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A letter from a colleague..

Just an example of what the government can do.  This was not written by me, but rather a fellow lawyer in the community.  Worth a read, although not DWI related.

STATEMENT OF JON MAY IN
SUPPORT OF BENEDICT P. KUEHNE

     An innocent man has been charged with a crime. His name is Ben
Kuehne. And I am proud to call him my friend.  In the coming days you will
hear only what the government wants you to know about the allegations
against Ben. And you may be tempted to believe what you hear. But don’t.
The government drafts the indictment and the government is permitted to
broadcast its contents to the community. But Ben’s lawyers are not
permitted to comment on the evidence. So you will only hear one side of the
story.
     What is true is that Kuehne was retained by nationally known lawyer
Roy Black to research and determine the legality of legal fees paid to
Black’s legal team for the representation of Colombian Drug Kingpin Fabio
Ochoa Vasquez. This representation of Black, whose legal fees have not been
challenged or forfeited, forms the entire basis of the indictment, directed
by main Department of Justice officials in Washington, against Kuehne.
     This case represents the first time ever in which federal criminal
charges were brought against a lawyer whose legal work consisted of
representing a fellow lawyer who sought advice about compensation for
defending a client in a criminal case. To target an adversary like Ben
Kuehne, who is held in such high regard by the community and whose
integrity is unquestioned, sends a message that any lawyer is at risk, even
concerning previously unheard of prosecution strategies like those used
here. Finally the fact that this prosecution is political payback is
demonstrated by the government’s efforts to leak its investigation while
Ben’s lawyers were trying to convince Washington that these allegations
were unfounded. On a number of occasions Washington provided reporters with
the details of the investigation in an effort to destroy Ben’s reputation
in the community. They did so knowing that there was no one to investigate
their unlawful violations of grand jury secrecy.
     We would all like to think that our Justice Department seeks to do
justice. But the sad reality is that increasingly Main Justice in
Washington has been dominated by zealots intent on winning no matter what
the costs. Just this year, the Bush Justice Department accused the lawyers
representing the Guantanamo detainees of treason.  Recently a federal judge
in New York dismissed all charges against a number of defendants where the
prosecutors threatened their former employer, a major accounting firm, with
indictment if it paid for lawyers to represent the accused.  And as it has
becoming increasingly clear, federal prosecutors who failed to file voting
law violation charges against Democrats were fired for not towing the party
line.
     So now Ben Kuehne, a prominent election lawyer and defense attorney,
stands wrongfully accused of participating in a money laundering scheme.
A past Dade County Bar President and current member of the Board of
Governors of The Florida Bar, Ben Kuehne’s entire personal reputation and
legal career have been exemplary.
In 2000, Ben served as National Counsel and Florida Counsel to Vice
President Al Gore and the Gore/Lieberman Recount Committee during the
Presidential Recount Litigation. His responsibilities included
representation before Florida canvassing boards, litigation in both state
and federal courts, participation in the recount trial, and preparation of
briefs to the Florida Supreme Court, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals,
and the United States Supreme Court.
During the 2004 presidential election, Ben was a Senior Counsel to the
Kerry/Edwards Presidential Campaign, coordinating the Florida Legal Team in
early voting and election day voting issues.  Ben was prominent in
uncovering abuse by the Department of Justice in commencing investigations
of supposed election law violations in Ohio.  Those investigations
suppressed Democratic voter turnout, helping bring about President Bush’s
2004 re-election victory.
Kuehne successfully represented the public interest in the Miami Voter
Fraud case, when he overturned the illegal results of a mayoral election
marred by massive voter fraud.  Kuehne also prevailed in a
politically-charged prosecution of a prominent Florida state senator for
alleged campaign finance and reporting violations.
Described by the progressive organization, People For The American Way, as
a "lawyer’s lawyer" and "champion for constitutional rights," Ben received
its Spirit of Liberty/Defender of Democracy Award in 2006 for his
successful federal court challenge in the Mi Familia Vota case to the
unconstitutional Bush administration efforts to prevent the registration of
newly sworn citizens as voters after citizenship ceremonies. Kuehne was
also named one of the "Lawyers of the Year" by the National Law Journal for
his work on behalf of Vice President Al Gore in the 2000 Recount
Litigation. Ben leads a coalition of advocates who are regularly called
upon to initiate public impact litigation for the redress of constitutional
violations arising from government action. As just a few examples, Ben
successfully represented 15 Cuban refugees in a constitutional challenge to
the "wet foot/dry foot" policy resulting from the well-publicized
repatriation of Cuban nationals who landed on the Old Seven Mile Bridge in
the Florida Keys. As lead counsel for Save Dade, he successfully led the
effort to prevent an election to nullify the Miami-Dade County Human Rights
Ordinance.
     Kuehne is well-known for his extensive contributions to the community
outside the courtroom, having served as a founding Executive Committee
member and Trustee of the Alliance for Ethical Government, a community
organization founded to improve the ethical rules governing local
government officials. He is a former member of the Board of Legal Services
of Greater Miami, and has been the recipient of pro bono awards for
providing legal services to the poverty community.
     In addition to his meritorious service as President of the Dade
County Bar Association and President of the Florida Association of Criminal
Defense Lawyers – Miami Chapter, Ben Kuehne was the recipient of the
Criminal Justice Award by the Dade County Bar Association in 2000 for his
"outstanding contributions to the criminal justice system." He is a noted
speaker and author on important legal and political issues, regularly
appearing as a faculty member at advanced Bar seminars on cutting-edge
criminal law issues.
     Nationally recognized for his leadership and success as a lawyer and
community leader, Ben is named in The Best Lawyers of America (2000-2007)
and Chambers USA America’s Leading Lawyers, Litigation: White Collar Crime
& Government Investigations (2004-2007). He was named the Best Lawyer in
Miami by New Times Newspaper in 2000 .He continues to be included by the
South Florida Legal Guide and Florida Trend’s Legal Elite as one of South
Florida’s Top Lawyers in every annual publication.
     Ben, is  committed to securing complete vindication by proving that
these charges are false and an unprincipled effort to ruin an ethical
co
mmunity leader. It is my hope that the community Ben has selflessly
devoted himself to will stand with him and give him the support that he
deserves.


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