Saturday, November 04, 2006

Frank Cassell Defense Articles


From the first moments the public became aware of the arrest of Sheriff Cassell and the other accused, public opinion began swirling into a typhoon of rumors. The Feds wanted to use this to capitalize on the media attention, and they spared no expense in putting on a major media spectacle for all to see. From the armed stormtroopers foolishly surrounding the station, to John Brownlee prejudiciously failing to mention that an indictment is ONLY an indication that enough evidence exists to hold a trial. The prosecution fired the first shot with a nuclear blast into the public. It's time to level the playing field.

KEEP READING BELOW to read transcripts of articles posted to the MARTINSVILLE MEDIA / MARTINSVILLE DAILY NEWS Forum.
(text below but here are direct links) and

With over 8,000 posts just this week (and regularly 10,000 hits each day) this site is a virtual coffee shop where regional residents express heated opinions on all matters. The Cassell case dominates. The posts below have already been hailed as "legendary" by some veteran posters, and continue to be copied and pasted throughout the "blogosphere". Within 24 hours of this posting, there are OVER 5,000 views of this ONE article I've written. This is only a slight tiny blip compared to our capabilities.

PLEASE read them fully. Especially the first one - which gives you a GREAT foundation for Cassell's defense (and has already been widely accepted as the "truth" of what happened to the "poor sweet, caring Sheriff". In fact, people have already begunb callign James Vaught a TRAITOR, LIAR, and DIRTY all because he "entrapped poor Cassell").


HCSO/CASSELL CASE IS WEAK (posted by Cigtaw)

You don't have to be Perry Mason or Matlock to crack THIS case. If what's listed in the indictment and that surveillance video are any indication of the evidence...the U.S. Attorney is gonna have his butt handed to him on a platter in court.

Think about it:What you have here is the most obvious case of one person (James Vaught) who got his butt in a sling when he was busted in the drug dealing out of the house he owned. Scared witless, Vaught cuts a deal to say he can deliver Cassell and a laundry list of other crimes to the feds if they'll grant him immunity and protection. (Hey, c'mon...who wouldn't in order to avoid being somebody's "B#TCH" in a fed pen?).

So...Vaught starts offering up every half-baked allegation he can come up with, and rolls over on everyone from his two-panty granny to the King of Siam to save his hide. The bad news? The Feds require proof.So Vaught offers to set up this "sting" with Cassell (as witnessed by the video). What this amounts to is Vaught (who is acting as a legal representative/agent on behalf of the Feds) who is PRESSURING, OFFERING, and ENTICING Cassell to take this deal for him to do a loan.

Seriously now, can you count the number of times Vaught tries to get Cassell to do a personal loan? Cassell feels uneasy about it - especially when Vaught tries to force the cash on him. So Vaught keeps after him. Cassell finally relents by agreeing to do a co-sign note at the bank. In Cassell's voice, it almost sounds like he agrees just to shut Vaught up.What this amounts to is borderline entrapment.

Cassell's defense will argue (mark my words folks) that #1: Cassell thought Vaught was full of B.S. when he said the money was from drug proceeds. Why? Because Vaught had an established hsitory of lying, and as the defense will prove - was only acting in an effort to save his own butt. In fact, Vaught is indicted as BEING A LIAR and a drug dealer. Who is a jury going to believe?

So Cassell can now say in court that: "hey, I knew this guy was in trouble...he used to be a good kid...his wife was pregnant/whatever...I wanted to help him out AND I THOUGHT HE WAS JUST TRYING TO B.S. ME BY SAYING THAT $10k WAS FROM DRUG MONEY.After all, Cassell had co-signed legit loans before for employees/friends in trouble (according to the video).

THE WORST THINGS CASSELL CAN BE CONVICTED OF is Dereliction of Duty as Sheriff for not investigating Vaught's "drug proceeds" claims!!Cassell can easily say he thought Vaught was lying to seem desperate or impress him or say Vaught was outright nuts (but he still felt sorry for him). Which is WHY he did not launch an investigation into Vaught's drug money claims. Cassell will say "I am truly sorry to the Henry Co. people for not investigating James Vaught when he approached me, but I just didn't believe that money was from drug deals. I thought he was cukoo or just lying. I was slack in my job as Sheriff and I let you all down. I am SO sorry, and I'm gonna resign now with my pension and go fishing while filled with regret about not acting as firmly as I should have. I now see that I'm nto as sharp as I used to be and shouldn't be Sheriff. Bye-bye".

D-U-H. A first year law student could get Cassell off on THAT. Again, his biggest crime here was to say that he didn't do his job enough, and let his sympathy for a former employee down on his luck overtake his judgement. Not uncommon for a man in a grandpa-type relationship with Vaught (who said on the video - repeatedly-that he had nobody else to turn to, was considering suicide, etc.). SO he felt sorry for him and relented to helping him get a LEGIT loan at a real bank.

He can say that his advice in how to pay it back was said only "hypothetically", and was to "humor" Vaught because he thought Vaught was making up the drug money story and/or was "off his nut".So Cassell resigns his job for dereliciton of duty.Big frickin deal.The biggest CRIME here seems to be the FBI and U.S. Attorney's offices who (like sharks smelling blood) wanted splashy headlines and a big to-do. So they go guns-blazing and put on this big show. I hope to God they have more evidence than that flimsy video and what's listed in that indictment.

By the way - that entire indictment is BASED ON STATEMENTS made by Vaught (who was cutting a deal to save his skin and would say ANYTHING to feed the feds so they would give him immunity); and the statements made by WILLIAM R. REED who had already been arrested for receiving drugs (along with Vaught) and he too was looking to save his own butt by trying to offer up anything on anyone. Never mind that Reed himself was indicted on THREE COUNTS of lying to Agents. So he's a proven drug dealer AND a liar?

Never mind the fact that at the time both REED and VAUGHT had given their statements (which the indictments are based on), that they BOTH were facing hard time by the feds unless they produced some type of conspiracy. And the feds can be very persuasive when they start trying to elict conspiracy theories and you're facing the choice between hard fed prison time verus the witness protection program. What are ya gonna say?

THIS is why the indictment includes oddball charges of "stealing electronic gear, firearms, and lawnmowers" from evidence and HCSO property. And this is why people like this Jonathan Roberson guy and others who have NO DRUG-RELATED CHARGES are lumped into the whole mess. It's BECAUSE REED & VAUGHT WERE SCARED and trying to come up with ANYTHING they could to offer the feds to grant them immunity!!

So according to a Grand Jury, THIS (?) was enough evidence to indict these people and bring it to trial? Pity the families of these non drug-related defendents. Keep in mind, I'm not tlaking about the other accused people...just Cassell and HIS case here. I don't know Cassell - so I can be objective about it (like jurors are supposed to). I do nto even live in Henry County (but used to work there).

But the media and the feds are making this out to be like Cassell is Pablo Escobar or some kingpin of some big RICO ring. Uh-uh. Wrong. Another thing bothering me greatly is this Keaton fellow as listed in the indictment. He was either 2nd or 3rd in he should have been involved in this? WRONG. According to the indictment, all he's charged with is posessing (not selling) a rifle. Where's the crime here?

I think if you check with most police agencies, they have rules that allow cops to keep confiscated weapons from arrests as long as they don't sell them (but must give them back to the agency when they retire or quit). I know they do this in Richmond and in Prince William County and City of Danville P.D. too if I'm not mistaken.So Keaton kept a winchester rifle for himself at home? So?

His other charge is perjury before the grand jury. This too is very weak. The U.S. Attorney has to prove that Keaton lied when he said he didn't know about James Vaught's money laundering. If it comes down to Keaton's word against Vaught's word...who should be believed? This Keaton fellow or Vaught (who has already proven himself as a criminal, drug dealer, and a snitch trying to get immunity by entrapping others).Again, the feds look like idiots unless they've got more evidence than this.

Good lord, this wouldn't even make it as a good episode of Law & Order. This whole Cassell thing seems politically motivated. Again - I don't know him. Does he have any enemies who would want him burned or out of office? Who is this Kim Nester (or Kimberly - is it male or female?) that keeps getting brought up? Did this person get fired or soemthing and then turn around and try and get Cassell and his numnber 2 or number 3 guy (Keaton) out of office to clear a path for upcoming elections?There's ALWAYS more than meets the eye.

From what I've read, you folks have common sense. Don't believe the news/press hype and the sensationalism of the Feds. These are the same people who brought you Waco, Ruby Ridge, and missed the boat on 9/11. So don't automatically assume these feds are right either.

John Brownlee is a politician. His Dad is a former Secretary of the Army who is best pals with Sen. John Warner. Brownlee hasn't had any good press in a while he's playing an angle here. Just like the FBI & DEA, because come on people...when was the last time you heard the Roanoke FBI & DEA make any big cases that got them good attention? There's not many terrorists around here, so they have to do SOMETHING sensational to justify their budgets to Washington and get good press.

AGAIN - I am NOT defending anyone here. Just asking tough questions based on evidence available. And as far as those involved in the drug dealing/trafficking? If they are guilty, they should be hung.For all I know, Cassell and every defendent is totally GUILTY and they should swing high and hard. But then again...Look at the evidence as it comes to light. Consider everybody's angles here. See who has the most to gain, and the most to lose.

Look at people's motivations (like Vaught & Reed). Look DEEP into things before assuming all you see and hear is all there is.Because somewhere in might yet find truth and justice.(and I am proud that you locals are supporting those HONEST and GOOD cops still walking the beat - they definitely need your moral support now more than ever).


"ONE GOOD APPLE"By Mr. _____ __________

Regarding the HCSO scandal, I am stunned at the inclusion of one of the accused. I have known James Keaton for many years, and know few others who are as shining an example of morality, integrity, and caring as James. He’s an honorable Persian Gulf Veteran; was a model student at both PHCC and Radford; and has served honorably in law enforcement. It was shocking to hear of his alleged involvement relative to these acts.

However, upon closer review by reading the indictments, (which I encourage EVERYONE to do), it’s clear that James is charged with two “crimes”: 1) Allegedly keeping a 30-30 rifle for his own use; and 2) Allegedly making a false statement to the Grand Jury.

I will not attempt to defend James, for I don't know all the facts. But many departments have policies where officers can use seized weapons for personal and professional use for as long as they're employed by that department.

Many local departments have such policies, and these brave officers are allowed to use them free for the length of their career. Once they separate from service – the weapons must be returned. I don’t know if this is the case here, but officers risking their lives in arrests should be allowed to use seized weapons (which also saves tax money).

As for the alleged lying to the Grand Jury? The indictment lists a short question section where the Prosecutor asks Keaton if he knew of James Vaught’s alleged financial activities. Keaton declares he didn’t know. (I paraphrased). The prosecution still must PROVE that Keaton actually knew about Vaught’s alleged financial dealings. Otherwise, this is only the prosecution pointing fingers and saying “he lied”.

Indictments and arrests aren’t convictions. U.S. Attorney John Brownlee didn’t mention that an indictment only means enough evidence exists for a trial. It doesn’t mean anyone is guilty. This is only one side of the story presented to the jurors.

James Keaton may, or may not be guilty. I DO know James is an good man, good Christian, good Father, and has served honorably. Now, he stands tried, convicted, and sentenced in the court of public opinion.

He doesn’t get to have his own press conference and must spend money defending himself. Regardless of whether he’s convicted or acquitted in court, he’s tainted and smeared merely by association. Please remember: not all of the accused are charged with the same offenses.

I know that if James Keaton is guilty, he’s man enough to confess and ask forgiveness. But if he’s innocent, I hope all media covering this nightmare will announce it if he’s acquitted (to balance the indictment coverage).

Innocent until proven guilty isn’t just empty rhetoric. It’s the backbone of the freedom our service-members still die for today. Please afford James and his family the respect and honor to leave judgment to the courts. Even then, remember that in the end – there’s only one true judge of all mankind. And it isn’t the media or local gossips.


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