Donald V. Watkins
The Life Of A “Blitzkrieg” Target
Updated: Apr 8, 2018
By Donald V. Watkins
©Copyrighted and Published on April 8, 2018
State and federal prosecutors were not interested in charging Robert Bentley with crimes for his misappropriation of tax dollars, campaign funds, and “dark money” contributions to his non-profit slush fund to carry on a jet-setting romance with Rebekah Mason, Bentley’s much younger, married girlfriend. They actually gave the former Alabama governor a prosecutorial “pass” for reasons that can be fairly characterized as "bullsh-t."
In contrast, federal prosecutors in Birmingham have made me the target of a blitzkrieg campaign of law enforcement investigative activities. Under the watchful eye of Donald Trump-appointed U.S. Attorney Jay Town, federal prosecutors Lloyd Peeples, Xavier Carter, and a taskforce of FBI, IRS, SEC, and FDIC officials have launched an intense review of every aspect of my business and personal financial affairs since January 1, 2005. They have questioned my business associates, close friends, ex-wife, former girlfriend, and a host of others who played a significant role in my business dealings during the past 13 years. This is the type of blitzkrieg treatment that is usually reserved for mafia figures, drug kingpins, international money launderers, and known terrorists. I do not fit in any of these categories.
These prosecutors used the baseless allegations of "securities fraud" that were lodged against me by the SEC in 2016 as a justification for their investigation. For the past several months, this federal task force has worked on my case with a passion and pace rarely seen in white-collar criminal investigations. Federal prosecutors never exhibited this kind of passion or enthusiasm in Robert Bentley’s public corruption case.
The taskforce has spent thousands of hours reviewing my business records and interviewing witnesses. It is desperately searching for any evidence of criminal activity on my part.
Prosecutors have dragged people into closed-door interviews filled with federal agents. Those who had favorable things to say about me were excused from testifying before a federal grand jury in Birmingham. Those who appeared before the grand jury were only questioned about events or financial transactions that prosecutors could “twist" to present my businesses in the most negative light possible. As part of this "twisting" technique, prosecutors ignored the rights and obligations of signatory parties to corporate governance agreements, purchase agreements, and promissory notes in order to put a negative spin on my very successful global waste-to-energy business enterprise.
As a former Special Attorney General for the State of Alabama who handled major felony cases, I am very familiar with the role of a prosecutor before a grand jury. They have an affirmative obligation to present the whole truth about any person or incident under investigation. This is especially when they have personal knowledge of exculpatory evidence.
In my case, prosecutors have gone out of their way to package and present a carefully crafted negative spin on my business reputation and fiduciary obligations. They have shielded the grand jury from key corporate documents that they know will negate their distorted and misleading narrative.
It is clear that the prosecutors assigned to my case are using the grand jury process as a blitzkrieg tool. Interestingly, the current investigation represents the fifth time since 2013 that these allegations of “securities fraud” have been subjected to review in a judicial or quasi-judicial forum. None of the four previous reviews, including a very thorough, objective, and professional New Jersey federal grand jury review in 2015, resulted in a judicial finding that I have acted improperly on any matter. Mr. Town and his prosecutors are hoping that their blitzkrieg approach will yield a different result.
It will not, and this is why.
First, the motivation for the investigation is improper. The investigation is driven by a desire to take me down, not a genuine quest for criminal justice. Law enforcement officials in Alabama view me as a troublemaker. After all, I exposed Federal Judge Mark Fuller’s serial cheating and wife-beating conduct, while they turned a blind eye to it. I broke the story about Governor Bentley’s martial cheating and public corruption scandal, while they refused to prosecute him. I exposed the growing drug and sex trafficking activities in Tuscaloosa, which they seem to be impotent in combatting.
We have been down this road before with the FBI’s infamous COINTELPRO program. From 1956 to 1971, COINTELPRO worked aggressively to smear and harass activists for positive social change and equal justice. Apparently, COINTELPRO is back in Alabama with a new cast of characters in Birmingham's federal law enforcement agencies. Even the Birmingham News (now AL.com), which was a willing and reliable COINTELPRO participant in the 1950, 60s, and 70s, has returned to its traditional role of assisting federal law enforcement agencies in smearing COINTELPRO targets. Fortunately for all of us, CONITELPRO tactics usually have a short shelf life.
Second, my business activities have been well defined and documented on a daily basis. The truest picture of my business dealings is captured in tens of thousands of documents, charts, graphs, and emails that span more than a decade of business operations. Unlike the prosecutors in my case, I do not have to “twist” the facts contained in these documents; I do not have to craft a spin on the business relationships or financial transactions reflected in these business records; and I do not have to cherry-pick a handful of documents or select categories of witnesses to support the true nature and scope of my business operations. My business documents are clear, comprehensive, and speak for themselves. They trump witness testimony. I am proud of the picture these documents paint in the world of international business, especially for an African-American who grew up in Montgomery, Alabama during the suffocating era of rigidly enforced racial segregation.
Third, federal agencies like the SEC, IRS, FBI, and FDIC, along with their state counterparts, have been unrelenting in their efforts to destroy my businesses since 2013. They have used every investigative tool in the book to run me out of business. To date, none has been successful.
Fourth, it will be hard for federal prosecutors in Birmingham to paint me as a “crook.” My record of compliance with the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act for American companies that work in international markets is remarkable. My record of reporting criminal activity within America’s borders is equally impressive. In Detroit, for example, I refused to participate in an illegal pay-to-play bribery scheme with several pension fund board members who supported funding for a global cargo airline I purchased in 2008. I voluntarily reported this bribery scheme to a Detroit federal grand jury. The officials involved were eventually charged, tried, convicted, and imprisoned in connection with bribery schemes that predated my encounter with them.
Fifth, the SEC falsely claimed that I “duped” a handful of athletes who invested in my waste-to-energy business. In making this claim, the Commission completely ignored these undisputed facts: (a) I deferred my authorized compensation as the CEO of these businesses for 12 consecutive years; (b) I deferred authorized rental payments due to me for providing Class A office space for this business in my building for 12 consecutive years; and (c) I deferred staggering amounts of authorized loan repayments, expense reimbursements, and legal fees to which I was entitled from these businesses for 12 consecutive years. Every “duped” athlete benefitted from the economic growth experienced by this business as a direct resulted of these voluntary deferments. Additionally, the deferments of authorized payments contributed to my company's ability to attain and maintain a sustained competitive advantage in the global waste-to-energy industry in record time. Yet, the SEC claims I am a “crook.”
After I exposed Robert Bentley’s sexual bribery scandal with Rebekah Mason, Bentley used his powers as “Chief Magistrate of Alabama” to launch state and federal investigations that targeted my business affairs. I was elevated to blitzkrieg "target" status in 2016 at the request of a powerful U.S. Senator after I solved the 2005 murder of Army Private LaVena Johnson by one of her Commanders on a military base in Iraq. While the Army officially classifies Private Johnson’s murder as a “suicide,” the investigative files in her case still require the approval of the Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff before they can be released to media organizations.
Private Johnson’s murderer is a retired four-star general who works for Raytheon and lives in Huntsville, Alabama. Jay Town, a former Major in the Marine Corps, is from Huntsville, as well.
History has shown us that the blitzkrieg approach did not work out so well for the Nazis or the FBI’s original COINTELPRO operatives. I do not think federal prosecutors in Birmingham will fare any better with their use of the blitzkrieg technique in my case.
PHOTO: Jay E. Town, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama
PHOTO: Lloyd Peeples, First Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama
PHOTO: Xavier Carter, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama