I am presenting information on my criminal trial from many years ago. This section includes my view of the prosecution’s case. In my last blog, I shared the testimony of the only witness that implicated me whatsoever in anything potentially controversial during the trial and he still admitted that he wasn’t sure. The owner of the company that I worked for was Stan and it was obvious to everyone that Stan was woven into the case from start to finish. In this blog, I am explaining the experience of watching the Government’s three primary witnesses testify against me. These were three of the four people that worked with me on the Fund committee.
As hard as it is, I am doing my best to not present a one-sided case.
There were three men of the five-person fund committee, Tom, John, and Scott that had become Government witnesses. It is hard to believe that we had all once been in agreement about how to invest money for the benefit of the clients and now were in direct opposition as to the events that took place. Truly, each person had their own agenda and throughout the testimony, someone, like me, could detect agendas quickly. Others may have to listen much more intently. Still, others were oblivious. Yet, the truth was what we were all supposed to hear and seek.
Tom had pled guilty before the charges were handed down. I knew Tom well. His office was next to mine and we talked daily. Tom was about 30 years older than the rest of the group and did not want to go through a trial. The whole experience of dealing with the Government shook Tom to the core and I knew that as much as he wanted to fight the good fight, it wasn’t practical on many fronts for him. He repeatedly said to me and others that he desperately wanted to be innocent. I found that statement confusing, but I knew Tom and he would never have intentionally done anything wrong. It just wasn’t his character.
John was charged with a crime in an unrelated company even though he worked as a fund committee member. I don’t understand how or why the Government would choose to charge a person with a crime related to something completely different than what the trial is for and have him be a prime witness. I am sure there is a good reason. I just don’t know what it is.
John solicited a lot of investors. While testifying, it was clear that John had a great deal of regret in the way he treated them. To paraphrase, John said that the investors should have been treated better, but to a large extent, he was admitting that their unfortunate experience was due to John. The Government tried to elevate John’s behavior to a committee behavior and there was some give and take on that.
John was Stan’s closest friend and no doubt John probably had more insight into Stan’s issues than most anyone. John knew that Stan had betrayed him and countless others. Since it felt like Stan was on trial, it made sense that the person who knew him best would testify.
Scott lied to the Grand Jury to get me charged. To the prosecutor’s credit, he immediately addressed that Scott pled guilty to perjury, as soon as Scott took the stand. The prosecutor asked Scott why he lied and Scott said he did so because it was convenient and you like to remember things a certain way that suits your agenda. That sounded honest now, even if he did lie to get me charged. So, how do you know when Scott is telling the truth? It was very confusing.
Reviewing Scott’s trial testimony, most of the time when Scott didn’t say much is when it was the truth. He might or might not agree or remember. He mumbled. If he did remember, he might make some comment on a detail to throw off the truth a bit. I noticed that. Scott lied about his involvement in the Fund. After he resigned from the Fund, he distanced himself and started to point fingers.
Did Scott lie about lying? It’s like keeping a scorecard and a great segway to reasonable doubt. If someone has admitted to lying and been charged with it, how far away can reasonable doubt be? The standard for being guilty is “beyond a reasonable doubt” yet, so much doubt hung in the air.
Again, these three men and I managed a Fund that failed. A short time after the trial, two of the three men were sitting alongside me defending themselves in an investor arbitration case. It put everyone in quite a quandary. It certainly gave us testimony to use if we needed to that was in direct opposition to the trial testimony.
I watched my former colleagues testify against me. I am not sure that any of the three of them could look at me while they testified. On the contrary, it was hard for me to take my eyes off of them. I wanted them to see me. I wanted them to watch how what they said affected me. I deserved at least that much. This was my day in court. It was a day for them to tell the truth as they were sworn to do. It was a day for me to see who they were or had become and for them to watch me stand on the truth.
I did have to wonder how they reconciled their decision to become a Government witness. I knew for Tom, it was too much in every way for him to endure. For the other two men, there had to be a strong internal dialog that takes place swirling in their heads, tormenting them and fueled by the family and friends that they don’t want to disappoint. I knew what that felt like, I did that too. I just made a different decision and therefore we sat across from each other in the Courtroom instead of at the same table. They would have to live with their decision forever, as I would mine.
I often think of our Government and …how have we gotten to this point. What happened that we are so far from the mark? Our community should trust our Government.
We should identify the very best talent to run the Government. We have to agree as to a compelling and inspirational vision of justice. We should empower them to achieve those goals using their best skills in a way they choose. We should demonstrate we value them.
It’s so simple, and virtually nobody does it, because it requires a high-trust working environment, and most government environments are low-trust. In order to own the future of our justice system, you have to design it around trust.
Do you trust your Government with anything?