Dem Alabama Victory Arose From Decade Of GOP Corruption

The national media have missed for the most part how voter reaction against Alabama’s corrupt Republican rule helped Democrat Doug Jones defeat the GOP U.S. Senate nominee Roy Moore on Dec. 12 in the state’s special election.

Recent financial, law enforcement and sex scandals at the highest levels of all three branches of government in Alabama helped prepare voters to defeat Moore by 49-48 margin last week. Republican Jeff Sessions had won that seat with 97 percent of the vote unopposed by Democrats in 2014 before vacating it this year upon his appointment as U.S. attorney general.

doug jones flag wIt's true also that Jones (shown at right) and his campaign team orchestrated a masterful strategy to generate high turnout against Moore, a religious zealot with a scandalous past.

But Moore would not have been so vulnerable in the overwhelmingly Republican state if previous Alabama scandals and the dubious performance of the new Trump administration had not softened GOP support even amongst those who normally trust righteous-sounding candidates. 

Moore’s predatory activities followed a decade of scandals by others. One led to the resignation of Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (shown below, at far left) this year in a mind-boggling sex scandal. Also, House Speaker Mike Hubbard, the state’s most powerful legislator during recent years, received a four-year prison term last year for massive corruption, as reported here.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, Top Strategist Rebekah Mason and former Alabama law enforcement chief Stephen Collier WKRGBentley’s scandal included several aspects that are particularly relevant to the Jones-Moore senate race. For one, Bentley’s longtime claim to have been a religiously inspired “family values” Republican was destroyed by massive coverage of his affair with his married staffer, Rebekah Caldwell Mason. The former television reporter and Miss Alabama contestant is shown at center.

At right is Stephen Collier, the former head of ALEA [Alabama Law Enforcement Agency]. The governor fired Collier for not cooperating sufficiently in sinister reprisals against bloggers exposing the governor's sexcapades. Collier responded with litigation that helped keep the scandals prominent.

Our Justice Integrity Project has developed deep sources in Alabama and has reported on many of these scandals and their cover-ups. One overview was our 2016 column How To Understand Political Sex Scandal Allegations.

In Alabama, the state's one-party governance was created in part by a long-running and massive political prosecution beginning in 1999 of former Gov. Don Siegelman, the state's leading Democrat during his term (1999 - 2003) and for years thereafter until Republican prosecutors and judges finally flattened him. Complete dominance by Republicans weakened accountability that might have come from civic leaders and their institutions. Our reviews of Alabama newspapers and other supposed watchdog voices show far less initiative and independence in recent years than a decade or so ago.

The harm? Corruption involving sex, bribery, dishonest law enforcement and/or national security contracts (all covert factors in the Siegelman case, like many others) often causes blackmail and huge rip-offs of federal taxpayers, as well as other harms to third-party victims.

elenakagan forbiddenAnd, while this column is headlined to focus primarily on Republican-led corruption in Alabama, the ripple effects strongly implicate many Democratic leaders.

These include such Washington-based leaders as President Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder and Supreme Court Associate Justice Elena Kagan, as amplified below. For such reasons, our Project opposed the confirmation of Kagan, shown in a graphic at right to emphasize our opposition on ethical grounds to her confirmation despite her endorsement by about 100 of the nation's law school deans, including those two awarding this editor his degrees: Yale Law School and the University of Chicago School of Law..

robert muellerThe Alabama scandals deeply involving the Department of Justice and FBI raise questions also about the integrity of other investigations, including the ongoing probe of President Trump by Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team.

Whatever one thinks of Trump or Mueller (shown as FBI director), it is difficult for an independent observer to conclude that the U.S. Justice Department has acted professionally and non-politically in Alabama. That should concern those who believe the much-praised Mueller, former head of the FBI during most of that time, will automatically act purely according legal principles in his current work.

 

Full Extent Of Corruption

The unwillingness of either the legal establishment or the corporate-controlled media to explore the full extent of corruption in politics and law enforcement, including by the above-named career-minded corporate Democrats, is part of the continuing importance of the Alabama scandals described below. jeff sessions ag oTherefore, we submit that the analysis carries importance beyond a critique of missed news angles or journalism failures.

As the nation's attorney general, for example, Jeff Sessions (shown at left) is deeply involved in selection of federal judges and prosecutors. His long track record as a Senate committee chairman and Alabama attorney general and federal prosecutor is well worth examining — particularly in light of longtime rumors implicating Sessions in the kinds of sinister abuses prevalent elsewhere in the state's hierarchy.

Under the evocative title The Alabamafication of America, Alabama native Drew Pendergrass wrote earlier this year in the Harvard Political Review that "The current worries about Trump’s irresponsible governing style are similar to concerns Alabama commentators have been expressing about their often-demagogic leaders since before the 1940s. To understand the Trump administration....we should look to Alabama, and the reasons why the state government is teetering toward collapse."

The author Pendergrass, among such others as University of Oregon professor Joseph Lowery writing in the Dec.17 Washington Post, aptly describe how Alabama is providing a nationally important model of civic disintegration.

phenix city storyMy survey below of approximately a dozen years or so of Alabama kleptocracy supports those general themes even though history always ebbs and flows.

After all, Phenix City, located on the Georgia border adjoining the Fort Benning military base, was once the nationally notorious "Sin City" of prostitutes, pimps, gamblers, election thieves and murderous "law enforcers" decades ago. World War II Gen. George S. Patton threatened to flatten it with bulldozers, as portrayed many times, including by a 1955 film advertised at right and in a 2009 documentary.

Then concerned citizens cleaned up the city beginning in the mid-1950s, as reported in 2004 by the Associated Press in Alabama’s ‘Sin City’ just a memory 50 years after notorious assassination. Work remains elsewhere in Alabama and Washington, however, on the different but still serious problems described below. 

Media Myopia

The major media in Alabama and elsewhere (except for tabloid or blog outlets) have until recently minimized scandal involving Very Important Persons, in part because the major outlets are themselves owned and run by private sector oligarchs (or as I call them "puppetmasters"), who are not necessarly from Alabama and who create servile public officials who must serve many years before they squeeze enough assets out of public coffers to enjoy the lifestyles they think they deserve..

Instead of focusing on systemic corruption (including that within the judiciary), the natiobn's major media have instead featured disputes over partisan politics and such “identity politics” as grievances based on racial, sexual, religious and regional differences. That's white against black, women against men in the most simplistic formulations.

Yes, it is difficult to report about an ostensibly religious man like Moore as being a sexual predator unless journalists act as a pack to attack one wounded target. But it is even more difficult (albeit necessary in this case) for mainstream journalists in financially threatened newsrooms (and even the New York Times is vulnerable these days) to document how and why pervasive top-down corruption exists.

Sex Scandal

The media have roused themselves against the Trump administration, it seems. But it takes too much effort and money — and shatters too many preconceptions — to expose what's happening in politics and law enforcement around the country in all of the places like Alabama.

I once asked a proven Deep South source why it could possibly be that such a high-percentage of Alabama's top elected officials could be elected in such a religion-oriented "family values" Republican state despite so many of the politicians' propensity for graft, bed-hopping and other vice.

My source, long involved in both politics and the money-making activities that follow success in that field (including dossiers on politicians' sins), responded that the politicians were groomed "because of" their propensity for vice, not "despite" those characterics. In other words, their personality defects meant the officials could be controlled if they master a false front of seeming rectitude, with the blackmail and other control much more effective "family values" regions than in more open-minded coastal "blue state" regions..

Fortunately, the Washington Post broke through his pattern to set the tone for the Alabama senate race's coverage. Its major investigation story on Nov. 9 headlined Woman says Roy Moore initiated sexual encounter when she was 14, he was 32 reported that Moore had targeted teens for romantic attention when he was a state prosecutor in his early 30s. The reporting was conducted by Stephanie McCrummen, Beth Reinhard and Alice Crites. .

roy moore 8 accusers Custom

One credible victim was Leigh Corfman, who said that when she was aged 14 Moore persuaded her to accompany him home from a courthouse and then join him in stripping to underwear and, she said, touching his genitals.

She is shown at age 14 at top left of the adjoining collage portraying Moore's accusers. The charges helped generate unusually strong opposition to Moore, including from three of Alabama's largest (and jointly owned) newspapers. One was the Birmingham News, the state's largest but also one that, like the other two, is published in print only three days a week because of financial and circulation cutbacks.

National reporters and pundits have noted that Moore's claims that his religious interpretations of the Bible are more important than legal precedent has twice caused his removal from his previous job as the elected chief justice of Alabama’s Supreme Court. Some news reports show also that Moore and his wife Kayla led a religious foundation that secretly paid him nearly one million dollars despite his claim through the years that he worked for the foundation on a volunteer basis.

 

Grifter, Hypocrite, Zealot, Politician

Roy Moore 38 specialMoore fooled his followers by receiving big payments from his foundation. Also, he installed a replica of the Ten Commandments at the Alabama Supreme Court, which led to one of his expulsions from the bench for putting his interpretation of God's law over that of the legal system. He waved a gun at a campaign rally this fall, as shown at left, and last week rode a horse to the polls.

The former jurist, who has not conceded election defeat as of this writing, spouted fiery religious rhetoric to justify his behavior. His wife loyally defended him throughout the campaign, including against the claims of a perverted interest in teen girls. So did President Trump, as portrayed in a front page story by the New York Daily News.

djt roy moore daily news CustomContrast those reactions with that oft-reported in Alabama of Dianne Bentley, Gov. Bentley's wife of 50 years.

When Dianne Bentley suspected that her husband was having an affair with Caldwell, a former Miss Alabama contestant and television reporter, Alabama's First Lady made a tape-recording of her husband professing his love for his married aide. A Bentley divorce soon followed.

What Voters Knew

rebekah and jon masonAlabama voters ultimately learned also that Bentley, the lust-smitten governor, had been paying about a million dollars in taxpayer funds to Caldwell and her husband Jon Mason (shown together in the adjoining photo).

Jon Mason was, of all things, Bentley’s outreach aide to Alabama’s religious community, and as such was in a position not only to earn a hefty state salary but also to steer state funds to religious communities that supported political goals in congruent with the governor's.

That tawdry spectacle was first unveiled by the blogger Roger Shuler as part of his hundreds of columns exposing sex and financial scandals in Alabama’s high places. These included: When Dianne Bentley set up recording device and announced she was going for a walk, it took "Luv Guv" 59 seconds to get on phone with Rebekah Mason,

Reflecting on the Bentley scandal earlier this year, the Birmingham-based political reporter Eric Velasco found a broader pattern. "Naughty texts and burner phones shamed Republican Governor Robert Bentley" Velasco wrote for Politico in How Alabama’s ‘Luv Guv’ Broke New Ground in a Scandal-Plagued State. He continued this way:

What is it about Alabama? The concentration of power among a few — the Legislature, the university system, major utilities and a collection of influential businesses — provides a major explanation, said John Archibald, longtime columnist for the Birmingham News and al.com, who has broken many of the revelations in the Bentley scandal.

“Part of it is the century-long influence of what we would call the Big Mules,” Archibald said. “So much concentration of power just breeds corruption.”

A Stange Twist

The story of the "Luv Guv" stretched out in the state’s newspapers for more than a year until Bentley’s resignation last spring. But even then it wasn't over because it cast a taint on the attorney general, Luther Strange. Strange presumably could have brought serious charges against the governor and others, especially given the threats against journalists in the cover-up and the vast amounts of taxpayer money being misspent by the governor, particularly in a relatively poor state.

luther strange o Strange, shown at left and repeatedly accused by Shuler on his blog of complicity in his own sex scandal with a top Republican political operative, chose not to bring any serious charges against Bentley. Bentley raised suspicions of a sweetheart deal by appointing Strange to fill the U.S. senate seat being vacated by Sessions.

To be sure, the Birmingham-based Shuler, a former reporter for one of the city's two newspapers, had a modest-sized audience for his blogs. And they proved so controversial (in part because some targets like Strange denied the sex scandal allegations) that the reporter's targets and political enemies filed civil libel suits against Shuler. Moore also appointed lawyer Claud Neilson in 2013 to serve as a special state court judge overseeing a defamation action against Shuler.

roger shulerAs one result, Shuler was arrested at his home on a contempt of court charge, beaten by authorities during the arrest, and ordered jailed for nearly five months without bond. He is shown with a swollen face in his mug shot and dressed in county jail clothing. The Justice Integrity Project reported that tale in many columns, including Alabama Kangaroo Court Parades Liberal Commentator in Chains, Continues Indefinite Jailing.

As noted above, Bentley picked Strange to fill the vacant U.S. Senate seat until a GOP primary and special elections could be completed this fall.

That process carried at least the appearance of an even worse illegal quid pro quo corruption deal than the one allegedly made by Siegelman and his co-defendant businessman Richard Scrushy. They were each sentenced in Alabama's federal court to seven-year prison terms on corruption charges in 2007. The prosecution ostensibly arose from Siegelman's 1999 reappointment of Scrushy, the billionaire CEO and founder of HealthSouth, to a volunteer post on a state regulatory commission after Scrushy contributed to the Alabama Education Foundation, a non-profit Siegelman had founded to campaign for a state lottery to better fund K-12 public schools.. 

But, as evident from the sworn 2007 testimony of Republican attorney Dana Jill Simpson and other evidence, the prosecution was a frame-up designed to eliminate Siegelman from politics, including his planned 2006 race to gain re-election over his Republican successor as governor, Bob Riley.

Our first of many reports on this was published on the Huffington Post's home page in 2009 under the headline Siegelman Deserves New Trial Because of Judge’s ‘Grudge’, Evidence Shows….$300 Million in Bush Military Contracts Awarded to Judge’s Private Company.

mark fuller 2 cropThe long column reported how Siegelman’s trial judge, Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller of Montgomery, had hated Siegelman, and had benefitted from $300 million in secret no-bid Bush Administration payments to Doss Aviation, a defense contractor that the judge secretly controlled with up to 44 percent of the stock.

The rarely photographed Fuller is shown at right in a 2006 photo by freelance photographer Phil Fleming, who told us later he urged the judge to stop smiling. The judge had invited Fleming and a sketch artist to portray him relaxing in his judicial chambers after the jury verdict. The mixed verdict providing enough convictions to justify a year later in 2007 long sentences for Siegelman and Scrushy, whom the judge ordered imprisoned immediately without bond, which is normally granted white collar defendants during appeals. 

don siegelman oakdaleMany other columns, including by Shuler and Harper's columnist Scott Horton, showed also that Fuller had actively participated in a frame-up of Siegelman (shown in prison) and Scrushy. The convictions were obtained by such vile means as prosecutors forcing their key witness Nick Bailey to undergo more than 60 interrogations not disclosed to the defense (as required by law). The prosecution tactics included threats to Bailey that he might be raped in prison during a long prison sentence unless he delivered the necessary testimony to convict.

Democratic Complicity Under Obama

eric holderThe corruption of the legal system involved was so extreme that Democrats in the Obama administration rubber-stamped the abuses in court rather than enable the kinds of open hearings and internal investigations that would have disgraced federal law enforcement agencies and powerful figures in Alabama alike.

Complicit in those decisions were U.S. Attorney Gen. Holder (shown in an official photo), his Solicitor General Elena Kagan (currently a U.S. Supreme Court associate justice) and Alabama's Obama-appointed U.S. attorney for the Montgomery District George Beck.

george beck us attorneyBeck (shown at left) had let authorities mistreat his client Bailey by secretly threatening Bailey with rape, as illustrated in post-trial affidavits. These materials, especially with post-trial disclosures of near-fascist methods whereby authorities created a special anti-Siegelman prosecution team at vast expense and operating from Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base, should have prompted a nationwide scandal at least during the Obama administration. Instead, the affidavits about Bailey generated just a few blog posts by Shuler, Horton, this site, and others.

As noted above, the non-partisan Justice Integrity Project has repeatedly protested the cowardice and feigned ignorance of top Obama administration "law enforcers" from the president on down to investigate and rectify the Siegelman-Scrushy frame-up and similar political abuses around the nation.

Few serious, independent legal minds can fail to see that the defendants deserved a new judge at the minimum instead of Fuller, or that other procedural rulings made their imprisonment the travesty of justice that prompted so many for former top law enforcers from so many states, 46 out of the 50, to call unsuccessfully for a Supreme Court review on the grounds that the defendants had not committed a crime.

As Justice Department Solicitor General under Holder and Obama, Kagan bears special responsibility because she signed a brief to the Supreme Court successfully arguing against a hearing for the defendants. One cannot know for sure her motives but they presumably related to her ambitions, along with her supporters Obama and Holder, for a Supreme Court nomination that needed less than all-out opposition from Alabama's two senators, Sessions and Richard Shelby.

For those who cannot imagine why "liberal" Democrats would care much about Sessions or Shelby at the start of an Obama administration controlling both house of Congress in 2009, it's worth remembering as that Shelby threatened in February 2009 to block every single Obama appointment in the new administration unless the senator was guaranteed reconsideration for his favored contractors in a then-pending $34 billion Air Force contract for a new fleet of mid-air refueling tankers. That made it the second largest contract in recent Pentagon history.

And for those open to "Deep State" analysis, Judge Fuller's secretly controlled company Doss Aviation undertook refueling operations around the world for the Air Force, including the sensitive matter of refueling the presidential Air Force One.

Although Elena Kagan would not be the first in Washington to sell out to advance personal career ambitions her willingness to oppose the rights of someone so prominent from her own party as Siegelman aptly illustrates the process. That goes also for Obama and Holder. The former attorney general told me recently in a brief conversation after a lecture on how he wanted to advocate for Democratic candidates that he was not familiar with the facts of the Siegelman case.

stephen breyer full portraitThat's just not credible, especially after he personally fired in 2009 Tamarah Grimes, the Justice Department whistleblower who worked on the Siegelman case and blasted Leura Canary's credibility to high officials in what had become an internationally notorious human rights disgrace for the United States..

As further context, one can believe Holder and Kagan on these issues about as much as one can trust that the longest serving Democrat on the Supreme Court,

Stephen Breyer, doesn't speak out about the assassination of President Kennedy because Breyer (shown at right) believes his 1964 work as a young staff attorney on the Warren Commission was all part of flawless work, not just a career-builder for himself.

In fact, my observations in Washington suggest that career-building typically comes not from the initial work (whose dimensions a young lawyer or journalist would not necessarily know). Instead, the real payoffs come to those engaged in serious business who keep quiet about any dirty work they undertake. Special status going to those who can voice concern about ethics, fairness and other morality about other issues.

bill moyers lbj 1963In terms of the Kennedy assassination, that pattern is especially striking in the journalistic careers of President Johnson's former communication director Bill Moyers, who led the assassination cover-up we now know from declassified documents and who is shown with the president in a file photo..

Further illustrating the pattern are the careers successes of such on-the-scene JFK murder reporters as future liberal icons (earning millions through the decades) Dan Rather of CBS (who lied to the public in 1963 about what the still-suppressed Zapruder film showed) and Jim Lehrer of PBS. Our Project's 49-part "Readers Guide to the JFK Assassination" documents all of that.   

The Cover-up Moves To Trump.

louis franklinThe bipartisan cover-up of the Siegelman-Scrushy case has continued in the Trump administration, however, with the president's nomination and senate's confirmation this year of Louis Franklin (shown at left) to be Beck's success in the powerful regional legal post.

Franklin had been the front-man framing Siegelman and Scrushy under Bush administration U.S. Attorney Leura Canary, who supposedly recused herself because her husband had been campaign manager for Siegelman's opponent Bob Riley. The Justice Department has stonewalled a decade-long pre-trial demand by Siegelman and Scrushy for written proof that Canary actually recused herself from involvement.

leura canary as she devilIn the meantime, Siegelman supporters created the adjoining parody portraying Canary as a she-devil.

She has had the last laugh, however, after being appointed as a top executive of Alabama Retirement Systems, which administers pension funds for state employees.

This was the same body whose head had previously accused Mark Fuller, the Siegelman trial judge, of attempting to defraud state retirees of $330,000 for a fraudulent payoff to a former Fuller subordinate. Critics had alleged that the attempted scam was to pay an alleged blackmail debt to obscure Fuller's corruption. But no one at the state or federal level was willing to investigate the solidly documented sworn allegations, as we reported here in our 2009 exposé that ran for days on the Huffington Post's front page.

Alabama Democratic Party Ruined For Years

More generally, the long, politically motivated frame-up of Alabama's leading Democrat devastated his party and led to a decade of national probes and protests on Siegelman’s behalf. The Justice Integrity Project has estimated that 200,000 American protests on Siegelman's behalf, including multiple petition drives, were sent to Bush and Obama administration officials without success.

A petition to the U.S. Supreme Court signed by 113 former state attorneys general was also unsuccessful in arguing for a Supreme Court review on the argument that Siegelman and Scrushy did not violate a law by the donations and reappointment. Ironically, the Supreme Court vacated the corruption convictions of former Republican Gov. Robert McDonnell, who clearly benefited from about $150,000 in gifts provided by a lobbyist.

mark fuller mug shot atlantaAfter years of controversy Fuller resigned in 2015 his lifetime appointment to the federal bench following his arrest on a misdemeanor charge of assaulting his second wife, a former clerk during the Siegelman-Scrushy trial.

That prompted a confidential investigation by other federal judges that reportedly exposed other serious wrongdoing by Fuller (shown in his mug shot after arrest in Atlanta) that reputedly included sexual misconduct. Fuller's resignation followed a statewide protest effort against him that included editorials by nearly all of Alabama’s top federal officials and major newspapers.

Democratic Fingerprints On Coruption?

Not all of the scandals hurt Republicans, of course. Some Siegelman supporters such as Shuler, for example, have blamed his onetime defense lawyer Doug Jones, a former federal prosecutor, for agreeing with Bush administration prosecutors to waive the statute of limitations temporarily, but long enough to enable their sealed indictment. As Jones testified to two House Judiciary subcommittees in 2007,  prosecutors agreed that they were wrapping up their review and needed just a bit more time after separate federal corruption trials ended without prosecution victories..

Jones critics, including some Democrats who vowed not to support him despite the almost unprecedented opportunity to win the seat in a narrow race, also include some who believe the lawyer unduly enriched himself by serving with Republican operative Rob Riley as lead co-counsel in a successful class action civil suit that garnered a $500 million settlement of fraud claims against the onetime billionaire Scrushy, HealthSouth and their insurers.

The victory came while Scrushy was serving his prison term. Rob Riley, the Jones co-counsel in the HealthSouth case, is the son of two-term governor Bob Riley, Siegelman's rival in the 2002 gubernatorial election. Siegelman narrowly lost it after 6,000 votes were switched late night following a declaration that Siegelman had won the 2002 race by 3,000 votes.

The Bigger Picture

It would be difficult to summarize credibly in a blog-length column all of the other mind-boggling political and legal scandals and alleged scandals affecting Alabama's top echelon of public officials the past decade. 

Don Siegelman film poster atticus v architect

It's true also that many if not most Alabamians might regard Siegelman and Scrushy as guilty following years of their unsuccessful appeals to higher courts and pro-right tendencies of most of the state’s media.

A new documentary film, Atticus versus the Architect (recently made available on Amazon.com), blames the prosecution of Siegelman (portrayed as in the mold of To Kill A Mockingbird lawyer-hero Atticus Finch) on former Bush White House advisor Karl Rove and other Republican operatives. The documentary has had only limited screenings but the persistent blogger Shuler has recently reported new evidence underscoring the massive frame-up targeting Siegelman and Scrushy, with Fox News host Neil Cavuto repeatedly commenting also on the injustice of imprisoning a businessman like Scrushy for making a donation. ..

Fortunately, it is not necessary for current purposes to reach an ultimate conclusion on any of these cases.

More simply, the point is that many Alabama voters of varying political inclinations were aware last week that their state had a problem with perceived sexual, financial and legal corruption in high places, even if the suspected miscreants boasted of conservative values and even if the local and national media only occasionally reported the full scope of allegations. .

It is worth a moment to note that mainstream media organizations much prefer focusing on individual cases of injustice, particularly those that might involve a clear-cut victim and villain, rather than trying to unravel a horror show like the Siegelman cases that disgraces officials from both parties. Thus the Washington Post, for example, has almost never delved into the Siegelman-Scrushy case at any length. It has been content for the most part to rely on routine wire service stories that provide the illusion of real reporting. 

Part of that superficial treatment could well be the deep bipartisan military-intelligence connections of a number of players. The judge's company, Doss Aviation, trained U.S. and international Air Force pilots and refueled Air Force plans, for example. As for the Washington Post, its owner Jeffrey Bezos also founded Amazon.com, which won a $600 million contract in 2013 to handle cloud computing for the CIA. Those connections are amplified in my book Presidential Puppetry: Obama, Romney and Their Masters but are largely beyond this column's scope.

Summing Up

Many Alabama voters knew significant parts of the history above by the time last week's special election for the Senate.

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So, anyone seeking to understand the national implications of the Jones-Moore election results needs to assess also these specifics. News accounts of these Alabama corruption scandals are excerpted in an appendix below, as are commentary about this week’s Jones-Moore election.

To be sure, this history complements and does not necessarily contradict more standard interpretations of the Moore-Jones election.

Democrats guided by Jones and his strategic team led by the DC-based consultant Joe Trippi won a tough race aided by good luck in drawing a bad opponent in Moore. Also, they drew on an energized base of blacks, young people, the college-educated, and suburbanites. As noted by Washington Post writer Anne Applebaum in How Doug Jones won, Jones succeeded also by providing an upbeat message, helping him achieve a huge improvement over Hillary Clinton's percentage share of the Alabama vote against Trump. .

james stewart Mr. Smith Goes PosterWhile upbeat messages might work up to a point, our news survey above suggests that large numbers of Alabama voters have seen plenty of dirt and plenty of phonies, and not just Moore.

And so a new senator will have his chance shortly to play his part in the seemingly endless saga of Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, the 1939 Frank Capra film portraying a new senator in Washington.

What role will Doug Jones play? The idealistic Sen. Jefferson Smith (portrayed below by James Stewart at right), Or the ostensibly righteous but secretly crooked Sen. Joseph Paine (portrayed by Claude Rains, at left below)?

By coincidence, Republicans are keeping the newly elected Jones out of office temporarily for the rest of this year while they try to enact historic tax legislation this week to keep their wealthy donors happy with monumental permanent tax breaks. Meanwhile, the Republicans have announced preparations for massive cuts to the social safety net next year (Social Security, Medicare, etc.) to help reduce deficits, and, not so coincidentally, as this week's tax bill enriches the wealthy among the Senate, such as vote-flipping Republican Bob Corker of Tennessee.

So, the stage is set for Alabama's new senator, with votes and backroom deals looming. 

james stewart Mr. Smith Goes Senate Floor2

James Stewart, right, performs in an iconic film scene whereby his seemingly respectable senior Senate colleague at left had helped orchestrate a barrage of phony protests to drive the new senator out of office to enable a corrupt land deal 

This column was updated with additional perspective on Democratic silence and complicity in Alabama corruption

Contact the author This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Related News Coverage (Listed in reverse chronological order)

Shown below are related stories divided into two parts.

Listed first are news stories and commentary related to the recent Alabama special election for a U.S. Senate seat. The chronology ends with an excerpt from the Nov. 9 story by the Washington Post alleging GOP nominee Roy Moore's now-notorious interest in teen girls.

The second part of the chronology below excerpts columns documenting a variety of other Alabama scandals over the past decade, including this editor's work investigating the frame-ups of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman and businessman Richard Scrushy on corruption charges.

Part I: Alabama Democratic Senate Victory

doug jones victory

Victory Celebration for Alabama Sen.-Elect Roy Moore last week

Dec. 18

Legal Schnauzer, Doug Jones' comments about Donald Trump and Senate Republicans indicate he's already planning to sell out black, female voters who put him in office, Roger Shuler, Dec. 18, 2017. Donald Trump should not resign from office over sexual harassment and assault allegations, newly elected Alabama U.S. Senator Doug Jones said in an interview yesterday on CNN's State of the Union. This is the same Jones who said during his campaign against Roy Moore that former Minnesota Senator Al Franken, a Democrat, should resign over sex-related allegations that seem far less serious than those leveled at Trump.

In the same interview, Jones said he likely would vote with Senate Republicans on certain issues, listing an upcoming infrastructure bill as one possibility. "Don't expect me to vote solidly for Republicans or Democrats . . . ," Jones said. "I don't think anybody should be able count on my vote for anything."

Regular readers of Legal Schnauzer know what's going on. Not even a week has passed since the election -- and Jones hasn't been installed in office, and he is proving that our reporting on his right-wing leanings are on target. How goofy are Jones' comment about Trump? Jones essentially is saying the most corrupt president in U.S. history, who has admitted to being a sexual predator, should be allowed off the hook on those issues. .

Dec. 17

 

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Washington Post, Opinion: Roy Moore lost, but his type of right-wing white populism still dominates the GOP, Joseph Lowndes, Dec. 17, 2017 (print edition). Joseph Lowndes is associate professor of political science at the University of Oregon and author of "From the New Deal to the New Right." Roy Moore won’t be in Washington next year, after all. But the Republican Party isn’t anywhere near rid of his style of racialized right-wing rhetoric — or of politicians like him.

Exit polls showed that 91 percent of Republicans who voted in Alabama’s special election Tuesday supported the controversial former judge, even as Doug Jones became the first Democrat since 1997 to represent the state in the Senate. Right-wing populism has been an influential force in the GOP for decades, and it’s now dominant.

Dec. 16

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Washington Post, Opinion: How Doug Jones won, Anne Applebaum, Dec. 16, 2017. “How did he do it?” That’s the question I was asked more than once by European friends the day after Alabama’s Senate election: How did Doug Jones win? The question was not idle. In many ways, the electoral challenge Jones faced in Alabama was strikingly similar to the challenge facing European politicians of the center-left and even — or maybe especially — the center-right: How to defeat racist, xenophobic or homophobic candidates who are supported by a passionate, unified minority?

roy moore cowboy hat no gunThis was the same question asked after the victory of Emmanuel Macron in the French elections, and part of the answer, in both cases, was luck. Nobody predicted a Roy Moore (shown in photo) sex scandal. Nobody predicted that the French political establishment would fold so quickly either. France’s previous, center-left president was so unpopular that he discredited his party; France’s center-right leader, François Fillon, was knocked out of the race by a scandal. Macron wound up as the leader of a new centrist coalition, the electoral arithmetic was in his favor, and he won.

But beyond luck, both Macron and Jones also tried to reach across some traditional lines, in part by appealing to traditional values.

In Alabama, Jones used remarkably similar language. Jones’s Facebook ads (archived by ProPublica) used the slogan “restore honor and civility,” emphasized his background in law and order and, like Macron and Van der Bellen, projected patriotism instead of nationalism. “I believe the United States of America is a land of laws, justice, freedom, equality and opportunity,” he said. He also described his own fight against racism as an important civic achievement with benefits for all: “I prosecuted KKK terrorists, getting justice for the four young girls who were murdered. Join our campaign and bring civility and compassion back to Alabama.”

Dec. 14

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Washington Post, Analysis: The suburban revolt against Trump continued in Alabama, James Hohmann, Dec. 14, 2017. The backlash in the suburbs against President Trump is one of the most significant political stories of 2017. If Democrats win the House next year, it will be the main reason.

doug jones senateIn Alabama, Sen.-elect Doug Jones (D, shown at right) flipped or came close on Tuesday in suburban counties that Trump had won around Birmingham and Montgomery. His victory offers the latest data points for a trendline that stretches back to April, when a special election in Kansas to replace Mike Pompeo — who gave up his House seat to become CIA director — was unexpectedly close because of Democratic strength and high turnout in the Wichita suburbs, specifically Sedgwick County.

In Virginia last month, Chesterfield County — which includes the suburbs around Richmond — backed a Democratic gubernatorial candidate for the first time since 1961. Several GOP state legislators unexpectedly went down in suburban districts that were not thought to be in play. Gov.-elect Ralph Northam (D) won the district held by Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.) in the D.C. suburbs by 13 points. Four years before, Terry McAuliffe got 60 percent in Fairfax County. Northam pulled 68 percent.

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New York Times, How the Tide Turned Against Roy Moore, Ford Fessenden and K.K. Rebecca Lai, Dec. 14, 2017 (print edition). Big cities, college towns and black communities sent a wave of energized voters to cast ballots for Doug Jones, the Democratic Senate candidate.

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New York Times, Loss in Alabama Race Aggravates Rifts for Republicans, Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns, Dec. 14, 2017. With the Republican majority in the Senate down to a single seat, the party’s establishment is uneasy about what the populist wing could do in next year’s primary races.

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Washington Post, Analysis: The suburban revolt against Trump continued in Alabama, James Hohmann, Dec. 14, 2017. The backlash in the suburbs against President Trump is one of the most significant political stories of 2017. If Democrats win the House next year, it will be the main reason.

In Alabama, Sen.-elect Doug Jones (D) flipped or came close on Tuesday in suburban counties that Trump had won around Birmingham and Montgomery. His victory offers the latest data points for a trendline that stretches back to April, when a special election in Kansas to replace Mike Pompeo — who gave up his House seat to become CIA director — was unexpectedly close because of Democratic strength and high turnout in the Wichita suburbs, specifically Sedgwick County.

In Virginia last month, Chesterfield County — which includes the suburbs around Richmond — backed a Democratic gubernatorial candidate for the first time since 1961. Several GOP state legislators unexpectedly went down in suburban districts that were not thought to be in play. Gov.-elect Ralph Northam (D) won the district held by Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.) in the D.C. suburbs by 13 points. Four years before, Terry McAuliffe got 60 percent in Fairfax County. Northam pulled 68 percent.

Dec. 13

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Nation tires of pedophile politicians; Defeat of Roy Moore just the beginning, Wayne Madsen, Dec. 13, 2015 (subscription required, reprinted with permission). The historic victory of Democrat Doug Jones over Republican candidate Roy Moore in the Alabama special election to fill the seat of Attorney General Jeff Sessions has sent a message across the country that voters have no stomach for politicians convicted or accused of sexually preying on children.

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New York Times, Roy Moore Loses, Sanity Reigns, Editorial Board, Dec. 13, 2017 (print edition). Doug Jones strikes a blow against Donald Trump and for morality in American politics. That Alabama’s voters chose Doug Jones for the United States Senate is cause for celebration. A triumph for decency and common sense in a state that seemed for a time at risk of abandoning both, Mr. Jones’s win narrows the Republicans’ Senate majority and delivers a deeply deserved rebuke to President Trump. It is hard to get too intoxicated by a slim victory over an atrocious candidate, a suspected sexual abuser with bigoted politics, but Alabama, the Senate and the nation will be a whole lot better off with Mr. Jones than with Roy Moore.

Alabama’s deep-red politics argued against Mr. Jones’s chances. A former federal prosecutor, Mr. Jones won convictions of two Ku Klux Klan members for the 1963 bombing of Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church that killed four girls, and no Democrat had won a Senate race in two decades. But a report in The Washington Post in which four women accused Mr. Moore of sexually harassing or abusing them as teenagers turned the race into a close contest. Mr. Jones’s victory came thanks to overwhelming support from Alabama’s African-American voters.

“Lightweight Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a total flunky for Charles E. Schumer and someone who would come to my office 'begging' for campaign contributions not so long ago (and would do anything for them), is now in the ring fighting against Trump,” the president wrote. “Very disloyal to Bill & Crooked-USED!”

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douglas jonesWashington Post, Jones wins in Democratic upset, but Moore refuses to concede, Sean Sullivan, David Weigel and Michael Scherer. Dec. 13, 2017. In a surprising flip of a solidly Republican state, Doug Jones (shown at right) became the first Democrat elected to the Senate from Alabama since 1992 in a victory that showed the increasing power of sexual misconduct allegations and the limits of President Trump’s political influence. Roy Moore told his supporters “it’s not over” and suggested that the race might go to a recount, but the Alabama Republican Party said it would not support his push for one.

roy moore cowboy hat no gunLegal Schnauzer, Opinion: Donald Trump develops a "Roy Moore Problem" as outtakes from "The Apprentice" reportedly show him speaking approvingly about sex with underage girls, Roger Shuler, Dec. 13, 2017. Roy Moore went down in yesterday's Alabama special election for the U.S. Senate, largely because of lower-than-expected turnout in his rural strongholds -- and that likely was driven by allegations during the campaign that Moore had, as a 30-ish district attorney, dated teen-aged girls.

Now, another GOP politician might be developing a "Roy Moore Problem." And his name is Donald Trump. Outtakes from The Apprentice include scenes of Donald Trump speaking approvingly about sex with underage girls, according to a report from a D.C.-based investigative journalist. Officials at NBC have taken steps to make sure the outtakes remain out of public view, reports Wayne Madsen. From a recent article at the Wayne Madsen Report (WMR): Trump’s “Apprentice” outtakes reportedly reveal boasts about sex and young girls. The Wayne Madsen Report is a subscription-only Web site, but Legal Schnauzer has received permission to publish portions of its content.

usa today logodjt official SmallPalmer Report, Opinion: USA Today editorial board: Donald Trump is “unfit to clean toilets,” Bill Palmer, Dec. 13, 2017. After he endorsed a child molester in a Senate race, Donald Trump found a whole new way to reach a new low when he launched a bizarre attack on Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. After Gillibrand called on Trump to resign, Trump responded by accusing her of having offered him sexual favors in exchange for political favor. Suffice it to say, Trump faced severe pushback and condemnation. But as it turns out, USA Today hit him the hardest of anyone.

USA Today is far from a liberal newspaper, and it has taken Republican positions on various matters. But its editorial board is slamming Donald Trump for his attack on Gillibrand. The article starts off like this: “A president who’d all but call a senator a whore is unfit to clean toilets in Obama’s presidential library or to shine George W. Bush’s shoes.” From there it finds a way to be even more harsh.

Dec. 12

irs logoHuffPost, Doug Jones’ Victory Could Be Trouble For Tax Reform, Arthur Delaney, Dec. 12, 2017. Senate Republicans already have a thin margin for error, but they’re hoping to finish their tax bill before the Alabama winner is seated. The Republican tax agenda could face an additional obstacle now that Democrat Doug Jones has defeated Republican Roy Moore in Alabama’s special Senate election on Tuesday.

Jones likely won’t be seated until January, which is after Republicans plan to send a tax bill to the president’s desk. But if for some reason the legislation were delayed, Senate Republicans would have an even thinner margin for success without Moore as a senator. The Senate approved its version of tax reform earlier this month by a margin of 51-49, so having one fewer Republican would not necessarily imperil the bill, since Vice President Mike Pence can break a 50-50 tie.

Dec. 11

Legal Schnauzer, Campaign finance reports for Democrat Doug Jones show quite a few of his boosters are longtime donors to GOP stalwarts like Sessions, Shelby, and Bachus, Roger Shuler, Dec. 11, 2017. Anyone who doubts Alabama Republicans have backed Democrat Doug Jones' run for the U.S. Senate should be able to take it to the bank now. An article over the weekend at Politico shows, in black and white, that long-time GOP donors make up a meaningful portion of Jones' financial support -- and still, polls show he is likely to lose tomorrow to Republican theocrat and child molester Roy Moore.

We've already shown that GOP luminaries such as Karl Rove, Tom Donohue, Rob Riley, and Bill Canary have been backing Jones. But Politico adds to the right-wing equation backing Jones. From the article by Daniel Strauss and Luis Sanchez:

A small group of Alabama Republicans have joined forces with Democrat Doug Jones’ campaign ahead of Tuesday’s special Senate election. But they are having trouble swaying many friends and family members to cross the aisle, too.

Democrat Doug Jones’ campaign finance reports are dotted with longtime donors to Alabama Republicans like Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Sen. Richard Shelby and former Rep. Spencer Bachus. Republican attorneys in Birmingham and Mobile who have disliked Moore since he was a judge have banded together to offer support to Jones. The Republicans for Jones include Gina Dearborn, an Alabama lobbyist and former Shelby staffer who has backed Jones on social media and is married to White House deputy chief of staff Rick Dearborn.

Roy Moore is a detestable candidate in the eyes of many Alabamians with functioning cerebrums -- and many held that view long before reports that Moore, as an early 30-ish district attorney, had a taste for the flesh of teen-aged girls. But what do you get with Jones? A "Democrat" who likely will be taking marching orders from right-wingers like Sessions, Shelby, Rove, Donohue, and Riley.

Jones' documented ties to Rob Riley should be troubling for anyone with the slightest hint of a moral compass. The two of them worked to help generate $51 million in attorney fees from a HealthSouth lawsuit -- while Jones, at the same time, was "defending" former Gov. Don Siegelman, whose co-defendant was former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy. It's hard to imagine a more glaring conflict of interest than that. Plus, Jones charged Siegelman $300,000 for a criminal defense he didn't perform; Jones bailed out before trial, because of his own scheduling conflict, and apparently did not repay a dime of the money he took from Siegelman.

You want to trust this guy with your taxpayer dollars?

On top of that, Jones has aligned himself with Rob Riley, one of the most grossly corrupt political figures in modern Alabama history -- and that is saying something. Noted Alabama whistle blower and oppo researcher Jill Simpson says she is convinced Jones played a role in her home catching fire and in several ugly highway incidents.

On a personal note, I have no doubt Jones was involved, directly or indirectly, in cheating me out of my job at UAB. It's undisputed that Rob Riley was directly involved in my unlawful incarceration in Shelby County, and that means Jones probably was involved -- or at least knows all about it, but has remained silent. For good measure, I have little doubt there is an "Alabama Underground Railroad" driving abuses against my wife, Carol, and me in Missouri -- including an unlawful eviction that led to cops breaking Carol's arm so severely that it required trauma surgery. We would not be surprised to learn (soon, hopefully) that Jones has been one of the conductors on the corrupt train from the Heart of Dixie.

Still, it appears Jones will lose in tomorrow's election. That might make him the first major political candidate to lose to an apparent child molester. That, if it happens, will be quite a distinction to take into history. From Politico:

Yet Moore has remained in the lead in most polls of the special election because of continued support from the vast majority of Republicans, according to surveys from the Washington Post and other outlets. Jones needs votes from at least 1 in 10 Republicans if he is to win, according to Alabama-based Democratic pollster Zac McCrary. But most GOP voters do not believe the allegations of sexual assault and other misconduct against Moore, and many are simply unwilling to cast a vote for a Democrat.

“I think there'll be a fair number of people that will just hold their nose and vote for a Republican candidate in the end,” said Blake Goodsell, an attorney and past Alabama Republican Party donor who gave $1,000 to Jones.

“I've got a lot of friends who are party loyalists, and I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that, but they're also having a really hard time on this one,” said Harlan Winn, an attorney backing Jones who describes himself as a moderate.

Dec. 10

douglas jonesNew York Times, Roy Moore Loses, Sanity Reigns, Editorial Board, Dec. 13, 2017 (print edition). Doug Jones strikes a blow against Donald Trump and for morality in American politics. That Alabama’s voters chose Doug Jones for the United States Senate is cause for celebration. A triumph for decency and common sense in a state that seemed for a time at risk of abandoning both, Mr. Jones’s win narrows the Republicans’ Senate majority and delivers a deeply deserved rebuke to President Trump. It is hard to get too intoxicated by a slim victory over an atrocious candidate, a suspected sexual abuser with bigoted politics, but Alabama, the Senate and the nation will be a whole lot better off with Mr. Jones than with Roy Moore.

Alabama’s deep-red politics argued against Mr. Jones’s chances. A former federal prosecutor, Mr. Jones won convictions of two Ku Klux Klan members for the 1963 bombing of Birmingham’s 16th Street Baptist Church that killed four girls, and no Democrat had won a Senate race in two decades. But a report in The Washington Post in which four women accused Mr. Moore of sexually harassing or abusing them as teenagers turned the race into a close contest. Mr. Jones’s victory came thanks to overwhelming support from Alabama’s African-American voters.

November

Nov. 13

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Washington Post, Moore seeks to refocus campaign on conservative religious values amid firestorm, Elise Viebeck, Dino Grandoni and John Wagner, Nov. 13, 2017. Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama (shown in a campaign photo) sought to refocus his campaign on the conservative religious ideals most likely to motivate his base voters, dismissing the national firestorm over allegations that he pursued teenage girls when he was in his 30s.

Addressing a gathering at the Huntsville Christian Academy in Huntsville, Ala., on Sunday night, the former judge (shown above in a campaign photo) suggested that he was investigating his accusers, threatened to sue The Washington Post and called on the United States to restore its culture by going “back to God.”

“We can be proud of where we came from and where we’re going if we go back to God,” Moore said at his second public event since The Post reported the allegations of misconduct last week. “If we go back to God, we can be unified again,” he said.

ny times logoNew York Times, White House Urges Caution on Judging Roy Moore, Nicholas Fandos, Nov. 13, 2017. Officials said that Mr. Moore, the Alabama Senate candidate accused of pursuing romantic relationships with teenagers, should be allowed to defend himself. Senate Republicans appeared to have largely abandoned his candidacy.

Nov. 12

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Washington Post, Opinion: Bannon is right: It’s no coincidence The Post broke the Moore story, Ruth Marcus, Nov. 12, 2017 (print edition). The Republicans showed their moral parameters in responding to the “mere allegation.”

Trump’s conveniently flexible standard on accusations — and he is not alone — boils down to: If the accuser points a finger at a Democrat — Bill Clinton, Harvey Weinstein — her word is to be trusted, automatically. If she complains about a Republican, Trump’s otherwise dormant devotion to due process kicks in. How can claims from “many years ago” be allowed to “destroy a person’s life”?

Some answers: Because they are entirely credible. Because the girl, now a woman, has no conceivable ax to grind — she is a longtime Republican, a Trump voter even — and nothing to gain from coming forward. Because three other women related similar, although less disturbing stories, underscoring Moore’s interest in younger girls.

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Roy Moore Washington Post, Defiant Roy Moore tries to rally support as top Republicans disown him, Elise Viebeck and Tom Hamburger, Nov. 12, 2017 (print edition). Addressing a Post report in which four accusers — including one who was 14 at the time — claimed inappropriate behavior by him when he was in his 30s, the GOP Senate candidate in Alabama (shown at right) attempted to frame the allegations as a conspiracy perpetrated by the media and his political enemies.

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Washington Post, Analysis: Why politicians got away with sexual misconduct for so long, Rachel Gorlin, Nov. 12, 2017 (print edition). Rachel Gorlin, a political media consultant at Tipping Point Strategies in Washington, worked for years on Capitol Hill. Everyone knew about Bob Packwood. He won reelection anyway.

My Harvey Weinstein was a U.S. senator. We were never alone together or even had a private conversation; he never harassed me. But Sen. Bob Packwood of Oregon was a textbook case of “everyone knew” when I served as press secretary for his 1992 challenger, Les AuCoin. I watched with dismay as our campaign and the press corps covering the race grappled with the knowledge of Packwood’s sexual misconduct — well beyond the adulterous realm of Gary Hart — without knowing what to do about it.

florence gravesFinally, in September 1992, a freelance investigative journalist named Florence Graves convinced the Washington Post that allegations of Packwood’s sexual misconduct warranted serious scrutiny. Graves (shown at right) and Post reporter Charles Shepard conducted many interviews in Oregon and Washington as the Senate race continued to tighten.

By mid-October, they had persuaded multiple women — all former staffers, volunteers or lobbyists — to tell their stories on the record; word of this reached both campaigns. As Tom Bates wrote in a 1993 Los Angeles Times Magazine piece that reconstructs the entire series of events, Packwood complained to Post publisher Katharine Graham. Top editor Len Downie then urged the senator to give his side of the story to Graves and Shepard, who had been seeking an interview.

Packwood agreed but cleverly put them off until five days before the election. He denied all the allegations, and the delay had given him time to gather dirt on his accusers. (It was the same tactic allies of Thomas had used to undermine Hill’s credibility; Weinstein tried the same approach with less success.) After the interview, according to the L.A.Times Magazine piece, the Packwood campaign faxed pages of supposedly incriminating claims to the Post reporters and to Downie’s home. Failing to check out the allegations against their sources could have put Graves and Shepard on risky ground both legally and journalistically. Packwood’s ploy made it impossible for The Post to publish the story before the election.

ny times logoNew York Times, Yes, the G.O.P. Can Block Roy Moore, Ronald J. Krotoszynski (a law professor at the University of Alabama), Nov. 13, 2017 (print edition). Mitch McConnell and other leaders have the constitutional authority to prevent Roy Moore from serving in the Senate if he is elected. Last week’s allegations of sexual misconduct against Roy Moore, the Republican candidate for Senate in Alabama, have drawn bipartisan denunciations in Washington, with many of his would-be colleagues calling on him to leave the race. Here in Alabama, however, the reaction has been considerably more muted.

If anything, the allegations seem to have forced many of the party faithful to rally around him. Mr. Moore, for his part, is not only refusing to step aside, but is making fund-raising appeals based on the accusations. While his accusers’ accounts no doubt hurt him, there is still a very good chance that Roy Moore will win the special election on Dec. 12.

Mitchell McConnellThe national party has made it clear that it wants nothing to do with Mr. Moore; on Friday the National Republican Senatorial Committee severed its ties with his campaign. But as his supporters have defiantly pointed out, there is nothing the Republicans can do to stop Alabamians from electing Mr. Moore.

That doesn’t mean the Senate is powerless. In fact, Mitch McConnell (shown at left) and other Senate leaders have the constitutional authority to prevent Mr. Moore from actually serving if he is elected. The real question is whether the party’s leadership is prepared to use this authority.

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Washington Post, Defiant Roy Moore tries to rally support as top Republicans disown him, Elise Viebeck and Tom Hamburger, Nov. 12, 2017 (print edition). Addressing a Post report in which four accusers — including one who was 14 at the time — claimed inappropriate behavior by him when he was in his 30s, the GOP Senate candidate in Alabama attempted to frame the allegations as a conspiracy perpetrated by the media and his political enemies.

Nov. 11

Axios, GOP fears Roy Moore will cost them a Senate seat, Mike Allen, Nov. 11, 2017 (updated Nov. 12). After the allegations against Roy Moore, and his subsequent response — in which he didn't rule out dating teenage girls while in his 30s — "some GOP political operatives fear Roy Moore could lose the race" and cost the party a Senate seat, AP reports.

A Republican close to [Senate Majority leader Mitch] McConnell said that contrary to the view we originally reported here, McConnell has "led the pack on Moore from day one": "McConnell is a very pragmatic guy, but he's very principled guy. And he's willing to lose the seat to prevent someone who's guilty of these things from taking it."

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douglas jonesWashington Post, Opinion: After the Roy Moore allegations can Democrats really win in Alabama? Heather Hendershot, Nov. 11, 2017. Doug Jones (shown at right) has a shot at winning — if the Democratic Party gets behind him.

Huffington Post, Since You Asked, Roy Moore, Here Is Why Victims Of Sexual Violence Wait Decades To Come Forward, Dani Bostick, Nov. 11, 2017. Attempting to defame and discredit the abused is a tried and true method of silencing them. In recent weeks, scores of men and women have come forward with stories of acts of sexual violence perpetrated by prominent people. Allegations against Harvey Weinstein opened the floodgates; now actor Kevin Spacey, comedian Louis C.K., Alabama senate candidate Roy Moore and others have also now joined that ignominious list.

On Saturday, Roy Moore defended himself against allegations of sexual misconduct by ― surprise, surprise ― attacking his victim. In defense of himself, he said, “To think that grown women would wait 40 years... to bring charges is absolutely unbelievable.”

But actually, waiting decades to report is not at all unbelievable. I, like many victims, took decades to find the courage to name my abuser and seek justice for the crimes he committed when I was a child. Many victims either never disclose or wait years to share their stories.

CBS News, Roy Moore's former colleague says it was "common knowledge" he dated teens, Kathryn Watson, Nov. 11, 2017. A former prosecutor who once worked alongside embattled Alabama GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore in the early 1980s told CNN it was "common knowledge" at the time that Moore dated high school girls.

"It was common knowledge that Roy dated high school girls, everyone we knew thought it was weird," former deputy district attorney Teresa Jones told CNN in comments aired Saturday. "We wondered why someone his age would hang out at high school football games and the mall ... but you really wouldn't say anything to someone like that."

Jones, now a partner at the Syprett, Meshad, Resnick, Lieb, Dumbaugh, Jones, Krotec & Westheimer, P.A. law firm based in Sarasota, Florida, served as deputy district attorney for Etowah County, Alabama from 1982 to 1985, according to her firm's website. Moore worked as a deputy district attorney in that office from 1977 to 1982. Before joining the DA's office, Jones was the assistant city attorney for the city of Gadsden, Alabama, the county seat of Etowah County.

Nov. 10

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Washington Post, 2 GOP senators pull support for Roy Moore after he doesn’t deny dating teens when in his 30s, Michael Scherer and David Weigel, Nov. 10, 2017. 2 GOP senators pull support for Roy Moore after he doesn’t deny dating teens when in his 30s. Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore declined Friday to rule out that he may have dated girls in their late teens when he was in his 30s, though he said he did not remember any such encounters and described such behavior as inappropriate.

Roy Moore

“If I did, I’m not going to dispute these things, but I don’t remember anything like that,” Moore (shown in a file photo) said on Sean Hannity’s radio program, when asked whether he had dated 17- or 18-year-old girls at the time.

In the same interview, Moore denied outright the claim of Leigh Corfman that he had initiated sexual encounters with her when she was 14. “I don’t know Ms. Corfman from anybody,” he said. “The allegations of sexual misconduct with her are completely false.”

Moore’s comments came as GOP leaders scrambled Friday to limit the political damage from the allegations. Two Republican senators — Steve Daines (Mont.) and Mike Lee (Utah) — withdrew their endorsements of Moore after his interview with Hannity.

iBankCoin.com via Zero Hedge, Roy Moore Story Unraveling? One Accuser Worked For Hillary, Another Claims Several Pastors Made Sexual Advances, Staff report, Nov. 10, 2017. From the outset, several aspects of the Washington Post‘s decades-old accusations of Roy Moore having inappropriate relations with four young women seemed off. In addition to odd circumstances surrounding the story’s origins, the accusers themselves – and even the WaPo journalist who wrote the story – have checkered pasts and political views which some could consider ulterior motives.

If the accusations against Moore are true, he needs to immediately step aside and exit politics – as both President Trump and, oddly, Mitch McConnell

Washington Post, As Roy Moore declines to step aside, a tale of two Republican parties emerges, James Hohmann​, Nov. 10, 2017. The reactions to the allegation that Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore initiated sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl in the 1970s have highlighted deep divisions within the Republican Party and underscored the growing tribalism that has infected the nation’s politics.

At the Capitol, establishment Republicans expressed alarm.

Meanwhile, down in Montgomery, Republican leaders mostly circled the wagons behind Moore. The deadline has passed to take his name off the ballot. The Alabama state party could disqualify him from the election, but there was relatively little appetite locally to do so.

The most remarkable pushback came from Alabama State Auditor Jim Zeigler, who dismissed the allegations by saying that there was also an age gap between the biblical Joseph and Mary. “Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus,” he told The Washington Examiner. “There’s just nothing immoral or illegal here. Maybe just a little bit unusual.”

Legal Schnauzer, Revelations about Roy Moore's taste for tender flesh raise questions about U.S. Senate race, plus integrity of the AL Supreme Court when Moore was in charge, Roger Shuler, Nov. 10, 2017. Yesterday's bombshell report that unmasked Roy Moore as a religious and political fraud -- one with a creepy taste for underage flesh -- caused many Alabamians to look forward. The first question that came to many minds probably was: "How will this affect 'Judge Roy's' chances in the special U.S. Senate election on Dec. 12, against Democrat Doug Jones? Could Roy actually lose in a Deep Red state, where he was the overwhelming favorite?"

Such questions are understandable, given the Alabama Senate race is attracting national attention, and election day is barely a month away. But citizens also should look backward and ask questions about the Alabama Supreme Court, which Moore "led" as chief justice.

Once Moore won his second term as Alabama's chief justice in 2012, evidence gradually mounted that the state's high court was riddled with corruption. An oft-heard refrain after Moore returned to the bench went something like this: "You might not agree with Roy's mix of religion and politics, but you have to admit that he has impeccable integrity and deep respect for the law. At least our courts won't be corrupt and favor the big-law special interests. The 'little man' finally will get a fair shake."

Heck, even I wanted to believe that -- especially since I had first-hand experience with Moore's opponent, Democrat Robert Vance Jr., and knew Vance was corrupt. Vance was (and is) a tool of the big downtown Birmingham law firms, such as Maynard Cooper and Gale and Adams and Reese/Lange Simpson. If I remember correctly, I actually voted for Moore in 2012; I sure as hell didn't vote for Vance.

It quickly became apparent that Roy Moore was unable -- or unwilling -- to lead a clean shop at the Alabama Supreme Court. Perhaps the most obvious signs of corruption on the Good Ship Roy came with glaringly unlawful rulings related to gaming. Another sign hit close to home for Mrs. Schnauzer and me, and it involves my unlawful five-month incarceration in Shelby County.

Red State, Another Person Corroborates Roy Moore’s Accuser, Patterico, Nov. 10, 2017. Another person has emerged to corroborate the allegation that Roy Moore molested a 14-year-old girl in 1979. Like the other corroborating witnesses, this person did not witness the event, of course. He was just told about it by the victim years ago. But his account can now be added to those of the two people detailed in the Washington Post story:

"Betsy Davis, who remains friendly with Corfman and now lives in Los Angeles, says she clearly remembers Corfman talking about seeing an older man named Roy Moore when they were teenagers. She says Corfman described an encounter in which the older man wore nothing but tight white underwear. She says she was firm with Corfman that seeing someone as old as Moore was out of bounds."

“I remember talking to her and telling her it’s not a good idea,” Davis says. “Because we were so young.”

A second friend, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of losing her job, has a similar memory of a teenage Corfman telling her about seeing an older man.

Between all these people, Roy Moore’s bizarre statements in his interview with Sean Hannity, the evidence of his interest in other young girls, the apparent lack of bias on the part of the accusers, the garbage character of Moore, and cold hard facts that corroborate other aspects of the woman’s story, it looks very bad for Moore.

This is what the Bannon wing of the Republican party asked for. Now they have it. Great job, guys.

 breitbart logoBreitbart, Alabama ABC Affiliate Can’t Find One Voter Who Believes WaPo Report About Roy Moore in Man-on-the-Street Segment, Jeff Poor, Nov. 10, 2017. During a segment that aired on Friday’s broadcast of Birmingham, AL ABC affiliate WBMA 33/40’s 5 p.m. local news, political reporter Lauren Walsh sought out voters in Columbiana, AL to gauge their reactions to the Washington Post report that alleged Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Roy Moore engaged in inappropriate conduct with four teenage girls more than 34 years ago.

None of the respondents according to Walsh told her they believed the Post’s reporting. “It’s hard to believe the events that transpired yesterday,” Gordon Fluker of nearby Wilsonville, AL said to Walsh about the Washington Post report.

Fluker’s response was the standard according to Walsh. “Out of all the voters we spoke with Friday in Columbiana, we didn’t find one voter who believed the Washington Post report about Moore,” she said.

Columbiana is the county seat of Shelby County, a county that is the home to many of Birmingham’s southern suburbs. The county is very Republican, and in last year’s presidential election, it went for Donald Trump by a 72-23 percent margin.

In the GOP primary and the subsequent runoff for next month’s special election won by Moore, Shelby County went for his opponent Luther Strange in both instances. In that county, Strange defeated Moore by nine points in the GOP primary held in August. In the runoff a month later, Strange topped Moore by a 55-45 margin.

GroopSpeak, Opinion: Another Witness Just Came Forward, Roy Moore’s Career Is Over, Crowd sourcing, Nov. 10, 2017. As more and more GOP members are coming out to defend Roy Moore, witnesses are also beginning to emerge that can further confirm the accounts of the women who claim Roy Moore took advantage of them in their teenage years.

A man named Mike Ortiz was the longtime boyfriend of Leigh Corfman, who Roy Moore molested when she was just 14 years old, and has come forward to confirm her account of events. Ortiz did an interview with ABC 33/40 News’ Lauren Walsh, an Alabama based reporter, and confirmed that while he dated Corfman for over two years, she told him of the incident.

Ortiz further said, “I believed her, I believe her. I think she always fought with whether to come out with it public or not, you know, internally with what she wanted to do with it, to let people know about it. But I believed her when she told me and I still believe her. She wouldn’t lie about something like that.”

The chilling story of Roy Moore meeting the 14-year-old Corfman in the hallway of a courtroom, and convincing her to come to his house with him alone, was told this week the Washington Post. Corfman, who says that once at Moore’s house he removed her clothing and had her touch him over his underwear, is far from the only woman making accusations about Moore. Several other women say that while they were teenagers and Roy Moore was in his 30’s, he pursued sexually inappropriate relationships with them.

Nov. 9

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 Republican U.S.Senate candidate from Alabama Roy Moore, is shown above in a file photo, and in photos from his campaign when he flourished .38 special to emphasize his support for gun rights. He was twice removed as chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court for refusal to implement U.S. Supreme Court precedents that he claimed violated God' la

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Washington Post, Analysis: Roy Moore: Another GOP calamity, Jennifer Rubin (shown at right), Nov. 9, 2017. The Post’s blockbuster article on Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore, the twice-booted judge whose incendiary rhetoric on gays and Muslims spurred a handful of elected Republicans to refuse to back him, found Moore allegedly engaged in sexual behavior with a 14-yr. old minor and pursued three others.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) swiftly lowered the boom: “The allegations against Roy Moore are deeply disturbing and disqualifying. He should immediately step aside and allow the people of Alabama to elect a candidate they can be proud of.”

Mitchell McConnellMajority leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) also weighed in. The Post reports:“If these allegations are true, he must step aside,” McConnell said in a formal statement on behalf of all Republican senators.

That formulation, however, leaves Moore room to claim the allegation are untrue and remain in the race. That’s precisely what Moore is doing — vehemently denying the accounts.

This miserable state of affairs, in addition to the personal harm to the victims, would not have come about, of course, had the Republicans primary voters of Alabama rejected someone with overtly racists and extreme views whose contempt for the Constitution led to two dismissals from the bench. He quite simply should never have been the nominee, and Republicans who subsequently backed him were once more placing party over country and Constitution.

WBMA -TV, (ABC affiliate 33-40, Birmingham, AL) via Twitter, Former boyfriend of Moore's teen accuser backs her account, Lauren Walsh, Nov. 9, 2017. Mike Ortiz says he dated Corfman (Roy Moore’s accuser) for 2 years around 2009. He says during that time, she told him about a sexual encounter w/ Moore when she was young.

Leigh Corfman, Wendy Miller, Debbie Wesson Gibson, Gioria Thacker Deason (Family photo via Washington Post)amily

Clockwise from left: Leigh Corfman, Wendy Miller, Debbie Wesson Gibson and Gloria Thacker Deason. (Family photos via Washington Post)

washington post logo

Washington Post, Woman says Roy Moore initiated sexual encounter when she was 14, he was 32, Stephanie McCrummen, Beth Reinhard and Alice Crites, Nov. 9, 2017. Leigh Corfman says she was 14 years old when an older man approached her outside a courtroom in Etowah County, Ala. She was sitting on a wooden bench with her mother, they both recall, when the man introduced himself as Roy Moore.

Roy Moore 38 specialIt was early 1979 and Moore — now the Republican nominee in Alabama for a U.S. Senate seat — was a 32-year-old assistant district attorney. He struck up a conversation, Corfman and her mother say, and offered to watch the girl while her mother went inside for a child custody hearing.

“He said, ‘Oh, you don’t want her to go in there and hear all that. I’ll stay out here with her,’ ” says Corfman’s mother, Nancy Wells, 71. “I thought, how nice for him to want to take care of my little girl.”

Aside from Corfman, three other women interviewed by The Washington Post in recent weeks say Moore pursued them when they were between the ages of 16 and 18 and he was in his early 30s, episodes they say they found flattering at the time, but troubling as they got older. None of the women say that Moore forced them into any sort of relationship or sexual contact.

 

Part II: Other Alabama Cases, Analysis

2017 New Witness Vindicates Siegelman Whistleblower In Iconic Alabama Frame-up

Don Siegelman film poster atticus v architect

Legal Schnauzer, Alabama GOPers planned to include Karl Rove in meeting to discuss Siegelman indictment, Roger Shuler, Nov. 8, 2017. Blogger Roger Shuler has written hundreds of trenchant columns about the notorious federal-state frame-up of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman (shown above in a film poster), who completed a seven-year prison term on corruption charges earier this year),  A veteran Montgomery lawyer says he was invited to a meeting where Alabama Republicans were to discuss a political prosecution of former governor Don Siegelman, according to an affidavit in a pending federal lawsuit. Former George W. Bush adviser Karl Rove was hoping to attend the meeting.

tommy gallionTommy Gallion, who has been involved with the Republican Party since 1972, says the late Winton Blount III invited him to a meeting, where a group of Republicans were to discuss their plan to work with newly appointed U.S. Attorney Leura Canary (shown below at left) to indict Siegelman. Blount, a former gubernatorial candidate and chair of the Alabama Republican Party, died in February 2015. (The Gallion affidavit is embedded at the end of this post.)

leura canarySiegelman, in fact, was indicted and was convicted (along with former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy) in what has become known as the most notorious political prosecution in U.S. history. It is the subject of a documentary (shown above) titled Atticus v. The Architect: The Political Assassination of Don Siegelman, which has been shown at a number of locations around the Southeast in recent months.

Gallion's sworn statement is entered as an exhibit in a pending federal lawsuit, under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) that attorney Joseph Siegelman (Don's son) brought, seeking records about Canary's supposed recusal in the Siegelman/Scrushy prosecution. Records in that lawsuit, before U.S. District Judge Madeline Haikala, show the U.S. Department of Justice turned over the requested documents to the court on April 10.

Dana Jill Simpson 2017Gallion's sworn statement seems to support the claims of Alabama activist, opposition researcher, and retired attorney Jill Simpson (shown at right), who testified before Congress about a conference call where Business Council of Alabama president Bill Canary discussed a plan for "his girls" (Leura Canary and fellow U.S. attorney Alice Martin) to "take care of" Don Siegelman. Rob Riley, son of former Gov. Bob Riley, was among other Republicans reportedly on the call.

Legal Schnauzer, Finding of "no probable cause" against Rebekah Mason suggests ethics commission is part of scheme to oust Bentley but keep greater wrongdoing under cover, Roger Shuler, April 14, 2017. The Alabama Ethics Commission has found "no probable cause" that Rebekah Caldwell Mason (shown in a file photo), adviser and mistress to former Gov. Robert Bentley, violated state ethics laws. The decision adds to the growing body of evidence that the process leading to Bentley's resignation on Monday was a sham — "fix" would be another fitting word — designed only to remove an embarrassing governor from office, but provide no justice for the citizens of Alabama.

Legal Schnauzer, Even progressive journalists, like Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O'Donnell of MSNBC, can't get it right about how the "Luv Guv" Bentley story was broken, Roger Shuler, April 13, 2017. The sex and money scandal that brought down Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley this week was a train wreck of deceit. But the dishonesty and misinformation were not limited to political figures, both in and outside the Bentley Administration. It also includes the mainstream media (MSM), the kind of news outlets that involve newspaper chains and major television networks. Andrew Kreig, a D.C.-based lawyer and journalist, takes the MSM to task for its coverage of the Bentley scandal, in a new column at the Justice-Integrity Project. The piece is titled "Alabama blogger, not mainstream media, exposed state house scandal."

We appreciate Kreig's recognition that the Bentley scandal broke here at Legal Schnauzer, not al.com or any other mainstream outlet. In fact, we broke the story almost seven months before the MSM hopped on the train, and during those intervening months, al.com reporters John Archibald, Chuck Dean (yes, he of Ashley Madison fame), and Leada Gore mostly tried to debunk the story and attack my reporting.

I'm never surprised when al.com -- a consortium of Alabama right-wing rags -- sinks to lazy, dishonest, or underhanded reporting. But it is disappointing when even progressive journalists, like Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O'Donnell of MSNBC (shown in screenshots), can't get it right about the origins of the Bentley scandal.

I'm a fan of both Maddow and O'Donnell, and I appreciate that Maddow has been, by far, the most prominent journalist to cover the story; she has devoted segments to it on at least a half dozen occasions, giving it the kind of probing, insightful treatment her viewers have come to expect. But she repeatedly has gotten it wrong about who broke the story. (Rachel, it was me, dammit!!!) On multiple occasions, she has credited al.com and John Archibald with breaking the story. That's not even close to being accurate; they tried to squelch the story and trash the reporter who did break it. MSNBC took it a step further after her report Monday night, after Bentley had resigned. During the talky transition from one show to another, O'Donnell gave Maddow credit for being out front on the story, before everyone. (Cough . . . hack . . . snort!) Maddow did not say anything that indicated she disagreed with that assessment.

Legal Schnauzer, Report on "Luv Guv" Bentley might be "salacious," but plea deal that apparently did not require withheld documents to be produced is a bad deal for Alabama, Roger Shuler, April 11, 2017. Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley negotiated a plea deal yesterday that required him to resign, while dropping four possible felony counts to two misdemeanors. That's a bad deal for Alabama, but it's even worse when you consider one member of the House Judiciary Committee, Chris England, has declared his work is done.

Justice Integrity Project, Alabama Blogger, Not Mainstream Media, Exposed State House Scandal, Andrew Kreig, April 11, 2017. Two cable news stars broadcast a repulsive but revealing display of self-promotion Aug. 10 when MSNBC host Lawrence O'Donnell credited fellow anchor Rachel Maddow for coverage prompting the resignation of Alabama's scandal-ridden governor earlier in the day.

But credit belongs not to relentlessly self-promoting Maddow but to the courageous Alabama blogger Roger Shuler. He has been financially ruined, beaten and jailed for his relentless investigations of top state officials, including the just-departed GOP Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley.

Shuler broke the story of the scandals arising from Bentley's affair with a highly paid state aide, Rebekah Mason Caldwell.

The story is particularly appropriate now because of the awful price that Shuler and his wife Carol have paid for such work and the heavy-handed public relations campaign mainstream media is waging against bloggers, alternative media and those falling under the smear of "fake news" and "conspiracy theorists."

This is the first of several columns we plan about those developments, which are prominent this week in part because of the annual announcement of Pulitzer Prizes. The Pulitzers were dominated as usual by winners from the New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal in major categories. It's fine that they were able to achieve recognition, and in that spirit we cite winners here and below.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, Top Strategist Rebekah Mason and former Alabama law enforcement chief Stephen Collier WKRGFormer Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley is shown above at left with Rebekah Caldwell Mason center. The WKRG-TV photo collage shows at right Alabama's former top law enforcer Spencer Collier, whom Bentley fired in a cover-up attempt. 

New York Times, Alabama Governor Quits in Sex Scandal That Rocked State, Alan Blinder, April 10, 2017. Gov. Robert Bentley resigned Monday, his power and popularity diminished by a sex scandal that staggered the state, brought him to the brink of impeachment and prompted a series of criminal investigations. Ellen Brooks, a special prosecutor, said Mr. Bentley had quit in connection with a plea agreement on two misdemeanor charges: failing to file a major contribution report and knowingly converting campaign contributions to personal use.

It was a stunning downfall for the governor, a Republican who acknowledged in March 2016 that he had made sexually charged remarks to his senior political adviser, Rebekah Caldwell Mason.

kay iveyMr. Bentley, 74, repeatedly denied having a physical relationship with Ms. Mason and long insisted that he had not broken any laws, but he was a subject of multiple investigations, including reviews by the F.B.I. and the Alabama attorney general’s office.

Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey (shown at right) succeeds Mr. Bentley; she (Ivy) is a former state treasurer who will be the second woman to hold the office. She is graduate of Auburn University who was a high school teacher and a bank officer before going to work for the Legislature.

Politico, How Alabama’s ‘Luv Guv’ Broke New Ground in a Scandal-Plagued State, Eric Velasco, April 10, 2017. Based in Birmingham, Al., Eric Velasco has been a freelancer since 2012, writing about judicial politics and other matters. Naughty texts and burner phones shamed Republican Governor Robert Bentley. A vindictive coverup helped bring him down. Even after a year of titillating revelations, the release on Friday afternoon of the special investigator’s report on the affair between the 74-year-old governor and his much younger and still-married aide still had the capacity to amaze the most seasoned Alabamian political observers.

The bar was high after a tape came out last March of Robert Bentley, the one-time Sunday school teacher and dermatologist, on which the governor was heard awkwardly cooing into the phone to Rebekah Mason, his then 40-something senior political adviser.

On Monday afternoon, the day the Judiciary Committee was to begin deliberations to decide whether to forward impeachment charges to the full House, Bentley was booked into the Montgomery County Jail on two misdemeanor charges involving his use of campaign funds. He was released and then resigned Monday evening. A plea deal, which has not been presented in court, calls for Bentley to never seek public office again, al.com reported.

The governor, whose second term was scheduled to end in 2018, had until Monday adamantly denied ethics or criminal violations. According to news reports, Bentley on Monday afternoon pleaded guilty to the two counts, allegedly involving campaign funds to pay a legal bill for Mason and a loan he made to his campaign outside the permissible window of time.

Mason, a former Miss Alabama contestant, ex-television reporter and communications consultant, resigned last year. But her husband of nearly 20 years, Jon Mason (shown with his wife on a Facebook page), still has his job as director of Bentley’s Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives. Both accompanied Bentley to Trump’s inauguration in January. In recent days, leaders in the state House, Senate and Republican Party urged the governor to resign. But as recently as Friday, during a hastily called news conference on the steps of the state Capitol, Bentley repeated his vow he would not step down.

What is it about Alabama? The concentration of power among a few — the Legislature, the university system, major utilities and a collection of influential businesses — provides a major explanation, said John Archibald, longtime columnist for the Birmingham News and al.com, who has broken many of the revelations in the Bentley scandal. “Part of it is the century-long influence of what we would call the Big Mules,” Archibald said. “So much concentration of power just breeds corruption.”

Legal Schnauzer, When Dianne Bentley set up recording device and announced she was going for a walk, it took "Luv Guv" 59 seconds to get on phone with Rebekah Mason, Roger Shuler, April 10, 2017.

How crazy in lust was Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley at the height of his affair with senior adviser Rebekah Caldwell Mason? When Dianne Bentley -- then the state's first lady and the governor's wife of 50 years -- had set up a recording device and said she was going for a long walk on the beach, it took the "Luv Guv" 59 seconds to get on the phone with Mason. Fifty-nine seconds! His wife probably wasn't even off the property yet. That was in March 2014, and the rapid response time must be some sort of record for a 71-year-old (at the time) horn dog.

How crazy with fury was Gov. Bentley when he became convinced that one of the first lady's assistants, Heather Hannah, had helped generate a tape recording of the "Luv Guv" gushing about the joys of fondling Mason's breasts and groping her nether regions? He sought to have Hannah arrested, apparently never considering that Hannah was only an accomplice, in the broadest sense of the word. The one who came up with the idea for the taping, and actually pushed the "record" button, was . . . Dianne Bentley. That means: (a) No crime likely was involved; (b) If a crime was involved, it would mean arresting not only Hannah, but Bentley's own wife, the state's beloved and much-admired first lady.

Consider these headlines: "Alabama's horn dog governor has his faithful wife of 50 years arrested for gathering evidence about his affair with aide who has glorious breasts."

We're talking "cray, cray" here, and those are just two instances from the House Judiciary Committee's (HJC) Impeachment Report that suggest the "Luv Guv" was operating in an "out there" state of mind. No wonder some family members thought he had dementia.

How was a recording device set up to catch Gov. Bentley in heated and lustful discussions with Mason about various parts of her apparently luscious anatomy. Here is background from the HJC report:

The recording came about through Ms. Bentley’s collaboration with her chief of staff Heather Hannah. Ms. Bentley had asked Hannah to help her make a recording that she could use to “catch” her husband and Mason in their affair. They had discussed various options, including ordering a miniature recording device over the Internet. That thought was dismissed, primarily due to concerns with having the device securely delivered to Ms. Bentley. Ultimately, Ms. Bentley came up with the idea to use her cell phone’s recording feature but asked Hannah to show her how to operate it.

Harvard Political Review, The Alabamafication of America, Drew Pendergrass, Feb. 14, 2017. The 2016 presidential election looked, more than anything else, like an Alabama election. Donald Trump’s relentless appeals to populist conservative ideas echo decades-long trends in the South. The current worries about Trump’s irresponsible governing style are similar to concerns Alabama commentators have been expressing about their often-demagogic leaders since before the 1940s. To understand the Trump administration, in which Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions will likely serve as attorney general, we should look to Alabama, and the reasons why the state government is teetering toward collapse.

Leaders in all three branches of Alabama’s government are either under investigation or have been recently removed from office. After using his position to obtain over $1.1 million in financial favors, Mike Hubbard, the former speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives, was convicted of 12 felony corruption charges in July 2016. He has been described by many as “the most powerful man in Alabama,” a state where the governor has relatively little authority and the legislature holds all the cards — a simple majority is all that is required to override most vetoes. The Hubbard trial was full of fireworks, including testimony from former Governor Bob Riley, but ended in a sentence of only four years in prison.

2016

Al.com, Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore suspended for rest of term, Kent Faulk, Sept. 30, 2016. Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore has been suspended from the bench for telling probate judges to defy federal orders regarding gay marriage. It's the second time Moore (shown in an official photo) has been removed from the chief justice job for defiance of federal courts - the first time in 2003 for refusing to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the state judicial building.

Al.com, Former Alabama speaker Mike Hubbard sentenced to 4 years in prison, M.D. Keener and Mike Cason, July 8, 2016. Former Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard (shown above) has been sentenced to four years in prison, eight years on probation and ordered to pay a $210,000 fine on 12 felony ethics violations. Circuit Judge Jacob Walker handed down the sentence at a hearing in his Opelika courtroom. Hubbard remains out on bond. Walker sentenced Hubbard after hearing from several character witnesses who argued against incarceration, including U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Saks. A Lee County jury convicted Hubbard on June 10 on 12 felony violations of the state ethics law, finding that he used his powerful political office to illegally make $1.1 million in investments and income for his businesses.

Al.com, Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard convicted on 12 counts, Mike Cason, June 10, 2016. A Lee County jury today convicted Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard on 12 felony charges in his ethics case, removing Hubbard from office. Hubbard, 54, was convicted after a jury spent seven hours deliberating whether he used his public position for personal gain. Hubbard faces up to 20 years in prison for each ethics count. Sentencing is set for July 8. Hubbard was immediately taken into custody and placed in the Lee County jail. He was released on $160,000 bond Friday night and driven away by a bail bondsman, according to the Associated Press.

The conviction came after a 12-day trial in which Hubbard took the stand for three days in his own defense. "We hope this verdict tonight will restore some of the confidence in the people in the state of Alabama that public officials at all levels in the state of Alabama will be held accountable for their actions," Acting Attorney General Van Davis said. "Especially those who would betray their public trust and their position of public trust while in office from all levels, local, county and state."

Legal Schnauzer, More sex tapes might surface of Gov. Robert Bentley and Rebekah Caldwell Mason -- and these reportedly are much more graphic than the first batch, Roger Shuler, May 2, 2016. More sex tapes exist of Alabama Governor Robert Bentley and former advisor Rebekah Caldwell Mason -- on top of those already made public, which had Bentley talking about caressing Mason's breasts and exploring her nether regions. The new tapes, according to a report from Birmingham attorney Donald Watkins, are more graphic than the ones already made public.

When might the new tapes be made public? We don't have an answer to that question, but Watkins reports (via his Facebook page) that federal subpoenas are being issued in Montgomery and Tuscaloosa, seeking documents related to Bentley, Mason, and her husband, Jon Mason.

WHNT-TV (Channel 19, Huntsville, AL), Gov. Robert Bentley a no-show for State Auditor’s hearing, Staff report, May 2, 2016. It probably didn’t surprise many people that Governor Robert Bentley didn’t come to State Auditor Jim Zeigler’s office on Monday morning. Neither did any members of his staff, but Zeigler pushed forward, saying he is now prepared to take the case to Montgomery County Circuit Court. He will request the court issue an order for Gov. Bentley to appear, bring the documents to court, and if he fails to do so, he would face contempt of court charges.

Sex Scandal

The Indicter (Sweden and Italy), How To Understand Political Sex Scandal Allegations, Andrew Kreig, April 30, 2016 (republished from Justice Integrity Project). Claims of sex scandal are increasingly common regarding high officials and would-be officials. Scandals involving important government officials are often tied to efforts to disgrace them and their causes, or to blackmail them into favorable government actions. Government contracts or tax policies for favored businesses and foreign policy intrigues are often involved. These involve such high stakes that the costs of escorts and secret video equipment are relatively modest.

Justice Integrity Project, How To Understand Political Sex Scandal Allegations, Andrew Kreig, April 24, 2016. Beginning March 23, the National Enquirer published two major stories claiming that 2016 presidential contender Ted Cruz had had affairs with five women, thereby undermining his claims of conservative, moral leadership. Today’s column provides an approach to understanding such allegations, which are increasingly common against high officials and candidates. Targets include Alabama Gov. Gov. Robert Bentley (R), who faces vast public pressure to resign or face impeachment.

Today’s column provides an approach to understanding such allegations. These claims include those against an Alabama governor facing impeachment. Claims of sex scandal are increasingly common against high officials and candidates.

Washington Post, Alabama is no stranger to sex scandals. It just never expected one from this guy, Neely Tucker, April 17, 2016. In the mortuary of disaster that is Alabama politics, it is important to note that Robert BentleyGov. Dr. Robert J. Bentley (shown in an official photo) is still in charge, for now. The 74-year-old balding grandfather and star of sexy phone chats to the senior political adviser three decades his junior is accused of being at the center of a complex web of deceit, betrayal and mendacity that falls somewhere between the better parts of the Old Testament and the steamy Southern plays of Tennessee Williams.

Al.com, Gov. Robert Bentley, Rebekah Mason flew to Vegas, attended Celine Dion show, John Archibald, April 15, 2016. Alabama Governor Robert Bentley Scandal Explained. On Nov. 17 of last year, Gov. Robert Bentley boarded a state airplane for Las Vegas, along with his former political adviser Rebekah Caldwell Mason, communications director Jennifer Ardis, Deputy Chief of Staff Jon Barganier and his security detail.

They went to attend the Republican Governors Association Annual Conference. Oh. And to catch a show. They didn't have to think twice before going to the Colosseum at Caesar's Palace for an elaborate concert by Celine Dion.

Bentley went backstage and made Dion an honorary Alabamian. Bentley's staff argues that there is no foul. Ardis said Bentley himself paid for all the Celine Dion tickets, and the Republican Governors Association reimbursed the Bentley campaign for the cost of the conference and the flight.

The campaign reimbursed the state, and no taxpayer money was used, she said. She did provide a copy of a deposit to the state of Alabama in the amount of $11,641.35. It was dated March 25 of this year. It came almost 19 weeks after the trip. And it came 3 days after former Alabama Law Enforcement Agency chief Spencer Collier went public with claims that Bentley and Mason had been engaged in an affair, and that Bentley had been warned that using state or campaign assets to carry out an affair could be illegal.

Robert Bentley and Rebekah Kelley

Legal Schnauzer, Robert Bentley's trip to Las Vegas with Rebekah Caldwell Mason helps prove the governor has been lying for months to the people of Alabama, Roger Shuler, April 15, 2016. Gov. Bentley .... goes on to blame his problems, for the most part, on bloggers. Considering that I was the blogger who broke the story of the Mason affair on August 31, 2015, it seems safe to say much of his vitriol is directed at me. It's also likely much of it is directed at attorney Donald Watkins, who has written extensively about the sex scandal at his Facebook page.

How despicable is Bentley's behavior? Well, we know that on November 17 of last year, he was trying to rearrange his security detail so he could get "personal time" with Rebekah Caldwell Mason -- in Las Vegas. Roughly five weeks later, the governor was telling the press "the rumors were untrue," and blaming others for the story getting out.

We now know the "rumors" were more than rumors. The posts that Watkins and I published were right on target -- a classic example of citizen journalism serving the public good, unearthing a story that the mainstream press, at the time, seemingly did not want to touch. We also know the Bentley/Mason coupling apparently went well beyond the borders of Alabama--with no expenses being spared in the process.

WJHL (Johnson City, TN) and WKRG (Mobile, AL), 2 criminal investigations launched into Ala. Gov. Bentley’s relationship with adviser, Peter Albrecht, March 28, 2016. 14 times in 43 minutes, Gov. Robert Bentley tells Rebekah Mason that he loves her in the complete recorded phone conversation between the two from August, 2014. Last week the most sexually explicit moments of the recordings were released, but today the full recording was released by the website Yellowhammer.

Alabama Political Reporter, Bentley Ordered Law Enforcement to Target Critics, Bill Britt, March 28, 2016. Gov. Robert Bentley pressured law enforcement officers to use federal and state resources to target those critical of his relationship with senior advisor Rebekah Caldwell Mason, according to high ranking officers and staff. In an effort to find potentially damaging information on those who spoke out against the couple, Bentley instructed top law enforcement agents to investigate private citizens, in direct conflict with the law, said those close to the matter.

Two individuals with detailed knowledge of the incidents say Bentley ordered the use of the National Crime Information Center, (NCIC) and the Law Enforcement Tactical System (LETS) to find any incriminating evidence that might be used against attorney Donald V. Watkins, and Legal Schnauzer blogger Roger Shuler. These powerful databases serve as a “Google-style” search engine for law enforcement, allowing agencies to search the most private aspects of a person’s life.

Former ALEA [Alabama Law Enforcement Agency] staff and attorneys refused to cooperate with Bentley. In a four part series entitled, “Forbidden Love – Robert Bentley’s Secret Love Affair,” Watkins wrote in detail about events which have now been confirmed by former State Law Enforcement Chief Spencer Collier and tapes discovered by al.com’s John Archibald.

2015

Legal Schnauzer, Rebekah C. Mason and her husband have made almost $1 million during the Robert Bentley administration, Roger Shuler, Sept. 1, 2015. Governor Robert Bentley's mistress and her husband have received almost $1 million in government-related payments since Bentley became Alabama governor in 2011. Rebekah Caldwell Mason, whose affair with the governor led to First Lady Dianne Bentley's divorce complaint last Friday, has been paid $426,978.43 via her Tuscaloosa-based company, RCM Consulting. Those campaign expenditures are shown at the Alabama Secretary of State Web site.

Records at open.alabama.gov show that Mason has received $161,571.67 in state funds during the Bentley administration. Those payments--in fiscal years 2011, 2012, and 2013--were listed mostly as "personnel costs," with a small amount for "out of state travel." That brings total payments,  to Rebekah Mason or her company, to $588,550.10. The total expands considerably when you consider payments to Jon Mason, Rebekah's husband, in his role as director of the Governor's Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. Bentley appointed Jon Mason as director in 2011.

Legal Schnauzer, Robert Bentley's 2014 campaign paid more than $400,000 to company owned by governor's mistress, Roger Shuler, Sept. 1, 2015. Alabama Governor Robert Bentley paid more than $400,000 in campaign funds during the 2014 election cycle to a company that his mistress owns. Also, Bentley hired his mistress' husband for a state position that has paid more than $390,000 over the past five years.

Legal Schnauzer, Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley engaged in extramarital affair that prompted First Lady's divorce complaint, Roger Shuler, Aug. 31, 2015. Alabama Governor Robert Bentley engaged in an extramarital affair with his former communications director, leading First Lady Dianne Bentley to file for divorce last Friday after 50 years of marriage, sources tell Legal Schnauzer. Rebekah Caldwell Mason, a married mother of three from Bentley's home base of Tuscaloosa, was the governor's mistress in an affair that sources say raises a number of possible legal issues--including use of the state jet and a state trooper's services for personal reasons that had nothing to do with Bentley's official role.

According to Dianne Bentley's divorce complaint, the couple separated in January 2015 because of a "complete incompatibility of temperament" and a "conflict of personalities which destroys the legitimate aims of matrimony." In fact, sources say, Gov. Bentley's affair with Mason destroyed the matrimonial bonds.

Justice Integrity Project, Wife-Beating Siegelman Judge Resigns, Ends Horrid Career With Civic Lesson, Andrew Kreig. June 4, 2015. A notorious federal judge has resigned under the threat of impeachment — and thus provided a harsh but useful lesson for civic activists everywhere. According to a federal court order June 1, fellow judges within the Atlanta-based Eleventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recommended to the national Judicial Council that Alabama U.S. District Judge Mark E. Fuller, shown Mark Fuller Mug Shotat right during a courtroom appearance as a defendant, be impeached as a first step for removal from his lifetime appointment. Fuller, a federal judge since 2002, announced through his attorneys his resignation effective Aug. 1.

The resignation provides important civic lessons in the career of a judge whose disgraceful conduct we have been documenting for six years. But the system has protected him until an Atlanta policeman arrested him est last August in Atlanta on a misdemeanor charge of battery against his then-wife, Kelli Gregg Fuller. He is shown at left in a jail mugshot the morning of his arrest and at right in a later court appearance.Fuller has also became widely known in legal reform circles for presiding over the 2006 trial and sentencing of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman in a federal corruption prosecution tainted by claims of gross legal irregularities. The Bush-era prosecution has been ratified by the courts and the Obama administration. Siegelman is not scheduled for release until mid-2017 for conduct that occurred in 1999.

A close study here and elsewhere of Fuller’s record has shown that his legally dubious decision-making has:

•    Benefited his political allies and other cronies;•    Inflicted great suffering on political and personal targets appearing in his court;•    Become involved in repeated personal scandals; and•    Received until now minimal correction from timid oversight systems in the courts, Executive Branch and congress.

Alabama blogger Roger Shuler summed up the abuses in a column this week:  “Mark Fuller was the face of a system that allowed shadowy characters, like Bob Riley, to avoid scrutiny.” Shuler, who has written hundreds of columns about Siegelman, particularly his ordeals under Fuller, asserted a de facto alliance between the Republican judge Fuller and Siegelman's Republican rival, two-term Gov. Bob Riley:

"Fuller played a central role in the most notorious political prosecution of the period — and perhaps in American history — when he presided over the case of former governor Don Siegelman in the Middle District of Alabama," wrote Shuler, who has fled Alabama after being jailed for five months in a libel case after being arrested at his home, beaten there, and convicted of resisting arrest.

2014

Daily Censored, Media Shirked Duties As Alabama Jailed Journalist Fought For First Amendment, Andrew Kreig, April 8, 2014. The nation’s media provided remarkably little support for an Alabama journalist jailed for five months while he fought against prior restraint of his investigative reporting. A part-time state judge freed blogger Roger Shuler March 26 after Shuler spiked columns alleging an affair between a reputed congressional candidate and a lobbyist.

With rare exceptions, journalism groups and news outlets failed to protest the flagrantly illegal treatment the hand-picked judge inflicted on Shuler and his readers. Abuses included the writer’s arrest and beating at his home Oct. 23 after plaintiffs accused him of libel. Shuler’s treatment exemplifies the national media’s increasingly bizarre behavior. They combine self-righteous First Amendment rhetoric and aggressive support for "democracy-building" in foreign lands with craven self-censorship at home in deference to the powerful. New Yorker columnist Seymour Hersh illustrated the pattern further by his publication April 4 of major national security revelations in an obscure London publication, not a mainstream outlet in the United States.

2013

Justice Integrity Project, Alabama Kangaroo Court Parades Liberal Commentator in Chains, Continues Indefinite Jailing, Andrew Kreig, Nov. 15, 2013. Alabama authorities paraded a shackled liberal pundit into court, where he was denounced Nov. 14 for recent news coverage about his jailing.

Justice Integrity Project, Alabama Kangaroo Court Parades Liberal Commentator in Chains, Continues Indefinite Jailing, Andrew Kreig, Nov. 15, 2013.  Alabama authorities paraded a shackled liberal pundit into court, where he was denounced Nov. 14 for recent news coverage about his jailing. The defendant was Roger Shuler, a 56-year-old commentator jailed on contempt of court charges Oct. 23 for publishing columns about a politically powerful GOP attorney. Shuler reports on Deep South legal affairs via several nationally prominent blog sites such as his own Legal Schnauzer.

Salon, OpEd News, and FireDogLake frequently reprint the stories. Shuler specializes in political muckraking about scandals in the Deep South legal community. The reports often focus on claims that ordinary litigants are being unfairly treated in the courts. Also, he writes about financial corruption involving taxpayer dollars, illicit sex among conspirators and their minions, and cover-up to uphold family values image necessary for election success. Most but far from all of the wrongdoers in his columns are Republicans. 

Justice Integrity Project, Are Media MIA In Blogger's Beating, Arrest? Andrew Kreig, Nov. 12, 2013. News coverage continued this week in erratic fashion regarding the Oct. 23 arrest and continued jailing of Alabama political commentator Roger Shuler, a longtime journalist and muckraking blogger.

A few news outlets covered as an important story his ongoing jailing without bond on contempt of court charges. A few others provided brief reports. Most simply ignored the jailing of a longtime journalist for violating court orders that themselves appear to violate decades of clear-cut constitutional law banning prior restraint of the media from reporting. My column today summarizes developments and points to a pivotal hearing in the case Nov. 14. At 10 a.m. Central Standard Time, Shuler, fresh from his jail cell, is scheduled to defend without a lawyer the prevailing constitutional structure protecting the media's right to report on public figures -- and the public's right to know.

Alyona Minkovski
OpEd News, Imprisoned Former Alabama Gov. Siegelman Backs Jailed Blogger, Denounces Corruption, Andrew Kreig, Nov. 8, 2013. Editor's Note: Former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman (1999-2003), now imprisoned in Louisiana, sent me at the Justice Integrity Project the guest column below that opposes the jailing of Alabama reporter/blogger Roger Shuler on contempt of court charges arising out of a defamation suit in Shelby County. "Roger Shuler," Siegelman wrote, Andrew Kreig"has written time and time again exposing Rob Riley, the former governor's son's insidious and sinister connections to money making schemes. Rob Riley, as Shuler told the story, was one of the powers behind the scenes working with Karl Rove and my prosecutor's husband."
 
Justice Integrity Project, Famed Conservative Federal Judge Accused of Posing Nude As A Young Man, Andrew Kreig, Sept. 23, 2013. An Alabama legal reform advocate last week claimed that a nude photo published in 1997 by a popular gay pornography site depicted a future federal judge famed for his conservative views.

In a dispute that raises broader issues in the justice system, Roger Shuler, founder of the website Legal Schnauzer, alleges that a photo on Badpuppy.com in 1997 depicted future U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge William H. Pryor, Jr. The photo depicted a young man stark naked and in a state of sexual arousal. The judge, who has sharply criticized gays in the past, denies that he is the photo subject and attacked Shuler for publishing it.

2009

Huffington Post, As Rove Testifies About Firings At Justice, Why Did DoJ Fire Whistleblower? Andrew Kreig, July 8, 2009. New questions are surfacing about political intrigue at the U.S. Justice Department after former White House political strategist Karl Rove provided his long-awaited responses to House Judiciary Committee staff Tuesday about allegations that he pressured prosecutors to target Democrats nationally.

Few details have emerged about Rove's questioning on such topics as the 2006 dismissal of nine U.S. attorneys for political reasons. By remarkable coincidence, however, the Justice Department separately confirmed Tuesday that it has fired Alabama whistleblower Tamarah Grimes. She was the top in-house paralegal for the prosecution team that won corruption convictions in 2006 against former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman, a Democrat, and HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy.

Grimes later provided her Justice Department superiors and Congress with evidence that the rights of the defendants were violated. Siegelman and Scrushy cited her revelations heavily in their motions since June 26 for a new trial based on new evidence. In an interview today for this article, Grimes alleged a bone-chilling conspiracy to frame the defendants for political gain. She says her experiences opened her eyes to parallels outside Alabama and to the ruinous consequences for federal government employees of protesting injustice. "No one helps you," says Grimes, who adds that she was browbeaten with threats of false criminal charges by her superiors and investigators alike. She says Congress needs to enhance protections for whistleblowers to prevent wrongdoing by government officials. Justice Department spokesman Tracy Schmaler responded, "The Department takes seriously its obligation under the whistleblower law, and did not violate it with regards to the termination of this employee. For privacy reasons, it would be inappropriate to comment any further on this personnel matter at this time."

C-SPAN, Prosecutorial Misconduct Forum At National Press Club, organized by Justice Integrity Project co-founder Andrew Kreig, with several co-sponsors, June 26, 2009 (3 hours, 4 minutes) (Video).

Huffington Post, Alabama Decisions Illustrate Abuse of Judicial Power, Andrew Kreig, June 10, 2009. The plight of litigants who face a biased judge is illustrated by the track record of a prominent Alabama federal judge, as well by major recent decisions requiring new trials in West Virginia and Georgia courts. The track record of Chief U.S. District Judge Mark E. Fuller of Montgomery, Alabama shows that he continues to supervise cases compromised by his personal, financial or political interests despite his promise at his 2002 confirmation hearing to recuse himself from any conflicts.

Huffington Post, Siegelman's First Trial Judge Blasts U.S. Prosecutors, Seeks Probe of 'Unfounded' Charges, Andrew Kreig, May 21, 2009. One of the most experienced federal judges in recent Alabama history is denouncing the U.S. Justice Department prosecution of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman. Retired Chief U.S. District Judge U.W. Clemon of Birmingham calls for a probe of misconduct by federal prosecutors ─ including their alleged "judge-shopping," jury-pool "poisoning" and "unfounded" criminal charges in an effort to imprison Siegelman.

Huffington Post, Siegelman Deserves New Trial Because of Judge’s ‘Grudge’, Evidence Shows….$300 Million in Bush Military Contracts Awarded to Judge’s Private Company, Andrew Kreig, May 15, 2009, The Alabama federal judge who presided over the 2006 corruption trial of the state's former governor holds a grudge against the defendant for helping to expose the judge's own alleged corruption six years ago.

Former Gov. Don Siegelman therefore deserves a new trial with an unbiased judge ─ not one whose privately owned company, Doss Aviation, has been enriched by the Bush administration's award of $300 million in contracts since 2006, making the judge millions in non-judicial income. These are the opinions of Missouri attorney Paul B. Weeks, who is speaking out publicly for the first time since his effort in 2003 to obtain the impeachment of U.S. District Judge Mark E. Fuller of Montgomery on Doss Aviation-related allegations.