Who’s paying Roger Dozier’s attorney?

Lee Parks says it none of your business:

Parks maintains that the question is none of Baker’s business, since Dozier won’t be asking Baker to pay his legal fees, and that it’s protected by attorney-client privilege. He also said the fee question is a red herring, an irrelevant distraction to the main contention in the case, which is that Baker doesn’t live where state law requires him to live.

Baker’s attorney, Robert Highsmith, said the question of who besides Dozier is paying is a matter of public interest in a case that could unseat a commissioner known for ticking off utility interests and making enemies even within his own Republican Party.

“The public that has re-elected Bobby overwhelmingly three times now should know what if any party is operating in the wings,” said Highsmith.


“We strongly suspect that someone who is dissatisfied with Commissioner Baker’s approach to protecting the consumer is behind this,” Highsmith said, but he wouldn’t say whether he suspects that someone comes from a regulated utility, Baker’s political foes, both or neither.

When asked this week, the two biggest utilities in the state, Atlanta Gas Light and Georgia Power, emphatically said they were not involved in the case.

Dozier is an energy consultant. He lost to Baker in the Republican primary in 2004 and filed a series of ethics complaints against him in the ensuing months, all dismissed.

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9 comments

  1. Ben Marshall says:

    I mean, if what Baker’s attorney alledges is true, but he still ends up being found guilty of not living where he is suppose to and claims to, then what does it matter?

  2. JRM2016 says:

    If Highsmith has made a discovery request asking who is paying the bills, and that person is someone OTHER than his client, then I don’t see how that information is subject to any protection. I agree it may seem irrelevant but Baker’s attorney has wide latitude in seeking information through the discovery process.

  3. Mark Rountree says:

    That case looks like a sham to me.

    Robert Baker has met the legal requirements to have residency in his district. That’s not even what really in question.

    The legal question at hand is really more subjective and not based on the real strictures of legal residency: Dozier and Co. are arguing that even though Baker legally meets all the requirements for residency, that’s still not enough. They are arguing that, in effect, Robert doesn’t “really, really, really” still live there, despite the legal requirements having been met.

    This case has serious ramifications that go far beyond Republican vs. Democrat partisan garbage.

    It has serious legal consequences for every elected official in Georgia, regardless of party: that in the future, an elected official could be removed from office at a subjective whim of a judge’s or jury’s “feelings” rather than the legal requirements of the law.

    This is quite a potentially dangerous precedent, it seems to me.

  4. Bill Simon says:

    Mark,

    Roger Dozier is a Republican, so your comment on R vs. D partisanship doesn’t apply.

    That said, I believe the challenge for Bobby Baker is to prove that he has met the “legal requirements.”

    As much as I respect both Robert Highsmith and Bobby Baker, Highsmith’s insistence on trying to find out who else (if anyone else is) is paying the legal tab will have farther-reaching effects on the legal system than this one piddling-case if he succeeds in forcing the disclosure by a judge’s order.

    If Bobby is within the legal grounds, he’s got nothing to worry about. My concern is that Highsmith is trying a bunch of red herring moves which might work in a political race, but it is questionable about whether his maneuvering will help confuse the jury enough to cause them to go beyond “preponderance of the (relevant) evidence.”

  5. Mark Rountree says:

    Bill,

    Yes, I know Dozier is a Republican. I wasn’t referring to him otherwise– I was referring to the fact that both Republicans and Democrats often feel glee when an elected person of the opposite party gets treated badly, and I was urging everyone to look past that to the damage this kind of thing can do to democracy and elections. There are real issues at stake that go beyond partisanship.

    I think we are saying the same thing on that, actually.

    I am also saying that this is a patently absurd case and potentially quite damaging to the entire process.

    There are time limits on filing legal challenges to residency — at qualifying in 2004…three years ago. Dozier did not do that. Nothing has changed since then for Baker.

    This is a ruse, and a dangerous one to democracy at that. Robert Baker is an elected official who meets the legal qualifications for residence such as homestead exemption properly filed, registration to vote, drivers license, taxes paid, utilities paid, etc., and for Dozier’s attack to be based on subjective “feelings” like ‘Baker just still doesn’t spend enough time in Athens to make me happy’ is clearly wrong and motivated by the wrong reasons.

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