The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

‘You Have Misled the Jury’

Posted on | October 15, 2016 | Comments Off on ‘You Have Misled the Jury’

The three-day Walker v. Kimberlin lawsuit trial ended Friday. Although the jury reportedly found that Kimberlin had committed falsehoods, this was insufficient to find in Walker’s favor. Kimberlin “won” the case, but not before the judge lectured the “Speedway Bomber” in a conference that the jury did not hear, but which was transcribed by John Hoge:

Don’t tell me what to do. OK? You have made the fact of the bombing case admissible because you have misled the jury by saying you were never prosecuted, convicted, or sentenced for any crime that he blogged about. And one of the primary crimes he blogged about initially, the reason he refers to you as a terrorist has to do with this bombing. I kept it out because I felt that, potentially, it was more inflammatory that it was probative, although, frankly, I felt that probative because I felt that it explained why, as you say, he’s obsessed with you. That’s a fairly unusual crime. But in trying to be fair, I kept it out. You took the stand and told the jury, basically, you had never been convicted, as I say, you’d never been sentenced, never spent time. In addition to which, you volunteered in your statement to the jury when you’re describing yourself for your background that you committed or you had some trouble or you did some things wrong when you were a juvenile. But that’s sort of all, and you referenced the perjury, that’s sort of all behind you. So you leave the jury with the impression that as a young kid you made a false statement and did your time and there’s nothing else there, which also I think is potentially misleading. . . .

You can read more about the trial at Hogewash. This verdict in this case, more than four years after I first started covering the Brett Kimberlin saga, is a Pyrrhic “victory” for the convicted bomber.

As the pro se defendant, Kimberlin was forced to spend countless hours preparing motions, etc., in effect being compelled to repay the hours of legal effort that Walker and others (including myself) had expended in our defense when Kimberlin filed state and federal lawsuits against us in 2013. And what, we may ask, has Kimberlin gained during all these years of court proceedings? Nothing of value, and certainly nothing that would compensate for the many thousands of hours he must have spent on his pro se pettifoggery. If we assume that he spent at least 20 hours week working on his various lawsuits, both as plaintiff and defendant, over a period of more than three years, then his legal work has amounted to more than 3,000 hours. This is a low-end estimate, as any observer might suspect that Kimberlin has done almost nothing else except pursue such pro se pettifoggery the past three years. And why?

“For three consecutive summers, 1974 through 1976, they took vacations of a week or longer in Disney World, Mexico, and Hawaii. Sandi couldn’t get time off from work, so on these summer trips it was just the two of them — Brett and Jessica.
“Eyebrows levitated. A drug-dealing colleague had memories of conversations with Kimberlin that struck him as odd: ‘We’d see a girl, who was pubescent or prepubescent, and Brett would get this smile and say, “Hey, what do you think? Isn’t she great?” It made me very uncomfortable.’ Another recalled Kimberlin introducing Jessica as ‘my girlfriend,’ and if irony was intended, it was too subtle to register. To a coworker . . . Sandi confided that Kimberlin was ‘grooming Jessica to be his wife.’ To another, Sandi explained that although Kimberlin’s relationship with Jessica was chaste, he intended ‘to wait for her and would marry her.’”

Mark Singer, Citizen K: The Deeply Weird American Journey of Brett Kimberlin, Page 78

In July 2012, after I had spent six weeks covering the Kimberlin saga, the question of motive had begun bothering me. Why was Kimberlin pursuing what appeared to be a personal vendetta against Aaron Walker? And why did Kimberlin (and his various associates, including Neal Rauhauser) lash out against anyone who called attention to Walker’s plight? People who became aware of the case as a result of “Everybody Blog About Brett Kimberlin Day” were proposing different theories to explain Kimberlin’s actions, but all of those theories were insufficient or factually flawed.

At that time, I was being harassed on Twitter by numerous troll accounts, making all sort of defamatory accusations against me, and my friends were being subjected to similar online harassment, and why? Stepping back from the swirling madness — as I was unpacking boxes, having relocated my family to the “Undisclosed Location” — I had time to contemplate what this was really all about. Then I published a relatively brief post entitled, “When ‘Jessica’ Was 10, 11, 12,” which quoted Mark Singer’s Kimberlin biography Citizen K. Singer used the pseudonym “Jessica” for Sandi Barton’s daughter Debbie, and I summarized the reporting that Joe Gelarden of the Indianapolis Star had done in 1981:

[Debbie Barton] was 10 years old when Kimberlin, 20 at the time, entered her life in 1974, and she was 14 when her grandmother, 65-year-old Julia Scyphers, was murdered — a crime that remains officially unsolved to this day.
[Debbie Barton] had an older sister who, according to Singer’s account, seems to have objected to Kimberlin’s weird interest in the younger Barton girl. It may have been the older sister who expressed concern to Mrs. Scyphers. As Gelarden reported, Mrs. Scyphers “violently objected” to the strange relationship between her daughter, her granddaughters and Kimberlin, a notorious drug smuggler. Mrs. Scyphers had the two girls move in with her, forbade them to see Kimberlin and, reportedly, Kimberlin became so despondent over this separation from the youngest Barton girl that he threatened suicide.
Then on the morning of July 29, 1978, a man shot Julia Scyphers dead, in a crime that investigators believed was a murder for hire.
Nobody ever said Kimberlin himself shot her, but his conflict with Mrs. Scyphers over the Barton girl made him the only person with a motive to wish her dead and he soon came under suspicion by detectives. A few weeks later, a weeklong series of bombings struck the small Indiana town and, when Kimberlin was apprehended for those otherwise unexplained explosions, police believed they understood the connection: The bombings had been a ill-conceived effort by Kimberlin to distract police whom he knew to be investigating the Scyphers murder.

What seemed to be happening in 2012, it occurred to me, was a continuation of the same pattern. Since his conviction on federal charges in 1981, Kimberlin had undertaken extraordinary efforts to depict himself as the victim of an unjust prosecution. At first, Mark Singer had been deceived by Kimberlin, but eventually recognized the truth, and it is a matter of record that Brett Kimberlin sought to prevent Singer’s book Citizen K from being introduced as evidence in court.

Everything that was happening in 2012, I concluded, went back to Kimberlin’s attempt to conceal the nature of his interest in Debbie Barton. This in turn had made him a suspect in the death of Julia Scyphers which, detectives told Joe Gelarden at the time, was what they believed had inspired the “Speedway Bomber” to commit the acts of violent terrorism for which he was convicted in federal court.

So I published “When ‘Jessica’ Was 10, 11, 12” and, whenever the Twitter trolls popped up (“participating in targeted abuse”), I would just tweet quotes from that with a link to the post, and guess what? The harassment ceased, at least in that particular form. You see, what I had deduced was that the troll attacks, intended to discredit me by defamation, had the effect of drawing attention to my Twitter account and, if I responded by using this to highlight the very information that Kimberlin wished to suppress, this would defeat the purpose of the troll attacks.

Later, I was targeted by different harassment tactics, but the fact that the Twitter troll-swarm tactic could be stopped by brandishing the story of Debbie Barton and Julia Scyphers seemed to confirm my hunch about what led to this controversy. Kimberlin had spent years convincing his “progressive” supporters that his federal convictions were the result of wrongful prosecution. Yet the people who contributed to Kimberlin’s 501(c)3 non-profits had obviously never researched the question of what inspired “The Speedway Bomber.” And then, in 2010, Kimberlin made the mistake of targeting Andrew Breitbart:

Using two popular leftist blogs, the 56-year-old from Bethesda, Md., has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars from the public and left-leaning foundations by promising to put conservatives he disagrees with in jail, often with offers of large rewards. So far — without success — he has called for the arrest of Karl Rove, Andrew Breitbart, Chamber of Commerce head Tom Donohue, Massey Energy Chairman Don Blankenship and other high-profile public figures.
A review of tax filings for Kimberlin’s blogs, “Velvet Revolution” and “Justice Through Music,” raises troubling questions about whether his “nonprofit” operations are dedicated to public activism — or are just a new facade for a longtime con artist.

Those questions led Mandy Nagy to write an October 2010 article at, “Progressives Embrace Convicted Terrorist,” and thus set in motion a series of events — including Kimberlin’s threat to file lawsuits — which has played out over the past five years. Kimberlin evidently saw the exposure of his criminal past as a threat to his non-profit, tax-exempt livelihood, and it seemed that Kimberlin especially disliked any attention to the Debbie Barton/Julia Scyphers element of the story as reported by Joe Gelarden and Mark Singer. If Kimberlin was hoping to airbrush out of existence certain unflattering facts about himself, his hopes were in vain. Although some online materials have disappeared, and the numerous legal wranglings that Kimberlin has gone through during the past few years have produced mixed results, there is still an abundance of available information about Kimberlin’s criminal history and, the courts have been consistent in finding that it is entirely legal (not defamation, harassment, etc.) to cite the known facts. Truth always defeats the liar.




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