Attorney General’s Former Campaign Manager Sues Blogger Over Accusations of Extramarital Affair

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—The former campaign manager for Attorney General Luther Strange has filed a defamation of character suit against blogger, Roger Shuler.

The civil action filed by Jessica Medeios Garrison against Shuler, whose blog is called Legal Schnauzer, was recorded in Jefferson County Circuit Court on August 27, 2013. The case contends that Shuler published, “defamatory, malicious and intentionally tortious posts about Garrison on his website.
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Head of Cleburne Democrats Announces He Will Challenge Gerald Dial for AL Senate in 2014

By Lee Hedgepeth
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—The 2014 candidate corral continues to expand in Alabama Senate District 13 with the first Democratic challenger throwing his name in the hat. Last Saturday, Darrell Turner, a union leader and active Democrat, announced his candidacy while speaking at an event organized by the Alabama Democratic Majority. Turner, who is a business liaison for the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters, as well as Chair of the Cleburne County Democratic Executive Committee, says the need for Democrats in Alabama is great.
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Aderholt Announces $1.8 Million DOT Grant for Northeast Alabama Regional Airport in Gadsden

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

On Wednesday, Congressman Robert Aderholt (R) from Haleyville announced that Northeast Alabama Regional Airport has been awarded a $1,891,600 grant by the Department of Transportation (DOT). Aderholt said that the City of Gadsden was receiving the money to pay for rehabilitation and construction of runways at the Northeast Alabama Regional Airport.

Congressman Aderholt said in a prepared statement, “This grant will help the City of Gadsden’s with its efforts to continue expanding economic development opportunities and is great news for our area. The Northeast Alabama Regional Airport is a key priority in growing our local and state economy and attracting new businesses and job creators to Etowah County and the surrounding area and I look forward to the project’s completion.”
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Sewell Announces That She is Taking Application for Federal Judgeship

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Congresswoman Terri A. Sewell (D) announced that her office will accept applications for recommendations to fill the federal judgeship vacancy created by Judge Lynwood Smith taking senior status. Smith served in the Northern District of Alabama Huntsville division.

Alabama’s only Democratic Congress member announced that she has set up a Screening Committee for federal judgeships in Alabama. President Obama will ultimately descide who will get nominated for the judgeship, but as the only Democratic Congress member in Alabama, Sewell has much more influence on who gets nominated than any of the Republican congressional members due to the partisan nature of how Washington functions.
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Brooks Urges President to Seek Authorization for Coming War with Syria

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

According to multiple media sources, the United States military appears to be hastily ramping up preparations toward yet another war, this time in Syria, where the Hassad government has been locked in a bloody civil war with a loose coalition of armed opposition groups.

The Obama administration said that a line has been crossed when video evidence surfaced earlier this week that pro-Assad forces have used chemical weapons against rebel targets.
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Madison County Commission Prayers

Staff Report

MONTGOMERY – Kayla Moore, President of the Montgomery-based Foundation for Moral Law, expressed her organization’s support for the Chairman of the Madison County, AL Commission’s custom of opening Commission meetings with prayer. She urged the Commission to stand firm against the demand by the Freedom from Religion Foundation that the prayers cease.

Mrs. Moore expressed surprise that the Freedom from Religion Foundation would make such a demand at a time when the Supreme Court is considering the constitutionality of such prayers in the case of Town of Greece v. Galloway. She noted that opening the meetings of deliberative bodies with prayer has been an American tradition from colonial days, that colonial legislatures and the Continental Congress opened their meetings with prayer, that the same Congress that approved the First Amendment in 1789 also established congressional chaplains, and that the U.S. Supreme Court upheld prayer in the Nebraska legislature in 1983.
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Colleagues Speak About Hart’s Investigative Style

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Report

MONTGOMERY—For at least a year, Matt Hart, head of the Attorney General’s Office of Public Corruption and White Collar Crime Division, has been investigating potential criminal acts committed by Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn).

No less than three grand juries have been used to investigate Hubbard and his cronies.

Currently, a newly impaneled Special Grand Jury is meeting in Lee County. A Special or Investigative Grand Jury is only impaneled when there is a suspicion of organized crime or political corruption.

Associates who have worked closely with Hart for many years have agreed to share what they have observed of Hart’s prosecutorial style with the Alabama Political Reporter. They wish to remain anonymous, as they are currently working in various departments within the criminal justice system.

Those who have worked with Hart over the years say that he uses a more federal style when conducting an investigation into public corruption.

“Hart uses Investigative grand juries to gather information…following the paper trail…this is not about indicting anyone, per se, but to see if there is any fire to the perceived smoke.”

These types of grand juries may meet for several years and may or may not indict anyone. But, it is an investigative tool available to the Attorney General’s Office.

In these cases a prosecutor such as Hart may also use these grand juries to gather preliminary testimony from those who may have pertinent information surrounding a potential case.

For example, a prosecutor may bring in a legislator to ask him about receiving a campaign contribution with strings attached. A scenario might develop along these lines: “I will give your campaign $40,000, but you need to spend $20,000.00 of that money with my media production company.”

Three weeks later, the person who offered the quid pro quo campaign contribution may be called in and questioned. A month later, a campaign volunteer may be subpoenaed to appear before the grand jury and asked the same questions.

It may be a year and a half down the road before the prosecutor is ready to act on any of the information. But, each person’s statement is on the record, under oath. Gathering testimony and documents are usually part of a investigative grand jury. But, there are times when gathering documents and sworn testimony may be taken from one or more different grand juries.

The most traitorous experience for some who are subpoenaed by Hart, is the phase in which testimony is given under oath.

“Many people are convicted for lying during a grand jury and that is a very serious crime,” said a prosecutor.

Those who have worked with Hart and those who have sat in the witness stand say that is a big stick he uses to get to the truth.

One former witness said, “The first thing he said to me was, ‘Do you know what perjury is?’ Just a few minutes later he asked me, ‘Are to telling me the truth? Because, if I find out you are lying to me, I am going to work as hard as I can to make sure you go the prison.'”

In Alabama it is felony offense to lie to an Attorney General’s investigator.

Section 36-15-62.1 – Providing false statements relating to any matter under investigation; penalties.
(a) Any person who knowingly commits any of the following in any matter under investigation by the Attorney General, or a prosecutor or investigator of his or her office, upon conviction shall be guilty of a Class C felony:
(1) Falsifying, concealing, or covering up a material fact by any trick, scheme, or device.
(2) Making a materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation.
(3) Making or using a false writing or document, knowing the same to contain any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent entry.
(4) Destroying, concealing, or secreting any document or other physical evidence.
Under section (b) Conviction, arrest, or prosecution of the matter originally under investigation is not a prerequisite to conviction under this section.

This is why some individuals go to prison…not for the crime that is under investigation, but for lying to the prosecutor.

It is also unlawful to encourage another individual to commit perjury, an offense called subornation of perjury, according to state law.

According to a the former prosecutors we spoke with, Hart very well may be in the phase of his investigation where he is convinced that a crime has been committed and is bringing in principle witnesses.

In Hubbard’s case, this would mean having those who have been close to the speaker over the years appear before the special grand jury.

Individuals like John Ross, who served executive director of the ALGOP when Hubbard was chairman and funneled money from the ALGOP back into his own businesses. (See story)

Other characters who have grown wealthy through their association with Hubbard, like Dax Swatek and David Azbell might be summonsed to the grand jury to give testimony about their knowledge of certain events.

Also legislators who took hundreds of thousand of dollars from Hubbard, men and women, like Jim Patterson, Paul Lee, Richard Baughn, Lynn Greer, Wayne Johnson, Mark Tuggle, Bryan Taylor, Tom Whatley, Quinton Hanson, DuWayne Bridges, Koven (K.L.) Brown, Terri Collins, Kerry Rich, and Dan Williams. Many of these individual received money from Hubbard-controlled political acton committees only to turn right around and spend large portions with Hubbard’s Craftmaster Printers or Network Creative Media.

It is all somewhat speculative as to Hart’s exact activities before the Special Grand Jury in Lee County. It could be another beginning, or the beginning of the end.

Those who have worked with Hart over the years say that his investigations are meticulous and far reaching. They also say that there is a ferocity and righteous-anger in his relentless pursuit of justice, that should have anyone in his sights trembling with fear.

Sandy Stimpson Prepares to Take Office

By Beth Clayton
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY–Mayor-Elect Sandy Stimpson is preparing to take office in Mobile after defeating incumbent mayor Sam Jones in Tuesday’s election.

Stimpson must prioritize his agenda and resolve staffing issues before taking office.

Stimson has said that it should be a “seemless transition” and that he plans to remove the door to the mayor’s office on his first day.

He also plans to make developing the AirBus project a top concern of his administration. Jones and other Mobile city and county officials had been meeting with Airbus and suppliers and improving infrastructure around the site to ensure the $600 million facility is full equipped for success.
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Sellers Launches Website in House District 74

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Republican Heather Sellers is part of a crowded field running in the special election for Alabama House of Representatives. Sellers has launched her campaign website and a campaign facebook site.

The Sellers campaign announced that Heather is not running, “…to be just another face in the crowd, she is running to be a conservative leader and champion of our principles.”

Heather Sellers describes herself as, “…a proven leader who is committed to providing conservative representation for the 74th District.” Sellers says that she is, “…a proud wife and mother. Heather treasures her faith and family foremost in her life. She is a committed Christian and, along with her husband Rick, has worked to instill faith and Alabama values in her two children.
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Bachus Says that 117th Alabama National Guard Air Refueling Wing is Vital to National Defense

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Another round of BRAC cuts is likely to be approaching as Defense is one of the few areas of government spending which is actually declining.

While on a tour of the 117th National Guard Air Refueling Wing based in Birmingham, Congressman Spencer Bachus (R) from Vestavia said that the 117th is vital to national defense preparedness and is an important contributor to the Birmingham area economy..
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