emptywheel’s Continuing Obsession with Sticky Notes, Michael Sussmann Trial Edition

Thanks to those who’ve donated to help defray the costs of trial transcripts. Your generosity has funded the expected costs. If you appreciate the kind of coverage no one else is offering, we’re still happy to accept donations for this coverage — which reflects the culmination of eight months work. 

Longtime readers of emptywheel are no doubt familiar with my obsession with the weird prevalence of sticky notes that appear on exhibits used by prosecutors Bill Barr appointed to launch politicized witch hunts. These posts provide a background, but the tl;dr is that I caught the Jeffrey Jensen crew adding dates on sticky notes, some inaccurate, to FBI notes as part of the effort to kill the Mike Flynn prosecution.

The Jeffrey Jensen “Investigation:” Post-It Notes and Other Irregularities (September 26, 2020)

Shorter DOJ: We Made Shit Up … Please Free Mike Flynn (October 27, 2020)

John Durham Has Unaltered Copies of the Documents that Got Altered in the Flynn Docket (December 3, 2020)

John Durham Is Hiding Evidence of Altered Notes (April 5, 2022)

As I noted here, there some reason to believe Durham’s evidence comes from the same collection of documents as Jeffrey Jensen’s.

Durham released the trial versions of Bill Priestap and Trisha Anderson’s notes yesterday. So without further commentary (for now), I’d like to post how these notes appeared in the filing he used to get the notes admitted in the first place with what the jury will see.

Priestap notes motion version

Priestap notes trial exhibit version

Anderson notes motion version

Anderson notes trial exhibit version

15 replies
  1. notjonathon says:

    Does “Subject to protective order” in the trial version have any meaning that might affect a jury, or is it merely some bookkeeping notation? I can see that the other changes in redactions in the first note might be significant.

    • harpie says:

      I wonder if he was having flashbacks to his work as a prosecutor on this case:

      2002 New Hampshire Senate election phone jamming scandal

      Hinnen prosecuted Allen RAYMOND, who ended up spending 90 days in prison, of which [he later wrote in his book: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allen_Raymond
      How to Rig an Election: Confessions of a Republican Operative]:

      “After ten full years inside the GOP, ninety days amongst honest criminals wasn’t any great ordeal.”

      The words “RIG an election” stood out to me there.

        • harpie says:

          My reaction exactly! lol
          I find myself wondering how [NOT if] Roger STONE was involved.

          Why would HINNEN’s name be redacted and then not redacted?

        • Silly but True says:

          Maybe privacy or privacy associated to relevancy of the given case, or associated with ongoing investigation.

          Hinnen was a Perkins Coie partner with Sussmann. If this was originally provided wrt Flynn, then maybe it was understood at time that Hinnen had absolutely no connection in any way, shape, or form to the Flynn case issues. But maybe however Hinnen’s name came up in meeting, it was associated to Alfa Bank / Sussmann case. And in any case, at time the document turned up in Fynn, was the Alfa completely closed, or still considered ongoing?

  2. Ken Muldrew says:

    A few days ago, commenter “Mike” (who was encouraged to change his username) noticed that the word “any” in “said not doing this for any client” appeared to be crossed out in Priestap & Anderson’s notes. As if Sussman said he was not there on behalf of a client, then clarified that he was not there on behalf of the Clinton campaign (“any client” is changed to “client”, it being understood that the only client that mattered was the campaign).

    It’s a bit hard to tell if “any” is actually crossed out or just has a line due to a wandering pen that happens when taking rough notes, but assuming it’s actually crossed out, does anyone else find this curious?

    • harpie says:

      I think it does look crossed out and wonder if the word might initially have been “anyone”, but then got refined AS the notes were taken.

      • Ken Muldrew says:

        Either way, it does seem to support the idea that Sussman told them he had a client, but this matter was not related to that client.

        • harpie says:

          I agree it supports that Sussman disclosed a client. But the note taker did not write “a client”, just “client”.

          To me it reads as if a client was named, but not specified in writing…maybe like writing “Person 1”.

        • harpie says:

          Taking into consideration that taking notes is a daily part of what these people do for a living, I think that IF “any” is crossed out [looks to me as though it is], it’s interesting that Priestap did not write “a client” instead. This might have been the case IF the person speaking had named this particular client, and Priestap KNEW he would remember who that was.

    • matt fischer says:

      I don’t think there’s a there there. What gives the impression of a strikethrough is, to my eyes, simply the start of the letter “n.” Compare the “n” in “any” with the other “n”s in the document and you’ll see that Priestap’s “n”s tend to start with a short horizontal line.

  3. harpie says:

    O/T for bmaz, wrt: Clerkships:

    9:07 AM · May 20, 2022

    This is one hell of a statistic: [LINK]

    Maybe you’d be interested, as I was, in the following tweet and thread from that author,
    in case you did not see it:

    12:58 PM · May 20, 2022

    This is blowing up so I’m going to mute, but first some valid points brought up in the thread + more context: [THREAD]
    These are all valid points; I’m not a journalist or a lawyer.
    However, I think it’s still worth asking why a school at the bottom of Tier III is getting *any* federal clerkships to begin with. […]

    I still love Jesus! But Christofascism is a real threat to our democracy, & it’s my duty to speak up.

    • bmaz says:

      Welp, it used to be that you would be lucky to get a decent job coming out of a podunk Tier III law school, much less a federal clerkship. Such a graduate could get a job and work their way up, but they were not granted exalted status upon graduation. But this is what the FedSoc and fundamentalists have accomplished.

Comments are closed.