First, I don’t assume that State Farm has done no wrong. I don’t assume it has done wrong either. I am not emotionally invested one way or the other as to its rightness or wrongness. I read and interpret publicly available documents and discuss the evidence. My conclusions derive from the evidence that is available to me — others have other opinions, and that is why they make vanilla and chocolate. There may be facts I do not know, this is true. However, I am not sure if her observation is meant to suggest State Farm has done wrong based on her knowledge of secret, undisclosed grand jury information that cannot be contested or examined — if so, I would take issue with such an extrajudicial statement coming from a state law enforcement official who works for an office with the power to drag ordinary people through the mud and threaten to indict them, whether in aid of civil cases or otherwise.

Second, the same door is open to Courtney Schloemer and Jim Hood as to anyone else — e-mail me or call me and give me your perspective. As I said, my opinions are based on the evidence available to me.

Third, the documents I discuss are open-sourced and publicly available. Readers of this blog are quite sophisticated and can make up their own minds and draw their own conclusions.

Fourth, I don’t believe I have mentioned Ms. Schloemer’s staff, favorably or unfavorably. I didn’t know she had one. If she hadn’t mentioned these three investigators, I would not have known they existed. I do not know their names or what they do, therefore I cannot drag them through the mud. In fact, I am not sure why she speaks of them — prior to this mention of them, they appear to have been mud-free.

I must disagree with her characterization of me as kicking her when she can’t fight back in public — a statement that is belied by her fighting back in public. When a law enforcement official’s name appears repeatedly in public documents, such as on page 8 of Judge Acker’s order referring Dickie Scruggs for alleged criminal contempt, and when that official acts in the name and under the authority of the state in critical matters of high public interest including criminal investigations, that person is a public figure and comment is justified. Also, one correction to the story: I think what I said was that the conduct, if true, was outrageous, not that it was outstanding. If I said outstanding, I meant outrageous, which I think is apropos as a term to describe — if it in fact happened as the Brian Ford notes relate — discussions by an assistant attorney general with one party to civil litigation about the possible indictment and conviction of the other party as a potential boon to that litigation. Still, Ms. Schloemer, you wanted to get a message to me and you did — I will continue to think over what you said.

Rest assured, I do not consider you collateral damage. I bear you no ill will and I welcome your input. Same goes for Jim Hood, I would be happy to receive communications from him. Maybe he can tell me whether he agrees with your statement. In fact, since I will have some vacation days right after Christmas and will have a free hour or two, and since I used to be a professional journalist and have done thousands of interviews, and since you said I did not get your side of the story, consider this my offer to conduct a formal news-type interview of you and Jim Hood, separately or together, on the matters I have been discussing on this blog for the past year. I can publish the interview right here next week. Here’s my e-mail address to respond: [email protected], (Or you or Mr. Hood can pass the message through John O’Brien at Legal Newsline).

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