Yes you read that right -- 90% of the time! Ron has written to Attorney General Merrick Garland asking him to review the case.
He has also filed to have the case dismissed with the judge in the case.
Ron wrote a very powerful piece about my innocence and the larger fight at stake here -- What Is It About A Successful Black Entrepreneur that So Threatens the Establishment.
1. The Prosecutors' Troubling Racial Records
Since 2019, in increasingly white Brooklyn, the three white prosecutors in my case -- Jonathan Siegel, Gillian Kassner and Dylan Stern -- have gone after black and brown people in 90% of their cases. You read that right -- 90%! And they still have a job.
In my case, I live and work in California, and they went to the other side of the country to find yet another black person to prosecute. (Read Harvard Law Professor Ron Sullivan's Letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland.) Of note, my white competitors – who they have not prosecuted despite enormous amounts of evidence of questionable and even potentially criminal activity (BuzzFeed's Ben Smith and Jonah Peretti and VICE's Shane Smith) -- are based in and around Brooklyn.
2. Selective Prosecution
The fact that charges were brought at all for mistakes that, even if true (and most are not), are not crimes and that pale in comparison to what VICE, BuzzFeed, Uber, WeWork, and a countless number of White CEOs are credibly alleged to have engaged in (e.g. "Vice was built on a bluff") is the very definition of selective prosecution.
3. Charging the Company
Not only was I charged, but so was OZY, effectively killing the company. Charging a company is an extremely rare practice in such cases. For example, even Theranos, Enron, FTX, and The Weinstein Company were not charged. By charging OZY as well as me, the White prosecutors basically killed a Black owned company -- essentially a form of government taking and put dozens of OZY employees and contractors out of work and damaged valued partners and clients.
On February 23rd, FBI agents kicked open my hotel door at 6:30 am to arrest me as though I was some fugitive. Sadly, if I had not been up and working already, this could have led to a confrontation and perhaps my death. They did this kind of brutal assault even though I had a well-known lawyer (Lanny Breuer) who they were in touch with, and I was not a flight risk at all. Even SBF, Elizabeth Holmes, and Harvey Weinstein got to turn themselves in.
5. Prejudicial Press Release
Even the judge has said that the prosecutors' press release has likely undercut my right to a fair trial ("Federal Prosecutors Benchslapped"). Judge Eric Komitee: "a substantial likelihood that [the government's actions in Watson's case] interfere with a fair trial..."
6. Main Justice Prejudicial Comments
Mere days after my arrest, the Deputy AG Lisa Monaco essentially declared me guilty at the major White Collar legal conference before I had even hired a lawyer. What happened to "innocent until proven guilty"?
7. Delayed Decisions
The judge took significant time (6 months+) to decide on actions we believe to be meaningfully prejudicial like the press release and the improper seizure of my phones and computers
8. No Remedy
Although the judge found that the prosecutors have likely interfered with my right to a fair trial, he still is not forcing the government to take the press release down or even throw the case out. "As a remedy for these potentially prejudicial statements, Komitee ordered ... nothing. That’s right: zilch." (Reuters)
9. Insurance Company
For two years, the insurance company was allowed to put my liberty at risk by dragging its feet in paying out my D+O insurance so I could hire the best lawyer. One could argue, if they had paid out the policy as they should have, I would have gotten better counsel up front and perhaps avoided an indictment altogether.