On Tuesday July 26th, 2011, U.S. Attorney Steve Skrocki filed a brief in which he said attorneys should be barred from making comments beyond court materials that are in the public record. He took issue with comments by Coleman Barney's attorney Tim Dooley published in this News-Miner story on July 25th. Dooley said that he has not yet seen any compelling evidence against his client Coleman Barney in hours of secret recordings handed over to defense attorneys in anticipation of a trial in 2012. He also said he has not finished reviewing the evidence. Dooley also said that that one of the two informants, Gerald Olson, was the one who hatched the conspiracy, not the people charged; the other militia members discussed the plot only because they were shouting him down.
Steve Skrocki claims that these remarks are testimonial in nature, which could taint prospective jurors, and are based on an incomplete and selective review of the evidence. He also claims prosecutors are barred by ethics rules from directly redressing Dooley's remarks. In response, Dooley said prosecutors are merely trying to seek advantage, and explained that prosecutors had also engaged the press, in part by making exaggerations in court documents that were picked up in the media.
How it is possible to disparage the character of Gerald Olson any more than it already is seems quite difficult to fathom, considering that Olson, who faced several felony charges for defrauding customers of a septic tank business in two different cases spanning nine years, was permitted to plead guilty to second-degree theft, and will get probation only. The testimony of a "dirty" snitch cannot be taken at face value; he will say what the prosecution wants him to say. At least the other informant, William Fulton, has a comparatively clean criminal record.
Alaska Dispatch is also publishing a detailed two-part exposé on Gerald Olson; Part 1 is already available, and Part 2 is now available HERE. Those who are interested in more information about how Schaeffer Cox and his family are holding up can visit the following website:
Public Reaction: Alaskans are beginning to grow skeptical of all the federal overkill because of the unsavory character of one of the two informants and the stubborn refusal of federal prosecutors to consider bail, even though a state judge already approved $100,000 bail for Coleman Barney. Here's a sampling of pertinent comments from both the Anchorage Daily News and the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (after the jump):
alanobendico 4 hours ago (ADN):
Somehow I am not surprised. If you had been found guilty of a crime and Uncle Sam offered you to avoid jail time if you said what Uncle Sam wants you to say in court, what would you do? The character of an informant does count, and if the informant is a convicted criminal his testimony, in my book, would not be that credible. Furthermore, Olson was sentenced by a state judge for a crime against state statutes. How does the federal government have the authority to offer him deals and expect that a state judge let him walk? This is not to say that Cox is not guilty or guilty. It's up to the jury to decide that. But a verdict rendered based on the testimony of an informer "bought" with the remission of his jail time would not dispel the "shadow of a doubt," and I think that potential jurors should be aware of the deal struck by the feds. In this case, it's the feds that I would gag, not the defense attorney. If U.S. justice has come to this, there is no hope left for it.
patriot75 14 hours ago (ADN):
This is only the start of the goverments deceptions, they will do and say anything to win this case, as in other cases they will fabricate whatever evidence is needed to get there way. They will lie and cheat and if they are put in a corner they will kill any witness that contradicts there case. wait and see.
palmeranian 16 hours ago (ADN):
This Olson guy cheated a lot of people. In fact Maria Downey [KTUU co-anchor] did an expose of him before the cops even went after him. He is a known liar. No wonder they don't want the attorneys talking about him
AlaskanVeteran 16 hours ago (ADN):
The federal government's lawyers can release photos to the media of pistols with washing machine hoses attached and call them illegal silencers and make wild exaggerations that are prejudicial to the defendent, but when the defense attorney makes a public statement that question's the procesution's witness, he must be silenced.
That's the American "justice" system at work.
Pearl=W wrote on Wednesday, Jul 27 at 11:32 AM (News-Miner):
Seems like a pretty flimsy excuse for a gag-order to me, and I would hope the Judge denies it. Especially in light of all the verbage the Feds and State have released into the media-stream [based, it turns out, on at least one 'informant' who is guilty of fraud and deceit in many other instances], it appears to me that the prosecution is simply trying to ensure that they, and their 'version of events', retain a complete monopoly over information given to the public.
Flatus wrote on Wednesday, Jul 27 at 11:43 AM (News-Miner):
The state, all knowing and always in the right, must seek to weaken the defense, both in terms of its ability to represent and defend, and in access to the court of public opinion.
This is common of show trials worldwide. At Nuremberg, at The Hague, and in Moscow.
Crystal_Folgers wrote on Wednesday, Jul 27 at 12:54 PM (News-Miner):
Since March we've been hearing how dangerous these guys are. The attorney says one statement to the contrary and the Government wants a gag order? Everything we (public) know about this case is from the State. Hmm... I wonder why they are concerned. Perhaps it is not the slam dunk they are hoping for. So I can have at least some measure of confidence in my government, those recordings better be chalk full of stuff besides a government informant trying to incessantly coax these guys into being at the wrong place at the wrong time.