Monday, January 31, 2011

BingoGate: Coker seeks the identity of… a snitch?

Sure looks like things are moving in the BingoGate case today. A flurry of court filings (eight already, and more likely coming) has kept the clerk’s office busy. One of the more interesting filings comes from Tom Coker, one of the two lobbyists said to be working for Milton McGregor. Coker was the defendant who filed the first motions to compel access to wiretap binders and FD-302 forms documenting witness interviews. Coker and the other defendants obtained the binders on January 18 and the FD-302's were to be delivered today (or earlier).

At some point in the last two weeks or so, Coker filed a motion seeking to compel the government to reveal the identity of someone connected to the case. The government has opposed that request, and today Coker is filing a response to the government’s opposition—all under seal:

 

image

That this motion has come after the government began producing the wiretap and/or documentary evidence Coker had requested strongly suggests that someone outside the original 11 defendants is on tape, Coker’s defense is concerned about what is being said, and they want to know who that individual is.

So now we have a new question to ponder. Who the hell is it, and what has one of Milton McGregor’s lobbyists so worried?

Team Jerseys

BingoGate: Feds filing under seal – An omen?

On pins and needles?

I wish I had more stirring news to report, but this could turn out to be quite significant.

The Department of Justice today requested permission from the Court to file—under seal—a motion for a protective order:

image

There are only two reasons why the government would seek a protective order. One is to protect individuals from the disclosure of sensitive information (medical conditions, for example).  The other is to facilitate the search for truth, promote justice and protect the integrity of ongoing investigation and prosecution.

Since recent activity and court filings strongly suggest that the government is closing in on potential new targets, and since one of the first actions taken by the government before arresting the Bingo 11 was to ask the Court to seal the case while indictments were served and suspects were taken into custody, one wonders if the next chapter is about to be written, here.

Sealing the documents prevents public access to them, so we won’t know if the motion above covers such mundane matters as an undisclosed medical condition or a serious new matter, like a new round of indictments or a new plea bargain deal.

Update to add: McGregor had filed his own motion to compel access to evidence, and also did so under seal. Apparently, the Court has ruled on that motion and the government is either in the process of producing it, or has produced it today. Today’s motion requesting a protective order—if it pertains to protecting the integrity of investigation and prosecution—has an important meaning. Since all defendants in this case will have access to the evidence sought by McGregor, Coker and Gilley, and since the government is not blocking their access but access to the public, it stands to reason that any new targets in the expanded probe are outside of the original 11.

Stay tuned…

 

TrollRadar

 

 

Iowa players probably OD’ed on Creatine?

Doug Ross @ Journal thinks so.

After reading his post, I’m convinced now, too.  What appears to have happened is that the players were not sufficiently hydrating themselves and taking too much Creatine (or some other similar muscle-building supplement).


And creatine is safely used by tens of thousands of athletes every year. It's naturally found in meat and fish. So what happened? Here's my theory: they took way too much: the recommended dose is generally a teaspoon per day. So it's not hard to imagine a a dozen guys taking, say, four teaspoons a couple of times per day instead. And a study published in 2000 would tend to align with that theory.

For those who say creatine doesn't work: they're wrong. It does and it can be used safely. Perhaps a dozen years ago, I decided to really get my level of body-fat down. At that time, I used no supplements whatsoever. What I found is that as I lost weight, I also lost a good deal of strength.
At a body weight of 178, which was down 25 pounds in a matter of a couple of months, I could bench press 225 12 times -- that represented a significant and disappointing drop from the time when I carried more weight.

Someone suggested creatine and, after reading plenty of research on MedLine, determined that for short-term use, it appeared relatively safe.

Fact is, creatine is found in meat and fish and is produced naturally in your body as well. I have always tried to lift twice a week and would consume a teaspoon of creatine the day before and the day of each resistance workout. In other words, just four teaspoons a week.

Within a few months, I was able to bench 225 for 21 reps with almost no weight gain (perhaps at 183 lbs.). Creatine makes you feel like a hydraulic machine; much stronger in terms of repetitions (but not maxing out).


Go read the whole post.

Given the likelihood that the players weren’t forced to take the megadoses of the supplement, and that such offseason workouts are strictly voluntary (by NCAA rule), it’s hard to fault the school or staff, here. They bear some responsibility for not managing the players’ dietary intake, and that could be especially sticky for them since, well, they kind of have a substance issue in the Hawkeye program.

But a lot of the misinformation being thrown about—suggesting that Iowa was intentionally drugging their players, forcing them into overly strenuous workouts and generally not caring about the well being of their student athletes is taking things too far.

Team Jerseys

Friday, January 28, 2011

BingoGate: Court grants Gilley’s motion to compel, but holds some key stuff back…

image Late Wednesday, US Magistrate Judge Wallace Capel  GRANTED Ronnie Gilley’s motion to compel access to information pertaining to the information provided to the prosecution by flipped co-defendant Jarrod Massey, along with some other materials that had already been provided by the government.  Wednesday’s order basically wraps up some of the loose ends left hanging by the Court’s January 11 ruling on the defendants’ access to wiretap binders and FBI interview documents (form FD-302).

But Capel also DENIED two key requests made by the defendant—access to the technical specifications and capabilities of electronic surveillance equipment and access to what are known as wiretap “session histories.” Session histories are user-created synopses summarizing the content of the intercepted communication.

Gilley had requested information on the make, models and serial numbers of the equipment federal agents had used during the electronic surveillance phase of the investigation (believed to have occurred between October 2009 and May 2010).  He had also requested the session histories of other recorded conversations.

The government objected to these requests on two grounds: (1) that knowledge of the technical specifications of the equipment would alert criminals, educate them on critical investigative techniques and devise methods to thwart them and (2) that releasing the session histories would compromise ongoing investigations.

This has to be a chilling, perhaps even horrifying development for those who might be connected to La Fambilia and who might face charges in the weeks or months ahead. The government is all but admitting that they have used highly advanced technology to monitor the communications of suspected criminals, and that at the time of the filings leading up to Wednesday’s ruling, they were still developing evidence in an ongoing matter.

Let’s turn the page, and see what the next chapter brings.

 

Team Jerseys

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Oh NOES: Laptops stolen from Dallas Convention Center. Where’s Cam Newton?!?

Uh oh…

It appears someone has made off with an iPad and two laptops from the Dallas Convention Center. News from NBC’s Dallas-Fort Worth affiliate:


image An iPad and two laptops stolen from the Dallas Convention Center don't contain Super Bowl security information after all, Dallas police said Wednesday.

The items belonged to a private investigator and security consultant based in California. Sources say the company was hired to do work for the NFL in some capacity during the Super Bowl.  The owner of the items association to the big game led to concerns about the contents of the laptop, but police now say security hasn't been compromised.

"After talking with the victims, it was determined that neither the laptops nor the iPad contained any information that would compromise or jeopardize the security of any Super Bowl related events," said Kevin Janse, with the Dallas Police Department. "Detectives further believe the laptop theft was nothing more than a crime of opportunity and that the suspects probably didn’t even realize who the owners of the property were."

Initially, police said the items were taken from a Starbucks kiosk inside the convention center.  The latest information indicates those items were taken while inside a ballroom where they were left unattended for about 25 minutes, Janse said.


Thank goodness the machines didn’t contain secure information about the Superbowl. Otherwise, we might learn beforehand whether there will be a wardrobe malfunction during the halftime show or if Jerry Jones will make a surprise appearance on the field for the ceremonial coin toss.

But the real question on everybody’s minds: Does anyone know the whereabouts of Cam Newton at the time of the alleged swipe?

Officials are trying to locate surveillance video from security cameras located throughout the building. If you-know-who shows up, someone alert LSUFreek ASAP.

h/t Scott.

GREAT NEWS: Radical Muslim Imam caught sneaking across US-Mex border

image I suppose it is great news that US Customs and Border Patrol agents nabbed Said Jaziri before he could peddle his radical Islamic views (or worse) on US soil. But the troubling aspect of this incident is the answer to the question: How many more would-be terrorists have made the trip successfully?

Jaziri isn’t just a poor, persecuted refugee from the middle east. He is an avowed Sharia Law advocate and was known for his outspoken radicalism before Canadian authorities deported him to his native Tunisia.

From the LA Times:


In Quebec’s large Muslim community, Jaziri stood out for his outspoken views, and though his mosque was small, he drew outsized media attention for his strict interpretation of the Koran. Jaziri labeled homosexuality a sin and pushed for government subsidies to build a large mosque for Montreal’s growing Muslim population.

“His nickname in Quebec was the controversial imam,” said Lise Garon, a professor of communications at Laval University in Quebec City, adding that his case tapped into the anti-immigrant mood in the community. “I think he was deported because people hated his ideas.”


Let me take another stab at that, Dr. Garon. He was deported because Canadian authorities were legitimately concerned that his radical ideas would be put into action by a small, rabid group of followers.  That they found a legal reason to kick him out is just gravy on the plate.

Jaziri is not just your garden variety jihadi. He’s an Imam, whose teachings are to be taken as the word of Allah by his followers.  If he tells 60 or so impressionable young Mohammed Atta’s to hijack aircraft or blow up Times Square, they’re supposed to go do it.

 

</P

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

BingoGate: Court GRANTS McGregor’s request to remove electronic monitoring device UPDATED: False alarm

UncleMilty My sincerest apologies to readers of I Bleed Crimson Red.

Earlier in this space, I reported that the Court had granted McGregor’s request to remove the electronic monitoring device.

That report was in error. Today’s ruling affects Ronald Gilley, not Milton McGregor. I got the document numbers mixed up didn’t realize my error until the blog had been updated.

I regret the SNAFU and will do a better job of Reading for Comprehension.

For the time being, McGregor remains under electronic monitoring and is confined to his residence. Should the Court grant or deny his request to remove the device, I will carefully examine the record and make sure I get it right, next time.

 

TrollRadar

 

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Five bona fide reasons why BingoGate and AUBurgeddon are probably connected

image I’m sure you’ve seen or heard about the MEGATHREAD at www.tidefans.com (link fixed).

Maybe you’ve also seen and heard about the ATPB thread at www.tigerdroppings.com. (UPDATE: Thread restored)

Together, these two forums have combined for thousands of pages, tens of thousands of posts and quite literally millions of page views. If there is ever going to be an entry in Websters for “Going Viral,” right next to the definition would be links to these two URL’s.

It’s also worth noting that loony conspiracy sites like Alex Jones’ Infowars and Dylan Avery’s Loose Change have also generated tons of traffic for their owners by hyping the black helicopterism of global plots to take down the US of A, or something.

One of the things that allows Jones and Avery to perpetuate their loony theories is the narrative that they are “just asking questions.” That sounds legitimate enough, until you realize that as soon as they’re given real answers (by reputable scientists and writers at Popular Mechanics), they dismiss the answers and come up with a whole new set of questions. Much like a video game villain or monster comes back after you mash the RESET button.

So what’s the difference between the black helicopterists at Jones’ and Avery’s sites and the theories spun by the denizens of the MEGATHREAD and ATPB? Aren’t they both wildly speculative and don’t they all describe a plot that’s just too crazy to be true?

There is some stuff out there that stretches the limits of credibility, and some folks have taken speculative reasoning as Gospel truth. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t factual information there, nor does it mean that because it all can’t be true, none of it is.

In truth, some of it is certainly true and it can be documented by court filings, media reports and other credible sources.  Here are five reasons showing that the Auburn recruiting scandal surrounding Cam Newton, the pay-for-play allegations and political corruption in Alabama are all part of the same monster:

  1. Milton McGregor’s ties to Auburn University, Colonial Bank and politics in Alabama. It is no secret, nor is it speculation, that the one-time statewide political powerbroker has connections to all three sides of the AUBurgeddon triangle. McGregor and former Colonial CEO Bobby Lowder are tight. Or, they were tight. McGregor sat on Colonial’s Board of Directors. McGregor has given millions to Auburn. McGregor will stand trial for attempting to corrupt the legislative process by conspiring with lobbyists and bribing politicians. He is of course, innocent until proven guilty but the prosecution is confident.
  2. The FBI’s interview with John Bond. The FBI does not go on fishing expeditions. They did not just wake up one chilly morning in November and decide to go hassle a former Mississippi State quarterback about possible violation of NCAA recruiting regulations. The FBI doesn’t do NCAA investigations. They do criminal investigations, and during the conduct of those investigations, they only interview witnesses that they believe have legitimate, useful information in developing a criminal case against one or more defendants. Each and every interview with such persons of interest is documented on federal form FD-302.
  3. Business relationship between AU Athletic Director Jay Jacobs and indicted co-defendant Robert Geddie. Again, no speculation, no secrets. Auburn graduate Robert Geddie used to head up the lobbying firm Fine-Geddie (along with an Alabama graduate, Joe Fine). As documented by his seminal piece in the Tuskegee News, Paul Davis outlines the relationship between Geddie’s firm and Auburn’s Tigers Unlimited Foundation. TUF paid millions to Geddie’s firm over several years. Current AU Athletic Director Jay Jacobs was TUF’s first president and resigned that post when he was selected as AU’s AD. For the naysayers and skeptics out there, let me lay it out for you: The current athletic director of a major college sports program has a demonstrated business relationship with a man indicted on charges of conspiracy, money laundering and bribery. Like McGregor, Geddie is innocent until proven guilty and deserves his day in court.
  4. Bobby Lowder. Duh! If you’re running a improper benefits scam, where’s the money gonna come from? How about the former CEO of the once mighty Colonial BancGroup, who also happens to be a sitting Auburn Board of Trustees member, who chairs the BOT’s finance committee, who has poured millions into the school, who has been fingered by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools as a micromanager of both academic and athletic affairs at Auburn, who cements alliances with other BOT members through loans and other business relationships, who provided the aircraft in the infamous JetGate scandal? Like I’m telling you something new here, right?
  5. Sam Franklin is the Golden Thread, tying it all together. Sam Franklin is a senior partner in the Alabama Powerhouse law firm of Lightfoot Frankin White. Sam Franklin represents Bobby Lowder in the class action lawsuit filed by former Colonial employees. Sam Franklin represents Auburn University in the Cam Newton case, and has represented the school in all NCAA compliance matters, dating back to AU’s most notorious run-in with the NCAA, the Ramsay Tapes Scandal. But on November 30, 2010, Franklin got a new client—Robert Geddie. But Franklin doesn’t practice criminal law, so his hiring as Geddie’s lead counsel in a criminal proceeding is an eyebrow raiser at worst and at best, slam dunk evidence that the cases are all tied together.

We also know that federal investigators are wrapping up an expanded probe that goes beyond the scope of the original documents and, judging from the language in the prosecution’s court filings and statements from BingoGate defense attorneys, there is a likelihood that a new round of indictments is forthcoming. DOJ is notoriously tight-lipped about ongoing investigations and only disclosed the expanded probe’s existence because they had to in order to avoid compromising it and protect the evidence. But going back to the FBI’s interview of John Bond and media reports that the FBI was also exploring ties between McGregor and the Newton recruitment, it is not black helicopterism to suggest that investigators are making their way up I-85.

In their court filings, the prosecution indicated that the picture would become clearer on January 31, 2011. That date is now less than a week away and by this time next week, we should have a much better idea of who, and what comes next.

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook, and visit the Timeline Page for a complete chronology of events.

 

TrollRadar

 

Team Jerseys

Monday, January 24, 2011

Guest Post: Conspiracy!

(ed. note: Gman-1104 is a retired prosecutor who has volunteered to share his observations on cases in the news. His occasional posts in plain English will help the non-lawyer types (like me) understand what’s going on. With more than 20 years as a prosecutor, his insight should prove useful and informative. Enjoy!)

What exactly is a conspiracy, and how does law enforcement manage to infiltrate or expose them? Good questions, and I will attempt to answer them in plain English rather than legal jargon.


What is a conspiracy?

In many state legal systems, a conspiracy exists when two or more people agree to break the law at some point in the future, and there must also be evidence of an overt act to further the goals of the conspiracy. That requirement no longer exists in federal jurisprudence, thanks to a landmark US Supreme Court decision in a case called United States v. Shabani. So, even if neither you nor any other conspirators actually did anything that advanced your evil plans, you could still be convicted of a federal crime. This is disconcerting for a lot of ordinary Americans, because without the requirement of evidence of an overt act in furtherance, any two people might be accused of a federal crime, even though no evidence exists that you actually carried out your plot! However, there is little cause for alarm, as the burden of proof in such cases is mighty high. You would have to have some evidence of the agreement.

How does law enforcement infiltrate or expose a conspiracy?

In every one of the conspiracy cases I was involved in as a prosecutor, the undoing of the conspiracy was always the same--someone talked. You see, the ability to keep a lid on and advance the goals of any conspiracy is inversely and exponentially related to the number of conspirators involved. A three man deal is three times more likely to blow up than a two man deal. A four man deal is four times more likely, and so on. Simply put, the more people involved the more likely that I or one of my colleagues would have the conspirators in handcuffs before they could perpetrate their crimes.

In the current case of US vs. McGregor et al, there are actually very few people with direct knowledge of the whole affair. The prosecution alleges that the "big fish" in the conspiracy are Milton McGregor, Ronald Gilley, Tom Coker, Robert Geddie and to a lesser extent, Jarrod Massey. All of the others were either victims of the conspiracy or were caught up by their own political or financial greed.

Another interesting aspect of criminal conspiracies is what happens after the plot is exposed and the alleged perpetrators charged with the crime. The US Attorney's Office is famously practiced in the art of playing the conspirators against one another. It is already an established fact that these people are criminals and inherently untrustworthy. The government knows this well, but uses this knowledge against the conspirators. They create such a toxic atmosphere of distrust and suspicion among those charged that, inevitably, someone starts singing to save their own skin.

You can see some of that occurring already in the McGregor case, and it was nearly six months before jury selection when the first big player started singing! Imagine what must be going through the minds of Milton McGregor about the people who worked for him. Gilley has already been rolled on when Massey agreed to his deal. Will one of McGregor's men turn on him, too? Will McGregor turn on Coker, Geddie or both? At this point, I can safely assume that none of the defendants in that case trust each other. Certainly not to the degree they did when they allegedly hatched their plot to buy votes and influence legislation.

Domodedovo Airport bomb blast reminds us that Russia has an islamist problem, too (UPDATE: Video added)

image

Updated to add links and video.

An explosion has ripped through Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport—the busiest such facility in Russia. While the AP is cautiously suggesting that it was caused by a suicide bomber, it reminds us that Russia has an islamicist problem, too.

The country has been fighting islamic separatists in the Caucasus region of Chechnya, and while there have been few incidents of late, the separatists have perpetrated some horrific and bloody attacks in the past.

Ed Morrissey at HotAir.com notes from the AP story that In 2004, suicide bombers boarded airplanes at Domodedovo by bribing airport personnel. The bombers blew themselves up in mid-air, killing all 90 people aboard the two flights.

But a few weeks after that event, 32 heavily armed islamic militants guerrillas seized a school in Beslan near the border with Chechnya, and held more than 1,000 children, teachers and parents hostage.  That incident left 335 hostages dead—including 186 children—and  hundreds more wounded.

Islamicists don’t care who they kill. If they’ll mow down innocent children in a hail of gunfire and incendiary bombs, what’s a few dozen busy travelers at Moscow’s busiest airport?

Look, we know who these people are. We know their ethnicity. We know their religious affiliation. We know their genders and approximate age ranges. We also know that they intend to kill us and they are more than willing to be blown to bits themselves in the name of Allah!

How many more people need to die before the west realizes that these people need to be profiled, isolated and scrutinized before being even allowed within spitting distance of large congregations of the public?

Americans, Britons, Spaniards, Frenchmen and Russians need to wake up. We are at war with religious fanatics and their “soldiers” are among us.

Update: Video from the scene, moments after the blast. Warning: Some graphic images may be visible.

 

 

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BingoGate: Milton McGregor is not “all in,” seeks separate trial

image Looks like the east Alabama fambly is breaking up.

Milton McGregor, the casino owner, political powerbroker, former Colonial BancGroup board member and prominent Auburn booster, is seeking to sever his trial with the trials of the other defendants in Alabama’s BingoGate corruption case.

It was all about team unity when the indictments were handed down by a federal grand jury  last October. Everybody was professing innocence and sticking together. In January 2011, not so much. McGregor is not “all in,” so to speak.

Via the Associated Press on The Wire blog at al.com:


McGregor's lawyers filed court papers Saturday in Montgomery saying he deserves a separate trial because he's ready for trial on the scheduled date of April 4, but most other defendants want a delay.

McGregor's attorney, Joe Espy, also argued that it will be extremely difficult to try 10 people at once and that such a large trial could result in McGregor being unfairly judged based on evidence of what others did.


Uh huh. That’s a good story, Uncle Miltie, and I’d stick to it.

As regular followers of this story know, the team of federal investigators are nearing the end of an expanded probe that “goes beyond the scope” of the original indictments. You will also recall that two of the original 12 conspirators—Jennifer Pouncey and Jarrod Massey—have both agreed to plead guilty and cooperate with investigators. Pouncey and Massey worked for Country Crossings casino owner Ronnie Gilley, while McGregor employed his own team of lobbyists led by Tom Coker and Robert Geddie.

Recent court filings from Coker to compel the government to disclose the contents of wiretaps and interviews with other defendants and witnesses—especially the interviews with Massey—indicate that there’s some nervousness on the McGregor side of the conspiracy. They want to know exactly  who Massey is fingering and what he’s squealing about.

The longer this plays out, the more the pressure increases for someone on McGregor’s lobbyist team to flip and work out a deal. McGregor’s not pushing for severance and against continuance just because he thinks he has a strong defense. He’s trying to run out the clock before somebody rolls on him.

At any rate, the wiretap binders have already been provided by the prosecution (they were due January 18, scroll down to the update), and the FD-302’s (records of agent interviews with witnesses and other defendants in the case) are due on January 31. This is the approximate date on which the federal government says releasing the materials will no longer jeopardize the expanded probe. Statements like this indicate that a new round of indictments are likely, and absolutely no one but the government knows who or what be ensnared a week or so from now.

As the old saying goes, “the price of poker keeps going up.”

Getcha some popcorn and settle in.  This should be fun.

REMINDER: Don’t forget to keep up with the Timeline.

 

Team Jerseys

Friday, January 21, 2011

Olbermann fired: Are the crosshairs on Maddow now, or Matthews?

Well, isn’t it convenient for Herr Olbermann? Mere hours after a real business takes over NBC, controversial MSNBC host Keith Olbermann has decided to look elsewhere for employment.

It begs the question: Who’s next? Rachel Maddow, or Chris Matthews?

Which one has the crosshairs on them?

Oh, wait.  Those weren’t crosshairs.  They were survey markers.

image

 

Truth is, Olbie is probably being a good businessman. He’s seen his ratings. He knows the score. He knows that Comcast is probably already contemplating a new direction for the network, and that new direction doesn’t include wackos like Olbie, Maddow, Matthews, Laurence or anyone else so radically affiliated with the left.

Word is, he’s already contacted ESPN to get his old job back. I hope he isn’t holding his breath.

 

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AUburgeddon: Geno at ESPN weighs in: “But it doesn’t feel closed. It feels empty.”

One of ESPN’s best writers weighs in on the Cam Newton story, and as is typical with Woj’s opinion pieces, he leaves no arteries un-gashed. I usually provide some observations or snarky comments on opinion pieces like this, but this one deserves to be unsnarked.

Go read the whole thing. He starts off well and goes straight for the stars from there.


Cam Newton is no longer on the Auburn campus, but the stench from his father Cecil's pay-for-play scheme and bungled cover-up still hovers over college football likes gases over a landfill.

The smell has Auburn, Mississippi State, the Southeastern Conference and even the Heisman Trophy Trust holding their noses. And depending on whether the NCAA has completed its investigation or not, perhaps its breath, too. There remains no closure, no neat bow on the Newton box.

What matters is if money changed hands, if money was laundered and if Mississippi State was the only school approached by Cecil Newton. So far, nothing.

Of course, Auburn officials who know Cam Newton well say it's entirely possible that he didn't have a clue about his father's actions. He's a 10-year-old in a man's body. He's Tom Hanks in "Big," an innocent. He'd rather play with other kids than deal with adults.

That's what they say, at least.


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Cam Newton’s agent: Connection to Cecil Newton’s church repairs?

Scroll down for updates.

Call it a coincidence (if you believe in such things as coincidences, UFO’s and the tooth fairy) or call it another link in the chain. Another brick in the wall. Another nail in the … you get the idea.

Per SportingNews today, Cam Newton, tainted Heisman Trophy winning quarterback for the 2010 BCS Champion Auburn Tigers, has signed with an agent. The agent he signed with is Bus Cook, famed for representing future hall of famer Brett Favre.

Bus Cook is affiliated with Perennial Sports. There’s another figure connected with the Newtons who is also affiliated with Perennial. His name is Anthony (Tony) Paige.

Does that name ring a bell?

image

Cam has a brother named Cecil Newton, Jr. who had a brief stint in the NFL himself. 

Guess who he was represented by?


Who is your agent/agency and what factors went into your decision?

Newton: My agent is Tony Paige with Perennial Sports and Entertainment. My father did a lot of background on potentially 10-15 other agencies that were recruiting me. Tony was a great selection because of his knowledge and experience in the industry.


Are there two men named Anthony Paige? May be. Both are African American males, both are associated with the Newtons, both have the same name. One guy named Anthony Paige was presented to the Newnan City Council as the guy who would oversee repairs to Cecil Newton’s church. Another guy named Anthony Paige is a registered sports agent, who works for the same company that Cam’s agent does, and who also represented Cam’s big brother.

But none of this is connected, right?

image

 

 UPDATE: From agent Tony’ Paige’s website at Perennial Sports:

image

 

“One of the best ways to give back to the community that nurtured you is by setting up a non-profit organization. Perennial can assist, prepare and administer the formation and operation of a foundation.”

He’s absolutely right, of course. Many very worthy non-profit organizations have been formed by star athletes, and a great number of them do wonderful things for the communities the athletes used to call home.

But the the Department of Justice has an entire Division dedicated to rooting out and prosecuting those who use 501(c)(3) tax status to hide income and launder money. Just sayin…

h/t to psupoop. (You may need to join Tidefans.com to read that link.  And that would hurt you, why?)

 

Team Jerseys

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Obligatory Robert Bentley Religion Gaffe Post

image On Monday, as I was busily lining up appointments for a business trip to the Houston Metro Area, newly elected Alabama Governor Robert Bentley was being sworn in as the state’s 53rd chief executive. It was a day of pomp and circumstance that I fully and legitimately expected to pass with little else than blah blah coverage in the media. Inauguration activities are not supposed to be controversial.

But I should have known better because, well…  This is Alabama.

As you’re probably already aware, just after taking the oath of office, Dr. Bentley made the pedestrian trek to the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church, famed for being the site of so many stirring sermons by Martin Luther King, Jr. where he delivered a short speech about how he saw his role as Governor of Alabama. But in a moment that surely must have horrified his communications director Rebekah Mason and Bentley supporters across the state, he added this little grenade blast:


''Now I will have to say that, if we don't have the same daddy, we're not brothers and sisters. So anybody here today who has not accepted Jesus Christ as their savior, I'm telling you, you're not my brother and you're not my sister, and I want to be your brother."


Oh my. A statement that took all of ten seconds to utter has now been responsible for the little old country doctor to become famous in all the wrong places. The story was picked up by the national news media; the Twittersphere and Blogosphere went ballistic and the talking heads had talking point fodder for morning shows.

Ben Flanagan of al.com stole a page from my playbook yesterday, and sampled some of the comments from around the web.  As you would expect, these don’t exactly paint a charming picture of the genteel retired physician.


Here's what different news organizations and blogs throughout Alabama and the country are saying about Bentley's comments.

  • The Daily Targum in New Jersey wrote that "Elected officials should not be perpetuating prejudices," as they claim Bentley does with his comments.
  • AOL offers Robert Bentley: 5 Facts About the Ultra-Christian Alabama Governor


Some of the hard left bloggers took even bigger chunks of flesh from the man who hadn’t even been governor for an afternoon before sticking his foot in his mouth.

Here’s my take on the matter, in the form of a question:

Dr. Bentley, did you learn nothing from the saga of former Chief Justice Roy Moore?

I have no problem with a man of faith expressing that faith. Even those  holding public office. I do have a problem with fundamentalists holding office and expressing those views in a way that sounds like you’re prejudiced, even if you’re not. Furthermore, we are locked in a war against a group of religious fundamentalists whose prejudices are so great, they blow themselves up to kill the infidels. The comparisons between Christian fundamentalists and those of the Islamic flavor are inevitable, even if  they’re completely bogus.

Bentley later apologized for his remarks, but you can’t unring the bell. The damage is done.

Rebekah Mason has a huge job ahead of  her.

 

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Oops: Auburn’s big recruiting weekend spoils Uncle Luther’s party plans

Last night, SportsbyBrooks practically blew up the internet by exposing a planned “Party with the Auburn Players” scheduled for the upcoming weekend.  The Twittersphere nearly melted down.

According to the Facebook announcement, $50 would have gotten you in the door. But if you dropped $500 in the kitty ($750 for couples), you got da VIP treatment, baby:

 

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Oh my.  Sounds like fun.

Fortunately for the AU compliance staff, wiser heads prevailed and the organizers cancelled the soiree today.

Why?

Well, notwithstanding the fact that having active members of the AU roster present at a party that charges anywhere from $50 to $750 for access to the BCS champs (who you know weren’t paying a nickel to be the star attractions) is fraught with all kinds of extra benefit problems, Uncle Luke is Luke Campbell. 2 Live Crew’s Luke Campbell.

The dude who openly bragged about paying football players at Miami during the 1980’s and 1990’s. Yeah.  That Luther Campbell. Not exactly the kind of guy AU wants to headline a party for the “all in fambly.” Especially not with the NCAA Enforcement investigators turning over rocks and cow patties down on da plains.

But there’s another really good reason why AU moved so quickly to shut down the hoe down. This is one of the biggest recruiting weekends of college football’s second season. Atta way to show the boyz a good time, huh?

Exit question: What are the chances that this story makes any of the papers affiliated with the state media cartel, al.com?

Place ya bets, playas!  Are ya all in?

 

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Auburgeddon and BingoGate: Feds closing in on new targets?

image About two weeks from today, defense lawyers in the US v. McGregor et al case will get their first look at the unredacted wiretap binders and federal form FD-302’s. The prosecution alleges that these materials comprise compelling evidence that prominent casino owner, Auburn booster and state powerbroker Milton McGregor conspired with business partner Ronnie Gilley to bribe legislators into voting for an electronic gambling bill during the 2010 session of the Alabama Legislature.

Attorneys for Tom Coker, one of two lobbyists employed by McGregor, had asked the court for the unredacted materials late last year. The government didn’t strenuously object to rcomplying, but with one caveat—they could not release the materials until on or about January 31. 

The reason? Since the October 4 indictments and arrests of the McGregor Eleven, the feds had expanded their probe beyond the original scope of the gambling conspiracy indictments, and the contents of the binders and 302s could compromise the expanded investigation, according to court documents filed in the case. The prosecution indicated that the expanded probe would no longer be compromised if release of the wiretap binders and 302s were delayed until January 31.

A lot happened between the October 4 round up and Coker’s December 20 motion to compel access. From the standalone Timeline Page:

November 4, 2010

The ESPN Story breaks. Reporters Pat Forde, Chris Low and Mark Schlabach allege that Cecil Newton approached Mississippi State in a pay for play scheme involving his son, then Blinn Junior College Quarterback Cam Newton.

November 9, 2010

ESPN.com’s Joe Schad files a report, claiming that Mississippi State recruiters confirmed that a pay-for-play plan was discussed during two separate phone conversations. In one, Cam Newton told a MSU representative that he chose Auburn because the “money was too much.”

Sources: FBI becomes involved in the case.

November 11, 2010

In a wide ranging radio interview, Kenny Rogers fingers Cecil Newton as the originator of the pay-for-play scheme.

November 13, 2010

Cecil Newton admits to talking money, per a WSBTV report, but denies that Auburn, Cam or Cam’s mother were aware of his negotiations.

November 16, 2010

John Bond is interviewed by the FBI.

Sources say the FBI is also interested in links between McGregor and pay-for-play at Auburn. McGregor, through his attorney, denied involvement in the pay for play scheme.

On December 17, this blog explored links between defendants in the Alabama corruption scandal and the ongoing investigation into Auburn’s recruitment of Cam Newton. One of the defendants in the corruption trial—Robert Geddie—is a graduate of Auburn University and partner in the lobbying firm of Fine-Geddie. Fine-Geddie has a multimillion dollar relationship with the Auburn University Athletics fundraising organization, Tigers Unlimited Foundation.

Geddie is the other lobbyist hired by McGregor.

imageimage  It is also worth noting that current Auburn University Athletic Director Jay Jacobs was President of Tigers Unlimited, and that the foundation has flourished in part due to the financial support of former Colonial BancGroup CEO Bobby Lowder, the mega-Trustee and prominent Auburn booster.

As shown in the viral December 17 post, Sam Franklin—a prominent attorney in the state of Alabama and a partner of the law firm Lightfoot Franklin White—appears on the chop list of court documents filed in motions by the defense in the corruption probe. Franklin is also the chief counsel for Auburn in the NCAA probe, and represents Bobby Lowder in the multimillion dollar class action lawsuit filed by Colonial Bank employees.

This begs the question: Who, or what, is the target of the expanded criminal investigation that according to the prosecution, goes beyond the scope of the original October 4 indictments?

Is the federal government closing in on new criminal conspiracy?

DOJ is famously tight-lipped when it comes to discussing matters currently (or not) under investigation, so it is anybody’s guess as to what they may have uncovered and who the new players may (or may not) be. But isn’t it interesting that three parties to three separate matters—Auburn in the NCAA probe, Geddie in the BingoGate case and Lowder in the class action lawsuit—have all hired the same lawyer?

A lot of these questions could be answered in the next two weeks. But just as dramatically, a lot more questions may be asked.

Getcha some popcorn, sports fans. This one might be headed to over time.

Update: The wiretap binders are due today, January 18. The unredacted 302s are due on January 31.

 

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