Federal District Church Court
One of the biggest frustrations with the federal court system is the fact that recording hearings in any form is completely forbidden, and has been since 1946. No audio, no video, no photographs can be taken. Only pen/pencil and paper are allowed. We tried to get the judge to provide at least an online/phone audio feed as the federal civil courts had done since COVID. The courtroom is wired for sound and video at least since COVID, but alas, we were not successful in our request.
Free Keene blogger Chris Waid did an amazing job taking and transcribing notes every day and those were posted here, but no one sitting in the audience can capture all that is said. Thankfully, the court does offer an official record, which of course one must pay for. Since I plan to appeal my ridiculous convictions for victimless “crimes” regarding selling bitcoin, we have to have the full transcripts. Now we do and I’m legally able to share them publicly.
To make them easier to search and copy, I’ve put them all through Optical Character Recognition, so you can easily select blocks of text you might want to use for whatever purpose. Certainly there are many ridiculous moments that were hopefully somewhat captured by text, though obviously you don’t have the benefit of the witness’ facial expressions. Hopefully someday cameras will be allowed into federal courts, but for now full transcripts months later are the best we can do.
You can download all the trial transcripts in PDF form here as a ZIP file. It also includes the following index as a TXT file, showing the witnesses called on each day. Each PDF also has its own index up front showing the witnesses and pages on which their direct, cross, and any redirect examinations of them took place. Each day usually has two files, one for morning and one for afternoon. You can click each individually below if you don’t want to download them all at once in the ZIP file. (Depending on your browser, you may need to right click and save as to get the download working.)
Day 1 PM – Opening Statements
Day 2 AM – PROSECUTION – Alexandra Comolli
Day 2 PM – Alexandra Comolli, Theodore Vlahakis
Day 3 AM – Theodore Vlahakis, Kathryn Thibault, Kevin McCusker, Derek Feather
Day 3 PM – Christopher Rietmann, Colleen Fordham
Day 4 AM – Hope Cherry, Bruce Sweet, Pavel Prilotsky
Day 4 PM – Pavel Prilotsky, Renee Spinella
Day 5 AM – Dustin Wong, Nicholas Nathans, James Rossell, Patrick Brown, Harold Jones
Day 5 PM – Harold Jones, Melanie Neighbors, Karla Cino
Day 6 AM – Kendall McBrearty
Day 6 PM – Dannela Varel, Kendall McBrearty
Day 7 AM – Kendall McBrearty, Rebecca Ault, Kate Eyerman, Nancy Triestram
Day 7 PM – Nancy Triestram, Diane Cacace, Thomas Connolly, Colleen Ranahan
Day 8 AM – Renee Spinella
Day 9 AM – DEFENSE – Keith Murphy, Max Santonastaso, Edward Forster, Adam Mosher, Dael Chapman, Carolynn Urbanski, Melinda Cambiar, Ian Freeman
Day 9 PM – Ian Freeman
Day 10 AM – Mohammed Ali, Paul Niwa, Closing Arguments
Day 10 PM – Jury Instructions
Day 11 – Verdict
The latest on the case is both sides are currently arguing over the motion to dismiss that my attorney, Mark Sisti, made during the trial at both the close of prosecution and at the end of the defense. Presuming the judge does not throw out all eight counts, we will move to sentencing that is currently set for August 17th, though there is a good chance that will be delayed yet again. Should you wish to write the judge on my behalf, you can find instructions and an address here.
Meanwhile, my co-defendant Aria DiMezzo is in a federal prison camp in Devens, MA serving an 18-month sentence for the completely victimless paperwork violation of operating a “money transmitting business” without a government permission slip. Sadly, but understandably – it’s scary to face down a dozen charges in front of government-biased juries – she took a plea to the charge despite the statutes not mentioning cryptocurrency in any way and despite the fact that bitcoin is never “transmitted” at all, by the government’s own definition of “transmitting”. Unfortunately one cannot appeal a plea deal under most circumstances, so she’ll have to serve some as-yet-undetermined amount of the 18-month sentence. However, you can help her make the time go faster by writing her letters, sending books, or money for commissary. Instructions are here at AriaDiMezzo.com.
As always, stay tuned here to Free Keene or Free Talk Live for the latest.
We’re not happy about it, but the jury has spoken. I was found guilty of all eight non-violent, victimless charges I faced at trial in December. Though we are going to appeal all eight counts, I have to be sentenced before the appeal can be filed. The prosecution is asking for upwards of 20 years, however no charge has a minimum sentence, so in theory I could receive time served for the 69 days I’ve already done and then some amount of probation or home confinement in lieu of prison. It’s all up to the judge.
If I have had a positive effect on your life, perhaps you’d consider writing a letter to judge Laplante to explain why you think I should remain out of prison. What kind of benefit have I brought you and the community as a whole? Why does putting me behind bars cause more harm than leaving me out in productive society? These are some of the things you may want to focus on in your letter.
While you likely have strong feelings about the FBI, the prosecution, or the jury in this case, none of that will be relevant to the sentencing hearing, so leave out your opinions on the process, please. While I have my critiques of the prosecutors, I’ve said along the way that I was surprised at how fair Joseph Laplante was, so I’m optimistic. He’s been thoughtful, is capable of changing his mind, and played things fairly evenly during the process.
Please address your letter to “The Honorable Joseph Laplante” or “Judge Laplante”. You may want to talk a little about yourself and what you do for a living and what you have done, especially with regard to any military or government work.
You are welcome to send a draft to me via email at ian at freetalklive.com or if you are confident in what you’ve written, send a signed original via snail mail – include your contact info – to:
63 Emerald St. #610
Keene, NH 03431
Please don’t delay as we need these well in advance of the April 14th sentencing date. Thank you.
Melanie Neighbours On Witness Stand
Today was a very sad day. I heard from what I considered a good friend turn on another good friend during day 5’s Crypto6 trial. While I knew Melanie Neighbours had some misgivings I had never imagined that she would actively work against Ian Freeman let alone lie- or at least mislead a jury on the witness stand.
Shortly after the March 2021 raid we communicated a number of times and I said to her there were two things I thought she should do in regard to her situation. One was not lie even if it was to Ian’s detriment. Ian Freeman could take care of himself I said, and two, don’t do anything to incriminate yourself or even remotely appear to be partaking in any activity that might be perceived as not-kosher.
Alas- she seems to have at least broken one of these pieces of advice. Why? Over a stupid squabble? Some insignificant issue she perceived to exist? Well, unfortunately yes. There was a question as to whether or not a mistake was made in certifying Ian’s assets vs the Shire Free Churches assets and what was little more than a minor oversight she turned into a flaming drama fest on the stand. As a bookkeeper she certified Ian as having ~3 million dollars in assets of one kind or another.
Not everyone whose taken the stand to testify for the prosecution has done everything perfectly. Being questioned by a prosecutor or lawyer can be quite nerve wracking after all! One witness who should have been favorable to the defense (though forced to testify against Ian Freeman) let (however unintentionally) the prosecutor lead her to a mistaken answer. That was correctly fixed by the defense re-asking the question differently. No hard feelings. It happens. The damage could be huge, but the defense fixed it. We’re all human.
This? This is going to take a lot more time to heal. That said Ian Freeman’s got one of the biggest hearts and I bet he’d even forgive you despite this attack. Maybe there is more to the story I’m not seeing still. Maybe this was the plan all along. I’m going to hope it really was just a squabble over some irrelevant detail, because the alternative is you are the biggest piece of shit Melanie. If you were working for the feds all along you are lower than low and I will NEVER forgive you. Feds don’t deserve forgiveness. Anyone else… even the most depraved human beings I can forgive, but NOT people who create a living out of others misery.
I’ll end on a positive note. The Crypto6 protest went great! ~16 people came out to the trial today and ~50 turned up to our little protest outside the federal courthouse in Concord. The video(s) I recorded are below.
In a recent post here at Free Keene, Chris Waid presented his notes from the sentencing hearing for Nobody as a, “Big win for Mr. Nobody“. This is ridiculous spin. For those who didn’t hear the news, my co-defendant Nobody was recently sentenced to “time served” of approximately six months in jail as well as $2,100 in fines and fees, a forfeiture of $10,000, and two years’ probation. He had taken a plea to one count of “wire fraud”, despite not having defrauded anyone. Like the other Crypto Six defendants, he was intimidated into a plea deal by the threat of further charges.
Whether or not he took the plea and even if he went to trial and “won” on every count – as Aria and I are hoping to do – it would not be a “win”. As Mark Stevens put it in his book, “Adventures in Legal Land“, whenever you are targeted by the state, it is a loss. Even if you “win” and defeat the charges, you still lose your time. You still lose your ability to focus on things that are actually important to you instead of focusing on a criminal trial and the stress of bail conditions and the government’s axe hanging over your head. Basically, when they bring charges against you, you are going to lose – the only question is how much?
In Nobody’s case, he went through a horribly and unnecessarily violent pre-dawn raid on his home, spent several months behind bars, most of a year on restrictive bail conditions, and now is having his personal finances decimated. He has nearly nothing left after paying their extractions, is now a federal felon for life, and is still under multiple probation restrictions for two years. All of this damage has been brought upon him simply because, as he described it, he was convicted of, “contempt of bank”. It’s great that he doesn’t have to go back to prison, but this is not a win.
In other Crypto Six news, the remaining two defendants, Aria DiMezzo and me, have had motions filed by our defense attorneys, including a motion to dismiss the “money transmitter” charges, a motion to block the prosecution from using blockchain analysis experts, and a notice of a “public authority defense”. The hearing on these motions is set for September 1st at 9:30am at Concord Federal District Court Church.
Nobody is out on bail!
Nearly six months after his arrest in an insanely destructive 6am raid back in March, longtime Free Keene blogger Nobody has finally been granted bail. The judge in his case suggested that Nobody, who changed his name from Rich Paul to run for Mayor in 2019 then Governor in 2020, was being held illegally.
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.
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:
The BEARCAT bashed in Nobody’s front door.
- 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.
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?
Federal District Church Court
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.
Stay tuned here to Free Keene and listen to Free Talk Live for the latest on Nobody and the rest of the Crypto Six.
Johnny Hurley was 40-years-old when he was gunned-down by a stranger who had taken an oath to protect others. Johnny’s death cannot be undone. But it can be learned from.