Now all I can tell you is especially in my opinion, after yesterday, the full force of the Federal Government is going to be investigating this. When they pull a guy out of Chicago to come over there who already got a governor convicted, they're taking it seriously. And if they do that, he has got a huge fight on his hand.
R.K.: Now the first time when you defended Blago it was a hung jury on all but one count. Was he going to go to jail because of that count?
S.A.: Was it certainly possible? Yes. He was facing a maximum on that count alone of five years but if that were the only count he was certainly susceptible to probation, that certainly is something we would have asked for -
R.K.: So what happened? What happened when he went back to court? Why didn't you represent him the second time and why did he end up getting convicted and going to jail the second time?
S.A.: Okay, this is what happened there, two things occurred. Your first question is, and this is something that I had to sit down and decide at the time was, is he best off with me and my father, my father and me representing him, or should he have new counsel to come in and take a different look at this?
And a lot of people always said it was because there was no money left and I never had an opportunity to answer that until right now and the truth of the matter is because we had worked at public rates the first time and the second set of lawyers got paid from what they call the CJA which are public defender funds, the money had nothing to do with it.
I would have made the same money the first time that I made the second time and the second time I made the first time. It had nothing to do with money. But what I said was my father and I came forward and tried this in a certain way and the most important thing a criminal defense lawyer can do or any lawyer for that matter is say what is best for the client? I could have had more international news. I could have gotten more stuff. For me it would have been a benefit to try that again but it wasn't, in our opinion what was best for the client.
The Feds, at that point knew my tricks, knew my style, the Judge had already come down on me but if your listeners ever want to look it up I had to go toe to toe with the Judge and threatened to go to jail right before my closing argument because he said I couldn't argue certain things and I said Judge, look I am willing to go to jail for this, I can't do it, you're cutting my legs off. And he finally, the Judge ended up backing down.
But they knew where I was coming from and it wouldn't be best to have that kind of contention for the client and so I said you know as much as I love you Blago, what's best for you is you have a new fresh set of eyes to look at this. A new fresh set of lawyers to go through this, and they did. Now the second thing that happened was the government learned through the first trial where their weaknesses were and so they started slashing and cutting counts, they started slashing and cutting witnesses, and they streamlined their case. At the same time the Judge denied Blago the ability to play any of the tapes in the second trial.
Even if he took the stand, which he ended up doing, and this is part of the appeal and any of your listeners want to look at it, it's pretty fascinating circumstance because it just got argued two or three weeks ago before the seventh circuit here and one of the Justices up there took a hold of this, why aren't you allowed to play tapes that the government recorded? Blago was not allowed to play a single tape at all, even though he took the stand in the second one and that's what convicted him.
In fact when they asked the jurors in the second trial, why did you convict him on it, they said look we listened to the tapes and there was no answer to those tapes. Not a single tape was played showing that those tapes were wrong or taken out of context, which I personally know aren't true because there were those tapes and so that's what happened there. I turned it over to another set of lawyers and the government streamlined their case.
R.K.: Alright now we're running out of time and I want to cover one other topic with you. I've been, in the last week I've interviewed two NSA Whistleblowers
S.A.: Yes sir.
R.K.: William Binney and Thomas Drake. Thomas Drake was mentioned by Ed Snowden as somebody who inspired him to become a Whistleblower. What they both mentioned which is very disturbing is NSA is sharing their US Metadata of all those phone calls and emails and what have you with law enforcement people in the United States, helping them to identify potential people to prosecute, helping them to come up with evidence, and then they're doing something what they call something like parallel development or something like that, never saying that they're using the metadata, just using it. Is this something that the Fed's attorneys are aware of and are dealing with in anyway?
S.A.: First and foremost I can tell you, most of us who practice in state courts are not aware of this at all. The only reason I am aware of it is because I have been following a little bit of this in the papers but the extent of it number one we're never going to know, two it's extremely troubling, extremely troubling, the whole purpose of the American Experiment if you recall was to get away from an over-zealous monarchy coming in and quartering troops here in America and spying on it's own citizens.
We've gone full circle here. Not only, and this is even a little different than that because now the government is printing it's own money as much as it wants and can spend as much as it wants to do that. It's very troubling, especially to me, a criminal defense lawyer. People always say to me as a criminal defense lawyer, you defend criminals, I said no, what I am doing is protecting the Constitution and this cannot be, if they're using resources on a Federal level to investigate individuals that they don't know, there's no oversight, there's no warrant procedure, they're just doing it and then turning it over so you can prosecute them, that is no longer a republic, that's no longer a democracy, that's a monarchy that is spying on it's own citizens.