Stephen Heller is alleged to have exposed documents in Jan. & Feb. 2004, documents which provided smoking gun evidence that Diebold Election Systems, Inc. was using illegal, uncertified software in California voting machines. The docs also showed that Diebold's California attorneys (the powerful international law firm Jones Day) had told them they were in breach of the law for using uncertified software, but Diebold continued to use the uncertified software anyway. Heller is alleged to have come across these docs while temping as a word processor at Jones Day, and he is further alleged to have taken the docs and exposed them to the bright light of day. Heller had no idea he was under investigation until shortly after dawn on August 13, 2004, when 10 police officers, along with an investigator from the Los Angeles D.A.'s office, showed up at Heller's house with a felony search warrant. They searched his entire house and took his computer, his wife's laptop, his cell phone and charger, their scanner, and various papers and notebooks from Heller's desk. Needless to say, Heller and his wife were very frightened by this dawn raid on their home. Up until that moment, he had no idea he was under investigation. Now, after sitting on this for 2 years, the Los Angeles District Attorney, under pressure from Jones Day, is going after this whistleblower with 3 felony charges, each of which carries the potential of time in state prison. Here is a story in the LA Times
. Heller's lawyer believes the 2 year wait to file charges was due to the then-impending 2004 election, and that Diebold and their attorneys didn't want the information to be made public in the lead up to the election.
The documents also look bad for Diebold's California lawyers, Jones Day. According to Bev Harris of www.blackboxvoting.org, the docs "provided evidence that the Jones Day law firm was helping Diebold to cover up the fact that they were installing uncertified software which, as it turns out, caused thousands of voters to be unable to vote just weeks later."
Bev Harris continues, "Jim March, another investigator for Black Box Voting, and I immediately took the documents to both the California Attorney General's office and to Kevin Shelley, who was then the California Secretary of State. Just days later, the secretary of state decertified Diebold." At the time, Shelley called the company's conduct "reprehensible" and said "their performance, their behavior, is despicable," and that "if that's the kind of deceitful behavior they're going to engage in, they can't do business in California." In an interview, Shelly said "We will not tolerate the deceitful conduct of Diebold, and we must send a clear message to the rest of the industry: Don't try to pull a fast one on the voters of California."
Shelley then requested Cal. Attorney General Bill Lockyer to investigate taking criminal and civil actions against the company based on what Shelley called "fraudulent actions by Diebold." Lockyer eventually dropped the criminal probe of Diebold but he sued the company on behalf of California, and Diebold settled out of court for $2.6 million. However, Lockyer's office said that prosecutors had enough evidence to pursue a false claims lawsuit against the company, and Lockyer spokesman Tom Dresslar said, "False claims cases involve lying to obtain payment of taxpayer dollars, or to avoid making payments to government entities.'' So it is hard to understand why Diebold was not prosecuted for fraud but was only sued in civil court, and settled for only $2.6 million. Some have speculated that Attorney General Lockyer was under intense pressure from the highest levels of the government, both federal and state, to not proceed with criminal charges against Diebold.
Let's make this clear, folks. The docs Heller is accused of exposing were important evidence. First, they show that Diebold and their attorneys, Jones Day, conspired to mislead the California secretary of state, and that the lie they told was material, and resulted directly in the disenfranchisement of voters. Second, another document demonstrates that Diebold lied to the secretary of state when it represented that certain problems with its software were "fixed." This document, the release notes for the new software, showed that the problems were not fixed. Third, the documents showed that Diebold had been advised by Jones Day that what it had been doing with its uncertified software was illegal. Fourth, the documents show that Jones Day advised Diebold that it was subject to criminal prosecution. So in a nutshell, Diebold was defrauding the state government and taxpayers of California, and disenfranchising the voters of California. And the documents PROVE it. Diebold's crimes strike at the heart of democracy. Our democratic republic stands on two pillars: 1, the constitution and the rights and liberties guaranteed therein, and 2, clean, fair elections in which the outcome of the election is a true reflection of the will of the voters. Diebold's crimes weaken the very underpinnings of our nation.
And for allegedly exposing Diebold's felonious behavior (which led directly to Diebold being de-certified in California), for allegedly helping protect the taxpayers and voters of California, for allegedly helping to keep elections clean and fair, what happens? Diebold, the true criminal in this case, and their powerful international law firm Jones Day, press the L.A. District Attorney's office to hammer Heller, a whistleblower. Three felonies! Diebold was (and probably still is) screwing California voters, Heller is alleged to have seen the smoking gun evidence of Diebold's crimes, and, like a true patriot and whistleblower, allegedly exposed that smoking gun evidence, and now HE'S the one facing jail time.
And the irony is, if Heller is convicted of a felony for exposing Diebold's crimes against the California voters, he'll lose his right to vote. Diebold will win. We can't let that happen!
But we can help. Let's flood the Los Angeles DA's office with phone calls, letters and emails asking them not to crucify this whistleblower.
Now of course, BE POLITE. Remember you are writing, calling and emailing the office of the Los Angeles District Attorney, which is a branch of law enforcement. Being harassing, rude, or threatening to cops would be very dumb; it will only get you in legal trouble of your own, and it won't help Steve Heller, the whistleblower. So BE POLITE!
* Don't prosecute Stephen Heller. He's a whistleblower, not a criminal, and he should not be prosecuted.
* Diebold is the criminal here. If a person exposes their criminal activity, that person is a whistleblower and should not be prosecuted.
* Diebold's election malfeasance strikes at the very heart of our democratic republic. Without clean elections, we don't have democracy anymore. Those who expose such crimes are whistleblowers and should not be prosecuted.
* America has a long history of whistleblowers exposing criminal activity, and prosecuting them is wrong; it puts a chilling effect on others who might see criminal activity and want to expose it.
Email the Los Angeles District Attorney's office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A good old fashioned snail mail letter is very powerful tool:
District Attorney's Office
County of Los Angeles
210 West Temple Street, Suite 18000
Los Angeles, CA 90012-3210
And of course, phone calls:
Telephone (213) 974-3512
Fax (213) 974-1484
TTY (800) 457-7778
(8:30am - 5:00pm M-F)
Also, letters to the editor of the Los Angeles Times is a great way to help this whistleblower. You can use the same talking points in your letter to the editor. "How to Write to Us" Their snail mail address is Letters to the Editor, Los Angeles Times, 202 W. 1st Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012. They want letters to be 150 words or less, with your name, address and daytime phone number.
Heller is getting pounded. He's the victim of bullies. A huge, powerful, wealthy, politically connected corporation and their equally huge and powerful international law firm are slamming him, grinding him up in legal machinery for allegedly lifting up the pretty skirt Diebold shows to the world, exposing the criminal secrets that lie beneath. There was certainly no financial gain for Heller, in fact a serious financial loss, because he got fired from his job, and he and his wife had to take a second mortgage on their home to pay Steve's legal bills; he's had to pay 10s of thousands of dollars to his lawyer, and he owes her 10s of thousands more. They are afraid they're going to lose their house. And he's now at risk of over 3 years in state prison. It's insane. His cause is a worthy one, and he needs our help. Please call and email today. And PLEASE RECOMMEND so we can really generate some heat here.
Let's help defend a whistleblower from Diebold and their attack-dog attorneys! Thanks, Kossacks.
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