We received this email from nationally known criminal defense attorney Jon May (who was a Federal Prosecutor before he joined up with the good guys.)
STATEMENT OF JON MAY INSUPPORT OF BENEDICT P. KUEHNE
An innocent man has been charged with a crime. His name is Ben Kuehne. And I am proud to call him my friend. In the coming days you will hear only what the government wants you to know about the allegations against Ben. And you may be tempted to believe what you hear. But don't.
The government drafts the indictment and the government is permitted to broadcast its contents to the community. But Ben's lawyers are not permitted to comment on the evidence. So you will only hear one side ofthe story.
What is true is that Kuehne was retained by nationally known lawyer Roy Black to research and determine the legality of legal fees paid to Black's legal team for the representation of Colombian Drug Kingpin Fabio Ochoa Vasquez. This representation of Black, whose legal fees have not been challenged or forfeited, forms the entire basis ofthe indictment, directed by main Department of Justice officials in Washington, against Kuehne.
This case represents the first time ever in which federal criminal charges were brought against a lawyer whose legal work consisted of representing a fellow lawyer who sought advice about compensation for defending a client in a criminal case. To target an adversary like Ben Kuehne, who is held in such high regard by the community and whose integrity is unquestioned, sends a message that any lawyer is at risk,even concerning previously unheard of prosecution strategies like those used here. Finally the fact that this prosecution is political paybackis demonstrated by the government's efforts to leak its investigation while Ben's lawyers were trying to convince Washington that these allegations were unfounded. On a number of occasions Washington provided reporters with the details of the investigation in an effort to destroy Ben's reputation in the community. They did so knowing that there was no one to investigate their unlawful violations of grand jury secrecy. (emphasis by Rumpole)
We would all like to think that our Justice Department seeks to do justice. But the sad reality is that increasingly Main Justice inWashington has been dominated by zealots intent on winning no matter what the costs. Just this year, the Bush Justice Department accused the lawyers representing the Guantanamo detainees of treason. Recently a federal judge in New York dismissed all charges against a number of defendants where the prosecutors threatened their former employer, a major accounting firm, with indictment if it paid for lawyers to represent the accused. And as it has becoming increasingly clear, federal prosecutors who failed to file voting law violation charges against Democrats were fired for not towing the party line.
So now Ben Kuehne, a prominent election lawyer and defense attorney, stands wrongfully accused of participating in a money laundering scheme.
A past Dade County Bar President and current member of the Board ofGovernors of The Florida Bar, Ben Kuehne's entire personal reputationand legal career have been exemplary.
In 2000, Ben served as National Counsel and Florida Counsel to Vice President Al Gore and the Gore/Lieberman Recount Committee during the Presidential Recount Litigation. His responsibilities included representation before Florida canvassing boards, litigation in both state and federal courts, participation in the recount trial, and preparation of briefs to the Florida Supreme Court, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court. During the 2004 presidential election, Ben was a Senior Counsel to the Kerry/Edwards Presidential Campaign, coordinating the Florida Legal Team in early voting and election day voting issues. Ben was prominent in uncovering abuse by the Department of Justice in commencing investigations of supposed election law violations in Ohio. Those investigations suppressed Democratic voter turnout, helping bring about President Bush's 2004 re-election victory.
Kuehne successfully represented the public interest in the Miami Voter Fraud case, when he overturned the illegal results of a mayoral election marred by massive voter fraud. Kuehne also prevailed in a politically-charged prosecution of a prominent Florida state senator for alleged campaign finance and reporting violations.
Described by the progressive organization, People For The American Way, as a "lawyer's lawyer" and "champion for constitutional rights," Ben received its Spirit of Liberty/Defender of Democracy Award in 2006 for his successful federal court challenge in the Mi Familia Vota case to the unconstitutional Bush administration efforts to prevent the registration of newly sworn citizens as voters after citizenship ceremonies. Kuehne was also named one of the "Lawyers of the Year" by the National Law Journal for his work on behalf of Vice President A lGore in the 2000 Recount Litigation. Ben leads a coalition of advocates who are regularly called upon to initiate public impact litigation fort he redress of constitutional violations arising from government action. As just a few examples, Ben successfully represented 15 Cuban refugees in a constitutional challenge to the "wet foot/dry foot" policy resulting from the well-publicized repatriation of Cuban nationals who landed on the Old Seven Mile Bridge in the Florida Keys. As lead counsel for Save Dade, he successfully led the effort to prevent an election to nullify the Miami-Dade County Human Rights Ordinance.
Kuehne is well-known for his extensive contributions to the community outside the courtroom, having served as a founding Executive Committee member and Trustee of the Alliance for Ethical Government, a community organization founded to improve the ethical rules governing local government officials. He is a former member of the Board of Legal Services of Greater Miami, and has been the recipient of pro bono awards for providing legal services to the poverty community.
In addition to his meritorious service as President of the Dade County Bar Association and President of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers - Miami Chapter, Ben Kuehne was the recipientof the Criminal Justice Award by the Dade County Bar Association in 2000 for his "outstanding contributions to the criminal justice system." He is a noted speaker and author on important legal and political issues,regularly appearing as a faculty member at advanced Bar seminars oncutting-edge criminal law issues.
Nationally recognized for his leadership and success as a lawyer and community leader, Ben is named in The Best Lawyers of America(2000-2007) and Chambers USA America's Leading Lawyers, Litigation:White Collar Crime & Government Investigations (2004-2007). He was named the Best Lawyer in Miami by New Times Newspaper in 2000 .He continues to be included by the South Florida Legal Guide and Florida Trend's Legal Elite as one of South Florida's Top Lawyers in every annual publication.
Ben, is committed to securing complete vindication by proving that these charges are false and an unprincipled effort to ruin an ethical community leader. It is my hope that the community Ben has selflessly devoted himself to will stand with him and give him the support that he deserves.
Jon May, Esq.
Rumpole says: hear hear!
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