Lawyers. The very term scares us. It’s usually analogous to receiving a letter from the IRS. Should we open it (after all they aren’t writing to inform us of our lottery winnings) or throw it away hoping they’ll lose our address and forget about us? We don’t know the law – except what we gleaned from Perry Mason – and so we’re now exposed to a world outside our comfort zone. What do they know we don’t? What actions are they likely to take against me? How can I protect myself without giving up my entire life’s savings and that of my great grandchildren?
Add the government into the mix and you see the pressure, confusion and problems that mount with every rejected phone call and unopened letter. And today, that entity known as the top law enforcement of the land, the Department of Justice, adds even more gravity to the mere existence of the American public, either individually or collectively.
In peering deep into the depths of the legal pit known as the DOJ, there’s one person who has been there, done that, survived the less prominent (of her time) legal lies and entanglements on the inside and come out alive. She lays out this mantra of madness and maneuvering in her successful book, Licensed to Lie. (more of that later)
#Sidney Powell served in the Department of Justice for ten years, and has devoted her private practice to federal appeals for more than twenty years. She was the youngest Assistant US Attorney in the country when she was appointed. She has represented clients in a wide variety of civil and criminal litigation in our federal courts, serving as counsel in more than five hundred complex appeals to the Fifth Circuit. Her legal accomplishments would fill the shelves of a legal library, but they include a wide variety of memberships in associations and organizations, instructor, as well as author and coauthor of articles and books. Ms. Powell has served as chairperson and lecturer at each annual Fifth Circuit Appellate Practice and Advocacy Seminar from 1987 to 2010.
She is a Senior Advisor for America First Policies and a Senior Fellow of the London Center. She has been heard on Dennis PragerU Live, Hannity’s radio show, seen on his FOX show, NEWSMAX TV and many others
I reference these biographical milestones to establish an understanding of this “Super Lawyer’s” valued perspective in seeing things for what they are; for exposing the corruption she’s seen over time; and as a basis for her integrity and insight to answer my questions in our interview. The level of her judicial savvy certain matches her physical stature, bringing confidence and credibility to any legal situation or client.
RB – You started very young as an Assistant US Attorney. With the high pressure, dog eat dog, male dominated legal arena in Western Texas, what motivated a young lady from Raleigh, NC to one, enter law, and two, seek such an inimitable position vs. being some clerk in a local law office?
SP – My mother said that I was an unusual child. I would go home from kindergarten and watch Perry Mason. I had decided and announced at the end of first grade that I was going to be a lawyer. I didn’t think about it being difficult or male-dominated. I remember people telling me there were too many lawyers. My standard reply was: “There are not enough good ones.” I clerked for a local law firm as soon as I was 16 and could drive, and I used to spend spring break and vacation time sitting in a courtroom. Sometimes my mother would go with me.
RB – As the youngest Assistant US Attorney ever appointed, was there a sense of intimidation, or a confirmation of your own legal prowess that filled your mental thoughts and calendar.
SP – I don’t think I have ever felt intimidated by anyone or anything in my entire life. My parents raised me as a strong, independent-minded person with a strong, innate sense of right and wrong. My father was a World War II veteran who earned a Distinguished Flying Cross on one of his 27 missions over Germany with the Eighth Army Aircorps. He taught me how to play baseball and do lots of different things. He also lived a life of integrity. He would not even bring a pencil home from the office because it wasn’t his. I learned how to shoot a gun when I was 5 or 6 and built my own treehouse. My grandfather was a carpenter and an automobile mechanic. I loved to work with him in his shop and fix things. My grandmother taught me how to sew and make ceramics. My mother taught me her special recipes. I have more interests than I possibly have time for, and no one in my family ever said I couldn’t do something because I was a girl.
The position with the United States Attorneys’ offices came with the assistance and mentoring of a longtime friend in Raleigh, Thomas P. McNamara, who was the US Attorney for the Eastern District of NC and hired me after my first year of law school to work in his office. The next year, he recommended me as an intern for the US Attorney in San Antonio. That US Attorney hired me upon graduation. I never looked for a job.
RB – It must have been a valuable learning experience working alongside those with more specific and in-depth experience with government legal proceedings?
SP – Working in the United States Attorneys’ Offices in three districts, under 9 US Attorneys from both political parties and countless good trial and appellate lawyers, was an invaluable experience. I may be the only lawyer in private practice who has only ever practiced in federal court. I feel very blessed to have had the experiences and opportunities that I have had.
RB – What pushed you to make your move from government insider to your own shingle hanging in a private practice?
SP – First I went from government to a partnership in a large firm. That move was prompted upon receiving a call from a “head-hunter” who was working for the firm I joined. Their timing was good however. I had been with the government for approximately 10 years. I was copying and binding my own briefs at midnight. Half of our secretaries bordered on useless–they were just marking time as civil servants. I also realized that a lot of Assistant US Attorneys who stayed more than 10 years lost their edge, got jaded, cynical, and myopic. I did not want to stay too long. I believe change is a good thing. Change produces growth whether we want it or not. So, I went from heading an appellate section for the Western district of Texas to the head of the Appellate Section for the Northern District of Texas, and then to the appellate section of a large regional firm. I was a partner there for approximately 5 years. I left there to start my own appellate shop after I had to turn down some terrific clients and cases because of the conflicts with other clients of the firm, and I realized that the big firm environment didn’t fit with my maverick propensities.
RB – A friend of mine retired after 30 years as an agent with the FBI. He always spoke with pride of the days where being either an attorney or an accountant was the prerequisite for being an agent. In the DOJ of 30 years ago, did you see or experience a hint of the corruption, deceit, or political bias that we see so pervasive today?
SP – No. All of the agents with whom I ever worked from any agency were first rate, dedicated, and worked tirelessly. When we made mistakes, or they did, we owned up to them. There are several cases in which either the agents or the trial lawyers made errors, and we had to “confess” those to the court of appeals and reverse the convictions. It was painful, but we did the right thing.
RB – When you hear about the many, many occurrences of deliberate abuses of our laws by high ranking officials; illegal email servers, deliberate destruction of subpoenaed evidence of their crimes, collusion to subvert our rights and security, the taking of tens, no, hundreds of millions of dollars enriching their coffers for personal gain, their own lies to dissuade investigations…. What must run through your mind to see such antics of anarchy at the highest levels? And then to see them dismissed like so many parking tickets plastered on a governor’s car?
SP – Outrage. I think of all of the people who are really the engine of this country, the people that work two jobs, pay their taxes, take care of their kids, and then the double-standard applied to the benefit of the government or the political elite. Most of Americans who make this country run every day are outraged. People contact me often.
RB – It probably goes without saying, but what goes through your thought process as you see the Director of the FBI, following the lead of a lower level investigator changing legal definitions to protect a candidate for our highest office, then using government time, equipment and resources to leak sensitive information to an outside source, only to prompt a far reaching, multi-million dollar investigation by his long-time friend and associate in order to justify losing an election and hopefully to bring down a duly elected president?
SP – It is so intellectually dishonest and legally dishonest, it is really unfathomable. At the same time, from what I have already seen and written about, it is not a surprise. It makes me very sad. I believe that we are going to find that the elite of the FBI and DOJ were conspiring with FUSION GPS to create the “Steele dossier” and feed it back to the intel community and court to get the FISA court’s approval to cover the illegal surveillance they had done and were doing. Comey is in all of it up to his eyeballs.
RB – Does Sidney Powell see any real, final justice being served to those who appear daily in constant parades of suspects, having openly broken laws, abused their power and shattered the rust we placed in them? Or are their crimes to be swept under the DOJ’s rug or hidden in some back-office closet never to be mentioned again in polite political circles?
SP – Since I wrote LICENSED TO LIE, and have been speaking on this issue in every forum available to me, and with Trump’s election, I think the tide is turning. I am hopeful that between the Congressional investigations, investigative reporters, the Inspector General for the DOJ, and Judicial Watch, we are beginning to get the truth. I think it will be so clear and so horrible that the DOJ will have to prosecute the crimes and their perpetrators as they are revealed. I also think the trail goes right to Obama.
RB – In writing “Licensed to Lie,” you’ve said “It was a book I hoped I would never have to write… I couldn’t sleep without this story being told.” What was the original overwhelming event, environment or reasoning that culminated into finally bringing you to expose your feelings of the inside?
SP – When the bar associations refused to take any action against the powerful lawyers who were the subject of the lengthy and well-documented grievances that leading legal ethics expert Bill Hodes and I filed against them, it was the only thing remaining that I could do to bring this egregious problem to light.
In part 2 we’ll focus the spyglass of truth on the current DOJ fiasco involving Mueller, Comey, Sessions, Weissman, and other players in the game of shuffling facts and truths. We’ll also find great some insights into Ms. Powell’s fascinating book, “Licensed to Lie.”
Follow her on Twitter @SidneyPowell1