A BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE CASE INVOLVING GORDON KAHL
By Wilhelm E. Schmitt
It is quite likely that historians will view Sunday, February 13, 1983 as the date on which the Second American Revolution began in earnest. For it was on that day a group of U.S. federal marshals converged on Medina, North Dakota and set up a roadblock, intending to assassinate Gordon Kahl; to silence him because he was a vocal income tax protester and public critic of illegal and immoral activities in that State by judges, bankers and attorneys, many of whom were members in Masonic Lodges where they took blood-curdling oaths to protect and defend each other in virtually any and all circumstances.
The attempt to murder Gordon Kahl failed because he was unexpectedly armed and also had excellent combat skills. The skirmish ended with two federal marshals dead, a third wounded, two local policemen wounded and out of action, and Gordon's young son, Yorie, severely wounded and near death.
After taking Yorie to a nearby clinic and then to a hospital where emergency surgery saved Yorie's life, Gordon disappeared and was the subject of an intense manhunt by federal agents for several months. Finally he was located in Arkansas because the daughter of a nearby family "snitched" on Gordon's location to federal authorities, probably to get the sizable cash reward that had been offered by the federal government. While Gordon was seated watching television to get news of his son's trial which was then in progress in North Dakota, the house in which he was living was surrounded by heavily armed federal and local forces. The local sheriff entered the house, stealthily approached Gordon from behind, and shot him in the head without giving him any chance to surrender. Thus was the federal government's program to silence Gordon Kahl brought to a successful conclusion, on June 3, 1983.
As a direct result of the "shoot-out," Yorie and another young man, a local farmer named Scott Faul who happened to be present in one of the cars when the marshals sprung their roadblock, were charged with and convicted of second degree murder, assaulting federal officers, harboring a fugitive and conspiracy. Each received two concurrent life terms plus 15 years. At the time this is being written (July 1996), they have been in prison in excess of 13 years and were repeatedly denied parole. As will be shown later in this summary, there was no legal ground for the interdiction of Gordon Kahl in the first place; the marshals deliberately removed their badges and did not identify themselves as they stepped from their cars and pointed guns at Yorie whom they mistook for Gordon Kahl; the marshals did not give Gordon any opportunity to surrender but one of them fired the first shot, striking Yorie; Yorie Kahl fired at no one but was immediately grievously wounded, whereupon Gordon, seeing his son shot down before his eyes, opened fire and was solely responsible for the deaths and woundings of the members of the federal "hit" team. It will also be shown that Yorie and Scott did not receive fair trials but were victims of gross bias on the part of the judge and some members of the jury. May I say to those readers who are inclined to doubt the truthfulness of the foregoing statements, I sincerely hope you will read on.
Before this case can be correctly understood, the events leading to the confrontation at Medina must be examined in detail. Gordon Kahl's Saga consists of four significant episodes: (1) Preliminary causes; events leading to the confrontation at Medina; (2) the "shoot-out" at Medina, North Dakota on February 13, 1983; (3) the trial, May 9 through June 24, 1983, during which Yorie Kahl and Scott Faul were convicted; and (4) the death of Gordon Kahl on June 3, 1983. Each of these episodes will be discussed in as much detail as this short summary permits. For a more extensive treatment, the reader should consult the two habeas corpus briefs filed in the North Dakota Federal District Court on Yorie's behalf by his attorney, John DeCamp, during April, 1996. [The two briefs total 77 pages and may be obtained for $20 postpaid from: Mr. Bill Lyford, 8259 N.W. Mississippi Blvd., Coon Rapids, MN 55433.]
(1) PRELIMINARY CAUSES, 1976 TO 1982 - EVENTS LEADING TO MEDINA
Gordon Kahl was a veteran of World War II, decorated for heroism for saving the lives of fellow crew members during aerial combat. After the war he took up farming, and developed strong religious and political convictions. During the 1970s he concluded that the federal government was engaged in immoral and unconstitutional practices which were being financed by an illegitimate federal income tax system. He then began exercising his right to free speech, and shared his views in public gatherings and by means of the media, powerfully attacking the income tax system and the Federal Reserve System as the root causes of the perversion of politics, law and justice in America. He became a well-known political dissident, a "refusenik," within what was (and still is) called the "patriot community."
During the mid-1970s, Gordon and other "refuseniks" appeared on local TV in Texas and challenged the basis of the income tax system. Gordon led the way by publicly advocating and encouraging non-compliance. Income tax rebellion soon spread over a large area of Texas. The IRS became alarmed and saw Gordon Kahl as a leader of the movement who had to be publicly prosecuted in order to shut down the rapidly spreading tax rebellion. Prosecution was initiated in 1978 using IRS Code Section 7203, which penalizes taxpayers for willfully failing to file income tax returns or pay over taxes due. At that time, this offense was a misdemeanor, not a felony.
Gordon was tried and convicted in 1978 in the U.S. District Court for the Western Division of Texas on two counts for willful failure to file income tax returns. [Unfortunately, since he was acting during the infancy of the income tax resistance movement, Gordon did not realize then what mature tax resisters know today: that the income tax was held by the Supreme Court in 1916 to be an excise tax, and that many court decisions since then have held that an excise tax cannot legally be levied on activities of common right, such as earning wages for a living. Therefore, one who earns wages is not a "taxpayer" under the definition of the IRS Code, and is therefore legally not required to file a return or pay "income" tax. Had Gordon based his defense on this point, namely, that he was not a "taxpayer" as that term is defined in the IRS Code and therefore incurred no liability to pay "income" taxes, he most likely would never have been convicted. Of course, that is merely a supposition which assumes - perhaps unjustifiably - that the federal courts would have permitted him to enjoy a fair trial.]
Even though the "offenses" for which he was convicted were only misdemeanors, the federal court illegally sentenced Gordon under the felony provision of 18 U.S.C. §4205(a) to imprisonment of one year, and to probation of five years. This probation sentence itself was also illegal because it violated 18 U.S.C. §3651, which provides that a period of probation cannot exceed the maximum term of incarceration, which in this case was one year.
After exhausting his rights of appeal, Gordon entered the federal prison camp at Leavenworth, Kansas. There his case worker advised him that his sentence was illegal. When she reported that fact to her superiors, they told her, "Keep your mouth shut if you want to keep your job."
During August, 1979, Gordon was released on probation, but the terms of probation were blatantly unconstitutional. Condition #1 required him to divorce himself, not from illegal activity or groups participating in illegal activity, but rather from groups advocating free speech, which violated Gordon's rights under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Condition #2 required him to furnish copies of his income tax return every year to his probation officer, which was a clear contravention of the revenue laws of the United States.
Some time after his release from prison, Gordon resumed his public denunciation of what he believed to be unconstitutional government actions and judicial corruption, particularly on the part of the North Dakota State and federal judicial officials, whose links with Masonic organizations were pointed out at every opportunity. Consequently these officials took Gordon's vitriolic criticisms not only as a personal affront, but also as an attack on their judicial authority and prestige.
On June 27, 1980, the U.S. District Court in Texas issued a summons for Gordon Kahl to appear there to show cause why his probation should not be revoked. The sole reason given by the court was that Gordon had not furnished the probation office with a copy of his income tax return since his release on probation, a requirement that was contrary to the revenue laws as has been pointed out above.
The summons to show cause was allegedly served on Gordon on August 6, 1980, 12 months after his release from prison. During the trial in 1983 following the shoot-out, Joan Kahl gave uncontroverted testimony that the signature on the summons was not that of her late husband, Gordon Kahl, which supports the contention that the summons was never actually served on him.
On September 23, 1980, one month after a legal maximum period of probation would have expired, the U.S. Attorney was permitted by the U.S. District Court in Texas to withdraw the revocation of Gordon's probation. Quite likely, the reason for this withdrawal was that it became known to the court that the probation period of more than one year was illegal and therefore could not properly be enforced.
About six months later on March 30, 1981, the same U.S. District Court in Texas issued a warrant for Gordon's arrest on grounds that he was not reporting to the probation officer. The judge who issued the warrant wanted Gordon returned to Texas, and he set the bond on Gordon at $1,000,000 cash or $75,000 + 10% corporate surety.
All this for an "alleged" misdemeanor violation, a probation which was itself null and void, and violative of federal law. For any one of at least three reasons, the action by federal marshals, led by the United States Marshal for North Dakota, Ken Muir, on February 13, 1983 that resulted in the shoot-out, was knowingly initiated under a faulty warrant.
The three reasons, in summary, are: (1) The illegal five year felony probation sentence given for a misdemeanor, thereby rendering the probation itself illegal; (2) a legal maximum probation period allowed by law would necessarily have expired on August 19, 1980, more than two years before the shoot-out in Medina; and (3) the supporting ground for issuing the alleged warrant under which U.S. Marshal Muir was operating on February 13, 1983 was itself a legally defective ground for two reasons: (a) violation of Gordon's First Amendment rights by prohibiting him from "associating" with groups "advocating willful disobedience...." and (b) requiring him to furnish copies of his future tax returns to the probation office, in violation of federal revenue laws.
When the warrant for "probation violation" arrived at the U.S. Marshal's office in Fargo, North Dakota, the U.S. Marshal for that State was Harold "Bud" Warren. He traveled to the town of Carrington and met personally with Gordon, whom he found to be a friendly, smiling farmer. Warren gave Gordon 30 days to straighten out the situation before subjecting him to arrest.
Meanwhile, during those 30 days, Warren was removed from office. The North Dakota power brokers and politicians, as well as federal judges Benson and VanSickle were dissatisfied with Warren because he had not moved fast enough to eliminate Gordon Kahl. They were able to induce Senator Mark Andrews and President Ronald Reagan to replace Warren with a more pliable and cooperative individual, Ken Muir, as the head U.S. Marshal for North Dakota. Ken Muir also just happened to be a close Masonic buddy of U.S. District Court Judge Paul Benson, who later would preside at the trial of Yorie Kahl and Scott Faul. Following the transfer of the office to Muir, Bud Warren offered advice on how to handle Gordon Kahl. Ken Muir retorted, "....now we do it (handling Kahl) my way."
Marshal Muir then showed his ineptitude by making several "keystone cop" attempts to apprehend Kahl, all of which failed even though Gordon was not even aware of Muir's intentions and took no action to avoid arrest. After these failed attempts to grab Gordon, Ken Muir was ordered by a superior in the Marshals Office in Washington, D.C. to file the Kahl warrant and not spend any more time or manpower on it. That was in 1981.
During 1982, Gordon freely roamed the country. He attended political meetings and frequently voiced his strong opinions on constitutional issues such as gun control, income tax, abortion, the evils emanating from land use controls and planning, and his beliefs about excessive Masonic influence. Contrary to claims made later by the federal government, Gordon conducted his activities openly.
During the Fall of 1982, Deputy U.S. Marshal Bob Cheshire, who would later be killed at the shoot-out in Medina, advised U.S. District Judge Bruce VanSickle that Gordon Kahl was a fugitive. This would have come as a surprise to Gordon and everyone who knew him, because he was living and traveling openly at that time.
Then, during the week of February 6, 1983, an All Points Bulletin (APB) was circulated throughout North Dakota over the State communications network, State Radio. The APB originated in a confidential source in Carrington, North Dakota and related that Gordon Kahl and an associate were carrying machine guns and were driving to Fessenden, North Dakota to kill the sheriff. That the APB was entirely false is proved by the fact that Kahl never showed up to shoot the sheriff, and the additional fact that the automobile he was allegedly driving belonged to a friend of Gordon, a local farmer named Scott Faul, whose wife, Shauna, had driven the car that day to the town of Harvey to do laundry.
In retrospect, it now appears that the actual purpose of the APB was to provoke a violent confrontation between Gordon Kahl and law enforcement that would eliminate Gordon and quash the emerging tax rebellion. This speculation is now highly probable and is based on new data and documentation that was not available during the superheated wake of the 1983 Medina shoot-out and the emotionally, politically charged trials that followed.
(2) THE SHOOT-OUT AT MEDINA
On Sunday morning, February 13, 1983, Gordon Kahl, his wife Joan and son Yorie traveled from their farm near Heaton, North Dakota to Medina to attend a meeting of dissidents, tax protesters and financially distressed farmers at the Medina Medical Clinic. They took their friend, Scott Faul, with them. The three men carried rifles, hoping to do some hunting for rabbits along the way to feed their dogs. Yorie also carried an army-style .45 caliber pistol in a shoulder holster - which was fortunate, as events would soon prove.
Early that afternoon, the meeting at the clinic was observed from a distance by a local county sheriff's deputy, Bradley Kapp. He reported the presence of Gordon Kahl to State Radio, which relayed the message to the headquarters of the U.S. Marshals. From there the message was sent to U.S. Marshal Ken Muir at his home, advising him of the meeting and Kahl's presence. Muir and Deputy U.S. Marshal Carl Wigglesworth immediately left Fargo and headed for Medina, where they met two other marshals, Cheshire and Hopson, who had come from Bismarck. At Medina the marshals enlisted the help of a local Medina city policeman, Steven Schnabel, and sheriff's deputy Kapp. The marshals wanted to set up their roadblock in town, but the Medina Chief of Police, Darrell Graf, forbade that, so the marshals moved their roadblock site to the countryside north of Medina.
While these preparations were being made, the meeting at the clinic was concluding. As the group was leaving, they noticed the surveillance by Bradley Kapp and then received word from Chief Graf about the APB alleging that Gordon had been driving Scott Faul's car to murder a nearby sheriff. Someone in the group said to Gordon, "It looks like you're being set up."
All of this disturbing information induced Yorie to convince his father to trade coats and hats with him. Then Yorie, his mother Joan and Scott Faul left in Gordon's car, while Gordon rode with another friend so they could converse on the way home. The two vehicles left the Medina Clinic and headed north towards Kahl's home. All of the passengers were unaware of the presence of the marshals or the ambush that was about to be sprung.
Knowing that the marshals intended to precipitate a shoot-out, Chief Graf stopped two citizens, Mark and Carol Lanenga, from driving into the ambush zone. From where they had stopped they could see the marshals standing outside one of their vehicles, aiming their weapons at the two cars in Kahl's group. Later, during trial, they testified that Chief Graf told them, "There is going to be a shoot-out and this time the police are in the wrong." Other people at the scene testified that Graf told them, "There is a tax protester up there and now they are going to shoot him."
After blocking Kahl's group ahead and behind, the marshals jumped out of their unmarked vehicles and aimed their weapons at the two cars in which Kahl and his companions were riding. None of the officers at the scene was in uniform. Deputy Marshal Cheshire even told Deputy Marshal Hopson to remove his badge. It is clear that they did not want Gordon Kahl to know that they were federal officers lest he would decide to submit peacefully to arrest; their intention was to kill Gordon and very likely everyone with him. Their murderous intent is proved by the fact that as they pointed their weapons, they did not announce that they were federal marshals and give Gordon a chance to surrender. Instead, they began yelling, "....we're going to blow your (meaning those in Kahl's group) goddamn heads off," and "you are going to die."
Gordon, Yorie and Scott Faul, all armed with rifles, left their cars and separated from each other. None of the marshals knew which man was Gordon Kahl or had any knowledge of his appearance. Relying only on the description provided by Deputy Kapp based on the coat and hat Gordon had been wearing at the clinic, the marshals directed their foul shouted epithets, their attention and their weapons directly at Yorie Kahl who, as has been mentioned, was wearing his father's coat and hat.
U.S. Marshal Ken Muir fired the first shot of the fire fight. Firing his revolver at Yorie, the bullet hit the grip of the pistol Yorie was wearing in the shoulder holster. As Yorie fell backward from the impact of Muir's bullet, his finger involuntarily jerked the trigger of his rifle twice, but the shots were wild and struck no one. Yorie was then shot in his abdomen by two shotgun blasts fired by Deputy Sheriff Brad Kapp. Yorie fell to the ground as his intestines began falling out. Even though it was obvious that Yorie was severely wounded and incapable of any further action, Marshal Muir - rated as being among the top ten pistol shots in the U.S.A. - fired at Yorie three more times, hitting him repeatedly. Need we seek any further evidence of his murderous intent?
Scott Faul attempted to retreat from the action, but he was blocked from retreating and also came under fire by the marshals. In response, as a matter of self-defense, he returned fire.
Seeing his son shot repeatedly and believing him to be dead, Gordon himself opened fire on the marshals and the two local officers, Kapp and Schnabel. Muir, Cheshire and Hopson quickly succumbed to the deadly volley of fire laid down by the veteran aerial gunner, Gordon Kahl. Kapp and Schnabel also were soon wounded and out of the fight, and the fourth marshal, Wigglesworth, ran away across a field to save himself. Muir and Cheshire were dead.
The ambulances and rescue personnel called out by Chief Graf began arriving at almost the moment the shooting ended. The injured were taken to the Medina Medical Clinic for immediate help and then to the hospital at Jamestown where emergency surgery saved Yorie's life. Marshal Hopson was disabled from the effects of his head wound, but recovered sufficiently to testify in the rush to judgment called a "trial" 85 days later. The viciousness of the federal government is revealed by the fact that Joan Kahl was arrested even though all she did was crouch on the floorboard of her car during the shooting. The U.S. Attorney tried mightily to imprison her, but finally relented because he could not create a plausible reason to prosecute her.
Gordon Kahl remained at large for four months and became the center of what was officially called by U.S. Marshals "the largest manhunt in American history."
(3) THE TRIAL AND THE RUSH TO JUDGMENT
Only 85 days after the confrontation at Medina and 59 days after the Grand Jury indictment, the trial of Yorie Kahl and Scott Faul began in Fargo before U.S. District Court Judge Paul Benson. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lynn Crooks and Dennis Fisher. What follows pertains specifically to Yorie Kahl, although many of the issues discussed also apply to Scott Faul, who was Yorie's co-defendant at trial. The two briefs mentioned at the beginning of this summary were filed only on behalf of Yorie for strategic reasons, but if Yorie succeeds in obtaining a new trial and is found not guilty (as is quite likely in view of the large amount of exculpatory evidence that has been uncovered by attorney John DeCamp and other investigators), of course Scott Faul will be benefited also.
Limitations on the permissible length of this summary allow elucidation of only a few of the grounds which made it impossible for Yorie to have received a fair trial. For all of the details, see the two briefs filed in April, 1996 by John DeCamp, 77 pages in length, mentioned at the beginning of this summary.
First, an overview: Yorie Kahl was denied basic safeguards guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States. As a result, he did not receive a fair trial. Had he been provided with his rights of due process of law, he would have been acquitted. Furthermore, if the U.S. Marshals and other Government personnel had not conducted their illegal actions, no injuries would have occurred and Yorie would not have been repeatedly shot. One of the specific illegal actions by the Government of the United States was the issuance and execution of the illegal warrant against Gordon Kahl. It was the attempted enforcement of that spurious warrant which resulted in the deaths and injuries for which Yorie and Scott Faul were prosecuted.
Consider the details of only a few of the injustices imposed on Yorie Kahl by the Government, chosen from many more that could be cited:
(a) After being taken into custody at the hospital where he underwent emergency surgery, Yorie was kept incommunicado under guard, and was not allowed mail or access to a telephone for ten days. An attorney from Montana, Jerry LaFountain, came to offer his services, but Yorie was not permitted to see him.
(b) Not only was Yorie denied available counsel, but an attorney was not even appointed for ten days after his arrest. Even then, the attorney, Warren Sogard, did not contact Yorie for several more days. Yorie's repeated requests to make a telephone call to procure legal counsel were denied during a critical period following surgery. His surgeon, Dr. Kostic, was never consulted before his patient was interrogated, and he was denied free and ready access to his critically injured patient.
(c) Yorie's first period of consciousness following surgery was early in the morning of February 14th, the day after he had been shot. While still in a drug-induced stupor from powerful pain-killing drugs, he was interrogated by a sheriff's deputy. The deputy told Yorie that the word was out that he had "fired first," and asked if that was true. In his drugged and semi-conscious state, Yorie responded that he did not know who fired first and such reports might be correct. That statement was suppressed from the Government's case during trial, but it was allowed in as impeachment evidence. However, later prejudicial statements obtained from Yorie under similar conditions, by an interrogator using suggestions and improper influence, were allowed at trial and were a major factor in the Government's success in obtaining convictions.
(d) Yorie retained counsel of his choice, attorney Charles O'Brien of Cheyenne, Wyoming, but the court disqualified him and instead appointed an incompetent boob, an inexperienced civil attorney named Warren Sogard, who was mentally and professionally incompetent. Since Yorie's trial in 1983, Sogard's mental incompetence became progressively more severe, and he has now lost his right to practice law. It is believed by the legal community that his mental limitations have always affected his performance in the practice of law. Anyone who objectively reviews Yorie's trial transcript cannot fail to notice how regularly Sogard failed to protect Yorie's interests. A few of these many instances will be described below. Such was the lawyer that Judge Benson forced on Yorie, to ensure that his defense would be ineffective and practically to guarantee Yorie's conviction. Yorie did not get counsel of his choice, but of the Government's choice.
That Judge Benson and the Government deliberately sabotaged Yorie's defense by interfering with his retention of defense counsel is proved by a videotaped interview of U.S. Attorney Lynn Crooks after trial. Crooks said, "We did everything in our power to make sure that they (Yorie Kahl and other defendants) did not wind up having tax protester lawyers, (but rather) normal.....legitimate defense lawyers (who would defend) on the basis of self-defense, which is what we wanted."
In addition, the defendants were allowed to hire only one investigator among them (there were four or five defendants initially, but we are here concerned primarily with Yorie Kahl and collaterally with Scott Faul). The Government however admittedly employed more than 60 federal agents to assist the prosecution.
All these tactics, and others described below, are typical devices used by the federal courts and prosecutors when they are determined to "get" a defendant.
(e) Having been removed from all drugs by order of Dr. Kostic 24 hours before a scheduled hearing on February 24th, and with his faculties unimpaired, Yorie made no inculpatory statements at his hearing like those he had made while under the influence of drugs at the hospital in response to suggestive interrogation. The hearing was not recorded, and attorney Sogard, being out of town, did not attend. In his place he sent an associate, Michael Masuda, who had even less experience than Sogard himself. Masuda merely sat in a corner during the hearing while U.S. Magistrate Hill threatened Yorie with execution if he was found guilty.
(f) The Government rushed the case to trial, so that Sogard had only 76 days from the time of his appointment to the date on which trial began. Sogard did not even see his client, Yorie Kahl, for several days after being appointed. He expended almost all of those 76 days out of town and out of touch with Yorie, while assuring him that the trial would not begin in less than a year. But this was only the beginning of Sogard's poor performance.
When Lynn Crooks, lead prosecutor for the Government, was caught signaling his witness from the prosecution's table during cross-examination, Sogard failed to object to this prosecutorial misconduct and thus failed to preserve this issue for appeal.
Sogard failed to challenge or object to the leading of witnesses by the prosecution, or to inadmissible hearsay, again failing to preserve the issue for appeal.
Sogard failed to conduct a pre-trial investigation of the invalidity of the alleged arrest warrant for Gordon Kahl. A copy of the arrest warrant was never obtained. Sogard never checked into the illegal sentencing of Gordon Kahl which formed the basis of the warrant that spawned the shoot-out. He failed to interview witnesses, specifically U.S. Marshal Carl Wigglesworth. He failed to investigate field report documents in the U.S. Marshals Service files which would have proved that Gordon Kahl was not in hiding as claimed by the Government. He also failed to investigate the one million dollar bond placed on Gordon for a mere misdemeanor probation violation. All of the above investigations were requested by Yorie, but Sogard refused to support those directives of his client.
Yorie instructed Sogard to investigate the Masonic connections among Benson, Muir and Crooks. They belonged to the same secret society - the highest levels of a Masonic Lodge - that require as a condition of membership the taking of a personal oath to protect and assist their fellow Lodge members at all costs. Since these oaths, for a Mason, supersede all others, it is germane to ask if the oaths taken by Masons Benson, Muir and Crooks would supersede their oaths of allegiance to the United States Constitution which they affirmed when they occupied their respective offices. In spite of these obvious conflicts, and the possibility that Gordon Kahl's strident criticism of Masonry made him a possible target for a Masonic "hit," Sogard also refused to investigate this aspect of the case.
Yorie wanted to testify at the suppression hearing to correct untrue statements attributed to him admitting that he might have fired first. Sogard incorrectly informed Yorie that he had no right to testify, so the false attributions stood. Also, Yorie's drugged condition when he was being interrogated was never discussed at the hearing, which ultimately proved fatal to Yorie's case and resulted in his imprisonment.
Sogard withheld the pre-sentence investigation from Yorie, who assumed none had been written on him because he had declined the interview with the probation officer. He therefore remained unaware of the contents of his pre-sentence report, which contained the finding that he had fired the first shot. This inaccuracy has infected Yorie's file with the U.S. Parole Commission and has adversely affected his efforts to obtain parole, and promises to do so in the future.
Sogard's incompetence continued through the appeals process where appealable issues were not addressed. He failed on appeal to object to the showing of the gruesome photos of the dead marshals to the jury, in violation of Federal Rule of Evidence 403.
The U.S. Marshals Service was a victim of the shoot-out in Medina. Not only were two members of its brotherhood dead, but its brothers had been "bested" during a gunfight of their own making. Yet Yorie Kahl's jury was supervised, guarded and entertained by the U.S. Marshals Service. It was the same as if Yorie Kahl's and Scott Faul's family had been taking care of the jury. The prosecution used this cozy arrangement to influence the jurors by presenting the Marshals Service in a false light as a bunch of kind and considerate "good guys." The defendants testified that the marshals involved in the shoot-out were profane bullies, but the constant daily contact with, and entertainment of the jury undermined the credibility of the defense witnesses.
One of the marshals guarding the jury and even playing softball with the jury members was Deputy U.S. Marshal Carl Wigglesworth, one of the two marshals who survived the encounter at Medina. He was presented to the jury as a victim of the shoot-out and he even testified for the prosecution against Yorie Kahl and Scott Faul. Can anyone doubt that his contact with and entertainment of the jury almost certainly prejudiced - or at least influenced - at least some of the jurors against Yorie and Scott? At the very least one must infer the possibility of inducing biased feelings among the jurors. Certainly this situation created a gross appearance of impropriety, a condition absolutely forbidden by law. Yet, when this situation was brought to the court's attention, it was brushed aside by Judge Benson, and no hearing was held to determine the extent of the prejudicial effect.
Warren Sogard failed to include this most significant issue in Yorie's appeal, thus adding to the huge mountain of evidence that demonstrates Sogard's incompetence. Of course: that is why Judge Benson and Magistrate Hill selected him to be Yorie's attorney.
(g) The defense entered motions calling for Judge Benson to disqualify himself pursuant to 28 U.S.C.A. §§144, 455, but he refused to do so. He also refused to grant a change of venue requested by the defense.
Judge Benson knowingly and intentionally lied about the existence of a close personal relationship between himself and one of the marshals killed at Medina, U.S. Marshal for North Dakota, Ken Muir. Subsequent to Yorie's trial and appeal, this relationship has been discovered. Ken Muir was not only Benson's close friend and a member of Benson's "courthouse family;" he and Benson were Masonic brothers. In fact, Benson had sponsored Muir into the highest ranks of the Masonic Lodge which Benson attended. Their relationship was so close that many people thought the two were related, and that perhaps Muir was a nephew of Judge Benson.
Under these conditions, Benson was obligated to recuse himself, if only to avoid the appearance of bias. When he refused to do so, Yorie's attorney, Warren Sogard, should have petitioned the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals for a writ of mandamus disqualifying Benson from the case, in order to assure Yorie of a fair trial before a fair judge. But once again, Sogard dropped the ball, and Judge Benson proceeded to demonstrate his bias against the defendants in numerous ways.
Judge Benson allowed improper contact with the jury; he protected his Masonic brother, prosecutor Lynn Crooks, when he was caught in a clear act of courtroom misconduct; he placed a unilateral gag order on the defendants to prevent them from publicly answering the disinformation campaign conducted by the U.S. Attorney's Office, the FBI, U.S. Marshals Service, IRS and other State and Federal Government agencies, the purpose of which was to poison the jury pool and guarantee that a fair and impartial jury could not be impaneled.
Judge Benson prevented the defense from properly introducing as exculpatory evidence the pistol Yorie was wearing in his shoulder holster. The pistol strongly corroborated Yorie's argument of self-defense. The bullet imbedded in the pistol grip is almost certainly the result of the first shot fired in the shoot-out, and it was fired by Marshal Ken Muir, contrary to the Government's theory that Yorie fired first. Benson's interference denied Yorie's attorney the opportunity to lay a proper foundation for the admission of the pistol as evidence, and to comment on it during closing arguments. Benson's partiality in favor of the prosecution surfaced throughout the trial, but was especially noticeable when he blocked Yorie's attorney from introducing the pistol as evidence by saying to prosecutor Lynn Crooks: "If you don't want that weapon (the pistol) in evidence, it won't go in evidence." There can be no clearer example of Judge Benson's bias against the defendants and for the Government; indeed, throughout the trial, whatever the Government wanted, it got.
During the Government's presentation of its case, Judge Benson improperly took over the questioning of a Government witness to help the prosecution. Apparently, Benson wanted to be part of the prosecutor's team, which of course he actually was.
Benson further sought to insure conviction of the defendants by giving incorrect, incomplete or misleading jury instructions. This was especially the case concerning jury instructions 21, 23, 23B, 24 and 33. For details, see the briefs.
(h) Neither was the jury free of bias. One juror, August Pankow, lied to the court during voir dire (questioning of jurors). He told the court that he had no connection with the prosecuting attorney Lynn Crooks other than merely knowing who he is. But the truth (discovered after trial) was that Pankow had gone to school with Crooks in the same small town of 1,000, and he knew and associated with his family. During taped interviews of Pankow in 1990, he admitted knowing Crooks far better than what he stated during jury selection. Other jurors, also recorded on tape, stated that several of the jurors had their minds made up for a guilty verdict even before the defense presented its case (for details, see the briefs). There can be no doubt that much of their bias was the result of the immense publicity adverse to the defendants prior to trial.
A fair trial before a fair jury for Yorie and Scott was impossible under these conditions. Chief Judge Lay of the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals recognized this in his dissenting opinion rendered in response to an appeal by Scott Faul. Judge Lay wrote: "The record amply demonstrates the defendants did not and could not receive a fair trial in the District of North Dakota." (United States v. Faul, et al., 748 F.2d at 1223)
The evidence supplied in the two briefs filed by John DeCamp on behalf of Yorie Kahl (and collaterally Scott Faul) eloquently supports Judge Lay's opinion. If there is any justice left in the federal judicial system, a new trial will be granted to Yorie Kahl, and it will lead to his (and Scott Faul's) complete exoneration and release.
(4) THE DEATH OF GORDON KAHL
Gordon Kahl's death in Walnut Ridge, Arkansas on June 3, 1983 was briefly described at the beginning of this summary. For completeness, a few more details must be added.
The Federal Government has promoted the scenario that Gordon and Sheriff Gene Mathews simultaneously shot and killed each other in the house where Gordon was living. This story has been shown to be false by autopsy examinations of the bodies. The reports revealed that Gordon died of a gunshot wound to the back of his head from Sheriff Mathews' caliber .41 Magnum revolver, and that Mathews was killed by a high velocity .223 bullet that entered the left side of his body and traversed his chest from left to right. The Government said the bullet that killed Mathews was fired by Kahl, but ballistics tests showed that the Mini-14 rifle found under Kahl's body was unfired, and it would not have been physically possible for Kahl and Mathews to have killed each other as stated in the Government's official account.
The owners of the house in which Gordon was staying when he was murdered, Leonard and Norma Ginter, had been silently grabbed by FBI agents and Sheriff Mathews, and were confined outside, near the house. After Mathews and an FBI agent entered the house, the Ginters heard the single shot that ended Gordon's life. Immediately after that, another officer fired several shotgun blasts through the kitchen window from outside. The pellets and broken glass slightly wounded Mathews who was still inside. Then at least one FBI agent and several other officers, apparently overcome with bloodlust, began shooting and peppered the house with fire from automatic rifles. (Photographs of the house show numerous pockmarks in the concrete block walls.) The Ginters said they saw one crazed FBI agent empty one ammunition magazine after another into the house from his rifle, set on full automatic.
This may explain why Sheriff Mathews remained in the house for a few minutes after he shot Gordon; he was probably flat on the floor seeking protection from the fusillade of bullets striking the house. When he did exit the house, as he was standing near the corner of the garage, he was struck in the side by one or more bullets fired by an unidentified law enforcement officer positioned up on a hill southwest of the house, who probably began shooting because he didn't want to miss out on the fun. The Ginters, who at this time were about 250 feet from the house and handcuffed to a police car, said that two of the shots from this rifleman struck something near the corner of the garage with a sound similar to that made when bullets hit a deer. Shortly after these events, several people began yelling that Sheriff Mathews had been shot.
Dero Downing, an FBI agent who was at the scene, testified at trial that the wounded sheriff had come out of the house and was subsequently mortally shot in his side as he stood by the corner of the house as the Ginters described. Therefore it is clear that Sheriff Mathews was shot to death by another law enforcement officer, not by Gordon Kahl. A few minutes later, a police car picked up the sheriff. As it passed close to the Ginters, they saw Mathews alone in the back seat. He appeared to be dead and was receiving no attention.
About two hours later, the Ginters saw Tom Lee, marshal of the nearby city of Ravenden, pour the contents of two 5-gallon cans into a roof vent of their house. It was apparently fuel, and was ignited by smoke grenades dropped down the vent. Mr. Lee later testified in a sworn affidavit that he was ordered to do this by FBI agents at the scene. As the Ginters were taken away, they saw that their house was on fire.
Gordon Kahl had been confirmed dead about 40 minutes after the initial shots were fired, and before the house was burned. Law enforcement officers at the scene knew Gordon was dead before the fire was set, because his body was found in front of a large picture window, easily visible from outside the house.
Later independent investigation found accelerant pour points throughout the house, in corners, under roof vents, and on the body. Since accelerants were found on the corpse at autopsy, there is no doubt that fuel must have been poured directly on the body.
Both feet and one hand were either completely burned off or were cut off. Part of a foot was found later suggesting that the hand and feet had been cut off. In any case, it is certain that the fire in the house and on the body had been deliberately set. Some person or persons wanted to destroy evidence. Later forensic studies by investigators and the sworn testimony by city marshal Tom Lee indict the FBI agents who were in charge at the scene.
It remains to answer the question of why Gordon was not given a chance to surrender, but was in effect, assassinated. John DeCamp has furnished the likely reason: it was to prevent Gordon from affecting the outcome of the convictions of Yorie Kahl and Scott Faul in the Fargo trial. The general rule is that a third party cannot attack the conviction or sentence which was the basis of the invalid warrant used to give color of law to the marshals' actions at Medina on February 13, 1983. A successful attack on the warrant would have vitiated the jurisdictional element required to obtain and sustain the conviction of Yorie and Scott. After the elimination of Gordon Kahl, the remaining defendants could not attack the phony warrant used to fulfill the jurisdictional element of 18 U.S.C. §1114. That is why no effort was made to take Gordon Kahl alive, and why considerable effort was expended to destroy any evidence of his suspicious death.
The Gordon Kahl Saga and the injustice accompanying it will most likely, as stated at the beginning of this summary, be identified by historians as the defining time in American history that spawned the constitutionalist, patriot, militia movement.
The actions by Government leading to Medina and the following events constituted levels of injustice that resemble and predate the happenings at Ruby Ridge, Idaho and Waco, Texas. The predatory attitude of the Federal Government towards the Medina defendants is exemplified by the answer received by the United States Senate Judiciary Committee member, Senator Kohl, while the committee was conducting hearings during 1995 related to the Ruby Ridge (Randy Weaver) episode. Senator Kohl asked, "Why is the death of a marshal different in terms of response than if it's a civilian?" Henry Hudson, former director of the Marshals Service, replied angrily, "Because that is the height of defiance of the Government." It is this assumption of the God-like authority on the part of the U.S. Marshals Service that promoted the shoot-out in Medina and the quest for vengeance that later resulted in the murder of Gordon Kahl in Arkansas.
The rise of well-armed and angry militia groups among American patriots who have noted well the Federal Government's role in creating the Gordon Kahl, Ruby Ridge and Waco tragedies, the attempts to infringe the right to keep and bear arms, and all the not-so-subtle programs to use treaties to give away America's sovereignty to the United Nations Organization and other foreign entities ought to be a warning to those in Government who are tempted to trample on the God-given rights of the descendants of the free men who once fought for liberty. Be advised: If need arises, they will fight again.
The unconstitutional, unjust and illegal imprisonment of Yorie Kahl and Scott Faul must end, with their release and restoration to full freedom.
If you care about justice for these two men - as well as for YOUR OWN future liberties - then circulate copies of this summary as widely as you can, to editors of newspapers, magazines, radio stations, on the Internet, by FAX and mail. And along with that, send as generous a donation as possible for Yorie's legal team to:
3564 Windrift Way
Oceanside, CA 92056.
Unless the mattoids and criminals that infest the federal government and "Justice" Department are exposed and removed from office, YOU could be the next citizen murdered by federal agents at a roadblock because you spoke out against government corruption. Remember:
No man escapes when freedom fails;
The best men rot in filthy jails,
And those who cried, "Appease! Appease!"
Are hanged by those they tried to please.
July 10, 1996
Wilhelm E. Schmitt
[Copies of this in booklet form may be ordered from Bill Lyford; see address on page 3. The price is $1.00 per copy, postpaid, in any quantity.]
Read Gordon Kahl's affidavit written in his own hand 12 days after the shoot out at Medina, North Dakota, giving his description of the circumstances that led to the confrontation and the fire fight itself - http://www.future.net/~thetruth/kahl_gdn.html.
Read the 41 page Motion Under 28 U.S.C. §2255 To Vacate, Set Aside, Or Correct Sentence - http://www.future.net/~thetruth/kahl_mot.html
Read the 36 page Statement Of Facts To
Supplement Motion Under 28 U.S.C. §2255 To Vacate, Set Aside, Or Correct Sentence - http://www.future.net/~thetruth/kahl_sup.html
Webspace courtesy of "The Truth (as I see it)" Weekly Cable Show -http://www.future.net/~thetruth/ for the enlightenment of the internet community.
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