Star Chamber: What Money Can Buy

Hard evidence hurts.

What the folks at Balch & Bingham cannot seem to grasp is that while on its face the contributions to the Oliver Robinson Foundation were legal, the alleged “official acts” by then-State Representative Oliver Robinson (dispatching letters on state letterhead written by Gilbert, meeting with the EPA, coached and then appearing before the AEMC, etc.) make them alleged bribes.

As our friends at the U.S. Department of Justice clarified:

If the connection is causally direct – if money was given essentially to purchase or ensure an official act, as a “quid pro quo” then the crime is bribery. If the connection is looser – if money was given after the fact, as “thanks” for an act but not in exchange for it, or if it was given with a nonspecific intent to “curry favor” with the public official to whom it was given –then it is a gratuity.

Judge Carole Smitherman and State Senator Rodger Smitherman received over $32,000 in campaign cash from those entities associated with or funded by Balch or Balch clients including a campaign contribution to Judge Smitherman in February from Balch’s new lead counsel, Andy2K.

Although investigators may debate which contributions were alleged bribes, which were alleged gratuities, or which were neither in the Newsome Conspiracy Case, these questionable contributions, many of which are first-time contributions, appear to have been given at critical junctures in the case, according to Newsome’s Writ of Mandamus.

Now let’s look at the hard evidence.

  • Alabama Power provided $2,500 to Rodger Smitherman received on Wednesday, July 26, 2017. Alabama Power helped found Balch, is Balch’s top client,  and Alabama Power’s current top three executives are all former Balch partners.
  • The Alabama Power PAC was run at the time by a former Balch partner, Alexia Borden.
  • On Monday, July 31, 2017,  Balch filed a motion to strike the amended Newsome case from late June.   A hearing was set for August 31, 2017.
  • Disregarding the hearing set for August 31, 2017, Judge Carole Smitherman, without a hearing, approved the motion to strike on Wednesday, August 2, a gross miscarriage of justice and judicial bias.
  • In between these events, the alleged contribution and the signed order to strike, Smitherman apparently joined her husband on a junket to Biloxi, Mississippi.
  • According to his expenditure reports, he spent over $1,700 in resources to attend the Southern Legislative Conference at the Hard Rock Casino between July 29 through August 2, 2017. A preliminary review of the photos on the SLC site seem to show that neither Smitherman attended any of the events.
  • When did Smitherman order this motion to strike? While driving up the interstate? What do the phone records show and who was she speaking to before carrying out an official act?

Now with no real explanation except an impossible one to justify the presence of her husband inside hearings of the secretive Star Chamber, Smitherman in an apparent fit of hostility and anger retaliated against Newsome’s Writ (calling for her recusal) by filing 44 orders against Newsome the day after the Writ was filed.

As we described the other day,  Smitherman wrongly tossed out two critical affidavits falsely saying they had missed a October 10, 2017 deadline.

And when did she sign the order obligating everyone to file by October 10th?

On October 11th.

Shall we have lunch, your honor, yesterday at 12:30 p.m.? How does your schedule look?

Hard evidence hurts.