DENVER, April 11, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Court records show that the first grand jury failed to indict the IRP6 because like former federal appeals judge H. Lee Sarokin said, Assistant United States Attorney Matthew T. Kirsch was prosecuting the IRP6 for "failing to pay corporate debts." "But that is not a federal crime, is it?...If I don't pay somebody for the work they've done, that's not a federal crime," a grand juror pointed out. However, Assistant United States Attorney Matthew Kirsch wouldn't leave empty handed as he would relentlessly pursue the Banks family and their church.
Lawanna Clark, the sister of IRP6 defendant David Banks, was indicted by Kirsch for allegedly lying to the grand jury on 3 out of the 285 questions she was asked by the prosecutor. "It's implausible that Lawanna would truthfully answer 99% of Kirsch's questions and choose to lie on the other 1%," says Cliff Stewart of A Just Cause. "And given Kirsch's suspicious line of questioning, it was clear he was much more interested in the Colorado Springs Fellowship Church and Pastor Rose Banks, Lawanna's mother," adds Stewart. Although Colorado U.S. Attorney spokesman Jeff Dorschner told a local news station that the church was not the target of the investigation, court documents substantiate that grand jury foreperson Cynthia Haid said Rose Banks was the target of the investigation. Clark proclaimed her innocence and proceeded to trial (Case no. 09-cr-00151-CMA).
The indictment alleged that Clark had lied when she told the grand jury that her sister, Yolanda Walker, the wife of IRP CEO Gary Walker, made two withdrawals from the IRP Solutions bank account by proxy. Yolanda Walker was prepared to testify that she signed the withdrawal slips but Clark's attorney Rick Kornfeld advised Walker her testimony would not be needed to win the case and also stated that the family shouldn't waste money on a handwriting expert because the case was in the bag. "We as a family were unsure about Mr. Kornfeld's recommendations for me not to testify and not hiring a handwriting expert to help Lawanna, but we later found out there was a backroom deal between Kornfeld and Kirsch to hand Lawanna over to be convicted. Prior to Lawanna's oral arguments before the 10th Circuit, Kornfeld, who was not appellate counsel, walked into the court, smirked at our family and went to sit with Kirsch as he argued to uphold Lawanna's conviction and deny her a new trial," says Walker.
Court documents show that Clark was convicted on a single count of perjury and acquitted on the two others counts. Kirsch presented the jury with two bank withdrawal slips from the IRP Solutions bank account that he said was signed by Clark. Instead of hiring a handwriting expert, Kirsch asked the jury to do a visual comparison against the bank signature card signed during the opening of the account. "It was irresponsible of Kirsch as a prosecutor not to check the veracity of Clark's statements with a handwriting expert," says Stewart. The family hired a handwriting expert after trial to prove Lawanna's innocence.
Handwriting expert Judith Housley took handwriting samples/exemplars from both Clark and her sister Yolanda Walker and concluded with scientific certainty that the handwriting on the bank withdrawal slips was not Clark's and it indeed, was, Yolanda Walker's. LAWANNA HAD TOLD THE TRUTH!!! Clark filed a motion asking Judge Arguello to grant a new trial based on the handwriting evidence that proved her innocence, which Kirsch vigorously opposed. Arguello denied the motion, stating that Clark should have exercised proper due diligence and brought the evidence forward during trial. Kirsch asked for a sentence of 18 months but Judge Arguello imposed a six month sentence. The 10th Circuit judges Briscoe, Murphy and Hawkins (sitting by designation from the 9th Circuit) also ignored Clark's innocence and refused to grant a new trial. "Lawanna Clark went to prison and now has to live with a felony the rest of her life for telling the truth," says Stewart.
"You have to be heartless, cruel and corrupt to knowingly send innocent people to prison," says Stewart. "The 10th Circuit has a cabal of 20 judges, 25% of whom were involved in wrongly-imprisoning Lawanna Clark and the IRP6, adds Stewart. "A Just cause will bring Lawanna's story to congressional judiciary committees to show a pattern of misconduct and bias by justice officials in Colorado against the Banks family, their church and IRP Solutions," concludes Stewart.
SOURCE A Just Cause