Sting Charges Dismissed, Guilty Pleas Vacated, FBI Informant Sentenced to Prison

gabon_presidential_guard-tm-tfb

In 2010 the BATFE arrested 21 people, including Smith & Wesson executives for beaching the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, a law which prohibits US corporations, citizens and residents from bribing foreign officials. Those arrested were charged with conspiring to bribe officials in the African state of Gabon as part of a deal to sell $15 million of equipment to the 1,800 man strong Gabon Presidential (Republican) Guard.

Gabon Republican Guard

Washington, D.C. law firm Miller & Chevalier have published a number of reports on the sting. Their first report on the case appeared shortly after the arrests …

The operation also stands out as the first acknowledged use of undercover tactics on a large scale in an FCPA investigation, and one of the few times enforcement agencies are known to have used undercover operatives to solicit illicit payments. As noted by Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer when announcing the indictments, this operation was meant to signal that companies and individuals should consider the possibility that intended recipients of bribes, or their intermediaries, may in fact be undercover federal agents.

The indictments allege that 22 executives and employees representing 19 companies engaged in a scheme to bribe the minister of defense of an unnamed African country in connection with a contract to outfit the country’s presidential guard. The scheme actually was part of an undercover operation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), with undercover FBI agents posing as intermediaries for the fictitious defense minister.

Likely with an eye to dramatic impact, law enforcement officials arrested 21 of the defendants on January 18, 2010, in Las Vegas, where they were scheduled to attend the SHOT Show, an annual industry trade show for the shooting, hunting and firearms industry. Law enforcement officials simultaneously arrested the remaining defendant in Miami. According to officials at the January 19 press briefing, the arrests were the culmination of a two-and-a-half year investigation targeting the defense and law enforcement products industry. With approximately 150 FBI agents executing search warrants across the United States and the City of London Police executing search warrants throughout the United Kingdom — a total of 21 search warrants in all — the operation involved large-scale cooperation between U.S. law enforcement agencies and their U.K. counterparts.

In February (unbeknownst to us at TFB) the FBI dropped the charges. Miller & Chevalier wrote in their Spring Review, published in April of this year, that the FBI informant central to the case was described by the defense as “a cocaine addict, tax cheat, and admitted thief of millions of dollars” …

On February 21, 2012, the DOJ ended what U.S. District Court Judge Richard J. Leon called “a long and sad chapter of white-collar criminal enforcement,” by filing a motion to dismiss the charges against the remaining defendants in the African sting investigation, also known as the “SHOT Show” trials. As reported in our FCPA Winter Review 2012 and other past Reviews, 22 individuals were arrested in January 2010 — 21 while attending the SHOT Show convention in Las Vegas — and charged with allegedly engaging in schemes to bribe an undercover FBI agent they believed was acting on behalf of the government of Gabon in order to win a $15 million contract to provide law enforcement and defense equipment to the Gabonese presidential guard.

The government’s motion follows on the heels of two consecutive mistrials. Initially, three defendants pled guilty, but the others decided to test the government’s case in front of a jury. Four of the defendants successfully avoided conviction during the first of a series of trials in September 2011 when Judge Leon was forced to declare a mistrial in the face of a hung jury. During the second trial, Judge Leon dismissed conspiracy charges against six other defendants, which led to the acquittal of one; two other defendants in that trial were cleared by the jury; and Judge Leon declared a second mistrial for the remaining three defendants when the jury became deadlocked.

The SHOT Show investigation was the first of its kind to pursue violations of the FCPA using traditional undercover tactics, such as informants, wiretaps, and hidden cameras. However, the government’s primary informant, Richard Bistrong, was repeatedly attacked by defense counsel as a cocaine addict, tax cheat, and admitted thief of millions of dollars from his prior employer. In addition, defense counsel highlighted examples of what they called “vulgar” and “unprofessional” text messages between FBI agents and Bistrong, which, according to Judge Leon, raised “concerns about the way this case had been investigated and was conducted especially vis-à-vis the handling of Mr. Bistrong.

Richard Bistrong
Cigars & Misogyny: Bistrong communicating with his undercover FBI agent. (H/T Washington Post)

Miller & Chevalier’s recently published Autumn Review revealed that Richard Bistrong was sentenced for 18 months in prison for bribery of foreign officials while he worked for Armor Holdings Products, which is now part of BAE Systems …

On July 31, 2012, U.S. District Judge for the District of Columbia Richard Leon sentenced Richard Bistrong, the principal informant in the DOJ’s SHOT Show prosecution, to 18 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release.

As discussed in prior FCPA Reviews, Bistrong, the former Vice-President for International Sales at Armor Holdings Products, LLC (“AHP”), was arrested in 2007 for helping AHP to illegally secure contracts through the payment of bribes. He was charged with conspiracy to violate the FCPA, the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, and the Export Administration Regulations. After his arrest, Bistrong agreed to cooperate with the FBI in an undercover sting operation aimed at the defense and law enforcement industry. Bistrong acted as an informant and participated in hundreds of recorded meetings and phone calls. The information he gathered was central to the DOJ’s charges against 22 individuals for FCPA violations, in relation to a supposed $15 million dollar equipment sales contract to the government of Gabon. (See Historic FCPA Sting Operation Nets 22 Individuals, January 20, 2010; FCPA Autumn Review 2011.) However, after two consecutive mistrials and multiple acquittals and dismissals, the DOJ dismissed all charges against all 22 defendants earlier this year. (See FCPA Summer Review 2012.)

Bistrong pleaded guilty on September 16, 2010, and according to his plea agreement, he faced a maximum of five years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and up to three years supervised release. (See FCPA Autumn Review 2010.) DOJ prosecutors urged Judge Leon to sentence Bistrong to probation, arguing that his extensive assistance to the SHOT Show cases warranted leniency, despite the seriousness of the charges against him. However, Judge Leon disagreed that a sentence of only probation would send an appropriate message, and instead noted that prison was the best deterrent against corruption.

The FCPA Professor blog reports that Richard Bistrong began his prison sentence in October and is expected to be released in January 2014 (emphasis added) …

Bistrong’s lifetime of **drug transactions, bribery, tax evasion, prostitution crimes, predilection for “hard core pornography” (you can’t truly appreciate the impact of that phrase until you hear Mike Madigan from Orrick articulate it to a jury)**, is second to none and turned out to be merely a lead-in to his staggering moral transgressions and self-inflicted personal failures, all of which came out during the trial or in trial preparation.

Against this backdrop, it was not without drama when sometime in November 2011 during the second trial , after two years of pretrial litigation and DOJ’s unsuccessful prosecution that resulted in no convictions and a hung jury in the first Africa Sting trial (during which the government elected to not call its star witness), Bistrong entered the court room to begin a month of testimony. It really was “all eyes” in the court room on the person about whom everyone had heard so much, and you could hear a pin drop. After all, in a text message later introduced into evidence Bistrong wrote to Chris Farvour, his FBI handler, “tell Hank (Bond Walther) that I’m an ace on cross exam!”

So in summery, the BATFE and FBI made a high profile raid during SHOT Show to arrest a 21 gun industry people. Their case was hinged on the word of a thief, druggie and all round morally bankrupt individual. Bistrong got just 18 months while the accused spent two years fighting their case.

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Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • http://suburbansdomain.blogspot.com Suburban

    So, I wonder how much this boondoggle cost the taxpayers, and how much those arrested paid in lawyer fees and bail.

    • D

      Cost to the tax payers was probably in the millions. You have the time the FBI agents spent (they have salaries, expenses, etc). You have the actual trial (during which the judge, lawyers, etc are paid). You have the cost of incarceration (it is far from cheap to lock someone up in jail). There’s also various and sundry costs, but their probably minor in comparison. If it’s less then 5 million total taxpayer cost, i’d be a little surprised.

      There’s also the opportunity cost, that’s not figured in above. the FBI agents could have been working on something more legitimate, or the court could have been trying more pressing cases, the jails could have housed more dangerous inmates, etc.

    • gunslinger

      yeah, i wonder how much i paid for this operation. can i get a refund in the form of ammo?

      thank you

  • Jeremiah

    So, they were all innocent and three people plead guilty for shits and giggles?

    • Neez

      That’s an easy one. The way the court system works the prosecution like to create deals to get some individuals to turn on others for a much lighter sentence. Even if you’re not guilty, but faced with a lowlife CI lying through his teeth, pointing at you and saying you’re guilty, and the word of agents who are also do shady things to get arrests, yes some take the deal. Lie and turn on their cohorts all for a slap on the wrist. This happens all the time when the prosecution has a weak case. How do you think all these people on death row are getting out of jail now when new DNA technology finds them innocent after all these years.

      Our justice system isn’t perfect, but it’s better than nothing i guess.

      • Lex

        Except that if they had turned on any of the people who were acquitted then those people would have been in deep shit. Since the rest of them got off it seems unlikely that’s what happened. There are two possibilities: Those three people really were involved in the scheme and confessed to it or Those three people were not involved but their lawyers felt confession was their best option.

        The recorded conversations seem like the most likely cause of their confession. This wasn’t just their word against his. The issue doesn’t seem to have been that Bistrong was believed to be lying, even by the judge, but that there were procedural problems related to the fact that the guy was a scumbag.

      • Geodkyt

        A lot of times, the deal offered _doesn’t_ include requiring to to testify against anyone else. This happens when:

        A. The prosecutions theory of the case doesn’t include you necessarily knowing anything about the other defendants; (SURPRISE! business people allegedly involved in illegal business practices whose whole point is to sneak a fast one past their competition, DO NOT hold an Illuminati Conference with those same competitors to brag about it, lest their competitors drop a dime on THEM. . . ruthless SOBs, being ruthless SOBs, do not give gifts like that to the dudes whose back they are trying to slip a knife into.)

        B. The prosecution thinks there a decent chance they could lose this if it goes to actual trial, and YOUR lawyer has convinced you that the risk matrix (probability of conviction + consequences of conviction) is adversely high, even if you think you might be able to win. (“Bob, yeah, I think it’s 50/50, maybe even 75/25 that we could win this — but if you LOSE, you’re going away for a very long time; the deal will have you out before your kids graduate from school. I recommend you take the deal.”)

        C. (cynically) The prosecution think they can play this to their advantage, for example, using YOUR plea bargain to bolster the supposed reliability of the CI, by pointing out his success rate. (“Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, Mr. Bistrong is a highly reliable individual, who has already helped the government secure convictions, even confessions, from several defendants in this sting operation. Why would he perjure himself in THIS case?” Yeah, it’s dirty pool — but we’ve seen other examples of this kind of prosecutorial misconduct in recent years, where the prosecutors thought NO ONE would ever call them on it.)

      • http://gungeekrants.blogspot.com TXGunGeek

        Knowing defense and prosecution lawyers and judges personally, it happens all the time. Charges are made and the defendant is encouraged to plead to some lessor charge to make it all go away because it is easier and less expensive to do so. Same thing happens in civil cases all the time. It is ofter less expensive to pay the accuser to shut up and go away than it is to fight and prove innocence. Defense counsel often encourage their clients to plead down and take a deal to end things even if they are not guilty. Usually because they are used to dealing with guilty parties and are trying to get them the best deal. Same reason o be sure of who you have representing you should you be involved in a righteous defensive shooting.

    • Harold

      Echoing some of the other comments, a good defense against a serious felony prosecution requires a mid-six figure budget. If you don’t have that sort of money, you might be better off with a plea-bargain than losing by default because you can’t afford good lawyers, expert witnesses, whatever it took to discover the government’s informant was not credible, etc.

      • Lex

        Yes, I’m sure these executives from a major industry simply couldn’t afford to receive competent legal counsel…

  • TheIrateBlackGuy

    What happened to guns, not politics?

    • D

      I’d say this isn’t really politics. Politics are things like what laws should be passed, or who should be elected and why. This would be more law enforcement news or something. It’s not like the public votes for the FBI or has any say over their behavior.

    • Nicks87

      Another “guns not politics” crybaby?

      C’mon it’s Steve’s blog why are you trying to regulate it?

      • Lex

        Steve promises self regulation. If he wants to say “guns not politics” and not get called on it then he should have articles that are about guns, not ones that are purely masturbatory material for libertarians.

      • Nicks87

        Lex, are you really that blind or do you just not want to face the facts? Govt has over-stepped it’s bounds time and time again in this country. It manipulates and ignores the constitution every chance it gets. Most federal LEOs are just over-paid control freaks and the politicians they answer to are down right criminals.

        What you call “masturbatory material for libertarians” I call the voice of freedom. If you like big govt stepping on everyones toes and constantly being up their asses then why dont you go live in North Korea.

    • Mike Knox

      It’s a Judicial topic, not political..

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/ Steve (The Firearm Blog)

      Guys, this is not politics. This is legal. I report arrests of industry people, raids on gun companies and legal battles involving gun companies. Its only fair I also blog when charges are dropped.

  • Reverend Clint

    “conspiring to bride officials” wow brutal

  • arronh

    it says “SHOW show” at the top.

  • Lex

    You know, Steve, when the courts system reveals the truth and sorts things so that the innocent go free and the guilty go to jail I *DO* tend to think that justice has been done. That’s how legal systems are supposed to fucking work.

    Would you prefer the FBI be able to arrest people without any review whatsoever or would you prefer that the FBI never pursue criminal cases at all for fear that someone somewhere in the organization made a mistake?

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/ Steve (The Firearm Blog)

      I removed that comment at the end because you were right, there was indeed no need for me to editorialize the blog post.

      But my opinion for whats its worth …

      I am biased, I work in the industry, its not a big industry, and I was there when the ATF raided SHOT.

      I am not lawyer, so I don’t presume to know what Justice even means today. If it means due process, then sure.

      But if it means fairness then I don’t think anything about this was just. The only person found guilty of bribery is a morally reprehensible individuel who gets a light sentence because in between thievery, cocaine and prostitues he (I presume) made up stories to the FBI. This makes me angry, and it makes other industry people also very angry.

      • Lex

        “But if it means fairness then I don’t think anything about this was just. The only person found guilty of bribery is a morally reprehensible individuel who gets a light sentence because in between thievery, cocaine and prostitues he (I presume) made up stories to the FBI. This makes me angry, and it makes other industry people also very angry.”

        See, THIS makes me angry.

        You refuse to even consider that people in the industry did something wrong. No matter what happened you would have felt that the government was doing something wrong for DARING to suggest that a person could both sell guns and be a criminal.

        You’ve taken it so far you are completely ignoring your own sources to make up your own story to be angry. We don’t know that Bistrong lied about anything. We don’t know that what Bistrong said was relevant. We DO KNOW that Bistrong did *something* to weaken the case in the eyes of the judge. We DO KNOW that they had recorded conversations. We DO KNOW that three people confessed to an extremely serious crime (three people probably acting on the advice of very expensive lawyers, mind you).

        Do you want to be the arbiter of truth? Do you want to stand on your pedestal declaring people guilty and innocent without a trial? Do you really believe that would be “fair”?

        Please don’t be blind. It makes gun culture look retarded. Look at the comments here on your blog. There’s a reason that people mock us for being mindless hyperconservatives who will take any excuse to rage at the government, even in a case like this where government self corrected exactly the way it is supposed to.

      • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/ Steve (The Firearm Blog)

        Lex, I don’t think you should be angry at me, I am just expressing my opinion, and I admit to be biased.

        The state was unable to convict the people arrested at SHOT Show.

        I don’t condone breaking the law, ever. Its not worth it. The problem is when the law makes it nearly impossible to business without breaking it. When is a gift a gift and when is it a bribe?

  • Zee

    Gentlemen, release the lawyers!

  • jacob

    Seems pretty obvious they were guilty and got off by trashing the CI and the agents. CI are by definition scumbags. Are there good criminals around snitching on other criminals. Read the article three initially pled guilty. It’s sad that people actually support the criminals involved in guns just because they dislike law enforcement. People like this ruin things for the rest of us and people should be mad that law enforcement bungled the case and left the criminals to ruin the industry.

    • Nicks87

      You have no idea what you are talking about. How are “the criminals” ruining the industry?

      Big govt is just pissed that a private corporation is taking away some of their business. So they send a bunch of bumbling federal agents (most of whom have business and accounting degrees instead of real world LE experience) in after a successful firearms manufacturer in order to file charges that they violated a law that politicians and lobbyists violate on a daily basis.

      I think justice was done and hopefully the two alphabet agencies involved learned a valuable lesson on using criminals to catch criminals. Kinda like breaking a law in order to enforce another law, doesnt make much sense, does it?

    • LE101

      Jacob, I just can’t think of any way to say this politely, you are a moron wearing Rose Colored Glasses, drinking free Bubble Up and eating Rainbow stew.

  • klyph

    The justice department now devotes most of it’s resources to fabricating artificial crimes, perpetrating entrapment to justify it’s bloated budget. The justice department is a criminal cartel funded by taxpayer money and drug/weapon smuggling operations. It’s not that they’re worse than the drug cartels, it’s that they ARE a drug cartel.

  • Sid

    Not to anyone specific. A more general observation.

    I spent only 3 months falsely accused of a transgression in the military. My brigade staff jumped the gun based on a false narrative and had a packet sent to Corps JAG to have me booted out of the service after 17 years of honorable service. I was cleared. Minor damage done to my career. Official apologies do not exist in the military. They had never heard of a commander lying to falsely implicate a junior officer. Whatever.

    Three worst months of my life. You don’t know what it is like to run missions each day and not sleep at night. And then to be removed from your friends (if you still have any) and sent to Baghdad to stand trial with a bunch of strangers who know exactly why you are there.

    I have heard that we do not have a justice system. We have a judicial system. In my case, justice would have been for the investigator to complete a valid investigation BEFORE charges were brought. Being cleared later does not make things right.

    Ask the Duke Lacrosse team members.

    I don’t know if the charges in this case were fantasy, inaccurate, or just could not be pursued. The FBI had an addict as the pivot point in this case. An addict. By reading the attached documents, they knew what he was. Yet, he was the pivot point in the case.

    Fire them all. They don’t understand what they are doing.

    • Lex

      “In my case, justice would have been for the investigator to complete a valid investigation BEFORE charges were brought. Being cleared later does not make things right.”

      To always get kind of justice you’re proposing requires an omniscient police force which can never be denied any information it thinks it might need to complete a case. I’m hoping you don’t want that. Either we have a system that acknowledges that mistakes are possible and is required to correct itself when they are or we have a police state. You decide.

      • fcp503

        Lex, I take it that you have never been on, or known an innocent person that has been on the wrong end of the legal system. If you had you would not think that “the system worked.”

        An innocent person that is accused of a serious crime will in most cases lose their freedom, home, job, life savings, friends, and more. This will happen regardless, because that is the real cost of a trial. Guilty or innocent that punishment is handed out to the accused.

        The word “trial” is by definition an ordeal. How can imposing punishment on the innocent without consequence ever be acceptable?

      • W

        “ways get kind of justice you’re proposing requires an omniscient police force which can never be denied any information it thinks it might need to complete a case”

        or you could get that kind of justice by obeying the constitution and not jumping the gun.

        such duality.

        sid is absolutely correct. if you think the “prove guilt before innocence” paradigm is bad on the civilian side…just wait until you see the UCMJ.

      • Lex

        THE TRIAL IS HOW YOU ESTABLISH GUILT OR INNOCENCE

        The investigation does not establish guilt or innocence. This is why cops aren’t allowed to shoot suspects just because they’re really really sure the person is a bad guy. A good investigation will get rid of as many people who aren’t good suspects as possible but to demand perfection every time is idiotic and counterproductive. If you want the police to have the absolute knowledge they need to never convict an innocent then you want a police state, there are no two ways about it.

      • shovelDriver

        @Lex
        You said “THE TRIAL IS HOW YOU ESTABLISH GUILT OR INNOCENCE”. (Used

        Wrong. The investigation is done to determine if there is even a basis for pursuing the charges. If the eveidence is there to prove guilt, then the trial goes forward. Because in America, you are INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY. And if you are innocent, then there is no basis for libelling someone in the newspapers, on TV, or of locking them up or confiscating their property.

        Or at least, that’s the very basis of our judicial system. Before it got perverted by politics.

      • Sid

        Lex,

        I hope that you someday understand how skewed your own views are currently.

        What I am saying is that the local SWAT team should have to do surveillance aroudn your house for a while to confirm that you are actually 1) the correct address 2) actually involved in criminal activity and 3) most likely alone. Rather than say, busting down your door at 3am, shooting your dog, pointing weapons are you wife and children, and then realizing that you live at 36 Melody LANE and not 36 Melody DRIVE.

        In my case, the hard evidence confirming my innocence was given to the initial investigator at the very beginning. What happened is that the process of filing and preparing the report took longer than the chain-of-command wanted to wait. Assuming my guilt based on a false report, they jumped the gun. They compounded their mistake by reporting up the chain that I was guilty. Then, rather than apologizing or admitting their mistake, they had to take the road of “you may not have been guilty of X, but obviously there are issues with your service and we are putting you on notice that we are watching you.” Then, every time I enforced a standard or made a correction, the enlisted were free to report me and the chain-of-command was ready to believe anything because now they had to accuse me of something. Otherwise, they look like idiots. Eventually, the situation gained the attention of a high enough command who told them to knock it off and leave me alone. At that point, despite my honorable service, I had to be moved out of my home unit because it was impossible to conduct my duties.

        The investigation was the punishment. As in the case above, the defendants were put through hell for 2 years on a case that the FBI knew would never stick. We don’t know what the evidence indicates. But what we do know is that the FBI arrested and charge 21 citizens knowing damn good and well the case was weak. I am not asking that the FBI have ominscience. They do not have to have everyone on videotape to make an arrest. But if they have the word of a crackhead as pivot point in their case, I would expect that they took the damn time to have hard evidence to bolster the claim.

        Are your synapses firing? Do you not get that the Bill of Rights is a limit on the government, not the citizen?

  • JBGleason

    Just curious. BATFE isn’t mentioned anywhere other than in the OP’s comments. From the official releases, this looks like an FBI operation all the way. I am certainly not defending the mess that is ATF but let’s place blame where it lies. This debacle looks to be the FEEB’s fault.

  • Neez

    The problem is we don’t know what the 3 pleaded guilty to, and what their punsihments were? My guess is they pleaded guilty to some really low charge like failure to report a crime or something stupid like that and got served with little to no jail time, and tons of community service. I’d plead guilty to that, even if i was innocent. Better than risking a trial and being found guilty to a much more severe charge, even if you were innocent.

    • Keith K.

      This is actually how most criminal trials proceed once they actually enter the belly of the beast.

      The prosecutors will go out of their way to hit someone with the most severe sentence imagineable and then offer a plea deal for a much lighter sentence to prevent the case from going to trial.

      I recall reading a (either cato institute or institute for justice) piece which detailed that only between 5-10% of criminal cases are actually tried because of the widespread use of this tactic. There is also a case of the use of this tactic on a fellow for checking account fraud. He chose to go to trial and lost and was sentenced to life imprisonment. I believe the case went to either a district court or even the Supreme court (cruel and unusual punishment) and the sentence was upheld.

      Inspires quite a lot of confidence in the whole state system doesn’t it?

  • Frank Delia

    So the FBI wanted to make a big rep show out of this, flexing their muscles and showing to the country how good they are… only to end out looking like unprofessional idiots who take any testimony for cash. The 21 persons who got arrested should have the right to beat them up a bit.

  • Fred

    a) If they arrested them they have to arrest everyone else all over the World because everyone knows that this is standard stuff in this weapon business thing.
    b) If they arrested them it is most likely because they don’t have friends in high places.
    c) “Misogyny”?!?!? The “thefirearmblog” is turning into another PC hellhole?!

    Please…

    • Chase

      The word “misogyny” wasn’t just thrown in to appease the demons of political correctness. The transcript mentions “extra staring,” and in context with “ladied” (sic), it appears to mean unwanted and bothersome attention towards women by men. That’s not just political, it actually does bother people.

  • noob

    Richard Bistrong: among other things he has poor trigger dicipline when posing with machine guns.

  • Brandon

    So three of them initially plead guilty even though the charges were completely baseless?

    The way plea bargains are set up in the US Justice system is insane. People plead guilty just to get a light sentence, regardless of whether they are guilty or not because the prosecutor threatens to throw the book at them.

    You are punished for exercising your constitutional right to a trial by a jury of your peers.

    • Lex

      There is no reason to believe that the charges were “totally baseless” only that there may have been procedural problems in the way the FBI conducted the investigation. The juries never came back with “innocent” as a verdict, the people who went to trial were let go because juries twice came back without a verdict.

  • mac66

    I’m sure the Feds meant well and had nothing but the utmost respect for the rule of law here. I don’t think they had any other agenda in mind, political or career serving. The raid at the Shot Show was just a coincidence. We all know the FBI is the most professional, best trained, and most non-corruptible law enforcement agency in the world and can’t be swayed by outside political forces….NOT!

  • http://www.nssf.org Lawrence G. Keane

    FALSE: “In 2010 the BATFE raided the S&W booth at SHOT Show arresting 21 people…”

    Absolutely NOTHING happened at the SHOT Show. No one was arrested at the SHOT Show. No one’s booth was “raided”

    NSSF would greatly appreciate it if you would stop referring to this as the “SHOW Show Sting” etc.

    Lawrence G. Keane
    SVP & General Counsel
    National Shooting Sports Foundation
    - NSSF owns the SHOT Show

  • Big Daddy

    It seems like nobody knows what the real story is. I would like to hear from someone that was there and can prove it, someone not involved.

    We will never know the truth, just like Fast and Furious. It doesn’t matter what administration is in office they all do the same thing. Obama with this stuff and Bush with the fictitious WMDs. For JFK and Johnson it was the domino effect for fighting a war in SE Asia.

    So who knows what really happened and if the charges where baseless or maybe they screwed up the investigation. We’ll never know and life goes on.

    The worse thing I ever saw is the guy who’s AR broke and is in jail for having a machine gun.

    Sometimes I wonder what country I live in. Is this the USA? Yes it’s not perfect but still is the best place to live, IMO.

  • Bob Z Moose

    So, we either have someone from NSSF saying that this never happened or the most epic of trolls ever. What really happened?!

    • jdun1911

      From the link above:

      http://www.millerchevalier.com/Publications/MillerChevalierPublications?find=24405

      “Likely with an eye to dramatic impact, law enforcement officials arrested 21 of the defendants on January 18, 2010, in Las Vegas, where they were scheduled to attend the SHOT Show, an annual industry trade show for the shooting, hunting and firearms industry. Law enforcement officials simultaneously arrested the remaining defendant in Miami. According to officials at the January 19 press briefing, the arrests were the culmination of a two-and-a-half year investigation targeting the defense and law enforcement products industry. With approximately 150 FBI agents executing search warrants across the United States and the City of London Police executing search warrants throughout the United Kingdom — a total of 21 search warrants in all — the operation involved large-scale cooperation between U.S. law enforcement agencies and their U.K. counterparts. ”

      Shot Show media day started Jan 18th. Day 1 on the 19th.

      http://www.gunblast.com/SHOT_Show_2010.htm

      With that said what a waste of tax payers money. 150 FBI agents in two countries worked for 2 and a half year on a dirty operation. The sad part is for 15 millions. For pennies.

      Busy work for useless unproductive government workers, IMO.

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