Friday, October 5, 2018


[Photo of Lee Myung-bak from wikipedia]

    As a former federal prosecutor in Augusta, Georgia, I prosecuted a number of public corruption cases, including one against the State of Georgia's former Senate majority leader.  Of course, public corruption cases are not restricted to the United States.

    According to various news sources, former South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, (2008-2013), was sentenced today to serve 15 years in prison on bribery and embezzlement charges.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018


[Photo from wikipedia]

     As you have probably heard by now, former Trump campaign chairman and businessman, Paul Manafort, was convicted by a jury in federal court yesterday on eight counts of tax and bank fraud. The jury was reportedly unable to reach a verdict on the ten remaining charges. Sentencing will be at a later time.  Manafort also still faces other federal charges in the D.C. district.

As a practical matter, being convicted on even one count, in federal court, which utilizes the federal sentencing guidelines, is sufficient for a federal judge to consider all relevant conduct in imposing sentence. And there is no parole federally.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018


[Photo from wikipedia]

Today, closing arguments began in the criminal trial of former Trump campaign coordinator Paul Manafort.  According to various news reports, both sides asked the Judge for up to two hours for closing arguments.  Judge T.S. Ellis reportedly voiced skepticism about the lawyers being able to keep the jury's attention for that long!

What do you think? Should closing arguments be kept under an hour? Are jurors less attentive than they were one hundred years ago, when closing arguments often lasted for hours?

As a former federal prosecutor in Augusta, Georgia, I handled a few major complex fraud and public corruption cases in which my closing argument reached 90 minutes in length. However, I always tried to remember that if you talk too long, you will lose your jury!

Tuesday, August 7, 2018


[DOJ Seal from wikipedia]

A lot has been written about the ongoing federal criminal jury trial of Paul Manafort.  Today, I don't intend to discuss the merits of the Mueller team's case against the former campaign coordinator of President Trump.  Instead, I want to focus on the government prosecutor's manner of making his opening statement.  He read it!

In particular, according to news reports, the prosecutor read his entire opening statement to the jury.  Reading an opening statement or a closing argument is a pet peeve of mine!  In my opinion, no trial lawyer should ever READ an opening statement!  Instead, I believe a good trial lawyer will be so prepared that he or she will be able to speak, without reading, their statement or argument.  Nobody likes to be read to.  Also, by speaking, instead of reading, a trial lawyer is better able to both make eye contact with jurors and to display a greater degree of confidence and preparedness!

As a former federal prosecutor in Augusta, Georgia for over twenty years, I prosecuted and saw countless federal criminal trials.  In my opinion, the best lawyers never read their openings or closings!

I am sure the government's attorney in this case is a fine lawyer!  But in my opinion, opening statements should be spoken but NOT read!

What do you think?

Monday, July 30, 2018


[Photo from Wikipedia]

     A proffer is a method often employed by criminal defense attorneys and federal prosecutors to meet and discuss how a defendant could help the government in its investigation, without risking further incrimination.  In short, a proffer involves making an "off the record" offer of proof, in order to help the parties potentially progress further toward a negotiated settlement of some sort.  In some criminal cases, the defendant may simply get a better plea bargain.  In other cases, he or she may obtain immunity from prosecution.

     It is important that a defendant retain a defense lawyer who is knowledgeable about proffers and how cases are made in the federal criminal courts.  Experience counts!  It is also important that your defense attorney should obtain a written proffer letter agreement which clearly sets forth that any proffer is off the record.

     Richard H. Goolsby, Sr., of the Goolsby Law Firm LLC, is Augusta, Georgia's only former twenty year federal prosecutor.  Please call us at (706) 863-5281 for a free initial consultation.

Monday, June 4, 2018


[D.O.J seal depiction from wikipedia]

     According to various news reports, the United States Department of Justice has announced today that approximately 300 new assistant U.S. attorneys will be hired around the country to help meet the President's crime-fighting agenda.
     The DOJ said it will add 190 violent crime prosecutors, 86 civil enforcement prosecutors, and 35 immigration prosecutors.
     As a former A.U.S.A. for more than 20 years in Augusta, Georgia, I can attest to the good work generally done by the DOJ in the field.
     Here's hoping that the addition of these prosecutors will help combat crime on the federal level.

Friday, May 11, 2018


[Photo of Sociologist Edwin Sutherland from wikipedia]

In 1939, famous sociologist Edwin Sutherland defined white collar crime as crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his occupation.

This definition has been criticized by many other the years since then.  For example, as a part-time criminal justice professor, I have often taken issue with Sutherland's definition because it requires that the crime must have been committed by a person of "high social status" in order to be classified as white collar crime.  In my opinion, even an embezzlement committed by a low level bank teller would constitute white collar crime.

Do you agree? What is your opinion about Sutherland's definition of white collar crime?

Tuesday, April 17, 2018


[Blagojevich photo from wikipedia]

     According to news reports, the appeal to the United States Supreme Court on behalf of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has been denied a second time.

     As you recall, Blagojevich was convicted for, among other things, trying to sell the former Senate seat of former President Obama.

     Blagojevich will reportedly be eligible for release in 2024.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018


[Image from wikipedia]

     It finally has been confirmed by various news reports today that the D.O.J. Inspector
General has opened an investigation into the FISA abuses by top members and agents of the D.O.J. and F.B.I.  You will, of course, recall that, according to the Nunes memo, a small group of top D.O.J. and F.B.I. officials, among other alleged abuses, used the "salacious and unverified" dirty Steele dossier to obtain FISA warrants to spy on the Trump campaign. If substantiated, this would be the first reported time in American history that one candidate (and top administration officials) have spied on the opposing party's candidate during an election year.

     As a former federal prosecutor, I cannot imagine a larger, more serious white collar crime! Here's hoping that justice will be served and that such abuses never occur again. Here's also hoping that the guilty are brought to justice!

     What is your opinion?

Thursday, March 8, 2018


[Photo from wikipedia]

Many questions remain concerning the alleged abuses of the FISA court process by top DOJ lawyers and FBI agents during the 2016 presidential campaign and thereafter.

For example, will Attorney General Jeff Sessions appoint a special prosecutor to investigate this abuse of power? In an interview yesterday with Fox journalist Shannon Bream, Sessions again indicated that the FISA abuses would be investigated and that he has also appointed an experienced DOJ attorney from outside Washington to look into it.

How does the FISA Court feel about reportedly being abused in this manner?

But I also wonder how much information was obtained by federal agents?  How far did this corruption extend, after they allegedly abused the FISA court to spy on the opposition candidate during an election year, while using opposition research paid for by the Clinton campaign and the DNC? In other words, has anyone investigated how many tape recordings were made and with whom, or how many emails were tracked, and on whose private conversations did agents eavesdrop?

Many questions remain and yet there are so few answers! Here's hoping that somebody, perhaps the Inspector General or maybe Mr. Session's unnamed attorney friend, will shake some trees and get some answers!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018


[Image of the U.S. Constitution from wikipedia]

Let's assume, hypothetically, that you have been approached by a federal agent who wants to interrogate you about alleged crimes.  Do you know which Amendments to the Constitution guarantee your rights to "lawyer up and shut up?"

The Fifth Amendment guarantees you the right not to say anything which would incriminate

The Sixth Amendment has been interpreted by the courts to guarantee you the right to counsel.

These are the important Constitutional Amendments and rights which allow each of us to "lawyer up and shut up!"

Tuesday, February 27, 2018


Did you hear the news? Attorney General Jeff Sessions has confirmed today that the Department of Justice, through its Inspector General, will investigate the alleged abuses involving the FISA applications submitted by senior members of the Obama D.O.J. along with their cohorts in the F.B.I.

We have all had time, now, to digest the "Schiff memo," released on Friday.  In it, the attack dog Democrat Congressman did his best to defend those who had submitted the questionable FISA applications. 

But incredibly, even after the Schiff memo, the undisputed facts appear to be that partisans in the D.O.J. and F.B.I. did not disclose, in the FISA applications, that the "salacious and unverified" Trump dossier had been paid for by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee.  

In short, incredibly, we have witnessed the weaponizing of our nation's spy tools by one candidate to spy on an opposing party during an election year!

As a former federal prosecutor, I would never have imagined not disclosing such salient facts to the Court! 

If these allegations are proven, heads will surely roll! What do you think?

Wednesday, February 21, 2018


[Scales depiction from wikipedia]

Have you heard the news about the mortgage fraud conviction of Cook County Circuit Judge 
Judge Jessica Arong O’Brien?  Last week, she was found guilty in federal court of two fraud counts related to false statements she made in loan applications years before she took the bench. She reportedly lied about her income while purchasing two investment properties and then paid kickbacks to a straw purchaser who subsequently defaulted on the loans.

As Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Madden told the jury in closing argument, "she used lies to buy and sell these properties." Sentencing for Judge O'Brien will be reportedly be held at a later date.

Saturday, February 3, 2018


[Photo from wikipedia]

Have you read the FISA memo, which reportedly exposes alarming bias and abuses of authority
by a few top leaders in both the FBI and DOJ? What is your reaction?

As reported, the memo reveals that former FBI Director James Comey and others in his agency
and top leaders at DOJ utilized and politicized our nation's spying tools to spy on an opposition political party and an incoming president in an election year.  How frightening that is!

As a former federal prosecutor, I reviewed countless search warrant and Title III applications. I would never have participated in deceptions as described in this memo. Also, I never saw any of the fine FBI agents I worked with pull a stunt like this! And I am shocked and appalled to learn that, in this case, a few misguided lawyers and agents, in an election year, would apply for a FISA warrant utilizing the dirty dossier, when they reportedly knew it was bogus, and also without disclosing to the FISA court that the dossier was actually opposition research bought and paid for by Clinton and the Democrat Party. If proven, this will go down as one of the biggest political scandals in American history.

Many questions still remain:
  • Will a new special counsel be appointed to clean up this mess?
  • Will there be other revelations of corruption by this small group?
  • Will the FISA court take action against any culprits who allegedly abused the FISA process?
  • Will the main stream media ever even acknowledge any of this corruption?  
Before closing, I want to emphasize that I proudly worked, side by side, with countless outstanding FBI special agents for over twenty years. They are not to blame. The reported corruption in this situation clearly exists only at headquarters and not in the field.

What is your opinion of this colossal mess?

Wednesday, January 31, 2018


[Photo from wikipedia]

Here's a tart response today to the FBI and DOJ complaints about the FISA memo's release from the House Intelligence Commitee Chairman Devin Nunes at the House's website:

“Having stonewalled Congress’ demands for information for nearly a year, it’s no surprise to see the FBI and DOJ issue spurious objections to allowing the American people to see information related to surveillance abuses at these agencies. The FBI is intimately familiar with ‘material omissions’ with respect to their presentations to both Congress and the courts, and they are welcome to make public, to the greatest extent possible, all the information they have on these abuses. Regardless, it’s clear that top officials used unverified information in a court document to fuel a counter-intelligence investigation during an American political campaign. Once the truth gets out, we can begin taking steps to ensure our intelligence agencies and courts are never misused like this again.” 

OUCH!!  It's getting hotter in D.C. and the memo hasn't even been released yet! What do you think?!


[Photo from wikipedia]

Should the controversial FISA memo be released to the public? According to news reports, the four page memo outlines FBI and DOJ abuses of their surveillance powers, in order to spy on the President's campaign and transition teams.  In a nutshell, the allegations are that agents sympathetic to the Clinton campaign utilized the largely unsubstantiated Russian "dirty" dossier, paid for by Clinton and the DNC, to apply for FISA warrants to spy on an opposition candidate (and new president) during an election year. If that happened, then this would clearly be one of the largest political scandals in American history.

The House Intelligence Committee has already voted for its release.  But the FBI and DOJ have reportedly objected to its release.  FBI Director Christopher Wray has even complained that the memo is inaccurate. However, House Speaker Paul Ryan has gone on record stating that the memo should be released in order to help "cleanse" the FBI and DOJ.

It is now up to the President.  He is reportedly having the memo reviewed, but last evening, after his State of the Union speech, he promised its prompt release.

What is your opinion? Should it be released? As a former federal prosecutor, I say let the cleansing begin!

Friday, January 26, 2018


Should President Trump meet with Mr. Mueller's agents?  He's certainly said he's not only willing to do so, but that he would gladly do it "under oath!" What do you think? If you were his criminal defense attorney, would you allow your client to meet with and be interrogated by law enforcement agents?

From my perspective, as a former federal prosecutor and, currently, as a criminal defense lawyer, there is no way I would want my client to meet with government agents in his circumstances!

For example, I would be worried that the feds would try to trip him up, in order to bring a false statements charge against him, just like they did with Michael Flynn.

Plus, serious questions have been raised recently about bias in Special Counsel Mueller's team against the President.

In addition, here, presumably, the defense team doesn't know all the potential evidence that Mueller's team may have against their client.

So, in my opinion, I would hope the President would take my advice, as his lawyer, and not submit to an interrogation. Mr. Cobb and other folks on the President's team should, instead, be insisting that Mueller should simply submit any questions to them and then they may provide written responses.

What do you think?