[Ppnews] Jeffrey Auerhahn v. Tarek Mehanna: Suborning Perjury and Official Secrets

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Sun Oct 9 12:33:04 EDT 2011

Jeffrey Auerhahn v. Tarek Mehanna: Suborning Perjury and Official Secrets
By Free Tarek Mehanna Support Committee.
Axis of Logic.
Friday, Oct 7, 2011

Editor's Note: We thank our friends at the Free 
Tarek Mehanna Support Committee in Boston for 
writing and submitting this report on the arrest 
and imprisonment of Tarek Mehanna. Tarek was 
first arrested by the FBI in the fall of 2008 and 
then again in October 2009. Read how Asst U.S. 
Attorney Jeffrey Auerhahn, who has a history of 
coercing witnesses and informants has used the 
same methods to obtain testimony against Tarek 
Mehanna. For the last 2 years Tarek has been 
imprisoned in the notorious Plymouth County 
Correctional Facility in 23-hour solitary 
confinement awaiting trial. In his trial this 
month, the government is threatening him with a 
life sentence. Read more details in a 
of his case and all about how you can help fight 
this injustice at the <http://freetarek.com/>Free Tarek Mehanna Website.

- Les Blough, Editor

A federal prosecutor is trying an alleged member 
of the New England mafia for ordering an 
execution. One of the policemen working on the 
case calls him with an important piece of news to 
share: the star witness has just called to say 
that his grand jury testimony fingering the 
defendant was false. The defendant never ordered the murder.

The prosecutor calls an emergency meeting with 
the witness, the cop, and an FBI agent also 
working on the case. They meet in a hotel room in 
another state. The witness repeats his 
recantation: the defendant never ordered the 
murder. The prosecutor and the FBI agent are 
furious and tell the cop to take the witness into 
the hallway and “straighten him out.” The cop 
explains that if the witness changes his 
testimony he’ll be removed from the witness 
protection program—a death sentence--and 
potentially face trial for criminal charges 
connected with the murder. So the witness comes 
back into the room and changes his mind—he’ll 
testify that the defendant is guilty, after all.

A scene from a seedy, TV crime-drama?

Vincent Ferrara released in 2005 after serving 16 
years in prison based on coerced testimony used 
by Assistant US Attorney Jeffrey Auerhahn.

No, it’s from the court record of the case 
“Ferrara v. US,” and the prosecutor is one 
Assistant US Attorney Jeffrey Auerhahn. And it 
gets worse: not only did Auerhahn coerce the 
witness into lying, he made no record of the 
incident and said nothing about it to the defense 
attorney. When the cop put it all into a written 
report, he doctored the report and then kept the 
“sanitized” version in his own files. Questioned 
about all of this years later in court, he 
lied—it never happened, he couldn’t remember anything.

Then the documents turned up.

Here’s how Judge Selya, deciding for the First 
Circuit Court of Appeals, summed up Auerhahn’s actions:

Walter Jordan, coerced into testifying against Vincent Ferarra
we are dealing with more than simple neglect to 
turn over exculpatory evidence; the government 
manipulated the witness (Jordan) into reverting 
back to his original version of events, then 
effectively represented to the court and the 
defense that the witness was going to confirm the 
story (now known by the prosecution to be a 
manipulated tale) that the petitioner was responsible for killing Limoli. ..."

Judge Selya went on to write in the same decision:

the government's actions in this case 
 paint a 
grim picture of blatant misconduct. The record 
virtually compels the conclusion that this 
feckless course of conduct--the government's 
manipulative behavior, its failure to disclose 
the Jordan recantation and/or the Coleman memo, 
and its affirmative misrepresentations (not 
anchored to any rational and permissible 
litigation strategy)--constituted a deliberate 
and serious breach of its promise to provide 
exculpatory evidence. In the circumstances of 
this case, then, the government's nondisclosure 
was so outrageous that it constituted 
impermissible prosecutorial misconduct ..."

What happened to Auerhahn after the court found 
out that he had done these things? The head of 
the Massachusetts US Attorney’s Office 
transferred him from the Racketeering Unit into 
the Anti-Terrorism Unit. Considering that the 
Massachusetts US Attorney’s Office calls 
“terrorism” its “number one priority,” one can 
only call the transfer a promotion.

Assistant US Attorney Jeffrey Auerhahn 
transferred to Anti-Terrorism Unit after 
"prosecutorial misconduct" in the Racketeering Unit.
Difficult as it might be to believe, Jeffrey 
Auerhahn is still prosecuting high-profile cases 
in Massachusetts. It’s now eight years since the 
decision in the Ferrara case. In 2010, Auerhahn 
was finally brought before a three judge panel to 
hear the case against him for “prosecutorial 
misconduct.” To the astonishment of people 
familiar with case and the judgments of fact 
already established in the court record, the 
panel released a decision in September of 2011 
not to discipline Auerhahn for his misconduct. 
The decision sends a clear message: government 
prosecutors have a free hand to commit even 
criminal violations against defendants with impunity.

 From Racketeering to Terrorism

In his current position at the US Attorney’s 
Office, Auerhahn has prosecuted a series of cases 
related to "terrorism" and "national security." 
In 2010 he appeared in court seeking a reduced 
sentence on felony weapons charges for Bilaal 
McCloud in exchange for testimony against Tarek Mehanna. What’s the story?

Dr. Tarek Mehanna, political prisoner, refused to 
work as informant for the FBI.

Mehanna is being accused of “material support for 
terrorism” and other related charges. According 
to Mehanna, his real “crime” was his refusal to 
work as an informant for the FBI in the Muslim 
community. Agents had approached him repeatedly 
since 2006. When he consistently refused, they 
threatened to make his life a “living hell.”

McCloud, who attended mosques in the same 
community, was caught as a felon in illegal 
possession of firearms. He faced a lengthy prison 
sentence. In exchange for his agreement to 
implicate Mehanna in crimes, Auerhahn dropped the 
more serious charges against him and asked for 
probation rather than prison on his behalf.

There is a name for the practice of rewarding a 
witness for giving the testimony that the 
prosecution wants. It’s called “incentivizing 
witnesses.” A recent study conducted in Illinois 
entitled “The High Costs of Wrongful Convictions” 
found that out of 85 cases of wrongful conviction 
(innocent people sent to prison), 30 of them 
involved “incentivized witness testimony.”

Coercing witnesses and informants is standard 
operating procedure for prosecutors across the 
country. What’s unusual in Auerhahn’s case is 
that he was caught concealing information about it and lying in court.

Discretion to Use Witnesses Who Lie

As details about the case of Whitey Bulger began 
to come out in the late 1990s, the public got a 
glimpse into the FBI’s dirty work with 
informants. Two “top-echelon informants”—Bulger 
and Flemmi--were literally given a license to 
kill in return for providing information against 
rivals. The FBI not only let them carry out 
assassinations, it provided them with information 
about potential witnesses against them—it gave 
them the hit list. FBI agents helped their 
“informants” ship tons of illegal drugs into 
Boston, tipping them off against police and DEA 
investigations. And in return, Bulger and Flemmi 
provided the FBI with “information” against their 
competitors—that is to say, helped them build 
federal cases against people they themselves 
wanted to get rid of. In some cases they 
committed murder, fingered other people for it, 
and the FBI and federal prosecutors put those 
people away. Was it a question of a few “rogue 
agents” or a corrupt prosecutor here and there?

The FBI gave crime partners, Whitey Bulger and 
Stephen Flemmi a license to kill in return for 
providing information against rivals.

Attorney Michael Avery helped win a multi-million 
dollar law suit against the FBI for knowingly 
sending four of those innocent men to prison on 
murder charges. The court found that the FBI had 
"suborned perjury"--deliberately coached 
witnesses to lie--and framed the four men in 
order to protect its top-echelon informants. As 
the case came to trial, the United States 
Department of Justice (DOJ)—which oversees both 
the FBI and the US Attorney’s Office—defended its 
agents on the grounds that their actions fell 
within the boundaries of professional 
"discretion." Or as Avery summarized the position 
that the DOJ maintained in a series of briefs 
submitted from 2004-2007, "When FBI agents are 
working with a cooperating witness, they have 
discretion to work with a witness that they know 
isn't telling the whole truth."

Did you get that? According to the DOJ, the 
government has “discretion” to put people on the 
stand to lie under oath. And they can offer them 
all kinds of “incentives” to do it.

National Security Interests

There’s an important difference between 
prosecuting racketeering cases and prosecuting 
“terrorism” cases. When Auerhahn came up against 
Judge Wolf in 2003, the judge’s final decision 
rested on documents that he required the 
government prosecutor to produce. And the 
ultimate reason for granting Ferrara’s appeal and 
reversing his wrongful conviction was the failure 
of the prosecutor to turn over “exculpatory 
evidence." The court decided that even an alleged 
mafia captain accused of murder has certain 
elementary rights to due process. Part of that 
due process is the right of the defendant to see 
“exculpatory evidence” (evidence that might show 
innocence) in a process called “discovery”—the 
requirement that the prosecutor provide 
information to the defendant that is necessary 
for the preparation of an adequate defense.

In “terrorism” cases the courts have allowed the 
DOJ—the same DOJ that has historically asserted 
its “discretion” to use witnesses who lie—to 
refuse to hand over documents in discovery based 
on “national security interests.” This means that 
the entire seedy process of bribing, coercing and 
otherwise manipulating informants and witnesses 
to lie against defendants is now potentially immune from disclosure.

And that’s exactly what the US Attorney has done in the Tarek Mehanna case.

In August of 2011, a hearing was held in Dr. 
Mehanna's case concerning materials submitted by 
the FBI to the FISA court. This would potentially 
include informant material used to obtain 
warrants for electronic surveillance. The DOJ 
asserted its right to keep these files sealed based on "national security."

In the course of the same hearing, the defense 
counsel requested information about important 
exculpatory evidence. In 2008, the NYPD had sent 
a covert agent from the Joint Terrorism Task 
Force to Boston. The agent attempted to recruit 
Dr. Mehanna to carry out a terrorist action and 
Dr. Mehanna refused. Information about the 
incident had not been provided to Mehanna's 
attorney by the government, but by a journalist 
who had learned about it while writing an 
investigative piece about the NYPD's 
anti-terrorism investigations. When confronted, 
the US Attorney's Office refused to provide any 
information about the incident. Instead, 
government prosecutors requested a private 
consultation with the judge behind closed 
doors--a proceeding which the judge accepted. The 
judge, who happens to be one of the three judges 
who heard the case for prosecutorial misconduct 
against Auerhahn in 2010, went on to deny the 
motion to release the exculpatory evidence.
Jeffrey Auerhahn is infamous across the country 
as a "corrupt prosecutor," known as one of the 10 
worst in the country. In legal circles, his name 
has become synonymous with such practices as 
"suborning perjury." Under the current regime of 
anti-terrorism prosecutions, Auerhahn is free to 
exercise his well-honed skills handling 
informants and cooperating witnesses under the 
cloak of "national security." It must be said 
that getting into the anti-terrorism business was 
a great career move for Jeffrey Auerhahn.

Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

415 863-9977

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