Cross Posted at Legal Schnauzer
Why would a star witness in the Alabama bingo prosecution, which is set to begin a retrial on January 30, 2012, want to communicate with your humble blogger?
I've been asking myself that question since I received an e-mail from Jarrod Massey in late October. Massey, a former lobbyist for pro-gambling interests, pleaded guilty to various federal charges and testified against other defendants in the first trial--which ended with zero convictions on August 11.
Why would Massey want to talk with me? I can think of only one reason: Someone in officialdom is using him to help set me up for an arrest on bogus charges. Is this a case of The Schnauzer simply being paranoid? Perhaps. But I consulted a friend who has a legal education and extensive experience in government. His verdict? He thought it sounded like someone was trying to lure me into a conversation with Massey so that I could be framed for witness tampering or obstruction of justice.
I value this friend's opinion, and I know that both federal and state prosecutors in Alabama can be grotesquely corrupt. I also know that my reporting has agitated some powerful figures in our state and beyond. That's why I got fired from my job at UAB after working there for 19 years. It's also why I have received numerous anonymous e-mails that could be interpreted as death threats.
Suffice to say, that I have not returned Jarrod Massey's messages, and I don't plan to any time soon. Nothing against Mr. Massey personally; I've never met him and know very little about him. If something is fishy about his e-mails, I'm not sure he realizes it. Perhaps he is just doing what he's told.
That a star witness would contact a journalist, while the witness is waiting for a high-profile case to be retried, raises all sorts of questions. But first, let's look at what's been on Jarrod Massey's mind. Here is his first e-mail, which arrived on October 27:
from: Jarrod Massey jarrod. Email address removed
to: Email address removed
date: Thu, Oct 27, 2011 at 8:49 AM
subject: Points of Mutual Interest
Important mainly because of the words in the message.
I am sure you recognize my name, but if not I am the Jarrod Massey implicated in the federal bingo investigation. In light of your post today on your blog I want to be clear before I state anything further that I have absolutely no interest in discussing Judge Thompson's recent order or anything for that matter directly related to pending trial points. It is out of an abundance of caution that I state this in writing as a pretext to my comments to follow.