Political Insider

An AJC blog about Atlanta politics, Georgia politics, Georgia and metro Atlanta election campaigns. Because all politics is local.

FBI nominee's 'most memorable case'? Jailing of ex-Brave Pat Jarvis

Christopher Wray, the Atlanta attorney who is President Donald Trump's pick to lead the FBI, has had a long career in private practice and at the U.S. Justice Department on which to hang his hat.

That includes a guilty plea squeezed out of Sept. 11 terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui, and working as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's personal attorney during "Bridgegate."

But according to the Washington Times, Wray listed the 1999 prosecution of former Atlanta Braves pitcher Pat Jarvis on a questionnaire that asked him to name his most memorable case. By way of explanation, there was none:

Mr. Wray, in his committee filing, did not explain why he felt the Jarvis case so significant.

Maybe we can supply some reasons. One remembers one’s first collars fondly, just like a first date. (But don’t expect Wray to advertise the fact that he worked the Jarvis case with Sally Yates, who would go on to become the just-fired acting U.S. attorney general.)

Another reason: Wray has a hearing next week, and the questionnaire is intended to provide senators with fodder for their questions.

The Jarvis case was long ago and uncontroversial. Citing the Moussaoui case could be an invitation to discuss other topics. As we told you earlier this morning, a Muslim civil rights group wants Wray questioned on the treatment of immigrant detainees in the days after 9/11.

Ditto Wray’s time with Chris Christie.

Some of you younger readers may need reminding about just who Pat Jarvis was – aside from a right-hander who pitched seven years with the Braves, with a win-loss record of 85-73.

We offer the lede of a 1999 article written by our AJC colleague Bill Rankin, who is still hanging around:

Pat Jarvis has been a popular Atlanta figure for nearly three decades, as an Atlanta Braves pitcher and later as DeKalb County's top lawman.


But what few people knew --- and Jarvis guarded like a trick pitch --- was that he had a kickback scam working that prosecutors say may have earned him up to $200,000. While DeKalb sheriff, Jarvis admitted, he used sham companies and sought bogus consulting fees to extract cash from food vendors,  bonding companies and maintenance firms that had contracts with the county jail.


 On Monday, a federal judge threw the legal book at the man Braves fans called "The Little Bulldog, " sentencing him to 15 months in prison and fining him the maximum $40,000. The judge said he wanted to fine him more.


The sentencing of Jarvis, 57,  who was sheriff from 1976 to 1995,  culminates a three-year federal and state investigation. In January, he pleaded guilty to mail fraud, stemming from his mailing a financial disclosure letter to the secretary of state's office that failed to disclose his financial interest in the scam companies doing business with jail vendors.


Federal prosecutors said Jarvis took cash and consulting fees from companies that wanted jail business, sometimes getting wads of rolled up bills in a Styrofoam cup that was passed across a restaurant table. Other payments were handed to Jarvis in a parking lot near the jail, prosecutors said.


State Sen. Michael Williams, the Republican candidate for governor, this morning offers evidence that his will be an in-your-face campaign.

In an email, Williams took up the case of a Gwinnett County woman whom police report was brutally raped during a home invasion. Three men and a woman have been arrested. Writes William:

Shortly after this was reported in the media, it emerged that at least one of the attackers is an illegal immigrant. This is a direct result of a careless immigration policy that has been pushed on our nation for years by the Democrats.


Will the Democrats be held responsible for the rape and torture of this Gwinnett family? Will CNN push a camera in Chuck Schumer's face and ask him to answer for the responsibility Democrats have in this incident and other incidents like it?


On Thursday, we pointed you to some stats that suggested Democrat Jon Ossoff had a turnout problem in the Sixth District runoff. This morning, Emory University’s Alan Abramowitz recomments a New York Times piece that indicates otherwise:

The special election in Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District was the most expensive House race in history. In the end, it produced probably the strongest Democratic turnout in an off-year election in at least a decade, according to newly released voter turnout records.


It is perhaps the strongest evidence yet that Democrats won’t be at an acute turnout disadvantage in next year’s midterm elections, as they were in the last two.


In Thursday’s Jolt, we told you of Stacey Abram’s Twitter criticism of Secretary of State Brian Kemp for his response to a voter “integrity” commission appointed by President Donald Trump seeking voter data from all 50 states.

Abrams, a Democratic candidate for governor, called on Kemp to reject “Trump's transparent effort to suppress our votes.”

Kemp, a Republican candidate for governor, said he would give the commission only what public data he’s given out to members of the public.

This morning, David Dove, Kemp’s chief of staff, called to note the irony of Abrams’ objections to the release of the data. “She’s been perfectly happy the many times she’s requested it,” Dove said.

Dove said they hadn’t handed the info over to the Trump commission yet. They’re waiting for the $250 check.


A new Forbes magazine estimate of the net worth of President Donald Trump's Cabinet members says former Gov. Sonny Perdue is worth $2 million, but that actually puts him on the poorer end of the spectrum. The publication attributes the wealth to the several businesses the Republican once own, including trucking and grain merchandising companies.

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, meanwhile, is worth an estimated $10 million, according to Forbes. The onetime Georgia congressman's wealth comes in part from a medical office building he owns in Georgia and rental apartments in three other southern states, the magazine said.

The Washington Times reported that Christopher Wray, Trump's nominee for FBI director, listed his net worth as close to $28 million in his Senate questionnaire. His assets include $4.5 million in real estate and $16 million in securities assets, according to the newspaper.


State Sen. Josh McKoon of Columbus formally announced his candidacy for secretary of state on Thursday, joining state Reps. Buzz Brockway, R-Lawrenceville, and Brad Raffensperger, R-Johns Creek, as well as David Belle Isle, the Republican mayor of Alpharetta.

The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reports that McKoon has named Sue Everhart of Cobb County, the former state GOP chairman, as his campaign chairman and Fulton County businessman Robert Hennessy as his treasurer – possibly to shore up his metro Atlanta credentials.

In an interview with Tim Bryant of WGAU (1340AM) in Athens this morning, McKoon suggested he would dump Georgia’s electronic voting machines in favor of older technology. Listen here:


McKoon was specifically addressing worries about hacking. Said the Columbus state senator:

“I think a lot of these issues would be taken off the table if we were to go back to the old optical scan ballots – the ones that you just bubble in your choices. That’s something I would take a very hard look at if I were elected secretary of state.”


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About the Author

Tamar Hallerman is The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Washington correspondent, covering Congress, federal agencies and other government activities that impact Georgia.