Supervisory Senior Resident Agent (SSRA) Kevin Wayne Damuth approved investigating me sometime after December of 2017 based entirely on allegations fabricated by an inmate that has been arrested over 50 times. Now to SSRA Damuth’s credit, the inmate (Scott Joseph Franklin) had made some fairly serious allegations. He alleged that I had offered him over $200,000 a head to kill several people including United States District Judge Marco Hernandez. The problem with this is that I was also an inmate, had not worked in over five years, and was being represented by court appointed counsel. I was obviously not someone capable of spending $200,000 on anything because I would have had to hire my own lawyer if that were the case. Still, the FBI Office in Salem, Oregon has a legal obligation to investigate all death threats against federal judges originating from their jurisdiction, so what did Damuth do wrong by approving this?
The investigation went way too far. Damuth had two field agents assigned to it (Ryan Hall and John Mandrafina). Those agents did not stop at simply interviewing Franklin, looking into his history to see if he was credible, and looking into me to see if I had the resources to pay half up front ($100,000). Just doing those things would have been enough for a lay person let alone two trained FBI agents to figure out that an inmate with prior convictions for making false statements to law enforcement is not someone the police can rely on for facts, and that someone not financially capable of paying half now could not have possibly made a serious attempt to hire a hitman at that rate. Looking into our backgrounds should have ended that investigation, but it did not.
Agents Mandrafina and Hall went to FCI Sheridan, met with Franklin, put a wire on him, and sent him into my cell to get information from me. All he got was some general dislike for Judge Hernandez and other involved in my case, but nothing indicating a desire to kill anyone. Franklin even told them before wearing the wire that he did not think I would ever talk about “it” again. Franklin was of course referring to “it” as the murder for hire plot he was alleging.
In the end, all the bogus story gave the government was a way to get me denied pre-trial release just because such allegations by themselves are enough to do that in federal court in this district. Assistant United States Attorney Gregory Ralph Nyhus did not need to prove that the threats were credible or even made. That is because when pre-trial release has already been denied the burden is on the defense to show that the defendant poses no risk, so simply showing up to court saying that the only thing that has changed since release was denied are these new allegations is enough. Assigning two agents and wiring Franklin was completely unnecessary. What kind of manager allocates two agents to what is obviously a bogus report? Someone whose priorities are wrong obviously.
I can’t help wonder how many child molesters were not being investigated while SSRA Damuth had two agents assigned to investigating me.
Published at Thu, 05 Dec 2019 14:54:50 +0000