Reacting to Birdman, Richard
Barrett of Crosstar writes on David Duke
An intriguing proposition, that Mr. Duke received
"gifts" instead of income.
Perhaps he could have convinced a jury that there was "reasonable doubt" as
to his guilt, if he had not, himself, had no such doubt. He pleaded guilty.
My principal objection has been that the man has a serious character flaw which
leads him to lie, defraud, steal and misrepresent himself. This tarnishes
whatever cause he espouses and taints those he may come in contact with. Also, his
lack of remorse and repentence denigrates himself and insults those who once
The charges were based on the more serious and provable violations. But,
the pattern of criminality was deep and abiding. Mr. Duke initially had an
organization called the NAAWP, which was tax-exempt. Tax-exemption requires
copious bookkeeping and limited expenditures for tax-exempt purposes, only.
Mr. Duke, instead, used the funds as his personal slush-fund. The IRS
revoked the exemption and compelled him to resign from his own organization.
I encountered the Duke methodology when Mr. Duke showed up and asked
to march in our parade in Georgia. The sponsor was the Forsyth County
Defense League, of which I was the lawyer. It maintained a post-office box
684 and its chairman was Mr. Mark Watts. Sixty-six people were arrested
for taking part in the parade and we began raising funds for local lawyers
to represent the defendants. Immediately, mass-mail letters were received by
local residents "signed" by Mr. Watts begging for "defense" funds. The
letter was headed Forsyth County Defense "Fund" from post-office box "884."
Mr. Duke had forged Mr. Watts' name (without Mr. Watts' knowledge or
consent) and used a similar-sounding name and post-office box to raise
funds (which constituted mail-fraud and other fraud) for himself. None of
the defendants received a dime and many soured, thinking that Mr. Watts
had kept the money raised for himself. Mr. Duke declined to return or even
account for the $18,000.00 he raised, but Mr. Watts declined to press charges.
All of this is documented in the Tyler Bridges book, "The Rise of David Duke."
I sent Mr.Duke money for his political campaign. Later, when his conduct
became more and more scandalized, I met with him and tried to suggest
a more lawful and businesslike approach. He refused. Later, I asked for
an apology (not simply to me, but to others who had been defrauded) for
misusing the funds on prostitutes, casinos and the like. He declined.
The lesson seems to be that anyone who seeks to engage in controversial
political activism needs to have three things close at hand. A lawyer, an
accountant and a preacher. And to heed what they say. Being honorable
and upright, also, is requisite.
PS And, if one is convinced that the court is stacked against
him, he appeals. Or, if the entire system is jaded against
him or run by tyrants and usurpers (as in the case of Saddam
Hussein), he appears in court defiant, inveighing for his cause
and showing class, appealing with reason, truth and logic to
the general public and the ultimate judge of history to acquit him.
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