Mr Bitcoin & Bitcoin Gandhi Visit Federal Reserve Bank Of Boston In Support Of The Crypto6
The last month has been a busy one in the “Crypto Six” case. First, three of the Six took felony “wire fraud” plea deals after prosecutors threatened to load them up with even more victimless “crime” charges. Even though no one was actually defrauded out of any money or property, the three – Renee and Andy Spinella and Nobody – agreed to become federal felons, reluctantly admitting guilt to one count each of “wire fraud”, despite no one actually being defrauded out of money or property.
Unfortunately, even though the three are completely peaceful, honest people, now they will be saddled with felony convictions that makes them look dishonest. It’s understandable though, why they would take such a plea. The federal gang is a scary bunch of people and they know how to intimidate. Even when a defendant did nothing wrong, that doesn’t mean a jury will do the right thing and set the accused free. The supermajority of people charged criminally at the state or federal level will take the plea deal, simply because they see it as a way to make their suffering end. Or at least, so it seems in the moment. While it may end the current prosecution, it sets them up for failure later if they are ever arrested again, as then they have a felony conviction, so the next sentence will be even harder.
Though federal juries have surprisingly issued some “not guilty” verdicts in recent years, like the verdicts in the Michigan governor “kidnapping” cases and the Bundy ranch cases, generally juries are pretty obedient to the state, so it’s highly risky to take a case to trial. Plus, federal cases are frequently biased against the defense, like that of Ross Ulbricht, where they weren’t able to call many witnesses or make the case they wanted. So, I don’t blame my friends for admitting to “crimes” they didn’t commit just so they can have some predictability as to what is coming next for them. Nobody is expecting a verdict of “time served” for the six months he did behind bars last year prior to being granted bail in September. Renee is facing up to 18 months in prison and Andy is expecting some amount of probation, or so I hear. I’m still not allowed to speak with my friends under my bail conditions. Their sentencing dates are in late July.
The fourth of the Crypto Six, Colleen Rietmann, co-owner of Mighty Moose Mart in Keene, has had her charges dropped. Perhaps the feds did not want to be seen prosecuting a grandmother in front of a jury at the same time as they are trying to allege that Aria DiMezzo and I were victimizing elderly women caught in romance scams online.
Curiously, during one of the plea deal hearings this month, the prosecutors admitted that there were no damages to the “victims”, so they couldn’t ask for any restitution as part of the sentencing. How exactly then were these banks “victimized” by fraud if no money or property was lost? I guess we’ll find out when the case goes to trial this November. As Nobody put it, he has been convicted of “contempt of bank”. Apparently it’s felony charges with up to 30 years in prison for anyone who hurts the banks’ feelings in the “free” country of America.
While it’s no fun to be under highly restrictive bail conditions – I have an ankle monitor on for nearly a year now – at least now all the feds’ cards are finally laid on the table and now we can construct our defense.
The Crypto Six case is an attack on our freedoms. It is an attack against freedom of speech, freedom of religion, libertarian activists in New Hampshire, and against cryptocurrency like Bitcoin. While we are not the first to be accused of victimless “crimes” for spreading Bitcoin, nearly all of those so accused in the past have taken the plea deals, out of fear for what could happen. Aria and I are going to trial and so the feds will actually have to put on their case for the first time, in a desperate attempt to prop up the ever-inflating US Dollar and the banking cartel. Bitcoin is not a crime!
As was the case with my bail conditions, the federal “magistrate judge” denied Nobody’s bail initially and the defense had to appeal that “de novo” to the actual judge in the case, Joseph Normand Laplante. Laplante also happens to be the chief judge for the entire Federal District Church Court. Thus far Laplante has been much more reasonable than the magistrates, though the bail restrictions on the Crypto Six have varied wildly.
For instance, Aria DiMezzo is highly restricted on what websites she can visit and must ask permission from her probation officer to go to any sites that are outside her limited “whitelist”. However she has no restrictions on drug use. In contrast, I am able to go to any website except for sites for buying, selling, and trading cryptocurrency, am on home confinement, and am subject to random drug testing. I am allowed to use alcohol, though I prefer not to.
No co-defendants are allowed to speak with each other, though after filing motions with the court to remove the contact restriction between us, Aria and I were granted an exception by Laplante for the purposes of being able to perform and run our nationally syndicated radio show, “Free Talk Live“. I have a long list of people in addition to my co-defendants with whom I am prohibited from speaking. This includes my longtime co-host and co-minister in the Shire Free Church, Mark Edgington. As part of his bail, Nobody is also prohibited from speaking with the same list of people. Aria has no such restriction.
The BEARCAT bashed in Nobody’s front door.
At the de novo bail hearing, unlike the magistrate, Laplante didn’t seem concerned with Nobody’s statements on the recorded jail phone that seemed to be in favor of shooting police. He agreed with the defense that Nobody’s comments were just blowing off steam as Nobody was frustrated by the outrageous arrest and subsequent caging. Despite Laplante’s voiced opinion about Nobody’s lack of dangerousness, in a frustrating concession to the prosecution, he has restricted Nobody’s freedom of speech and prohibited him from making any public statements on media or at protest events. Here’s the relevant portion from page six of Nobody’s bail conditions:
Defendant shall refrain from the use of any social media platform to make any publicly viewable posts…
Defendant shall refrain from public speaking engagements on radio, television, or podcasts, and shall also refrain from “taking the mic” at public rallies or public events.
Federal District Church Court
It was stated during the bail hearing that the concern was not that Nobody himself would commit violence but that he might influence listeners or followers to do so. So now he has no freedom of speech. This despite an accused person supposedly being allowed to be “at liberty” prior to trial. Does the first amendment not apply to people on bail? Strangely, he had more free speech inside the cage at the Merrimack County Spiritual Retreat where he was held the last several months. Nobody could, and did, call in to Free Talk Live on more than one occasion – so long as Aria or I were not on the show. Now he is specifically prohibited from any audio or tv appearances. He had also, while in jail, begun a newsletter for his church. Will he even be able to continue it?
Arguably, the restrictions as-written don’t prohibit his newsletter or perhaps even blogging. However I wouldn’t blame him if he chose not to rather than risk a post to Free Keene being considered “social media”, violating bail and getting locked back up. Hopefully his attorneys will be fighting to get his right to free speech respected again. On the positive side, he’s not restricted on travel and can leave his home without permission from his federal handler.
So much for freedom of speech. That said, I’m glad Nobody’s finally out.
I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Simon Wood at New York Magazine for an in-depth feature-length story about The Crypto Six and the migration here to New Hampshire and Keene as the Mecca for cryptocurrency users.
The attack on the Crypto Six is more evidence that the libertarian migration to New Hampshire is a clear threat to the status quo. First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. We’re solidly in the “fight you” phase. The Verge feature will hopefully raise awareness of the ongoing attack on liberty-loving activists here in New Hampshire and bring even more people to the front lines of peaceful activism here. It even mentions secession!
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