Jones County’s own deep state

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If you are a red-blooded, patriotic American who believes in the principles laid out by our nation’s founding fathers — people like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin — then you have to be appalled and horrified at the fact that the Obama-era, Department of Justice and the FBI attempted to hijack the last election by using a false dossier, paid for by Hillary Clinton’s campaign, to obtain warrants to spy on Donald Trump and his campaign team.

Unbelievably, when that didn’t work, the FBI renewed those warrants, again under false pretenses, to continue to spy on Trump and his team in an attempt to undermine his presidency. This is nothing more than an attempt at a coup d’etat on a democratically elected President of the United States. It is treason of the worst kind and the people behind it should be arrested, tried and then put to death.

I’m not overstating it as this is an attack against everything this country has stood for, everything this country was founded on and everything that this country is supposed to be. It is Third World-type corruption that, in comparison, makes Watergate look like a fraternity prank gone bad.

And I only wish I could continue to rail against the so-called “deep state” that attempted to undermine our entire democracy, but it appears that we have our own “deep state” right here in Jones County. And, as the publisher of the local newspaper, I must make that my priority.

It saddens me that I have to write this because, besides Greg Burroughs, whom I don’t believe I have ever met, I was either friends or, at the very least, on friendly terms with most all of the other players. But it has become clear that there are people in powerful positions who are trying very hard to prevent the public from learning the truth. A truth they have every right to know.

What we do know for sure is that in Laurel, the law has been applied differently to different people. Someone at the Laurel Police Department authorized the use of a loophole known as “ACO” which, according to Sheriff Alex Hodge, is in place to protect drug informants, to be used to keep Burroughs off of the jail docket website. At the time that this loophole was being used by the LPD, Greg Burroughs was a murder suspect and not a drug informant. Just to make it very, very clear as to the enormity of the matter, someone at the LPD was protecting a murder suspect. That should be all anyone needs to know to demand answers.

Since Greg Burroughs called Judge Kyle Robertson, who in turn called LPD Chief Tyrone Stewart, before Burroughs called 911 to report that his girlfriend had a bullet lodged in her head, suspicion certainly falls on Stewart as the one who possibly issued the order to keep Burroughs off the jail docket. This suspicion is raised even further as Stewart originally told us that he barely knew the Burroughs family and then we found out that his son was driving around in a vehicle that once belonged to the Burroughs family. However, it would be very easy for the normally very talkative Stewart to clear up the matter, but he hasn’t. You have to wonder why.

But it’s worse than that. We have tried our hardest to believe that District Attorney Tony Buckley is impartial and trying his hardest to obtain justice in this matter, but it is clear that something isn’t quite right. We still question why he took a black sharpie and so heavily redacted the police reports on the case, making them worthless to the press and the public, when he had never done it before on any other case. We questioned why he seemed to cover up and make excuses for the LPD when they allowed the Burroughs family and friends to prematurely clean up the crime scene. And we are still wondering, along with some other people with decades of experience in prosecution, why the DA was unable to secure a murder charge from the grand jury, when it is pretty clear that Katherine Sinclair was either murdered or committed suicide. As a former prosecutor told us, you plead down to a charge of “manslaughter,” you never start with it.

Even with all that, and with many people contacting me to tell me not to trust him, I still thought Buckley had the best interests of the Sinclair family and the public in his heart. But now, I think I was wrong. Unfortunately, after no response to two separate emails where I simply asked Buckley to allow Mayor Magee to pursue the answer to a question that has no bearing on his manslaughter case  (i.e.: who authorized leaving Burroughs off the jail docket) it is now clear that Buckley is stonewalling in an effort to keep the public from learning the truth.

And then there is Mayor Magee. Like Buckley, we praised him on numerous occasions for the job he has done. However, this isn’t one of those occasions. He was elected to lead this city and he is refusing to get to the bottom of something that has been ailing this city for a long, long time — people being treated differently under the law. The mayor isn’t stupid. He knows darn well that finding out who authorized keeping Burroughs off of the jail docket isn’t going to have any effect on Buckley’s manslaughter case. Yet, he is hiding behind Buckley’s defiance on the matter.

The mayor doesn’t need the DA’s permission to find out why HIS police department treated a murder suspect so differently from someone who shoplifts or is caught with pot. As a matter of fact, the mayor should be concerned with lawsuits from every criminal who is put on the jail’s website because of the special treatment shown to Greg Burroughs by the LPD.

But in the end, the mayor doesn’t answer to the District Attorney, he answers to the public and the public wants to know why some citizens are treated differently than others by the police department and local government.

It’s becoming clear that we have our own “deep state” at work right here in Jones County. Jones County’s version of the “deep state” is made up of some of the rich and powerful in our midst who have control of our public officials.  They hold secret meetings in airplane hangars and elsewhere, they give secret cash donations to campaigns, they offer private favors and privileges and, in exchange, expect to be treated differently under the law. And sadly they are. We have ample evidence of this with many in our judicial system and at least one major player in law enforcement.

And now, by their unwillingness to reveal the answer to the most simple of questions, it is becoming quite clear that our District Attorney and Mayor are most likely under the thumb of the same “deep state.”

Now we have to figure out if any of our current public officials have the integrity and grit it’s going to take to help drain our own swamp, or are we, the public, going to have to elect people who will?

Jim Cegielski is publisher of the Leader-Call. He lives in Laurel.