Disturbing History of Colorado Justice Officials Concealing Misconduct in Wrongful Conviction
Denver, CO -- (ReleaseWire) -- 10/22/2019 --In 2014, federal Judge Christine Arguello, Colorado U.S. Attorney John Walsh and his underling Assistant United States Attorney Matthew T. Kirsch were publicly criticized by former federal appeals Judge H. Lee Sarokin and other prominent attorneys and justice advocates for allegedly concealing and/or destroying court transcripts to ensure the government did not lose a criminal case against innocent Colorado software executives. The case against IRP Solutions Corporation executives (known as the "IRP6") has been generally characterized by experts as a fraudulent indictment concocted by the government based on an improbable and incoherent theory.
After exhaustively reviewing the IRP6 case (District of Colorado case no. 09-cr-00266-CMA) former federal appeals judge H. Lee Sarokin told the Washington Post in 2016 that the evidence showed the IRP6 were "indicted and imprisoned for failing to pay corporate bills" incurred from temporary labor provided by staffing companies for law enforcement software projects (www.wapo.st/29jXqSC ). Prior to trial, staffing experts sent letters to Walsh explaining that staffing companies were not forced or duped into doing business with IRP but choose to do business (as they routinely do) with the more risky technology start-ups because of their promising software (letters online at http://bit.ly/2jDm4Uf and http://bit.ly/2f7mFZ3 ).
Deeply troubled by the wrongful conviction and an unfair trial rife with constitutional violations and questionable conduct by the Kirsch, Arguello and the 10th Circuit, Judge Sarokin sent a letter to President Obama requesting a pardon for the IRP6. Sarokin told Obama that "the prosecution argued to the jury...two wholly inconsistent theories," the first of which was "that the petitioners lied about their prospects for business in order to get staffing companies to work on the [software], and second, that the [software] was a scam." Sarokin went on explaining to Obama that "any reasonable analysis of the two theories side-by-side would and should have led to the inevitable conclusion that there was no evidence of criminal intent on the part of the [IRP6]." Sarokin asked Obama to consider that even if one were to assume "the IRP6 exaggerated or even lied about their business prospects (which they denied doing)" all he would have to do is to ask the following series of questions to render the government's "inconsistent charges absurd."
1. How would they make money, if the staffing companies hired and paid the workers directly?
2. Why would the petitioners continue to engage staffing companies to work on a [software] program if it were a phony scam?
3. If it were a scam:
a. Why spend years working on it?
b. Why invest money with friends and family?
c. Why hire former FBI agents and law enforcement officers to work on the project?
d. Why focus as your only target [of the scam]--law enforcement, FBI, Homeland Security, Congress, etc.
e. Why hire two law firms to guide and assist you?
f. Why lease expensive space and invite local law enforcement to the opening?
g. Why personally guarantee the obligations to the staffing companies?
h. Why fly around the country and incur the expenses of demonstrating it?
"There can only be one logical conclusion from all of this," wrote Sarokin to Obama, "the petitioners continued to engage staffing companies because they believed in their program; expected it to be successful and be able to pay their debts."
Court records also show the lead FBI agent on two occasions actually saying in open court that if the IRP executives had paid their "debts" there would have been no criminal case. Dr. Alan Bean, Executive Director of the Friends of Justice, conducted a six-month investigation into the IRP6 case and concluded the government's case "can't stand up to scrutiny" because Kirsch concocted a "bogus business theory" to wrongly-convict and imprison the men. "And that is why both the Colorado U.S. Attorney's Office and Judge Arguello continue to go to great lengths to deny access to court records or conceal or destroy critical court transcripts," says Lamont Banks, Executive Director of A Just Cause.
Court records show that at one time Judge Arguello's court reporter admitted to omitting 200 pages of the trial transcript, part of which was related to allegations by the IRP6 that during a sidebar Judge Arguello violated their 5th Amendment rights by threatening to terminate their defense if they, as pro se defendants, didn't agree to testify against the government's bogus charges. Judge Arguello admitted she couldn't remember exactly what she said but denied the request by the IRP6 defendants to see the transcript before it mysteriously disappeared. Judge Sarokin was not only shocked at Arguello's refusal to provide the transcript, but also at two federal prosecutors' silence about Judge Arguello statements and the failure of the 10th Circuit to follow the law by reversing the conviction and ordering a new trial (www.huffingtonpost.com/judge-h-lee-sarokin/the-case-of-the-missing-t_1_b_5340397.html). On AJC's radio program Judge Sarokin discussed the two options the 10th Circuit had under the law.
"The [10th Circuit] would...either order that the transcript be produced or they'd have to reverse, because the unavailability of the transcript makes it impossible for the appellate court to determine whether or not prejudicial error or not has been committed," said Sarokin ("A Just Cause Coast to Coast," Blog Talk Radio, 4/15/2014). "How are they going to decide if they don't have the information," added Sarokin. During the same radio broadcast, prominent attorney Darren Kavinoky said the suspicious disappearance of the transcript "would feed concerns and conspiracy theorists alike and frankly that is a disconcerting notion." "I think there is a reasonable inference that can be drawn...that the missing piece would therefore be favorable to the defense," added Kavinoky. Although the law clearly required reversal of the conviction, the 10th Circuit, presumably to protect Arguello and Kirsch, refused to free the IRP6 and allowed their wrongful imprisonment to continue.
In 2019, Judge Arguello took her concealment of misconduct to another level, this time sealing an entire IRP6 related proceeding from public view where it is alleged she secretly used her court to conduct personal attacks against the IRP6's Pastor (Rose Banks) and Church (Colorado Springs Fellowship Church). The proceeding concerned the unusual release of IRP Solutions CEO Gary Walker from prison who Judge Arguello harshly sentenced to 11 years for being a leader of the alleged conspiracy against staffing companies. Judge Arguello released Walker after he claimed he committed crimes because he was under a "religious spell" of Pastor Banks (Govt. Opposition Brief, Dist. Colo. no. 1:15-CV-02223-CMA, Doc. 922). Although Kirsch opposed, Judge Arguello held an evidentiary hearing on Walker's "hocus-pocus" claims and when it ended, she made the highly respected Pastor Banks the leader of criminal conspiracy. In an unprecedented move that wreaks of collusion between the government and Arguello, AUSA Kirsch silently abandoned his opposition and allowed Judge Arguello to immediately release Walker while leaving the other five codefendants in prison. "I believe Kirsch and Judge Arguello agreed to release Walker as part of a backroom deal in an effort to absolve themselves of their misconduct and cover-up," says Cliff Stewart, President of A Just Cause. "They thought the other defendants would be desperate enough to tell the same lying story as Gary and admit guilt to get out of prison, but they told the truth. The evidence shows they never committed a crime. Judge Sarokin saw it and Judge Arguello and Kirsch also knew it," concludes Stewart. "The government's contention that their business was a scam defies reality...ALL the proof in the case goes the opposite way," said Sarokin.
The 10th Circuit vacated Judge Arguello's unprecedented broad sealing of the hocus-pocus hearing on January 23, 2019. As of October 2019, Judge Arguello continues to give the appellate court the proverbial "middle finger" by refusing to comply with their mandate. Details of some of Judge Arguello's actions during the public hearing were exposed online in an AJC press release (http://bit.ly/2MmcEJ8). For even more disturbing details and documents from the IRP5 case, click on this link (http://bit.ly/2wBaCyJ) to view a dossier compiled by A Just Cause.