Donald V. Watkins
Is The Justice Department “Rigged”?
Updated: May 4, 2018
By Donald V. Watkins
©Copyrighted and Published on May 3, 2018
Yesterday, President Donald Trump said out loud what many insiders have known for years: The United States Justice Department is “rigged” when it comes to certain high-profile cases that are driven by the prosecutor’s personal agenda or political motives. Trump has learned this truism from his personal experience with a special counsel investigation that was supposed to be probing Russian collusion with the Trump campaign during the 2016 Presidential election.
Today, the Russian collusion investigation has apparently gone off the rails. It has morphed into (a) a probe of Trump’s business and personal finances and (b) a sensational voyeuristic look into Trump’s probable extramarital affair with porn star Stormy Daniels.
I do not agree with Trump on many public policy issues. I am a longtime political independent. I did not vote for Trump in the Presidential election.
However, based upon my recent experiences with federal prosecutors in Birmingham and my successful representation of high-profile clients in criminal cases, I know Trump is right on this point. Nobody in Washington is holding federal prosecutors accountable for so-called “investigations” that morph into “witch-hunts” that are fueled by the prosecutor’s personal ambition or political agenda. This growing trend is out of control and has been going on unabated since the formal COINTELPRO era.
In my case, federal prosecutors have repeatedly ignored key provisions in the U.S. Attorneys Manual that mandate fairness and objectivity on their part when they are conducting grand jury investigations. They have threatened and intimidated grand jury witnesses. They have intentionally provided grand jury witnesses with a false and misleading narrative of the material documents in the case. They have turned a blind eye toward obvious conflicts of interest with grand jury witnesses who are collaborating with each other under the guise of an “attorney-client” privilege. They even tried to block my voluntary appearance before the grand jury in order to control their false and misleading spin on the evidence.
In the course of their investigation, these federal prosecutors were provided a plethora of exculpatory evidence. Yet, they refused to present this information to the grand jury, as required by the U.S. Attorneys Manual.
Finally, these prosecutors have deliberately misrepresented material facts to witnesses who are stakeholders in my businesses in order to make them feel “victimized.” They did this before and after learning the truth about the matters they misrepresented to these witnesses.
Jay Town, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, has sanctioned all of this prosecutorial misconduct. Town and his team of prosecutors are desperately trying to manufacture a “crime” in my case, as opposed to investigating one.
Prosecutors who frame innocent people are dangerous. If Town and his prosecutors were engaged in the private practice of law, they could be disbarred for this kind of misconduct. Instead, they are emboldened by the lack of accountability and proper oversight within the Justice Department.
Unlike Trump, I do not have the power to fire rogue prosecutors. He does. Fortunately for me, I have a litigation background that has prepared me to "meet and defeat" rogue prosecutors in the "gladiator arena."
When I appeared before the grand jury investigating my case on April 24, 2018, I got a chance to profile prosecutors Lloyd Peeples and Xavier Carter. After observing their demeanor and grand jury presentation, I walked away liking my chances of being the "gladiator" who will be victorious in this battle.
Unlike members of the general public, I do not look for “fairness” in state and federal criminal justice systems. It does not exist. Instead, I look for ways to level the playing field, before and during the fight.
Unlike Trump, I am a seasoned litigator with 45 years of experience in "righting" egregious "wrongs" in the gladiator arena. I started my legal career in Alabama in 1973 when some judges openly referred to me in court as the “nigger lawyer from Montgomery.” A few judges would not look at me or address me by any name when they were talking to me in the courtroom. They simply barked out instructions, which I deciphered was meant for me.
Despite this abusive treatment, I found creative ways to win my cases in front of these judges and their all-white juries. What is more, I won these cases in small towns and cities across Alabama at a time in state’s history when I could not eat in a local restaurant or safely stay in a nearby motel where the case was being tried.
This level of adversity has prepared me to (a) litigate cases with a laser focus and (b) win my cases in “rigged” venues. It has also prepared me to "meet and defeat" the rogue prosecutors and their accomplices in my case.
Finally, I am a former Special Assistant Attorney General for the State of Alabama. I prosecuted murder cases and other major felony crimes. I never had to cheat to do my job successfully. As such, I have no respect for rogue prosecutors, or those who cheat to win.
PHOTO: Jay E. Town (below), is the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama. Town is a political appointee who got his job because he campaigned for U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) in 2016. Shelby won his re-election and rewarded Town by sponsoring him for the U.S. Attorney's job.
PHOTO: Lloyd Peeples (below), is the First Assistant United States Attorney who heads the criminal investigation in the Watkins case. In March of 2018, Peeples tried to block Watkins' grand jury appearance. This effort was unsuccessful. Peeples orchestrates the "witch-hunt" in the Watkins case and perpetuates the false and misleading narrative that drives the criminal investigation. His job is to manufacture criminal charges in the Watkins case, even if the Department is not likely to prevail in a subsequent trial. In doing so, Peeples has abandoned the Justice Department's mandate to bring criminal charges only in cases where there is a strong likelihood of prevailing under the "reasonable doubt" standard that is applicable in criminal cases.
PHOTO: Xavier Carter (below), an Assistant United States Attorney, was added to the prosecution team in the Watkins investigation in an effort to sanitize the improper motives that are driving the investigation. He is the least experienced prosecutor and will be the first one sacrificed by his team members in the gladiator arena.