Felonies and Rumors of Felonies…
I first met attorney Donald V. Watkins in 2002 when he was interviewing candidates to support. He found my stance on limiting government to address very few things in our economy unworthy of his support. His appreciation of my championing our 5th Amendment civil right to property for ALL was nonetheless reassuring. One of the first black students to attend UA School of Law, his training is sound and accomplishment in practice profound over the years. At age 68, Watkins is well known for success in our courts - most notable among advocates of limited government is his successful 2005 defense of a NYSE CEO on federal Sarbanes-Oxley charges. It is no secret I think Sarbanes-Oxley one of the more deleterious pieces of recent federal legislation impeding our economy. Furthermore, I take great delight Mr. Watkins is a fellow FaceBook friend of the Alabama Gazette page.
The reason for all this preamble is to preface, "USA v. Robert J. Bentley, Rebekah Caldwell Mason, and Other Co-Conspirators," copyrighted and published on FaceBook by Mr. Watkins on April 19, 2016. In short, for readers unfamiliar with this author, he’s not one to be taken lightly. According to Watkins, Gov. Bentley and political consultant Rebekah Mason are expected to be charged by the U.S. DOJ for, “using Bentley’s position as governor to execute a wide ranging racketeering conspiracy involving wire and mail fraud, tax fraud, bribery, money laundering, the unauthorized use of the federal National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and the Law Enforcement Tactical System (LETS) databases, and related criminal charges."
Watkins’ FaceBook News Team exclusively announced ten days prior [4/9/16] federal prosecutors in DC decided to expedite initiating public corruption charges against Bentley and Mason. The dearth of reporting by the major media of this announcement for the public to consider speaks volumes. Watkins asserted, "Mason, a mother of three young children, is trying to stay out of jail by cooperating with the federal probe. She does not have the financial resources to mount a spirited or sustained defense to the expected criminal charges. Bentley, whose criminal defense attorneys are paid from campaign funds and personal savings, is helping Rebekah Mason fund her criminal defense by keeping Jonathan Mason, her husband, on the state payroll as the director of Serve Alabama at an annual salary of $94,000. This financial assistance, however, is woefully inadequate considering the tidal wave of legal trouble Rebekah Mason faces.”
Little wonder the “Free Don” cabal of Democrats and “Storming the Jailhouse” Republicans have put the effort to pardon Siegelman in overdrive these past weeks. One of Siegelman’s prison shirts reportedly auctioned for $4,500 last month to raise money for this despicable purpose in spite of Obama’s DoJ already determining the sentence for this political criminal was too short for the charges Don was found guilty of committing. Pray he serves the remaining 9 months of this far too short sentence without pardon so the BCA, et al thugs can’t use it as an excuse to reduce sentences for themselves. Watkins, pointing out former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's 28 year federal prison sentence result for racketeering in manner ‘strikingly similar’ to Bentley’s alleged actions, is to be applauded! No doubt others are taking the promise to press the DoJ to ensure criminal justice is color-blind and equal seriously when coming from this source.
Watkins further asserted Bentley, Mason, et al (other co-conspirators) are, “staring down the barrel of a criminal indictment that is expected to exceed ninety felony charges once the case has been presented to a federal grand jury. Bentley will be named as the ‘ringleader’ of the racketeering conspiracy.” NINETY! Perhaps it will be pared down to a couple dozen (as observed in Lee County) by a federal grand jury. For those who may not have access to Mr. Watkins’ page and/or his FaceBook News Team reporting, a brief recount of the ten points included in HIS legal commentary on Gov. Bentley and others alleged misconduct is summarized as follows:
(1) Bentley, Mason, et al engaged in racketeering conspiracies involving wire and mail fraud, tax fraud, bribery, money laundering, and unauthorized use of federal NCIC and LETS databases. Criminal forfeiture of ill-gotten financial gains from their racketeering scheme apply. They knowingly defrauded State and federal taxpayers, campaign donors, and “dark money” contributors under false pretenses their money would be used for legitimate government expenses, or for proper campaign-related expenses, or for authorized non-profit expenditures; in reality, the money was used to finance and facilitate an inappropriate relationship between Bentley and Mason and other impermissible expenses. Mason’s exchange of sex for influence over Bentley’s executive powers as governor constitutes bribery. The couple reportedly shared consulting fees paid to Mason by third parties who sought and were afforded direct access to the governor. His portion of the cash kickbacks were not declared on Bentley’s 2015 income tax returns.
(2) Racketeering, money laundering, bribery, and fraud charges are the ones most likely to result in a conviction(s). The racketeering charges are predicated upon the establishment of the ongoing wire and mail fraud, tax fraud, money laundering, and bribery between Bentley and Mason.
(3) Designated as the “ringleader” of this racketeering conspiracy, if convicted, Bentley should face a minimum of 28 years in federal prison. The federal conviction of former Detroit Mayor Kilpatrick, whose extramarital affair with his chief of staff led to the exposure of a racketeering crime spree (strikingly similar to the Bentley-Mason result) earned a 28 year sentence.
(4) The U.S. DOJ typically notifies public officials when they are the “subject” or “target” of an ongoing public corruption probe so the public official under investigation is afforded an opportunity to convince the DOJ pursuing criminal charges is not warranted.
(5) It is probably too late for Bentley to use his resignation as a bargaining chip for a reduced sentence. Had Bentley resigned gracefully and quickly after release of his sex tapes, resignation might have prompted federal prosecutors to reduce the number of expected felony charges pursued against him.
(6) To avoid responsibility for his poor judgment and criminal conduct the expected fall guy for the racketeering schemes may be his Chief Legal Adviser David Byrne. Bentley will likely shift blame for anything that is criminal on the legal advice he allegedly received from Byrne and other attorneys. Byrne, who escaped prosecution in connection with the 2009 collapse of Colonial Bank, may have his own criminal issues this time around. (Remember these 10 are according to Mr. Watkins’ News Team posts) Invoking the “I did not know” or “Executive Ignorance” defense will probably fail when evidence of hands-on involvement in the racketeering conspiracy is simply too overwhelming to ignore.
(7) Staffers who knew of the racketeering scheme and withdrew from participation are OK. Those who did participate under duress will likely get what is known as “Kastigar” letters offering limited immunity from prosecution in exchange for truthful testimony. Those who soldiered on in the racketeering conspiracy will be charged as co-conspirators with Bentley and Mason.
(8) Watkins’ FaceBook News Team vowed to press the DOJ to insure criminal justice is color-blind and equal.
(9) Montgomery U.S. Attorney George Beck is a close personal friend of David Byrne. Beck is uniformly regarded within the DOJ as a weak, ineffective prosecutor with this scandal occurring on Beck’s watch. Beck could position himself to impact the criminal process in favor of his cronies. Watkins’ Facebook News Team promised continued diligence to discourage interference in the proper administration of justice in the Bentley’s case.
(10) “Big Luther” Strange is too compromised by his own improprieties to pursue State law public corruption charges in the Bentley case, lacking the courage or political will to pursue real criminal charges of public corruption offenses impacting Alabama.
Again, I strongly emphasize these are the assertions/reporting of Mr. Watkins and his Facebook News Team who further claim prosecutors know, “Bentley has fallen into a psychotic state of mind where he is erratic, delusional, and paranoid. Bentley is holding on to the only thing he has left --- the office of governor. The pressure from his growing ‘sex for power’ and public corruption scandal with Rebekah Mason has taken a heavy psychological and emotional toll on Bentley and has also paralyzed state government. Federal prosecutors realize that they must act quickly and do so before Bentley inflicts further irreparable damage to the citizens of Alabama.” It would be much easier to completely discount this if it were not coming from someone considered an ‘officer of the court.’
In closing, it seems Mr. Watkins has given some of the most compelling plausible reasons why former ALEA Secretary Spencer Collier has made it so publicly clear he will not lie for Gov. Dr. Bentley. The blatant misuse of State taxpayer money these past weeks spent on ALEA ads heralding new Secretary Stan Stabler helps substantiate Mr. Watkins claims. I had not made the Lowder connection with Legal Advisor Byrne until reading Watkins’ FaceBook publication. Perhaps the hundreds of thousands of dollars paid collectively to the Bentley staff in the form of raises and the 23 felony count criminal trial scheduled later this month in Lee County may reveal those who are holding the smoking guns. Thanks to those who’ve kindly heralded me as much more sage than I am in fact forecasting a reversal in the order of names in the column title where Collier would no longer be defending himself from Bentley; instead Collier will become a plaintiff against Bentley. It wasn’t difficult to see that boomerang. I remain hopeful it results in some VERY productive discovery to provide further evidence for federal investigators (as Rep. Williams requested into the matter) where even more corruption may be disciplined in our courts.
Postscript: I wish all my orthodox Christian readers a joyous Pascha filled with many blessings in veneration of our Risen Saviour Jesus Christ - CHRISTOS ANESTI! -- i.e., CHRIST IS RISEN! I hope readers found my explanation last month for our much later (May 1st instead of March 27th) celebration this year informative. Whether celebrated 3/27 or 5/1 I pray all use and apply the season’s scriptural lessons to identify and discipline corrupt clergy, governors, jurists, procurators, et al far too alive and destructive in our modern lives. Resistance to the tyranny of Tiberius was indeed an unimaginable example of obedience to God I find increasingly lacking today…
This article has been slightly edited.