call for reason and fairness in the case of
"Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." – Frederick Douglass
|Why the Anderson case has become a Civil Liberties issue||
His present incarceration is not about the tax case. Walt Anderson had known he was under investigation for at least two years prior to his arrest. He also knew he was going to be indicted - his attorneys told him so. He nevertheless flew back and forth between the US and Europe over 40 times during that period, until his arrest on Feb. 28th, 2005 - hardly the behavior of a man looking to flee from Justice. He was arrested entering the country, not attempting to leave it. He believes he is innocent of all the charges, deserves his day in court, and should be allowed to access the resources he needs so that he can assist his legal counsel to prepare a defense.
But the government, apparently, wants to stack the deck, in hopes of increasing their chances for victory. Why would they do this, if they have their man, dead to rights? Is their case still thin, despite a six-year investigation? Could Anderson indeed get acquitted, if allowed access to sufficient fiscal and legal resources - access that was allowed persons accused of far more heinous crimes, like OJ Simpson and Robert Blake? Access that is even now being allowed the key Enron defendants?
The US prosecutors have made wild and unsupported claims that Walt Anderson intends to flee the United States to avoid prosecution, but have not presented any concrete evidence that he has such an intention. They have even gone so far as taking books from his library and claiming that his knowledge of how to obtain a false ID could somehow show his "intent" to do so. The government has no evidence that Anderson has ever used a false ID.
The Government also claims that Anderson has significant funds “hidden” outside the US but has not been able to produce evidence of even a single account or location of such funds. When questioned on this, the Government claims they are “still investigating”.
The Government has wanted to cut off the funds that Mr. Anderson needs to pay his legal counsel. Forced to declare himself indigent, Mr. Anderson nevertheless had to wait - in jail - five months before the court assigned a lawyer. Regardless, this limited legal defense may not be enough to support a case in which the US Government has invested significant time and effort.
Prosecutors make wild, unsupported claims at initial hearings routinely - simply because they can - judges generally give them the benefit of the doubt, as most judges were at one time prosecuting attorneys themselves. This practice needs to be stopped, so that the fundamental rights of the accused - beginning with the presumption of innocence - can be restored in American Justice.
If Walt Anderson can be suspected of being a flight risk simply because he reads certain books, which books do you own that could arouse the suspicion of authorities? When will they begin to round up all owners of certain books, whether they're suspected of a crime or not? How far will we let them go before we stand up and say: "Enough!" ?
Potential Violations of Walt Anderson's Rights under the U.S. Constitution
Mr. Anderson has a long-standing reputation for open criticism for the Federal government and its Agents, and it can be argued that because of this, he is being treated far more harshly than white-collar criminals who committed actual fraud against their customers, investors, and employees. Those involved in the Enron, Worldcom, and Tyco scandals, for example, were allowed to walk freely for as long as two years before even being indicted. Many of those individuals have been Republican campaign donors or have other "connections" with the current Administration. Walt has no such connections.
It would seem that the casual reading on Walt's bookshelf should have been considered out of bounds, when they were looking for incriminating evidence of tax fraud. Papers and computer records they can justify, but his book collection?? He has been declared a "flight risk" because of that collection.
Anderson has been in jail, and denied any bail considerations, for over a year. The trial date has been pushed back to January, 2007.
Anderson has bent over backwards to come to an agreement to the most egregious "conditions for release" ever set against a non-violent suspect with no prior criminal history. However, the conditions set by the court were so expensive as to be impossible to implement under Mr. Anderson's present economic status.
Potential Violations of Walt's Rights under International Covenants
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights:
Mr. Anderson has been detained for over 12 months, and faces many additional months of incarceration before trial, now delayed until January, 2007. This should not be considered "prompt".
III, Article 14, section 2.
Mr. Anderson appears to be presumed guilty by both the courts and the mainstream media before ever having had a trial. He is being detained on charges of being a "flight risk", despite an apparent paucity of hard evidence in this regard.
III, Article 14, section 3b & c.
Mr. Anderson has been given very limited access to find materials for his defense. He has been denied access to corporate assets which would indemnify Anderson for his legal fees, and was rendered in the position of having to declare "indigence", and have the Court assign a Public Defender, someone who will be unfamiliar with Anderson's case, tax law, or anything else. Perhaps this was intended by the prosecution all along.
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