Perjured Testimony Emerges in Butler Trial
By Edward Snook
Franklin County, Idaho – Neil Butler’s felony trial over his alleged failure to pay a use tax on one of 26 vehicles he owns is history. The trial began on November 3, 1997 and was expected to last 5-6 days, yet survived only until mid-afternoon on Wednesday, November 5.
The false and malicious prosecution of Neil Butler was actually a vendetta, pushed by corrupted Prosecutor, Jay McKenzie and other corrupt public officials, as was reported in the August through November editions of the Oregon Observer.
Judge Don L. Harding stopped the trial cold in its heated tracks before it went to the jury, dismissing the false charge against Butler.
Represented by a legal team consisting of “Terry McCauley of Oregon and Bruce Larson and Stewart Morris of Idaho, Neil Butler was unable to present his defense which promised to expose much more than his innocence.
While Judge Harding was in recess on Wednesday, deciding the defense motion to dismiss, Butler was approached with actually four different offers from the prosecution. The offer of pleading guilty to a misdemeanor was presented and rejected by Butler (along with two variations), then the offer that the State would drop charges if Butler would agree not to sue them was presented to Butler and his point blank response to this offer was, “Tell them to go to hell.” This was quite a response from Butler, who is quite a man with quite a backbone. Not many men would pay out over $120,000.00 to fight a false and malicious felony charge, especially given the fact that Butler could have paid a mere $150.00 fine months ago and had this entire nightmare behind him.
Day One of the Butler Trial
On Monday morning, before the trial, this investigative reporter was standing outside the courtroom waiting for court to start when the bailiff and a deputy sheriff approached me and said that Judge Harding wanted to see me in his chambers. As I entered the star chamber of Judge Don Harding I saw the Judge standing behind his desk, the court reporter ready to start typing and all the attorneys standing around the outside of the dimly lit room. The Judge asked me if I had been handing out copies of the November edition of the Oregon Observer, to which I answered yes. Looking down I observed a copy of the November edition on Harding’s desk which possessed the headline, “Mormon Judge Exposed.” With his voice cracking, Harding ordered me to not hand out any copies of the paper within a hundred yards of the courthouse and then he asked me if I would obey this order. Rather than take on a perfect 1st amendment issue, I decided that I should not cloud the trial and I agreed. The Judge was clearly and understandable upset as the November edition accused him of being a tax-evader and basically an out and out crook. The Judge didn’t mention any of the charges that the Observer had leveled at him, but did mention that he would impose severe penalties if I violated his order. As our readership can surmise, this just shook my world.
Tagged, “Preston’s own O.J. trial” by Arrin Brunson, a staff writer for the Herald Journal out of Logan, Utah, eighty registered voters were summoned to the Franklin County courthouse to participate in the jury selection process. The jury was questioned nearly all day by Judge Harding. One juror referred to Jay McKenzie as “Brother Jay.” When questioned by the Judge as to whether or not they know Mark Beckstead (a Sheriff’s deputy and potential witness), one juror responded, “Yea, I know him and he’s an asshole.” Laughter broke out throughout the courtroom and the juror was dismissed. I wonder how much laughter will take place when the vile officials are in federal court answering their false and malicious prosecution of Neil Butler. The end of the day found a jury seated, which consisted of ten women, two men and one female alternate.
Tuesday, November 4th found the prosecution putting on its case, which, to the observation of any prudent person, only proved that they didn’t have a case.
Eric Elli, with the State Department of Transportation gave only opinions and Sherman Berger, while he ran off rules and regulations like an expert, in the end only proved that he had no factual basis for his opinion that Butler had committed a crime.
State Police officer Lauman actually gave evidence which helped show that Butler never broke any laws and when Lauman wasn’t on the stand assisting the defense, he was in the parking lot practicing his photography on Neil Butler’s vehicles. All in all these three witnesses presented testimony (if you could call it that) which only served to expose the fact that the prosecution of Neil Butler was nearly as much a joke as it was a false and malicious prosecution.
Sheriff Beckstead Commits Perjury
The prosecution called Sheriff Don Beckstead, Franklin County’s famous torture chair officer to the stand only to find him committing perjury on cross examination. Beckstead claimed that he really didn’t dislike Butler and that he wasn’t out to get him, yet on one occasion he thought he had called him a “bastard.” The Sheriff lied under oath and had the defense been able to present its case, testimony would have shown that the Sheriff actually made statements to the effect that he would like it if Butler were dead. Other statements would have proved that he actually hates Neil Butler, that he has falsely accused him on different occasions by reportedly turning him in to federal agencies in attempts to get him falsely prosecuted and that he has attempted to intimidate those who do business with Butler in an attempt to harm Butler’s business. Preston county citizens should realize that a newspaper can’t legally go around making groundless accusations of perjury. If these statements of fact were not true then Beckstead would surely move to protect his good name. Maybe the citizens of Franklin County should ask him why he doesn’t take some action against the Oregon Observer, or maybe the citizens should not waste their time and just realize that what we are printing is sad but true.
Who Will Prosecute Beckstead?
Brother Jay McKenzie is responsible for prosecuting crimes in Franklin County, yet it has been reported to The Oregon Observer that on numerous occasions he has refused to prosecute drug cases and even a rape case. Will he prosecute Sheriff Beckstead for perjury? How can he when he should be prosecuted himself? It is a proven fact that McKenzie has misused the law in unrelated cases in his efforts to scare money out of people and it is a proven fact that Jay McKenzie should not possess the power to prosecute innocent people.
All in all the Butler trial bordered the absurd. With sheriff deputies (as well as the Sheriff) standing in the hall outside the courtroom giving intimidating looks to Butler’s supporters, to their frequent peering through the small windows in the courtroom doors, to bailiff, Gary McKenzie (Jay McKenzie’s brother) reportedly making false statements to Judge Harding about Edward Snook of the Oregon Observer, to Judge Harding yelling at the attorneys and then stomping out of the courtroom (like a child), slamming the door to his chambers behind him, this was definitely one for the scrap books.
What’s Next for Neil Butler?
Just as Neil Butler refused to allow crooks to coerce him into a guilty plea, so will be his efforts to hold the shamed officials in Franklin County accountable. His attention is on other victims at this time, victims who can’t financially afford to attain justice. Butler will go the distance to get bad people in government out of government in Franklin County and his vehicle for accomplishing this will be in the form of a federal civil rights lawsuit.
Since Butler’s acquittal on the false use tax charge, he and Attorney Bruce Larson will meet with the Idaho State Tax Commission in Boise, Idaho, something they tried to do months ago, before the State wasted tens of thousands on their unsuccessful attack on him. Butler was instructed that he legally didn’t have to pay the Commission a dime, but when informed of the amount that the commission thought was due, Butler promptly paid them $2,000.00. Butler’s payment represented a complete settlement between him and the state, however the money that was paid will be returned to Butler if the Commission finds that there is reciprocity with the State of North Carolina. Does this sound like someone who is attempting to avoid anything?
As the Oregon Observer leaves this issue until our next edition, we would prompt the citizens of Franklin County to get more involved in their affairs (their local and state government). We would also prompt Arrin Brunson, staff writer for the Logan, Utah Herald to start printing the truth instead of leaving that establishment twist on her headlines and throughout her articles. When Arrin states, “Butler’s trial gained much attention because of his unorthodox political views and his support from constitutionalists,” she is simply showing her connection to, and support of crooks. Why don’t you try some real investigative journalism Arrin, it’s very rewarding. As for your claim that Butler is unorthodox, this is simply a lie or else you don’t have a proper grasp on the English language. Unorthodox is basically defined as heresy Arrin and when you make this claim against Butler you had better add Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, the Oregon Observer and maybe even Senator Orrin Hatch and Brigham Young to your statement as these share the same basic political views with Neil Butler.
As far as your claim that Butler has support from constitutionalists, why do you put a negative twist on those who study and understand the Constitution? Did you pick up this tactic from the inept and un-American Attorney General from the State of Idaho, All Lance, or did you get it from the bought and paid for media in your area? Once again, you should add some very great and famous people beside Butler’s name when you attempt to wrongfully color constitutionalists.
Having met you at the trial Arrin, I would hate to think that as a journalist you have failed to see that Neil Butler was falsely charged and maliciously prosecuted by a bunch of un-talented and un-intelligent crooks. I’m certain you couldn’t have been offended by the Oregon Observer’s headlines containing the word Mormon, or on the other hand, knowing that you are of the Mormon religion, could you possibly have been offended and could you yourself be showing a little protectivism towards the “brethren” in Franklin County? I certainly hope not.
All in all the fact is that Neil Butler has been acquitted, Sheriff Beckstead committed perjury, corruption in Franklin County is now on the defensive and truth has once again prevailed.
Losing is acceptable to some; winning is everything at The Oregon Observer.