Attorney in Rolando McClain Lawsuit Threatens to Kill a Man

Roger ShulerContributor IIJune 28, 2012

OAKLAND, CA - JANUARY 01:  Curtis Brinkley #44 of the San Diego Chargers is tackled by Rolando McClain #55 of the Oakland Raiders at Coliseum on January 1, 2012 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

An attorney who filed a lawsuit alleging that a former University of Alabama football star had a history of "criminal activity" has himself been arrested for threatening to kill a man.

Allan L. Armstrong, along with Birmingham lawyer Darrell Cartwright, represented a UA student who alleged that former Crimson Tide star Rolando McClain struck him with a vehicle in 2008 in Tuscaloosa. McClain and plaintiff Matthew Mangham reached a settlement in April, and attorneys from both sides declined to say if McClain paid Mangham as part of the agreement.

McClain, now a linebacker with the Oakland Raiders, recently was convicted of assault and other criminal charges in a separate case connected to an altercation last November in his hometown of Decatur (from WHNT News). Harvey Steinberg, an attorney for McClain, says his client intends to appeal the convictions.

As for the civil matter, it is filled with irony. The complaint alleged that McClain assaulted Mangham after first striking him with a vehicle.

"Upon information and belief," the complaint states, "Defendant McClain has a history of aggressive and violent behavior, including previous assaults and other criminal activity."

Armstrong, the attorney who wrote those words, has a "history of aggressive and criminal activity" of his own.

On March 5, 2008, a Jefferson County man named Johnny J. "Jeff" Scruggs III, filed a criminal complaint stating that Armstrong had threatened to kill him. Was Scruggs perhaps exaggerating things in the heat of a moment?

Apparently not. The complaint states that Armstrong left the message on Scruggs'  answering machine.

In a divorce complaint filed at about the same time, Scruggs identifies Armstrong as his wife's "paramour" and seeks a restraining order against him because of the death threat.

Scruggs filed a criminal complaint with the Vestavia Hills Municipal Court alleging that Armstrong violated Code of Alabama 13A-11-8, Harassing Communications. (The complaint can be viewed at the end of this post.) The complaint states that Armstrong did:

"Communicate with the said Johnny J. Scruggs III, anonymously or otherwise by telephone, in a manner likely to harass or cause alarm, by saying to Johnny J. Scruggs III, 'I'll kill your fucking ass. Yep, that's what you need. You need to die. And then she'll be happy because that's what she's told me she wants--you dead--or other words to that effect."

Let's keep this in mind: Those charming words were not uttered by just any schmo who happened to be drunk, high, or otherwise disturbed.

They were uttered—and left on an answering machine—by a member of the Alabama State Bar, an "officer of the court" and the brother of a U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert R. Armstrong Jr.

Scruggs told Legal Schnauzer he did not pursue the criminal matter because he figured Armstrong would receive favorable treatment in court—plus Scruggs thought he would be better served by using the information in his divorce case.

It appears to be beyond dispute that Allan L. Armstrong threatened to kill a man—and was stupid enough to leave the threat on an answering machine.

We've seen no sign that Armstrong has been held accountable for a flagrant violation of legal ethics.

Perhaps this question needs to be put to the Alabama State Bar: "Is an individual who threatens to kill a man—and leaves such a message on an answering machine—fit to practice law?"

Below is the criminal complaint filed against Allan L. Armstrong. The print in the official hard copy is light and difficult to read, but along with the passage cited above, I hope it gives a general idea of the charges involved.


View the Armstrong criminal complaint here.

Cross Posted at Legal Schnauzer.