavanaugh know about Pryor's history with gay porn, did he help Pryor skirt that issue in the confirmation process -- and would documents currently being withheld prove that Kavanaugh helped cover for Pryor?
How did issues of Brett Kavanaugh, Bill Pryor, and perjury arise in yesterday's hearings? Elie Mystal explains:
Take ideology out of it for a second. Yes, documents heroically released today by Senator Cory Booker show Brett Kavanaugh’s antipathy towards minorities and willingness to entertain Korematsu-style racial profiling. Yes, documents obtained by the AP show Kavanaugh’s willingness to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Those views are problematic, but typical of modern American conservatives.
What’s atypical, or at least we’re told it’s atypical, is for American conservatives to suborn perjury. But that’s what they’re doing by supporting Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court. During today’s confirmation hearings, Brett Kavanaugh was shown to have perjured himself before Congress in 2006.
In 2006, Kavanaugh told Ted Kennedy that he was “not involved” in Bill Pryor’s nomination to the Eleventh Circuit. In fact, he was involved. In documents made public during Senator Pat Leahy’s questioning, Kavanaugh is shown to have recommended Pryor, and invited to actively discuss Pyror’s hearings.
Mystal provides more background about the perjury, and it shows that Kavanaugh has a tendency to be involved with partisan skulduggery:
In a world where the President of the United States will lie about what time it is while standing in front of a clock, this may seem like de minimis lying. We’ve become so accustomed to people lying and then still being put in positions of public trust that we tend to forget that truthfulness should be a minimum requirement for office.
But there’s more. Kavanaugh had a good, albeit nefarious, reason to lie to Ted Kennedy. His involvement in those hearings was aided by documents stolen from Senator Leahy and other senators on the Judiciary Committee. Documents released today show that Kavanaugh was on emails which had, and I’m not making this up, “SPYING” in the actual subject head:
When pressed by Senator Leahy, Kavanaugh said that he didn’t know he was working with stolen information (for hearings he lied about working on). Leahy said, “I was born at night, but not last night.” Leahy said that he couldn’t believe that Kavanaugh was in possession of stolen information, and used, and testified differently.
This. Is. Perjury.
Is the Republican Party willing to address this in a serious fashion? That remains unclear, but Mystal shows that it is, in fact, very serious:
That should be game over. As much as I disagree with the ideology of conservatives, I refuse to believe that they can’t find one who believes what they believe and yet doesn’t lie before Congress.
|Patrick Leahy and Brett Kavanaugh|
Remember, even Mitch McConnell didn’t want this particular nominee. He thought there were conservatives who would be easier to confirm. Kavanaugh was pushed by Jeff Sessions and Don McGahn, two people President Trump now hates. It would be simple for Republicans to take a stand here, and thereby generate a smidgen of credibility that they place integrity above ideology.
I’m not going to hold my breath.
Perhaps some historical perspective is in order -- and Mystal provides it:
Which brings us to impeachment. If Kavanaugh is confirmed, the Democrats will now have grounds to call for his impeachment every single day for the literal rest of his natural life. He perjured himself before Congress. We now have more on him than we had on Bill Clinton.
Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution does not reserve impeachment for the president. It is a remedy that can be used against any federal officer. The procedure is the same, the House votes for impeachment, the Senate, by supermajority, votes to convict.
In our history, two presidents have been impeached, one senator, and… 15 judges. Eight of those judges have been convicted, though that hasn’t happened since 1805. While Kavanaugh and his ilk might want to bring us back to 1805, that’s not really the kind of precedent we should hang the integrity of the Supreme Court upon.
But, remember, I said impeachment applies to all federal officials. Kavanaugh is still very much a federal official — he’s a member of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.
What if Brett Kavanaugh isn't the only federal judge who should be subject to scrutiny regarding perjury? What if Bill Pryor also lied to Congress and should be the target of impeachment proceedings? We have addressed that issue before:
That brings us to Pryor's Senate confirmation hearing. It is standard for a federal nominee to be asked, under oath, if there is anything in his background that might embarrass him or the president who nominated him. Pryor has known the nude photos were public since at least September 1997, and our sources say he likely did not disclose their existence to FBI and Senate investigators.
What are the possible implications of that? Here is how we answered that question in an earlier post:
Could Pryor face serious consequences if it is shown he made false statements to officials looking into his background? Based on the impeachment and removal of Louisiana federal judge Thomas Porteous in 2010, the answer might be yes.
One of the articles of impeachment against Porteous involved his failure to disclose information to investigators--and his false statements during pre-confirmation regarding any background information that might prove embarrassing to him and the president who nominated him, Bill Clinton.
Did Pryor withhold information that would embarrass him and George W. Bush? We don't have a certain answer at the moment, but it appears likely.
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At its essence, Legal Schnauzer is a site about the human tendency to lie, cheat, and steal -- especially in matters of law and politics. So, these stories about the good and evil crowdfunding sites can generate catch our attention. We obviously are not alone in our focus on human deceit; is it any wonder that a prominent political blog is called Crooks and Liars?
On the heart-warming side is a story about Dawn Wells, who played Mary Ann in the hit TV series Gilligan's Island. From a report at Yahoo!
As we learned from former Cosby Show actor Geoffrey Owens, who people tried to shame after they learned he was working at Trader Joe’s, just because someone appeared in a hit TV show doesn’t mean they’re set for life. Dawn Wells, who played Mary Ann on Gilligan’s Island (an iconic character on an iconic show), is broke after a “life-threatening surgery” and is soliciting donations to get herself back on her feet via GoFundMe.
Gilligan’s Island star Dawn Wells . . . has fallen on hard times due to unexpected health issues and is getting money from a crowdfunding campaign. “I don’t know how this happened,” she wrote on Facebook.“I thought I was taking all the proper steps to ensure my golden years. Now, here I am, no family, no husband, no kids, and no money.”
In the 24 hours since news broke that Wells — who had an “unexpected accident that required hospitalization for two months” and needed “a very long time” after that “to rest and heal,” according to her makeup artist friend Dugg Kirkpatrick, who started the campaign — was in need, the fundraiser has collected over $50,000 toward the $180,000 goal. (The campaign was launched on Aug. 27.) The most recent campaign update says Wells found an apartment “in a fab retirement village” in Glendale, Calif. The actress has since spoken out about the “outpouring” — and opened up a little about what got her there.
Wells, 79, described herself as “amazed at the kindness and affection,” in a post on Facebook.“A dear dear friend of mine with a big heart was trying to help me with some common issues we all understand and some must face.” He created the fundraiser “with the love [and] emotion” of “someone protecting their child” after she told him in a recent conversation, “‘I don’t know how this happened. I thought I was taking all the proper steps to ensure my golden years. Now, here I am, no family, no husband, no kids, and no money.'”
Wells, who was married to talent agent Larry Rosen for five years in the ’60s — during her Gilligan’s Island run — ended by saying she’s “grateful that God has given me so many friends and fans who care, or it would all be too … overwhelming.” She also added that her outlook is “positive” and she looks forward to connecting with her generous fans “in my travels.”
As of Sunday (9/9), the Wells campaign had raised $180,091, passing its goal of $180,000. Even in the age of Trump, that kind of makes you feel good.
|Dawn Wells, as Mary Ann, on|
Authorities executed a search warrant to swarm the home of the South Jersey couple a homeless man has accused of withholding close to a half-million dollars in GoFundMe cash.
As first reported by Philadelphia’s WPVI-TV, investigators were seen raiding Kate McClure and Mark D’Amico’s home in Bordentown Thursday morning. Authorities were reportedly seen removing bags of items from the residence. A black BMW was also reportedly towed.
The Burlington County Prosecutors Office has since confirmed the search was related to allegations levied against the couple by a homeless vet.
“Due to the enormous public interest in this matter, I am confirming that a search warrant was executed early this morning by the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office and the Florence Township Police Department at the residence of Mark D’Amico and Katelyn McClure in connection with a criminal investigation into the Johnny Bobbitt matter.
The move comes one day after Superior Court Judge Paula Dow ordered the couple to appear in court next week with a full accounting of the funds they collected for Bobbitt.
Bobbitt filed a lawsuit against the couple last month. Philadelphia attorney Chris Fallon, who is representing Bobbitt, has alleged the couple spent a large portion of the donations on gambling, lavish trips, shopping sprees and a BMW.
As for the use of crowdfunding for shady political purposes, we turn to former Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander. A Democrat, Kander lost a 2016 U.S. Senate run against GOP incumbent Roy Blunt. But like many members of the political-grifters class, Kander isn't going quietly into the good night. He has announced a run for mayor of Kansas City, and that brings his dubious use of crowdfunding back into the picture. From an Andrew Kreig report at the Justice-Integrity Project:
Missouri’s Democratic U.S. Senate nominee has orchestrated deceptive campaign finance and organizational practices, according to allegations filed anonymously before seven federal and state oversight bodies.
Jason Kander . . . and his allies allegedly devised a secret agenda behind a state referendum plan ostensibly to help children with increased tax on tobacco products, for example.
But the “Raise Your Hands 4 Kids” ballot referendum was concocted as a sweetheart deal for the tobacco companies, according to the 127-page memo, and also as an organizing tool in Republican-dominated rural Missouri for what pollsters say is surprisingly strong Senate race by Kander. Alleged manipulation of Tthe New York Times best-seller list and crowd-funding for charitable purposes are among the other allegations.
Allegations involving The New York Times best-seller list and crowdfuding involve Diana Kander, Jason's wife. Reports Kreig, citing a letter filed with government oversight agencies:
Highly summarized, since 2014, the Kanders have perpetrated at least two ostensibly criminal schemes. First, in Spring 2014, compelling evidence shows that the Kanders operated a fraudulent Internet "crowdfunding" scheme to raise and collect online public charitable donations, money which the Kanders then used in an insider scheme to help buy new-author Diana Kander's way onto The New York Times bestseller list — so future U.S. Senate candidate Jason Kander would look good if his wife was (supposedly) "a New York Times Bestselling Author."
|Jason and Diana Kander|
Then, U.S. Senate candidate Jason Kander and close accomplices collected, on behalf of RYH4K, more than $5 million in corporate and individual contributions — including $2 million-plus in individual public donations from Missourians who were solicited to donate money to help the "Kids."
Then, because RYH4K is in fact a "candidate controlled" ballot measure committee ("CCBMC'J, controlled by U.S. Senate candidate Jason Kander, this allowed U.S. Senate candidate Jason Kander, and accomplices, to treat RYH4K's $5 million-plus in corporate contributions and individual donations as candidate Kander's $5 million political "slush fund" to use as Kander deems best to further his political candidacy, and personal ambition, to win election and capture a U.S. Senate seat.
Here are details about Diana Kander's use of crowdfunding to become a "best-selling author:
Among additional allegations, the memo alleges that Diana Kander achieved her status as a “best-selling author” and paid speaker [largely] by raising funds in a deceptive manner in part via crowd-funding site Indiegogo, and then paying experts to game the best-seller system.
Those methods have long raised concerns elsewhere, as indicated by such 2013 stories as The Mystery of the Book Sales Spike: How Are Some Authors Landing On Best-Seller Lists? They’re Buying Their Way by Wall Street Journal reporter Jeffrey Trachtenberg and Here’s How You Buy Your Way Onto The New York Times Bestseller List, by Forbes writer Jeff Bercovici.
We are pleased to see that Dawn Wells is recovering from a rough patch in her life. As for those who would use crowdfunding for fraudulent purposes, we can think of a warm spot where perhaps they should spend eternity.
|Robert Bentley and Rebekah Caldwell Mason|
The notion of payoffs for positive coverage of Bentley and his relationship with senior adviser Rebekah Caldwell Mason might be the flip side to reports that the administration used state resources to conduct retaliatory investigations of Donald Watkins and yours truly -- the two online journalists who reported on the Bentley-Mason story for roughly seven months before the mainstream media (MSM) took serious notice.
John Archibald and Chuck Dean, of al.com, were among the MSM reporters who largely ignored the scandal -- and even attacked me, as the journalist who broke the story -- until audiotapes surfaced, proving the affair and making it impossible to ignore. Were Archibald, Dean, and their news organization paid to look the other way on the "Luv Guv" Bentley story?
That is one of several interesting questions raised by APR's latest report, from editor Bill Britt. Here is another: Why is Gov. Kay Ivey continuing to use state dollars to fund Bentley's defense?
Officially, the fund in question is called ACEGOV, but insiders have come to know it as the "Girlfriend Fund." Reports Britt:
Known in political circles as the "Girlfriend Fund,” because it paid money to Bentley’s alleged girlfriend, Rebekah Caldwell Mason, ACEGOV is a 501(c)(4) set-up in Feb. 2015, by Bentley’s then-General Counsel Cooper Shattuck to promote Bentley’s political agenda.
A team of lawyers from Maynard Cooper and Gale, led by Harvard educated attorney, John C. Neiman Jr., represent Bentley with the state footing the ever-growing legal bill.
Why is information about ACEGOV's financial backers so sensitive? Britt addresses that question:
Over a year ago, when it became clear that Ivey would replace Bentley as governor, a member of Ivey’s inner-circle approached Collier with a suggested promise of a resolution. However, since taking office, Ivey’s administration has spent hundreds of thousands to defend Bentley. . . .
Why Ivey changed her position on a resolution with Collier is unknown, but those close to the lawsuit believe certain individuals and companies that supported ACEGOV don’t want to suffer the humiliating blowback from their names being exposed by Collier’s lawsuit.
Collier was fired from his position at ALEA after he refused to follow Bentley’s order to lie to prosecutors in the Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard criminal case. . . .
Collier’s firing grew out of actions taken by Hubbard’s attorney Lance Bell, who in January 2016, contacted ALEA to arrange for attorney and radio host Baron Coleman to issue a complaint accusing prosecutor Matt Hart of leaking grand jury information. Bell’s actions are recounted in an affidavit by Hal Taylor, current ALEA Secretary.
Does ACEGOV, in many ways, represent the underbelly of Alabama politics? Britt suggests the answer is yes, and those who helped support the fund apparently know it:
Not only does Collier’s lawsuit raise questions about the state’s choice of representation; it also unearths a long suspected question as to why Gov. Ivey would go to such great lengths to protect Bentley.
Collier is asking the court to compel Bentley to identify donors he solicited to fund ACEGOV or those who contributed to the fund of which he has personal knowledge. It is widely suspected that a who’s who of business owners and corporate entities funded the non-profit to curry favor with Mason, who was Bentley’s close adviser.
Suggested payoffs to news outlets and radio talk show hosts for favorable coverage of the Bentley administration is also believed to have been part of ACEGOV’s secret mission.
According to Bentley’s state-funded legal team, “Collier’s motion makes baseless assertions that are not supported by the evidence.”
Perhaps the bigger question being asked in Montgomery is why is the Ivey administration so doggedly defending Bentley instead of putting the matter to rest?
|Robert Bentley and Rebekah Mason|
Bill Britt, editor of Alabama Political Reporter (APR), reported earlier this week that Bentley's high-priced lawyers from Maynard Cooper and Gale of Birmingham are playing hardball on discovery, stonewalling on producing the names of donors to the ACEGOV nonprofit, which has become known as Bentley's "Girlfriend Fund" because it was used to pay his mistress and senior adviser Rebekah Caldwell Mason.
Why the determination to stiff the Collier legal team on discovery? Jill Simpson -- opposition researcher, whistle blower, and retired attorney -- says it likely is because Chattanooga real-estate mogul Franklin Haney was a prominent donor to ACEGOV. And he is the money man behind the Bellefonte project.
That brings us to another question that Bill Britt raised: Why is the Ivey administration so doggedly defending Bentley instead of putting the matter to rest? Simpson says it's likely because Ivey supports the Bellefonte project on behalf of what Simpson calls the "Alabama Gang" of corrupt right-wing politicos -- including such luminaries as "Luv Guv" Bentley, former U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, former Gov. Bob Riley, and former Business Council of Alabama (BCA) president Bill Canary.
|Bellefonte nuclear plant|
The money trail can be difficult to follow, so we ask you to follow these bouncing balls:
(1) Haney reportedly engaged the services of Donald Trump's former personal attorney and fixer, Michael Cohen to help arrange financing for the Bellefonte project from Qatari interests. The meeting, aboard Haney's yacht, came days before federal agents raided Cohen's office, and it could be of interest to investigators for Special Counsel Robert Mueller. The meeting also came before Cohen pleaded guilty to campaign-finance violations.
(2) Haney has reached an agreement with SNC-Lavalin, a Canadian engineering firm, to finish at least one of two reactors at Bellefonte -- with the assistance of federal loan guarantees.
(3) SNC-Lavalin has a history of working on various projects with Russian interests, via the VEB Bank, which has close ties to Vladimir Putin. reputed mobster Oleg Deripaska, and former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort (who has been found guilty of financial crimes.)
(4) SNC-Lavalin is under a criminal inquiry in Canada, related to allegations of fraud on its engineering and construction projects.
Sounds like a quagmire, doesn't it? Jill Simpson seems to think so. From one of several Facebook posts on the subject:
The Mueller bunch, if they question Mr. Haney and Mr Cohen, might want to ask if the $10 million is coming from Mr Haney or from the Russian branch of SNC-Lavalin, a division that is owned 51 percent by the Russian government and controlled by Vladimir Putin.
The press might want to ask why Jeff Sessions' DOJ guy, Rod Rosenstein (who owes his current job to Chuck Cooper. Sessions' lawyer) and Mueller why they haven't arrested Mr Cohen's co-conspirator, Mr Haney. I suspect they are protecting Sessions, as Mr Haney knows all about the Sessions Alabama Gang of crooks, who have this nuclear deal going with a company that is owned in large part by Putin's government bank.
I don't know about most Alabamians, but I don't want a Russian-backed company, like SNC-Lavalin, putting in a nuclear plant near where I live. The Russian government stole our election, and God only knows what they might do with a nuclear plant.
I am pretty certain Mr Haney is just the middle man in this deal. . . . We still have the dark money connected to Bentley's girlfriend fund. We call it the "Governor of Alabama Pussy fund," suppoted by folks friendly with the Russian government and,in fact partners with Russian bank VEB.
God, these Russians are slick. It's so funny that Kay Ivey is overseeing Bentley legal defense so that Russian dark money from Haney and SNC-Lavalin does not become known to the public. The whole Alabama Gang ticket has been pushing for Haney and SNC-Lavalin (a Russian-government-bank company) gets their nuclear plant.
What could all of this mean for the United States down the road? The picture might not be pretty, Simpson writes:
I have been . . . spending a lot of time tracking the contract Mr Haney has with SNC-Lavalin on Bellefonte. So I thought I would share that Mr Haney has asked the Alabama Gang of GOP politicians to help him get $5 billion in a U.S. government loans to complete the nuclear plant, located near Scottsboro, Alabama.
The company he plans on giving the money to do this has close ties to the Russian government. Its name is SNC-Lavalin. Mr Haney reportedly is working with the Canadian company in multiple places, but that is only half true, as the company also operates out of Moscow and has close ties to the Russian government -- and to Vladimir Putin and his oligarchs. So everyone is real clear, this company will be finishing a U.S. nuclear plant. That sounds like a security matter that should not be allowed at all.
Also, SNC-Lavalin was awarded a huge Russian Arctic contract that I have been tracking for several years now.
Kay Ivey essentially has been running a 2018 "trust me" campaign for governor, refusing to debate Democrat Walt Maddox and saying almost nothing of substance. Perhaps she should address questions about her support for a Russia-backed project that will place a nuclear plant -- on TVA authorities have said is not even needed -- in the backyards of Alabama citizens.
The release of Fear: Trump in the White House has been one of the biggest news stories of the past week. By all accounts that we've read, it's another stunning chapter in Woodward's long career as a ground-breaking reporter. But there is another war under way on the American landscape, and it might be even more dangerous than Trump's jihad against the truth. We call it the "war on law," and we've been reporting on it since Legal Schnauzer started in June 2007.
You might say Trump's "war on truth" dates to June 2015, when he announced his run for the presidency. The "war on law" goes back much further than that. The late Monroe Freedman, considered the modern-day father of legal ethics, spoke about it in 1989. Karl Rove and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce launched an effort to buy Southern appellate courts in 1994, and that essentially was an official declaration of war on the law.
What impact does this have on our democracy? It destroys fundamental constitutional protections, such as due process and equal protection. Those quaint notions already are on life support in many jurisdictions.
As for Trump, he is conducting a war both on truth and the law. His appointment of the abominable Jeff Sessions as attorney general -- with his long history of political prosecutions -- showed an utter disrespect for the rule of law. His nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court of Brett Kavanaugh, who lied repeatedly to Congress during his confirmation hearings, is a classic case of placing political considerations over the law.
Trampling the law of trespassing
Our legal nightmare began when Shelby County District Judge Ron Jackson found Mike McGarity, our former neighbor with the lengthy criminal record, not guilty of trespassing -- even though McGarity admitted under oath that he had committed the offense as charged.
Jackson butchered the facts and the law in a variety of ways. But here is the one that really stands out, citing the judge's words from a court transcript:
"I'm going to find that you had to give written warning, and there is reasonable doubt about whether the warning was received prior to the trespass. Therefore, I am going to acquit. But Mr. McGarity, you certainly are on notice now, and if you return here on these issues, the result might be different."
Jackson found that we had to give McGarity written warning to stay off our property. Is that a correct reading of Alabama law -- or law anywhere, for that matter? Not even close. Jackson made it up -- in crude terms, he pulled it out of his ass. The real law can be found in a case styled Chambers v. City of Opelika, 698 So. 2d 792 (Ala. Crim. App., 1996). From the Chambers opinion:
The appellant has cited no authority for his position that to be guilty of criminal trespass the intruder must be aware that he or she had no license or privilege to enter or to remain on the premises. There is authority, however, that states that when those premises are private and not open to the public, there is no requirement that the prosecution prove that a prior written or verbal warning was given to the intruder.
As you can see, no property owner (or renter, for that matter) is obligated to warn an intruder. If that were the case, there would be no such thing as private property in the United States. Rather, it is the would-be trespasser's obligation to make sure he is "licensed, privileged, or invited" to be on the property. McGarity admitted he was on our property, and he never claimed any of those defenses, so he was guilty. Jackson's finding of "not guilty"allowed McGarity to file a baseless malicious prosecution case against me -- and all of our other legal travails flow from that. Had Jackson decided the McGarity matter lawfully, none of our other legal cases would have happened -- and 18 years of our lives would not have been ruined.
Jerking around with the statute of limitations
Our pending "Jail Case" in the Northern District of Alabama provides a recent example of courtroom crookedness. It involves the statute of limitations and shows U.S. District Judge Virginia Emerson Hopkins can't get even the simplest matters correct.
Hopkins dismissed all six of our federal claims -- First Amendment, Fourth Amendment, Fourteenth Amendment, False Arrest, False Imprisonment, and Excessive Force -- by finding that we filed our complaint after the two-year statute of limitations (SOL) for claims under 42 U.S.C. 1983 had
|Virginia Emderson Hopkins|
But that is not the only time-related matter at hand. There also is the small matter of when the SOL begins to accrue. In other words, when does the two-year clock start ticking on a Sec. 1983 claim in Alabama, or any other state? The U.S. Eleventh Circuit (covering Alabama, Georgia, and Florida) answered that question in a case styled Kelly v. Serna, 87 F. 3d 1235 (11th Cir., 1996):
“Deciding what statute of limitations applies to this action gets us only half way to our destination. Secondly, we must decide at what point the applicable statute begins to run. A statute of limitations begins to run when the cause of action accrues. Accrual of a cause of action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 is a question of federal law.Mullinax v. McElhenney, 817 F.2d 711, 716 (11th Cir.1987).
So, what does federal law say on the matter? Here is how the U.S. Supreme Court put it in Wallace v. Kato, 549 US 384 (U.S. Supreme Court, 2007):
“The statute of limitations in a § 1983 suit is that provided by the State for personal-injury torts,e.g.,Owens v. Okure, 488 U.S. 235, 249-250, 109 S.Ct. 573, 102 L.Ed.2d 594 . . . For false imprisonment and its subspecies false arrest, "[t]he... cause[s] of action ... provid[ing] the closest analogy to claims of the type considered here,"Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 484, 114 S.Ct. 2364, 129 L.Ed.2d 383, the statute of limitations begins to run when the alleged false imprisonment ends, see,e.g., 4 Restatement (Second) of Torts § 899.”
How does Hopkins butcher the law on this issue? By simply ignoring what Wallace v. Kato actually says. Hopkins claims"the statute of limitations does not begin to run until the facts which would support a cause of action are apparent or should be apparent to a person with a reasonably prudent regard for his rights." From that, Hopkins concludes that the SOL began to run when I was arrested, when my imprisonment began.
But that is not the law in cases of alleged false arrest and false imprisonment, as Wallace makes clear. You will notice the citation in Wallace to Restatement of Torts. The Restatement is a volume on U.S. common law, which applies across the country. It provides perhaps the most clearly worded statement on the SOL issue in our case:
“For false imprisonment, the statute [of limitations] begins to run only when the imprisonment ends, since the period of imprisonment is treated as a unit."Restatement (Second) of Torts § 899, (1979). See Wallace v. Kato, 549 U.S. at 389,127 S. Ct. 1091 ("The running of the statute of limitations on [common-law] false imprisonment is subject to a distinctive rule—dictated, perhaps, by the reality that the victim may not be able to sue while he is still imprisoned.").The Restatement.
This is not only succinctly stated law, it's also common sense. If Hopkins' version of the law was legit, someone could have you falsely arrested, keep you in jail for two years, and you would have no legal recourse once you got out. I was kept in jail for a little more than five months, and the SOL on my claims began to accrue when my imprisonment ended. It's undisputed that our claims were filed within two years after my release from the Shelby County Jail -- and that's when the SOL began to accrue.
Virginia Emerson Hopkins can't get that right because she is a sycophant for Jeff Sessions and U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), and they are two of the "generals" in the war on law.
Bob Woodward could write several volumes on that war, and he would be doing a huge service for our citizenry.
CNN is reporting that a committee vote on the Kavanaugh confirmation has been delayed until next week. It's not clear if the delay is related to new information from a confidential informant. From a report at Alternet:
The Intercept and Buzzfeed News are reporting that Democrats in the U.S. Senate have referred a letter concerning Judge Brett Kavanaugh—President Trump’s second nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court—to the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice for investigation. Last week, the Senate held confirmation hearings on Trump’s nominee, with some of the most California’s Kamala Harris and New Jersey’s Cory Booker.
According to The Intercept, members of the Senate Judiciary Committee have asked to see a Kavanaugh-related letter that California Sen. Dianne Feinstein has in her possession. But so far, Feinstein—who is the highest ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee—has declined to share the letter with her colleagues.
Exactly what’s in the letter remains unclear. But according to The Intercept, the letter was written by someone associated with Stanford University and may describe an incident involving Kavanaugh and a woman that occurred when they were in high school. The Stanford associate gave the letter to Democratic Rep. Anna Eshoo, who represents the Northern California district where Stanford is located and passed the letter along to Feinstein.
On September 13, BuzzFeed reported that it had contacted the woman believed to be the subject of the letter, but she declined to comment. However, Democratic Sen. Dick Durban of Illinois did speak to BuzzFeed on September 13, saying, “This matter has been referred to the FBI for investigation.”
BuzzFeed also contacted Eshoo’s office, which declined to comment on the contents of the letter, noting, “Our office does not discuss casework.”
Feinstein’s office, as of 1 p.m. EST on September 13, had declined to give BuzzFeed or any other news outlet a comment. But Feinstein said that an official statement about the letter would be forthcoming later in the day.
From a report at The Intercept, which conjures up memories of Anita Hill's testimony in the hearing on Clarence Thomas' confirmation:
Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee have privately requested to view a Brett Kavanaugh-related document in possession of the panel’s top Democrat, Dianne Feinstein, but the senior California senator has so far refused, according to multiple sources familiar with the situation.
The specific content of the document, which is a letter from a California constituent, is unclear, but Feinstein’s refusal to share the letter has created tension on the committee, particularly after Feinstein largely took a back seat to her more junior colleagues last week, as they took over Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings with protests around access to documents.
The letter took a circuitous route to Feinstein, the top-ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee. It purportedly describes an incident that was relayed to someone affiliated with Stanford University, who authored the letter and sent it to Rep. Anna Eshoo, a Democrat who represents the area.
Different sources provided different accounts of the contents of the letter, and some of the sources said they themselves had heard different versions, but the one consistent theme was that it describes an incident involving Kavanaugh and a woman while they were in high school. Kept hidden, the letter is beginning to take on a life of its own.
Eshoo passed the letter to her fellow Californian, Feinstein. Word began leaking out on the Hill about it, and Feinstein was approached by Democrats on the committee, but she rebuffed them, Democratic sources said. Feinstein’s fellow senators want their own opportunity to gauge whether or not the letter should be made public, rather than leaving it to Feinstein to make that call unilaterally. The sources were not authorized to speak on the record, and said that no senators on the committee, other than Feinstein, have so far been able to view the letter.
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|Ken White, of Popehat blog|
White wormed his way into our lives by trashing me in a New York Times article about my unlawful arrest and incarceration in fall/winter 2013-14 -- all growing from a defamation lawsuit by Alabama GOP thug Rob Riley and his "close friend," lobbyist Liberty Duke.
After acknowledging that Judge Claud Neilson's temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction were unlawful prior restraints under the First Amendment, White decided to engage in classic "blaming the victim." From The Times' article, by reporter Campbell Robertson:
“You’ve got a situation where sometimes there’s no good guys,” said Ken White, a former federal prosecutor in Los Angeles who writes about and practices First Amendment law. . . .
. . . Mr. White and others say that before a judge can take the step of banning speech, libel must be proved at trial, or at least over a litigation process more involved than a quick succession of hearings, with the only evidence presented by the plaintiffs.
“Idiocy is not a zero-sum game,” Mr. White said. “I think you can say that what the court is doing is unconstitutional and troublesome and also that Shuler is his own worst enemy.”
Does White present any examples that cause him to conclude that I'm "not a good guy" in this matter -- or that "I'm my own worst enemy"? Nope. Is is possible Mr. White and Mr. Robertson were both being just a tad disingenuous? Yep.
Robertson mentions that the National Bloggers Club (NBC), a group led by the Republican activist Ali (Akbar) Alexander, had threatened to sue me for defamation, while failing to mention they had no grounds, under the law, for such a lawsuit, and they never actually filed one. Robertson also neglected to mention that, in the weeks leading to my arrest, Akbar's gang of right-wing mouthbreathers published numerous posts claiming I was "RogerS," a commenter at a liberal blog who was encouraging left-wing activist Brett Kimberlin to file a RICO lawsuit against the NBC. I, of course, was not RogerS and had nothing to do with the Kimberlin-NBC contretemps.
|Hulk Hogan, at Gawker trial|
Of all the lawyers in the country with knowledge of the First Amendment, Campbell Robertson sought out Ken White (from California) about my case (in Alabama)? And White just happens to be the guy who supported the right-wing blogging loons who had attacked me based on a rumor that had no basis in reality? Again, hmmm.
Even more curious is that White does not seem to agree with himself regarding the First Amendment issues in my case. In 2016, White wrote about the Hulk Hogan lawsuit, funded by Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel, that put Gawker Media out of business. From White's Popehat post on the subject:
Gawker has occasionally provided quality journalism and entertainment. That doesn't stop me from despising its amoral and repulsive ethos. Gawker's utter destruction produces a feeling of glee in my guts but disquiet in my heart. As I've written before, I'm not sure that the ruinous verdict against Gawker was just, I don't think that the amount of damages awarded was defensible, and I'm concerned that the result was a product of the brokenness of our legal system.
But observers seem eager to push the wrong message about that brokenness. The scary part of the story isn't that the occasional vengeful billionaire might break the system and overwhelm even a well-funded target with money. Such people exist, but getting sued by them is like getting hit by lightning. No, for most of us the scary part of the story is that our legal system is generally receptive to people abusing it to suppress speech. Money helps do that, but it's not necessary to do it. A hand-to-mouth lunatic with a dishonest contingency lawyer can ruin you and suppress your speech nearly as easily as a billionaire. Will you prevail against a malicious and frivolous defamation suit? Perhaps sooner if you're lucky enough to be in a state with a good anti-SLAPP statute. Or perhaps years later. Will you be one of the lucky handful who get pro bono help? Or will you be like almost everyone else, who has to spend tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to protect your right to speak, or else abandon your right to speak because you can't afford to defend it?
The system isn't just broken for affluent publications targeted by billionaires. It's broken for everyone, and almost everyone else's speech is at much greater risk. Don't point to Peter Thiel as an exception. He's just a vivid and outlying expression of the rule.
So, there you have it: Ken White admits courts allow plaintiffs (like Rob Riley and Liberty Duke) to abuse the system, by filing malicious and frivolous lawsuits, in order to stifle free speech -- and this was roughly three years after White had admitted an Alabama court ruled unlawfully against me.
Why in the hell was this guy trashing me to The New York Times? I have some thoughts about that, but first, I have another example of Popehat's confused and inconsistent thinking.
(To be continued)
Tommy Gallion, of Haskell Slaughter and Gallion, said Rob Riley ran bond-work meetings as if he were governor. "Rob Riley ran meetings about bond work with the state and required that the winning firm send work to him. Haskell Slaughter had been doing that work for years, and it went to Bradley Arant because they agreed to Rob's terms."
Until recently, Bradley Arant was home to Rob Campbell, Rob Riley's brother-in-law and husband of Minda Riley Campbell (despite Rob Campbell's appearance at the Ashley Madison extramarital-affairs Web site.) Rob Campbell no longer is listed as an attorney a the Bradley Arant Web site, although the Alabama State Bar still lists him as working there. The firm reportedly raked in more than $10 million in taxpayer funds during the final two years of the Bob Riley administration. From Gallion:
At a meeting of our firm's executive committee meeting, when Bob Riley first took over as governor, Rob Riley appeared. He hinted that he could help our firm get considered in a major state upcoming bond issue, and he would like us to consider associating him in non-state related legal business. Our firm rejected his proposal after he left. Gov. Riley had a press release that he was putting out requests for proposals (RFP's) to all qualified law firms. Haskell Slaughter submitted the low bid, but the work went to his son-in-law's firm, Bradley Arant, who had recently hired him after Gov. Riley was elected. Bradley was the high proposal, and our firm was the low proposal; Bradley was selected by Gov. Riley.
Rob Riley's actions, as described by Gallion, appear to come close to being a classic quid pro quo ("something for something" deal) that forms the heart of federal funds bribery under 18 U.S.C. 666. The five-year statute of limitations clearly has run on Rob Riley's scheme, so why is it news now?
For one, the perjury case against duly elected Jefferson County District Attorney Charles Todd Henderson has Riley Inc.'s grimy fingerprints all over it, especially since Henderson (a Democrat) surprisingly ousted the Rileys' GOP favorite (and incumbent) Brandon Falls. Two, Gv. Kay Ivey has shown that she is willing to recycle members of the Riley Machine, such as general counsel Bryan Taylor, into positions of authority. That suggests the rank corruption of the Riley years could rear its head, with Ivey at the controls.
On top of that, Rob Riley has documented ties to efforts at establishing gaming/business enterprises that would connect Alabama investors and Russian interests. U.S. newspapers currently are filled with headlines about brewing scandals that involve Russian and American political/business figures. One of the biggest stories at the moment centers around Chattanooga property magnate Franklin Haney and his efforts to use a Canadian company (with ties to Russia) to bring a dormant nuclear plant in northeast Alabama back to life.
My understanding is that Rob and Minda Riley made a substantial amount of money during the eight years their father was governor -- and Rob Riley could not make his house payments when Bob Riley went in.
I tell you how they funneled the money; I've got all the documents on it. When Bob went to Congress, Rob was up there all the time working deals, and he's connected to big-time gambling interests. I know it first-hand because I invested with him and Robert Sigler. They were best friends . . . and (Sigler) lives in Las Vegas. He came in and did a sales pitch on the Russian lottery to a group of my friends. I actually invested in the pay-by-touch company, which was a helluva company, but to get that I had to get one of the units of this Russian lottery, which I never had any faith in. But (Sigler) raised over $10 million on the Russian lottery, and the money vanished.
They had the money with a bank that had a main office in London, with a branch office in Moscow. Sigler put $10 million in the Russian bank to procure a right to participate in the bid process. The money simply vanished. When everything started falling apart on the lottery, the stockholders -- which were a whole bunch of people in Montgomery -- said, "Where is our money?" Sigler had said, "We've got it protected." I got on the Internet and saw where Rob Riley set up offshore accounts for Sigler.
What happened to the Russian-lottery money and what about those offshore accounts? The answer remains unclear, but Gallion has thoughts on the subject:
I was told that an offshore account was set up in the Canary Islands by someone connected to the missing money. I don't know any more. I was told that Sigler had set one up there for Rob [Riley], but don't know for sure.
Another dubious deal involves Rob Riley's contract to represent the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department, headed by Mike Hale. That story begins with Bill Johnson, who was director of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) for part of Bob Riley's term. Says Gallion:
A million-dollar federal grant was sent to ADECA for law enforcement in the state. Bob Riley instructed Bill Johnson to send the full $1 million to the sheriff of Jefferson County, Mike Hale. Johnson later found out that to get the money, the sheriff had to put Rob Riley on a large legal retainer. He is still on the retainer.
How did Rob Riley and sister Minda Riley Campbell fare during their father's years as Alabama governor? The answer is "mighty well," according to Tommy Gallion:
I do not know what they made during their father's eight-year term. But I have been told it was substantial.
That is classic Riley-style corruption. With Kay Ivey in the governor's office, it might be returning soon to a theater near you. And with Donald Trump in the White House, the environment might be ripe for more attempted deals involving Alabama and Russia.
McGregor lost about $26 million, and Montgomery lawyer Tommy Gallion (and several of his friends) lost about $10 million, according to whistle blower, oppo researcher and retired attorney Jill Simpson.
As we reported yesterday, Gallion says an offshore account was set up in the Canary Islands by someone connected to the missing money. Do the Rileys have almost $40 million stashed away offshore -- and is that partly why they (and their allies) concocted a bogus perjury case to keep elected Democrat Charles Todd Henderson from taking office as Jefferson County district attorney?.Henderson beat one-time Riley appointee Brandon Falls, and before you know it, Riley-stooge attorney general Luther Strange was bringing a perjury charge that kept Henderson out of office.
Our investigation on those questions is continuing, but Gallion's statements, and our research, indicate the answer likely is yes. And that raises the specter of possible criminal activity related to the Riley family.
Jill Simpson shines important light on all of this in a post yesterday at her Facebook page. (with some editing for clarity.) Her comments were re-posted at FreePress.org:
For years, Tommy Gallion and Milton McGregor tracked that Russian money they gave Rob Riley and Rob Sigler. Milton lost $26 million; in one instance, he gave Rob Riley's partner, Rob Sigler, a $13- million dollar check, and he showed me the check years later when he was tracking it. Tommy's buddies gave $10 million.
I knew, because Milton had shared with me, it was close to $40 Million that Rob Riley and Rob Sigler had stolen from folks from Montgomery,. Birmingham, and Tuscaloosa for their phony Russian lottery project -- with Oleg Deripaska and their Russian Amcham buddies.
If I add what Tommy told me and what Milton shared, that is $36 million, so it appears Tommy is not far from the number I have written that Milton shared with me several years back -- and he asked that I see it got out.
The Rileys are not out from under the cloud of possible criminal sanctions, according to Simpson:
The statute of limitations has not run, if someone finds the money, as the crime is ongoing and is part of the organized crime of the Alabama Gang. I found years ago what I believe to be $5-million of it paid to an Arab man that Rob and Rob had swindled, and it was part of a claims case.
I am glad to see Tommy Gallion speaking out now, as Rob Riley and Rob Sigler should not get away with stealing $36-million dollars of Alabama funds. As some of you know, I have helped see this story told and started telling about it when I first came forward in the Siegelman case. I shared this with Richard Scrushy and his lawyers in February 2007, the first time I met with them. Rob Riley had made a mention of it, which is one of the reasons I quit helping him, as I wanted no part of his stealing $40 million dollars.
Simpson and Ohio attorney Cliff Arnebeck alerted federal authorities to the Russian-lottery scam, but they met mostly resistance or disinterest. States Simpson:
Cliff and I attempted to explain to the FBI what I knew, but the DOJ's Justin Shur would not agree to let me open my computer at the Montgomery FBI office, as he said he had heard I was a hacker, from an Alabama official in Washington (which I believe was Jeff Sessions). I did get Shur forced to resign over the incident, but I discovered along the way that the Alabama FBI is in Sessions' back pocket and would do nothing to Rob Riley and Rob Sigler, even though they stole $36-million in funds in a Russian lotto deal with the Russian mafia.
I might add that we also knew Rob Riley and Bob Riley got nearly $1-million questionable dollars off the sheriff of Jefferson County, from taxpayer funds that they basically stole from the citizens -- and that the newly elected Democratic prosecutor (Charles Todd Henderson) was going to pursue what happened to it. That's when Henderson found himself being attacked in the press and prosecuted over a alleged perjury in a divorce matter.
We believe much of the money went into the Rileys' fancy new office building in Homewood. That is pretty much par for the course of the Riley bunch. Haskell Slaughter in Birmingham, part of Gallion's group, went belly up when they would not play the crooked organized-crime bond game with kickbacks to the Riley Mafia Crime Family. The Bradley Arant firm played ball with the Rileys and made millions.
That, plus all the other stories I have helped see told on this crime family, makes it clear corruption rules in the State of Alabama with the Alabama Gang. I have been tracking the Riley-Sessions Alabama Gang Political Mafia Crime Family for years and have been a victim of them a time or two.
But I have never given up -- and have this time caught them in the biggest mess of espionage you can imagine, involving nuclear plants in various parts of the world, including Alabama. They are smack in the middle of doing a deal with Russian mobsters, Canadian mobsters, and Middle Eastern interests-- and Franklin Haney of Chattanooga -- on a nuclear deal that will make our world very unsafe. They are doing it with the cover of DOJ chief Jeff Sessions, a long-time associate of Sergey Kislyak, who is close to Vladimir Putin.
|Trent and Sharon Cowherd|
The anniversary is significant for a couple of reasons: (1) It brings us closer to filing a federal civil-right lawsuit, within Missouri's five-year statute of limitations for such actions; (2) It's a good reason to ponder this question: Why were our landlord (Trent Cowherd) and his lawyer (Craig Lowther) so determined to proceed with an eviction that was unlawful on 10-12 grounds, and why was Sheriff Jim Arnott willing to go along with it?
With the passage of time, and the gradual accumulation of evidence via Carol's criminal case, we've developed a theory about what caused the Missouri "eviction gang" to act in such an irrational fashion. In short, we believe it is related to the statute of limitations in our pending federal case on my unlawful arrest and incarceration in Alabama. ("The Jail Case"). If our theory is correct, it points to coordination between bad actors in both Alabama and Missouri.
The question in item No. 2 above has been foremost in our minds because . . . well, the actions of the "eviction gang" were so senseless, nutty, and contrary to Missouri law. Here, in our view, is what a rational landlord would have done in our situation: We had a lease that was to go month-to-month after one year had expired. Our rent had always been timely paid, and we were quiet, model tenants, so there was no reason to want us gone. In fact, after we received a Notice to Vacate (which was not timely, according to terms of the lease, or under state law), I called the landlord's office, and a woman named Megan admitted they had no grounds to force us out. They claimed we were due to sign a new lease, since my mother was exiting as co-signer, but there was no such provision in the lease, and they didn't try very hard to show one existed -- when it didn't.
When I noted they were breaching our contract, the response was, "I don't have to renew a lease with you, and we're deciding not to renew the lease." That, of course, did not explain their attempt to breach the contract. Regardless, they filed an eviction action.
Now, how easily could this situation have been resolved? Language in the lease called for it to go month-to-month, so why not . . . you know . . . let it go month-to-month. We have timely paid our rent elsewhere for three years, so that history suggests we were a good bet to pay Trent Cowherd -- had we been given a chance.
Here is what I've never understood: If Cowherd had followed his own lease, we definitely could have timely paid for several months. If we had hit a rough patch and were late or failed to pay, Cowherd could have given us a Notice to Vacate then, and we would have taken care of any pending bills and left. I don't think an eviction would have been necessary, but if it had been, Cowherd could have given us a Notice of Eviction at the proper time, and we would have left, without any grounds to challenge it. Following through on the eviction would not have been necessary because we would not stick around where we aren't lawfully entitled to be.
So, why did Cowherd and Co. fail to follow the simple, rational, lawful path? Well, let's keep this date in mind: Oct. 23, 2013. That's the date Alabama deputies broke into our home in Birmingham (without showing or stating they had a warrant), beat me up in my own garage, and hauled me to the Shelby County Jail, where I stayed for five months -- probably becoming the first person in history to be arrested for blogging.
Now, the statute of limitations (SOL) on civil-rights lawsuits (under Sec. 1983) is two years, so on the surface, it appears our "Jail Case" had to be filed by Oct. 23, 2015. And, what do you know, our eviction was scheduled for a little more than a month from that date -- Sept. 9, 2015.
It's clear the Alabama bad guys thought Oct. 23, 2015, was the key filing date in our lawsuit because almost all of them cited it in their responses, seeking dismissal because our case was filed -- guess what -- five months later. (Documents re: defendants' claims on the SOL, or our response to their claims, can be viewed here, here, and here.) Why five months later? Because I was incarcerated for five months, and federal law (which governs accrual of Sec. 1983 cases) holds that in cases involving allegations of false arrest and imprisonment, the limitations period begins when the imprisonment ends, which was March 26, 2014.
Alabama bad guys, as it turns out, are ignorant about the law, which seems to be a common affliction with them. We explained the law in a July 2018 post, noting the most concise description of it can be found at Restatement of Torts, a volume on the U.S. common law:
“For false imprisonment, the statute [of limitations] begins to run only when the imprisonment ends, since the period of imprisonment is treated as a unit."Restatement (Second) of Torts § 899, (1979). See Wallace v. Kato, 549 U.S. at 389,127 S. Ct. 1091 ("The running of the statute of limitations on [common-law] false imprisonment is subject to a distinctive rule—dictated, perhaps, by the reality that the victim may not be able to sue while he is still imprisoned."). The Restatement.
Notice the U.S. Supreme Court finding in Kato. That tends to be controlling law, even in Alabama.
We are left with these question: Did the Alabama Gang, thinking Oct. 23, 2015, was the drop-dead filing date for our "Jail Case," persuade the Missouri Gang to proceed with an unlawful eviction -- under the theory that throwing us out in the streets and wreaking havoc in our lives would cause us to miss the deadline for our federal lawsuit. And to make matters even "better " for us, did they intentionally rough up Carol and break her arm -- more or less incapacitating her for five months, which included eight hours of trauma surgery and months of extensive physical therapy?
Our guess is that the answer to both questions is yes. If we are right about that, it's another sign that we've been dealing with a truly perverse, evil group of individuals.
We do find a slight note of comedy in the notion that the actual drop-dead deadline for our filing was March 26, 2016 -- and we made it with room to spare. I kind of like the idea of the bad guys concocting a scheme that was based on a false premise -- or more accurately, a bad reading of the law -- all along.
|Ken White, of Popehat blog|
We're talking about Ken White, a Los Angeles lawyer who publishes the Popehat blog. White hardly is a household name, but he somehow managed to capture The New York Times'attention and bashed me in their pages to reporter Campbell Robertson -- while admitting the judge who ordered my incarceration (Claud Neilson) had gotten the relevant law wildly wrong.
We already have shown that White is a master of inconsistent thinking -- he acknowledges that our court system is prone to trample First Amendment rights, while attacking me -- the victim of exactly that kind of court. We recently discovered a Popehat post where the ever insightful Mr. White bemoans Americans' tendency to be inconsistent in their political speech. No kidding. Our response? Mr. Pot, meet Mr. Kettle.
As it turns out, White's hit job on me in The New York Times was mild. He really got out the hatchet on several posts at Popehat, seemingly without caring that he did not know what he was talking about. What does it mean when someone more than halfway across the country launches an attack that amounts to little more than name-calling -- with little or no basis in fact? To me, it suggests the writer has an agenda and is too lazy or dishonest to admit he is not a but a neutral observer. In essence, he is appealing to his readers' emotions -- the facts and law be damned.
Evidence has surfaced in our pending federal civil-rights lawsuit -- we called it "The Jail Case" -- and it hints at who might have been, at least in part, behind my wrongful arrest and incarceration. Ken White has ties to the individuals in question and is part of the system that apparently enabled their chicanery. In short, we suspect Ken White has insight on the "who, what, and why" questions regarding my incarceration.
In an upcoming post, we will address the question: What did Ken White know, when did he know it, and what (if anything) has he done about it? Our guess is that Ken White has an insider's knowledge that inspired the cheap shots he's taken at me. How cheap are those shots? Let's take a look:
"Creepy, Crazy, and Vexatious" (From Popehat, Oct. 27, 2013 -- four days after my arrest)
Popehat sez:There are a few things you should know about Roger Shuler, who blogs at Legal Schnauzer.
First, Shuler is creepy and crazy. (I formed that opinion by reading his blog.)
Second, Shuler is a vexatious litigant, a serial pro se abuser of the court system. (I formed that opinion by researching records of his litigation history.)
Third, Shuler is currently in jail, arrested for contempt because he violated an unconstitutional preliminary injunction — a classic prior restraint — prohibiting him from defaming the son of a former Alabama governor.
Some people excuse or applaud the third thing because of the first and second things. They shouldn't. The First Amendment protects everyone — even creepy, crazy vexatious litigants. You should demand that the First Amendment protect people like that, because if it doesn't, it won't protect you when you need it.
Schnauzer sez: Does White cite anything I've written at my blog that would lead him to conclude I'm "creepy and crazy." Nope, not one word. My seventh-grade English teacher would have flunked me for that kind of piss-pour writing.
Does White explain why he considers me a "vexatious litigant"? Not really. He pulls a couple of things out of his ass from federal cases I've been involved in. But he admits he knows nothing about my history in state court, where all of our legal travails began. He doesn't even know that the first lawsuit in my courthouse trail was one a criminally inclined neighbor (Mike McGarity) filed AGAINST me. The public record, which White could have looked up, shows the neighbor's case had no basis in fact or law -- and was brought by a lawyer (William E. Swatek) who has a lengthy disciplinary record -- but I had to defend it. And that makes ME vexatious? I'm not sure White even knows the meaning of the "V word."
Evading service? (From Popehat,Oct. 27, 2013)
Popehat sez: There is one other factor that may have influenced the judge: that Roger Shuler is creepy, crazy, and a vexatious litigant. In this case Shuler has engaged in the sort of litigation conduct that would enrage any judge, and that might cloud good judgment. Shuler is one of those litigants who seems to think that if he can successfully evade service of process he'll never have to face the case. So he refuses to answer the door when Sheriff's deputies come to his house to serve papers. Judges don't like that. . . . Eventually, the Sheriff served papers on Shuler by running a traffic stop on him for a purported moving violation and serving the papers on him in his car by the side of the road.
Yeah, you read that right. Sheriffs serve legal process on people all the time. It's part of their job. But how often, for how many litigants, do you suppose the Sheriff runs a traffic stop to achieve service?
Schnauzer sez: How does White know I was evading service? Does he cite a law that requires a citizen to answer the door when someone -- deputy or other -- knocks? No, he doesn't because no such law exists. White admits in his last sentence that something about the deputies' actions smelled funny. He thinks I can't see that, too.? After all, I actually was there and saw what they were doing -- and it did not look anything like serving papers. In fact, I later learned -- from an attorney who had viewed the sealed file -- that no summons had been issued at the time, so the deputies were not attempting to lawfully serve us. The deputies likely were there to execute an arrest White admits was unlawful. But he seems to be bashing me for being smart enough to figure out we were dealing with corrupt law-enforcement officers.
Refusing counsel? (From Popehat, Nov. 13, 2013)
Popehat sez: The system is designed to chew up people who represent themselves. It's not fair, it's not right, but there it is — a fact that won't go away just because you're in the right. Shuler's rejection of a lawyer seems to be part of the pattern of misguided antics that has robbed him of the opportunity to litigate the First Amendment issues. . . .
If Shuler continues to refuse counsel, it's highly unlikely that he will successfully navigate a system that's indifferent to him at best and hostile at worst. Does he have a right to do it himself out of some sense of pride or justice? Sure. But his bumbling may serve to lock in the orders against him and, through bad precedent, weaken everybody else's rights a little. It's crazy.
I'm aware of at least one substantial rights organization other than the ACLU that has expressed to me an interest in helping Shuler — if he will accept help. If anyone has any power to persuade him, now would be a good time to start.
Schnauzer sez: How does White know I rejected any lawyer? He doesn't because I didn't. I met with two lawyers while I was in jail. The first offered zero strategy for getting me free and even less strategy for seeking damages against those who had kidnapped me and thrown me in jail. He also exhibited the professionalism of a third grader in need of Ritalin. The other presented financial terms that were sketchy and could have presented problems for us down the road.
I would have been happy to meet with other lawyers and take on competent, thoughtful representation. But none was forthcoming, and when you are in jail, your options are limited.
In a post on Nov. 17, 2013, White claimed I had refused a court-appointed lawyer. I never was offered a court-appointed lawyer in the defamation case -- filed by GOP operative and his "close friend," lobbyist Liberty Duke -- and I'm not aware of any process in Alabama where you can get a court-appointed lawyer for a civil case. White seems to forget I was in jail because of a 100 percent civil matter. Is he reckless, lazy, dishonest, or all three?
As for White's claim that he knew of organizations who were interested in helping me, why didn't they contact me -- or why didn't he contact me. My number was in the phone book, my email address was listed on the blog, and my wife Carol was home communicating with people from coast to coast. I couldn't be reached, but Carol was easily reachable, for anyone who truly wanted to help.
White admits I was in the right, and he claims to be interested in First Amendment rights, but he apparently made no effort to reach out. Why is that?
(To be continued)
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|Brett Kavanaugh and Donald Trump|
Yes, you heard that right: A second federal judge, one who (like Kavanaugh) currently sits on a U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, is aware that similar complaints have been brought forth against him -- and they will hit the press any day.
Are the allegations against Judge No. 2 directly in line with what we've heard about Kavanaugh? Not exactly; you might say they have a certain twist to them. But both cases raise this question: What kind of low-life pond scum have we been appointing to the federal bench. Our answer: It's a nasty and smelly form of pond scum -- and that does not even count the crooked opinions they help produce.
Nope, we have been allowing the appointment of "judges" who have no respect for the rule of law -- and maybe even less respect for the human rights of others, which include the right to be treated with respect and the right to, at a minimum, be left alone.
Let's review where we stand with allegations against Brett Kavanaugh -- assuming no new accusers surface between the time I end this sentence and hit "publish" on this post. We will examine them in reverse order, from newest to oldest:
(4) So much for senior prom
The Montgomery County (MD) Sentinelreported yesterday that authorities are investigating a possible second case of sexual assault in the area involving Kavanaugh -- this one from his senior year at the now-infamous Georgetown Prep. From the Sentinel report:
Government investigators confirmed Monday they’re aware of a potential second sexual assault complaint in the county against former Georgetown Prep student and Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh.
While investigators weren’t specific and spoke on background, they said they are looking at allegations made against Kavanaugh during his senior year in high school after an anonymous witness voluntarily came forward to speak with them this weekend.
(3) Boys will be gang rapists
Michael Avenatti, best known as the attorney for porn star and Trump accuser Stormy Daniels, says he has evidence that ties Kavanaugh to multiple gang rapes while in high school. From a report at New York magazine:
Michael Avenatti, the lawyer for Stormy Daniels, says he is “aware of significant evidence” that Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh participated in multiple gang rapes while in high school.
In an email posted to Twitter Sunday night, Avenatti writes that Kavanaugh, his childhood friend Mark Judge, and others “would participate in the targeting of women with alcohol/drugs in order to allow a ‘train’ of men to subsequently gang rape them.”
Avenatti ended the email, which was sent to the chief counsel for nominations at the Senate Judiciary Committee, by saying that he will be releasing “additional evidence” of the allegations “in the coming days.” In an interview with Politico, Avenatti said he represents multiple people who were witnesses to the events described in his email. One of the people he’s representing could be described as a victim, he said.
On Twitter, Avenatti wrote that he will “be demanding the opportunity to present testimony” to the Senate Judiciary Committee. It’s unclear if that will happen, but a spokesperson for Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley says the committee will attempt to evaluate the claim
(2) Where did that penis come from?
Deborah Ramirez, a classmate of Kavanaugh's at Yale University, says he exposed himself to her at a drunken dormitory party. From a report at The New Yorker:
As Senate Republicans press for a swift vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Senate Democrats are investigating a new allegation of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh. The claim dates to the 1983-84 academic school year, when Kavanaugh was a freshman at Yale University. The offices of at least four Democratic senators have received information about the allegation, and at least two have begun investigating it. Senior Republican staffers also learned of the allegation last week and, in conversations with The New Yorker, expressed concern about its potential impact on Kavanaugh’s nomination. Soon after, Senate Republicans issued renewed calls to accelerate the timing of a committee vote. The Democratic Senate offices reviewing the allegations believe that they merit further investigation. “This is another serious, credible, and disturbing allegation against Brett Kavanaugh. It should be fully investigated,” Senator Mazie Hirono, of Hawaii, said. An aide in one of the other Senate offices added, “These allegations seem credible, and we’re taking them very seriously. If established, they’re clearly disqualifying.”
“I remember a penis being in front of my face,” [Ramirez] said. “I knew that’s not what I wanted, even in that state of mind.” She recalled remarking, “That’s not a real penis,” and the other students laughing at her confusion and taunting her, one encouraging her to “kiss it.” She said that she pushed the person away, touching it in the process. Ramirez, who was raised a devout Catholic, in Connecticut, said that she was shaken. “I wasn’t going to touch a penis until I was married,” she said. “I was embarrassed and ashamed and humiliated.” She remembers Kavanaugh standing to her right and laughing, pulling up his pants.“Brett was laughing,” she said. “I can still see his face, and his hips coming forward, like when you pull up your pants.” She recalled another male student shouting about the incident. “Somebody yelled down the hall, ‘Brett Kavanaugh just put his penis in Debbie’s face,’ ” she said. “It was his full name. I don’t think it was just ‘Brett.’ And I remember hearing and being mortified that this was out there.”
(1) Disrobing Brett Kavanaugh
No matter what happens in the coming days, Christine Blasey Ford long will be known as the woman who figuratively disrobed Brett Kavanaugh, showing him to be something more than an august jurist with a devotion to the law. Ford is set to testify on Thursday before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee about her experiences with Kavanaugh. From a report at CNN:
Lawyers for Christine Blasey Ford said in a statement on Sunday that she has committed to testifying in an open hearing on Thursday about her allegation of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
The statement from attorneys Debra Katz, Lisa Banks and Michael Bromwich came after a call Sunday with staff for the Senate Judiciary Committee. Kavanaugh has denied the allegations and said he wants to testify before the committee. "Despite actual threats to her safety and her life, Dr. Ford believes it is important for Senators to hear directly from her about the sexual assault committed against her," the statement read. . . .
The statement from Ford's lawyers noted that she would still testify even though "important procedural and logistical issues remain unresolved" and expressed dissatisfaction that the committee does not plan to subpoena Mark Judge, who Ford said was in the room when Kavanaugh allegedly groped her and tried to remove her clothes during a party in their high school years.
What about Judge No. 2 and the accusations against him? That story is on the verge of breaking. Stay tuned to Legal Schnauzer.
|Bill Pryor, as a percussionist at|
Northeast Louisiana University (NLU)
A college classmate of Alabama federal judge Bill Pryor says Pryor sexually harassed him while they were at Northeast Louisiana University (NLU) in the early 1980s. Pryor joins Brett Kavanaugh, Donald Trump's nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, as sitting federal judges who face allegations of sexual misconduct dating back at least to college. The major difference: Kavanaugh's accusers are women, and Pryor's are men.
That is in keeping with our reports about Pryor posing nude for photos that wound up at badpuppy.com in 1997. Pryor grew up in Mobile, Alabama, and the nude photos were taken while he was a student at NLU, which now is called the University of Louisiana Monroe (ULM). Pryor serves on the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, but his duty station is the Hugo Black Courthouse in downtown Birmingham and he lives in suburban Vestavia Hills.
Shane Rogers-Mauro, a flight attendant who now lives in the Fort Lauderdale, Florida, area, says Pryor was well known as gay among NLU students, especially those in band and a group that worked in the same office on work-study assignments. Rogers-Mauro says the "Bill Pryor" in the Bad Puppy photos definitely is the individual with whom he attended college -- and now serves on the federal bench. As a right-wing appointee, Pryor has gone on to make a number of virulently anti-LGBT public statements. Says Rogers-Mauro:
I was in college with Bill and knew him very well. We were in band together at Northeast Louisiana University. I also had “work study” for about three semesters with him, so we worked in the same small office for many, many weeks as part of our band scholarship.
The stories are all true. The Bad Puppy pictures are him. He was pretty flamboyant, and actually hit on me quite a bit, but I brushed him off as irritating. He was College Republicans president, and I was president of the Young Democrats of NLU.
In today’s world, [Pryor's actions] would certainly qualify as sexual harassment. In the early and mid 1980’s, we were all pretty closeted, and he was known to be gay. We used to argue for hours about Ronald Reagan’s 1984 win and other things, and I’m sure we are polar opposites today. He’s never tried to contact me nor have I spoken to him since college days.
What form did Pryor's harassment take? Rogers-Mauro provides details:
There was a lot of touching, in a way that absolutely would be considered inappropriate today. Back then, nothing was inappropriate; you just sucked it up and moved on. Bill was very manipulative. He always wanted to go have dinner and discuss certain types of politics, like he was going to change your way of thinking.
He toyed with closeted gay folks. Back then, it was a demon, and he was into outing certain people. That's a nasty thing, and it would mess with people's lives. But Bill didn't give it a second thought. I think it was part of his illness.
Pryor tended to incessantly ask for dates and not take no for an answer. Says Rogers-Mauro:
Bill was jealous of a relationship I was having. It was my first real romance, actually. Bill thought he had a chance with me. He was always wanting to go out and do things, and I wasn't interested. Harry Connick Jr. was another who was very aggressive. we were in all-state band together. I've had the experience with guys who turned out to be celebrities chasing me.
Bill hung around with a known small group of gay guys from band. Everybody tended to be friendly in band. I was going off in a different direction, with a new relationship. Bill was antagonistic, and his group was real gossipy -- like little chickens, hens.
Rogers-Mauro has been active for years in Democratic Party politics. He has served on the Broward County Democratic Party executive committee and is co-chair of Indivisible South Florida.
|Shane Rogers-Mauro, as a trumpeter in the NLU band|
The Bad Puppy pictures of him are a younger version of Bill than I knew -- by a few years. When you know someone from that period, you know for SURE when you see a picture of him. One thing that stands out: He has a somewhat caved-in right cheek. He had bad acne in his early years, and there are numerous acne scars that you can see in all the pictures. He had those creepy crossed eyes that kept many of us on edge when we were around him.
In recent years, Rogers-Mauro has heard from other NLU grads who say Pryor also harassed them in college:
By today's standards, what Bill did was sexual harassment, absolutely. And I'm not the only one. I talked to several people after the Trump Supreme Court list came out -- and Bill was on it -- and they were like, "Oh, my gosh, what's going on? I'm shocked he even has a family. It must be all for show."
We sought comment from Pryor for this post, but he has not responded to inquiries.
(To be continued)
I've wondered the same thing, especially since Rogers initiated a peculiar email exchange with me in fall 2013, after I had reported about U.S. Circuit Judge Bill Pryor and his ties to 1990s gay pornography at badpuppy.com. In short, Rogers tried to convince me the person in the photos was not Pryor, but Rogers never provided any evidence to support that claim, and he did a miserable job of answering questions I posed to him. That experience caused me to question Rogers' motives, and whistle blower/oppo researcher/retired attorney Jill Simpson apparently has similar concerns.
Simpson posted her thoughts on the matter at Facebookyesterday in the wake of our report about Shane Rogers-Mauro, a Florida man who says Bill Pryor sexually harassed him (and others) while they were classmates at Northeast Louisiana University (now University of Louisiana Monroe.) Simpson said many of the stories she heard at the Montgomery party were of closeted Alabama politicians who had sexually harassed gay men or left them feeling used. Some of the names heard prominently at the party were Bill Pryor, Jeff Sessions, and Robert Aderholt. Here are some of Jill Simpson's thoughts after reading our post about Pryor sexually harassing Shane Rogers-Mauro:
It appears #MeToo goes both ways, and well, that is a good thing as many males are sexually harassed by predators, just as are women. Several years back, I was invited to a party for Mike Rogers, who was known as the Raw Story writer who specialized in Republican gay- politician stories. That night at the party I met about a dozen young men who were there to talk with Rogers about top Alabama Republican politicians who had sexually harassed them or broken their hearts. Their stories involved Pryor, Sessions, and Aderholt, and they were quite shocking. Quite a few had an element of sexual harassment to them. I had heard from one of the hosts this was going to lead to a series of stories, so I attended having no idea until I got there what the stories would be about.
Why did Mike Rogers never publish the men's stories? Simpson isn't sure about that:
When the stories did not happen I asked why . . . and was told the DNC [Democratic National Committee] was going to use it in another way. To me, that sounded a whole lot like blackmail. I have often wondered if that is why Sessions turned on Trump so easily. I heard quite a few stories the night Mike Rogers came to town from the men at the party. The Log Cabin Republicans I met that night, who had been harassed and/or rejected, had some pretty amazing stories to tell of sexual exploits and hairy-bear clubs in D.C. with Alabama 's top Republicans.
Simpson discovered that Montgomery has a vibrant gay community, and its members are in on some of the state's biggest political secrets:
When I came forward in the Siegelman case, I started hearing from all these gay men in Montgomery, who were kind of like the court that surrounded these politicians. The gay men picked out their clothes, helped them lose weight, fixed food for their fancy political parties, cut their hair, ran their campaigns and did a whole lot of other things to service these men. I had never noticed this layer of folks before in a campaign, but I soon learned there is a group of gay men that like to take care of our male politicians in the Republican Party -- and meet their every need in Montgomery. They know all the politicians' secrets, and they share them at dinner parties to reporters -- and among their friends; I saw how they shared the night Mr. Rogers came to town.
I learned at one of their dinner parties how Judge [Mark] Fuller beat his wife, as the gay men knew a hair dresser who told the story. At another party, I learned how Fuller was having an affair, as they heard it from a court clerk they helped dress. They are the most resourceful group for reporters in the state, as that bunch knows every bit of news going on.
|Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh|
Two Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee are closeted gays who likely are staunch supporters of Brett Kavanaugh -- and doubters of his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford -- because they want to ensure that ugly incidents from their own pasts never surface, according to a report from a D.C.-based investigative journalist.
Wayne Madsen reports that Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) are well known among Washington insiders as closeted homosexuals with histories of having inappropriate physical contact with men -- not unlike the conduct Ford spelled out against Kavanaugh in yesterday's contentious Senate hearing.
Hatch blasted the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings as "worse than [those involving] Robert Bork -- I didn't think it could get worse than that." Graham essentially pitched a fit in the hearing room, claiming Democrats were trying to destroy the nominee's life.
Two Republican senators on the Judiciary Committee have had good reason to attack women who have come forward with allegations that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted them while they were teens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Orrin Hatch of Utah fear that if any credence is given to Kavanaugh's accusers, men who they have accosted in the past may be emboldened to reveal their stories.
Graham and Hatch, according to our well-informed sources on Capitol Hill and in the state capitals of Columbia, South Carolina and Salt Lake City, Utah, are two of the most closeted gay men in the U.S. Senate. Graham is a never-married bachelor, while Hatch, a Mormon, is married with six children. WMR was informed about Graham by two journalists with South Carolina's leading newspaper of record, The State, in Columbia. An opposition research official working for Hatch's 2004 Democratic opponent in the U.S. Senate race provided information on Hatch's closeted nature. Hatch was a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1991 and he took part in the grilling of Clarence Thomas's sexual harassment accuser, Anita Hill.
Madsen has written before about "lifestyle issues" surrounding Hatch and Graham. From a November 2017 WMR article:
It’s not just by Utah Mormon standards that Hatch is weird. In 2006, this editor was contacted by someone doing opposition research for Hatch’s Democratic opponent. I was asked, “Did you know Hatch is gay?” I knew Larry Craig from Idaho was gay, but I’d never heard about Hatch. It turns out that Hatch’s closet door was wide open in Utah, because just about everyone in Utah politics had heard about Hatch’s alternate life style.
Madsen's reporting on whispers surrounding Lindsey Graham date at least to 2010:
WMR was recently told by South Carolina-based journalists that they are amazed that South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham's homosexuality has not been reported in Washington. Graham is also one of the beneficiaries of President Obama's overturning of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy that now permits gays and lesbians to openly serve on active duty. Graham is a Judge Advocate General Colonel in the U.S. Air Force. In 2004, Graham voted for the Federal Marriage Amendment, which prohibited gay marriages. Graham has recently received a zero rating from the gay rights Human Rights Campaign for his opposition to gay rights legislation.
Bottom line: Orin Hatch and Lindsey Graham are two of Brett Kavanaugh's staunchest defenders, and it might have nothing to do with the nominee's qualifications. It likely has everything to do with the desires of Hatch and Graham to ensure that no gay accusers from their pasts are emboldened to come forward.
Anyone who watched a major portion of the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings in the U.S. Senate must have come away thinking our country has become so dysfunctional that it must be headed over a cliff.
The high-chamber charade, however, did produce some comedy for the ages. An unknown online genius spliced together portions of the Kavanaugh hearing and Pulp Fiction (featuring a slightly intimidating Samuel L. Jackson), and the result has me in stiches. I suspect many others are hooting as the video heads toward viral status. Enjoy it above.
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