Michael’s third pretrial release hearing was held on July 15th. The first pretrial hearing was on May 9th, but it was cancelled because Michael’s assigned public defender had a conflict of interest – at least that was the story told to Michael. Judge Jolie Russo then assigned Eugene attorney Mark Sabitt to represent Michael. The next hearing was scheduled for May 23rd. Days before the hearing, Mark Sabitt went on vacation so he was not present for Michael’s hearing. Instead he sent his partner who has all of the panache of a limp dishrag. It didn’t occur to me at the time because I’m not familiar with the criminal justice process, that it’s not a usual and customary practice to have a “substitute” attorney. The hearing should have been postponed until Sabitt returned. Mark Sabitt is supposed to be a criminal defense attorney, he knew that his partner could not adequately defend Michael. That would seem to make him an incompetent defense attorney at best and a co-conspirator in the entrapment of Michael Emry at worst.
On May 7th, Les Zaitz of OregonLive, published a story, Oregon Occupation ‘reporter’ has history of bomb making, illegal weapons. Somehow, Zaitz was able to get a transcript of Michael’s testimony during 2004 federal court hearing in Tennessee. That case was supposed to be sealed and yet – Zaitz got a copy of it and published it. How does that happen?
At the May 23rd hearing – Michael’s substitute attorney, Marc Spence did not object when Assistant U.S. Attorney Nathan Lichvarcik introduced the 2004 transcript – using it to argue that Michael was a danger to the community. Michael was not a defendant in that case and anything that happened with that case is irrelevant to the charges against Michael currently. Any half-way competent attorney would have objected to the introduction of it in Michael’s case. What was important and relevant to the case is that Michael is 54 years old and has no criminal history – no history of violence in his past despite what was in the transcript. Marc Spence offered no defense for Michael. He played his part in this script which was to fill the chair of the defense attorney – that’s it.
The next pretrial release hearing was scheduled for July 11. Just before the hearing it was postponed until July 15th. At the hearing on July 15th, we found out why. The extended period of time from May 23 to July 11th was used by Lichvarcik to obtain more information on the 2004 court case and it’s obvious both from the hearing and from his opposition filing that he intends to try Michael on the 2004 court case – and not on the current charges. Lichvarcik gave Michael’s attorney documents on the 2004 court case just before the July 11th hearing giving Sabitt only a few days to read the materials. [Correction, Michael said Sabitt found out about the 2004 documents hours before the hearing but that doesn’t square with what we were told about the postponement from July 11, to July 15.]
In Lichvarcik’s opposition to Michael’s release, he has excerpts from Michael’s testimony in the 2004 case – which by the way actually began around 2001 – not 2004. It ended in 2004. This is the excerpt that Lichvarcik took out of the transcript:
Keeping in mind that Michael did not have an attorney in that case and Michael was not a defendant in that case, notice the penalties for the things that Michael testified under oath that he did. There is no prosecutor in the world that would make a deal with a defendant to let him go free when he was looking at charges and penalties like that. A good deal would have been 15 years in prison in exchange for his testimony but that didn’t happen. Why do you suppose that was? Was the U.S. Attorney in Tennessee just a nice guy who decided not to prosecute Michael for what he did? Of course not. There is no prosecutor in the world who is that nice. There is a lot more to the story which is why the case was sealed and why it is prosecutorial misconduct for Lichvarcik to put Michael on trial in 2016 for the 2004 case but that is exactly what he is doing – and without objection by Michael’s attorney Mark Sabitt btw. Apparently “objection” is not in the lexicon of the law firm of Spence & Sabitt.
Yesterday, when I talked to Michael, he told me that very early on after he was arrested, they offered him a deal. If he would testify against Ammon and the other Occupiers, they would cut him loose – reduce the charges or whatever I’m not sure. The point is, that’s why Michael was set up. Michael went to the rally as a reporter. He stayed in Burns to cover the story and he moved to Grant County to establish a sister media operation to TVOI News.
TVOI News is a registered news agency with the State of Idaho. As a reporter, Michael has Constitutional rights under the first amendment – freedom of the press. They couldn’t compel Michael to give them any information on anything and because of that, they set him up. Entrapment is illegal but that’s what they did to Michael. Michael refused them so now Lichvarcik is trying to up the ante by putting Michael on trial for the 2004 case.
I may not know a lot about the criminal justice system, but what I do know is that prosecutors, judges, FBI, DEA, ATF agents all have an obligation not only to discharge their duties to prosecute criminal offenses, their first obligation is to maintain the integrity of the system itself. If the members of the law enforcement and judiciary communities commit criminal acts in the performance of their jobs, they are no better than the criminals they prosecute. In fact, they are worse because they commit their criminal acts behind the color of law. As we’ve seen in recent weeks with the performance of James Comey and the daily barrage of stories about corruption in the criminal justice system, it appears that the U.S. Justice System is corrupt from top to bottom. While it’s politically correct to say that there are still good people in the system, it’s also true to say that if you lay down with dogs, you wake up with fleas.
At this point, there is no way that Michael can get a fair trial. Pretrial services has been prejudiced by the introduction of the 2004 case. The Judge in the case has been prejudiced for the same reason. The only option Michael has is pull the Trump card and tell his attorney Mark Sabitt, YOU’RE FIRED! And to hope that Michael can get a new attorney that will defend him on the real issue in this case which is entrapment for the purpose of extorting Michael’s testimony against the men of the Malheur occupation.
PS: Michael will have another hearing in two weeks. Nathan Lichvarcik said he needs the time to get more information of the 2004 case without objection by Michael’s “defense attorney” Mark Sabitt.