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ATTORNEY: “I’M NOW SCARED TO GO TO THE GRAND JURY”
by Sharon Rondeau
(Jul. 22, 2014) — On Monday evening, radio host Dr. Laurie Roth interviewed Atty. Van Irion, who represented CDR Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III (Ret.) on charges filed after Fitzpatrick attempted to bring evidence of criminality on the part of judges and other officials to his county grand jury.
Irion explained that Fitzpatrick’s complaint focused on the fact that the grand jury foreman is chosen by the criminal court judge from the community at large, which “eliminates the whole purpose of having a grand jury in the first place.” Instead of choosing the foreman from those selected randomly by Tennessee code, Irion said that the foreman is often a “friend” or “neighbor” of the judge. As a consequence, “the judge is basically able to control what happens on the grand jury,” Irion said.
Former McMinn County grand jury foreman Jeffrey Cunningham is a licensed attorney, active member of the Tennessee Bar Association, and said during testimony at Fitzpatrick’s pre-trial hearing that in December 2011, he had received a phone call from Judge Amy Reedy asking him, “Would you like to be my new grand jury foreman?”
After Cunningham resigned in early March, Reedy appointed Larry Wallace, who has 40 years’ experience in the area of law enforcement, which Irion had mentioned would give the foreman the ability to wield undue influence on the grand jurors, who might not have knowledge of laws governing juries.
“In Tennessee, we have a grand jury, and the laws in the state of Tennessee are set up in such a way that the jury members are randomly selected, but for many years now judges have been appointing grand jury foremen from the population at large: whoever they want, basically someone they know…It certainly allows judges to influence the grand jury…and that was his concern,” Irion said of Fitzpatrick’s numerous attempts to submit information to the grand jury.
Irion represented Fitzpatrick in another case in Monroe County which convicted him of “tampering with government records” after he removed what he believed was evidence which would be meaningful to the FBI in proving that a judge had hand-selected jurors in open court for the coming year. In the past, Special Agent Roxane West of the Knoxville FBI had told Fitzpatrick that the agency needed “a smoking gun” such as a recorded statement from a judge admitting that jurors are hand-selected. Fitzpatrick provided that as well after Judge J. Reed Dixon said “The judge picks the grand jury” in January 2012, but no action has been taken to the public’s knowledge.
Irion explained to Roth that Fitzpatrick had attempted to exercise his First Amendment right to expose corruption by taking documentary evidence to the county grand jury. However, on June 24, 2014, Fitzpatrick was convicted of “aggravated perjury” and “extortion,” at which Irion expressed amazement.
The Post & Email has called four of the 12 jurors to inquire as to how they reached their verdict but not reached any of them personally as of this writing.
Irion said that as a result of the verdicts against his client, he “is now afraid to go to the grand jury” himself or to encourage others to do so.
At 14:04, Irion said that the grand jury was meant to be a “check” against an overzealous government against the citizens, but with an overly-powerful foreman, it becomes wholly a tool of government. He said that various counties in the South use the court system to incarcerate people they “don’t like.”
Knowing that he was named in Fitzpatrick’s complaint, Cunningham had refused to step aside. Explaining the conflict of interest, Irion said of Cunningham, “He refused to allow CDR Fitzpatrick to go to the grand jury without the foreman being in the room. The foreman was the one Fitzpatrick was complaining about.”
Although Cunningham had resigned when Fitzpatrick was charged with extortion, harassment, stalking and aggravated perjury, Roth observed last Thursday that the case against Fitzpatrick appeared pre-planned. At the pre-trial hearing on June 16, one grand juror said that she had felt “intimidated” by information Cunningham had related about Fitzpatrick’s “history,” while another said that “a series of strokes” prevented her from recalling why she had voted to indict him.
“These are the kinds of charges that you use against a mob boss who’s breaking people’s kneecaps,” Irion told Roth.
As news of Fitzpatrick’s convictions has spread, dozens and possibly hundreds or more phone calls have been made to the office of Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood, who presided over the trial despite the fact that he was compromised. “The judge refused to dismiss the charges, which is the first thing that should have happened,” Irion said.
Sentencing is scheduled for August 19. Of the mainstream media’s reportage of Tennessee corruption and Fitzpatrick’s case specifically, Irion said that it is “not interested in this kind of a story.”
Irion said that the verdicts indicate that the government can prosecute and convict anyone it wants in a wanton abandon of constitutional restraint. “Now I know they have the power to do that whether it’s legal or not,” Irion said.
When Roth asked what people can do to prevent Fitzpatrick’s impending imprisonment, Irion said that he plans to appeal the verdicts if enough funds can be raised through the legal defense fund established through his office. “Tell your friends and neighbors, tell anyone you happen to know in the media; blog about it, talk about it…We gotta get the word out to the public about what’s going on,” Irion said.
Citizen researcher Linda Jordan also established a GoFundMe account for Fitzpatrick, all proceeds from which will be turned over to Irion.
McConnell added that “Last Friday I was standing by Karen and Billy Vaughn as we placed commemorative plates on his rolling tribute; a 1936 Studebaker,” in a reference to an event honoring the Vaughns’ son Aaron, who was killed in the helicopter crash in Afghanistan on August 6, 2011 known as “Extortion 17.” The crash killed 32 U.S. special operators under questionable conditions which McConnel said “is considered the worst loss of U.S Military life in a single incident in the Afghanistan campaign, surpassing Operation Red Wings in 2005.”
The Post & Email will be a guest on McConnell’s Abel Danger show on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. EDT.
On Tuesday afternoon, Post & Email reader Michael Jackson was interviewed by Dr. James David Manning of ATLAH.org and The Manning Report about Fitzpatrick’s quest for redress of grievances and the government’s retaliation against him.
Last Thursday, Roth hosted The Post & Email to introduce her audience to the latest actions against Fitzpatrick.
Irion described Fitzpatrick as “an incredible person” and a man who the government “is abusing” but “ought to be thanking for his service.” The Obama regime has shown itself as particularly unfriendly to military members and veterans, Irion noted. Veterans have been unjustly classified as “Sovereign Citizens,” which implies that they are “potential domestic terrorists,” according to Obama’s FBI.
In his interview with Manning, Jackson raised the December 2010 conviction and imprisonment of Dr. Terry Lakin, a former decorated U.S. Army Lt. Colonel who questioned Obama’s constitutional eligibility. After his chain of command and congressional delegation refused to answer his queries, Lakin stated that he could not follow orders which might violate his oath to the U.S. Constitution. He was subsequently was denied the opportunity to obtain discovery in his own defense on charges of “missing movement” and disobeying orders, then imprisoned at Ft. Leavenworth for five months and stripped of his career.
Fitzpatrick has similarly stated that he has challenged the judicially-appointed grand jury foremen in Tennessee because his oath to the Constitution requires it.
Manning plans on contacting Capt. Neil Turner and having Jackson return to the show on Wednesday to formulate a plan to overturn the verdicts against Fitzpatrick. Manning said he believes that Congress, the military and the courts should become engaged to overturn “the travesty going on with one of its soldiers.”
As to the significance of Fitzpatrick’s case, Irion told Roth, “If this man can be convicted for petitioning his government, then you can be charged and convicted for petitioning your government, and that means we’ve all lost our fundamental, constitutionally-protected right.” Roth compared Fitzpatrick’s case to Hitler’s government, which “redefined laws per the dictator’s agenda.” “This is a national emergency,” she said, later writing a widely-circulated editorial about it.
Both Manning and Irion said that “God” is the answer to the corruption rampant in America today.