Monday, November 13, 2017

The Political Prosecution of Paul Benton Weeks: Missouri lawyer, who helped reveal corruption involving Judge Mark Fuller in the Don Siegelman prosecution, faces dubious criminal charges of his own


Paul Weeks and son
A Midwestern attorney, whose persistent digging unearthed corruption at the heart of the Don Siegelman prosecution in Alabama, now faces an apparent political prosecution of his own.

Paul Benton Weeks, of Springfield, MO, is charged with securities fraud in a case that two Missouri officials sat on for almost three years, apparently so they could time the announcement to boost their runs for higher public office. Is that a sign the case -- styled State of Missouri v. Paul Benton Weeks (Case No. 1431-CRO7040-01, Greene County) -- has been brought for reasons that have nothing to do with facts or law?

A newly released Judicial Integrity Report (JIR), which is available in both hard-copy form and via a link at judicial-integrity.report, suggests the answer is yes. In fact, JIR lays out more than a half dozen grounds that show the Weeks prosecution has no basis in law or fact -- and that almost certainly means it is a political prosecution. One of the most damning grounds pointing to prosecutorial chicanery is rooted deep in the heart of Alabama -- and the Don Siegelman case.

Two conservative Missouri Democrats -- then-Attorney General Chris Koster and then-Secretary of State Jason Kander -- apparently concocted the Weeks criminal charges to further their political ambitions and to help retaliate against Weeks for his efforts to shine light on government abuses.

The securities-fraud charge grew from a 2009 private-loan transaction between Weeks and a personal acquaintance. Weeks borrowed $200,000, signing and delivering to the private lender a personal promissory note. Over the next two years, Weeks incurred severe financial losses in the stock market and could not repay the note on schedule. The controversy became multi-layered, as the JIR describes:

In the meantime, Weeks discovered that the lender and another person had caused Weeks to lose a substantial amount of money from an estate in which Weeks had an expectancy interest. As a result, Weeks contends he has a legal right to a substantial monetary "offset" against the lender, in an amount that could easily exceed his promissory note obligation to the lender. If so, Weeks may not owe the alleged victim anything, unless and until the offset issue is resolved.

This sounds like a classic civil dispute. But it apparently was ripe for political opportunism, turning it into a criminal and regulatory matter. The transaction occurred in 2009, but Koster (the attorney general) waited until Christmas Eve 2014 to bring criminal charges against Weeks. Why? The JIR explains:

It is a political catechism in Missouri that to win statewide elections . . .  Democrats (such as Koster and Kander) need to pull votes out of the Springfield and southwest Missouri areas, which are traditionally Republican. . . . Koster's prosecution of Weeks over the Christmas holidays generated a lot of free publicity for Koster, who was already committed to running for governor (and by then, had already raised several million dollars to do so.) So, it's clear that Koster used the filing of his criminal prosecution against Paul Weeks, in southwest Missouri, just before 2015 when the campaign would be in full swing, for the purpose of generating a lot of free and favorable publicity for Koster's next election campaign.

Three weeks later (in mid January 2015), apparently with the same idea in mind, Kander (the secretary of state and head of Missouri's Securities Division) brought a regulatory enforcement action against Weeks. As Koster had done three weeks earlier, Kander touted his action to the Springfield-area media, stating that he had nailed a Springfield attorney and "stopped an investment scam." Was that true? The JIR thinks not:

In truth, Kander didn't stop anything; the transaction at issue was a 2009 personal-loan transaction -- and Kander didn't do anything until 2015. Yet, Jason Kander bragged to media outlets and on social media that, in January 2015, he just "stopped" a so-called "scam" that was based on a personal-loan transaction way back in 2009.

Less than a month later, Kander announced he was running against incumbent Roy Blunt (R-MO) for a seat in the U.S. Senate. As for Koster, his run for governor pitted him against Republican newcomer Eric Greitens. Both Koster and Kander lost, indicating their publicity efforts on the Weeks case failed to have much impact on voters in a GOP stronghold.

Weeks, however, still is having to fight for his freedom. Is that because ruling elites in Missouri (and perhaps Alabama) want to extract payback for Weeks' activities as a hard-nosed, accurate whistle blower on issues of statewide and national interest?  The answer appears to be yes. To be sure, Weeks has not been shy about alerting the public to official corruption. These cases include:

(1) The Mark Fuller affidavit -- In 2003, Weeks filed a deeply researched affidavit showing U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller, while serving as a district attorney in south Alabama, conspired with a staffer in a scheme to defraud the Retirement System of Alabama (RSA) out of more than $330,000. The scheme was designed to cover up the fact that Fuller spent much of his time in Colorado Springs, CO, in his role as president of Doss Aviation, a military contracting company that feasted on hundreds of millions of dollars in government business. After President George W. Bush appointed Fuller to a federal judgeship, Gov. Don Siegelman appointed a successor, whose investigation unearthed rampant corruption in the DA's office on Fuller's watch. This generated animus toward Siegelman that should have forced Fuller's recusal from the Siegelman prosecution. Instead, Fuller made a string of unlawful rulings that led to convictions for Siegelman and co-defendant Richard Scrushy.

(2) A Kansas City lawyer with dark secrets in his past -- Several years ago, Weeks became aware that one of Missouri's most powerful lawyers had drugged already intoxicated college boys, and then engaged in criminal sexual acts with them while they were unconscious. The powerful lawyer has ties to the Missouri Attorney General's Office, and he apparently knows that Weeks suspects him of engaging in shocking criminal acts.

(3) The theft of $350 million from a Missouri education-loan program -- In 2006, Weeks spoke out about Missouri politicians he says were scheming to misappropriate hundreds of millions of dollars from the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority (MOHELA). The plan reportedly was to steal money from MOHELA and use it for public-works projects.

(4) Killing prisoners by unlawful means -- Weeks became aware in 2014 that the AG's office was using compounded pentobarbital, an unlawful chemical that generally is limited to use as an agent to euthanize animals, to execute prisoners. Weeks alerted associates that the AG's office was killing prisoners by "unlawful means," which matches the legal definition of murder.

(5) A Missouri judge commits fraud on the court -- In 2000, Weeks alleged that Peter Rea, a judge in Taney County, filed a baseless lawsuit in an effort to steal a widow's farm. A trial court imposed punitive sanctions against Rea, and those were upheld on appeal.

Has Paul Weeks made enemies during his career as a lawyer? The answer obviously is yes. Is the criminal charge against him grounded in law and fact? The answer is no, and we will show just how weak it is in an upcoming post.

(To be continued)

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Having your life ruined if you expose corrupt a-holes . . . that's the American way.

Anonymous said...

Judge Fuller's wife-beating activities helped prove that Paul Weeks was a prophet.

Anonymous said...

"You don't tug on Superman's cape, you don't spit into the wind, you don't pull the mask off the ole Lone Ranger, and you don't mess around with (insert name of corrupt elite) . . . "

Anonymous said...

Mr. Schnauzer, this sounds a lot like what has been done to you.

legalschnauzer said...

@8:14 --

Yes, it sounds quite familiar. It's even more familiar in relation to what currently is being done to my wife, Carol -- in the very same jurisdiction, Greene County, MO.

Anonymous said...

This reminds me of the famous Kitty Genovese murder case in NYC, where witnesses chose to stay silent rather than come forward with what they saw. The Weeks case suggests maybe those witnesses were correct to not come forward.

Anonymous said...

This must please Barack Obama and his followers. His administration was brutal on whistle blowers.

Anonymous said...

I remember Paul Weeks' affidavit in the Siegelman case very well. As I recall, it started as research on Fuller, who was judge in a case Weeks had involving BASS. It morphed into an expose on the Siegelman case, once Fuller was assigned that case, too. The affidavit, as I recall, absolutely took Fuller apart.

legalschnauzer said...

@10:15 --

Your memory is on target. The plaintiffs in the BASS case, I believe, were from Kansas, and that's where the case originated. It was transferred to Alabama, where BASS had HQ, and Fuller administered a home cooking job to the plaintiffs.

Anonymous said...

Aboard the Eliza Battle Ms Chapelle had joined the Captain for a off-the record interview. Ms Chapelle asked the Captain for the status of the War and his response was: Session's justice department has made, in the Bank of Truth, deposits on the land thieves of Auburn and the prosecution of McGregor. These deposits contain the time stamp of the bank teller and are paying dividends. Shortly the American People will be able to view the financial statements of these deposits. The Swamp in Washington DC has released, to the Judge in Siegelman's lawsuit, documents outlining the DMZ that the Victoria and CSS Virginia better not cross. The Swamp has also maneuvered into a position that it can remove Sessions if he crosses the DMZ. Ms Chapelle responded," Captain, if you were in command of these Confederate forces, what would be your next move" The Captain answered that the Confederates used Roy Moore to eliminate the Swamp creature named "Big Lutha". I would give Roy Moore a face-saving way to withdraw from the senate race and allow Sessions to gain some protection by being re-elected senator. Trump would be free to appoint a Attorney General free of the Russian Probe to continue the fight to expose the corruption of the Obama/Clinton justice department.

Anonymous said...

Wow, item No. 2, the one about the Kansas City lawyer engaging in criminal sex acts with college boys . . . I wanna hear more about that!

Anonymous said...

Weeks had a concern about a judge stealing a widow's farm? Is that supposed to be a problem?

Andrew Kreig said...

Congratulations to Roger Shuler on a brave and apt column on this important topic. Paul B. Weeks -- whom I first came to know via his courageous and well-justified effort beginning in 2003 to showcase outrageous legal abuses by authorities in Alabama -- is a heroic whistleblower. His 160-page 2003 affidavit and evidence documenting corruption by U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller in Alabama proved vital years later in illustrating that the powerful judge had corrupt motives in assisting the frame-up of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman on corruption charges. The hundreds of blogs by Roger Shuler decrying that internationally notorious human rights case clearly contributed also to reprisals against him, as well. It's been some vindication that the judge, Mark Fuller, was ultimately forced to resign from his lifetime appointment to the bench.

But this is a time to stand up and voice the costs being paid by Roger Shuler and Paul Weeks for their public-spirited efforts through the years on behalf of everyone else --- and at great costs to them.

Paul Weeks has been a key figure also in exposing some of the more notable law-related scandals in recent Missouri history, often with national import.

That history made him an enticing target for politically ambitious politicians in Missouri, whose motivations are illustrated in the many substantive and procedural irregularities in this so-called "securities" case (it's not really) and (upon further examination) in other sleazy decision-making that these officials have undertaken to advance their careers in gross violation of the public trust.

In sum, this is an obvious political prosecution against Paul B. Weeks. Readers here and elsewhere should know that the victim is not just this Springfield attorney and his family, but anyone else who relies on honest government.