Mainstream media has touted both men’s credentials, but there is a huge back-story they all ignore.
Mr. Weissmann’s real record as a “special prosecutor” is so egregious that Mr. Mueller’s decision to choose his former counsel Weissmann should cause concern for anyone with even a passing interest in truth and justice.
From a tough mob prosecutor in the Eastern District of New York United States Attorney’s Office (with former Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell), Mr. Weissmann became the first Deputy Director — and then Director — of the elite Enron Task Force, formed in 1991.
It dealt the death penalty to the venerable accounting firm of Arthur Andersen LLP, which employed 85,000 people world-wide and represented approximately 2500 publicly-traded companies. It even coerced a guilty plea out of Andersen partner David Duncan.
Three years later, a unanimous Supreme Court reversed the conviction. All the justices agreed that Andersen’s conduct was not a crime, and it was “shocking how little criminal culpability the jury instructions required.”
In plain English, Mr. Weissmann concocted a crime, destroyed a company and 85,000 jobs, spent millions of tax dollars, and obtained a wrongful conviction — all for nothing.
The prosecutors were so over-reaching that the judge even allowed Mr. Duncan to withdraw his guilty plea.
Weissmann ran the grand jury like a petty tyrant. He instructed one defendant (my client) — who had appeared voluntarily — to share his “personal understanding” of a telephone call he had not even participated in, “whether his understanding was accurate or not.” Then, Weissmann indicted him for perjury and obstruction of justice for his answer.
Determined to “send a message to Wall Street,” Weissmann supervised the prosecution of four Merrill Lynch executives on charges that were unprecedented.
Like a character from the TV series The Blacklist, Weissmann himself often made multiple phone calls to lawyers for potential defense witnesses, threatening the indictment of anyone who might testify for the defense — including in-house legal counsel.
To top it off, Weissmann and team actually yellow-highlighted evidence that was favorable to the defense before the Barge trial, but hid it for six years while four Merrill executives served a year in prison on an indictment that failed to allege a crime as charged.
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed 12 out of 14 counts of conviction, acquitted one defendant completely, and later held that the prosecutors “plainly suppressed evidence” favorable to the defense and provided misleading summaries instead.
Weissmann left the Enron Task Force amid escalating allegations of prosecutorial misconduct during the Enron Broadband case. No one seemed to notice what had happened to the victims, or that all of the cases they actually tried and at least two of the guilty pleas they coerced were reversed.
Not only has our Department of “Justice” failed to drain the swamp, it has just restocked it with a swamp-monster who has proven that he is willing to do anything to win. To paraphrase Billy Jack, “When [prosecutors] break the law, there is no law.”
Sidney Powell served in the Department of Justice for 10 years, in three federal districts under nine United States Attorneys from both political parties. She was lead counsel in more than 500 federal appeals. She is the author of Licensed to Lie: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice – a legal thriller that tells the inside story of high-profile prosecutions including Arthur Andersen LLP, the Ted Stevens case, and the Enron Barge case in which she represented one of the Merrill Lynch executives.