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Joseph R. "Joe" Banister

Monday, March 07, 2005

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Freedom Above Fortune News


Dear Friends,

Well, the Government wasn’t satisfied with a star chamber IRS "disbarment" proceeding and a federal criminal indictment against me!

It has been a while since I have updated you on my circumstances. Much has transpired and this newsletter is fairly long, so I urge you to read it carefully. I am going to need the help of each and every one of you in order to prevail against this onslaught of persecution and harassment. Look for **HOW YOU CAN HELP** below.

Just when I felt my family and I had absorbed all the Government could dish out, I received an “Accusation” document from the California Board of Accountancy (CBA) several days ago, which seeks to suspend or revoke my Certified Public Accountant (CPA) credentials.

The CBA is the agency that oversees and monitors CPAs in California. CPAs are required to abide by various rules, including provisions of the California Business and Professions Code (B&PC). Two provisions within the B&PC require that a CPA (1) respond to CBA inquiries and (2) must not have been suspended from practice before any governmental body or agency.

Those who have read my past newsletters know that I’ve used metaphors like “bully” and “club” to describe the tactics used by the Internal Revenue Service and U.S. Department of Justice. The federal bullies apparently aren’t convinced that their legions of attorneys, special agents, and unlimited resources are enough to destroy me, so they have enlisted the help of the CBA to force me to fight on another battlefront. For those of you following my “IRS LOCKOUT” saga over the last couple of years, you will notice a familiar pattern. For anyone still holding on to the notion that our government is motivated by a sense of justice, fairness, and basic morality, these events may cause you to abandon that notion.

Given the developments of the “IRS LOCKOUT” saga, you are no doubt beginning to understand how these various agencies work together to pick a whistleblower apart piece by piece, and you will recall that it transpired as follows - The IRS filed a complaint against me seeking “disbarment” because of alleged wrongs I committed on behalf of two clients and later amended the complaint alleging that I had willfully failed to make tax returns. I requested a hearing to defend against these allegations and the case was heard by an Administrative Law Judge from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Among many other transgressions too numerous to repeat here, the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) denied me the admission of nearly all the evidence that would prove the falsity of the allegations against me, denied me the opportunity to present and question witnesses that would prove the falsity of the allegations against me, and, despite claims that the government’s efforts were for the public’s protection, attempted to convene the hearing at a Coast Guard military base located away from public view on an island in San Francisco Bay. Many of my supporters began to call, fax, and email government officials questioning why an accountant was being “shanghai’d” on a military base and the pressure from the public caused the ALJ to relocate the proceedings to the San Francisco federal building.

However, the ALJ (and no doubt the IRS with him) realized that a hearing would expose too much of their “star chamber” tactics so the ALJ decided to deny me the opportunity to even have a hearing at all and scheduled a “sanction” (punishment) proceeding instead. Despite the fact that the only government witness to provide sworn testimony against me lied on the witness stand, the ALJ still ruled that I should be “disbarred”. I appealed his decision to the Secretary of the Treasury, who in turn delegated his decision-making authority back to an IRS Office of Chief Counsel Attorney named David F.P. O’Connor, who not surprisingly decided to uphold the ALJ’s “disbarment” decision. So, in effect, the IRS who initiated the complaint in the first place ended up as my final administrative arbiter as well. Would you agree that the phrase “judge, jury, and executioner” appropriately applies to these circumstances?

With the “disbarment” decision effectively finalized for at least the administrative phase of the appeals process (although, as described above, railroaded and ram-rodded into such finality), the California Board of Accountancy (CBA) then had the ammunition it needed to pursue me for being a CPA whose “right to practice” (before the IRS) had been suspended or revoked. The CBA then initiated an investigation of me and eventually convened an “investigative hearing”.

Of course, throughout much of the “IRS LOCKOUT” proceedings before the ALJ and the CBA investigation, I was aware that a federal grand jury investigation had been commenced. Given the government’s propensity for sharing information and ganging up on their target, I had to exercise great caution in defending against each agency’s allegations because my opponent on one battle front would share information with my opponent on another battle front. The law is fairly explicit in forbidding the government from engaging in such tactics, but if the government respected our rights and the law in such matters then I wouldn’t even be in this battle in the first place.

SO, IF YOU’VE MADE IT TO THIS PART OF MY MESSAGE WITHOUT BEING TOO CONFUSED, CONGRATULATIONS! The bottom line is that this whistleblower who attempted to expose egregious government misconduct, yours truly, is now battling against two Assistant United States Attorneys preparing to criminally prosecute him, battling against the Secretary of the Treasury in an appeal of “his” “disbarment” decision, and now battling against an accountancy board for basically asserting my rights in, and defending against, the other two battles.

Turning to recent events in the federal criminal case against me, you will recall my announcement in early December, 2004 that a federal grand jury had charged Walter A. “Al” Thompson, a Northern California businessman, and I with felony violations of Title 18 and Title 26 of the United States Code. Specifically, the November, 2004 indictment alleged that I conspired with Al Thompson to defraud the United States (one count) and that I aided and assisted the preparation and presentation of returns that were materially false and fraudulent (three counts).

After being charged, I immediately began choosing a defense team and preparing my defense. I chose attorney Jeffrey Dickstein of the Law Office of Robert G. Bernhoft, S.C., to be my lead trial counsel and attorney Robert Bernhoft, principal of the Bernhoft firm, and attorney Robert Barnes, a Bernhoft firm associate, as defense team members. Dozens of other legal professionals and researchers from around the country have pledged their support and expertise.

Initially, Al Thompson and I were scheduled to stand trial on January 19th, 2005. However, due to Mr. Thompson’s desire not to waive any of his rights, including his right to a speedy trial, and my desire to have adequate time to prepare my defense, the judge ordered that we be tried separately.

My trial was rescheduled for June 14, 2005, and Al Thompson’s trial proceeded as initially scheduled on January 19th. I personally observed about 75% of Al’s trial, and although not revealed to the jury, he was incarcerated at all times prior to the trial and during the trial except when the trial was actually in session. Having chosen to defend himself without an attorney and spending all “non-trial” time, including each evening, locked in a cell, Al’s ability to adequately prepare a defense was obviously severely compromised. Without the opportunity to adequately prepare, Al was unable to convey all that had transpired in the past in an organized, methodical fashion. Given the likely circumstance that the jurors were not familiar with, and would be expectedly skeptical of, such information and claims, an organized presentation was critical to Al’s success, but the restraints imposed upon him made preparing such a presentation nearly impossible.

By now you may have learned that on January 28th, 2005, Al Thompson – who was charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, two counts of filing a false claim against the United States, one count of willfully filing a false tax return, and ten counts of willful failure to collect and pay over tax – was acquitted on the count of conspiring to defraud the United States, but convicted on all other felony counts. To say my family and I are distressed by these convictions would be an understatement.

Although there is a chance that my trial date (for the criminal prosecution) may be postponed again, I must operate on the presumption that my trial will begin as scheduled on June 14th, 2005. As I’m sure you can imagine, this trial is going to be a gargantuan undertaking and the stakes are extremely high. Having whistleblowers come from within the walls of the Internal Revenue Service is undoubtedly the agency’s worst nightmare and such whistleblowers must be destroyed. The Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Justice have nearly endless resources and legions of agents and lawyers – they are the proverbial “Goliath”. I am a middle-class married father of two with dog, a house, and two cars – I am the proverbial “David”.

I possess the faith and the courage to meet Goliath on the battlefield. However, in order to achieve victory, the faith and courage I possess must be fortified by surrounding myself with the most committed, knowledgeable, and experienced people in the country. Surrounding myself with such people costs money and I need your help to raise that money.

**HOW YOU CAN HELP**

I have been very fortunate to have received support from hundreds of people throughout the “IRS Lockout” phase of this battle and the most recent proceedings involving the criminal prosecution. Some have given one small donation, some one large donation, others multiple small donations, and a few have given more than one large donation. Most have included brief phrases of encouragement, supportive letters, meaningful cards, prayers, and Bible verses. All have taken some of what they have worked hard to obtain and given it to me to keep up the fight. All have given a little bit of themselves in one way or another. Your contributions have sustained the overall effort thus far. However, the amount of time, effort, and expense will exponentially increase over the next few months.

In order to raise the funds necessary to meet the expenses of this defense effort, I am requesting that each and every recipient of this newsletter consider donating $100 to the legal defense fund. If this effort is to succeed, it is imperative that we be adequately funded. We must presume that the jurors will be unfamiliar with, and skeptical of, the concepts to which they will be exposed and the defense effort must focus like a laser beam on their minds and hearts in order to enlighten them. Educating the jury in such a brief time period and in such a tightly controlled, highly hostile environment, while defending myself on the other battle fronts described above, will take precision planning and preparation.

I urge each and every one of you to consider donating at least $100.00 to this effort. I NEED HELP FROM EACH AND EVERY PERSON WHO SUPPORTS WHAT I AM DOING. Be creative. Do you think you could find 3 other people who would join you in contributing $100 to help an IRS whistleblower defeat his IRS harassers? Could you find 3 other people who think the IRS is too heavy-handed who would join you in contributing $100 to help expose their dirty deeds. Could you find 3 other people who were themselves wronged or know someone who was wronged by the IRS and would join you in contributing $100? Could you find 3 other people who would join you in contributing $100 to help a former government servant who actually cared enough to speak up against the wrongdoing he observed? Could you find 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 or more people who would match your $100 contribution for the reasons outlined above? Certainly this time of year the IRS and the income tax are on the minds of many people. Ask them to help an IRS agent who blew the whistle on the agency’s wrongdoing. Tell them there may not be another opportunity like this in a long, long time, if ever! Point them to www.freedomabovefortune.com (click on “IRS LOCKOUT UPDATE”) so that they can learn what has transpired to date.

Whatever your decision regarding donating $100.00 to my defense, please continue praying for this effort as often as you can and use this effort as a way to educate your friends and neighbors regarding the truth about the IRS and the federal income tax.

Please make contributions payable to “Joseph Banister Legal Defense Fund”. For those who wish to preserve their privacy, feel free to use my mailing address, P.O. Box 90239, San Jose, California 95109-4239 as the return address on the envelope. If you are concerned about privacy in connection with funds deposited to the legal defense fund, consider sending a money order payable to “Joseph Banister Legal Defense Fund” but leave the purchaser information on the money order blank. For wires, Wells Fargo Bank,
4950 Almaden Expressway, San Jose, CA 95118, (408) 979-8530, ABA Routing No. 121042882, For credit to: Joseph Banister Legal Defense Fund Account# 9176-052125

I offer my sincere gratitude to each and every one of you for standing by me through all of this. I need you now, more than ever. Let’s remind the Internal Revenue Service that this is the land of the free and the home of the brave and bullies aren’t welcome here!

**UPCOMING EVENTS**

Speaking Event - Don’t forget that I will be speaking a rally sponsored by the Freedom Law School in Newport Beach on March 12th and 13th. I am hoping to have a member of my legal team, Robert Barnes from The Law Office of Robert G. Bernhoft, S.C. ( www.bernhoftlaw.com ), present to answer your questions. Visit http://www.livefreenow.org/ and click on “2005 Health and Freedom Rally” for more information. I would welcome the opportunity to meet with those who have supported me in this effort.

Radio Show - Please be listening Wednesday morning, March 9th, at 6:00 A.M. Pacific Time, to “The PowerHour With Joyce & Dave”, where I will be a guest. You can listen live on the internet at http://www.ThePowerHour.com or tune in to AM/FM stations: Maryville/Alcoa, TN., WBCR 1470AM, Liberty, Missouri, KCXL 1140AM, Youngstown, Ohio WASN 1500, Poplar Bluff, MO KLID, In Maryland WKDI 840AM, The Sunshine Network, Rochester, New York, Brockport, WMJQ 105.5FM, Brockport, WASB 1590AM, Brockport, WRSB 1310AM

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