• Donald V. Watkins

Biden's DOJ Provides Sanctuary for Racist Federal Prosecutors

By: Donald V. Watkins

Copyrighted and Published on August 15, 2021


Since taking office in January of 2021, President Joe Biden's Department of Justice (DOJ) has rightfully chastised state and local police departments in Minnesota, Louisiana, Kentucky, Wisconsin, and elsewhere around the nation for their racially insensitive community policing practices and the increasing use of excessive force against African-American suspects. At the same time, Biden's DOJ has provided a sanctuary for some racist federal prosecutors in Alabama.


The White House has not explained this glaring hypocrisy.


The Case of Lloyd C. Peeples, III


Lloyd C. Peeples, III, served as the First Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama from 2017 to 2020. He is now "burrowed" inside the U.S. Attorney's Office as a career Assistant U.S. Attorney. All of the objective evidence seems to suggest that Peeples is a racist federal prosecutor. I got to know Lloyd Peeples after he became the lead prosecutor in my criminal case.


Peeples' father, Lloyd Chandler Peeples, Jr., was well-known for his hostile views towards African-Americans. Peeples appears to have adopted and practiced many of his father's racial views, albeit in a more polished and subtle manner.


Peeples attended a private academy in Georgia that was established as a "white-flight" school to accommodate the children of parents who did not want their kids attending public schools that were under federal court desegregation orders.


Peeples attended Washington and Lee University, which was named after Civil War Confederate General Robert E. Lee. As editor of his student newspaper, Peeples openly opposed the university's expanded admissions program that was designed to increase the number of African-American and women students. He attended law school at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama from 1995 to 1998.


Peeples' first stint as a federal prosecutor occurred when he served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama from 2003 to 2012. During this period, Peeples compiled a lackluster record as a federal prosecutor. Additionally, Peeples was known to despise then-Chief U.S. District Judge for the Northern District, U. W. Clemon, who is black and who was a former civil rights attorney in Birmingham. In private conversations among his white friends, Peeples reportedly referred to Clemon as a "nigger."


After Peeples' less than stellar career in the U.S. Attorney's Office, he ran his father's business from 2012 to December 2016. His father founded Container Services Corp. in 1992, which became one of the largest corrugated box manufacturers in the Southeast. Peeples lacked his father's business acumen and eventually sold the company to another operator. Peeples then formed Peeples Enterprises, which owned and operated a small pizza restaurant in Homewood, Alabama from January to September of 2017. Peeples ended up exiting from this struggling business, as well.


In 2017, then-U.S. Attorney Jay Town hired Peeples to head up a new and reinvigorated version of the DOJ's infamous COINTELPRO program in the Northern District of Alabama. While the original DOJ COINTELPRO program ceased centralized operations from Washington in 1972, an informal version of the program continued in U.S. Attorneys' Offices across the Deep South for decades.


Town was a campaign operative and political flunky of U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Alabama). His credentials as an assistant Madison County district attorney were mediocre. Town was appointed U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama by President Donald Trump in mid-2017 as a reward for his political activism on Shelby's behalf.


Racism in Action


By the time Lloyd Peeples requested and received my case from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for investigation and prosecution, he was able to practice his racism using a plethora of official resources provided by the DOJ. Peeples, who proudly sports a "skinhead" look, could not fathom a black man -- me -- succeeding in international business in more than 40 countries when he, as a white man from a well-connected family, could not run his father's well-established business and even failed at running his small pizza restaurant.


Peeples disregarded the fact that the U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey had undertaken and completed a six-month grand jury investigation of "investor fraud" allegations involving me and my businesses in 2015-2016. Led by Mr. Andrew Kogan, the head of the Economic Crimes Division within the New Jersey Office, the investigation concluded that I had violated no federal laws in connection with my business practices.


Mr. Kogan is a highly respected career federal prosecutor with specialized expertise in economic crimes and terrorism cases. He is a graduate of New York University Law School and has been with the DOJ since 1999.


Peeples ignored the fact that a private lawsuit filed in 2013 in New Jersey federal court asserted the same "investor fraud" allegations and was dismissed two years later -- with no money paid by me, my companies, or any insurance company to secure the lawsuit's dismissal.


Peeples also disregarded the fact that a review of my personal and business records from 2007 to 2013 by Internal Revenue Service agents found no fraud in connection with the preparation or filing of my tax returns for these years.


Not to be deterred, Peeples collaborated with the SEC one year after this federal agency filed a 2016 lawsuit against me alleging the same "investor fraud" allegations that were first raised in the 2013 private lawsuit that had been dismissed and raised again in the New Jersey federal grand jury probe that found no wrong-doing on my part. In short, the SEC's lawsuit alleged that several professional athletes had been "duped" out of $8 million in connection with the sale of "securities" in my businesses.


In 2018, the SEC voluntarily dismissed all of its fraud claims regarding the sale of "securities". The agency then amended its lawsuit to assert fraud claims relating to two $1 million loans one of my friends made to me for the benefit of one of my companies. The loans in question were properly documented and were never in dispute. The amount owed was never disputed. By agreement with my lender friend, the maturity dates on the loan notes had been extended on more than one occasion. Furthermore, my friend had never taken any loan enforcement or collection actions, formally or informally. The entire SEC litigation exercise was undertaken only to give a federal prosecutor like Peeples pretextual cover to pursue another criminal investigation against me.


Throughout the SEC case, nobody at the Commission or in the federal judicial system cared that all of my business actions conformed to the express written authority conferred upon me, as the chief executive officer of the company in question, in the signed business contracts that governed my investors, my lender friend, and me.


How Peeples Misused His DOJ Platform


Despite these known facts, Lloyd Peeples made me a "target" of his grand jury investigation on day-one. In Peeples' mind, something had to be wrong in my case. This black man -- Donald V. Watkins -- had to be a "crook." As a black man, I could not possibly succeed in mainstream private businesses where he failed.


Hence, Peeples used the massive resources of the DOJ to "twist" the evidence and build a false narrative that sought to portray me as a "crooked businessman." Peeples' conduct of "twisting" the evidence and ignoring the pertinent provisions in the applicable business agreements created a false narrative regarding the nature and scope of the business relationship between the private parties involved in my case.


Peeples added my innocent son as a co-defendant in the futile hopes of pressuring me and/or him into a plea deal. We maintained our innocence throughout this ordeal.


Peeples was able to pull off his charade because he had a friendly forum -- the federal courthouse in Birmingham. This forum allowed Peeples to conduct his COINTELPRO activities in my case, unabated.


Finally, Peeples attempted to sanitize his actions by bringing in a weak Clarence Thomas-like black prosecutor to work under his supervision and direction. This prosecutor has since left the U.S. Attorney's Office.


Interestingly, during my trial in 2019, the federal courthouse in Birmingham showcased a shrine in the elevator lobby to Judge Edwin Nelson (deceased), one of the most racist federal judges in this court's history.


My criminal case is on appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. The parties are presently briefing the legal issues raised on appeal.


Epilogue


President Biden should have fired Peeples and other federal prosecutors who share his racial views shortly after assuming office. For reasons the White House has not explained, Biden failed to do so.


Now that Lloyd Peeples has "burrowed" himself inside Biden's DOJ, Biden must take full political responsibility for all of Peeples' racist actions.



IMAGE: Current Assistant U.S. Attorney Lloyd Peeples as owner of a short-lived pizza franchise business

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