Press Conference - October 15, 2019 11am - US Courthouse SLC, Utah
Rick Koerber - Fraud or Patriot
Almost all of us standing here today, even those who are here in support of Rick, are wondering if Claude Roderick Koerber Franklin is really guilty of fraud. Many of us still believe that Government Officials would not lie, cover up or conspire. Many of us still believe that Government Officials must have had a good reason to indict and prosecute Rick.
Because of this doubt, Rick Koerber Franklin is guilty!
He is guilty of putting his faith in the courts and not loudly informing the people of what was happening to him. He is guilty for allowing the U.S. Attorney’s Office to control the narrative and did not rebut the lies and slander they were spreading. Rick is guilty of failing to inform the media of the facts and leaving the lazy reporters to glean the easy story as it spewed forth from the mouth of the U.S. Attorney’s. Rick is guilty of trusting the courts over the people, trusting the courts to hold themselves accountable without the voice and actions of the people.
I pray today that Rick is sent home to his family as a free man. But, I do not believe that the federal judges that have decided Rick’s future possess the moral compass to do what is right on their own. It is only when the people hold officers in their governments personably accountable, that they return to the correct moral path.
To start this process and to chase out your doubt towards Rick, I will present to you the truth of
|Rick Koerber and Family|
By 2005, Rick Koerber Franklin was successfully becoming involved in politics. Rick became a mover and a shaker in promoting the Utah school voucher bill HB 148. If implemented, this bill would have allowed the allocation of half the funds per student to go to a private school where the student was enrolled. The bill was aggressively opposed and feared by the Utah Educators Association (UEA) (a2)
While pushing this voucher Bill, Rick witnessed how John Huntsman, the Governor at the time, was playing the people on both sides of the issue. Rick organized his supporters and successfully replaced 4 Utah State representatives, endorsed by Huntsman. This caused great contention between Rick and Governor Huntsman.
To fuel the fire further, the Republican party requested that Rick help raise money for John McCain at a dinner event. Rick felt obligated and helped raised $70,000. However, during the event John McCain expressed such liberal views that Rick and the Free Capitalist in the audience began asking real questions and ultimately embarrassed John McCain in front of those attending. This infuriated the leaders of the Republican party including the Governor, John Huntsman.
After the John McCain event, Rick and the Free Capitalist publicly announced that they would not support John McCain for the presidential election and they threw their support towards Rudy Giuliani. Rick invited Giuliani to Utah and held a dinner fundraiser at Ricks home where they raised around $250,000. The leaders of the Utah Republican party were not invited to the event, however, the Utah Lieutenant Governor at the time, a man by the name of Gary Herbert, representing the republican party, invited himself to the meeting where Rick almost did not let him in. Gary Herbert is the current sitting Governor of Utah.
The amount of funds raised for Giuliani v. McCain and the lack of invite, embarrassed the Utah Republican leaders and further infuriated them against Rick and the Free Capitalist. They implied many times that Rick did not have authority from them to sponsor the dinner event with Rudy Giuliani. Official document shows evidence that the republican leaders, shortly after these events, sent Francine Giani, Director of the Utah Department of Commerce on a witch hunt against Rick and the Free Capitalist. Records show they told her to “take him down any way possible”. She also met with Governor Huntsman where he said: “no matter the cost”. Over the next few years Rick spent upward to $400,000 in legal fees to defend himself. (a15), (a16)
Fed up with the political assault, Rick took the story public on his radio show and informed nearly 1 million listeners of what was going on. The party leaders expressed despise towards Rick for exposing them. The information Rick revealed on the air was used by opposing camps inside the Utah government. (a17)
On August 30, 2007 Rick’s attorneys got a call from Wayne Klein, Director of Utah Division of Securities, informing them the State of Utah Attorney’s Office was looking to indict Rick for fraud.
Mike Hines, former Head of Enforcement, for the Division of Securities and lead investigator on Rick’s case, asked Rick to meet with them. During the meeting he informed Rick; “If you plead guilty to one count of fraud they would drop the entire investigation”. They wanted Rick out of politics and knew that a fraud conviction would discredit him. Rick recorded the meeting and when listening to the recording you can hear Mike Hines say: “You have not committed any crime or broken the rule of law”.
After a short time on the case, Mike Hines could see that this case was just a political prosecution, he told Rick and his attorneys that, “He was not a part of this”, and that, “There is no evidence that he has broken any law.”
Director Wayne Klein also said to Rick’s attorney: “Normally we get evidence first, but your client went on the radio as if we are doing something wrong and painted me in a corner. So I have to do something.”
Mike Hines warned Rick, “Stop meeting with the task force, because they are going to do whatever they have to trap you”. (a18)
Francine Giani prepared a 44-count indictment and took it to the Utah Attorney General and wanted him to prosecute Rick. The Attorney General, Mark Shurtleff, met with Rick at Mimi’s Cafe in Sandy, Utah. During the conversation Mark said: “If you broke the law I’m going to put my foot in your ass, but if this is a witch hunt, and Francine Giani is known for that, then I won’t support it.” (a19)
Mike Hines, shortly after, wrote a detailed official report debunking Francine Giani’s 44 count indictment. In the report he wrote, “The accusations are long on conclusion, but short on facts”. (a20)
Mike Hines after writing this report was terminated from his position. The Salt Lake Tribune Reported on the termination: “A fired top Utah regulator gave special treatment to those suspected of violating state investment laws,... according to his former boss.”
Attorney Rick Van Wagoner called the state allegations "silly."
Rod Snow, one of Utah’s Top Attorney’s said in an email: "Anyone who knows Mike Hines and has worked with him can attest the assertion is unfounded. Mike was always professional but did not play hide the ball." (a4)
It is good to know that the Utah Division of Securities is a division of the Utah Department of Commerce and Mike Hines’ former boss, who accused and terminated Mike, is Francine Giani.
It appears that Francine Giani continued her abusive actions against those who worked for her, but did not agree with her politics. In August 2016 the Deseret News published an article with the headline “Verdict: Utah Department of Commerce director wrongfully fired assistant” (a5)
The article further read: “A jury decided Friday that Francine Giani, executive director of the Utah Department of Commerce, wrongfully terminated her executive assistant in January 2013…The ordeal began because Giani mistrusted executive assistant Rebekah Conner, whose husband was a special agent with the Utah Attorney General's Office…The jury verdict…concluded that Giani wrongfully fired Conner due to her "political affiliation”…they further concluded that Giani continued with conduct that was not only intentional, but in knowing violation of Utah law…”
Judge Bates said that Giani had "committed acts of impropriety" during her employment.
Former Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, responding to the Deseret News' report and wrote on Twitter: "Finally! Francine Giani is held accountable for abuses."
He included the hashtag -tipoftheiceburg. (a6)
After much concern for the actions of Francine Giani, Utah Legislators approved an audit to investigate her. What they found was so damming to the State of Utah’s Department of Commerce and Francine Giani herself that they decided not to release the report to the public.
BYU Marriott School of Business, Advisory Board reported that; “During her tenure, Francine Giani implemented sweeping changes…after a legislative audit and internal investigation.” (a7)
After the audit and cover up, an election came and went and the audit report was swept under the rug.
Failing to get the Utah Attorney Office to prosecute Rick, with a personal chip now on her shoulder, fed by spite from several powerful people in Utah, Giani took Ricks case to the U.S. Attorney’s and asked them to prosecute. (a14)
Being that Rick had made many public comments on the federal governments overreach and violations to the U.S. Constitution, the U.S. Attorney’s Office was more than willing to engage in prosecuting Rick.
However, they immediately ran into trouble when the grand jury declined to indict Rick because of, “lack of evidence”. Sometime later the U.S. Attorney’s went back to the Grand Jury again and were rejected the second time because they, “did not have sufficient evidence that Rick committed fraud”. After obtaining information illegally, the U.S. Attorney's convinced a new Grand Jury to indict. One of the Jurors later was called to be a witness in the legal preceding and testified that: “There was no evidence against him”.
A presiding judge in a hearing on the case said; “The court agrees that the discovery practice of the Government in this case has been puzzling… " He went on to say, “The government also refused to admit that it had relied upon Defendant’s attorney-client privileged information in obtaining the initial May 26, 2009 indictment. And it continued to use Defendant’s privileged information even after it promised to sequester it, specifically incorporating that information into the superseding indictment filed November 10, 2009. Moreover, prosecutors and investigators refused to admit they knew Defendant was represented in February 2009, when they schemed to interview him ex-parte."
District Judge Clark Waddoups, later threw out the evidence that was obtained by the U.S. Attorney’s Office illegally. In a 2014 ruling, Judge Waddoups said,“...the court has already found significant problems with the
substantive prosecution of this case essentially amounting to a pattern of widespread and continuous misconduct [by the US Attorney’s Office]”.
The Federal District Judge also points out how the U.S. Attorney’s withheld exculpatory evidence from Rick, “Defendant has tried in vain…to obtain information from the Government about what the basis of its prosecution will be…And only after the hearing on this current Motion to Dismiss … has the Government produced an additional 1,400 pages of supplemental discovery to Defendant. Most of the evidence was between one and four years old, and clearly has been in the government’s possession for a long time. There was no explanation for the late production, no description of the content, no table of contents, and no index.” (a8)
But, through the craftiness of the U.S. Attorney’s in this case the indictment remained and Rick has been forced for over a decade to defend himself.
All in all, Ricks case has gone through; 7 Grand Juries, 5 different indictments, 16 U.S. Prosecutors, 4 U.S. District Attorney’s, 2 federal jury trials and every single federal Judge in the Utah District has either presided over the case and recused themselves or refused to take the case. The case has been dismissed with prejudice and overturned by the 10th Circuit. The proceedings have gone on for more than 10 years. Towards the end no judge in Utah would or could take the case, so a Judge from New York was sent out to preside over the case and hopefully settle the matter.
In a 2014 ruling to Dismiss the case With Prejudice, Judge Waddoups rebuked the prosecutors by saying, “The prejudice he [Mr. Koerber] has suffered has been legal, personal, and real… He goes on to say, “Personally, [Mr. Koerber] has been under pre-trial release conditions for five years. This includes being deprived of his Second Amendment rights, the abridgment of his First Amendment rights to associate freely, and his general ability to live, work and raise his family. He has faced financial ruin, family issues, and health issues as a result of being subject to the abuse of process and misconduct by stewards who hold the overwhelming resources of the federal government. These are not small things and with the passage of time, the prejudice grows.”
He further says, “…this instance, is another violation of law by federal prosecutors who, through the pattern and conduct of this case, have been strikingly unwilling to confirm [sic] their own conduct to the Constitution… to allow the government a fourth chance to re-indict would be unjust, unjustified, and a tacit form of tolerating this kind of prosecutorial misconduct.” (a9)
After this ruling Judge Woddoups suspiciously recused himself for “unknown reasons”.
|Rick & Children |
With the case dismissed with prejudice Rick and his family thought maybe this terrible ordeal was finally over. With almost nothing to their names, they began to pick up the pieces and put their lives back together. Rick’s business was completely destroyed. All the assets were still being seized by the government and had lost almost all their value. But Rick was free, humbled and optimistic about building his life back and living simply and in peace.
However, after watching what was going on with the Hammond family in Harney County, Oregon and viewing how the Government had incarcerated the Bundy family members and was threatening them with a lifetime of imprisonment, Rick was moved to come and help the Bundy family in their effort to shine the light and return to their wives and children. (a10)
Rick contacted Ryan & Ammon Bundy and began assisting them in their legally proceeding. He introduced Ammon to his attorney, Marcus Mumford, and together they began to expose the corruption and build a strong legal defense for all that were arrested in Oregon.
For approximately 10 months Rick, Marcus Mumford and Ryan & Ammon Bundy prepared to expose the truth to a jury. In a very public 8 week trial the Jury acquitted all the defendants in the trial on all charges. This verdict infuriated the U.S. Prosecutors and the government officers involved in the Bundy case. Minutes after the Jury acquitted the Bundy brothers and others the U.S. Marshals charged Marcus Mumford in the court room, threw him to the ground, tased and arrested him. (a11
) (ab11) (ac11)
After Judge Woddroups dismissal with prejudice and then recused himself, a new judge was assigned to Rick’s case. The very next day after the Bundy acquittals, Judge Parrish ordered the U.S. Attorney’s to re-indict Rick for a fourth time, even thought it would condone the egregious misconduct of the U.S. Attorney’s Office and further prejudice the defendant. It is clear to all that honestly understands the proceedings of Ricks case that this re-indictment is a gross political retaliation for Rick’s involvement in the Bundy defense.
Judge Woddoups implied in a 2014 ruling, that this case has the potential of eroding the faith of the citizen, in the U.S. government’s ability to administrate justice. Listen to his words directly, “It is, unfortunately, true that,… [t]he Court granted the motion to suppress ‘[to] prevent the erosion of citizens’ faith in the even-handed administration of the laws.”
Judge Woddroups concerns have unfortunately came to full fruition in this case and as more people become aware of the truth, history and facts of Ricks proceedings, the confidence in the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Federal Judicial System altogether is and will continue to decline. (a12)
The questions are: Will officers of the federal government continue their abusive and political unjust actions until the confidence of the people in them is so low that the people reject the federal judicial system all together?
And, does the U.S. Judicial System have the capability to correct the action of their own officers and will they do it before the people’s faith in the system is eroded to the point of no return?
Immediately after Judge Parrish ordered the U.S. Attorneys to re-indict Rick, Judge Parish recused herself from the case. Judge Benson was then put on the case, but he soon also recused himself from the case because of knowledge of what the Utah District judges had in mind to do to Marcus Mumford, Rick’s attorney. Being fond of Marcus he wanted nothing to do with it and distanced himself from the entire ordeal.
Judge Shelby was then assigned to the case and the January 2017 trial was set. Knowing of Marcus Mumford’s ability to defend his clients, Judge Shelby tried to force Marcus off the case, due to Rick's financial ruin and the need for public funds to pay for his defense. The conspiring district judges and the U.S. Attorney’s knew Rick did not have the resources to pay for his defense after 9 years of extreme prosecutions. The judges refused defense funds to pay for Mumford’s services and they tried to force Rick to take public defenders instead. In orders to stay on the case and defend Rick, Marcus continued on as pro bono council - or in other words, without being paid. The judges plot did not work and Marcus Mumford sacrificed his income to ensure that Rick would not be railroaded. Marcus later said: “I could not leave Rick alone”.
During the trial many unorthodoxies procedures took place. Motions of Illumine by the government were granted and much of the evidence was not allowed to be presented to the Jury. Rick’s key expert witness was not allowed to testify and several times Judge Shelby made conclusions that appeared to be intended to bias the Jury against Rick. However, during this several week trial, Marcus and Rick fought diligently to get the Jury the truth. Even Judge Shelby seemed to begin to see the truth and showed more kindness and respect towards Rick and Marcus.
At the end of the trial, the Jury went to deliberate to decide a verdict. Judge Shelby came off the bench and shook hands with Rick’s family and friends and expressed some regard and respect for them. After five days of Jury deliberations, the courts called everyone together. The anticipation was to hear the Jury’s verdict, but instead of Judge Shelby on the bench another Judge was in his place. Judge Shelby was nowhere to be found and Judge Nuffer was sitting in his chair. Judge Nuffer informed everyone in the court room that the Jury was locked, he immediately declared a mistrial and dismissed the case with-out prejudice, giving very little explanation. Rick and Mumford were a bit taken back by the new judge’s presence and his hasty actions to dismiss the jury and declare a mistrial.
The question remains unknown; would the Jury have acquitted Rick if given instruction by the Judge to keep working on an unanimous verdict? Either way, Judge Nuffer’s hasty decision to dismiss with-out prejudice permitted the U.S. Attorney’s Office to re-indict Rick and send him through the argues prosecutorial process once again.
And so it was, the U.S. Attorney’s Office once again indicted Rick and a trial was scheduled with Judge Nuffer presiding. Much like before, the presiding Judge wanted Mumford off the case. Mumford had a way of getting the truth to the Jury and was building a reputation of valiantly defending his clients, even at his own person risk. With Mumford on the case, the U.S. Prosecutors and the judges would somewhat be held accountable to the jury, they could not easily march Rick to the gallows with Marcus as the defense council.
So as devised, through a disgusting, immoral and unethical maneuver, Marcus Mumford was removed from the case. Judge Nuffer, before trial started, and as the presiding Judge, filed a secret complaint against Mumford to his fellow judges in the District of Utah. This complaint put the judge and Marcus Mumford in a position of conflict of interest. One of them had to be recused from the case. Judge Nuffer intentionally would not recuse himself and tried to force Marcus to recuse. Marcus refused and a secret three judge panel arbitrarily ordered Mumford to withdraw from Rick’s case and all other cases in the District of Utah. In this secret ruling the judges called Marcus, “a threat to public safety because he defended people such Ammon Bundy and assisted them to be released”
. Then to add salt to the wound after Marcus Mumford was removed from Rick’s case, Judge Nuffer shockingly recused himself and a Judge from New York was brought in to preside over the trial. Still to this day Marcus Mumford is secretly not allowed to practice in the District of Utah. (a13)
With Marcus Mumford out of the picture and Rick exhausted, broke and emotionally drained, the now 16th U.S. Attorney on the case and Judge Frederick Block from New York, where finally able to walk Rick to the gallows. The trial was a one band show, Rick’s newly appointed public defenders did not have the knowledge or the will to put up much of a fight. Most of the evidence was never presented to the Jury and Rick was convicted of 16 counts of fraud. Just as Judge Woddoups ruled in 2014, “The unique facts and circumstances of this case…undermine Defendant’s possibility of receiving a fair trial.” One man said after the trial, “It was like watching a high-school football game where the referees wore the same uniforms as the opposing team”.
You may find it interesting that in the court gallery the day Rick was convicted, was someone Rick had not seen in many, many years. She was there to finally taste the victory she had so desired for a decade. Somehow, she knew that this day would be that day. After the conviction of Claude Roderick Koerber Franklin, the director of the Utah Department of Commerce, Francine Giani, walked out of the courtroom.
To the people who reside and care about Utah, I say this: Where there is the greatest light, there is also the greatest darkness!