Former Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson filed a motion in federal court today to dismiss his felony indictment on account of allegations of misconduct by the FBI in the investigation. His father, former U.S. Sen. Tim Hutchinson, has alerted his followers to the motion.
Jeremy Hutchinson contends, as his attorney had before, that his computer was illegally searched and exculpatory evidence was destroyed. His motion links his troubles to a tumultuous breakup with a former girlfriend, Julie McGee. He contends a former girlfriend, not named in the filing, and someone else took items from his home and set in motion complaints, initially reviewed by the Ethics Commission, that he’d used campaign money for personal expenses. That’s the core of federal charges he now faces for avoiding taxes on such spending. He also blames her for an investigation still ongoing that he was paid for legal work in return for legislative action by a nonprofit. He has contended all his legal payments by a nonprofit embroiled in the public corruption scandal were legitimate.
The filing recites the events in great detail, including alleged theft of electronic devices and reports on his girlfriend troubles on this blog. It said:
… despite widespread public reports of Individual-1’s hostility towards Mr. Hutchinson, the government never contacted Mr. Hutchinson prior to searching his computer, and never sought a warrant to search the laptop she stole from him. Furthermore, though the laptop contained legal files, the FBI did not follow proper protocol to protect files that might have implicated attorney-client privilege, nor or did it seek approval from the U.S. Attorney or Assistant Attorney General or review the privileged materials with a special “taint team” to protect the attorney-client privilege.
The government has since advised that it destroyed the images of electronic devices that it had collected, including Mr. Hutchinson’s laptop. Importantly, the laptop contained contemporaneous ledgers of Mr. Hutchinson’s campaign contributions and expenditures including cash expenditures for his campaign, which are now permanently lost. The computer’s mirrored hard drive would have also had have emails from Mr Hutchinson’s law firm account which can no longer be retrieved. Individual-1’s devices—images of which were also destroyed—contained valuable evidence regarding her bias and motivation to lie to the government, including her communications about the theft of Mr. Hutchinson’s computer and her communications with individuals concerning selling drugs.
Hutchinson contends the FBI opened its investigation based on false claims from his ex-girlfriend. He said the FBI wanted to strike a bargain with him for information about others.
Coerced by the threat of prosecution and seduced by the promise of immunity, Mr. Hutchinson told Special Agent Lowe that he knew about potential criminal activity by a state senator, but that his source for the information was privileged. Special Agent Lowe pushed on, urging Mr. Hutchinson to reveal this information, stating “go ahead and tell me and we can work around the attorney-client privilege.” Mr. Hutchinson then explained that his client, Rusty Cranford, told him of an attempt by State Senator Jon Woods to extort money from Mr. Cranford. The government began an investigation of Mr. Cranford shortly thereafter.
Seeking to obtain a meeting with Mr. Cranford, Special Agent Lowe spent weeks after the June 11, 2014 meeting guiding Mr. Hutchinson’s attempts convince his client to meet with the FBI. Under threat of prosecution, Mr. Hutchinson scheduled a meeting between Agent Lowe and Mr. Cranford with the understanding that Mr. Hutchinson would represent Mr. Cranford at the meeting. Id. However, shortly thereafter, another FBI agent, Special Agent Cessario, unexpectedly confronted Mr. Cranford at a different time without Mr. Hutchinson present. Mr. Cranford called Mr. Hutchinson, and Mr. Hutchinson instructed Mr. Cranford not to answer Special Agent Cessario’s questions.
Because of this incident, Special Agent Lowe reversed course and suddenly expressed concern that he had elicited potentially privileged information from Mr. Hutchinson, citing a “potential for conflict.” Special Agent Lowe suggested to Mr. Hutchinson that Mr. Cranford retain new counsel.
Woods has gone to prison for taking kickbacks from state money shipped to Ecclesia College and for scheming in an uncompleted deal with a nonprofit for whom Cranford worked. Cranford has pleaded guilty and is in jail in expectation of his cooperation in continuing probes.
Hutchinson contended the FBI closed its investigation in 2015 but then “inexplicably” reopened it in April 2017 after “false promises” of immunity. He wants evidence taken from him suppressed for rights violations in the investigation. Among others, he said agents had “lured” him into making statements with promises of leniency. He noted he’d provided some 20 confidential reports related to Cranford and Woods. In sum, he said, the government’s misconduct requires dismissal of the charges or at least an evidentiary hearing on the extent to which the government gained information improperly obtained.
Here’s Jeremy Hutchinson’s motion to dismiss.
Tim Hutchinson’s letter:
I write to you today as a father and as a concerned citizen. One of my sons, Jeremy, faces indictment on alleged campaign fund and tax violations. These allegations are unfounded. Jeremy pleaded innocent to these charges. Today Jeremy’s attorneys filed a motion to dismiss all charges. The motion is attached. A second attachment contains a joint statement by attorneys, Tim Dudley of Little Rock; Marc Mukasey of New York and Nate Muyskens of Washington, D.C.
When I learned the facts of Jeremy’s case (outlined in the Motion to Dismiss), I was shocked, stunned and outraged at the FBI conduct. I hope you will read the Motion. I believe you will share my dismay. The FBI used coercive interviews, a warrantless search of Jeremy’s stolen laptop; the destruction of the laptop and the exculpatory evidence it contained which Jeremy needs to defend himself and the blatant violation of attorney client privilege.
Jeremy has served the State of Arkansas honorably for 18 years. He served as a part time prosecutor, as a State legislator for 14 years and before his recent resignation he was Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
All my life I have been a supporter of law enforcement and I still am. But Jeremy’s experience has alarmed and shocked me. I was taught to admire and respect the FBI. I have a son who is an FBI agent. And I am very proud of his dedicated and sacrificial service. He puts his life on the line every day. But Jeremy’s experience scares me and I think will scare all who respect constitutional rights.
I have become good friends with a number of great FBI agents. I honor their service and professionalism. But a few years ago I was visiting with an agent who was working public corruption. I was taken aback when he said, “all politicians are corrupt. It is just a matter of whether we can prove it.” I have known many politicians both State and Federal. The vast majority without regard to party serve honestly and honorably and love our Country. They make mistakes (and Jeremy has made his share) but they are law abiding and so is Jeremy.
The power the FBI and the Department of Justice has to enforce the law is a trust, yet that trust can be abused. When it is, reputations are stained; families wrecked and lives destroyed. In Jeremy’s case, the indictment itself, presumption of innocence notwithstanding, has cast a shadow over him costing him his livelihood, his position, his reputation, his clients and many of his friends.
Jeremy’s reputation is now forever besmirched. But I am resolved to defend him and fight for justice.
He also distributed this summary of events in his son’s case that was part of the motion for dismissal.