Chapter 16: Truth Be Told
Long before the Barge trial, Ruemmler, Friedrich, Weissmann, and Hemann knew exactly what evidence the Merrill defendants needed for their defense. They knew that a “best-efforts” agreement to remarket the barges was lawful. These prosecutors knew that the defense was built on that. As the defense team went through the highlighted pages, it became obvious that the prosecutors had deliberately, and with great care, kept the precise words out of the summaries of the crucial witnesses that would have proved the defense. The highlighted evidence they hid directly contradicted their witnesses and arguments. Then their protégés Spencer and Stokes, continued the fight throughout the appeals and impending new trial, to conceal the sworn statements. They had repeatedly denied the existence of Brady material. Ms. Powell now had the proof.
When Judge Werlein ordered the prosecutors to produce summaries of the exculpatory evidence, they further redacted even the Brady material they had highlighted. Not even he, the most pro-government judge she had ever seen, could ignore this. Even he should be outraged. They had thumbed their nose at his order.
The evidence showed that multiple agents’ notes independently corroborated each other confirming that McMahon himself had said clearly, definitively, and unequivocally: “No—never guaranteed to take out Merrill Lynch with rate of return.” “Never made representation to Merrill Lynch that Enron would buy them out.” “Andy said—Enron would help remarket in six months.” “Discussion between Fastow and Merrill Lynch was that Enron would use best efforts to help them sell assets.”
All along, the prosecutors knew and were hiding the evidence that Zrike had sworn as true in the grand jury. As Merrill’s in-house counsel, she had sworn that any attempt to a guarantee by Merrill was thwarted by Enron as inappropriate. But she was threatened by the possibility of an indictment, and Weissmann sitting in front of her as she testified, drove home that she better not vary from her planned testimony, and reveal the truth. Then they hid her sworn grand jury testimony which they had highlighted. It took six years for this evidence to be uncovered.
What they did to Bill Fuhs was even worse—putting him in a filthy bug-infested segregation prison cell, as a “taste” of things to come if he didn’t cooperate.
All of these pages of missing Brady documentation had been allowed by Judge Werlein. Why would these prosecutors repeatedly refuse to produce these documents if not strategically to engineer the defendants’ convictions? Why else would they have gone to so much time and trouble? It was standard procedure for that kind of disclosure to be made by prosecutors who seek justice. And these weren’t just your run-of-the-mill prosecutor—these were the cream of the crop. The truth was that the withheld material undercut their entire case and they knew it and hid it.
Now they were armed for the hearing. Werlein couldn’t ignore this evidence. Brown would get a new trial, possibly the case would be dismissed for this egregious conduct.
Bringing this egregious conduct out in the open is truly amazing! Those of us that have suffered at the hand of law-breaking prosecutors know what they do. But the majority of Americans don’t. This chapter is a must read by everyone. It will prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt that we cannot trust any witness the prosecution puts before the jury. The Department of Justice, instead of rewarding these prosecutors for their work, and holding them up as “exemplary” for other prosecutors to emulate, should be hanging them by their toenails and making sure no other US Attorney follows their example. But they aren’t doing that. Instead, it has become routine for this egregious behavior to be used to convict innocent people—me, for example.
In my case, my employees were threatened to lie as witnesses. If they didn’t lie for the prosecution, they would be “put in prison” (the agents’ words as they threatened the staff). My colleague, Dr. Schultz, caved and did what they told her, which resulted in my conviction and prison term. In her own words, “they came and talked to me so many times, I forgot what the truth was”. At the age of 75 at the time, I believe they used her early onset dementia to change her thinking processes. Her testimony was a lot like Ms. Zrike’s was described. She spoke haltingly, constantly looking at the prosecutor for direction. To me it was obvious her testimony was untrue. But for some reason, the jury bought it. We have to drive home to people sitting in jury boxes that government witnesses can no longer be trusted to speak the truth.
We also have to remove immunity from government prosecutors. If they break the law to convict an innocent person, they need to do time in segregation. Having spent 6 weeks there myself, I can’t think of a better place for them.
Chapter 17: The Beginning of the End
Judge Werlein refused to dismiss the double jeopardy prosecution and denied the Speedy Trial motion. They still looked forward, however, to a new trial on counts four and five—the perjury and obstruction charges. Until those were reversed, Jim would always be a convicted felon—unable to shoot skeet with his son, vote, or work in his lifelong profession again.
The defense team worked like Trojans on the case, covering every aspect of reversal from Attorney General Holder down to the trial judge, Judge Werlein. But they met closed doors with every attempt. With the statute of limitations run out, a key witness, Jeff McMahon got onboard with his testimony that agreed with Brown’s: there was no guarantee in the Barge case. This witness was a key to Jim’s vindication and exoneration. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court reversed another task force case against Skilling, but only the conspiracy count. The rest of the case was remanded back to Fifth Circuit.
Everything coming out of the Supreme Court torpedoed the government’s case against Brown. But at the pretrial hearing, Werlein showed that he was in bed with the government, and was not going to bend on the case. He backed all the government’s motions and denied the defenses. Instead of being dismissed, the case was dragged on.
Chapter 18: The End of the Beginning
The defense team prepared the 15 page brief ordered by Werlein. They spelled out all the egregious government misconduct. They got the usual treatment from the court—the defense motion for a new trial was denied, the defense was rebuked, and the prosecutor’s briefing was credited as “laudable”. He completely ignored the highlighting of the Brady material that the prosecutors kept from the defense. The defense arguments had “no merit”. So the defense team prepared for trial.
By this time, their claims threatened the law licenses of very powerful people—Ruemmler, Friedrich, Weissman, and Hemann. But no one had the integrity to admit the wrongdoing and dismiss the charges against Brown. They were confident that Judge Werlein would protect them from exposure and the truth. And they were proved right.
The Brown defense team found out that the government had not prepared for trial—had not contacted a single witness. The government applied for a continuance. So they had to go before Werlein again. At that point, the government admitted it would not re-try Brown on Counts One through Three, and it became obvious that Judge Werlein already knew that.
With the eight years of suffering and persecution of the Browns, dragging out threats as long as they possibly could, the government just walked away. There was not going to be the opportunity to prove Brown’s innocence and their prosecutorial misconduct.
These chapters bring out the collusion between the US Attorneys’ offices and the Court judges. They are in bed together. Such was the case with me as well. My case was handled by Judge Glen E. Conrad, Chief Judge of the Western District of Virginia. How do I know this? Because if Judge Conrad listened to the testimony, he knew I was innocent. My letter to the DEA explaining what I was doing to treat patients and asking them for guidance that was stonewalled, the decrepit testimony of Dr. Schultz, the lack of testimony from other staff, the only testimony from patients were those that had been discharged for breaking their controlled drug agreements all pointed to my innocence. And then the jury found me not guilty of using my office to commit a crime. But because the whole point of the attack on me was to drive me out of the area so that the HCA hospital could have my office and refer patients to their hospital instead of Carilion where I sent mine, and make money on the sale of my building, Judge Conrad reversed the not guilty verdict. He should have instead, reversed the 172 guilty verdicts of prescribing, since there was no proof that Dr. Shultz didn’t prescribe them, as she did.
Another point I want to make here, is that most defendants don’t get the dogged determination of their lawyers fighting for what is right, as Ms. Powell did. The fact that the government broke the law in my case, when I pointed that out to my worthless, in the government’s payroll, lawyer, Rhonda Overstreet, all she did was shrug her shoulders and say “What did you expect?” You see, it is well known in the legal profession that the government can break all the rules, commit crimes, and put innocent people in prison illegally, and no one cares, much less fight back. There really isn’t any point in having a defense lawyer, except for the fact that they are all in the club together, and if you don’t pay the fees to hire one, the judge is even harder on you.