Sessions’ History Proves Corruption, Chaos—and That He Shouldn’t be Allowed Anywhere Near the DOJ

by Kelly Macias –

If what he did in Alabama is any indication of the future, we should all be really and truly terrified about what Attorney General Jeff Sessions is about to do at the Department of Justice.

We already know that when he was a U.S. attorney, he brought a case against the “Marion Three,” black activists that he charged with election fraud for assisting elderly black citizens with absentee voting ballots—along with trying to impose a sentence for that “crime” of nearly 200 years in prison. And we also know that he fought against equitable school funding for poor school children. And then, of course, there’s his obvious racism and blatant disdain for anything related to civil rights. But evidence also demonstrates that he’s also incredibly unethical and corrupt—and completely unapologetic about it.

Sessions presented himself as a crusader against graft, frequently prosecuting Mobile officials, often Democrats, who were still dominant in the 1980s. […]

But the flimsy evidence for some of these prosecutions drew accusations that Sessions was motivated by politics.

Shortly after Sessions was denied the federal judgeship, his office charged two African Americans who played a role in his confirmation hearings: one who had testified against him, and another whom Sessions had allegedly called a racial slur. The first was acquitted; the second spent more than five years in prison but continues to deny any wrongdoing. “I considered that, ‘How dare you? You testified against me,'” [says Alabama State Sen. Hank Sanders, who was involved in the defense of the Marion Three]. Sessions charged at least half a dozen Democratic politicians in Mobile, often during campaigns and with questionable evidence, according to a report in the Guardian.

This is all a bit obvious to anyone who has been paying attention to what’s been happening to our government since Nov. 9, but this particular appointment in the Trump administration is incredibly dangerous and this fact is worth repeating over and over again until something changes. Jeff Sessions should not be anywhere near America’s criminal justice system. Period.

In 1994, when Sessions was running for state attorney general, reporters obtained flight records showing that the Democratic governor, Jim Folsom, had flown to the Cayman Islands on the private plane of a local dog-track owner. Sessions used the revelation to attack his rival, incumbent state Attorney General Jimmy Evans, for going easy on Folsom, and the episode helped topple both Folsom and Evans.

After the election, [Thomas Gallion, an attorney in the state capital of Montgomery] filed a wrongful-termination lawsuit on behalf of a state employee with an explosive allegation: FBI agents working on behalf of Sessions’ campaign had helped obtain the flight records. Affidavits filed by Gallion’s client and another state employee contended that Sessions had assisted in planning the operation. A private investigator who did work for Sessions’ campaign admitted to tracking down the flight records and receiving $3,000 to cover his expenses, but he didn’t disclose who had made the payment and denied that Sessions had approved the operation. […]

Gallion tried to get the US attorney to investigate the alleged FBI misconduct, but the prosecutor, who had worked with Sessions on an anti-corruption probe, never pressed charges. Today, Gallion, who can rattle off the minutiae of every Alabama political scandal, says he doesn’t recall the details of the case. (Several lawyers once critical of Sessions seem reluctant to say a bad word about him now that he is attorney general.) 

Let’s put the details of all this together, shall we? Sessions abused his power and used the FBI to obtain flight details to bring down his political rival. Those charges (corruption and misconduct) came to light and the U.S. attorney, who had worked with Sessions before, refused to investigate. And now that very same man, Sessions, is not only in charge of the FBI itself, but also in charge of the entire Department of Justice.  And unbelievably, there’s even more.

A whistleblower claimed that Tieco, a Birmingham industrial equipment company, was defrauding a client. Sessions declared the case “of the most magnitude that the Attorney General’s office has undertaken in the last twenty-five years.” The next year, Sessions’ prosecutors convinced a grand jury to hand down 222 charges against Tieco. Sessions, running for US Senate, hyped the indictments, boasting, “I have committed this office to vigorously investigate corporate white-collar crime.”

In reality, the case against Tieco was shoddily knit—once the defense began pulling at its threads, it unraveled completely. […]

Sensing that Sessions’ office was withholding evidence that could exonerate Tieco, the judge took a highly unusual step and ordered it to turn over all its files in the case to Tieco’s lawyers. They revealed wrongdoing by Sessions’ office throughout the investigation, including the withholding of exculpatory evidence. The state dropped dozens of the charges. Citing prosecutorial misconduct, the judge dismissed the rest and wrote a brutal opinion slamming Sessions’ office. Stephen Gillers, a professor at New York University School of Law, told the Senate Judiciary Committee in January that the opinion was “the most scathing criticism of a prosecutorial office I have read in the nearly 40 years I have been teaching legal ethics.”

In this case, not only did Sessions begin a bizarre and inappropriate collaboration (which included sharing records) with the victim, US Steel, in the case against Tieco, he also took donations from them to his Senate campaign! It’s hard to keep track of all the charges here. Corruption, bribery, ethics violations … it’s amazing that this man isn’t in jail. But someone actually thought it was appropriate to give him the keys to the nation’s justice system?

Jeff Sessions should be removed from his position—immediately.

 

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos