Seaton: The Dog Ate The Discovery

Prefatory Note: Something is rotten in Mud Lick. The following is correspondence obtained through my contact, “Sticky Weeks,” and may be potentially damning for the Driftwood County Attorney’s office—CLS

August 15, 2019
FROM: Ian Ramsay ([email protected])
TO: Jimmy McGinty ([email protected])
SUBJECT: FOIA Request re Moon House murders

To Whom It May Concern:

My name is Ian Ramsay and I’m a freelance journalist creating a podcast on the Moon House murders in Mud Lick, Alabama. I would like to see what is publicly available in the DA’s case file for reference material.

Enclosed with this email is a PDF copy of my FOIA request form.

Thanks in advance!

—Ian Ramsay

August 17, 2019
FROM: Jimmy McGinty ([email protected])
TO: Ian Ramsay ([email protected])
SUBJECT: RE: FOIA Request re Moon House murders

Hi Ian.

Our office isn’t giving you a goddamn thing on the Moon House case.

Sincerely,
Jimmy McGinty, Driftwood County District Attorney

August 17, 2019
FROM: Ian Ramsay ([email protected])
TO: Jimmy McGinty ([email protected])
SUBJECT: RE: RE: FOIA Request re Moon House murders.

DA McGinty:

Sir, you do have to let me see what’s publicly available in the case file. That’s what I asked for in the FOIA form. Did you not read my FOIA request? That’s the law.

—Ian Ramsay

August 18, 2019
FROM: Jimmy McGinty ([email protected])
TO: Ian Ramsay ([email protected])
SUBJECT: Dumbass Journalist v. Lawyer

Ian:

Which one of us is the lawyer and which one is the starving J-School grad with the iPhone?

I’m pretty sure if you think this one through clearly you’ll figure out why I get to speak credibly regarding matters of the law and you don’t.

The Moon House file in our office isn’t publicly available. None of it. It’s all privileged work product. Get your information for your fake news podcast somewhere else.

Sincerely,
Jimmy McGinty, Driftwood County District Attorney

August 18, 2019
FROM: Ian Ramsay ([email protected])
TO: Jimmy McGinty ([email protected])
SUBJECT: Re: Dumbass Journalist vs Lawyer

DA McGinty:

With all due respect, sir, there’s no reason to resort to ad hominem attacks and petty name calling. I just want to do this podcast and help Driftwood County get closure on a murder case that’s a decade old. Plus I just talked to a friend of mine at the Washington Post and we’re both pretty sure what you’re doing is in a very grey legal area.

Just let me see the material I asked for in my FOIA request form, please?

—Ian

August 19, 2019
FROM: Jimmy McGinty ([email protected])
TO: Ian Ramsay ([email protected])
SUBJECT: Calling me gay gets you nowhere, son.

Listen here, Ian: I have never been and never will be a homosexual. I have no problems with the LGBTQIAAP+2 folks, I’m just a regular straight white man and I don’t like being told otherwise. Keep that up and I’ll have your ass sued for the libelslander.

Besides, I checked with my law clerk and it’s going to cost you for those files you want. We incur expenses in copying, scanning and emailing all this stuff to you. Once you make payment then we’ll send you what you want for your little podcast.

Sincerely,
Jimmy McGinty, Driftwood County District Attorney

August 19, 2019
FROM: Ian Ramsay ([email protected])
TO: Jimmy McGinty ([email protected])
SUBJECT: FOIA Records cost

DA McGinty:

I never said anything about your sexual preferences in my last email and I’m sorry if it came across otherwise. How much will it cost to get the requested Moon House murders documents?

—Ian

August 20, 2019
FROM: Jimmy McGinty ([email protected])
TO: Ian Ramsay ([email protected])
SUBJECT: RE: FOIA Records cost

Ian, I like you. You’re persistent. For you, it’ll cost…

Tree Fiddy.

Sincerely,
Jimmy McGinty, Driftwood County District Attorney

August 20, 2019
FROM: Ian Ramsay ([email protected])
TO: Jimmy McGinty ([email protected])
SUBJECT RE: RE: FOIA Records cost

OH COME ON. Now you’re being an asshole.

—Ian

August 21, 2019
FROM: Jimmy McGinty ([email protected])
TO: Ian Ramsay ([email protected])
SUBJECT: Moronsayswhat

<this message contains no text>

Attachment: raspberry.gif

August 30, 2019
FROM: Templeton, Roy ([email protected])
TO: Jimmy McGinty ([email protected])
SUBJECT: Journalist FOIA request

General McGinty:

I’ve gotten calls over the last couple days from a journalist who says you’ve been harassing him and refusing a FOIA request on the Moon House murders.

Consider this your official invitation to the next County Commission meeting.

Sheriff Roy Templeton
Mud Lick Sheriff’s Department

September 2, 2019
Excerpt from the minutes of the Driftwood County Commission Monthly Meeting

MAYOR TRIBE: Next on the agenda, we have the matter of the FOIA request on the Moon House Murders by journalist Ian Ramsay. Is Mr. Ramsay in attendance?

IAN RAMSAY: Yes, Mr. Mayor.

MAYOR TRIBE: And do we have District Attorney General McGinty with us?

DA MCGINTY: Yes, Mr. Mayor.

TRIBE: What’s the problem with Mr. Ramsay’s FOIA request?

MCGINTY: We don’t have the files he’s asking for, sir.

TRIBE: What do you mean you don’t have the files?

MCGINTY: Knuckles ate them.

TRIBE: Who is “Knuckles?”

MCGINTY: My dog, sir.

[meeting room erupts in startled murmurs]

TRIBE: Enough! [pounds gavel] General McGinty, are you telling the commission your dog ate the case file for one of the most notorious murders in Driftwood County after Mr. Ramsay here submitted a FOIA request for them?

MCGINTY: Knuckles is an 80 pound Rottweiler with a massive appetite, Mr. Mayor. I had him with me a couple of nights ago at the office because he’s been having some mobility problems. I was working on Mr. Ramsay’s request, redacting confidential information when nature called. I went to the lavatory, conducted business, and when I came back Knuckles had his jaws sunk into the file. I tried to salvage it, but it was useless. He ripped it to shreds.

TRIBE: Is there anything salvageable for Mr. Ramsay’s request, General?

MCGINTY: I have a cover page and the arrest warrant issued.

RAMSAY: Excuse me, but is anyone seriously buying this? The dog ate a case file that I’ve asked about for a month? There’s no way we’re seriously entertaining this ridiculous…

MCGINTY: I will not have my integrity impugned, Mayor, nor will I have some out-of-town journalist attempting to smear the integrity of the Driftwood County District Attorney’s office!

TRIBE: Point taken, General. You will give Mr. Ramsay the two pages you have in your possession and this matter is settled.

MCGINTY: I serve at the county’s pleasure, Mayor Tribe.

RAMSAY: [muttering] I can’t believe I left Knoxville for this shit…

SHERIFF TEMPLETON: Where did you say you were from, Mr. Ramsay?

RAMSAY: Knoxville, Sheriff. Knoxville, Tennessee.

TEMPLETON: Let me take it from here, Jimmy. Meeting’s over, everyone!

RAMSAY: Is that a taser? Why is it pointed at me? What’s going…[gargled screams]

October 1, 2019
FROM: Dr. George Greenwald ([email protected])
TO: JOURNALISM DEPARTMENT LISTSERV
SUBJECT: Disappearance of Ian Ramsay

Dear Journalism School Faculty and Staff:

Approximately one month ago, one of our brighter students, Ian Ramsay, left Knoxville to attend a County Commission Meeting in Driftwood County, Alabama. He has not returned to campus, and his family and friends report all attempts at contact have been futile.

Ian’s disappearance is now in the hands of the Knoxville Police Department, the Knox County Sheriff’s Department, and the TBI. If you or anyone you know has information that may lead to Ian’s safe return, contact any of those agencies.

I am informed the University is setting a tip line up for anyone wishing to submit information anonymously.

In the meantime, please keep the Ramsay family in your thoughts.

Best,
George Greenwald, Ph.D.
Chair, Hannity School of Journalism,
University of Tennessee, Knoxville

15 thoughts on “Seaton: The Dog Ate The Discovery

        1. CLS

          The great thing about Mud Lick is that some of the stories are real, some fiction, and some ridiculous exaggeration. I leave it to the reader to deduce the various parts.

          Reply
  1. Richard Kopf

    CLS,

    In my view, the FOIA request from some guy in orange was handled by the book. Freedom dies in the light.

    Nothing to see here. Move along.

    All the best.

    RGK

    Reply
  2. Guitardave

    I can hear Mcgintys drinking buddies saying…
    “Hey buddy, watch your mouth, i happen to know D.A.McGinty, and i know there aint-no-homo-in-em!”

    Reply

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