LICENSED to LIE: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice

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    A tragic suicide, a likely murder, wrongful imprisonment, and gripping courtroom scenes draw readers into this compelling story giving them a frightening perspective on justice corrupted and who should be accountable when evidence is withheld.

    Licensed to Lie: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice is the true story of the strong-arm, illegal, and unethical tactics used by headline-grabbing federal prosecutors in their narcissistic pursuit of power.

    AUDIO INTERVIEW & ARTICLE: Former Federal Prosecutor Reveals DoJ Corruption in New Book

    Its scope reaches from the U.S. Department of Justice to the U.S. Senate, the FBI, and the White House. This true story is a scathing attack on corrupt prosecutors, the judges who turned a blind eye to these injustices, and the president who has promoted them to powerful political positions.

    Hardcover, 416 pages


    Chapter 1: The Ultimate Toll

    Chapter 2: The Dangerous Fuel of Public Outrage

    Chapter 3: The Task Force Annihilates Arthur Andersen

    Chapter 4: Wanna Buy a Barge?

    Chapter 5: Nailing the Coffins

    Chapter 6: Facing the Firing Squad

    Chapter 7: Supreme Reversals

    Chapter 8: The Longest Year

    Chapter 9: BOHICA

    Chapter 10: More Surprises

    Chapter 11: The Department of Injustice: Polar Pen Melts

    Chapter 12: The Mother of All Hearings

    Chapter 13: Move Over, DOJ: There’s a New Sheriff in Town

    Chapter 14: Another Try

    Chapter 15: The Big Oops

    Chapter 16: Truth Be Told

    Chapter 17: The Beginning of the End

    Chapter 18: The End of the Beginning

    Chapter 19: The Last Chance

    Chapter 20: Inside the Department of Injustice: The Calculated Corruption of Justice

    Chapter 21: BOHICA? Or Just Over?

    Chapter 22: The Bar at Its Lowest and Epilogue

    Excerpt from the Foreword

    We Americans are extremely proud of our criminal justice system. We believe it to be the best and fairest in the world, and in many ways it is. We guarantee every criminal defendant an impartial judge, a fair jury and a defense lawyer—at public expense for the many who can't afford one. The prosecution must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and must do so in a speedy public trial. The prosecution must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt and must do so in a speedy public trial and we have a variety of rules governing the collection and presentation of evidence, all designed to ensure that justice is done in every case. But the system only work if the participants follow the rules.

    Prosecutors have a particularly strong duty to act fairly because, as the Supreme Court has explained, they are the representatives "not of an ordinary party to controversy, but of a sovereignty whose obligation to govern impartially is as compelling as its obligation to govern at all; and whose interest, therefore, in a criminal prosecution is not that it shall win a case, but that justice shall be done." In the words of fabled defense lawyer Brendan Sullivan. "[i]f the government is not honest it can trump even the best efforts of those of us who work in system."

    Sullivan uttered those words in the case against former Senator Ted Stevens, who was convicted after federal prosecutors concealed evidence favorable to the defense and lied about it in court. The conviction was vacated once the government's deception was revealed, but this occurred long after Stevens had lost an election—ending a 40 year career and changing the balance of power in the Senate—as a direct result of the wrongful conviction.

    The Stevens case is just one of several high-profile criminal prosecutions engineered by a small cadre of high-ranking United States Department of Justice lawyers. Most of the convictions obtained by the government have been set aside, but not before wasting countless millions of taxpayer dollars and wrecking havoc on the lives and businesses of those charged with federal crimes. The venerable accounting firm of Arthur Andersen was destroyed by prosecutorial decision to charge the firm, not merely individual partners, with criminal conduct. While the Supreme Court eventually held that the "crime" of which Anderson was no crime at all—in other words, that Andersen had acted lawfully—the exoneration came too late to save the business or the 85,000 jobs provided in its various offices world-wide. Other defendants were exonerated after spending time behind bars for conduct that turned out to be entirely lawful.

    The Center for Prosecutor Integrity lists the following as some of the most serious types of prosecutorial misconduct:

    -Charging a suspect with more offenses than is warranted

    -Withholding or delaying the release of exculpatory evidence

    -Deliberately mishandling, mistreating, or destroying evidence

    -Allowing witnesses they know or should know are not truthful to testify

    -Pressure defense witnesses not to testify

    -Relying on fraudulent forensic experts

    -During plea negotiations, overstating strength of the evidence

    -Making statements to the media that are designed to arouse public indignation

    -Making improper or misleading statements to the jury

    -Failing to report prosecutor misconduct when it is discovered.

    And why do prosecutors engaging misconduct? The Center provides an answer:

    "Prosecutors are subject to variety of powerful incentives that serve to reward zealous advocacy: the gratitude of victims, favorable media coverage, career promotions, appointment to judgeships, and allure of high political office."

    Much of this behavior is illustrated in the pages of this book, and requires no elaboration. However two items on the Center for Prosecutor Integrity's list merit a few additional words, as their significance may not be immediately apparent to readers unfamiliar with the criminal justice process.

    The first is the growing practice of over-charging, particularly with crimes of dubious validity. One of the bedrock principles of our criminal law is that citizens are entitled to fair notice of what is criminal and what is legal. People can then avoid prosecution but engaging in lawful activities. The right to do what the law does not prohibit, without fear of harassment or punishment, is one of the hallmarks of a free society. One of the fundamental responsibilities of a prosecutor is to charge defendants only with conduct that is clearly criminal, and yet time and again in these high-profile prosecutions, the United States. Department of Justice charged multiple defendants with crimes that simply weren't crimes. In addition to the so-called crime that destroyed Arthur Andersen, the Supreme Court held in rapid succession that the government had obtained convictions in three other cases where the charged contact wasn't criminal. Nevertheless, the government insisted-and the judges supinely agreed-that defendants must start serving their time behind bars even as their challenges to their convictions upon these alleged violations would be considered on appeal.

    Another important responsibility of prosecutors is to disclose to the defense any exculpatory information of which the government is aware. The Supreme Court announced this as a constitutional requirement in the 1963 case of Brady v. Maryland, and it has confirmed underlying principles many times since. It may not be obvious to the lay reader why the government must provide the defendant with evidence that may undermine the prosecution, so it's worth a brief explanation. Most fundamental is the fact that the government is not an ordinary litigant whose interest lies in winning at all costs. Rather, the government's legitimate interest lies in convicting only those defendants were proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If the government has evidence that casts doubt on the defendant's guilt, it has every interest in producing that evidence for the jury to consider in reaching its decision. As the Supreme Court noted in Brady, "[a]n inscription on the walls of the Department of Justice states the proposition candidly for the federal domain: "The United States wins its point whenever justice is done its citizens in the court."

    “This book should serve as the beginning of a serious conversation about whether our criminal justice system continues to live up to its vaunted reputation. As citizens of a free society, we all have an important stake in making sure that it does.”- From the Foreword by Alex Kozinski, Chief Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in his personal capacity

    “It would be malpractice to litigate against the Department of Justice without reading this book.” Brendan V. Sullivan, Jr. Williams & Connolly

    “This book reads like a cross between investigative journalism and courtroom drama.” – William Hodes, Professor of Law, and Coauthor, The Law of Lawyering

    “That our government is corrupt is the only conclusion. This book helps the people understand the nature of this corruption—and how it is possible for federal prosecutors to indict and convict the innocent rather than the guilty. Every business person– and anyone– who values freedom should read and heed the warnings of this compelling work.” - Victor Sperandeo, CEO & author – Trader Vic: Methods of A Wall Street Master

    “When you’ve finished reading this fast-paced thriller you will want to stand up and applaud Powell’s courage in daring to shine light into the darkest recesses of America’s justice system. The only ax Powell grinds here is Truth.” - Patricia Falvey, Author of The Yellow House

    “As a prosecutor for over 29 years in the state courts of Texas, I am aware of both the possibilities for unfairness to the accused, and of the pressures on some prosecutors to win cases. Sidney is able to articulate these issues in telling the stories within Licensed to Lie, and she holds up a clear moral and legal compass to point us all toward prosecution according to law and the facts.” - Jane Davis, former lead prosecutor, District Courts, Bexar County, Texas

    Sidney Powell served in the Department of Justice for ten years in Texas and Virginia and has devoted her private practice to federal appeals for the past twenty years. She was the youngest Assistant United States Attorney in the country when she was appointed. Later, she became Chief of the Appellate Section for the Western and Northern Districts of Texas. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers and served as its President. Recognized by her peers as a “Super Lawyer” and named as one of the “Best Lawyers in America” for years, she has been lead counsel in more than 500 appeals in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, resulting in more than 180 published opinions, and was President of the Bar Association of the Fifth Federal Circuit. Powell’s briefs have long been featured as samples for practitioners.

    In Licensed to Lie, Powell leads readers through the disturbing events, missteps, cover-ups, malfeasance, and corruption of justice that have caused her to question the system she has been committed to for over thirty years. With the narrative style of a legal thriller, this true story captures the drama of the law, the real human costs and consequences of the corruption of justice, and cautions for anyone facing the Department of Injustice.



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