Who is Judge Samuel Lindsay? That was the question we recently asked when we read the New York Times article on Barrett Brown’s criminal case that indicated that Brown cannot say anything about his own case that is not in the public record, per a new court order specific to Brown and his attorneys. A “gag order” of this sort caused us to believe that Brown’s right to speak out about his case might be violated and possibly other rights as well, and so we decided to look at the judge who will be overseeing the trial and has made this and other pre-trial rulings. (Remember, Brown hasn’t been convicted of anything yet and despite being held in pre-trial custody still has 1st Amendment rights.)
When we first started searching for information on this judge we couldn’t find any mainstream articles that told anything about him, including his name. We were only able to track him down after looking at the published orders that he had written in Brown’s case which had his signature.
What we learned about him is that Lindsay is the first African-American to serve in the Northern District of Texas federal court with his chambers located in Dallas. He was nominated by Bill Clinton and he was unanimously confirmed by the US Senate on March 11th 1998. He was raised in South Texas and received his Bachelor’s in history and government from St. Mary’s University in 1974. He earned his law degree in 1977 from the University of Texas Law School in Austin, and from 1977-1979 he was a staff attorney for the Texas Aeronautics Commission and in 1979 joined the Dallas City Attorney’s Office where he was eventually named City Attorney in 1992.
We found it of interest that he began in the prosecution division in 1979 and worked in the federal litigation section for ten years while at the City Attorney’s office – so he frequently worked with FBI agents in the North Texas area. We wondered if he has any connection to the FBI agents who are dealing with the Barrett Brown case now, since it is alleged that Brown threatened an FBI agent’s family and if so, if there is a potential conflict of interest? This information about him was cited when he first became a judge by the Dallas Bar Association which supported his nomination.
As a County Attorney Lindsay argued cases all the way to the US Supreme Court defending city ordinances. The way he came to that job was via his wife Cathleen who was a programmer/systems analyst with the oil company ARCO, also known as Atlantic Richfield Company which has operations in the US, Indonesia, North Sea and South China Sea and became a subsidiary of the UK-based BP (British Petroleum) later infamous in the Gulf/Deepwater Horizon spill because of connections to Dick Cheney and Halliburton who protected BP from the gulf spill fallout.
Apparently through his wife’s interest in the oil business, Judge Samuel Lindsay has rubbed elbows with some of the richest, wealthiest oil business elites in Texas and was asked to serve as a trustee on the Center for American and International Law and to this day remains as a trustee. CAIL as it is called down in Texas is a “non-profit institution dedicated to the continuing education of lawyers and law enforcement agents in the US and throughout the world” and Samuel Lindsay has been a trustee of this organization since his days of helping to train the employees that worked for him under the Dallas City Attorney’s office.
This raises a substantial number of questions about whether it is ethical for a judge who has trained and worked with FBI agents in his past to hear cases by the same local FBI? Considering that he still sits on the board of CAIL that trains law enforcement, one has to wonder how appropriate it is for him to hear Barrett Brown’s case, especially since Brown is accused of threatening an FBI agent in the state of Texas. As a result of this most curious hobby of this judge of staying as a trustee at CAIL all the way through the years he has stayed on the bench, one has to wonder how many criminal cases he has heard while acting as a trainer or serving on the board of an organization that trains Texas law enforcement?
Surely the mainstream media would be interested in naming a federal judge who is hearing criminal cases and at the same time he sits on the board of an organization that trains law enforcement?
What also makes him so delightful to research was that on that same board at CAIL are several fascinating Texas luminaries, including Harriet Miers who was the former attorney for George W. Bush who was granted the right to testify without having to be sworn under oath in the US Attorney firing scandal’s aftermath. Another CAIL trustee is Oliver “Buck” Revell who runs the Revell Group International and was a top agent in the FBI. Reading the trustee list of CAIL you also find a substantial number of oil industry figures and the law firms that represent them.
But the most interesting firm with a trustee on the CAIL board and related to the Brown prosecution is Hunton and Williams, who is represented by John C. Eichman and the reason this firm is so interesting is because this is the firm that Anonymous turned over materials on in the HBGary data raid. These Emails from HBGary try to sell Hunton and Williams on HBGary’s services in investigating progressive political activists such as Glenn Greenwald, and it was these services by HBGary that started Barrett Brown’s investigations. Barrett Brown started something called “Project PM”, a website in which the Emails and other material Anonymous obtained from HBGary were being thoroughly and professionally analyzed including the connection to Hunton and Williams. It seems kind of funny and ethically challenging to believe that a judge who is serving on a small board as a trustee with members of Hunton and Williams who were being investigated by journalist Brown, now under criminal threat for that journalism that seems to have threatened the judge’s close associates.
When we started peeking under this judge’s robe to take a good look at this man, what we found were personal connections to big oil boys and the very firm that can be described as a “victim” of Barrett Brown if indeed Brown’s research was criminal at all.
We want to say “shame” on Judge Lindsay for not disclosing these connections as you would have to be blinder than the statue of justice (who we know as the Greek Goddess Themis) to not know who Brown was doing investigative journalist work on prior to his prosecution as he tracked the data dumps Anonymous was producing. And so there’s no question on this, we have torn off the blinder that has thus far kept Themis from seeing a serious conflict of interest. We also ponder how many Texas oil-industry-related cases have been heard by this judge and his other friends who sit as trustees at CAIL and similar oil industry front groups.
It is our opinion that this judge should be removed from this case due to his conflicts and a federal judge appointed who has nothing to do with Hunton and Williams or any of the other companies Barrett Brown was investigating.
You can see a list of the Board of Trustees of CAIL here.
To learn more about the Revell Group, visit their home page.
Jill Simpson is a lawyer from Alabama who was a whistleblower in the Don Siegelman case; she has a Master’s in Religion and Philosophy from CIIS where she focused on the study of Themis and justice; she is currently in divinity school at the Graduate Theological Union at UC Berkeley. Ms. Simpson is also completing a counseling degree in Atlanta. She has been tracking the group of conservative organizations who call themselves “Team Themis” since July of 2010 when she first learned they were following her work with Velvet Revolution on the “Stop The Chamber” campaign. Team Themis includes HBGary.
Jim March is a political activist with a history in tracking the problems with electronic voting, and in the various legal struggles with Diebold Election Systems Inc. had run-ins with the law firm of Jones-Day, who also has a representative on CAIL. Jim decided to work with Jill Simpson after they teamed up to look at election issues for the 2012 cycle and Jill was attacked on Fox News at the beginning of the election season. March was surprised to learn that Jill wasn’t interested in this election cycle until she was attacked on national TV by Karl Rove. March and Simpson now live in Northern Alabama and are engaged to be married and owe Karl a wedding invitation since he was the one that brought them together.