Note: This article contains a personal reflection of the author’s family’s experience with prosecutorial abuse and draws a comparison to the Gen. Michael Flynn trial and that of embattled political strategist Roger Stone.
At first, no conservative pundit thought the Trump Administration’s former (though short-tenured) National Security Adviser would readily plead guilty to outrageous Russian collusion charges. At least not without a serious fight.
Then the unthinkable happened. Gen. Michael T. Flynn‘s guilty plea led many to wonder why the celebrated counter-terrorism expert would so easily give up his case. That question seems to have been answered by recent revelations coming out of the Justice Department that Flynn’s original attorneys were not acting on their client’s behalf.
According to National Review, Flynn’s own legal team was working a secret deal with federal prosecutors to drain their client dry financially. From there, and according to Red State, it appears the very same federal prosecutors were allowed to threaten Flynn’s family — specifically, threatening Flynn’s son with an equally false indictment if Flynn did not enter an Alford plea of guilty.
Egregious as these circumstances may be, it may be the tip of a voluminous iceberg of prosecutorial abuse. What has happened to Flynn is all too often the rule and not the exception. And this is something this writer knows from personal experience.
There are countless individuals that have been treated a similar way but were not public figures and thus did not have the massive public outcry to adequately look into the dealings of their respective cases. One such individual was this writer’s own father, the late Dr. Maynard Freeman, whose story I will attempt to summarize as objectively as his son can.
For starters, both Flynn and Freeman had their defense attorneys made secret gag-ordered deals with the Justice Department to string their clients along for months to years, thus bleeding them financially dry. Then the defense lawyers allowed the prosecutors to make threats about harming the defendant’s family. In Flynn’s case, prosecutors threatened to indict Flynn’s son with the same type of bogus charges. With Dr. Freeman, they threatened to have me removed from my schoolmates. I was age 5 at the time.
What the Federal Prosecutors did to both Flynn and Freeman was to psychologically break them into taking an Alford Plea where the defendant is forced to plead guilty in criminal court, whereby a defendant in a criminal case does not admit to the criminal act and asserts innocence. It also waives in most circumstances the right of a defendant to have a trial. The same thing happened to George Papadopoulos as well as countless other defendants that are treated as just as a notch in the belt of Federal Prosecutors regardless of their guilt or innocence and these miscarriages of justice completely takes any credibility out of the justice system as a whole.
It is unfortunate that many defense attorneys are like Flynn’s original counsel from the Washington law firm Covington & Buling and not like his current attorney Sidney Powell who actually fights for her clients innocence. It was Powell that not only demanded the guilty plea be withdrawn, but also uncover a ton of exculpatory evidence. That evidence was intentionally withheld by the prosecution (critical information that would have completely exonerated Flynn). Flynn was actively targeted by the Justice department for entrapment, if not being outright framed. For this discovery alone, Powell deserves a Presidential Medal of Freedom!
As is now common knowledge, the FBI’s former head of counterintelligence Bill Priestap, after meeting with Former FBI director James Comey and former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, was looking for ways such as setting a perjury trap to “get” Flynn. Priestap’s own handwritten notes openly questioned if The FBI’s “goal” was “to get him to lie so we can prosecute him or get him fired” from the administration for violating the Logan Act.
(Flynn deserves more than a pardon because he clearly didn’t do anything wrong. The charges should be dropped outright.)
As a side note, and interestingly during that very same week, a separate firehouse of documents dropped regarding Roger Stone‘s case. In the newly unsealed search warrants had shown Stone was under intense surveillance by the FBI also looking to entrap him only to discover that neither Stone or anyone else tied to Trump had any collusion with Russia. It came out this week that if Stone bore false witness to Trump, to further the FBI’s narrative then he would have received zero jail time. Instead Stone has been sentenced to 3.5 years in federal prison and has to report to federal prison May 1 unless Stone is pardoned by Trump. Stone’s lawyers also appeared to prevent exculpatory evidence in multiple text messages from Randy Credico which would have clearly showed that indeed Credico was the intermediary between Stone and Julian Assange and in fact Stone did not lie before Congress. It has been previously argued that Stone could have never had a fair trial with the amount of prosecutorial misconduct in his case.
It seems that the FBI and the DOJ with corroborating federal judges with lifetime appointment are unilaterally deciding who is guilty without checks and balances. The judge in Stone’s case, Amy Berman Jackson, was an Obama appointee who already presided over Stone’s former business partner Paul Manafort and every member of the jury voted Democrat. For a political case, it seems very much anything but impartial, especially with the revelations that Former President Barack Obama‘s White House might have had a direct hand in framing Flynn Another fact is that Judge Jackson kept Stone under a gag order for 16 months until the middle of April preventing Stone from directly defending himself — all while Democrat-leaning publications such as the Washington Post smeared his name.
Stone’s situation clearly shows there needs to be a top to bottom reform in the criminal justice system in the U.S. with more built-in checks and balances. Judges need not have lifetime appointments, which was touted as to allow them to focus on the law vs politics of an election but ends up allowing more often then not, judges to grow corrupt with age where the only recourse is impeachment by Congress and conviction of two-thirds of the Senate (and how often does that happen)?
The FBI needs to be dismantled and replaced by another investigatory entity. There is too much built in corruption going back to it’s founder J. Edgar Hoover to successfully implement any comprehensive reforms short of full dismantling and replacement. Likewise, the Department of Justice should be heavily reformed with built-in transparency mechanisms in place and accountable to the people.
Until then, for every one General Flynn or Roger Stone there will be a thousand Dr. Freemans — stories of which may never come to light in the current legal environment.