That word is one of the kinder descriptions of Andrew Weissmann found in Sidney Powell’s excellent book Licensed To Lie: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice:
“The most polite description I had heard of Weissmann by any defense counsel who had dealt with him was that he was a ‘madman'” (p. 46)
The author goes on to relate, regarding Weissmann’s unbounded regard for himself:
“Weissmann fancied himself a god among prosecutors.” (p. 35)
Ms. Powell’s book, which I cannot possibly recommend too highly, is a massively detailed analysis of the depth and entrenchment of the corruption, lying, deceit, blatant dishonesty and disregard of, if not open contempt for, the Rule of Law in the Department of Justice. And, while it causes me pain, both personally and professionally, to acknowledge it, the picture she paints of certain Federal Judges is not, as the saying goes, “a pretty sight,” either.
The author’s bona fides are, to put it mildly, most impressive, as she has been lead counsel in more than 500 appeals in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, had been in private practice for 20 years at the time of publication (2014) and had amassed a long list of professional honors and accolades. Significantly for purposes of this discussion, she was Lead Counsel for one of the wrongly (and clearly corruptly) convicted defendants at the hands of the Enron Strike Force, Jim Brown of Merrill Lynch. To say that she knows whereof she speaks invites the use of the ancient legal maxim Res Ipsa Loquitur — the thing speaks for itself.
Thus, it is most informative to hear her opinions on the sleazy conduct of the person Robert Mueller chose to be his Lead Prosecutor in the almost two-year-old (with not a shred of publicly known evidence so far) Russia-Trump Campaign “collusion” investigation:
Sidney Powell, who served as lead counsel in more than 500 federal appeals, filed an ethics complaint against Mr. Weissman along with William Hodes, one of the bar’s leading ethics experts. It alleged he not only hid evidence but also called “cooperating witnesses” who gave what he knew to be false testimony.
“During his years on the Enron Task Force, Prosecutor Weissmann was widely known for intimidating witnesses, hiding evidence, and unethical and heavy-handed, if not illegal, tactics,” said Powell, who has written about the case for the legal site Seeking Justice.
The Supreme Court unanimously overturned the conviction that Mr. Weissmann and the Enron Task Force secured [against] the accounting firm Arthur Andersen. The Court specifically cited him giving jury instructions that removed criminal intent from the law and improperly portrayed the law Andersen was charged with breaking.
“Indeed, it is striking how little culpability the instructions required,” former Chief Justice William Rehnquist wrote in the opinion. “Only persons conscious of wrongdoing can be said to ‘knowingly corruptly persuade.'”
Ms. Powell noted that jury was told “even if petitioner honestly and sincerely believed its conduct was lawful, the jury could convict,” which was not true.
The emails obtained by Judicial Watch are a peek into what many legal scholars have warned is a totally corrupted, partisan Department of Justice. (Ed. note: emphasis in original)
Here is more of what she thinks of Mueller’s pick to be his top assistant, with some insight as to the reason for his selection of this particular “pit bull”, avid admirer and financial supporter of Hillary Clinton, and one who expressed his “awe” and pride of Sally Yates for defying a direct order of the President of the United States when she served as Acting Attorney General:
Manafort, a Trump associate, is simply a small step in Weissmann’s quest to impugn this presidency or to reverse the results of the 2016 election. Never mind that months of investigation by multiple entities have produced no evidence of “collusion.” Mueller’s rare, predawn raid of Manafort’s home — a fearsome treat usually reserved for mobsters and drug dealers — is textbook Weissmann terrorism. And of course, the details were leaked — another illegal tactic.
She follows with an excellent summary of Weissmann’s Storm Trooper tactics (my phrase, not hers, as I have expressed my opinion here earlier that I thought the Manafort raid by Mueller and Weissmann to be pure Gestapo tactics) in the case of the totally unjustified and frighteningly ruthless home invasion of Manafort’s home in the early, pre-dawn hours:
Weissmann is intent on indicting Manafort. It won’t matter that Manafort knows the Trump campaign did not collude with the Russians. Weissman will pressure Manafort to say whatever satisfies Weissmann’s perspective. Perjury is only that which differs from Weissmann’s “view” of the “evidence” — not the actual truth.
We all lose from Weissmann’s involvement. First, the truth plays no role in Weissmann’s quest. Second, respect for the rule of law, simple decency and following the facts do not appear in Weissmann’s playbook. Third, and most important, all Americans lose whenever our judicial system becomes a weapon to reward political friends and punish political foes.
It is long past the due date for Mueller to clean up his team — or Weissmann to resign — as a sign that the United States is a nation of laws that are far more important than one Weissmann. (Ed. note: published before Manafort’s indictment)
We often hear the expression “Don’t get too far into the weeds” when explaining something, and while that may be good advice in general, it simply does not apply in the matters covered by this book, as one cannot truly understand how deep the corruption goes with regard to the Enron cases– Arthur Andersen, Merrill Lynch, and those of a number of individuals, without getting deeply into the “weeds” of the these sometimes convoluted prosecutions. However, to sum up those matters which are proven in the book and as to which there is little or no dispute, here are a few of the “accomplishments” of this “God among prosecutors”:
- Almost all of the cases in which he was involved were reversed either by the Supreme Court or the Courts of Appeal.
- He, quite literally, created “crimes” out of thin air, the deficiencies of which were noted by then-Chief Justice Rehnquist, as noted above, in one of the many reversals of his “masterful” work as a prosecutor.
- He sent one defendant, “guilty” of a non-crime, to a maximum security prison, including periods of solitary confinement, because he would not give testimony he insisted the defendant give.
- He sent Ms. Powell’s client, Jim Brown, to prison for lying to a grand jury after instructing him to share with the grand jury whatever his “personal understanding” was — whether it was accurate or not. (p. 76)
- His team of disgraces to the Bar kept her client under threat of further trials, appeals, returns to maximum security prison, for nine years, the entire teenage years of his children and one-fifth of his own lifespan.
- Other persistent, deliberate, carefully planned acts of concealment of evidence and blatant and open intimidation of witnesses and defendants so deeply buried in “The Swamp” it took almost nine years of tirelessly hard work by many lawyers dedicated to the Rule of Law, like Ms. Powell, to unearth.
As noted in the foreword of the book, by Judge Alex Kozinsky, former, now retired, Chief Judge of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals:
Another important responsibility of prosecutors is to disclose to the defense any exculpatory information of which the government is aware. The Supreme Court announced this as a constitutional requirement in the 1963 case of Brady v. Maryland, and it has confirmed its underlying principles many times since.
…there is, as I’ve said elsewhere, ‘an epidemic of Brady violations abroad in the land.
For this reason, and in the interest of completeness, no discussion of the intricate web of dishonesty and corruption which has enveloped the Department of [In]Justice, as Ms. Powell sometimes refers to it, would be complete without noting the stellar example of Judge Emmet Sullivan in holding a number of prosecutors accountable for similar conduct in the trial of Senator Ted Stevens, RIP, in 2009. It bears noting, as potentially significant in the current “FISA-gate” scandal, that Judge Sullivan is the Judge who took over the Gen. Michael Flynn case after Judge Contreras was recused for reasons still unknown as of this writing.
Here, the Judge –one of the very few to do so– “took the bull by the horns” and called a number of prosecutors publicly–by name–to account for their corrupt practices in getting a guilty verdict against Sen. Stevens. In a hearing on April 7, 2009 (of such momentous importance that the author entitled one of the several chapters on the Stevens case “The Mother of all Hearings”) after announcing all charges had been withdrawn, Judge Sullivan announced:
Accordingly the court shall commence criminal contempt proceedings against the original prosecution team, including William Welch, Brenda Morris, Joseph Bottini, Nicholas Marsh, James Goeke, and Edward Sullivan … based on the failures of those prosecutors to comply with the court’s numerous orders and potential obstruction of justice.
The Court, again in a very rare action, appointed a Special Prosecutor who, after an investigation which spanned two years, turned in a 500-page report, excoriating the conduct of the prosecutors and recommending severe disciplinary action against them.
It is difficult to “get into the weeds” of these despicable acts of corruption and dishonesty and not have real, good-faith, legitimate questions about Mueller’s real agenda in hiring a “lawyer” (it makes me sick to have to acknowledge him as such) with such a well known reputation for out-of-control zealotry, not to mention a proven record of so many reversals–four by the Supreme Court alone! While no one knows where all this is going, no one has described the source of the stench it has raised better than the very courageous author of this book, in a recent article:
The federal swamp is deep, dense, and deceiving. It is infested with a corrupt cabal that protects its own, and it can’t be drained fast enough.
A corrupt cabal, indeed.