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SECOND “BATTLE OF ATHENS” INVOLVES CROOKED JUDGES, PROSECUTORS, JURORS
by Sharon Rondeau
(Jul. 23, 2014) — On Wednesday, this writer was a guest on the Abel Danger radio show to discuss the impending sentencing and imprisonment of CDR Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III (Ret.), who was convicted of “aggravated perjury” and “extortion” on June 24 by a jury which clearly should have voted for acquittal on all counts.
Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood, the grand jurors who testified, the accuser, and the prosecutor invented a case against Fitzpatrick in retaliation for his attempting to take evidence of their criminality to the McMinn County, TN grand jury in March.
Fitzpatrick had wanted to tell the grand jurors, whose task it is to review evidence of crime within the community to decide whether or not it meets the standard of probable cause, that their foreman, lawyer and bank CEO Jeffrey Cunningham was not empaneled according to state law, having been personally selected by Judge Amy Reedy and serving his third term in that capacity.
Cunningham’s testimony during the trial confirmed that he had received a friendly telephone call in late 2011 from Reedy asking him to serve as her “next grand jury foreman.”
While Criminal Court rules allow the judge to choose the foreman, Rule 6(g)(2) states that the foreman “must possess all the qualifications of a juror.” State law mandates that no juror may serve consecutive terms anywhere in the state. However, many grand jury foremen, including some appointed by Blackwood dating back to at least 1980, serve for decades, becoming an advocate to the judge.
Fitzpatrick’s attorney, Van Irion, asserted on The Roth Show on Monday night that a judicially-selected foreman wields undue influence over the grand jurors, who may not be familiar with aspects of the laws governing their responsibilities or the intentions of the Fifth Amendment, where the grand jury is specifically mentioned.
Wednesday’s show was broadcast on YouTube because of technical difficulties with live streaming.
Also on Wednesday, Capt. Neil Turner, citizen activist Michael Jackson, and this writer were guests on The Manning Report with Dr. James David Manning to discuss the verdicts against Fitzpatrick and the lawlessness of Tennessee courts in general. Manning plans to contact a national organizer for Overpasses for Obama’s Impeachment, where signs supportive of Fitzpatrick’s exoneration could be incorporated. Turner began a campaign last week calling for “three minutes and three calls” to be made to the House and Senate Judiciary Committees and Blackwood’s office, respectively. His “Call to Action” is now posted at The Manning Report.
Jackson and Turner were Manning’s guests on Tuesday also.
Many citizens who have made calls have reported a variety of responses from judiciary committee staffers, but nearly all have said that when calling Blackwood’s office, they reached an answering machine. Two weeks ago, a receptionist was answering Blackwood’s phone.
One person said that a congressional staffer hung up on him as he was explaining Fitzpatrick’s wrongful conviction.
Blackwood was asked to recuse himself from hearing Fitzpatrick’s case for a conflict of interest but refused. He also insisted that the Tenth Judicial District could prosecute the case without prejudice, although Irion contended that it had launched a “vindictive prosecution” against his client for exposing the corruption within the grand jury.
Judicial corruption, racketeering, civil rights and constitutional violations have recently been reported in writing to FBI Director James B. Comey. While the FBI has conducted at least two formal investigations resulting in arrests in eastern Tennessee over the last decade, to date it appears reluctant or disengaged from the corruption in the Tenth Judicial District, which comprises McMinn, Monroe, Polk and Bradley Counties.
Of the fallout from the manipulated grand jury, prosecutor and judge, Irion told Roth on her radio show that the First Amendment‘s provision for a citizen to petition his government for a redress of grievances has now been criminalized. “I’m now afraid to go to the grand jury,” Irion said.
Abel Danger host Col. Field McConnell (Ret.) is an intelligence and aviation specialist. He plans on traveling to Athens, TN in McMinn County to spend time with Fitzpatrick prior to his sentencing on August 19. “They’re not going to want to see me there,” McConnell said of the McMinn County locals. He said he will walk in to the courtroom “in a supporting role” with Fitzpatrick and stand “shoulder-to-shoulder” with him if and until Fitzpatrick is taken into custody.
Manning expressed enthusiasm for The Post & Email’s idea to organize a rally in Nashville, TN outside of the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC), where Blackwood’s office and those of the members of the state Supreme Court are located.
Before Fitzpatrick’s trial began, The Post & Email contacted Michele Wojciechowski, Director of Communications for the AOC, who promised to research the issues we raised with long-serving grand jury foremen and establish a time for a telephone conference. After we sent her recordings of Fitzpatrick’s trial during which the alleged accuser, Cunningham, denied having accused Fitzpatrick of anything and affirmed to Irion that nothing Fitzpatrick had submitted to the grand jury was, in fact, perjurious, Wojciechowski said she would “not have time to listen to the recordings” and never got back in touch with us about a meeting.
Whether coincidental or not, more writers are relating stories about McMinn County, TN involving growth in the government’s power and the militarization of the county’s police force. Neighboring Monroe County is known for its police brutality, including an attack launched against Fitzpatrick wherein his ribs were bruised, shoulder injured, body tasered multiple times and his left ear nearly torn off after his door was broken down by four Monroe County sheriff’s deputies in October 2010 after Blackwood issued a bench warrant, claiming that Fitzpatrick had missed a hearing regarding his attorney of record.
The local media has shown no interest in Fitzpatrick’s side of the case and routinely does not question the government. Prosecutors and judges wield inordinate power not conceived in the Tennessee or U.S. Constitutions, and the state attorney general has described the Tenth Judicial District’s former chief prosecutor, R. Steven Bebb, as “answerable to no one.”
Other defendants in the Tenth District have alleged wrongdoing on the part of grand jury foremen and prosecutor’s office employees.