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15: Wait and see

In the last post, I discussed my journey through accepting a plea deal. Nothing about it is fair, despite being legal. But at least I had that behind me. I wouldn't be going to trial, there is only one (petty) misdemeanor, and perhaps there will be a period of probation, but at least I can "get on with it." I started thinking of what my life will be like after the sentencing. I'll have a bunch of negative press, but then I can start 2022 fresh and put it behind me.

I've heard said, and have probably said, that the process is the punishment. I'm a business man at heart. In the 1950's, I probably would have excelled as an "efficiency engineer." This is someone who looks at a process - any process - and find ways to immediately improve it, whether it is cost (or other material resources), or, as often is the case, time. In my marketing tech firm, we had a process that took 25 hours to run, every day. So, we would actually have the process running at the same time, 24 hours apart. Clearly we were having a scaling problem. Knowing that was the problem, we quickly built a scaler solution, dividing data processing into parallel paths, reducing over 10 hours from the process.

Our government does not understand this. The foundation of succeeding in business is having products or services that are cost-competitive and provide value, at a profit. Without the constraint of having to provide value at a profit, there is no incentive to improve anything. This is why I agreed to a plea in early August but was not sentenced until November. Typically, this timeline is a month, or a month and a half. Granted, the DC office of the DoJ would say that they were too busy, and scheduling is an issue. However, three months felt like a long time.

One input that a judge relies upon for sentencing is a pre-sentencing report. This is created by a probation officer. If this is something you are going through, I'll have some tips for you. Firstly, the probation officer will send several documents. Since each document has a clear purpose, there is no attempt to eliminate overlapping questions. So, as a typical but made up situation, one form may ask for "Adjusted Gross Income, each of last three years", and another will say "total income for five years", with no attempt to explain if they want the same number over five years.

There is also a long list of documents. This will include marriage certificates, tax forms, latest routine bills for expenses, any investment accounts, mortgage statements, and, if one owns a business, a long list of annual documents.

PRO TIP: make a spreadsheet with a list of all documents required, by section (my request had "financial", "personal", "business", etc. sections). If you can do this, scan or download pdf of each document, then put into a master document. For example, I had a spreadsheet with (say) 10 items. I would paste the item ("utility bill") into a document like powerpoint or word. So, page 1 of the document has the first item on the spreadsheet. This will make your life easier when questions are asked, and, well, it will make the probation officer's life easier, which doesn't hurt. Remember, they make a recommendation about you!

I went to work on this project, downloading items from my accountant's portal, every utility website, bank accounts, and anywhere else, and put together over 48 documents, not including tax records which were sent separately. I put it all in one big compressed file to send to my attorneys.

I had my first call with my probation officer. She was very likable. Through my attorneys, she had received my documentation. On the call with me, she had yet to review the information. I wish I didn't have a type A personality. She then began to ask me a bunch of questions, which were the same questions that were asked on the "personal" stack of information. I explained to her that, if she wanted to open up the documents, it would all be there. She opened it then, and could not believe the thoroughness of what I had sent. I didn't need to spend the 2 hours on the phone, but we did spend 30 minutes or so going through everything.

A few weeks later, I had a video call with the officer. This is to show her my house, from the outside, to the backyard, every room on the main floors, the basement (where my bunker food is, of course!), bathrooms, major closets. I think the main reason is to get a sense of lifestyle, and physical living conditions. I also think that they may be seeing if there's something else going on, such as drugs, firearms, or other such items that could be a cause for concern. I'm not trying to open up a debate on the legality of anything, and it did not appear to me that my probation officer was on a fishing expedition.

It is draining to go through the documentation process. I had started several businesses, have a rental property in Florida, and a few different financial institutions. Making this more complicated is that I needed some items from my (ex) business, where the employees wanted to have nothing to do with me. Good grief. But, it was completed.

Around this time (fall of 2021), there was a growing awareness of the pre-trial detention of Jan 6ers. That is, they had been charged, turned themselves in (in many cases), and were held in the DC jail until their trial. I was fortunate to be let out during my pretrial period. I was very angry at what was happening to these (mostly) men. Where were our leaders? Why were these people put in solitary confinement? I saw who was there on Jan 6.

While there were some things I did not understand at the time, I saw, by and large, people like me - concerned citizens looking to save our country from a terrible situation. Not violent. Not pre-planned. Just ending up acting emotionally. But the number of men at the DC Gulag, as it is known, continues to grow.

This is a travesty, and some day will be seen as a stain on our values. Because it is.


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