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11: Shock and awe

On January 7th, after being handed a trespassing citation the night before, my wife, daughter, and I drove from Washington, DC to our home in suburban Chicago. While I was anxious about the citation, I didn't think much of it. There were so many who had been involved in something so much bigger, I would be a small footnote. Or so I thought.

Then I got a call from my office, mid-day. One reporter had called. Then another. They were asking about my arrest and involvement in Jan 6th. One mentioned that I had been served with two federal misdemeanors. I didn't understand. Then I was told there was a crowd outside of my business, a few hours later. Apparently CBS News Chicago had started running live TV coverage about me. He was on-air, discussing my business, my political contributions, even showing my business website, which had employees' pictures. He was reporting from in front of my house! Suddenly, and without any way to manage this while on the road, I was a local, and soon, national figure. I kept thinking, why would they do this? For a simple trespassing? Did you see all the REAL things that happened at the capitol? This was nothing in comparison!

Well, I've never had a PR crisis in my life. However, I knew that's where I needed help - stop the bleeding, and then I can plan. So, I looked for a 24-hour crisis PR firm with a national reputation. I found one, and within an hour I was on the phone with the principal / owner. I explained that I will likely be on the national 10 o'clock news all over Chicago and perhaps elsewhere. My twitter account, of course, was full of "treason" messages. I was still driving.

My PR firm drafted a message of apology that would be placed on my twitter account, to provide some cover until I could actually get home and figure out a longer-term plan. In the meantime, I had my business partner and finance director trying to figure out what to do. Clients had started to call, with their Boards concerned about any affiliation with my company. Things were moving very quickly. By end of day, they needed to issue their own press release that I was on temporary leave pending an investigation. From my own company. That I started.

I got home that evening. Luckily, my village has restrictions on when someone can be outside someone's house in protest or in "stakeout". We got home after that. I watched the news network tear me apart on national TV. I'd mentioned in an earlier post that 2020 was the first election that I contributed to campaigns. I had spent quite a bit on one function, but also sprinkled donations to local, state, and federal candidates for office. My wife did some of that on her own. We were surprised to see that we had contributed as much as we had, as it was revealed on TV that evening.

The PR firm issued a statement:

This acknowledged that I was aware of the situation, and that I apologized for what I had done. While I knew this wasn't going to solve everything, it at least gave the media something else to talk about. The PR firm sent it to every news firm in Chicago and nationally.

The next morning (Friday), I awoke to cars out front of my house. These were photographers, reporters, and journalists trying to get a glimpse of or interview with an "insurrectionist". I didn't know what to do. I didn't want to give them fodder. My PR firm recommended that I stay inside, don't "peek out", and stay put. So, that's what we did. We knew they would be gone at night, so that's when I would go to the store, buy some temporary blinds for the front of my house, and run any other errrands.

The attorneys that have guided me through my business life contacted me. Since they are the attorneys for the business, they could not represent me as an individual, since the business is considering action against me. So, there I was, abandoned by the legal professionals who had been paid handsomely for years, telling me they can't help me.

They recommended two local law firms, but neither of them would take me on, because they were concerned about the fallout for their business. I asked my PR firm for recommendations. They had one. I called that firm. They ended up having a conflict somehow (with another case or situation), so they had to decline. They did, however, recommend a top DC law firm to represent me. I called them immediately.

My business was getting told that clients were leaving if I was not permanently removed from the company by end of day. What happened to due process? What happened to the years spent investing in clients and relationships? What happened to any fairness? Of course, I knew the answers. These clients were close with me. But their boards were getting pressure from outside groups. I had national clients with big profiles. I needed to be legally separated from my own business. by 4pm on Friday, January 8th.

While I'm working through the legalities of that, I'm informed by my new attorney that the FBI would be receiving an arrest warrant from the DOJ sometime soon, and that I should offer to turn myself in at the FBI on Monday, January 11th. He worked out the particulars with the DOJ, and I would drive there on Jan 10th.

I met my attorney a few minutes before 9AM on Monday, January 11th, in the back side of the FBI building. There were no reporters or crowd there, and I was handed off to the FBI. My attorney told me it was likely that I would be out that day, but to check out of my hotel anyway, in case something went sideways.

The FBI agents were pleasant, talking amongst themselves. I didn't get the sense that they were there to get any new information out of me, just to process the arrest. However, as they asked questions, I said I'm not really going to talk much, especially about anything too personal or about Jan 6. However, we had some small talk while I was being photographed.

It was time to take me to a metro police station to be taken in for a hearing concerning my conditions of release. So, since this was a different jurisdiction, I needed to be re-processed. The officer at the metro station was pleasant. The FBI driver came in with me. He told the officer he wanted to be an officer some day. The officer asked me if I minded being a training subject for fingerprinting. I said sure. We had a few moments of levity. At this point, I was processed, but still needed to go to the actual facility where I would have my hearing. The officer who had processed me looked at me and said "hey, you seem alright. I hope everything turns out well for you."

I was back in an FBI van and motored to the place where I would have my hearing. The van drivers allowed me to be outside the van while we waited for a gate to be unlocked. It was painful to be in the back of the van, and they were kind to show mercy.

My attorney said they may take me to a decent location, or a shithole. Well, I got the shithole. I was treated like I was a hardened criminal, and thrown in a cell that had someone already in it. I said hi, and just stood leaning against the wall. After about 20 minutes, my cellmate told me the hours can be long, I should go up to the top bunk. I said I didn't know how to get up there. He slapped the toilet, then the sink, then pointed up. So, two steps up and I was on the top. This was a metal bed. There were actual bugs on one of the walls. All I had was a jacket they let me keep, as a pillow. No MyPillow here.

I've always been a "counter". I have counted my steps between two locations, worked on counting time to the second, and found ways to count quickly in different scenarios. So, after talking to my cellmate for a few minutes, I started counting seconds, knowing that 3600 seconds would be an hour. I got through one hour, and part of another, when they came for me.

I was led to an office with a female officer and a phone. We dialed up the conference line, and waited. Then they didn't have a court reporter. They needed to find one. Waiting some more. Finally, everyone was assembled, and my attorney was on the line. Since I had no prior record, did not seem to be a flight risk, and had published a written apology, the judge and prosecutor agreed to letting me out on my home recognizance, with a 50 mile restriction on my movement, and to not return to DC unless it's to see my attorney.

I was sent back to my cell. This time, I was by myself. The cells began clearing out. This was the most disgusting place I had ever been in. I could not wait to get out and get fresh air, and some water. I waited for quite some time before they came for me. I was "out-processed", and for the second time in a week, I walked out of a DC police station without knowing where I was.

It turns out I was close to my attorney's office, so I went there (I had to pick up some things). He relayed to me that the processing clerk was going to wait until the morning to execute the instructions for my release, meaning I would have had to spend the night in that jail! He pushed them to get it done, which is why I was able to get out a few minutes before 4pm.

That night the weight of everything was very heavy. Nothing made sense to me. I'd watched Antifa and BLM burn federal buildings. I saw downtown Minneapolis demolished. And here I was, just hours from sitting in a jail with bugs and a metal bed. What next? I spent years applying the highest of ethics to my business. While I have a serious personality, I care deeply about my employees, and made sure they could address anything that would come up in their personal lives. I'd been the head of my church. I led worship. I'd run a charitable foundation and traveled to support charitable works. And here I was.

I drove home the next day. The next shit storm for me was the selling of my business to my partner. We decided to not go through layers of attorneys. We have always gotten along, so we decided to work out out the terms together, then have the corporate attorney write up the documents.

I did not want him, or the employees, to feel a financial hardship because of what I was going through. I've seen many business sales over the years, and I have watched them be destroyed because they are trying to pay off a prior owner.

This was a big decision for me. It was not only financial. With all of this turmoil, I was ready for a simpler life. I purposely did not want to feel like I was still in "the race". I was opting out of a life, and taking control of a less chaotic future. I'm still ok financially - our business has been very successful over the years. But this was as much as spiritual decision as it was a financial one.

So now I had sold my business, been served 4 misdemeanors, been on national news, been chained in many ways in DC jails, and had to look forward to the Department of Justice applying their full weight to prosecute me as much as possible. Life would never be the same.

Please pray for all of those who have been and are in this situation. Many have it worse. If this speaks to you, please consider visiting to find out how you can adopt a family, send letters, and support all those being destroyed by the Department of Justice because of Jan 6.


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