Update on Sherman Austin's Case, March 6, 2004

On Feb. 24, 2004, I met with FBI Special Agent John I. Pi  to pick up the items that were seized from my home on Jan. 24, 2002.

Special Agent (SA) Pi is the agent in charge of the case. Special Agent Pi questioned Sherman w/o legal representation for over four hours on the day of the raid. Special Agent Pi authored and distributed affidavits stating that Sherman authored and posted the RECLAIM Guide on the front page (index page) of his web site www.raisethefist.com. This lie was never challenged in court.

We met in a conference room at the Federal Public Defenders Office in Los Angeles. Special Agent John I. Pi, Agent Pi's assistant, Federal Public Defender Guy Iverson, Attorney Carol Smith (LG), and my son Tony. They didn't know that I was bringing an attorney. Pi seemed a bit uneasy -- his comfort level was off balance.   While Pi's assistant was transferring the items  from a van parked outside to the conference room, my attorney Carol Smith questioned him about the return of the copied data (mirror images). Pi said, in a rapid and unclear voice, that the data would be destroyed. I had to ask Pi to repeat himself. I asked Pi if he was referring to the data on the computer hard drives or the mirror images of the drives. Pi said the hard drives. 
 I left the room with my attorney to discuss the situation.   I explained to her that I WANTED THE HARD DRIVES RETURNED AND TO INFORM SPECIAL AGENT PI THAT HE CANNOT DESTROY THE DATA.  We came back into the room and my attorney informed Pi not to destroy the hard drives and that we were prepared to file a motion with the court for the return of the data.  When my attorney questioned Pi as to why he needed to destroy the data, Pi changed his story. Pi stated that the data was being transferred to the L.A. District Attorney for review. Pi was unclear about particulars and evasive when questioned. This is typical FBI nonsense. They never say what they mean and never mean what they say. They conveniently invent reasons to justify their unreasonable actions.  It's a never ending roller coaster ride. There were over 10 computers taken from Sherman's room on Jan. 24, 2002. All  computers were transferred to the FBI cyber crime unit where they were analyzed and held for over two years. The computers were returned WITHOUT THE HARD DRIVES. NO DATA... BOXES WITH MOTHER BOARDS! Two of the computers were old 286's and did not belong to Sherman.
State charges were never mentioned by the prosecutor  or Sherman's FPD during the plea signing. Possible state charges were introduced ONLY when I requested the return of the data.  We are waiting to hear back from the District Attorney about the data. The process is moving slow and I haven't received an update from my attorney.   It's my opinion that the government will NEVER give me back the data.  And I foolishly thought that this was over.

I plan on posting an update on www.freesherman.org next week.

For those of you who read the article in CLAMOR Sherman Austin Black anarchist faces patriot act repression. This case is extremely complex and difficult to navigate and I appreciate the fine job the staff @ CLAMOR did in reporting the facts. However, there is one important correction on page 2.
"In Fact, Austin wasn't even charged with anything until six months after..." It's important to note that Sherman was NEVER charged with any crime. The prosecutor THREATENED to indict Sherman if he did not sign the plea agreement.
Lots of folks aren't aware that Sherman was never formally indicted -- he was threatened. This tactic is typical of our so called justice system. Pressuring people to sign a plea for a crime they didn't commit by threatening a more serious charge if the case goes to trial --  the 20 year terrorist enhancement. This is what we are dealing with. A justice system based on lies NOT truth. What can we do about an unjust system that portrays itself as a system based on truth and equal representation for all?  I don't have all the answers, but I will continue to share the details of this case with whomever will listen.  Thanks again for helping.
Jennifer Martin Ruggiero

Human Rights Serendipity Home Page