You Can't Trust the Message
How many people would put their trust in or rely on information provided by a person who they know is a liar, deceiver or possess a lengthy criminal record? We have all heard the cliché "You can't trust the message if you can't trust the messenger" and you would be hard-pressed to find anyone in the world who would disagree that this is a universal truth for the human race. However, in the American justice system, jurors routinely convict and imprison defendants based on lying testimony of witness' in criminal trials. It is understandable that jurors can discount lying testimony when there is other credible and objective evidence of guilt such as DNA, fingerprints, video, etc. But many cases, like the IRP6 case, are solely predicated on witness testimony and even when government witnesses are caught lying, deceiving or providing inconsistent statements, jurors still tend to return guilty verdicts. Why does this occur? Do juror's internally believe that a defendant is likely guilty because they were indicted and the government brought them to trial? Or do jurors get confused by legal procedure, jury instructions, or the vast amount of information presented at trial until they forget that a witness was caught lying and that their testimony can't and shouldn't be trusted? Every day in American courts people are being wrongfully convicted and imprisoned because jurors give credence to witnesses who either outright lie or have a long criminal history and untrustworthy reputation. This routinely happens in drug cases and also was prevalent in the IRP6 case.
Drug cases present an interesting picture of witness-based prosecutions where the success or failure of a drug conviction many times rest solely on whether a juror puts confidence in the credibility of a known criminal or informant with a long rap sheet or a colorful history of drug addiction. Federal prosecutors routinely use extortion as a means of gaining favorable testimony from witnesses, those with and without a criminal history, to force cooperation and plea bargains. Prosecutors use a plethora of extortion tactics including threats of abnormally long sentences, piling on extra charges, indicting family members and immunity. Few people are able to withstand such evil, torturous tactics and the government will do whatever is necessary to make good on these threats, even to breaking the law. A government witness or informant with a long history of crime or drug addiction obviously has little or no respect for the law and routinely lies and deceives to avoid being caught by law enforcement. But prosecutors incredibly march these law-breakers to the witness stand to testify, who then take an oath to tell the truth. What is more incredible is how jurors conclude that these witnesses have suddenly saw the light and the error of their ways and has unselfishly chosen a path of honesty and integrity and will truthfully provide testimony? Certainly, no juror could legitimately reason or plausibly argue that they would trust this person with anything or anybody in their life. Nor would any juror trust this person to sale them a car, date their child, or perform work as a contractor in their house. How then can jurors trust them to tell the truth and consider their testimony as credible evidence of guilt? Jurors who rely on the self-serving testimony of a criminal or drug addict to convict and imprison a defendant gives the government a pass on their required burden to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. It is reasonable to conclude that jurors must have believed from the outset that the accused were already guilty of the drug crime by the fact the government charged them and brought them to court. That is a sad commentary for American justice and completely debases the legal principle that the accused is considered innocent until proven guilty. Of course, not all witnesses have a criminal history or drug addiction, but are caught lying under oath during a criminal trial. Unfortunately for the IRP6, many jurors still trusted the message of these degenerates.
In the IRP6 case, government staffing witnesses did not have a known criminal history but that did not stop them from committing perjury. Court records show that staffing witnesses were repeatedly caught lying during cross-examination by the IRP6. But for some strange reason the jury still returned a guilty verdict when the success of the government's case rested entirely on whether government staffing witnesses told the truth. Jurors either ignored the testimony, were confused about the facts and evidence in the case, didn't take good notes, were overwhelmed by the number of witnesses or experienced sticker shock over the dollar amount ($5 million) of the alleged fraud. Whether it was one or more of those reasons, it is clear that jurors failed to consider or pay attention to the elephant in the room --- repeated lies and obfuscation by government staffing witnesses as the strings were being pulled by federal puppeteer's Assistant United States Attorney’s Matthew Kirsch and Suneeta Hazra. Why did jurors in the IRP6 case consciously or unconsciously suppress that innate realization that if you can't trust the message you can't trust the messenger? The IRP6 case was not complex at all.
Prosecutors were simply tasked with proving that IRP executives made material false or fraudulent statements to staffing company representatives that induced them into extending credit to the IRP Solutions Corporation for the payment of information technology contract employee wages for software development performed on IRP's CILC (Case Investigative Life Cycle) software solution. During direct examination by federal prosecutors, staffing company witnesses stated THEY made the decision to do business with IRP Solutions Corporation based on false statements from the IRP6 that the company had obtained a government contract with law enforcement agencies like the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and New York City Police Department (NYPD). But on cross-examination from myself, Gary Walker and others from the IRP6, almost all 20 staffing company witnesses testified that their credit department was solely responsible for making the decision to extend credit to IRP Solutions based on review of IRP Solutions Corporation's Dun & Bradstreet credit profile and credit and banking references provided by IRP executives. Additionally, some representatives admitted that they thought or assumed that IRP Solutions had a contract. So government witnesses were exposed before the jury as lying under oath when they testified that they were responsible for making the decision to extend credit to IRP Solutions which completely undermines and annihilates government allegations that these staffing company representatives were induced by any statement made by the IRP6.
In light of the witnesses’ lying statements, how did the jury use this testimony to ultimately convict the IRP6? The IRP6 did not verbally communicate with credit departments of staffing companies and the government presented no such evidence. The vast majority of communications with staffing company representatives were done via email. Those emails paint a different picture of what was actually said to the staffing company representatives but as you might expect, the government stayed away from those emails. Those documents show that Demetrius Harper and David Zirpolo stated to staffing company representatives that IRP was working on a project related to the NYPD. Other emails (authored by me) that I mentioned during my sentencing show that I stated that IRP, in essence, was "working to secure a contract" or trying to obtain a contract. There was never any mention whatsoever that IRP Solutions had obtained or was performing work under contract with DHS or NYPD. The IRP6 indictment also stated that I, and others of the IRP6, refused to return calls after ripping off the staffing companies. Trial transcripts substantiate that government staffing witnesses stated that they were able to reach the IRP6 concerning payment of debt.
Not only did the jury have to believe a false statement was made, they also had to determine if the false statement was material. For the false statement to be material, the law states that it must have "a natural tendency to influence, or [be] capable of influencing, the decision of the decision-making body to which it was addressed". In other words, the false statement must be made to the decision-making body at the staffing company and the false statement must be reasonable and capable enough to actually deceive the decision-maker into extending credit to IRP. Government staffing witnesses testified under oath that the credit department was the decision-making body at the staffing company responsible for approving credit to IRP Solutions. The IRP6 never verbally spoke with any credit department, which is the decision-making body. Therefore the alleged false statements could not have influenced the credit department to extend credit to IRP Solutions. Assuming the IRP6 made false statements to the credit department about having a government contract that statement would not have a tendency to influence or be capable of influencing any business to extend credit in today's world.
Businesses make decisions to extend credit based on creditworthiness by checking credit reports and references. Staffing companies made their determination to extend credit to IRP in the same way a business extends credit to you as an individual.
How many of you can actually contact a bank or finance company and make false statements that you have a job as a janitor that pays $500,000 per year and you would like them to extend credit for the purchase of a million dollar home? First, that statement would not be material and is not capable of deceiving the bank or finance company into extending credit because determinations are based on creditworthiness, not statements. Second, the bank will verify your job and income and then check your credit report to see if you have a positive credit history of paying bills. For some reason jurors did not see that this was a civil case about credit and debt. I also don't believe they fully understood the "materiality" element of mail and wire fraud that the government had to prove to gain a conviction. Furthermore, I don't believe they fully understood how the staffing industry worked and Judge Arguello's refusal to allow testimony of our expert witness Andrew Albarelle contributed to ignorance on the subject of materiality. I believe jurors simply saw that many of the staffing companies had not yet been paid and attributed that to the IRP6 being guilty. The original grand jury in the IRP6 case refused to issue an indictment, where a much lower standard of proof (probable cause) is required. A grand juror stated to the federal prosecutor:
"...but that is not a federal crime, is it? To that point, is there a federal crime? If I don't pay somebody for the work they've done, that's not a federal crime". FBI Special-Agent-in-Charge Richard C. Powers, who is the head of the Denver Division of the FBI agreed with first grand jury when he admitted that complaints against Demetrius Harper and his company "would best be handled civilly." On August 8, 2005 Powers sent a letter to Robert Grabowski, Vice President of Finance and Administration for Sunnyside Temps staffing agency, which stated the following:
"We regret to inform you that we are unable to assist you in this matter and therefore no investigation will be conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation...We feel this case would best be handled civilly, and have noted that you have initiated [civil] legal action against the company and Mr. Harper."
The IRP6 jury allowed the government to get away with turning debt into a crime which resulted in David Banks, Gary Walker, Clinton Stewart, David Zirpolo, Demetrius Harper and Kendrick Barnes being wrongly convicted and imprisoned. How could something like this happen?
A juror who A Just Cause spoke to after trial stated he did not understand the staffing industry but was overwhelmed by the sheer number of staffing company witnesses (20) the government put on the stand. Did the number of government witnesses, combined with the $5 million dollar amount of IRP’s alleged debt, shell shock jurors to the point that they presumed the IRP6 was definitely guilty and they really didn't pay close attention to the inconsistencies in the witnesses’ testimony? It would appear so. During jury selection we excused a juror who stated that she felt that we must be guilty of something or the government would not have brought the case to trial. How many other jurors in the IRP6 case and other criminal cases secretly hold this type of guilt-leaning prejudice that would require the defendant to overcome a presumption of guilt --- burdening the defendant to prove their innocence vice the government proving guilt? During deliberations, the jury asked whether the only evidence they could evaluate was in the jury room. This implies that the jury was looking for additional information; likely defense evidence that Judge Arguello blocked from going into the jury room. Maybe the jurors were trying to remember testimony of government witnesses. Courts are not legally required to tell jurors they have the option of requesting testimony of witnesses to be read back. Even though they can request to reread specific testimony, it is left up to the judge's discretion if they can have it.
In fact, the 10th Circuit disfavors the rereading of witness testimony. In the case of Brown v. Hanigan, U.S. App. LEXIS 31421 (10th Cir. 1998), the 10th Circuit stated that "rereading of witness testimony to the jury during deliberations is disfavored because the potential that the jury might unduly emphasize that evidence". It is a well-known fact that the jury has the responsibility to evaluate the facts and evidence presented in a trial and has the full authority to place whatever weight/emphasis on the evidence as they see fit, and that includes witness credibility. Any judge that would prohibit a rereading of witness testimony limits the jury's autonomy to thoroughly analyze the evidence and usurps the power and province of the jury to vote their conscience in deciding the guilt or innocence of the accused. We can't expect justice to be served when judges can subvert the law and exercise control of juries to view evidence presented at trial. Similarly, we cannot expect justice to be served and trust the credibility of our judicial officials when Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) Matthew Kirsch maliciously pursued prosecution to wrongly convict and imprison the IRP6. A newspaper article initiated by the government in the IRP6 case substantiates that Kirsch and the FBI had foreknowledge that IRP told staffing company's they were working to secure a contract with a law enforcement agency vice telling them they had a contract.
Prior to the FBI raid on IRP offices on February 9, 2005, someone from the FBI or U.S. Attorney's Office in Colorado contacted the Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph newspaper to leak information about the raid which I believe was an effort to injure or destroy IRP's business prospects with law enforcement. First, the article stated verbatim language from the search warrant affidavit which was still under court-ordered seal. Second, the article stated "The [staffing] agencies were told that temporary labor was needed to develop software that WOULD BE SOLD to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, The Department of Homeland Defense, the New York Police Department and other agencies". This is an implicit admission by AUSA Kirsch and the FBI that staffing company representatives confirmed prior to the raid that IRP executives had told them they were working to sell their CILC software. It is inconceivable that the Gazette newspaper reporter would arbitrarily use the language "would be sold" unless the government provided them that information. This is further substantiated in an affidavit from retired Immigration and Customs Enforcement Special Agent-in-Charge Gary Hillbarry, who prior to the raid stated he believed IRP Solutions would gain a government contract. Hillbarry was an independent contractor working as a subject-matter expert responsible for assisting IRP with understanding the full-scope of federal investigative processes and procedures. Hillbarry worked with two other retired federal agents from the FBI, John Epke and Dwayne Fuselier who were also independent contractors with IRP. Hillbarry, Epke, and Fuselier signed independent contractor agreements to be paid upon the sale of the CILC software. Kirsch and the FBI were fully aware of these facts prior to raiding IRP. How can the public trust in the credibility of Kirsch, U.S. Attorney John Walsh and the FBI's office in Denver when these officials choose to pursue an illegitimate prosecution to imprison the IRP6.
There is something desperately wrong with the U.S. justice system when jurors convict the accused on lying and disreputable witness testimony. Similarly we cannot have confidence in American justice when federal investigators and prosecutors maliciously indict and pursue illegitimate investigations and prosecutions with foreknowledge of innocence and choose to build a case based on lies and deceit. Many people just don't get it! Our family, friends and neighbors are losing their lives and freedom for no good or justifiable reason. Much of the American public has been brainwashed and mentally conditioned through the media inundating us with messages from government officials that the U.S. justice system is the best in the world and that we should respect all jury verdicts even if we think they are wrong. The IRP6 found out firsthand that those messages can't be trusted, therefore we can't trust the messenger. Jurors need to stop trusting the messages of lying witnesses, just because they are on the government's team, and juries need to hold prosecutors to a higher standard to present credible witnesses with no criminal history, drug addiction or self-serving motivation to testify after receiving a government bribe of immunity or reduced sentence. The facts in the IRP6 case are a matter of public record and are available for all to see, with the exception of 200 pages of court transcripts that Kirsch, Walsh, AUSA Michael Johnson and federal judge Christine M. Arguello conceal from the public through lies and deceit. The IRP6 case paints a very ugly but true picture of our justice system and the ignominious acts by law enforcement, federal prosecutors and corrupt judges. Don't take my word for it, go to www.freetheirp6.org and www.a-justcause.com to learn more through the viewing of court records and other documents. You will find that you can trust my message and you can't trust the government's.