Jay Dobyns, the self-dramatizing Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Agent who semi-successfully infiltrated a Hells Angels charter in Prescott, Arizona, sort of wrote a book about it, sold his life story to Tony Scott, claimed he had done so much damage to the Angels that they wanted to kill him and rape his family, suffered a house fire, claimed the Angels did it then said they didn’t, found Jesus and created a new persona as an ATF whistleblower and Fox News darling will allegedly be in federal court in Tucson Monday to pursue his long running lawsuit against the ATF at trial.
Dobyns will be there all week. Then the trial will adjourn and resume during the week of July 22, 2013, at the United States Court of Federal Claims in the National Courts Building in Washington.
The Public is forbidden to attend this burlesque. The government wanted a public trial but Dobyns objected. An email exchange two weeks ago between Dobyns’ lawyer Jim Reed and David Harrington, the lawyer representing the government, informs readers about both the issue of sealing this trial and the hysterical nature of Dobyns case in general.
From Reed to Harrington:
The trial will be sealed because we cannot anticipate what matters discussed by any particular witness will be considered confidential under the protective order ahead of time. Most witnesses are going to testify to both the plaintiff’s case in chief and the counterclaims. Some things will be confidential under the protective order, and some things will not be. But as Judge Allegra said on May 17 and on previous status conferences, there are logistical challenges with respect to questions and testimony raising matters considered confidential under the protective order. Frankly, after the November 4, 2012 status conference (I believe that was the date), I believed it was a logistical impossibility to keep any portion of the trial open for that reason, and I believe I said as much.
Given the reach-outs by the press, I thought about it further to see if there was any possibility, but there are just too many testimonial rabbits that may need to be chased that can go into too many topics considered confidential under the protective order. And I do not want to be inhibited in my questioning just because there are members of the public or the media in the gallery.
From Harrington to Reed:
Since this is your position, and since Judge Allegra has made clear that both parties must agree to opening the trial, there is nothing more to discuss. This has obvious implications for the ability discuss trial proceedings, Please make sure that your client is aware that all matters raised, discussed, or addressed at trial are subject to the protective order, which means that they cannot be described or disclosed to anyone not admitted to the protective order. I will do the same.
From Reed to Harrington:
David, I have talked with my client, and each witness we question has either obvious or potential testimony regarding confidential information as defined by the amended protective order. Every single law enforcement witness will be speaking about law enforcement sensitive information or technology. The medical providers and family members will also be discussing confidential information. The only witness who might not discuss confidential information would be Edward Ackerley of U of A and in our opinion it is not worth opening up the courtroom for one or two witnesses – it is too disruptive to the process. And even with Dr. Ackerley, we are not certain if we might have to put some unorthodox question to him that might be considered confidential under the amended protective order.
Opening statements are going to discuss the ROIs (ATF Reports of Investigation), the 2008 SIR and will also refer to current and former ATF employees with respect to their conduct described in those ROIs and the SIR. Plaintiff’s opening will also discuss confidential medical information. The only way I was going to step around those issues would be to not talk about those issues, and that would compromise the plaintiff’s case and my advocacy for my client by my not doing so. And so we cannot agree to open any portion of the trial to the public or media.
I have other specifics, but I am not going into those because it is not necessary. For the reasons I have stated, the plaintiff cannot agree to any portion of the trial being open to the public.
Most of the case is now sealed including the witness and exhibits lists and most of the motions. An earlier witness list included ATF Agents John Ciccone, Darrin Kozlowski and Jenna Malone. The only confirmed name on next week’s list is District of Arizona Assistant United States Attorney Beverly Anderson.
Dobyns complained that the ATF violated the terms of a September 2007 settlement of an earlier lawsuit. Dobyns was paid $373,000 to settle that case. The first of two complaints in this suit was filed October 2, 2008.
Dobyns alleges the government breached paragraphs two and 10 of the settlement agreement.
Paragraph two states: “The Agency will reassign the Employee to a NIBIN Coordinator position in Tucson, Arizona. Should any threat assessment indicate that the threat to the Employee and his family has increased from the assessment completed in June 2007, the Agency agrees to fully review the findings with the Employee and get input from the Employee if a transfer is necessitated.”
And, paragraph 10 says: “This Agreement does not constitute an admission by the Agency or Employee of any violation of law, rule or regulation or any wrongful acts or omissions. The Agency agrees that it will comply with all laws regarding or otherwise affecting the Employee’s employment by the Agency.”
Making Agent Jay Whole
Dobyns seeks four categories of damages: Mental and emotional distress, financial, consortium and hedonic.
Consortium is a legal term that refers to “the conjugal fellowship of husband and wife, and the right of each to the company, cooperation and aid of the other in every conjugal relation.” Dobyns use of the term “hedonic” is peculiar to this case. The term usually refers to damages that are due to survivors after a death. Dobyns claims he is entitled to “hedonic damages for the loss of life’s enjoyment.”
In a recent joint stipulation, both Dobyns and the ATF agreed to the following six facts.
On June 9, 2006, Jay Dobyns executed a contract with Fox 2000 Pictures (Fox) concerning rights to his ‘life story.’
Mr. Dobyns entered into a second contract with Fox, also on June 9, 2006, in which he ‘agreed to render consultant services in connection with the development and possible production of the theatrical motion picture currently entitled Hell’s Angel.
On May 18, 2007, Jay Dobyns executed a contract with The Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, concerning an as-yet unwritten book, provisionally titled Almost Angels.
On September 20, 2007, Jay Dobyns and ATF executed a settlement agreement.
On Sunday, August 10, 2008, at about 3:30 a.m., a fire occurred at Mr. Dobyns’ house.
On February 10, 2009, the book No Angel: My Harrowing Undercover Journey to the Inner Circle of the Hells Angels by Jay Dobyns and Nils Johnson-Shelton was released for sale to the public.
Everything else, apparently, is open to debate.
A recent entry on Dobyns’ blog (which you can read here) presented Dobyns version of the lawsuit. The entry read in part:
“Beginning on Monday, June 10, 2013, at 10:00 a.m., my nine-year war becomes official in a United States Courthouse. It has been a long, hard, brutal and bloody fight to get to the point where the truth can be told.”
“I have never strayed from my respect and admiration for every ATF agent or supervisor who places themselves in the path of danger or makes the tough, real-time decisions on how we attack violent criminals.”
“My disgust is with those who are corrupted by the power of their titles and then use their influence to damage my ATF and hurt those who try to do it right.”
“I do not enjoy the position I am in. In a time when it is very easy to hate ATF, I love ATF, always have. Those who think that all of ATF is dirty are entitled to their opinions but I will never fully agree and will openly defend my position. In our purest sense we don’t go after guns. We go after violent criminals who use guns, bombs, and arson to commit crimes like murder, rape, drug dealing, home invasion, murder-for-hire and intimidation.”
“From 2004 to 2008 I was subjected to years of death and violence threats from criminals and crime organizations that I worked undercover on trying to expose and prosecute on behalf of the American people.”
“In return for having murder contracts issued and threats against my family, ATF removed every mechanism I had to protect myself, told me I was on my own and left me there to defend us against several international crime syndicates the criminals who thrive in them.”
“I blew the whistle on corruption; the Office of Special Counsel told the President exactly that about me. Chairman Issa did the same to Eric Holder. I did it again related to this lawsuit; my line in the sand had been crossed. I did it for me and my family but I also did so that no law enforcement officer would ever have to endure what I had to. If you tell the truth at ATF and DOJ and if the truth is not flattering of those in power you will pay a very heavy price.”
“Win or lose this trial, succeed or fail in my attempt at justice, I will have persevered against government corruption and restored my view of myself. The government will know that they messed with the wrong Cat on this.”