The tone set by Attorney General Holder at Justice and ATF Director Jones is one established at the very top of the Obama administration.
Commenting on revelations about Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and Department of Justice (DOJ) actions in the case of retired agent Jay Dobyns against his former employer, attorney David Hardy equated them with “a BATF and DOJ Watergate… or worse,” Friday. Noting that actions taken over a civil lawsuit evidently have included concealing evidence, secret threats against witnesses, and surveillance of attorneys and witnesses, the new information lends further credence to Dobyns’ allegations and appears to show government lawyers engaged in a criminal conspiracy.
“For people like me, who have sympathized with Dobyns but tried to reserve judgment about his case, the documents push us further into the retired agent’s camp,” Tim Steller of the Arizona Daily Star admitted. “You can’t read the few filings that have been unsealed in the case without wondering why the Justice Department is going to such extremes and spending so much on what is, at base, a relatively minor contractual dispute that could have ended years ago.”
Dobyns gained fame after infiltrating the Hells Angels and writing about his experiences in the New York Times bestseller, “No Angel: My Harrowing Undercover Journey to the Inner-Circle of the Hells Angels.” He has since been the subject of numerous reports focused on retaliation he has been subjected to for coming forward with information exposing official wrongdoing. He was also instrumental in providing background information on management personalities and practices involved in the Operation Fast and Furious “gunwalking” scandal.
Dobyns had sued his employer for failure to properly investigate an arson attack that destroyed his home and endangered his family, and for reneging on protection agreements over death threats he received, after the bureau withdrew his cover identity following the Hells Angels case. In September, Senior Judge Francis M. Allegra of the United States Court of Federal Claims awarded Dobyns $173,000 and denied government royalty claims against Dobyns for his book, seemingly providing an end to a prolonged six-year ordeal until the government challenged that ruling in the 11th hour. In a move surprising to many case-watchers, the judge then voided his own judgment, provoking speculation but no answers as to why.
Some of that may be getting clearer with the unsealing of case documents, now available on the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system. Language used by Judge Allegra in his now-unsealed December 1 opinion does not mince words, and seems damning.
“[T]he court … issued an order voiding the prior judgment based upon indications that the defendant [ATF], through its counsel, had committed fraud on the court,” Allegra wrote. “[F]raud on the court consists of conduct: 1. On the part of an officer of the court; 2. That is directed to the ‘judicial machinery’ itself; 3. That is intentionally false, willfully blind to the truth, or is in reckless disregard for the truth; 4. That is positive averment or is concealment when one is under duty to disclose; 5. That deceives the court.”
Further detailed allegations, being investigated by this reporter and seemingly corroborated by the unsealed opinion, include Judge Allegra being contacted by Internal Affairs Investigator Christopher Trainor, a key witness in the Dobyns case, concerning his being threatened by a main government witness — one the judge himself had raised perjury questions about — and chillingly, also threatened by lead government attorneys. Trainor had reportedly earlier given the intimidation to ATF, which opened a criminal investigation, and then approached ATF and Department of Justice attorneys, both of whom allegedly refused to report the witness tampering allegations to the judge. It is further alleged Trainor was warned by the DOJ attorney that if he reported the witness to Judge Allegra, his career at ATF would suffer.
The judge then reportedly notified Attorney General Eric Holder, then-Deputy AG and (“Number Two” at Justice) James Cole, and the Office of Inspector General of DOJ attorney fraud against the court, and issued an order barring seven of the attorneys from filing any further legal documents in the Dobyns case. Although no direct connection has been established, it is noted that the timing of the judge’s notification appears contemporaneous with Cole’s resignation and Holder’s announced resignation.
“Coincidental” timing did not end there. Without explanation, ATF closed its investigation of the witness alleged to have threatened Trainor. DOJ’s Office of Professional Responsibility advised Judge Allegra they were not going to pursue fraud allegations against their attorneys.