Book Review: Licensed to Lie

On one of the Fox news commentary shows mentioned the book, Licensed to Lie. They didn’t give many details, but my interest was piqued. I decided to check out the book from my local library. All the books were already checked out and there was a waiting list. I added my name to the list. After more than a month, I received notice the book was available for check-out.

Licensed to Lie was written by Sidney Powell a female attorney. The subtitle of her book is “Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice”. The theme of her book is Justice Department prosecutors aren’t out for justice, they are out for blood. Win at any cost, even if it means violating ethics rules. Powell’s clients were persecuted (sic) even though they haven’t broken any laws. One of the main points in her book is prosecutors are required to share evidence with the defense but routinely refuse to do so. When she objected on behalf of her clients, her trial judge consistently ruled in favor of the prosecution. She lost her case and appeals because she couldn’t get a fair shake from the “corrupt” Justice Department, the “biased” trial judge, or from the appellate courts.

The book also devotes a few chapters to the prosecution of Alaska senator Ted Stevens. He was also persecuted by a corrupt Justice Department. Only he was eventually vindicated. Different judge, different appeals court, different outcome.

Powell’s book goes into depth on the trials, prosecutions, and appeals surrounding the Enron scandal. Even though it wasn’t the primary intent of the book, the book is a good expose` about what happened after the Enron collapse.

Licensed to Lie reminded me of a courtroom drama TV show except Powell book is about the legal process. The jury had already found her clients guilty. In the book, she is going before the judge multiple times to argue the legal issues surrounding her case. More often than not, she lost.

U.S. attorneys rarely lose. When they have their teeth around a defendant, they’re not going to let go. They will do whatever it takes to ensure victory. As I read about the drama of appeals, court battle after court battle, the government spending millions on the persecution, I wondered how can these defendants afford all the legal fees that went into their defense and appeals. After reading the book, I’m glad Justice Department attorneys don’t have a beef with me.

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