28 November 2001
Source: Digital files from Court Reporter Julaine V. Ryen, Western District of Washington, Tacoma, WA. Telephone: (253) 593-6591

This is the opening argument of the trial.

See other testimony: http://cryptome.org/usa-v-jdb-dt.htm

           1                   UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
                              WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON
           2                            AT TACOMA
           4  UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,    )       Docket No. CR00-5731JET
           5              Plaintiff,       )
           6          v.                   )
                                           )       Tacoma, Washington
           7  JAMES DALTON BELL,           )       April 3, 2001
           8              Defendant.       )
                              TRANSCRIPT OF OPENING STATEMENTS
          11                 BEFORE THE HONORABLE JACK E. TANNER
                       SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE, and a Jury
          13  APPEARANCES:
          14  For the Plaintiff:            ROBB LONDON
                                            Assistant United States Attorney
          15                                601 Union Street, Suite 5100
                                            Seattle, Washington  98101
              For the Defendant:            ROBERT M. LEEN
          17                                Attorney At Law
                                            Two Union Square
          18                                601 Union Street, Suite 4610
                                            Seattle, Washington  98101-3903
          21  Court Reporter:               Julaine V. Ryen
                                            Post Office Box 885
          22                                Tacoma, Washington 98401-0885
                                            (253) 593-6591
              Proceedings recorded by mechanical stenography, transcript
          25  produced by Reporter on computer.
           1                              I N D E X
           2  OPENING STATEMENTS:                         Page
           3      Plaintiff                                 3
                  Defendant                                25
           1      (Defendant present.)
           2                       *    *    *    *    *
           3           MR. LONDON:  Members of the jury, good afternoon.
           4      Once again, I am Robb London, the assistant U.S. attorney
           5  who is in charge of prosecuting this case for the government.
           6      As Judge Tanner made clear during jury selection, this is a
           7  criminal case and we have the burden of proving beyond a
           8  reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the acts that he
           9  is charged with here today.  He is charged in a five-count
          10  indictment, what we call a superseding indictment, that charges
          11  him specifically with five counts of interstate stalking
          12  committed last October and November.
          13      The interstate stalking statute is a federal statute.  As
          14  you know, you are here in Federal Court today.  Stalking can be
          15  a state law offense, but it's charged here federally because the
          16  defendant is charged with having crossed a state line for the
          17  purpose of interstate stalking.  And stalking under the statute
          18  is defined as conduct that would reasonably place another
          19  individual in fear for his or her safety or the safety of his or
          20  her immediate family.  I'm going to tell you a little bit more
          21  about that in a minute.  But the crossing of the state line is
          22  what gives us federal jurisdiction to be here.  It's what we
          23  call the interstate nexus requirement, and it's a requirement
          24  that enables the federal government to have jurisdiction in many
          25  kinds of cases, not just the one that we are here to deal with
           1  today.
           2      I just want to say a few words before I tell you what the
           3  evidence is going to be in this case and what we expect to prove
           4  through the witnesses and exhibits.  I want to say a little bit
           5  about the trial process.
           6      Some of you, I gathered from jury selection and your
           7  answers, have definitely been involved in trials before, either
           8  as plaintiffs or witnesses, as jurors sometimes.  For those who
           9  have not, I just want to say one or two things very briefly.
          10      A lot of what we may think we know about trials probably
          11  comes from TV or the movies where things kind of move very
          12  quickly.  Everything gets wrapped up neatly in an hour.  You
          13  only tend to hear the key testimony that's necessary for the
          14  sake of putting on a show.
          15      In fact, it's a little more complicated than that.  You are
          16  going to have to bear with us sometimes.  There will be times
          17  when patience is required.  We have a lot of witnesses, a lot of
          18  exhibits.  There will be times when we have to spend time with
          19  witnesses going over exhibits and getting them admitted before
          20  you can see them, and we will appreciate your patience during
          21  that endeavor.  Whatever exhibits Judge Tanner allows us to
          22  offer into evidence and have admitted, you will eventually get
          23  to see.  But there might be times that you will have to wait a
          24  bit, and we appreciate your patience.
          25      Some witnesses may seem to be out of chronological order,
           1  and we have scheduling reasons for that.  So bear in mind, at
           2  the end of the case I will have a chance to argue the case to
           3  you, and that is when I will try to make maybe better sense of
           4  some of the evidence that you have heard that might seem
           5  fragmentary or somewhat disassociated during the course of the
           6  trial.
           7      The evidence in this case is going to show the following:
           8      In late October and early November of last year, defendant,
           9  who is this gentleman over here in the light blue shirt, seated
          10  at the counsel table, James Dalton Bell, engaged in a sustained
          11  and deliberate effort to stalk, harass, and intimidate two
          12  federal law enforcement officers, in particular, and a third
          13  individual in Bend, Oregon, not a law enforcement officer, and I
          14  will say a little bit more about him shortly.  Mr. Bell was
          15  living at his parents' home in Vancouver, Washington, which is
          16  across the Columbia River from Portland Oregon.  These agents
          17  are believed to live in the Portland, Oregon, area.
          18      He left his home in Vancouver, Washington, crossed the
          19  Columbia River into Oregon, and began showing up at these
          20  agents' homes, or the homes which he believed were theirs.  He
          21  didn't always have it right, but you will see from the evidence
          22  that he was zeroing in on the home addresses of these two
          23  federal agents.  In fact, he got one of them right, but it
          24  turned out that that agent had just recently moved out.
          25      He found these addresses by obtaining publicly available
           1  databases, like Oregon driver's -- Department of Motor Vehicles
           2  records which he had on CD-ROMs and which he had obtained, and
           3  he was able to run huge database searches on his personal
           4  computer at his parents' home.  In fact, he had a couple of
           5  computers.
           6      Well, you are going to need to understand why Mr. Bell was
           7  so fixated on these two law enforcement officers and then later
           8  on this third private individual that I will be telling you
           9  about.
          10      Well, it is an inescapable part of this case that you have
          11  to understand and know that Mr. Bell was prosecuted by the
          12  federal government before, here in this district, as a matter of
          13  fact.
          14           MR. LEEN:  Objection, Your Honor, to anything prior,
          15  prior prosecutions.
          16           THE COURT:  Continue.
          17           MR. LONDON:  In 1997 he was prosecuted, and one of the
          18  federal agents that he is accused here today of stalking was the
          19  lead case agent then, and in fact it is the gentlemen who is
          20  seated next to me at the counsel table here, who is Jeffrey
          21  Gordon, who also happened to be part of the investigative team
          22  of this case.
          23      The defendant had originally gotten into a dispute with the
          24  IRS over some tax issues.  And he became very angry at the IRS
          25  back in the early '90s, and he began attending meetings in
           1  Multnomah County, Oregon, of an organization that called itself
           2  the Multnomah County Common Law Court.  This was not a real
           3  legitimate court such as the one that we're in today or the
           4  courts of the Oregon State Court System, but a group of people
           5  like himself who were disgruntled or angry at the various
           6  government officers or officials, and they decided to convene
           7  their own court system and to appoint themselves as judges and
           8  jurors and to hold trials of IRS officers and other government
           9  agents in absentia, as we say; that is, without those people
          10  sometimes even knowing they had been charged, and certainly
          11  without those people being present at this court that they had
          12  convened.  And this court would convict people in their absence,
          13  but then it had to decide how to punish these IRS agents and
          14  others who had made the lives of these people miserable in some
          15  way.
          16      So what was the punishment doled out by the Multnomah County
          17  Common Law Court to people it had convicted?  Well, that's where
          18  Mr. Bell decided to offer a solution, and that's where the
          19  evidence you are going to hear will make it very clear that he
          20  showed up at the meetings of the common law court and offered
          21  members of the common law court what he called a solution to
          22  their enforcement problem.  Enforcement problem meaning that,
          23  you know, it was -- it was not enough simply to convict these
          24  people in their absence; you had to find a way to make them pay
          25  and punish them.
           1      So he decided to make available to the members of this
           2  common law court a little project of his -- or perhaps not such
           3  a little project, a big project of his, something that he had
           4  undertaken that he called Operation Locate IRS.  And the gist of
           5  it was this:
           6      He invited the members of this court, this group, to give
           7  him the names of any IRS officials or other government agents or
           8  officers that they might have had run-ins with, and he would use
           9  these databases that he had collected and run the names of these
          10  people through all of these databases on his computer in an
          11  effort to find their home addresses and personal information
          12  about them.  He made it very clear to the members of the common
          13  law court that the purpose of this would be for intimidation.
          14  If you let these officers or these government officials know
          15  that you know where they live, then you will -- they will be
          16  much less likely to take any kind of enforcement action against
          17  you, say if you have a tax dispute.
          18      Well, you will learn that this Operation Locate IRS was the
          19  subject of some chatter on the Internet and that it came to the
          20  attention of the Internal Security Division of the Treasury
          21  Department.  That's the agency that's responsible for protecting
          22  the security of the IRS officers and the people in the Internal
          23  Revenue Service.
          24      So the Treasury Department began an investigation of Mr.
          25  Bell, and they assigned to that matter Jeffrey Gordon as the
           1  case agent.  And they also -- they also used the services of one
           2  of their agents in an undercover capacity.
           3      One of the first witnesses you are going to hear from today
           4  is a man named Steve Walsh.  He operated as an undercover agent
           5  with the Treasury Department Internal Security Division of the
           6  IRS, and he started attending meetings of the Multnomah County
           7  Common Law Court, pretending to be one of their own and a
           8  participant.
           9      Mr. Walsh attended a number of meetings.  He actually had
          10  quite a bit of contact with Mr. Bell.  He wore a body wire on
          11  some occasions, and that involved a transmitter to others who
          12  taped portions of the meetings of the Multnomah County Common
          13  Law Court that Mr. Bell was at.
          14      He was also there personally when Mr. Bell handed him a
          15  computer diskette, which was one of several computer diskettes
          16  that Mr. Bell brought that day in 1997 and was making available
          17  to members of the court.  And Mr. Bell wanted people to see what
          18  was on this diskette.  It was an essay that he had authored that
          19  was called Assassination Politics.  And in this essay, Mr. Bell
          20  offered a plan that effectively can be described as a scheme to
          21  solicit the killing of government officers or officials in an
          22  anonymous capacity using encryption, or kind of code, to mask
          23  communications by email or over the Internet, and it involved
          24  digital tasks, and you will hear more about this later.
          25      But the idea of it on Assassination Politics was that it
           1  offered at least a theoretical framework whereby people in these
           2  common law court systems or just anybody who was -- who had a
           3  beef with someone in the government could put forward the name
           4  of the person he or she wanted to have killed, have it done by
           5  an anonymous hit man, and have that hit man then be awarded
           6  secretly and privately with cash that could be raised in kind of
           7  a kitty or a pot, all done through the use of encryption in a
           8  way that would mask the identities of the people doing it.  If
           9  you didn't have the code, then you couldn't figure out who was
          10  doing this stuff over the Internet.
          11      Well, this was enough to provide the basis for the issuance
          12  of the federal search warrant on Mr. Bell's home in Vancouver,
          13  Washington, in 1997.  And agents executed the search warrant
          14  during that year and they found evidence that he had been
          15  carrying out Operation Locate IRS in systematic fashion, running
          16  huge database searches for home address information on scores of
          17  IRS employees and other government officers.  Agents seized
          18  computers of his, and on those computers they found emails and
          19  other documents in which Mr. Bell -- who, incidentally, was a
          20  graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a
          21  degree in chemistry -- made it clear that he had done such
          22  things as made his own version of Sarin gas, which you will hear
          23  is a deadly nerve agent, and you may recall that some of it was
          24  released into the Tokyo subway system a few years ago by members
          25  of a Japanese cult, killing --
           1           MR. LEEN:  Objection, Your Honor.
           2           THE COURT:  Continue.
           3           MR. LONDON:  -- killing a number of people and wounding
           4  scores more.
           5      You will also learn that he acknowledged in a number of
           6  emails that he had committed an attack on an IRS office in
           7  Vancouver, Washington, using a chemical compound known as
           8  mercaptan, which is a fume, sort of a chemical.  A number of
           9  employees that day had. --- to go to the hospital and sent
          10  home.  Mr. Bell took responsibility for that in a number of
          11  emails that were found on his system during the execution of the
          12  search warrant in 1997.
          13      Well, he was prosecuted, as I said before.  And in a court
          14  of this district here in Federal Court in 1997, Mr. Bell did
          15  plead guilty to obstruction of the Internal Revenue laws, in
          16  part by virtue of Operation Locate IRS, and he admitted in his
          17  guilty plea colloquy with a federal judge sitting just a few
          18  doors down from here that his Assassination Politics scheme had
          19  been part of a deliberate attempt to intimidate IRS officers,
          20  that Operation Locate IRS was for the express purpose of
          21  intimidating or harassing IRS officers.  He admitted in the plea
          22  agreement the mercaptan chemical attack on the IRS office in
          23  Vancouver.
          24      Mr. Bell was sentenced and he did go to prison; he did some
          25  time.  But you will learn, and you will hear evidence, that even
           1  before he got out of prison -- and he was released just about a-
           2  ago -- even before he got out of prison, instead of planning to
           3  return to a normal civilian life, he was already planning on
           4  getting revenge on the system that had imprisoned him.  He gave
           5  an interview even while still in prison to a news reporter.  He
           6  told the reporter that he was planning to exact revenge on the
           7  system that had imprisoned him.  He added, "I'm not going to
           8  kill them off.  Other people are going to do that."
           9      As soon as Mr. Bell got out, he began once again to gather
          10  databases, and he began searching for the home address of
          11  Jeffrey Gordon, the agent who had been the principal case agent
          12  in his 1997 prosecution.  He also began looking for the home
          13  address of another federal agent, an ATF -- that's Bureau of
          14  Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms -- an agent by the name of Mike
          15  McNall.  And he was apparently, you will see from this email
          16  evidence, convinced that Agent McNall was part of some kind of
          17  government conspiracy against him.
          18      You are going to hear the testimony of a witness named Chris
          19  Groener.  Groener is presently the resident of a private home
          20  located in Oregon City, in the Portland suburbs, it's south of
          21  the Columbia River, at 14135 South Clackamas River Drive.
          22      All right.  What you have in front of you on the screen
          23  there is an aerial photograph of that residence.  You can see
          24  that it's rural, it's sort of semi-farm land, and the parcel of
          25  property is itself quite rural, agrarian, and you can see that
           1  the house is set back quite a ways from the road by a long
           2  driveway.
           3      Groener is going to tell you that he had just recently moved
           4  into this address back in October of 2000, just this past
           5  October; that the prior resident who had just moved out was ATF
           6  Agent Mike McNall.  Groener is going to tell you that on October
           7  23rd, he came home from work, about 5:30 p.m., and he saw Mr.
           8  Bell coming around the back side of the residence.  Mr. Bell
           9  confronted him, said he was looking for Mike McNall.  Mr. Bell
          10  demanded to know how long it had been since Mr. McNall had lived
          11  there.  He identified himself straightforwardly as Jim Bell.  He
          12  gave Groener his phone number.  Groener wrote the number down.
          13  Bell asked him who the Andrews were who were living on the
          14  property.  And, in fact, there are two residences on the
          15  property, and there is a family by the name of Andrews living on
          16  that property, and Mr. Bell had evidently found that out
          17  somehow.
          18      Mr. Groener asked Mr. Bell why he wanted to know.  Bell, Mr.
          19  Bell just said he had seen the name Andrews on the mailbox.
          20  Well, Groener will tell you that the name Andrews does not
          21  appear on the mailbox.  He double-checked this after Mr. Bell
          22  eventually left.
          23      Mr. Bell made a point of looking very carefully at the
          24  license plate of Groener's car, then he sat in his own car,
          25  which was parked on the property, and he wrote something down in
           1  a spiral notebook.  Mr. Bell stayed on the property in the car
           2  for several minutes before he finally left.
           3      Groener knows Agent McNall, and he called him and he warned
           4  him and he said, "There's a guy out here at the property this
           5  afternoon, this evening.  He came around in the back of the
           6  house.  He was on the property and he was looking for you and
           7  his name was Jim Bell."
           8      So Mr. Bell found Mr. McNall's home address and went to find
           9  him.  It was just Mr. McNall's luck here that Mr. McNall had
          10  just moved out.
          11      You will also learn that McNall's former address, the
          12  Groener residence on South Clackamas, was not the only one that
          13  Mr. Bell visited late in the afternoon of October 23rd.  The
          14  evidence will be that in his many, many database searches, Mr.
          15  Bell found two home addresses in his search for Jeffrey Gordon's
          16  home address.  There were two various home address listings
          17  under the name Jeffrey Gordon in the Portland area.  One was in
          18  Eagle Creek and the other was in Tualatin.
          19      Mr. Bell, you will find out, kept a diary.  You heard me
          20  make reference to a spiral notebook.  He kept a diary of his
          21  stalking activity, and in that diary he meticulously made
          22  entries, including some on October 23rd, that indicated he
          23  apparently made a visit that day to the home of a Jeffrey and
          24  Barbara Gordon in Eagle Creek, the Eagle Creek address that I
          25  just mentioned, and that he then went to Agent McNall's former
           1  address, the visit you just heard about at 5:30 where he
           2  confronted Groener around 5:30, and then went to the second
           3  address that he had for a Jeffrey and Barbara Gordon, this one
           4  at 8300 Southwest Chelan Street in Tualatin.
           5      In the last entry in his diary on October 23rd, when -- and
           6  he wrote it occurred at 6:26 p.m.  He wrote down a considerable
           7  amount of personal, very detailed and sensitive personal
           8  information about the Gordons; notably, that they had a son
           9  named Joshua; that Joshua had a medical problem of some kind
          10  that involved a medical insurance policy and a claim that had
          11  been filed with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama.  You are
          12  going to have to ask yourself how Mr. Bell learned this.
          13      The evidence is going to be, and you are going to hear from
          14  Barbara Gordon, the resident at 8300 Southwest Chelan, that she
          15  and her husband, Jeffrey Gordon -- but not this Jeffrey Gordon,
          16  as it will turn out -- do in fact live at that address at 8300
          17  Southwest Chelan.  They do have a son named Joshua.  Joshua did
          18  and does have a medical insurance policy pending and a claim
          19  pending with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama.
          20      She will testify that she does have a husband named Jeffrey,
          21  as I said, and she will identify the October 23rd, 2000, entry
          22  in Bell's spiral notebook as containing very detailed personal
          23  information about her and her family.  Correct, accurate
          24  information.
          25      Specifically, she will acknowledge that the address that he
           1  wrote in the spiral notebook is hers -- was her address last
           2  October 23rd, the date of the entry.  On page 28 of the diary
           3  there is a reference to Allstate insurance information about
           4  some specific vehicles.  She will identify the cars that are
           5  referenced in the diary as hers.  The Allstate policy
           6  information is hers.
           7      At the bottom of page 28 of the diary, there is information
           8  about the Blue Cross Blue Shield claim number, 595-2873477.  She
           9  can identify that information as her policy and claim number for
          10  her son Joshua's medical insurance claim.
          11      On page 29 of the stalking diary there's a handwritten entry
          12  by Mr. Bell about patient Joshua J. Gordon and the claim number,
          13  and she will testify that her son is Joshua J. Gordon.
          14      She will also testify that she never received the claim
          15  statement that she was expecting in the mail that month from
          16  Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama.  That's how she got her
          17  monthly claim statements was in her mailbox at the edge of her
          18  property, and in October, she didn't get it.  She will tell you
          19  that she knows she never received the claim forms because it was
          20  her habit to keep them in her house while she was using them and
          21  then if she decided to throw them away, to burn her mail, not to
          22  throw it away.  She didn't like information sensitive of that
          23  kind being put in the trash where just anybody might get it on
          24  the street.  Barbara Gordon happened to be somebody who guarded
          25  her private information very carefully, and if she was done with
           1  a claim form, it got burned in the fireplace or wood stove.  It
           2  did not go out in the garbage.  She will tell you that she never
           3  got the claim form information, the monthly statement, that Blue
           4  Cross Blue Shield of Alabama sent out for October.
           5      You are going to hear from a witness named Brian Kenney, and
           6  he's a records custodian from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama,
           7  and he is going to tell you that on October 16th of 2000, Blue
           8  Cross Blue Shield of Alabama mailed two insurance claim reports
           9  to Jeffrey Gordon and Barbara Gordon at 8300 Chelan in Tualatin
          10  concerning the claims submitted by the Gordons on behalf of
          11  their son Joshua.  He will tell you that it was sent by United
          12  States mails to the Gordons at that address, and he will also
          13  tell you that is private information and that the information
          14  contained on those claim forms is not publicly available in any
          15  other database but Blue Cross Blue Shield's.
          16      So, the evidence is going to be that on October 23rd, Mr.
          17  Bell traveled from his home, parents' home, in Vancouver,
          18  Washington, to Oregon with the express purpose of going to home
          19  addresses that he had obtained by searching various databases
          20  for the home addresses of Special Agent Jeffrey Gordon and ATF
          21  Agent Mike McNall.  That he went to the address which he
          22  believed to be McNall's at about 5:30 p.m., where he confronted
          23  Chris Groener, the current resident, then to the Gordon
          24  residence in Tualatin at 7:26 p.m., according to the entries in
          25  his own diary.  The evidence is going to show that he crossed
           1  the state line from Washington to go into Oregon in order to
           2  accomplish this because we can place him at his home in
           3  Vancouver late the evening of October 22nd, the night before.
           4  He sent someone an email, and you will see that exhibit, from
           5  his home at 11:08 p.m. The night before he made the trip south
           6  into Oregon to go check out these home addresses and confront
           7  Mike McNall or Jeffrey Gordon.  You will hear that his Internet
           8  access account was such that he could not have sent the emails
           9  that were in fact sent from Vancouver, Washington, from a remote
          10  site or other location, not even with a laptop or remote because
          11  his Internet access was hardwired into his house.
          12      Later that night -- now we're actually talking in the wee
          13  small hours of October 24th, 2:53 a.m., now back at his parents'
          14  home in Vancouver -- he posted an email to a public website on
          15  the Internet.  The email was titled, "Say Goodnight to Joshua."
          16   "Tell him it's not his fault that his father is a thug."  He
          17  also noted that he had been on what he called a "show the flag"
          18  circuit and that he had intended to be seen.
          19      So the visit to the McNall address at 5:30 on the 23rd is
          20  what is charged in Count 1 of the indictment.  The visit to the
          21  Gordon residence at 6:26 p.m. on the 23rd is what is charged in
          22  count 2 of the indictment.  Remember, it is a five-count
          23  indictment.
          24      Eight days later, on October 20 -- excuse me -- October
          25  31st, Mr. Bell sent a fax to Special Agent Gordon from his home
           1  in Vancouver, Washington, to Special Agent Gordon's office in
           2  Portland, Oregon.  This is important because it shows you that
           3  if Mr. Bell needed to contact Agent Gordon for any legitimate
           4  reason, he knew how to contact him at his office.  He didn't
           5  need to go to his home to do it.  But he faxed him at the
           6  office, and the fax, on the fax, he said that he was prepared to
           7  come by Special Agent Gordon's home the next night.  He made it
           8  very clear that he knew where Special Agent Gordon lived.
           9      Telephone records will confirm that the fax was sent via the
          10  telephone line from Mr. Bell's residence in Vancouver to Special
          11  Agent Gordon's office in the state of Oregon.  One of the
          12  charging statutes in this case makes it unlawful to use what we
          13  call a facility or instrument of interstate commerce for the
          14  purpose of accomplishing or undertaking stalking behavior,
          15  stalking activity.  A facility of interstate commerce can be a
          16  phone line or a fax or a modem.  So that is the basis for count
          17  3 of the indictment.
          18      Three days later, on November 3rd, Mr. Bell went to the home
          19  of the third individual that I have told you that he is charged
          20  here with stalking; not one of the special agents in law
          21  enforcement, but a private individual.  Not a special agent, but
          22  in fact a real estate agent, in the town of Bend, Oregon.  An
          23  individually -- an individual, excuse me, totally unconnected to
          24  Mr. Bell's prior problems with the IRS or the Treasury
          25  Department or prior problems with the law.  So who was this
           1  third person and why did Mr. Bell show up at his house?
           2      Well, you will learn that his name is Scott Mueller.  He's a
           3  realtor in Bend.  On October 25th Mr. Bell happened to be on the
           4  Internet and came across an email or message on the Internet
           5  that had been posted out of New York by an individual named John
           6  Young.  John Young will come here and will testify for you
           7  today.  John Young runs a website dedicated towards exposing
           8  government secrecy and publishing secret government documents
           9  exposing the CIA.  Wherever he thinks that there's something
          10  being hidden by the government or documents are being classified
          11  and he gets ahold of them, he puts them up on his website.  The
          12  website is devoted towards, I guess, spreading some sunshine on
          13  a government which he believes should be more open.
          14      Mr. Young had posted an email on the Internet in which he
          15  claimed to have found some information that suggested to him
          16  that there was a front organization operating out of Bend,
          17  Oregon, a front organization for the CIA, and he seemed to be
          18  requesting information from other people who might know
          19  something about this.  But he said in no uncertain terms he was
          20  fairly sure that this organization at Bend was a front for the
          21  CIA, and he said there appears to be a contact person for it,
          22  and I think his name is Deforest X. Mueller, and he listed an
          23  address of 63350 Majestic Loop in Bend.
          24      Mr. Bell came across this posting on the Internet, and he
          25  responded immediately to Mr. Young's posting, and he let Mr.
           1  Young know that he would look into it from right there in
           2  Oregon.
           3      The evidence will show that Mr. Bell now began to run his
           4  huge database searches using Oregon Department of Motor Vehicle
           5  records, looking for any home address information that he could
           6  find for the name Mueller in Bend.  You will learn that Mr. Bell
           7  identified two addresses, one of whom, the one I mentioned on
           8  Majestic Loop that John Young himself had put in this CIA
           9  posting on his website, but it wasn't for the name Deforest X.
          10  Mueller.  It came back in Mr. Bell's database sources to a Scott
          11  Deforest Mueller.  The other address for Scott Deforest Mueller
          12  turned out to be one on Dione Way, also in Bend, Oregon.
          13      On November 3rd, Mr. Bell asked a friend of his, a man name
          14  John Copp, to pick him up at his home in Vancouver, Washington,
          15  and to drive south with him to Bend, to find the house of the
          16  CIA agent.  Mr. Copp will tell you that he and Mr. Bell drove
          17  down to Bend.  They found Mueller's -- Scott Mueller's former
          18  address on Dione Way.  They found his current address on
          19  Majestic Loop.  Copp will tell you that Mr. Bell got out of the
          20  car and he took pictures.  Bell told Copp that he wanted to walk
          21  on the properties, but Copp said he didn't want to have any part
          22  of that.
          23      When Bell got back to his house in Vancouver that evening,
          24  he posted an email to the Internet containing personal
          25  information on Scott Mueller and his wife, the home addresses
           1  that he had visited.  He bragged that he was "outing" -- verb --
           2  a CIA agent, and he outed Scott Mueller as a CIA operative.
           3      The email on the Internet, it is still there today if you
           4  get up on that website because once something is on the
           5  Internet, it is pretty much guaranteed to stay there.  It
           6  includes not only Mr. Mueller's current home address, but his
           7  date of birth, his wife's name, his wife's date of birth, his
           8  license plate number, vehicle makes and models, all kinds of
           9  personal information, and now the identification of Mr. Mueller
          10  as a CIA operative for all his neighbors and friends to see.
          11      Mueller will come here and he will tell you that he is not a
          12  CIA agent.  He has no idea why he has be outed by Mr. Bell or
          13  John Young as a CIA agent, and he will tell you that he is
          14  afraid of Mr. Bell, not only for his own safety but for his
          15  family's.  So, that was November 3rd.
          16      Three days later, on November 6th, federal agents obtained
          17  two court orders based on the fact that Mr. Bell's activities
          18  were now showing up on their radar screen.  As you can recall,
          19  Agent McNall was notified that Mr. Bell showed up at the Groener
          20  residence.  So the federal agents had reason to be concerned.
          21  People such as Agent Gordon again was watching, especially on
          22  the Internet, to see what Mr. Bell was doing on the Internet.
          23      Agent Gordon had become aware of the "say goodnight Joshua"
          24  message, and as I just said, Agent McNall was obviously aware
          25  that Mr. Bell had shown up at the house that he had just
           1  recently vacated.
           2      I mentioned that the agencies involved in investigating this
           3  case obtained two federal court orders on November 6th.  Well,
           4  one was a federal search warrant for Mr. Bell's residence at
           5  7214 Corregidor in Vancouver.  The other was an order permitting
           6  them to install an electronic tracking device on Mr. Bell's car
           7  without his knowledge so that they could monitor his whereabouts
           8  when he started driving around, especially if he started driving
           9  south of the river.
          10      The search of Mr. Bell's house was conducted by a team of
          11  agents.  You will learn that his part of the house, the part
          12  where he lived, was filled with reams of documentary evidence,
          13  computer printouts and runs of search after search for home
          14  address information and personal information on Agent McNall,
          15  Agent Gordon, and Scott Mueller, among others.  Mr. Bell had
          16  Oregon Department of Motor Vehicle databases on CD-ROMs going
          17  back to 1994.  There was evidence that he had accessed county
          18  assessor's records.  He had CD-ROMs of the kind that are known
          19  as phone disks, which is essentially every telephone book or
          20  telephone directory in the country reduced to digital form on a
          21  compact disk that can be run on a computer.  The basement of the
          22  house was strewn with printouts from hundreds of database runs
          23  and searches.  The diary, the spiral notebook, Exhibit 137 that
          24  you will have, was recovered in the search.  The original
          25  version of the fax that he had sent to Agent Gordon was
           1  recovered with his handwriting on it in blue ink talking about
           2  coming by Agent Gordon's house the next night.  He had property
           3  assessor's records for Jeffrey Gordon on his computers, scores
           4  of his original email detailing his hunt for McNall, Gordon, and
           5  later Mueller.
           6      Mr. Bell was present at the house while the search was
           7  conducted.  He was served with a copy of the search warrant.
           8  Obviously, he had to know that he must have crossed some kind of
           9  line in the eyes of law enforcement if they were now searching
          10  his house.  But he was undeterred.
          11      Three days later, on the night of November 10th, at
          12  approximately 15 minutes after midnight, Mr. Bell got into his
          13  car at his home, his parents' home in Vancouver.  He drove south
          14  across the Columbia River, he crossed into Oregon, and he drove
          15  right back to Agent McNall's former residence on South Clackamas
          16  where the Groeners now live, in Oregon City.  The same one he
          17  had been to before on October 23rd.  The tracking device in his
          18  car was functioning properly, and the entire drive to the
          19  property on South Clackamas was recorded and captured by the
          20  tracking device which was rigged to a GPS system positioning
          21  satellite.
          22      This device is capable of recording the exact coordinates in
          23  longitude and latitude of its whereabouts.  You will learn that
          24  the device recorded the following:
          25      Mr. Bell's car spent more than ten minutes on the property
           1  where Agent McNall had just been living.  Special Agent Gordon,
           2  already concerned about his own safety, had arranged to have the
           3  tracking device send him an alert if it -- essentially a page --
           4  if the device moved more than just a couple miles away square
           5  from Mr. Bell's residence.
           6      Mr. Gordon received the alert from the tracking device.  He
           7  was able to follow the signals on a laptop computer that showed
           8  where the car was, where the signal was coming from, and when he
           9  realized the device was moving not towards his house, but was
          10  actually heading in the direction of McNall's former residence
          11  in Oregon City on South Clackamas Drive, he immediately called
          12  911 and the Clackamas County Sheriff's Department and he tried
          13  to notify Groener.  Groener's line was busy, as it turned out,
          14  because he had left the laptop on that was plugged into his
          15  phone line.  Groener had left the laptop.
          16      Mr. Bell left the Groener residence before sheriff's
          17  deputies could get there to respond to the scene of the
          18  residence.  They spotted his car about three miles from the
          19  Groener residence and they stopped him while they could verify
          20  that the residents back at the house were safe.
          21      At the Groener residence, three Xeroxed, handwritten notes
          22  were recovered from the windshields of three cars parked on the
          23  property.  Not just on the property, but two of the cars were
          24  parked in the garage.  The garage and the house are easily 75
          25  yards down the road from the edge of the property.  At close to
           1  one o'clock in the morning, on November 10th, Mr. Bell had
           2  trespassed onto that property, had gone 75 yards down the road,
           3  had spent ten minutes on the property, as recorded by the
           4  satellite tracking device, and had put notes on the windshields
           5  of the cars, two of which were actually in the garage.  The
           6  notes all said, "Please call Vancouver Columbian newspaper
           7  reporter John Branton," and then listed a phone number.
           8      Well, you will hear from John Branton of the Columbian that
           9  Mr. Bell had been attempting to get him to write a story about
          10  him, and you will hear that Mr. Bell in fact admitted to John
          11  Branton in a phone conversation that they had, not face to face,
          12  in another meeting that they had that he was using DMV records
          13  to look up the home addresses of agents, had gone to their
          14  homes, had taken pictures, and he admitted the midnight visit to
          15  Groaner, to the Groaner residence, and admitted putting the
          16  notes on the windshields of the cars.  So the midnight visit to
          17  the former McNall address on South Clackamas Drive on November
          18  10th is what is charged in the last count in the indictment,
          19  which is count 5.
          20      Mr. Bell was arrested on November 17th, before he could zero
          21  in any more closely on the actual current residences of Agents
          22  Gordon or McNall.
          23      At the end of the government's evidence I will ask you to
          24  find that James Bell was engaged in a sustained and systematic
          25  attempt to find Mike Mc- -- excuse me -- to find Mike McNall at
           1  home, to find Jeffrey Gordon at home, and to let them know that
           2  he knew where they lived, for the purposes -- the same purposes
           3  that he had in 1997, harassment and intimidation, knowing full
           4  well that with what they reasonably ought to have known about
           5  him, they would reasonably be afraid for their safety or the
           6  safety of their families.
           7      And at the end of the evidence, I will also ask you to find
           8  that he went to the residence of Scott Mueller in Bend with the
           9  express purpose of gathering information about Mueller and
          10  posting it on the Internet in a deliberate attempt to harass him
          11  by exposing him as a CIA agent, which in fact Mueller was not.
          12      So I will ask you to return a verdict of guilty on all five
          13  counts of the superseding indictment.
          14           THE COURT:  Mr. Leen.
          15           MR. LEEN:  Thank you.
          16           THE COURT:  Opening statement on behalf of the
          17  defendant.
          18           MR. LEEN:  Yes, Your Honor.
          19      Members of the jury:
          20      This is a very difficult case and it will require a lot of
          21  patience and objectivity on your part.  There is a fine line
          22  between stalking and investigating.  However, that line is
          23  blurred when the subject of the investigation is a federal agent
          24  as opposed to a citizen.
          25      The prosecutor has told you that in 1997 Mr. Bell pled
           1  guilty to a crime, and I expect that you will hear all of the
           2  details of that offense, and we will go through it both in
           3  direct and cross-examination.  However, Mr. Bell is not on trial
           4  for what happened in 1997.  That would be double jeopardy.  He
           5  would be tried again for something he had already been tried
           6  once for.
           7      But it's true, the beginning of this investigation has its
           8  termination back in 1997.  Mr. Bell pled guilty and he entered
           9  into an agreement with the government as part of that guilty
          10  plea.  However, Mr. Bell felt, claimed, and continued to claim,
          11  after his conviction, that he was coerced into entering that
          12  guilty plea, and part of that coercion involved a prisoner named
          13  Ryan Lund who was at the Federal Detention Center with him.  Mr.
          14  Bell believed that Ryan Lund had beaten him up.  He was, Mr.
          15  Bell was punished for that at the Federal Detention Center,
          16  although he had done nothing wrong, and as a result of that, you
          17  will hear through words that he said long before this
          18  prosecution ever started, that he felt that Mike McNall, an ATF
          19  agent who was in charge of the investigation of Ryan Lund, had
          20  actually entered into an agreement with Ryan Lund to give him
          21  favorable consideration if he would do this to Mr. Bell.
          22      Some would say that Mr. Bell was delusional.  Mr. Bell
          23  didn't think he was delusional.  He thought that there was --
          24  that this was true, and he wanted to prove it.  And this
          25  presents a very interesting question, and it's a question that
           1  you will have to deal with.  How does a citizen prove that his
           2  government has engaged in illegal conduct when he's the victim
           3  of that conduct?  Report it to the press?  Mr. Bell did report
           4  it to the press.  Report it to others online, because he was a
           5  member of a news group that was involved in encryption and
           6  technological matters in the use of the Internet?  He did that,
           7  also.  And there will be news reporters here, Mr. McCullagh from
           8  the Wired News, who is well familiar with Mr. Bell's belief
           9  about his theory that Ryan Lund had been hired by Mike McNall to
          10  do this to him and that he wanted to prove it.
          11      You will hear from John Young, a member of the same group
          12  that the Internet -- the Internet mailing group that Mr. Bell is
          13  a member of -- it's called the Cypherpunks -- that he wanted to
          14  prove that Ryan Lund had been hired by the government to force
          15  him to enter into a guilty plea in 1997.
          16      Mr. Bell got out of prison as a result of his past
          17  conviction.  He used the Internet.  He searched -- he didn't
          18  hack into databases, which he's not allowed to, but he got
          19  publicly accessible information, disks that you can buy in the
          20  store, information that is on line and available to persons.  He
          21  also made numerous inquiries, and as the prosecutor has told
          22  you, there were reams and reams of runouts of information that
          23  Mr. Bell was able to accumulate lawfully on the Internet in his
          24  quest to prove that Mike McNall and Jeff Gordon were engaged in
          25  an illegal surveillance of him and engaged in illegal activities
           1  and been involved in a plan to coerce him into pleading guilty
           2  in 1997.
           3      As I said before, many things that Mr. Bell's belief in this
           4  regard is a mere figment of his imagination, but whether it's a
           5  figment of his imagination or not, he had the right to
           6  investigate it, and that's what he did.
           7      You've heard the activity here as outlined by the
           8  prosecutor.  I ask you to focus in on the fact that not once did
           9  Mr. Bell ever physically confront anybody in this case, and
          10  there will be no evidence that he physically confronted anyone.
          11  Listen to Mr. Groener's testimony, and I believe that the
          12  evidence will be quite clear that Mr. Bell was very polite and
          13  didn't threaten Mr. Groener at all.  Any time that the police
          14  stopped Mr. Bell, he never had a weapon.  He never did anything
          15  to put these officers in fear for their safety, except for the
          16  paranoid fear that they might have by the fact of an "us/them"
          17  mentality that it seems most police officers have.
          18      In any event, Mr. Bell's activities were perfectly lawful.
          19  At no time did -- and the evidence will be clear, at no time did
          20  Agent Gordon or Agent McNall ever seek a restraining order from
          21  a local court as any citizen who felt they were being harassed
          22  would do and are encouraged to do.  No, they went to the U.S.
          23  Attorney's office, only because they're federal agents.  And, in
          24  fact, that's the only reason that we're here in federal court.
          25      I ask that you listen very carefully to the evidence because
           1  you will see that Mr. Bell is a very intelligent man.  He's a
           2  man, however, who had been greatly disappointed in life, and he
           3  feels that his government has failed him and failed others.
           4      His political views, well, they're downright scary to many.
           5  He posted on the Internet an essay called Assassination
           6  Politics.  You know, there -- other people have posted and
           7  written things that are equally as scary, and many people say to
           8  themselves, why is such literature allowed to be freely written
           9  and published?  Well, it's because we are Americans that that
          10  type of stuff is allowed to be written and published.
          11      The evidence will not show you that Mr. Bell ever made any
          12  true threats.  All he did was write things that scared many
          13  people.  It scared the government because it called for
          14  destabilization of the government.  It scared these agents
          15  because if his ideas, Mr. Bell's ideas, were actually put into
          16  play, then anyone who had a beef with anyone, not just a
          17  government agent -- if you had a bad day at work and you went
          18  home and didn't particularly like your boss, under Mr. Bell's
          19  Assassination Politics plan, which if you care to read it, and
          20  I'm sure it will be introduced into evidence, calls for a type
          21  of anonymous encryption.
          22      Mr. Bell wasn't the first person to come up with this idea.
          23  In fact, there's a whole group of individuals.  They call
          24  themselves Cypherpunks.  The Wired News reporter knows them well
          25  because he's a member of their mailing list, and it's a
           1  phenomena.  Many of you -- I doubt any of you have actually
           2  heard of it, but you will hear a lot about it during the course
           3  of this trial.
           4      I will read briefly to you from the Cypherpunks' manifesto
           5  so you understand the philosophy of those who ascribe to this
           6  group.
           7      "Privacy is necessary for an open society in the electronic
           8  age."
           9      "If two parties have some sort of dealings, then each has a
          10  memory of their interaction.  Each party can speak about their
          11  own memory of this; how could anyone prevent it?  One could pass
          12  laws against it, but the freedom of speech, even more than
          13  privacy, is fundamental to an open society; we seek not to
          14  restrict any speech at all."
          15      "Since we desire privacy, we must ensure that each party to
          16  a transaction have knowledge only of that which is directly
          17  necessary for that transaction."
          18      "Therefore, privacy in an open society requires anonymous
          19  transaction systems....  An anonymous system empowers
          20  individuals to reveal their identity when desired and only when
          21  desired; this is the essence of privacy.
          22      "Privacy in an open society also requires cryptography."
          23      "We cannot expect governments, corporations, or other
          24  large, faceless organizations to grant us privacy out of their
          25  beneficence."
           1      "We must defend our own privacy if we expect to have any. "
           2      This was written by Eric Hughes in 1993, one of the founders
           3  of the Cypherpunks.
           4      Another writer of the Cypherpunk movement is Timothy May.
           5  He wrote, "Computer technology is on the verge of providing the
           6  ability for individuals and groups to communicate and interact
           7  with each other in a totally anonymous manner.  Two persons may
           8  exchange messages, conduct business, and negotiate electronic
           9  contracts without ever knowing the True Name, or legal identity,
          10  of the other."
          11      "The technology for this revolution -- and it surely will
          12  be both a social and economic revolution -- has existed in
          13  theory for the past decade."
          14      "The State will of course try to slow or halt the spread of
          15  this technology, citing national security concerns, use of the
          16  technology by drug dealers and tax evaders, and fears of
          17  societal disintegration."
          18      "Just as the technology of printing altered and reduced the
          19  power of medieval guilds and the social power structure, so too
          20  will cryptologic methods fundamentally alter the nature of
          21  corporations and of government interference in economic
          22  transactions."
          23      It was within this group that Mr. Bell posted his
          24  Assassination Politics.  As the prosecutor told you, it would
          25  allow anybody to target anybody and provide a legal means to
           1  make payment to someone who carried out an assassination.  It
           2  didn't target any particular person.
           3      It was a writing that Mr. Bell posted.  It was a writing
           4  that he posted in early 1995, and yet it was not something that
           5  came to the government's attention until 1997.  It came to their
           6  attention in 1997 when Mr. Bell's automobile was seized by the
           7  IRS for failure to pay taxes.  And when they seized his vehicle,
           8  inside the car there was a hard-copy printout of Assassination
           9  Politics.  It was this type of writing that the IRS found
          10  particularly distasteful, and so they began an investigation of
          11  Mr. Bell and they started tailing Mr. Bell.
          12      Mr. Bell also has some views, or has some people who believe
          13  similarly to him in addition to the Cypherpunks, and that was
          14  the Multnomah County Common Law Court, a group of individuals
          15  who are disenchanted with the government.  They felt
          16  disenfranchised by their government.  They would hold trials.
          17  They would find at the end of trials there would be jurors.  In
          18  fact, Mr. Bell was a juror at one time.  An undercover agent was
          19  another juror.  Mr. Steve Walsh, who the government has told you
          20  will testify, was a juror in this case as well.  This jury would
          21  pass on whether people such as Janette Reno or other IRS agents
          22  were guilty of committing crimes against citizens.
          23      Now, many might say to themselves, how foolish.  But that's
          24  their right.  That is the essence of political speech.  And they
          25  would publish their findings.  Mr. Bell suggested to this group,
           1  if you want to really enforce your judgments, you could read my
           2  essay, if you want.  A scary thought, but a lawful thought.
           3      And this is why the government continued their investigation
           4  of Mr. Bell, which ultimately led in this case to stalking.  Not
           5  trying to kill someone, not trying to approach someone to hurt
           6  someone, but a charge of stalking.  Not because Mr. Bell crossed
           7  a state line with the intent to injure or harass, but because
           8  Mr. Bell crossed a state line with the intent to investigate and
           9  find out, put these individuals' names and addresses on the
          10  Internet.  And that was a very scary thought to Agent Gordon,
          11  Agent McNall, and the federal -- and a lot of federal agents, as
          12  it would be to a lot of police officers.  However, under the
          13  First Amendment, that is lawful and protected activity.  We
          14  don't prosecute people for what we think they might do, we
          15  prosecute them for what they have done.
          16      So I ask that you listen very carefully to the evidence that
          17  you hear over the next couple of days.  As I said when I began,
          18  there are some very scary thoughts here, and yet you must be
          19  objective as jurors and understand that people all over the
          20  world have the right to think whatever they want.  But only
          21  Americans have the right to say whatever they want.  And so Mr.
          22  Bell should not be found guilty of crimes because he said things
          23  that were scary or which people didn't agree with.  He should
          24  only be found guilty if he committed crimes, and he did not
          25  commit these five crimes.
           1      Thank you for your time.
           2                       *    *    *    *    *
           5                        C E R T I F I C A T E
           7       I certify that the foregoing is a correct transcript from
           8  the record of proceedings in the above-entitled matter.
          12  ________________________________             November 26, 2001
                      JULAINE V. RYEN                            Date

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