• Donald V. Watkins

Joe Perkins' Role in the Megan Rondini Rape-Suicide Case Confirmed

By: Donald V. Watkins

Copyrighted and Published on August 4, 2022


EXCLUSIVE BREAKING NEWS ---


In October and November of 2017, I published a series of exclusive articles on my Facebook page that exposed the role Joe Perkins and his "dirty tricks" firm Matrix, LLC, played in the rape-suicide case of Megan Rondini, a well-liked and highly-respected University of Alabama honors student.


On July 2, 2015, Megan Rondini reported to Tuscaloosa County, Alabama (USA) Sheriffs Office deputies that she was raped at the home of local playboy T.J. "Sweet T" Bunn, Jr., a Tuscaloosa County businessman and then-member of the Alabama State Conservation Board. Rondini also made the same report to a rape counselor at the University of Alabama.


"Sweet T" is the son of a powerful Alabama Crimson Tide football program booster, who has since died. His wealthy family was also friends and supporters of disgraced former Alabama governor and Perkins political "puppet," Robert Bentley.


Sheriffs deputies quickly turned against Megan Rondini once they realized "Sweet T" was the designated rape suspect. Additionally, the University's rape counselor withdrew from counseling Rondini after she learned that "Sweet T" was the accused rapist.


Once she realized there would be no criminal justice in her rape case, a distraught Megan Rondini committed suicide. After Rondini's death, the case faded into Alabama's dustbin on failed justice for sexual abuse victims.


In July 2017, Buzzfeed News featured Megan Rondini's tragic story in a widely disseminated international article. My investigative articles followed and provided undisclosed details of the police cover-up and failure of criminal justice in Rondini's rape-suicide case.


The Tuscaloosa News focused on publishing a full-page "victim shaming" ad against Megan Rondini and her family. Alabama's largest media organizations avoided reporting on Megan Rondini's rape-suicide case for several years out of a fear of losing crucial advertising dollars from Joe Perkins' powerful government and corporate clients.


Perkins/Matrix Sued Watkins for Defamation


On November 13, 2017, Joe Perkins and Matrix sued my law firm (Donald V. Watkins, P.C.) and me for defamation. I asserted First Amendment freedom of speech and freedom of the press defenses.


Perkins and Matrix claimed that my articles portrayed them in a false light by describing the role they played in the Megan Rondini rape-suicide case. The articles were based upon my conversation with Joe Perkins, my independent research and multiple background sources, my interviews with Megan Rondini's father, information supplied by confidential and credible news sources, and forensic evidence. They were copyrighted and published in my capacity as a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.


Joe Perkins gave the court a sworn affidavit in the case in which he stated: " I have never taken any actions to obstruct the truth in any rape case, including the rape allegations raised by Ms. [Megan] Rondini and her family." This statement was patently false when it was made. Yet, he filed it with the court anyway.


Perkins' false affidavit testimony was enough to hoodwink Tuscaloosa County Circuit Judge Allen May into awarding Matrix and him a $1.5 million judgment against my law firm and me in August 2021 without conducting the jury trial I requested under Alabama law.


I appealed this $1.5 million Judgment to the Alabama Supreme Court. My appeal is pending before the nine-member Supreme Court.


Jeff Pitts Exposed Perkins' Bold Lie


On August 3, 2022, Jeff Pitts, Matrix's former CEO, filed an Answer in Perkins' lawsuit against him in Jefferson County, Alabama Circuit Court. The Answer contained a bombshell revelation about the Megan Rondini rape-suicide case. In his Sixth Defense, Pitts stated:


"Defendant Pitts was compelled to resign [his job as chief executive officer of Matrix] because of Perkins' inappropriate and unethical business practices, including, but not limited to, initiating and directing the creation of an explicit video used in an attempt to intimidate the family of Megan Rondini, a rape victim who had committed suicide, to settle a civil claim [filed by her estate]....".


On October 26, 2017, I broke the news about Perkins' fake video in an article titled "Matrix, LLC, Implicated in Threat Against Megan Rondini Family." The article stated:


"On October 4th, Matrix created a big problem for the Bunn family and itself. On this date, Matrix surreptitiously delivered a plain envelope addressed to the law office of the Rondini family's Birmingham attorney that contained an EMTEC M700 16GB flash drive with two nude photos -- one of a male and another one with a male and female in bed -- and a one-minute-long 'video diary Number #1' recorded by Megan while she was home alone, sitting up in her bed, playfully talking about her evening at Harry's Bar, and eating a snack.....


The purpose of the flash drive was to threaten and intimidate the Rondini family, which has a federal court wrongful death lawsuit pending against Sweet and other defendants for causing or contributing to Megan's suicide after he escaped criminal justice in the case ....


Unbeknownst to Matrix, the nude woman in the photo, which was taken in 2014, is not Megan Rondini. The video, which shows a facial shot of Megan, was recorded on May 27, 2015. None of these items had any relevance to the rape incident Megan reported to police on July 2, 2015....


It is noteworthy that the video and photos were extracted from Megan Rondini's cell phone during the police investigation into her rape report against Sweet. Only three groups had Court-authorized access to the photographs and video in the police file -- (a) the Rondini family, which did not send these items to Matrix, (b) the Bunn family, which hired Matrix to manage damage control for Sweet T and the Bunn family businesses, and (c) the Tuscaloosa News, which has worked closely with Matrix to smear Megan Rondini.....


Information technology forensic experts examined the flash drive and found that it contained a host of information from a laptop used by Matrix employee Robert Taylor .... The Metadata also revealed that the video and photos in question came from 'https://alacourtimages.alacourt.gov/Alacourtimages.....".


In an October 29, 2017 article titled, "Bunn Family PR Firm Linked to Recent Cyber Attacks," I again discussed Matrix's creation and delivery of the fake video to the Rondini' family's law firm.


Despite my introduction of the flash drive photo, Metadata, and other credible evidence of Matrix's direct involvement in the Megan Rondini rape-suicide case, Judge Allen May granted a summary judgment in favor of Perkins and Matrix under the pretense that these two Megan Rondini articles, along with three related ones, defamed Perkins and Matrix. May was handpicked by Gov. Bentley and appointed to his judgeship before Bentley resigned from office in disgrace amid a "power-for-sex" scandal with his senior staffer/lover.


The $1.5 million court award was predicated, in large part, on Perkins' sworn false testimony. No party is permitted to use perjured testimony to procure a court Judgment.


Perkins' Longtime Friend Confirmed Matrix's role in the Rondini Rape Case


Paul Hamrick is a longtime friend, former client, and one-time employee of Joe Perkins. On June 7, 2022, Hamrick issued this stark warning to the public about Joe Perkins on his Facebook page:


"Today there is a different nature to Joe [Perkins]. [H]is threats and acts of intimidation have grown much worse and been directed at women and children. In one of the most inhumane acts I can imagine, Joe created a fake set of files and had them delivered to the family attorney of a rape-suicide victim [Megan Rondini], apparently to intimidate them against pursuing litigation .....


I have worked with abuse victims since the late 80s. I'd like to say I've never known a human being capable of such a monstrous act, but that would not be true because I know Joe Perkins. Let that sink in, attempting to intimidate a father who has lost his young daughter. It breaks my heart to think someone I've been so close to could carry out such an abomination against humanity ....


I'm obligated to put my friends, clients and former clients on notice: [E]very thing Joe is doing today is heinously wrong and potentially dangerous. This is not going to end well for Joe or those he has pulled into his mess. Those supporting Joe in his attacks on me have told me directly they had no choice, Joe made them do it."


Perkins' Daughter Made Additional Shocking Allegations Against Her Father


On June 6, 2022, 39-year-old Taylor Lea Perkins posted a comment on her social media site that blew the lid off of two of her father's "dirty secrets." First, Ms. Perkins publicly alleged that Joe Perkins arranged for hotel room abortions for pregnant women, who were forced to have them. Second, Ms. Perkins confirmed that her father helped to cover up another alleged rape by "Sweet T."


On May 15, 2022, I published an article titled, "Joe Perkins' Daughter Claims He Sexually Abused Her as a Child." The article detailed Taylor Lea Perkins' account of a decade of childhood incest and rape allegedly committed against her by Joe Perkins.


Perkins has not publicly denied or commented on any of his daughter's claims.


Epilogue


Joe Perkins is a man who has made a life and career out of trashing innocent lives. According to Taylor Lea Perkins, he trashed her life by making her the victim of serial acts of childhood incest and rape.


According to Paul Hamrick, "over the last several months, Joe has betrayed his own clients, attacked and sued his own employees and threatened friends and colleagues." Hamrick said Perkins is a man who is capable of "monstrous acts," including faking video files on a rape-suicide victim to discourage her family from pursuing justice in a civil lawsuit.


Now, Jeff Pitts and Paul Hamrick have exposed Perkins' lies about Matrix's and his involvement in the Megan Rondini rape-suicide case in a way no one else could.


For decades, Joe Perkins, who is a confessed federal election lawbreaker himself, operated within a tight circle of convicted felons like former state Rep. Oliver Robinson, former Alabama College Chancellor Roy Johnson, Matrix CFO Kimberly G. Hines, and others to carry out his "dirty tricks" agenda for Alabama Power company, the Southern Company, Georgia Power Company, Gulf Power Company, Florida Power and Light, the Alabama Education Association, Auburn University, and other political political powers in the southeast. He bills himself as a crisis manager.


Perkins also developed and deployed phony grassroots groups and digital platforms to intimidate individuals as a method to influence public perception and litigation.


According to Jeff Pitts, Perkins also ordered and directed the "clandestine surveillance of top executives of his largest client, the Southern Company, to influence corporate decision-making and succession planning for his own benefit and at the direction of executives of Alabama Power Company, while masking payments through excessive retainers paid to Matrix and Perkins Communications via multiple contract/work orders. Those payments were used by Perkins and his companies to pay invoices for private investigators and other consultants, so it would not be directly linked back to the Southern Company."


This is who Joe Perkins is. He destroys lives for fun and for a living.



IMAGE: Joe Perkins (left) and Jeff Pitts (right) are locked in a courtroom battle that has exposed a multitude of previously unknown information.

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