Category Archive: Ethical Rules for Federal Prosecutors

DOJ Report Finds Stunning & Outrageous Prosecutorial Misconduct

Themis 2544The creativity of prosecutors who know no bounds never ceases to amaze me.  Finally, thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request by the New Orleans Advocate, we have access to a 150 plus page report of the Office of Professional Responsibility within the Department of Justice addressing the astonishing conduct of former  senior federal prosecutors in New Orleans in several high profile cases-including the Danzinger Bridge case and the River Birch matter.

Even though it is heavily redacted, the report excoriates former First Assistant United States Attorney Jan Mann and former AUSA Sal Perricone, both of whom resigned in disgrace, after a target of their investigation sued them for posting slanderous comments online using aliases.  Compounding their misconduct, Ms. Mann even lied to her superiors and judges about it all.

The Louisiana Bar has done nothing yet-it’s only been three years!  For the details, please see my article in the New York Observer.

Meanwhile, LICENSED TO LIE: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice repeatedly hits #1 Amazon best-seller in Law/Ethics, Judicial Branch, and True Crime/White Collar.

It has been mentioned recently in the National Law Journal, in a New Jersey paper discussing the indictment of Senator Menendez, and in the Huffington Post discussing corruption in Orange County California.

Lots of News!

thDY0G7YEGSidney Powell, Ninth Circuit Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, and Dean Ron Weich appeared on Book TV, C-SPAN2, to discuss LICENSED TO LIE: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice.  The live event was hosted by the CATO INSTITUTE in Washington D.C. and moderated by Tim Lynch.

The panel discussed the importance and effect of Brady violations-the failure of prosecutors to meet their constitutional, legal and ethical obligations to produce evidence favorable to the defense-and the extraordinary and unsupervised power that prosecutors wield.

The event will be broadcast again Saturday, August 9 at 3 p.m. ET on C-Span2.


US NEWS & WORLD REPORT featured a fantastic article by Contributing Editor PETER ROFF about LICENSED TO LIE.  People have described it as the best yet on the book!

Financial advisor Dawn Bennett, also a syndicated radio show host in Washington D.C., had Sidney on her program, FINANCIAL MYTH BUSTING, to discuss LICENSED TO LIE.  You can listen to it by clicking here, or read the transcript of the interview here (some errors).

#1 BEST  SELLER IN JUDICIAL BRANCHAnd Licensed to Lie hit #1 on Amazon in the Judicial Branch category. In the category of True Crime, it appeared on the same page as John Grisham’s non-fiction book.  It was a big week!


THE BOOK MAY BE ORDERED THROUGH LINKS at, including autographed copies which are available from the author and may be personalized upon request.

Look Who’s Advising Obama on Benghazi Cover-Up-Ruemmler & Monaco Revealed in LICENSED TO LIE

2014-06-02-ReaganBenghazi-CarafanoLOOK who’s advising the President on the Benghazi cover-up! Kathryn Ruemmler, chief White House Counsel, seated to the left of the president, was lead prosecutor on the Enron Task Force who “plainly suppressed evidence” favorable to the defense while 4 Merrill Executives went to prison for something that wasn’t a crime. As James Carafano makes clear, the President could have chosen the path of Truth taken by Reagan in the Iran-Contra debacle, but instead, we have lies and a cover-up and now the release of Taliban terrorists from GITMO.

Ruemmler and her corrupt team of prosecutors (also promoted to high positions) actually YELLOW-HIGHLIGHTED evidence they were legally and ethically required to provide to the defense, and they deliberately hid it instead. And we wonder why we can’t get the truth on Benghazi??!  Also pictured just to the right of POTUS is another member of the corrupt cabal of prosecutors, Lisa Monaco-implicated in the Enron Broadband trial misconduct.  These former federal prosecutors are all discussed in the new book LICENSED TO LIE: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice with the Foreword written in his personal capacity by the incomparable Alex Kozinski, Chief Judge of the Ninth Circuit.

We called for Ruemmler’s resignation a year ago, but Obama wanted her to stay.  She left just after the announcement of the release of the new blockbuster revelations of her legal, ethical and constitutional violations in the best-selling book LICENSED TO LIE.  Coincidence?  We think not.

Meanwhile, brilliant and profound reviews of LICENSED TO LIE continue to pour in-from readers and writers!  Be a part of the national discussion Judge Kozinski calls for on this important issue.  See who Obama chose to whisper in his ear on decisions affecting every aspect of our lives despite-or because of-their disregard for the Rule of Law and their legacy of injustice?


Photo by Pete Souza (White House flickr)


licensed-to-lie-bookBy May 9th, the ninth day of its release, LICENSED TO LIE: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice was the #1 BESTSELLER on Amazon in LAW & ETHICS!  The book has received stellar praise from lawyers and on leading legal blogs such as Above the Law and MAL Contends, but, the book is written for the lay reader as well.  Here are excerpts from two leading literary reviews-Kirkus and ForeWord:

“A former Justice Department lawyer, who now devotes her private practice to federal appeals, dissects some of the most politically contentious prosecutions of the last 15 years. Powell assembles a stunning argument for the old adage, “nothing succeeds like failure,” as she traces the careers of a group of prosecutors who were part of the Enron Task Force. The author brings the case for judicial redress before the court of public opinion.”- Kirkus Reviews

“Powell has done the law and every citizen a great favor by calling out an unholy practice of government attorneys. Licensed to Lie: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice, by defense attorney Sidney Powell, is a lurid tale of deceit and amoral behavior on the part of government prosecutors. It is so well written and researched that the story makes for a stunning read.”-ForeWord Reviews

We have a number of events scheduled across the country where the author will be speaking along with selling and signing books.  We appreciate your interest in this subject that is so important to the freedom of each of us and to the Rule of Law on which our Country was founded.  The book, written in the narrative style of a legal thriller, aims to reveal the dangers and human costs to everyone when prosecutors are allowed to hide evidence favorable to the defense.  As Alex Kozinski said in the Foreword, it’s time for a national discussion of the issues raised in the book. There are things that can be done now to improve the system for everyone.

CHAMPIONS of JUSTICE — The Real Heroes of Licensed to Lie

Gala_Button_New-300x300  On April 24, at the offices of Jones Day in Washington DC — overlooking the Capitol, The Constitution Project honored its 2014 CHAMPIONS OF JUSTICE.pruitt_gary_200_280_80

The first award was presented to Gary B. Pruitt, the President of Associated Press, for defending the freedom of the Press against the Justice Department’s seizure of reporters’ phone records and the Department’s intimidation of the reporters’ sources in many stories.

All of the other CHAMPIONS were part of the defense of former Senator Ted Stevens or of the investigation of the Department ordered by United States District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan following the prosecutors’ repeated Brady violations.  The story of these REAL HEROES  is told within the pages LICENSED TO LIE: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice.Justice+Department+Voids+Ted+Stevens+Conviction+AdUPTUxwatil

These CHAMPIONS OF JUSTICE were Brendan Sullivan, Rob Cary of Williams & Connolly who were with their larger team of attorneys,including Simon Latcovich, on the defense of former Alaska Senator Ted Stevens. robertcary



D.C. Attorneys Hank Schuelke and Bill Shields  were the CHAMPIONS who investigated the Department of Justice prosecutors who corrupted the Stevens’ prosecution and wrote the published report of the Department’s wrongdoing-also subjects of the book.


AKCLAYjpgSpecial guests for the event included Ninth Circuit Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, who wrote the Foreword for Licensed to Lie in his personal capacity, and his son Clayton who is externing for Judge Brett Kavanaugh before beginning at Yale Law School in the fall.

And we were all honored by the presence of Catherine Stevens, the Senator’s widow,

esullivanand the incomparable Judge Emmet G. Sullivan, who is one of the greatest heroes in LICENSED TO LIE and ordered an independent investigation of the Department for its repeated corruption of justice.

Each of The Champions and Judge Sullivan and Catherine Stevens received a fresh-off-the-press copy of LICENSED TO LIE.

To see who else is discussed in LICENSED TO LIE, check out the INDEX FOR LICENSED TO LIE.

Bipartisan Senators Propose Watchdog for DOJ

280px-United_States_Capitol_-_west_frontIn a much-needed move, a bipartisan group of Senators including Charles Grassley and Lisa Murkowski have proposed legislation to create a watchdog to review allegations of prosecutorial misconduct by the Department of Justice.  Based on the recent alarming report by the Project on Government Oversight, there have been hundreds of prosecutors who have intentionally violated legal and ethical rules, with no accountability or sanctions, and still work at the Department. We can vouch for a number of them. Virtually all have been swept under the rug.

Carrie Johnson with NPR has published an article from which we drew the following quote:

new report from the Project on Government Oversight documents 650 ethics infractions including recklessness and misconduct by Justice Department lawyers over the past decade or so.

Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee and Montana Democratic Sen. Jon Tester cited those findings to introduce legislation Thursday that would require an independent watchdog to investigate those breaches. Under current practice, ethics investigations at the Justice Department are conducted by the Office of Professional Responsibility, an internal unit that reports up through the Attorney General and has been derided for its secrecy.

“Current law invites undue influence from the Attorney General’s office into the process Click here to read more »

DOJ Hides Hundreds of Ethical and Legal Violations by its Prosecutors

justice-department-675The Project On Government Oversight published an extensive report yesterday revealing that Department of Justice has been concealing hundreds of ethical violations by its prosecutors.  Adding to this injustice, the Department refuses to identify the offending prosecutors or to inform defendants who have been affected by their misconduct.

In the majority of the matters—more than 400—OPR categorized the violations as being at the more severe end of the scale: recklessness or intentional misconduct, as distinct from error or poor judgment.

The information the Justice Department has disclosed is only part of the story. No less significant is what as a matter of policy it keeps from the public.

As a general practice, the Justice Department does not make public the names of attorneys who acted improperly or the defendants whose cases were affected. The result: the Department, its lawyers, and the internal watchdog office itself are insulated from meaningful public scrutiny and accountability.

We can say from our own experiences with the Department’s “Office of Professional Responsibility” that it is ineffective if not complicit. Legitimate grievances go ignored. Their primary expertise lies in circling the wagons and protecting the offenders. This report makes it all the more clear. There is no transparency, and consequently, the Department of Justice can be given no credibility. It is way overdue for a  major clean-up, and as Judge Kozinski, and the Washington Post and others have said recently, it is time for a national discussion of these issues crucial to the administration of justice-if there is to be any justice at all.

Former Bexar County Lead Prosecutor Jane Davis Discusses the Importance of Licensed to Lie

100_3850 “Sidney Powell brings a subject to light which is often overlooked or even purposely hidden. That subject is the unfair tactic that some prosecutors have used to secure a conviction.

As a prosecutor for over 29 years in the state courts of Texas, I am aware of both the possibilities for unfairness to the accused, and of the pressures on some prosecutors to win cases.

Sidney is able to articulate these issues in telling the stories within Licensed to Lie, and she holds up a clear moral and legal compass to point us all toward prosecution according to law and the facts.”

Jane Davis, former lead prosecutor, District Courts, Bexar County, Texas; First Assistant to the Guadalupe County Attorney

Licensed to Lie is available for pre-order at  It will ship and be in bookstores in early May. Part of the proceeds will benefit The Constitution Project, Pisgah Legal Services, NACDL, and The Texas Equal Access to Justice Campaign.

Another Enron Task Force Prosecutor Poised to Head DOJ Criminal Division

caldwell_leslie_2014-1-296x178The last Enron Task Force prosecutor who headed the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice was Matthew Friedrich.  Friedrich and his deputy Rita Glavin carefully orchestrated the wrongful prosecution of former Alaska Senator Ted Stevens-a prosecution so corrupted by the prosecutors themselves that it had to be thrown out by Judge Emmet Sullivan who also ordered an independent investigation of the Department of Justice and its “Public Integrity Section” prosecutors.

Now-and more terrifying-Friedrich’s colleague, former boss, and mentor, Leslie Caldwell, stands poised to take the job of leading the Department’s 700+ criminal attorneys. Will the Senate put this touted “terror of a prosecutor” in a position to destroy even more than she already has?

Caldwell, the original Director of the Enron Task Force, with Friedrich and now former FBI General Counsel Andrew Weissmann, annihilated Arthur Andersen and its 85,000 jobs world wide-only to be reversed 9-0 by the United States Supreme Court because they both made up a crime and persuaded federal district judge Melinda Harmon to take all criminal intent out of the jury instructions.  Yet, with no regard for her record of prosecutorial atrocities, she has “sailed through” her Senate confirmation hearing.

If the Senate does not act to stop this confirmation, Caldwell will complete Obama’s installation of the Enron cabal of corrupt prosecutors in key law enforcement positions across his administration. The Enron Task Force Prosecutors left a legacy of injustice, Supreme Court reversals, appellate reversals, and even withdrawn guilty pleas because of their roughshod tactics, suppression of evidence favorable to the defense, concocted crimes, wrongful convictions, tortured jury instructions, and assorted dirty and unethical tactics designed to win at any cost.

Caldwell’s fellow prosecutor of Arthur Andersen, Matthew Friedrich, soared to Acting Attorney General of the Criminal Division (under Mukasey) after he and now White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler obtained the wrongful convictions of four Merrill Lynch executives Click here to read more »

No matter what side of the political fence you stand on, this book is remarkable.

BERNSTEIN Steven FFCE PC LJ DEF WEBDirector/ Screenwriter Steven Bernstein writes about Licensed to Lie:

The story of Enron, Ted Stevens, and the legal and personal aftermath, at least as it was popularly presented, became part of the collective zeitgeist and was set in stone. None of us has the time or inclination to understand the minutiae of every event, no matter how significant.  Certainly what went down in Texas, Washington, Alaska, and New Orleans was significant, but few of us have knowledge of what really occurred.

I was certain Ted Stevens was crooked.  I was also certain everyone at Arthur Andersen and Enron was crooked. As it turned out, some were, but remarkably a lot weren’t. People who were convicted were innocent and went to prison. This should concern everyone.

What is even more shocking is that the federal prosecutors whom I had always presumed to be full of virtue and zeal had much more zeal than virtue and that the crimes here went beyond the excesses of some Enron executives. This is worse. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?  

What Eron did was terrible, but the moral advantage of government over the private sector interest is accountability.  If the private sector fails us, we cannot vote them out, unless we have a whole bunch of shares which we mostly don’t.  But the beauty of government is accountability, and it is essential  that those individuals who,  like the police and prosecutors,  are granted extraordinary powers must also be subject to extraordinary limits and controls over those powers. Tyranny is not giving government power. Tyranny is giving government power that is not regulated and controlled.

Sidney Powell weaves an extraordinary tale of federal prosecutors run amok seemingly with little control.   In my own mind, I am certain they thought they were doing good, but their substantive misconduct that Ms. Powell uncovers is so egregious and far reaching that it goes to the very foundation of our democracy and how it may be at risk.

This is a brave book. The taking on of the forces that Ms. Powell attacks can do her no long term good, but clearly she is serving a higher calling: the rule of law.

I know Sidney Powell.  She is a force. Almost six feet of southern woman who has a limitless hospitality and generosity of spirit but who simply cannot countenance the slightest corruption. In her friends, she can barely forgive it; in those in power, she finds it unconscionable.  This is Sidney.  I live in Los Angeles in the grey of the marine layer but also the grey of moral uncertainty.  Sidney visited here, and it was not just her height that made her stand out. She was genuinely shocked by all she surmised. This is not how she conducts business.  Sidney is a woman and a lawyer who believes in important things, and I am certain what drove her to write this book was no particular axe that needed grinding, though she has a well sharpened one in her literary hand.  Rather, Sidney witnessed something that was simply wrong, and she is one of people burdened with the sense that wrongs should be righted and truths should be told.

Boldly, bravely, dangerously, and elegantly she does that in this book. I couldn’t put it down. Like a great novel, it revealed much of the human condition and of human frailty. It was a frightening book for those who fear for our way of government, but ultimately it is a triumph.  It is significant that this book can be published and these things can be said.  No tyrant would allow this to be printed because it indicts some of the most powerful jurists in the land. So it should be a point of pride for all of us that Sidney can speak up without fear of recourse because this courageous discourse, this calling to task of the corrupt, is the foundation of our democracy. Bravo Sidney Powell.

Steven Bernstein, Writer/Director of Dominion