In a recent article that should scare the hell out of every American, Andrew C. McCarthy, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and columnist for the National Review, outlines America’s two tiered justice system where federal prosecutors and government agents abused their power and broke the law during their two year Russian collusion witch hunt, with impunity.
Their target was President Donald J. Trump, and for close to two years, the American public had a front row seat to witness senior Justice Department and FBI officials violate their oaths of office and federal law, to target, harass, persecute, and destroy friends, family, staff, and supporters of the president.
Prosecutorial misconduct and government overreach are nothing new. It’s been happening for years, and we have increasingly witnessed selective and political prosecutions where Justice Department officials have been caught suborning perjury, lying to and deceiving the courts, and using threats, intimidation, and solitary confinement to extort false testimony from witnesses, to secure their convictions.
Why and how can this be allowed to happen? The answer is simple: there is little to no accountability for government misconduct in our federal criminal justice system, be it ethical or outright criminal conduct, and everyone in the system knows it.
A case in point, 2,080 miles from Washington, D.C., in the desert of Las Vegas, the government placed a bullseye on the back of William "Billy" Walters, a self-made entrepreneur and philanthropist, whose wealth originated from decades of hard work developing and operating automobile dealerships, golf courses, real estate developments and, of course, his expertise as a successful high profile sports bettor.
Today, Walters, 73, is sitting in a Florida federal prison camp serving a five year sentence for insider trading, and has like many, come to realize that the cliché “Equal justice under the law,” that is supposed to be guaranteed as McCarthy eloquently wrote, is nothing more than an aspiration or a quaint slogan. For Bill Walters’ family, friends, and colleagues, the term is nothing but a joke.
For probably three decades, state and federal authorities were obsessed with, and had haunted Bill Walters, over his notoriety and public gambling profile, and in 2011, their obsession came to a head when the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Federal Bureau of Investigations focused in on trades of a few publicly traded companies, one of which was Dean Foods, the chairman of which was Walters’ friend.
Walters was eventually indicted, and the Dean Foods' chairman pleaded guilty and was the star cooperator for Walters’ prosecution. Another Walters friend, Phil Mickelson, was not charged criminally and settled the matter with the SEC without admitting any wrongdoing. The government had finally gotten their man!
However, to friends, family, and colleagues of Walters, it was clear that targeting and investigating Walters was clearly selective… and as time went on, it became apparent that his prosecution, or should I say persecution, reeked with of abuses by the government, which included criminal conduct to get their conviction.
As it turned out, the FBI not only leaked secret grand jury information to the media, but according to Walters’ attorneys, members of the media were acting as informants for the FBI during the course of the Walters investigation.
In September 2016, Walters’ lawyers took their suspicions to U.S. District Judge Kevin Castel, claiming that government agents or federal prosecutors were leaking secret grand jury information to The New York Times and Wall Street Journal, an allegation that the government vehemently denied.
However, after months of push back from the government, in a letter to the judge on December 16, 2016, Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York had to admit that it was, “an incontrovertible fact that FBI leaks occurred, and that such leaks resulted in confidential law enforcement information about the Investigation being given to reporters.”
That is a federal crime!
So, what happened to the FBI Agent David Chaves who admitted the illegal leaks and to the prosecutors overseeing the investigation who knew about the leaking? Nothing.
Chaves was interviewed twice by federal prosecutors and admitted leaking grand jury information to the press. He has since invoked his Fifth Amendment rights and lawyered up, but was able to retire from the FBI and is presently working in the private sector.
So, back to Andrew McCarthy’s article about our two-tiered criminal justice system — in the case of Billy Walters, you have an FBI agent that committed numerous crimes while conducting a selectively motivated investigation of an American citizen. The U.S. Attorney at the time admits those crimes were committed, and a federal judge overseeing the case was so outraged at the conduct that he himself ordered an investigation to be conducted, and referred the matter to the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General.
What happened to Walters’ equal justice under the law? The judges continue to hold their collective noses, turn a blind eye to the government misconduct and tolerate the “ends justify the means” abuses by federal prosecutors and agents. As 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Dennis Jacobs said, “… the leak of the grand jury testimony is in some respects more egregious than anything Walters did ─ the FBI supervisor took an oath to uphold the law and was acting in a supervisory capacity to discharge an important public function.”
There is nothing worse in a republic such as ours, than the government that weaponizes its criminal justice system for selective and political purposes, and then breaks the law to enforce it, in an attempt to personally, professionally, and financially annihilate an American citizen.
That is what was done to Bill Walters. Today, he is rotting in prison, twenty-two months into his five-year term.
He spent more than $20 million in legal fees, never knowing that a corrupt system was rigged against him, and that he never had a shot in the first place. What does that mean for someone far less fortunate who doesn’t have the money to pay for their own defense team?
Unfortunately, most Americans would never know that they do not actually have the constitutional rights they think they have, unless they have the money to pay for them. In Billy Walters’ case, he was fortunate enough to have the funds to pay for his own defense but was doing so in a case with a dirty cop… a no-win situation.
Walters has paid out more than $45 million in restitution, fines, and penalties, as a result of this corrupt and tainted investigation and prosecution against him. Today, his health is failing and anyone that knows anything about the Federal Bureau of Prison, knows that their healthcare is so repugnant that it defies description. Five months ago, his 54-year-old daughter committed suicide, and today, his 51-year-old son, who suffers from serious mental health issues, is suffering with his absence.
How can this happen in the United States of America? What happened to Bill Walters should have never happened in the first place, but unfortunately, these corrupt prosecutions and abuses of power will continue to happen, and increasingly so, if something isn’t done to stop them.
If it can happen to Bill Walters and the President of the United States, it can and will happen to anyone, and until there is real accountability built into the system, it is never going to stop, and the country as we know it will never be the same.
As for McCarthy’s Equal Justice for All? Until there’s a change in the system, I would not bet on it!
As New York City’s 40th Police Commissioner, Bernard Kerik was in command of the NYPD on September 11, 2001, and responsible for the city’s response, rescue, recovery, and the investigative efforts of the most substantial terror attack in world history. His 35-year career has been recognized in more than 100 awards for meritorious and heroic service, including a presidential commendation for heroism by President Ronald Reagan, two Distinguished Service Awards from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, The Ellis Island Medal of Honor, and an appointment as Honorary Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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