Freedom of the Press #4
Outpost of Freedom
January 12, 2017
I got a call from FBI Special Agent Matthew Catalano, earlier today, January 11, 2017. He told me that he had an Order to serve. We made the same arrangements to meet at the restaurant in Los Molinos. The restaurant only serves breakfast and lunch, so it was closed, but I figured that this wouldn’t take very long.
I arrived at about 4:15 pm, and he said that he had to serve me. He handed me the Order, I looked at it and said, “I refuse this service, it is for the District of Oregon, and I am not within that jurisdiction.” I held the paperwork out toward him, but he did not take it, so, I said, “I will keep this, but I want you to tell Judge Anna Brown that I refuse service, as I am not subject to the Oregon District’s jurisdiction.” He agreed to convey the message, and then he proceeded to read certain portions of the Order to me. When he was finished, I reminded him that I wanted Brown to receive my message, and he assured me that he would pass it on. I feel certain that he will. After all, that is his job. We shook hands, and we departed.
Though I had already received two copies of the Order from other sources, I hadn’t read it. The news traveled so rapidly that my phone was in near constant use. However, between calls, I read portions of the Order. As I did so, a smile crept across my face. Now, you may wonder why I would smile after receiving the Order, but my first thought was that Judge Brown had not had an opportunity to read my article, that had gone out just a few hours before. The Order had been docketed, and I received copies just minutes after posting my article. Judge Brown had not had the opportunity to read my response to the Memorandum that had refuted most, if not all, of what she was provided by the US Attorney in the form of the Memorandum to prepare the Order.
Quite frankly, when Brown filed the Minute Order (See Freedom of the Press Update – A Grateful Thank You), there were two possibilities. First, that she really was holding the government’s feet to the fire, seeking real legal justification for issuing an Order. The other, that she simply wanted the government to give her the paperwork she needed, in the form of a Memorandum, to provide justification to issue such an Order. I decided to act on the former. I had said many things about Anna Brown in the past, few of them complimentary, but if she had turned to the right side, she was deserving of the benefit of the doubt. Her actions, in the past, had been nigh onto dictatorial, and had no foundation in law or justice.
So, let’s look at her Order, and I will comment, as we go. It is dated January 11, 2017.
This matter comes before the Court on the government’s Motion (#1680) to Enforce Protective Order in which the government seeks to enjoin a third party, Gary Hunt, from further dissemination of discovery materials that are protected by the Court’s Protective Order (#342) issued March 24, 2016.
Through the Affidavits (#1681, #1690) of FBI Special Agent Ronnie Walker, the government asserts Hunt published excerpts from protected discovery materials on his website beginning on November 15, 2016, and continuing through the present. In particular, the government contends the postings on Hunt’s website identify some of the confidential human sources (CHSs) that the government used during the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. This information is not only protected by the Protective Order (#342), but the Court also found in its Order (#1453) issued October 18, 2016, that the government had provided to Defendants all information regarding CHSs that was relevant and helpful to the defense and, in particular, that the government was not obligated to disclose to Defendants the identities of the CHSs. Thus, the information in Hunt’s postings should not be publicly available.
Well, that is cute. Have I not said, from the beginning, that I was not subject to the Protective Order? Now, she says that the “information is protected by the Protective Order.” That means that those subject to the Protective Order have an obligation to protect the information. She is right in line with my thinking. But, that will change a little later.
Then, she finds that “the government had provided to Defendants all information regarding CHSs that was relevant and helpful to the defense.” That information was relayed to the defense on October 18, about ten days before the jury returned the not guilty verdict. She also stated, “that the government was not obligated to disclose to Defendants the identities of the CHSs.”
So, let’s get real. The government gave out redacted copies of the 1023 forms. The defense could not call any witnesses who had been informants. Obviously the information the government, and Judge Anna Brown, were willing to allow the defense to have was totally insufficient for them to prepare their defenses, especially with regard to possible exculpatory testimony those informants might have provided. The Judge, well let’s just go with Brown, from this point on, disregarded the fact that two of the government’s informants testified. Terri Linnell came forward voluntarily, against the wishes of the Prosecution, and testified for the defense. A diligent effort by the defense teams in tracking down Fabio Monoggio, another informant, whose testimony also was beneficial to the defense. Both gave testimony, which may well have turned the tide on the jury’s verdict. This testimony would have been denied the defense under the enforcement of the Protective Order and the subsequent statement on October 18.
This is absolutely contrary to the right protected by the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution, which says that the accused has the right, “to be confronted by the witnesses against him“. Now, some have claimed that informants, unless they testify, are not witness. However, that is not what the Protective Order (March 24, 2016) says. That Protective Order clearly states what the prohibitions are, to wit:
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that this Protective Order applies only to:
(1) Statements by witnesses and defendants to government officials;
(2) Sealed documents; and
(3) Evidence received from searches of electronic media.
Now, there are only two human objects in the Protective Order. It applies to “witnesses” and “defendants”. Well, I am not exposing defendants, so if the informants are not witnesses, then I am not in violation of the Protective Order. Ergo, the informants are witnesses, so saith Brown.
Therefore, Brown has denied the constitutionally protected right of the defendants to confront those witnesses.
The record reflects FBI Special Agent Matthew Catalano met Hunt, who resides in Los Molinos, California, on January 5, 2017, and personally served him with a cease-and-desist letter from the government that demanded Hunt remove all discovery materials from his website. Special Agent Catalano also provided Hunt with a copy of this Court’s Protective Order (#342). According to SA Walker, Hunt stated he did not intend to comply with the cease- and-desist letter and did not believe that the Protective Order applied to him. It appears Hunt has not removed the protected discovery materials from his website.
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