Scott Johnson recently criticized Joe O’Hara on this forum in response to Joe’s posting of a story about Nancy Salzman.
First, Scott carped on Joe for his conviction on what I firmly believe were trumped up federal charges in Texas. I am personally convinced Joe was the victim of both NXIVM – which had previously bankrupted him and falsely indicted him – and the DOJ’s coercive plea bargaining tactics.
Scott wouldn’t likely know much about the challenges Joe faced in going up against a ruthless federal prosecutor, quite possibly NXIVM influenced, and a biased, if not corrupt judge set to hang Joe down El Paso way.
The fact that Joe, who was still in bankruptcy court at the time, was being represented by a court-appointed, former used-car salesman turned lawyer only added to the challenge.
And just to top things off, Joe had undergone four major surgeries between the time he was indicted and the time he pled guilty. The FBI actually sent two of its agents to talk to Joe’s primary doctor — who confirmed that Joe was in danger of dying at the time.
The whole charge against Joe was insane. It concerned a mere $5,000 political contribution – that was made in the open, fully reported, and paid via a check [not cash] from a Political Action Committee (PAC) that he had established for just that purpose.
The official who accepted the money was quite possibly corrupt but Joe got no benefit from him. The sum was insignificant. It was a legal contribution. There was no quid pro quo.
But there was a vengeful DOJ. Joe was facing 20 years and a wrathful, biased, likely politically motivated judge. So, he took a plea bargain. A sure 2.5 years versus the risk of a 20-year sentence had he gone to trial with his used-car salesman/attorney.
Innocent people in America do this every day with a DOJ run amok.
We have now achieved in America the exact opposite of Blackstone’s rule. Blackstone wrote that “It is better that 10 guilty men go free than one innocent suffer.”
The Department of Justice in America has reversed that principle. In the interest of conviction statistics and career advancement – and the obloquy of admitting a mistake – the DOJ now practices, in effect, the reverse of Blackstone: It is better
Now is not the time to discuss it, but I have evidence that NXIVM was working through lawyers to help ensure Joe was indicted on these phony charges.
It was Nxivm’s policy to incentivize lawyers and consultants to get an indictment on one of their enemies. And Joe was definitely an enemy.
My bet is that money changed hands when Joe was indicted.
But, knowing nothing of the background, Scott Johnson wrote:
“Joe, you left out the part about being sorry for ripping off the school system in El Paso, TX.”
Joe O’Hara replied,
1) Have you ever considered the possibility of there being a link between El Paso and NXIVM?
(2) Why do you think that I have to explain every aspect of my life to you just because I occasionally post a story about NXIVM? If you don’t like what I write, don’t read it.
Scott further commented on Joe’s story about Nancy. He was referring to the part of Joe’s post where Joe said he observed Kathy Russell working as almost a slave in Nancy Salzman’s garden – deprived in the hot sun of something to drink.
Scott wrote, “If Joe had shared this story several years ago, it may have saved a lot of people from harm. But like most people, he didn’t.”
Before getting to Joe’s response, I think it is important for me to note that Joe is certainly one of the
Even Toni Natalie, who has fought the longest, would probably have to acknowledge that Joe has fought as hard – and suffered as much or more – than even she did.
And, as Toni tells the story, it was because Joe reached out to her back in 2005 that she herself did not end up going to prison on more trumped-up NXIVM charges.
Toni has told many people that if she had to choose anyone to be in a foxhole with – it would be Joe O’Hara. Joe never forgets what side he’s on. And he never stops fighting just because the odds are stacked against him.
In any event, Scott knows nothing of this. How could he? He wasn’t there during the thick of the fight. When it was actually dangerous to be an enemy of NXIVM.
Scott often condemns people for posting anonymous comments. But if he faced the terrorism by litigation and by the extra-legal means used by NXIVM, narrowly focused on a few individuals, with the Bronfman money and Raniere’s hatred of people – Scott might better understand the reason for prudence.
Why even today, many people are still frightened by NXIVM.
These NXIVM bastards have influenced courts, prosecutors, State Troopers, even the Department of Justice – and who knows what they would do – if the courts and prosecutors failed them?
Scott has made a lot of noise about Amway. So have a lot of others. Amway is a much bigger operation than NXIVM and has not been known to do the illegal, unethical things NXIVM does to its enemies.
It’s safe to criticize Amway.
For many years, until Joe and others made it different, it was very unsafe to criticize Nxivm.
In any event, Scott chides Joe for not telling a certain story earlier.
This finally prompted Joe to write a longer reply to Scott – which deserves in my opinion – its own separate post:
“These are the kind of comments that confirm just how uninformed you are when it comes to the history of NXIVM.
“Beginning in early 2005, Toni Natalie and I started turning over every bit of information we had to a variety of governmental agencies and officials (This information was compiled into several 5″, 3-ring binders). This included federal agencies and officials, New York State agencies and officials, and agencies and officials in Albany County and Saratoga County.
“In addition to turning over materials, we also participated in numerous meetings to explain everything we knew about what was going on – and to answer questions about NXIVM’s operations. Once again, this included federal officials, New York State officials, and officials from Albany County and Saratoga County.
“Along the way, Toni and I identified a few people who were willing to put their careers – and, in some cases, their lives – at risk to take on NVIVM. This included Dennis Yusko and Jim Odato from The Times Union, Chet Hardin from Metroland, and John Tighe from Saratoga In Decline. Later, Frank Parlato also stepped up to the front-line of the battle.
“Those of us who have been engaged in this battle from the beginning are always pleased to see more people joining in to help take down Raniere’s criminal enterprise. But we really don’t have time to respond to uninformed people who question our motives or our tactics — or who make baseless allegations about what we did or didn’t do in terms of a specific issue at a different point in time.
“You claim to be an expert on Amway – and to have been involved in a long-term battle to take that operation down. When it comes to Amway, I don’t question your history, your motivation, your strategy, or your tactics – and I certainly don’t make baseless allegations about what you did or didn’t do in your battle against Amway because I don’t know enough about that situation to raise any such questions. Nor do I raise questions about any other aspect of your life that is unrelated to Amway because I don’t see why such questions would be relevant.
“But that’s just me…”