Problem – just because the supreme court changed the law after the fact does not mean that McFall, Sawyer and Dunn are innocent. It just means that in the mind of some judge the law they were convicted under (on in the case of Sawyer and Dunn pled guilty to) was flawed.
Monte McFall, Baxter Dunn and N Allen Sawyer lived the good life. They had a machine going on.
Through a couple of shell companies they operated – named: MSD Ventures, Inc (using the first initial of the co-conspirator’s last names) and SMTM Partners, L.P. (Show Me The Money) – the above three were alleged to have run several scams.
The circumstance that got the attention of the federal prosecutors was related to competing bids for a power plant in San Joaquin County.
On March 8, 2005, a jury returned a verdict convicting McFall of attempted extortion, conspiracy to commit extortion, honest services mail fraud, and witness tampering. The jury convicted McFall of seventeen of the twenty counts charged in the indictment and acquitted him on three counts of mail fraud. The district court sentenced him to 121 months’ imprisonment and a $50,000 fine-the maximum sentence in the advisory Guidelines range.
Both Dunn and Sawyer pled guilty to a single felony in exchange for light sentences of 6 months each, they agreed to testify against McFall. The government chose not to make them testify, yet McFall wanted them to testify in his defense.
Both envoked their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
A review of the evidence in the cases shows that all three were accused of selling influence. Dunn, the former Sheriff was accused and pled guilty to using his office to attack targets to get them to pay and Sawyer was the consultant / power broker manipulating the chess pieces.
Sawyer was uniquely qualified to do his job as his resume lists him as a former Prosecutor in San Joaquin County.
Take a look at the name of the entities that they supposedly used to launder their extortion proceeds with? Show me the Money? Really? This implies that they knew what they were doing – especially Sawyer who got himself in trouble when he went out hard and in public for a power plant project he was on retainer for… without telling anyone he stood to reap millions if his project won.
Here’s the bottom line: In 2001, Calpine Corporation (“Calpine”) and Sunlaw Energy Corporation (“Sunlaw”) were competing to secure the right to build a power plant at a site in the Port of Stockton.3 McFall and his partners (acting through their SMTM partnership) entered into a consulting contract with Sunlaw under which the partners stood to reap substantial financial rewards if Sunlaw obtained the right to build at the Port of Stockton site, and an even greater sum if the plant was actually built. According to the evidence, McFall and his partners sought to undermine Calpine’s chances of prevailing at the Port of Stockton by mounting political opposition to another pending Calpine project in neighboring Alameda County.
Neil Sawyer’s Felony Conviction was overturned on a technicality. Had prosecutors known that the Supreme Court would change the criminal statutes a few years later, they could have solicited a guilty plea to a different charge from Sawyer and Dunn. McFall was convicted on a variety of felonies and several of those convictions still stand.
The People of San Joaquin County deserve better than Neil Sawyer. Mr. Sawyer has no place in politics, he should be working for a non-profit spending the rest of his life making amends for the ill-gotten gain he has ripped off from society.
Baxter Dunn’s political career was destroyed, rightly so. He abused the public trust. But, both Dunn and Sawyer are mounting a comeback.
Monte McFall is to the best of this author’s knowledge, still in prison or on probation where he belongs.
None have ever proven their innocence. Worse, the Plea-Deals of Both Saywer and Dunn included a caveat. If the circumstances of their convictions changed, then the prosecutor reserved the right to try them on the other charges. This is now a real possibility that flies in the face of their protestations of innocence.
The Federal Prosecutors did the right thing breaking up this den of thieves. The citizens of San Joaquin County deserved the best power plant, not the power plant these three felons made the most money off of.
Not to be outdone – McNerney’s Buddies in the Stockton Record Agreed in 2011!
March 06–There is only one thing sillier than the suggestion that former San Joaquin County Sheriff Baxter Dunn be returned to office.
That’s the assertion by Dunn’s attorney, Douglas Goss, that government prosecutors have admitted they were wrong in going after Dunn.
“We can now allow the will of the people of San Joaquin County to be honored by restoring Sheriff Dunn to the office of sheriff for which he was duly elected,” Goss said.
Goss is maneuvering to have his client’s name cleared in the county’s largest public corruption scandal. Dunn, along with N. Allen Sawyer of Stockton, pleaded guilty to one count of honest services mail fraud. Federal prosecutors accused Dunn of abusing his position by using a law enforcement database to do research unrelated to his official duty.
The law in question makes it a crime to “deprive another of the intangible right of honest services.”
In 2005, Dunn was sentenced to six months in federal prison, six months of home detention and three years’ probation, and fined $40,000.
Now Goss wants Dunn’s name cleared. He bases the request on a Supreme Court ruling that tossed portions of the honest services statute.
A unanimous Supreme Court ruled in June, in a case involving former Enron executive Jeffery Skilling that honest services law was so broad and so vague that it could capture all manner of behavior, including what many reasonable people would not consider criminal.
U.S. District Judge Morrison C. England signed papers Feb. 2 clearing Sawyer’s name, a move that was not opposed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Sacramento.
Similarily, the office is not opposing Dunn’s effort.
“Not often,” Goss said, “does the government step up and admit that it was wrong.”
More properly, not often does the government have to stand aside when the Supreme Court alters application of an existing statute.
Dunn, by the way, wishes to work as a law enforcement consultant, according to Goss’ court filing.
Copyright (c) 2011, The Record, Stockton, Calif. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.
In San Joaquin County, you get your ballots today or tomorrow. Be Careful who you vote for!