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Montgomery remains ‘cradle of conspiracy’

By By Bob Martin, The Alabama Scene
On Monday evening, March 9 at 7:55 p.m. The Montgomery Independent posted a story on the web site, our affiliate, reporting that a federal grand jury met the previous week in the capital city to hear testimony presented by federal prosecutors concerning certain activities of Alabama Atty. Gen. Troy King. One hour later The Birmingham News posted a shorter, but similar report.
We reported that the grand jury met from March 1-4 at the Federal Courthouse in Montgomery. Reliable sources told us the investigation was being conducted by Alice Martin, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama and two assistant U.S. Attorneys from the Birmingham office, one who admitted to being in Montgomery during the time the grand jury met.
The entire U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District, in Montgomery which instigated the probe, including U.S. Attorney Leura Canary, stepped aside without any public comment.
Matters thought to be under investigation included King’s relationship with gambling interests in the state and allegations of selective prosecution of some electronic bingo operators; King’s relationship with former Post Secondary Education Chancellor Roy Johnson and widely reported allegations that King asked favors of Johnson; King’s use of a state vehicle and his security detail to chauffeur him to Tennessee to attend a birthday party for country singer George Jones; King’s admitted acceptance of gifts from the Alabama Power Company; and the sudden and unexplained reassignment of two members of King’s security detail last year.
It is widely known that King, appointed by Gov. Bob Riley as attorney general, has since fallen into disfavor with the governor and his son Rob, who are rumored to be supporting Birmingham lawyer Luther Strange to run against King next year.
U.S. Attorneys Martin and Canary, whose offices prosecuted former Gov. Don Siegelman on separate occasions, Canary successfully, Martin unsuccessfully, will be out of office in a few months when the Obama Administration gets around to replacing them. Martin is said to want to stay on to complete the prosecution of Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford. Perhaps the probe into King is to demonstrate that she will go after him and is too important to go, therefore the appointment to replace her will be delayed. I doubt it.
The other speculation as to why King is being targeted over matters which have been in the media for months, if not years. Is it that both U. S. Attorneys are acting to make King damaged goods in his re-election bid against Strange, a scheme that my sources say is being orchestrated by Strange and Rob Riley, using Martin and Canary as their tools to discredit King.
It’s akin to a tribe devouring its own and contributes to Montgomery clearly remaining “The Cradle of Conspiracy.”
Fuller Kimbrell will celebrate “100” June 20
Fuller Kimbrell was born one of 10 boys in 1909 to a poor farm family in Berry. He became one of the most powerful political figures in Alabama, working in conjunction with governors from “Big Jim” Folsom to Fob James, and will celebrate a century of living at a birthday party June 20th in Tuscaloosa.
Since the death of Bob Ingram, I have become his resident journalist contact. Last week “Mr. Fuller” as I call him, conducted one if his impromptu lunches in the capital city. Former Gov. John Patterson and his wife Tina were present and many political stories were shared. I had not seen the former governor and appellate judge in quite a while. He has been busy with his book tours. Most astute observers of Alabama politics will remember that Patterson defeated the young Barbour County judge, George Wallace, in the 1958 governor’s race. Wallace later appointed Patterson as a judge on the State Court of Criminal Appeals.
The former governor, now 87, and his wife live at Goldville; have 26 cows, one bull, 18 calves, a dog and a goat.
If I manage to reach 87, I want to be as sharp and fit as John Patterson.
And if I could remain in the mental and physical condition of ‘Mr. Fuller,’ I wouldn’t mind hanging around a few more years.
Bob Martin is editor and publisher of The Montgomery Independent. E-mail him at: