I promised in earlier blog entries that I would post the final part of the three part blog entries containing my proposed testimony in the judicial corruption case of wealthy attorney Paul Minor, former judge John Whitfield and former judge Wes Teel. The following is a description of what was to be a re-sentencing hearing today and the complete proposed testimony.
When I first offered to testify, Federal Judge Henry Wingate told me to appear in court at what was to be the re-sentencing hearing on March 10, 2011.
During the hearing Judge Wingate asked me if either the defendants or the US Attorney's had seen my written proposed testimony. I answered, "no." Judge Wingate asked if I had contacted the U. S. Attorney's office about my offer of my testimony. I answered, "yes," that I had called U. S. Attorney Ruth Morgan's office and left a voice message about why I was calling and for her to return my call. I told Judge Wingate that Ms. Morgan never returned my call. After an hour on the stand answering questions if either side had knowledge of my testimony, the US Attorneys refused to support my testimony, even though they did not know what I was going to say.
At that hearing Judge Wingate said he was going to delay the re-sentencing hearing. He instructed me to fax a copy of my written testimony to the U. S. Attorney's office so they could look it over and determine whether they would support my testifying. I revised the original proposed testimony, then I faxed it to the FBI agent in charge.
At this morning's re-sentencing hearing I was told that copies of my proposed testimony were distributed to Judge Wingate, the defendants, Paul Minor, John Whitfield and Wes Teel and all the U. S. Attorneys. During a recess, the U S Attorney explained that although my proposed testimony was relevant they were going to refuse to support my testimony as a character witness, deeming it as probable cause for the case to be appealed. The U. S. Attorney explained they were also refusing support because it contained new information that had not been entered into court record. I countered that my information had already been entered into court record, copied by the judge, distributed to the defendants and U. S. Attorneys, then discussed and argued for hours at the sentencing hearing in 2007. However, I had heard hours of arguments from both sides, I knew it wouldn't take a rocket scientist to determine that no matter what Judge Wingate ruled, the case would be appealed.
Hours into this mornings hearing Judge Wingate had not determined when he would rule on the re-sentencing, however, he did allow four character witnesses to testify today in the re-sentencing for John Whitfield. It was determined by the prosecution that one witness had been on Paul Minor's payroll as an expert witness. Another, with an "honorary" doctorate title, admitted to only meeting John Whitfield twice, once in 2006 and prior to this hearing. A third witness, Mr. Whitfield's pastor, admitted under questioning that he did not know Mr. Whitfield's character outside of church events. He testified that Mr. Whitfield joined his church in 1998. Ironically, 1998 was when Judge Whitfield was assigned to my case and Paul Minor claimed he would be a "favorable" judge.
Just before lunch, Judge Wingate announced that he was going to delay his decision about vacating of convictions and re-sentencing, giving both sides until Friday to send him support documents. Any future hearings were not scheduled.
Proposed testimony of Nancy Swan submitted to the court in the re-sentencing of Paul Minor, John Whitfield, and Wes Teel judicial corruption case.
March 15, 2011
Chief Judge Henry T. Wingate
United States Government: District Court
245 E. Capital Street,
Jackson, MS 39201
Re: Re-sentencing of Paul S. Minor, John Whitfield and Wes Teel
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
PAUL S. MINOR,
JOHN H. WHITFIELD,
WALTER W. "WES" TEEL
Honorable Judge Wingate:
I’ve known Paul Minor since 1985. I retained Mr. Minor to represent me shortly after I had been seriously injured while teaching in Long Beach Mississippi. He represented my case which lasted fifteen years in Mississippi courts.
I’ve known John Whitfield since 1998. Mr. Whitfield was assigned to preside over my case after it had been remanded for the second time and my former, and second, judge ultimately removed for exhibiting bias.
Early in my case, Paul Minor recognized campaign contributions as a form of bribery. Not only had he told me about the buying of Mississippi judges, he told me in Judge Whitfield’s courtroom in 2000 that my second judge had been bribed twice to send my case to the state supreme court.
When Judge Whitfield was assigned to my case, Mr. Minor claimed that he would be favorable to my case. In 1998, Minor and his associate began boasting that they could “get” Judge Whitfield to take court action, that they had met with the judge and had already arranged deals in their favor. By that time, I had learned that ex-parte meetings were unethical and asked if by doing so, they had prejudiced the judge.
In 1999 I began to suspect something was wrong when Paul Minor had refused to return my phone calls for nine months. Out of desperation I wrote Judge John Whitfield appealing for help. I wrote another letter in November asking to attend any meetings between the judge and Minor. Paul Minor called me at my home in Hattiesburg and demanded that I come to a hearing that was to take place in Gulfport in 30 minutes. The following conversation took place on 12/14/99
Nancy Swan: There’s a settlement conference today?
Paul Minor: He’s [Judge Whitfield] giving us the afternoon. He’s going to kick their ass, big time [meaning Carboline]. Can you-all get in the car right now and come on down? ‘Cause, well, just, I, I’ll get him to delay it until you get here. . .
Paul Minor: “But can you all come on down right now? I’ll, I’ll get him to delay it till you get here and it will, it will be no problem. Okay?
Nancy Swan: How much are they offering [Carboline]?
Paul Minor: We hadn’t gotten into that. He’s gonna, he’s gonna, he’s gonna enter a ruling in our favor, in most all the rulings.
At the hearing and afterward, both Paul Minor and Judge Whitfield began threatening me. I asked, “Are you threatening me Mr. Minor?” Minor threatened that he would withdraw from my case if I complained about his behavior and Whitfield threatened that he would dismiss my case if I disagreed with Mr. Minor’s advice.
I was afraid and angered when it became obvious at the pretrial conference in Judge Whitfield’s courtroom on February 2, 2000 that Paul Minor was controlling Judge Whitfield’s decisions. They sat side by side on the other side of the prosecution table, with Judge Whitfield following Minor’s lead, threatening that if I continued to ask for my case documents and a financial accounting of the missing funds, Minor would withdraw and Whitfield would dismiss my case.
On the eve of my trial date in February 2000, Judge Whitfield once again met in secret with Paul Minor and allowed him to withdraw under false pretenses. I was not notified until two weeks later. Then, without a hearing, Judge Whitfield granted Paul Minor’s motion excusing him the having to provide substitute counsel and releasing him from having to furnish the documents I had requested and the accounting for missing funds.
I had trusted Paul Minor and I had trusted the court system. Both betrayed my trust and the trust of the people. Paul Minor habitually lied to me and to others involved in my case, then he lied to the Mississippi Bar in response to the multiple complaints I filed. John Whitfield lied to me, signed court records he knew to be false, that had been written by Paul Minor, then lied to the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance when I filed multiple complaints.
Both Minor and Whitfield concealed their unlawful and unethical actions in my case by conspiracy to steal of court documents, by sealing records, by lying and by vengeful acts. This court has heard evidence that by 2000, Paul Minor had been giving money to John Whitfield.
By summer of 2000, both men knew I had turned documents over to the FBI. Minor’s response in 4/2002 to one of my bar complaint was, “They [Nancy and Charles Swan] presented these same allegations to the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the United States Attorney, who found them baseless.”
After filing my second complaint to the Commission on Judicial Performance, Judge Whitfield agreed to step down. On his last day on the bench in November 2000, Judge Whitfield signed a court order which contained false statements to protect himself, Paul Minor, and to discredit me. To insure my silence, Judge Whitfield included a threat that if I continued to make complaints about Paul Minor and him I would be fined or jailed, or both- even after he left the bench and the decision could not be appealed. To conceal their conspiracy Judge Whitfield sealed all the court documents.
The evidence given this court and your honor during the government’s case against Paul Minor and former Judge John Whitfield was not a singular act. I hope the testimony I have given exemplifies traits inherent in both men, to lie, to conceal, and to denigrate and threaten those who speak out against them.
I hope the court takes into account during re-sentencing that both men, especially Paul Minor have continued to flaunt the law even while in prison - by their attitude that they see nothing wrong in the buying and selling of justice. At no point has John Whitfield nor Paul Minor expressed any remorse for their actions, though I believe outside the influence of Paul Minor, John Whitfield would. Nor have they apologized for their crimes and violation of the public’s trust.
When Paul Minor and John Whitfield defiled the law and the courtroom, their crimes damaged the reputation of the legal system. Legal ethics claim that lawyers and judges are to be held to a higher standard of the law. To the public and to me any reduction of their sentences without accountability would lower that standard. These two men didn’t just attack me, or the U. S. Government. They waged a personal attack on you as a judge.
Even from prison, Paul Minor, has maintained that he sees nothing wrong or illegal in exchanging large sums of money and favors in exchange for favorable judicial decisions. Ultimately, he has maintained this attitude, long after their sentencing, which has belittled respect for lawyers, you and your judicial peers, and the legal system.
Paul Minor is not just an ordinary criminal. He is wealthy, high profile, powerful, well connected, and he is dangerous No less than sixty Mississippi licensed attorneys told me that because of Paul Minor’s wealth, power, and political influence, it would be professional suicide to file a claim against Paul Minor and that they would never be able to have a case heard in a Mississippi court if they helped me file a complaint against John Whitfield.
Without accountability, these men do not deserve reduction of their sentences because of the mere technicality which vacated their bribery convictions. No argument can detract from act of bribery itself and their willful concealment of the crime. Any ordinary person would see that a home mortgage for Judge Whitfield paid off with cloak and dagger cash payments by Paul Minor is a bribe. In my case, John Whitfield defied the law and the Code of Judicial Conduct to obey Paul Minor’s direction. The cash and third party payoffs were proof they both knew they were breaking the law, violating ethics, and harming ordinary citizens to benefit themselves.
This court may realize that due the unforseen issues used by the defendants in their motions to vacate all the remaining convictions and the corresponding request for re-sentencing, that the 2007 sentencing on the remaining convictions may have been too light. When your Honor takes into account the defendants actions and attitudes while they have been incarcerated, the defendants deserve no less than their original sentences. If anything, these men, especially Paul Minor should have their sentence extended to the maximum permissible under state and federal law.
The crimes these men have committed, their refusal to admit to unlawful and unethical behavior, and their rationalization that they have done nothing wrong, not only jeopardizes the reputation and efficacy of the courts, but the very future of our government. We have a responsibility to the public, your honor, to the people of Mississippi, and to the United States legal system to ensure that our judges and attorneys use our courts, not for personal gain, but in a manner consistent with trust, privilege, and responsibility.
I hope that the court will review the evidence presented by the U. S. Attorneys and take into account my testimony on the characters of Paul Minor and Whitfield and conclude that the mastermind in these crimes and their concealment was, and still is, Paul Minor. Judge Whitfield and Wes Teel may have fallen victim to his scheme to influence their decisions and power to hold them beholden to him.
With regard to the sentencing of Judge Whitfield. I followed all the news accounts and as a spectator, I witnessed the trial and the sentencing of these two men. During that time, I was haunted by then judge John Whitfield’s warning to me on 2/7/2000. He delivered the warning from the bench, outside the presence of Paul Minor, who had failed to show. Judge Whitfield’s cryptic revelation told me that both he and I were powerless against Paul Minor. Everyone but the staff had left at the end of the docket call. Judge Whitfield lowered his voice and in almost a whisper said to my husband Charles and I,
Judge Whitfield: But, but, but let me share this with you. There’s - there is nothing you can do. If they want to do this to you -
Nancy Swan: I can’t afford to accept the settlement.
Judge Whitfield: But, if they want to do this to you - there is nothing you can do individually. That’s going to - [garbled].
Nancy Swan: [Garbled]
Judge Whitfield: There’s nothing -what, what I want you to understand - you can’t deal with them in your life - It’s going to take other people raising the issue, in order to deal with them, in other parts of the country.
Regarding the re-sentencing of Wes Teel. The court may question why I have not mentioned Wes Teel in my testimony. I know Wes Teel only from what I had heard about him from others. In my opinion if Wes Teel could have his sentenced reduced to time served if he:
John Whitfield could have some of his sentenced reduced if he
Regarding the re-sentencing of Paul Minor. Paul Minor continues to use his power to manipulate the Mississippi legal system and harm the United States legal system. I believe Mr. Minor should be required to serve out the remainder of his sentence or be re-sentenced with a longer sentence. My family has lived in the shadow of this corruption trial, always fearful of reprisal. Paul Minor’s contempt for me and my family is evident in the transcripts of his sentencing. Paul Minor remains a threat to my safety and that of my family, just as he remains a threat to the legal and judicial system.
Thank you for your consideration,