Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Former Vic Kohring Attorney John Henry Browne Takes a Tougher Case: Sgt. Robert Bales

I met and had lunch with John Henry Browne back in October 2007, when he was representing former Alaska Representative, Vic Kohring. Before that case, perhaps Browne's most well-known legal challenge had been as a lead attorney in getting vindication for those wrongfully convicted in what was known as the Wenatchee Sex Ring cases.

Browne's challenge in the present case will be to get the government to provide honest evidence.  I'm very skeptical about the case against Sgt. Bales, even as more information comes out as to what a sleazy character the Sgt. is:
Bales’s decision to join the Army ....  came at a pivotal point in his pre-military career — a career as a stock trader that appears to have ended months after he was accused of engaging in financial fraud while handling the retirement account of an elderly client in Ohio, according to financial records. 

An arbitrator later ordered Bales and the owner of the firm that employed him to pay $1.4 million — about half for compensation and half in punitive damages — for taking part in “fraud” and “unauthorized trading,” according to a ruling from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the independent disciplinary board for brokers and brokerage houses.

A review of the investor’s account statements, obtained by The Washington Post, shows that valuable stocks were sold off in favor of penny stocks as part of what the arbitrator called “churning” by Bales to pump up commissions.

The client, Gary Liebschner, a 74-year-old retired engineer for AT&T, said Sunday that he “never got paid a penny” of the award.

There is no indication that the civil ruling weighed on Bales in recent years. He never attended an arbitration hearing in the case — although he had been given legal notice of his right to present his version of events — and an attorney for Liebschner said it had been years since his client had attempted to collect the award from Bales.

But the finding of financial fraud adds to an increasingly complex picture of a man who, on the one hand, is described by friends and neighbors as a family man and an even-tempered soldier, and, on the other, had repeated encounters with the law, including an arrest on suspicion of drunken driving, involvement in a hit-and-run accident and a misdemeanor assault charge.

In addition to those incidents, he had evidently been under financial stress. His home near Tacoma was put up for a short sale a few days before the March 11 shootings in Afghanistan. 
 I don't find the official version of what Bales is purported to have done credible.   Others are questioning it too:
A member of the Afghan parliamentary investigation team into last weekend’s massacre of civilians, Kandahar MP Naheem Lalai Hameedzai, says that the probe has concluded the massacre was carried out by a team of US soldiers, and not a lone individual.

All the villagers that we talked to said there were 15 to 20 men who had conducted a night raid operation in several areas in the village,” Hameedzai said, adding that the targets in the massacre villages were at least four kilometers north and south of the base.
A U.S. military of concocting lies about Pat Tillman and Jessica Lynch is certainly capable of creating more fiction.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ted Bundy and Barefoot Bandit were JHB cases in addition to the Ward of Wasilla case you mentioned.