Famed Conservative Federal Judge Accused of Posing Nude As A Young Man

 

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., right. The photo portrayed a young man stark naked and in a state of sexual arousal.

William PryorThe judge, who has sharply criticized gays in the past, denied that he was the man in the photo and attacked Shuler for publishing a story.

Shuler stands by the identification, and seeks to review Pryor's records to learn if he disclosed his past during his Senate confirmation a decade ago.

Update: The prominent Alabama Republican Rob Riley has filed a lawsuit against Shuler and his wife and me over Legal Schnauzer reports that Riley had an extramarital affair with lobbyist Liberty Duke. Details: Rob Riley Sues Blogger Over Posts About Extramarital Affair And Then Tries to Keep The Case Sealed From Public View.

A long-running battle over Pryor's appointment to a lifetime seat was one of the most controversial nominations of the two-term presidency of George W. Bush from 2001 to 2009. Democrats initially blocked Pryor's appointment in 2003 after complaints by African-Americans. Bush then made a temporary recess appointment to avoid continued Senate filibuster. The Senate later confirmed Pryor, a Republican, by an unusually close 53-45 vote in 2005.

Those controversies occurred before Pryor's role became notorious with exposés beginning in 2007 alleging the frame-up of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman, Alabama's leading Democrat.

As state attorney general on a hard-right platform, Pryor began investigating Siegelman promptly after the governor took office in 1999. That probe morphed into a joint state-federal investigation after the Bush administration took office in 2001.

In a second trial in 2006, a jury convicted Siegelman on corruption charges largely stemming from his 1999 request to Richard Scrushy to contribute to the non-profit Alabama Education Foundation, which advocated a state lottery. Siegelman reappointed Scrushy to a state board on which Scrushy had served under three previous Republican governors.

Don Siegelman 60 MinutesBut no evidence surfaced of a direct quid pro quo, as the law requires, except from the vague statements of a former Siegelman aide facing up to 10 years in prison on another matter. Prosecutors viciously intimidated the slender-built, effeminate-acting aide, Nick Bailey, in up to 70 coaching sessions with threats of a long sentence (with the implication the defendant would be raped by fellow inmates throughout the term) unless he provided precisely the kinds of statements sought by prosecutors.

Siegelman is shown at left in a 2008 CBS 60 Minutes report on irregularities in the prosecution.

Scrushy, a wealthy Republican who had founded HealthSouth, Inc., was imprisoned on a seven-year term. Following his release, he told me that he and Siegelman were framed for political reasons.

In these ways, the Siegelman case is intimately involved with the controversy over the BadPuppy photo -- as well as the transformation of Alabama politics from a two-party system with Democratic dominance as recently as the 1990s to essentially one-party GOP governance currently.

The details, many previously reported by Shuler among others, are beyond the scope of this column, but can be researched via links below. 

As for conclusions:

Illicit sex, which is widespread among the powerful and their ambitious acolytes in Washington as elsewhere, appears to have been especially pervasive among Alabama leaders, who have typically kept up appearances by being married.

Those in both political parties were involved. But this column focuses upon those who especially touted their family values on their way to political victory, not upon the vanquished.

Why is this is relevant to politics and courts? Because the degree of hypocrisy and conniving required to sustain a promiscuous lifestyle at the same time as a virtuous public image is precisely the brazen skill-set that enables success in fund-raising, gerrymandering, voting machine rigging, and trumped-up criminal charges against political opponents.

Even those committed to Republican victories are sometimes repulsed by the methods and life-styles of major practitioners of the dark political arts. Yet these kinds of stories are extremely difficult to bring to public attention, important though they might be to the average voter operating on conventional wisdom.

I am among the DC-based reporters who have been approached by a longtime conservative journalist who had researched the ascendancy of gays and bisexuals in the national party leadership. As a genuine believer in family values, he was frustrated because his major outlet, a well-known conservative newspaper, would not print his findings. He wanted to share his research discretely in hopes someone else would expose what he regarded as a disturbing situation. Among the veteran reporter's findings, never published, was the existence of a so-called "Hairy Bear Club" purportedly involving influential and well-known conservatives who liked hairy men. Those involved were said to have given themselves a nickname with confidence that such secrets would remain hidden forever from their base of family values voters nationally even though they are widely reputed in the capital city's political and journalistic circles as being bisexual and .

With that preface, my column below explores the controversy of the gay website. First, I describe why such a topic is worth considering. Then, I share my opinion on whether the allegation is likely to be true. A summary of the Siegelman case is relevant because it was in a sense initiated by Pryor and, as usual, has important issues pending before his court. Finally, I suggest several next steps to help readers ascertain the facts more clearly.

The photo controversy is newsworthy for several reasons.

  • William PryorThis matter is already in the news. Washington-based investigative reporter and author Wayne Madsen broke the story four years ago in the Wayne Madsen Report, Is there a closet door closed at the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta? (Subscription required.) Madsen wrote that informed sources suggested that naked photos of Pryor were held by influential Republicans as an "insurance policy" of correct decision-making. Madsen illustrated his column with what was reported to be a copy of a page from the BadPuppy site, shown at right and listing the name of a "Bill Pryor" at the lower left. In the past week, Shuler has published three columns about the topic on his blog, which is well-known regionally and nationally in legal circles. At least a half dozen other blogs have repeated the allegations. These include Above the Law, and that by national broadcast personality Alan Colmes.

  • Pryor is a powerful figure. His court holds jurisdiction over federal cases in Florida, Georgia and Alabama, and helps create national precedent affecting cases elsewhere around the nation. The importance is not simply in law, but across the entire range of public policy issues the come before the courts. I illustrated the variety of such disputes --including election integrity, job bias, etc. -- in a 2009 column, Alabama Decisions Illustrate Abuse of Judicial Power. It described the plight of litigants who face a biased judge. The case history cited non-Siegelman cases of the trial judge, Mark Fuller, as well selected cases by judges elsewhere

  • Pryor's long-ago confirmation battle remains relevant. President Obama has had continuing difficulty in obtaining Senate confirmation of judges even though his Democratic Party holds a Senate majority. The Pryor confirmation by a Senate majority vote is a parallel situation.

  • The allegations come at a time of evolving standards in the media and accusations regarding sex scandals. Substantial evidence exists that far more public officials are involved in sex scandals than the public knows. The process of reporting such events is so highly selective as to be inherently unfair. My research regarding Alabama indicates an unusually high number of top officials from both parties have been hiding scandals under a public image of family values. More reporting and discussion, not less, would appear to be the appropriate solution.

  • The public risks blackmail or other undue pressure on officials who may be compromised by hidden scandals. Reports have circulated for years in elite Alabama legal circles that Pryor was compromised by "Badpuppy.com" photos held by well-connected Republicans with interests before the courts. I received a copies of several such photos -- purportedly of Pryor -- more than two years ago from a reliable source.

For such reasons, my opinion is that the photo is Pryor more likely than not despite his denial. I believe the controversy is worth reporting. Even so, the possibility remains that the photo was not of Pryor, and that various extenuating circumstances are possible. 

Let's discuss.

First, almost any sex scandal allegation needs to be treated with some skepticism about what really occurred. Here the BadPuppy website does not identify the individual -- aside from the name "Bill Pryor," a not uncommon name that could also be a dirty trick by someone.

Even if it were Pryor the publication on a gay website does not necessarily mean any gay intentions since a photo could have been taken for other purposes or even artificially created. More generally, almost everyone has done something regrettable, especially in youth. The possibility of old records resurfacing with the growth of the surveillance state should make everyone more tolerant of any seeming scandal.

As background, Pryor was born in Mobile in 1962. He earned his earned his B.A. in 1984 from Northeast Louisiana University (now the University of Louisiana at Monroe) and his J.D. from Tulane University Law School, where he was editor in chief of the Tulane Law Review. He is married, with two adult daughters. He was attorney general of Alabama from 1997 to 2004. President Obama nominated Pryor to serve as a commissioner on the United States Sentencing Commission on April 15, 2013. The Senate unanimously confirmed him by voice vote in June for a term that expires in 2017. 

Pryor's full rebuttal to Shuler's columns follows. The judge's comment came exclusively to the Justice Integrity Project by email on Sept. 20 via his former law clerk, Jennifer Bandy, a litigator based in Washington, DC:

Over the last week, I have been smeared by a widely discredited blogger with a political agenda. His allegations have now been picked up by other bloggers. The person in the unsourced, undated photographs is not me, and I deny these allegations. I have been twice vetted by the FBI, including as recently as this past year; I have won two contested statewide elections; and I have been in the public eye for almost twenty years. I will not dignify these disgraceful accusations with any further comment.

Is Shuler a "discredited blogger?"

He writes a five-day-per-week blog that is a mixture of investigative reporting and commentary, typically about Deep South misconduct in the courts. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism who worked more than 30 years in journalism, including for a Birmingham newspaper and for the communications office of the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The university fired him for disputed reasons, which he has alleged was retaliation for writing on his own time about the Siegelman case in ways that violated no official rule. His wife was fired from her job, and they are threatened with the loss of their home. The couple has filed multiple lawsuits protesting the firings and home loss as illegal political retribution for his civic actions in writing about injustice in the courts, initially about victims other than himself.

His columns allege serious legal, financial and other wrongdoing in Deep South courts. With the collapse of the traditional newspaper industry, his research is often the last hope of those who believe they cannot find justice in the courts. A typical recent column was headlined, Cases Of Ken Nowlin And Penni Tingle In Mississippi Raise Red Flags About Criminal Defense Lawyers.

Roger ShulerMany of his columns are republished on websites for more national audiences than his Legal Schnauzer site. The site is named after the couple's late pet, Murphy, a breed known for its digging prowess. Shuler and Murphy are shown at right.

Cision, a Chicago-based social media/marketing firm, compiled an annual ranking of "The Top 50 Independent Law Blogs in North America." It listed Legal Schnauzer at No. 37, with few of the others undertaken by a lone writer without corporate or non-profit group support.

Several of his recent investigative crusades have probed disgraceful financial and sexual by central figures in Alabama's power structure. These include many columns reporting that married officials were having affairs that indicated financial or other skulduggery hurting taxpayers.

He credibly reports that he has been threatened with death and, more recently, a lawsuit regarding his claims that Attorney General Luther Strange and his former campaign manager, a former Pryor aide, were having an affair that involved also suspicious financial transactions.

I am not in a position to retrace and affirm all of Shuler's reporting on these and hundreds of other blogs. But I have worked with him on a number of sensitive columns for more than four years in which our reporting overlapped on at least two dozen published columns, including those involving Siegelman, witnesses in that case, and Karl Rove. In my opinion, Roger Shuler is an exceptionally capable, courageous, and public-spirited reporter.

For many litigants in Alabama especially, he is one of their last hopes for justice if they encounter an overzealous or other unjust prosecutor or judge.

Regarding others who have repeated the essence of his findings on Pryor: Above the Law is edited by David Lat, a former prosecutor who holds degrees from Harvard University and Yale Law School. Alan Colmes, author of two books and host of a nationally syndicated radio program, spent 13 years on one of the most watched programs on Fox News. 

We could leave this dispute at that. But I believe it provides a useful window into political transformations in the Deep South of national importance. And in Alabama especially, these inevitably involve the ongoing injustice of the Siegelman case -- an injustice so stark that it helped prompt me to write a book unraveling its mysteries in a path that led to the dark secrets of the Obama administration at the White House.

Alabama's Political Transformation

The benign conventional wisdom is that Alabama's political transformation simply reflects democracy in action as the state's heavily white majority (the largest percentage of whites in the Deep South) evolved much like those in neighboring states to a more conservative, pro-Republican voting pattern on the state and local levels. The state voting changes also made Alabama local elections congruent with its longtime pattern of GOP support in presidential races.

Karl RoveThat political story is accurate up to a point. But cloak-and-dagger political tactics, corruption, blackmail, and hypocrisy were vital factors also in the voting changes.

Bush family adviser Karl Rove and his close friend William Canary, a native of New York, became political consultants in Alabama. Their work was instrumental in helping change Alabama's state Supreme Court from all-Democratic to all Republican. The change was much like Rove, right, helped orchestrate in Texas during the same period.

Leura CanaryCanary became campaign manager for Siegelman's gubernatorial rival, Bob Riley. Canary also led the Business Council of Alabama. Canary's wife, Leura, became the Bush-appointed U.S. attorney for Alabama's central district from 2001 until well until the Obama administration in 2010. She is shown at left in a file photo.

Siegelman's cross-racial popularity and ability to fund-raise in the business community remained as obstacles for the growing Republican Party.

To counter him, Republicans alleged that his fund-raising was corrupt. Republican political power in the court system helped publicize the smears with trumped-up criminal charges and prison sentences for all concerned, including those Republican professionals and civic leaders who refused to cooperate by providing false testimony. Both Scrushy and Gary White, the Republican commissioner for Birmingham, have said they were imprisoned after rejecting deals whereby they could escape punishment by providing false testimony against Siegelman.

Keeping such a system functioning was not easy. Smooth functioning required political and religious fanatics, of course. But it also required personnel who were comfortable with ends-justify-the-means ethics and considerable public relations skills to undertake the necessary hypocrisies.

The central hypocrisy was that Republican leaders were, on the whole, anti-gambling and anti-corruption, and pro-family -- with Democrats the reverse.

The reality was for more complicated, as Shuler among others, has pointed out in many columns. The GOP campaigns against Siegelman drew on some $20 million from pro-gambling casino operators alone, according to GOP and casino lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Part of the casino money secretly went to Abramoff colleague Ralph Reed, the former Christian Coalition leader, to raise moral objections to Siegelman's effort to create a state lottery in Alabama.

Milton McGregorNon-Alabama casino owners feared the lottery as competition. For the same reasons, their political friends in the justice system have obtained federal prosecutions of Alabama-based electronic bingo entrepreneurs such as Milton McGregor, right. That effort led by Leura Canary and the Justice Department in Washington ended in a colossal failure at an estimated cost to taxpayers of at least $35 million. Canary's team failed to win a single conviction on more than 100 counts during two jury trials.

More than a decade ago, Reed's press secretary was Lisa Baron, who would later boast in her 2011 memoir, Life of the Party: A Political Press Tart Tells All, of her brazen sexual adventures while living the glamorous high-life of flacking for morality and better business. This is one small, on-the-record example of the vast array of sex scandals -- both heterosexual and gay -- that became apparent to me during my years of in-depth reporting about the top leadership of both Alabama parties and their office-holders.

Republican political success in Alabama included the GOP's electronic theft of Siegelman's 2002 gubernatorial re-election effort pitting him against Bob Riley, as chronicled in Craig Unger's Boss Rove and my own new book, Presidential Puppetry.

State authorities threatened Siegelman with criminal prosecution if he dared protest, according to Dana Siegelman, left, the candidate's daughter, speaking at the National Press Club last October.

Dana SiegelmanInstead of protest, Siegelman sought political vindication in a 2006 reelection effort. In the meantime, widespread changes in the state's civic institutions were occurring. Leaders in government, business, universities, and news media were adjusting their personnel and policies to the new political reality of essentially one-party rule. At the Justice Department in Washington, the stage was being set for the era of "loyal Bushie" prosecutors who could retain their jobs by bringing politically oriented criminal prosecutions, we now know from reports about the scandal.

The real motivation for this was money, my research has indicated. Behind a veneer of rhetoric about good government, the goal is taxpayer-paid government contracts awarded on a political basis and business deals with foreign potentates. The well-connected could enjoy fabulous success. Token opposition leaders among Democrats could enjoy more modest prosperity so long as they muted criticism of the power structure.

Nationally, Democrats washed their hands of their party's demise in Alabama aside from a few efforts such as the Justice Department's fight for more open voter registration procedures. The Democratic National Committee failed to contribute even one cent to the 2010 Senate campaign of the party's primary winner, Bill Barnes, a source in the campaign told me.

George BeckPresident Obama has catered for the most part to the state's powerful Republican senators, Jeff Sessions and Richard Shelby, by making timid presidential appointments. Among the most shameful was Obama's choice of George Beck, right, defense attorney for Siegelman's main accuser Nick Bailey, to continue the Siegelman cover-up in effect as Canary's successor as U.S. Attorney.

Why? In my view, the president and his top team, including Attorney General Eric Holder, have many dirty, dark secrets of their own that are well-known to Republican power-brokers like Rove but almost entirely unknown to the general public. The leverage keeps national leaders in line -- or in "puppet" status as I describe it -- while the gravy train rolls ahead for insiders.

The Siegelman Case

Beginning in 2007, massive evidence of prosecutorial and judicial irregularities surfaced in the Siegelman case at the same time as the Bush-Rove U.S. Attorney firing scandal. The evidence suggested the prosecution was a political frame-up that was part of a national pattern whereby Republican prosecutors targeted prominent Democrats for imprisonment based on flimsy evidence, thereby removing the targeted Democrats from public life. The prosecutions were especially frequent in the Deep South.

Prosecutors from both parties have since defended their actions and courts have affirmed the Siegelman convictions. Siegelman is serving a 78-month prison sentence that is scheduled to end in five more years. He his family, his aides, and their families have been financially destroyed by the criminal investigations that began in 1999.

Barack Obama Capital The estimated cost to taxpayers to target them is an estimated $50 million minimum, with corresponding (albeit lesser) costs to defendants as they tried match the government's unlimited ability to stretch out probes, trials, and legal filings. The probe's headquarters at Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base in a special arrangement in cooperation with the Justice Department was an early sign of the increasing militarization of domestic law enforcement across the nation. The Posse Comitatus Act, created following Union military abuses in the South during Reconstruction, forbids the United States military from conducting its duties against the American public.

We have traced the Air Force connections to this case many times. Most chilling is that the trial judge, Fuller, was secretly being enriched by Air Force contracts with no disclosure to litigants during the trial. Meanwhile, he was issuing many outrageously pro-prosecution rulings on dubious legal grounds while operating under the possibility that the Justice Department might prosecute him for his alleged fraud attempt.

Some 113 former attorney generals from more than 40 states and many law professors mounted an unprecedented but unsuccessful challenge in the courts. The experts argued unsuccessfully that the Scrushy donation and board appointment did not constitute a crime and are routine at the local, state and federal levels.

Last week, for example, Obama named his 20th ambassador who had played a major role in funding his campaign, as reported in Obama taps Goldman Sachs executive as ambassador to Canada. The news story about Obama's rewards to his donors was just one more piece of evidence of how many normal practices  were twisted to ensure that Siegelman was imprisoned via twisted reasoning in the courts and elsewhere.

President Obama's administration, now deeply compromised, has fought Siegelman and Scrushy every step of the way for reasons legally unfathomable.

Normally, such powerful appeals as those by the 113 former attorneys general -- a bipartisan filing unprecedented in U.S. history -- would be successful. But there is something about the Siegelman case that seemingly made it inevitable that he would be destroyed right from the beginning of the Pryor investigation in 1999.

Mark FullerPryor, meanwhile, sits on the key appellate court that has rebuffed repeated challenges to Siegelman's convictions.

The trial judge was Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller, who issued many pro-prosecution rulings while being secretly pressured by allegations of a major financial fraud. At the same time, $300 million in federal Air Force contracts went to a company the judge secretly controlled as its largest shareholder, unbeknown to defendants.

The trial judge, in other words, faced both a threat of imprisonment from federal authorities (for which he blamed Siegelman) -- and the prospect of vast riches while he was issuing pro-prosecution rulings in the Siegelman case. I reported those pressures in Siegelman Deserves New Trial Because of Judge’s ‘Grudge’, Evidence Shows.

Fuller is shown at right in a photo by freelance photographer Phil Fleming that the rarely photographed judge requested in chambers as a portrait minutes after the Siegelman verdict in 2006. Fuller, like Pryor had advanced in Alabama's Republican Party as it prevailed over Democrats led by Siegelman. All major state and federal political offices in Alabama are now held by Republicans, aside from one congressional seat gerrymandered to concentrate African-Americans into one district.

We now know also that the married judge was having a long-running affair with his married court bailiff, according to local reporting on divorce papers. That kind of liaison, aside from other improper aspects, helped to protect the courthouse inner-workings further against scrutiny by litigants.

All-Republican panels on Pryor's appellate court brushed aside evidence of Fuller's conflict of interest despite clear-cut U.S. Supreme Court precedent on the law of recusal. Pryor is not known to have played any formal role in reviews aside from the clubby, back-scratching role that many judges are suspected of enjoying in matters important to one another.

Summing Up

The controversy regarding Pryor and the photo is far more important than passing embarrassment to either the judge or the reporter if proven wrong. Shuler purports to use this matter as a window into a sinister world of judges who lie in an unaccountable manner that ultimately hurts the general public.

In a largely independent manner, that's a similar conclusion I have reached in my new book, Presidential Puppetry, as have many others in Alabama and elsewhere horrified by corruption in the legal and political systems.

The stakes are high enough so that I suggest learning the truth about the "badpuppy" photos is worth the effort. One start might be to determine the identify of the mysterious "Ernie," the so-called "private collector" said by the website to be the source of the photos.

Also, the judge cited his FBI investigation as if it cleared him. I have researched Senate confirmation hearings and found that the senators can be extremely lax when political factors are involved.

Pat LeahyUnder Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Pat Leahy (D-Vermont), left, the committee never questioned Fuller, for example, about why he was secretly running a company training Air Force pilots and refueling Air Force planes, much less how he could have been doing it while holding a full-time state job.

None of the senators took action six months later even after each senator received hand-delivered copies of a 150-page filing of a sworn declaration and evidence from a respected Missouri litigator, filed with Fuller's court, documenting why Fuller should be impeached for an attempted $330,000 fraud on the state of Alabama. I reported those facts many times.

Presidential Puppetry

Part of their intrigue is why Fuller's court staff failed to include the filing's text in the federal electronic database. The omission thereby deprived future litigants of the ability to know about the judicial scandal.

The episode and the failure of any watchdog group to investigate adds to the mystery of a federal court system that operates as a lawless, unaccountable institution when the stakes are high.

Puppetry, which I undertook in a spirit similar to Shuler's, penetrates this system -- especially its Washington component -- to show that such manipulations do have a logical basis. The basis, sadly, is one based in significant part on corruption, dark secrets, and blackmail that helps enrich the powers behind the scenes.

My expectation is that revelation of the most relevant secrets, including those of White House officials who have refused to do their duty, will enlighten civic groups and embolden other researchers.

Meanwhile, Leahy and the top Republican, Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, a strong supporter of both Pryor and Fuller, never held a hearing to question George Beck, the current U.S. attorney for Alabama's middle district, on his extraordinary conflict of interest regarding the Siegelman case. 

In view of that rubber-stamp process, I suggest that Pryor would have more credibility in his criticism of Shuler if the judge would release his confirmation records to clear the air on the quality of the FBI and Senate investigations under Leahy and Sessions. Shuler has already asked for these documents, and reports that the judge has refused to provide them even though they should be public.

Pryor, if he wants to clear his name, could always sue Shuler and let the public learn the truth via discovery and courtroom verdict. That assumes, of course, that legal procedures fairly result in truth and justice.

But there is always hope.

 

Contact the author Andrew Kreig
 
 

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William Pryor

Legal Schnauzer, Concerns About Blackmail Prompted Investigative Action On Tip About Gay Porn Photographs of Bill Pryor In '90s, Roger Shuler, Oct. 2, 2013. Officials in Alabama law enforcement acted on a tip about gay porn photos of Bill Pryor out of concern about possible blackmail. The tip came in fall 1997, several months after Alabama Governor Fob James had appointed Pryor as attorney general. Someone had seen the photos at badpuppy.com, based in Cocoa, Florida. "An informant called and said, 'You aren't going to believe this,'" recalled a retired agent with the Alabama Bureau of Investigation (ABI). "He said Bill Pryor was being displayed at a gay Web site out of Florida. So I looked it up, and there he was, with his name on it.

Legal Schnauzer, Rob Riley Sues Blogger Over Posts About Extramarital Affair And Then Tries to Keep The Case Sealed From Public View, Roger Shuler, Oct. 3, 2013. Prominent Alabama Republican Rob Riley has filed a lawsuit against my wife and me over reports here at Legal Schnauzer about Riley's extramarital affair with lobbyist Liberty Duke. Riley claims our reports are false and defamatory, but he has taken a number of steps to shield the case from public view. The Riley lawsuit explains the swarm of Shelby County sheriff deputies that repeatedly trampled our property and pounded on our door throughout last week. It also explains the fraudulent traffic stop that Lt. Mike DeHart conducted on Sunday afternoon in order to "serve" me with court papers. How did we learn about the Riley lawsuit, given we threw court papers out the window in anger after DeHart had unlawfully stopped us on a trumped-up claim of rolling through a stop sign? Well, about a dozen papers remained in our car, and I retrieved them from a trash can at our home on Tuesday evening.

Legal Schnauzer, With Ties To Gay Pornography In His Background, Bill Pryor Thrives In South's Toxic Political Culture, Roger Shuler, Sept. 24, 2013. A gay pornography scandal involving U.S. Circuit Judge Bill Pryor likely is a byproduct of an Alabama political system that tends to reward candidates who tout "family values" on the stump while leading private lives marked by sexual impropriety.

Wayne Madsen Report, Is there a closet door closed at the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta? Wayne Madsen, June 14, 2009. William H. ("Bill") Pryor, Jr., the former Attorney General of Alabama who was involved in the political prosecution by the Bush administration of Alabama Democratic Governor Don Siegelman and who squeaked by U.S. Senate confirmation after being nominated by George W. Bush to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, appears to have a little something in his "closet." Pryor was confirmed by the Senate in 2005 in a 53-45 vote, his nomination being secured by a bi-partisan agreement between Senator John McCain and thirteen "Gang of 14" senators to force an "up or down" vote on three stalled Bush federal court nominees. Pryor was 43 when he was sworn in as a federal judge. According to WMR sources in Alabama, Pryor, who now acts as a gatekeeper on the 11th Circuit for the Bush interests in Florida, Alabama, and other states in the jurisdiction, advertised himself during his younger days on a gay website called "Bad Puppy." There are also rumors from informed sources that naked photographs are held by some top Republicans and conservatives as an insurance policy that Pryor rules the correct way on issues on the 11th Circuit bench.

Legal Schnauzer, Nude Photographs Of Federal Judge Bill Pryor Appeared In The 1990s On A Gay Pornography Site, Roger Shuler, Sept. 17, 2013. Nude photographs of federal judge Bill Pryor, left, appeared in the 1990s on a gay pornography Web site, a Legal Schnauzer investigation shows. The photos appeared in 1997 on badpuppy.com, which was in its online infancy, having debuted in mid 1995. Based in Cocoa, Florida, the site has morphed into one of the largest gay porn sites on the Web. Images obtained by Legal Schnauzer show Pryor posing completely nude, staring into the camera and sporting a noticeable erection. Legal Schnauzer contacted Judge Pryor last Friday via e-mail, seeking an interview about the photographs and their possible implications for his role on the federal bench. Pryor is shown at left in a photo from his younger days.

Legal Schnauzer, Alabama Republican Saw Photos From Gay Porn Site And Quickly Exclaimed, "Holy Cow, That's Bill Pryor!" Wednesday, September 18, 2013. A prominent Alabama Republican took one look at photos from a gay porn Web site in 1997 and shrieked, "Holy cow, that's Bill Pryor! I'm meeting with him this afternoon!" sources tell Legal Schnauzer. The Republican official did meet that afternoon with Pryor, who would soon become Alabama's attorney general, and the photos disappeared the next day from badpuppy.com, a gay porn "supersite" based in Cocoa, Florida.

Roger ShulerLegal Schnauzer, Alan Colmes And His Liberaland Web Site Pick Up On Reports About Gay-Porn Photos Of Judge Bill Pryor, Roger Shuler, Sept. 20, 2013. One of the nation's best-known liberal commentators is reporting today on our reports about photos of U.S. Circuit Bill Pryor that appeared in the 1990s at a gay porn Web site. Alan Colmes' Liberland addresses the issue in a post titled "Circuit Court Justice's Gay Porn Site Photo Comes Out Of The Closet." Colmes perhaps is best known for his 13-year run as co-host of Hannity & Colmes, a nightly political debate show on Fox News Channel. He currently is the host of The Alan Colmes Show, a nationally syndicated talk-radio show distributed by Fox News Radio. Colmes is the author of two books, Red, White & Liberal: How Left Is Right and Right Is Wrong (2003) and Thank the Liberals For Saving America (2012). Liberland serves as Colmes blogging base, and the site zeroes in squarely on Bill Pryor.

Legal Schnauzer, Readers Pitch In To Support An Independent Voice Among The Top 50 Law Blogs In North America, Roger Shuler, Sept. 23, 2013. We have been heartened by response to the first fund-raising campaign in Legal Schnauzer history. For six-plus years, this blog has been a "no profit" enterprise, with no ads, no donate button, no form of external support. That changed last Thursday when we installed a donate button in the upper left-hand corner of the blog, and we are pleased to report that a number of readers have been most generous in their support.

Legal Schnauzer, As Reports Mount About His '90s Ties To Gay Porn, Judge Bill Pryor Rides The Luther Strange Love Train, Roger Shuler, Sept. 23, 2013. The number of news accounts is steadily growing about photographs of U.S. Circuit Judge Bill Pryor that appeared at a gay porn Web site called badpuppy.com in the 1990s. Perhaps the story has not "gone viral" yet, but given Pryor's staunchly anti-gay views and the flagrant hypocrisy the photos represent, members of the gay press are starting to latch onto the tale with glee.

Legal Schnauzer, Law Enforcement Pays Multiple Visits To Blogger's House Following Reports About Judge Bill Pryor and Gay Porn, Roger Shuler, Sept. 27, 2013. Deputies from the Shelby County, Alabama, sheriff's office have made at least four visits to our house this week in the wake of my reporting about photos of U.S. Judge Bill Pryor that appeared at a gay porn Web site in the 1990s. On each occasion, at least two vehicles and two deputies came to our home and pounded on the door. At least two times, the second vehicle was a sports utility model that looks like it could be used for transporting prisoners. At least one time, three deputies appeared at our door step. (See video at the end of this post.) What is going on? The only legitimate reason I can think for deputies to appear at my home would be if they were trying to serve court papers. According to press reports, Republican operative Jessica Medeiros Garrison has sued me for reporting about her extramarital affair with Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange.

Above the Law, Underneath His Robes: Nude Photos Of A Federal Judge? Staci Zaretsky, Sept. 18, 2013. A rumor is circulating about a prominent conservative judge who allegedly posed for nude photographs before heading to law school. The photos, which made their way to badpuppy.com, one of the largest gay pornography sites on the worldwide web, depict a handsome young man staring into the camera, expressionless, his genitalia fully exposed. If true, this would not be the first time that a respected jurist has inadvertently revealed what lies underneath their robes.

Liberland, Circuit Court Justice’s Gay Porn Site Photo Comes Out Of The Closet, Dave Dr. Gonzo, Sept. 19, 2013. Earlier this week, provocative Alabama law blogger Roger Shuler posted an interesting tidbit about solidly conservative US Court of Appeals 11th Circuit Justice William Pryor: A federal judge famous for his conservative views was once portrayed nude on a popular gay pornography site, according to an Alabama investigative report last week.

Bilerico Project, Does This Anti-Gay Federal Judge Have a Gay Porn Past? John M. Becker, Sept. 20, 2013. If Pryor did indeed appear in a gay porn photo it would be quite scandalous given the fact that he rose to prominence, in large part, by attacking LGBT rights. When George W. Bush nominated him to the federal bench in 2004, the national LGBT orgs came out swinging. HRC noted at the time that Pryor's office filed a brief in the Lawrence v. Texas case arguing that sodomy "is a chosen behavior unworthy of constitutional protection" and likening homosexuality to incest, pedophilia, and necrophilia. Lambda Legal decried his "extreme judicial views," and then-Task Force President Matt Foreman called Pryor "an ideological tyrant of the highest order." He holds the ignominious honor of being the only attorney general to file a brief attacking the Violence Against Women Act. Ever the defender of prudish virtue, Pryor threw himself into a defense of Alabama’s Dildo Law, which forbade the sale of vibrators. Dredging deep into the recesses of Federalist Society legal theory, Pryor argued that there is no right to privacy in Alabama and that the state had the authority to outlaw any kind of pleasure devices it wanted, even when accompanied by a doctor’s prescription. Naturally, Pryor is unwilling to apply the same legal mumbo jumbo to assault weapons.

U.S. 11th Circuit FindLaw Blog, Accusations of Bias in 11th Cir. Judge Pryor's Nude Photo Scandal, William Peacock, Sept. 20, 2013. Judge Wade McCree left the bench after an inappropriate photo leaked (though he was also embroiled in a sex scandal). Does a similar fate await Judge William Holcombe Pryor of the 11th Circuit?

Gary and Judy WhiteAl.com, Federal Bureau of Prisons report finds Gary White wrongfully punished, Charles J. Dean, Aug. 31, 2013. Imprisoned former Jefferson County Commissioner Gary White recently finished serving six months of punishment, including time in solitary confinement and suspension of visitation rights by his family, for something the Federal Bureau of Prisons now says he did not do. White recently was informed by the BOP that he had in fact not violated the terms of a medical furlough he received in late 2012 to visit a Memphis doctor for the purposes of assessing the status of problems with his prostate. The BOP in January charged that White while on furlough had called his wife, Judy. BOP said the call violated the terms of his furlough. A review of the furlough document by Al.com showed no prohibition regarding phone calls to have been included in the document. The Whites are shown in a family photo before his imprisonment.

Letter Following Visit to Federal Correctional Institute at Forrest City, Arkansas, Subject: Death and Torture, Judy White, Sept. 21, 2013. Editor's Note: The following is a note we received from Judy White, wife of a former Birmingham City Commissioner who is serving a 10-year prison sentence. A Republican, he and his wife say he was prosecuted after refusing a deal whereby he would avoid imprisonment if he testified falsely against former Democratic Gov. Don Siegelman. Judy White, portrayed above with her husband before he began his sentence three years ago, seeks to make the round-trip of nearly 500 miles each way every week to see her husband. She believes he is being denied vitally needed medical treatment in ways that risk his life while he completes his 10-year sentence. She reports below on similar situations of other prisoners who are hidden from public view.

A man died yesterday. A human. Our government killed him through refusing to provide medical care while obstructing his access to medical care. His name was Joe. He was from Dothan, Alabama. Rather than respond to his critical medical needs, our government forcibly moved him to a federal prison in Forrest City, Arkansas, where he became their latest victim of death by medical abuse. Surrounded by no loved ones, with no one present who cared for him to live, he had a heart event (heart attack or failure) and died. He was a prisoner. No judge sentenced him to death, yet the acts of our government carried out a death sentence as surely as if Joe had been strapped to an electric chair.

James Earl Hallford, known as Joe, was 51 years old. He had arrived at Forrest City Federal Prison about a month ago. He was looking forward to being home in Dothan in time to spend Christmas with his wife and two children. He had sought and been refused medical care for increasingly frequent and troubling symptoms of serious heart problems. Friday morning he went to medical seeking help. He was refused treatment, with no testing. Following another heart episode, at the urging of other prisoners, he returned to medical a second time Friday morning. The second time, prison employees did an EKG, told him he was fine, prescribed PAIN PILLS, and told him he could come back Tuesday if necessary. By the time lunch was over, so was Joe's life. He collapsed, with no heartbeat. No one used the defibrillator. A prison employee, Joe Crowder, performed CPR. Joe Hallford's heart started beating again, he took a breath and opened his eyes. As he was being carried out on a stretcher, his heart stopped again. He was murdered by our government through medical abuse.
 
Greg's mother's funeral was today. Greg was not present, nor did he have any opportunity to see his mother or be with her before she passed away. Of course, he is a prisoner, so his mother and family pay the price of being without a son, separated and denied the presence of a loved one to say goodbye for the last time or share the grief of a family in mourning.
 
A man -- a prisoner -- has prostate cancer, diagnosed and confirmed two years ago, yet he has had no medical treatment whatsoever, as our government has refused his pleas for cancer treatment, choosing, instead, to force him to die of a highly treatable serious disease. Again, his death penalty is not the sentence of any judge, but is being carried out by our government, through the Federal Bureau of Prisons in Forrest City, Arkansas, accountable to no one, but with the knowledge and consent of the Obama administration.
 
This is how our government treats prisoners and their families today. Tomorrow, it may be the poor or the elderly or anyone whose life does not have value to our government, anyone who is not producing revenue for our government. Why should anyone care? Because at some time, that will be all of us. 

Florence Times-Daily (Alabama), Millions lost in Alabama gambling trial, Mike Goens, March 11, 2012. Did the guilty get away with it or did another political witch hunt blow up in the faces of those with an agenda? Either way, between $35 million and $40 million of our tax dollars walked out the door Wednesday with the remaining six defendants in a federal gambling corruption trial. All six, as well as fellow defendants who were acquitted in 2011 during the first trial, were found not guilty Wednesday. By the way, some estimate as much as $50 million was spent on investigating and prosecuting the defendants, which included a casino owner, former and current state legislators, lobbyists and others. In trying to answer the question posed above, it seems logical this case is another example of a political witch hunt gone bad....You know, $35 million could pay for a nice prison in a state so financially strapped that many convicts will likely be released early because it cannot afford to house them. Imagine that, building a new prison for real criminals instead of wasting money on a political agenda. Don’t underestimate the financial losses and attacks on personal reputations that defendants suffered in this case. The government doesn’t have to worry about those individuals. Prosecutors can go on to the next case without any financial obligation. It’s unfair at best.

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.

Siegelman Case

Center for Public Integrity, Obama taps Goldman Sachs executive as ambassador to Canada, Michael Beckelemail, Sept. 19, 2013. Bruce Heyman ranks as 20th elite fundraiser nominated for diplomatic post this term. A veteran Goldman Sachs & Co. executive and major fundraiser for President Barack Obama has been nominated as the next ambassador to Canada — the latest in a parade of big-dollar campaign backers slated to represent U.S. interests abroad.

Don Siegelman in prison 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. Mark Fuller, 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. Former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman, currently approaching the end of his second year of imprisonment on a 78-month sentence, is shown at right in prison by a 2008 CBS 60 Minutes photo from a show that sparked nationwide protest over his conviction before authorities prevailed.

Washington Post, Is it bribery or just politics? George F. Will, Feb. 12, 2012. All elected officials, and those who help finance elections in the expectation that certain promises will be kept — and everyone who cares about the rule of law — should hope the Supreme Court agrees to hear Don Siegelman’s appeal of his conviction. Until the court clarifies what constitutes quid pro quo political corruption, Americans engage in politics at their peril because prosecutors have dangerous discretion to criminalize politics....In 2009, a bipartisan amicus brief by 91 former state attorneys general urged the Supreme Court to use Siegelman’s case to enunciate a clear standard for establishing quid pro quo bribery. Today’s confusion and the resulting prosecutorial discretion chill the exercise of constitutional rights of political participation and can imprison people unjustly.

 

BradBlog, Former Gov. Don Siegelman Brings the Hammer Down on Tom Delay from Prison, Brad Friedman, Sept. 25, 2013. Former Democratic governor issues statement slamming the former GOP House Majority Leader for his part in a $20 million 'money laundering' conspiracy to defeat him. Ever since last week's reversal of former GOP Rep. Tom DeLay's 2010 money laundering convictions by a 2-to-1 partisan decision of a three-judge Texas appeals court panel, we have been contrasting the Texas Republican's treatment in the judicial system with that of Alabama's former Democratic Governor Don Siegelman.

 

George Beck Nomination

George BeckJustice Integrity Project, Part IV: What To Do About Obama's Alabama Snafu? Andrew Kreig, April 8, 2011. The Justice Integrity Project today calls for the Senate Judiciary Committee to invite independent witnesses to testify at the confirmation hearing for George L. Beck, President Obama's nominee to become U.S. attorney for the middle district of Alabama. Only a full review of the conflicts surrounding this nationally important but dubious nomination can restore vitally needed public trust.

Justice Integrity Project, Part III: Beck's Backers Make Their Case, Andrew Kreig, April 8, 2011. “For his diligence and relentless pursuit of justice, I have named George L. Beck to serve as a U.S. Attorney,” announced President Obama on March 31. “I am confident he will serve the people of Alabama with distinction.”

Justice Integrity Project, Part II: Bailey-Beck Siegelman Frame-up, Andrew Kreig, April 6, 2011. Two videos, one from June 2007 and another just seven months later in 2008, illustrate why George Beck is such a bad choice as the Obama nominee to run Alabama’s troubled middle district office in the state capital of Montgomery.

 Justice Integrity Project, Part I: Senate Must Grill Tainted Alabama DOJ Nominee, Andrew Kreig, April 5, 2011. President Obama ended more than two years of high-profile White House indecision March 31 by naming the prominent Alabama attorney George L. Beck as his nominee to become U.S. attorney for the state’s Montgomery-based middle district. Despite an impressive career overall, Beck is a horrible choice because he was a compliant defense attorney in the notorious prosecution of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman’s, the state’s leading Democrat.

 

Catching Our Attention on other Justice, Media & Integrity Issues

Guardian, Seymour Hersh on Obama, NSA and the 'pathetic' American media, Lisa O'Carroll, Sept. 27, 2013. Pulitzer Prize winner explains how to fix journalism, saying press should 'fire 90% of editors and promote ones you can't control'. Seymour Hersh has got some extreme ideas on how to fix journalism – close down the news bureaus of NBC and ABC, sack 90% of editors in publishing and get back to the fundamental job of journalists which, he says, is to be an outsider. It doesn't take much to fire up Hersh, the investigative journalist who has been the nemesis of US presidents since the 1960s and who was once described by the Republican party as "the closest thing American journalism has to a terrorist."

Tom DeLayHouston Chronicle, DeLay conviction overturned, Mike Snyder and Patricia Kilday Hart, Sept. 9, 2013. An Austin appeals court on Thursday overturned the conviction of former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay on charges related to a scheme to influence Texas elections. The vote by the 3rd Court of Appeals in Austin was 2-1. DeLay's three-year prison sentence has been on hold as his case has made its way through the appellate process. Delay, right, was convicted in 2010 of illegally channeling $190,000 in corporate donations to Republicans running for the Texas Legislature. State law prohibits corporate campaign contributions to local races. A jury in Austin found that DeLay's actions-collecting checks, moving the funds through a political action committee and distributing the donations to state candidates-violated state money-laundering statutes. "Because we conclude that the evidence was legally insufficient to sustain DeLay's convictions, we reverse the judgments of the trial court and render judgments of acquittal," the majority opinion by Justice Melissa Goodwin states. Justice David Gaultney concurred. Chief Justice J. Woodfin Jones dissented.

Salon, As Tom DeLay gets off, a Democrat sits in prison, Brad Friedman, Sept.19, 2013. While the former GOP leader evaded prison despite being convicted of a crime, ex-Gov. Don Siegelman wasn't so lucky.

Bill ClintonFireDogLake, Clinton Global Initiative Is Market For Favor Trading, Credibility Laundering, DSWright, Sept. 23, 2013. An in-depth piece on longtime President Clinton aide Doug Band has exposed the Clinton Global Initiative as a den of favor trading between Clinton family members and corporate executives. The article published by the New Republic titled Scandal at Clinton Inc. How Doug Band drove a wedge through a political dynasty, details at length how Teneo Founder Doug Band worked his way into President Clinton’s orbit then built a lucrative network of clients for his company based off of leveraging Clinton’s name. But within the lengthy piece is another interesting story – how the Clinton Global Initiative functions as a place to make deals, trade favors, and have politicians help Big Business assist with PR problems.

Huffington Post, Donald Sachtleben, Ex-FBI Agent, To Plead Guilty In AP Leak Case, Sept. 23, 2013. A former FBI agent arrested in 2012 on child pornography charges has admitted to being the source of a disclosure to the Associated Press about a foiled al Qaeda plot, Justice Department officials said Monday. Donald Sachtleben, a 55-year-old from Carmel, Ind., was an FBI agent for 25 years and worked on major cases, including the Oklahoma City bombing and the hunt for the Unabomber.

OpEd News, Licensed to Kill: The Growing Phenomenon of Police Shooting Unarmed Citizens, John Whitehead, Sept. 16, 2013. I've been contacted by many older cops equally alarmed by the attitudes and behaviors of younger police today, the foot soldiers in the emerging police state. Yet as I point out in my new book, A Government of Wolves, this is what happens when you go from a representative democracy in which all members are subject to the rule of law to a hierarchical one in which there is one set of laws for the rulers and another, far more stringent set, for the ruled. Hence, it is no longer unusual to hear about an incident in which police shoot unarmed individuals first and ask questions later.

Legal Schnauzer, What Is the Real Reason For Apparent Legal Action From Jessica Medeiros Garrison And Bill Baxley? Roger Shuler, Sept. 25, 2013. According to a report at Alabama Political Reporter (APR), Republican operative Jessica Medeiros Garrison has filed a lawsuit against me, claiming that my reports on her extramarital affair with Attorney General Luther Strange are false and defamatory. APR reports that Birmingham attorney Bill Baxley filed a complaint on Garrison's behalf, and I have reported here on two threatening letters I've received from Baxley.  I haven't seen the alleged complaint, and I haven't been served with a copy, so I don't know if APR has its facts straight or not. But I do know this: If Jessica Garrison has filed a lawsuit against me, with Bill Baxley's assistance, it probably has nothing to do with my reporting on the Luther Strange affair.

Bobby Jindal and Jeb BushNational Press Club, Jindal calls DOJ lawsuit 'cynical, immoral and hypocritical' at NPC Newsmaker, Lorna Aldrich, Sept. 18, 2013. Bobby Jindal, Republican governor of Louisiana, called a recent Department of Justice (DOJ) lawsuit to block Louisiana’s school-voucher system "cynical, imoral and hypocritical" at a National Press Club Newsmaker Sept. 18. The lawsuit would block the program, which provides vouchers that parents can use to pay for schools of their choice in Louisiana parishes that operate under federal desegregation orders. The governor termed the suit cynical because it would use desegregation laws designed to protect minority children to trap those children in failing schools. Ninety percent of the children in the voucher program are minorities, mostly low income, Jindal said. The Louisiana governor is shown at right with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush at his right in a photo by Noel St. John.

James C. GoodaleDaily Beast, Pentagon Papers’ James C. Goodale: The Outrageous NSA Opinion, James C. Goodale, Sept. 19, 2013. The secret surveillence court has weighed in on the NSA—but its decision, unfortunately, is more political than legal, writes Pentagon Papers lawyer James C. Goodale, left. There was no need for the secret FISA court to have issued its opinion this week stating the NSA program is legal. Its only purpose, arguably, was to influence a political debate as to the program’s future.

Legal Schnauzer, Cases Of Ken Nowlin And Penni Tingle In Mississippi Raise Red Flags About Criminal Defense Lawyers, Roger Shuler, Sept. 16, 2013. The legal "profession" is filled with ugly secrets, and one of the ugliest is this: Quite a few criminal-defense lawyers are more concerned with serving prosecutors' interests than those of their own clients.  Our research indicates this can happen in several ways. One, the defense lawyer will charge a client an outrageous sum and then do relatively little work, putting the accused in danger of being both convicted and financially ruined. Two, the defense lawyer will do little or no discovery that could prove his client's innocence. Two ongoing cases in Mississippi provide classic examples of how vulnerable a citizen can be when charged with a crime -- especially in the murky world of federal, white-collar statutes that tend to be so poorly worded the accused often has no idea if he's actually committed a crime or not. One of the Mississippi cases involves Ecru insurance broker Ken Nowlin, who became entangled in the kind of Bush-era political drama that is all too familiar to many Alabamians. The other involves Penni Tingle, a former chief financial officer from Hernando who was accused of embezzling funds from IKBI Inc., a general contracting firm owned by the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians.

AP and WWL AM/FM (New Orleans), Another fed. prosecutor in hot water over 'Blog Gate,' Jay Vise, Sept. 23, 2013. A veteran prosecutor faces an internal review by the Justice Department for comments she anonymously posted on a newspaper's website during the trial of five former New Orleans police officers convicted in deadly shootings on a bridge after Hurricane Katrina. A department spokeswoman said Monday that the allegations involving Karla Dobinski were referred to its Office of Professional Responsibility, which investigates allegations of misconduct by Justice Department attorneys. Dobinski is a Washington-based attorney in the department's civil rights division. U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt said Dobinski's online activities were a key factor in his decision last week to throw out the former officers' convictions on civil rights charges stemming from the Danziger Bridge shootings and order them a new trial.

Washington Post, Central figure in IRS tea party controversy resigns, Josh Hicks, Sept. 23, 2013. IRS official Lois Lerner had invoked her Fifth Amendment right rather than testify at a congressional hearing.