Trump commutes the sentence of Steve Stockman
President Trump has ended a terrible injustice by commuting the sentence of former representative Steve Stockman. Steve was one of 20 people who were pardoned or had their sentences commuted yesterday.
Naturally, the Trump-hating mainstream media are enraged. Consider the snide New York Times story:
In an audacious pre-Christmas round of pardons, President Trump granted clemency on Tuesday to two people who pleaded guilty in the special counsel's Russia inquiry, four Blackwater guards convicted in connection with the killing of Iraqi civilians and three corrupt former Republican members of Congress.
It was a remarkable assertion of pardon power by a president who continues to dispute his loss in the election and might well be followed by other pardons in the weeks before he leaves office on Jan. 20. (snip)
Mr. Stockman was convicted in 2018 on charges of fraud and money laundering and had been serving a 10-year sentence. Sidney Powell, the lawyer and election conspiracy theorist whom Mr. Trump considered making a White House special counsel to investigate election fraud, argued that he was a candidate for a pardon.
Offical portrait of Steve Stockman as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Sidney Powell knows a great deal about ruthless and corrupt DOJ prosecutions, as a former federal prosecutor herself, and as author of Licensed to Lie: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice and lawyer for General Michael Flynn.
Update: Mark J. Fitzgibbons comments:
Steve was a pre-Trump example of the politicization of the Obama Justice Department against its enemies. Multiple independent amicus briefs filed in his appeals show the DOJ corrupted campaign finance and tax-exempt fundraising law to prosecute him after he was an outspoken critic of Obama, Eric Holder, and Lois Lerner. They cheated, and the judges unfortunately did not seem to grasp the both the legal and constitutional standards being violated by the prosecutors.
Steve has written for American Thinker, but it is his wife Patti who has written on his behalf since his unjust conviction and imprisonment. Here is how he got a target on his back while Obama was in the Oval Office. Patti wrote:
... Stockman was first to reveal President Obama's paying millions in ransom to Haqqani terrorists, the most radical wing of the Taliban, for the release of Bowe Bergdahl. He was the U.S. soldier taken captive when he deserted his Army post in Afghanistan.
Stockman blew the whistle on Clinton's State Department allowing the sale of dual-use steel to Iran by a Ukrainian oligarch–owned company, in violation of U.S. Iran sanctions. The oligarch was coincidentally the largest 2013 Clinton Foundation donor.
Shaking the Obama administration again, Stockman filed a resolution requesting the arrest of Lois Lerner for her contempt of Congress when she destroyed subpoenaed evidence and refused to appear before a House Committee investigating IRS persecution of conservative non-profit organizations.
Stockman's persistent voice of opposition and exposure of corruptions had to be silenced. His service on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, broad travels, and international relationships further required muzzling his whistleblowing.
Two weeks after my husband appeared on the Fox News and Fox Business channels to discuss his proposed arrest of Lerner, the FBI was at our apartment door.
She explained the corruption underlying his conviction in federal court:
Steve Stockman has spent most of his adult life working in one way or another to aggressively fight the political left's agenda to transform America into a socialist country. Yet I watched as he was led away to prison as a common criminal when we both knew he was innocent of all the trumped up, vague, and highly confusing charges.
There has been an outcry during the past few years from many conservatives well aware of the corruption of our Justice Department and nonprofit division of the Internal Revenue Service. In Steve's case, that combination performed a reprisal of their crooked partnership in order to convict him. That's the same IRS department once headed by Lois Lerner who was found in contempt of Congress for refusing to produce evidence or testify before a House committee.
My husband Steve, tired of Congress looking inept and following an old congressional precedent, filed a resolution to arrest Lerner for her contempt. Soon thereafter the FBI was at our door, and this horrible ordeal of criminal charges began.
Many friends and most of my husband's former colleagues undoubtedly assumed that, with so much smoke, there had to be guilt. Even typically conservative news outlets took up the story as told by DOJ in their tainted and slanted press releases.
However, new filings with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals provide indisputable legal rationales why my husband Steve is innocent of the charges.
On May 24, his attorney David Warrington of the law firm Kutak Rock filed Steve's appeal with the court. Attorney Mark Fitzgibbons followed on May 31 by filing a meaty Amicus Curiae brief in support of my husband's case.
The entire case had turned on four donation checks to nonprofit organizations with which my husband was associated, and how those funds were spent. Prosecutors wove and twisted together for the jury a lot of disparate "facts" into an amazingly complicated, false, and confusing tapestry of alleged deceit and self-serving motivations for personal and political campaign gain.
My husband himself observed several times during the jury's deliberations that, had he listened uninformed, to all the jury had heard for three weeks, he might find himself guilty. Unfortunately, we were unable to afford counsel knowledgeable of the complex laws about tax-exempt organizations applicable to the charges against Steve.
But our new counsel Warrington is well-versed in the laws under which my husband was charged. And Fitzgibbons is with American Target Advertising, Inc., an agency that provides services for nonprofit organizations nationwide.
Twenty-seven co-signers on the amicus are either formally associated in some way with nonprofits or are former elected officials concerned about nonprofit organization rights and the First Amendment rights of political committees to communicate, fundraise, and build and manage relationships with donors and non-donor supporters.
Both Steve's appeal and the amicus thoroughly and clearly detail the rights and limitations for nonprofit organizations under the Internal Revenue Code and campaign finance laws. The filings specify, charge by charge, how Steve's actions painted as crimes by the government were quite legal, and even prudent, under the law.
The largest part of the appeal's argument spells out how the instructions to the jury omitted absolutely critical specifics of the laws governing Steve's actions. It explains that, without proper understanding of either tax law governing nonprofit organizations or law governing campaign finance activities, it was impossible for the jury to reach an accurate decision as to whether he broke laws.
Fitzgibbons told his amicus co-signers that, "the government confused the jury about complex law governing campaign finance and tax-exempt entities in the political and charitable arenas, and that the judge issued incorrect Jury Instructions in areas clearly protected by the First Amendment." Thus, Steve's rights to a fair trial were blatantly infringed.
Both the appeal and amicus brief make it abundantly clear that the charges against Stockman were absolutely wrong under the relevant laws. Together, they cite over two dozen precedent cases settled by appeals and the Supreme Court that would support a reversal of Stockman's conviction.
The filings explain how Stockman and his associates actually went beyond requirements to ensure they followed the law, especially with respect to campaign finances and nonprofit expenditures related to elections.
The government's response to Stockman's appeal is due to be filed in the circuit court of appeals this summer. It is hard to imagine how they can twist the law or facts to refute the clearly presented arguments for conviction reversal.
We are thrilled that Steve will be released. He contracted COVID-19 while imprisoned and now can recover fully with his loved ones.
Patti emails this morning:
Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy! (Ps 95:1; 126:3)
From the bottoms of our hearts, we thank you for all your prayers and support in so many ways. And now praise Him and give unto the Lord the glory due HIS name (1 Chron 16:29) as we, with true thanksgiving celebrate His faithfulness in answering the cries of His people.
In His timing, the President Trump has freed Steve! On my way to pick Steve up and bring him home. Hallelujah!
Giving Him all praise, thanks, and love,
Patti and Steve
"Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations." Psalm 100:4-5
Note: the original version of this post incorrectly stated that Steve Stockman received a full pardon, based on early reports. In fact, his sentence was commuted.