No Justice for the Fat Leonard Four
to what end all the billable hours, but the billable hours
Let’s back up to the start of the month to a topic … well … are we all just numb to it now?
Francis was arrested in a San Diego hotel in September 2013 as part of a federal sting. Investigators say he and his company, Glenn Defense Marine Asia, bribed officers so he could overcharge for supplying ships or charge for fake services at ports he controlled in Southeast Asia.
A decade ago. He was arrested a decade ago.
Six years ago. We could have fought WWII about 1.75 times.
They were charged for events dating back to 2006 or so - 17 years ago at the most. This is like taking someone to court in 1945 from an indictment in 1939 from being accused for a crime in 1928.
Think about that. Think about that real hard.
The felony convictions of four former Navy officers in one of the worst bribery cases in the maritime branch's history were vacated Wednesday due to questions about prosecutorial misconduct, the latest setback to the government's years-long efforts in going after dozens of military officials tied to Leonard Francis, a defense contractor nicknamed "Fat Leonard."
U.S. District Judge Janis Sammartino called the misconduct "outrageous" and agreed to allow the four men to plead guilty to a misdemeanor and pay a $100 fine each.
The surprising turn in the case came at a sentencing hearing in federal court in San Diego.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter Ko, who was brought on after the defendants were tried last year, admitted to "serious issues" with prosecutorial misconduct and asked the judge to vacate the officers' felony convictions.
He said his office does not agree with all of the allegations but said errors were made.
Errors were made?
The four officers mentioned in here probably represent over a century of service to their nation … but even if they didn’t serve single day, no citizen should be treated like this by any system that pretends to be about justice.
Most of you know someone in your life who has been under the shadow of being in court - on being on the receiving end of the immeasurable power of the US Government when they decide they are coming after you.
Put to the side careers - just to hold on to one’s liberty, entire life savings are spent on the billable hours of attorneys. Children grow up under the very public trauma of their father being disgraced and seen as a criminal or worse. Stresses at best severely warp marriages and families run through grossly distorted survival exercises; at worse destroy them.
Friends, social lives, hope for the future … all put on hold. Some lost never to be regained. Friends are discovered to have never been friends. Support structures evaporate under shadow.
Dragged on and on an on and on. That is not justice. It is something, but not justice.
Where do you get your children’s lost childhood back? Your good name? Your financial security? Your now tattered fabric of a life you built?
“Errors were made.”
The officers —former Capts. David Newland, James Dolan and David Lausman and former Cmdr. Mario Herrera— were previously convicted by a federal jury on various counts of accepting bribes from Francis, a foreign defense contractor, and his company, Glenn Defense Marine Asia, or GDMA.
On Wednesday, three of them pleaded guilty to one count each of disclosing information, and Lausman pleaded guilty to a charge of destruction of government property, for smashing a hard drive with a hammer.
Every American - and especially anyone who has served - needs to look very close at this timeline. Look at the system of justice you think you live under. Look at the government that in theory is of, by, and for the people.
Oh, and the center of this all?
Three weeks before the Malaysian defense contractor faced sentencing last year, Francis made a stunning escape, snipping off his ankle monitor and fleeing the San Diego residence where he had been under house arrest.
The escape was also seen by some as a misstep by the prosecution for allowing him to not be held behind bars. He was later captured in Venezuela, where he remains.
Where is the accountability … not for those who were or were not involved with Leonard … but who were responsible for this farcical and disgusting administration of what is referred to as “justice?”