An attorney that I met in South Texas back in late 2003 told me a story about being subpoenaed to testify before a federal grand jury in the Middle District of Florida. At the time, he was representing a client in a drug trafficking case in Central Florida. The feds were threatening to indict him when his client became a no show in the case.
He had his own attorney in the matter and was advised that he was probably damned if he did and damned if he didn't. This meant that he could always plead the 5th (Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination) and not answer questions, but it was likely that he would be indicted. He could also answer the questions and would probably be indicted if he chose to. It is like walking a tightrope.
A person that is subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury cannot have an attorney present during testimony. He decided to answer the questions honestly and not plead the 5th – they hate it when a person pleads the 5th and usually indict at that point. He was not indicted. He really couldn't believe that prosecutors in the Middle District of Florida would do this to him, but they did. He considered this area different and stated that this wouldn't have happened in South Texas. Indeed it is different, to say the least.
Alexandria, Virginia is different also. In late 2006, Dr. Sami Al-Arian was served a subpoena to testify before the Grand Jury in Alexandria even though his plea agreement in the lengthy and on-going case was clear that he would not be required to cooperate in any other federal witch-hunt. His entire case and trial in the Middle District of Florida was a witch-hunt with far-reaching allegations.
Dr. Al-Arian refused to testify and was subsequently charged with civil contempt of court. He spent 13 months in jail in Virginia before he was finally released from that charge in that place. In short time he was subpoenaed to testify once again and pursued until federal prosecutors charged him with criminal contempt of court in June of 2008. It was March of 2009 before a federal judge finally agreed with him that his plea agreement in the Middle District of Florida was binding and he couldn't be compelled to testify. The DOJ was claiming that the DOJ in Virginia was not a party to the DOJ in Tampa's plea bargain. Crazy, right? As if it isn't all one and the same DOJ!
Dr. Al-Arian is still under house arrest today. This is a case that has gone on since his early 2003 indictment. As I was on trial in Orlando, he was being indicted in the case in Tampa. And so many people claim that there are not political persecutions in the US?
Those that are subpoenaed to testify in connection to the Wikileaks investigation will have a choice, but is it really a choice at all? Each will be damned if they do and damned if they don't. Get ready for a replay of the Sami Al-Arian case as the DOJ scrambles to indict as many as possible, especially after the recent release of the Guantanamo Files. I haven't yet read through the documents, but that is because I already know the content. Most people that are awake in this country already know the content.
FREE Sami Al-Arian – Political prisoner since February 20, 2003