Filings in Jefferson Case Reveal New Improper Relationship Between an FBI Agent and a Witness

160px-william_jefferson_official_photo27nwModyThe post-trial proceedings in the case of former congressman William Jefferson took a sordid turn today with the discussion of yet another allegation of an FBI agent having a sexual relationship with a witness. FBI agent John Guandolo appears to have had such a relationship with the government’s lead informant, Lori Mody. The government surprised many in the trial in declining to call Mody to the stand. Judge T.S. Ellis III refused to order a new trial and insisted that the defense had no proof that the relationship had an impact on testimony in the case or, more importantly, the verdict of the jury.

Lead FBI agent, Timothy Thibault did not inform the court or parties about the relationship until four days before jury selection began. Ellis then refused to allow the relationship to be discussed at the trial.

The government not only declined to call Mody but did not introduce her statements at trial. However, they did enter tapes of conversations between her and Jefferson in a sting operation.

Nevertheless, Ellis insisted that “Defendant offers no basis for concluding that the evidence of the Mody-Guandolo relationship was relevant to any matters in issue at trial and therefore admissible. . . There is absolutely no indication that Thibault knew about the relationship prior to June 5, 2009. Moreover, Thibault’s apparent failure to discover the relationship does not undermine the credibility of the matters of which he testified.”

That is pretty generous to the government. Yet, Ellis is likely to be upheld by the Fourth Circuit on such a question. The problem is that such relationships can go to the motivation of the key witness in the case as well as the motivation of one of the agents. The problem is that defendants are constantly told to “prove’ that the relationship influenced a case while being denied evidentiary hearings or discovery that would uncover such an influence.

The defense objected that the relationship should have been permitted as a subject of the cross-examination of Thibault. Ellis simply did not see how it would be relevant.

This is the second high-profile case in less than a year where an FBI agent has been accused of having a sexual relationship with a key witness and hiding that relationship. In the Ted Stevens case (also prosecuted in the Washington area), FBI whistleblower, Agent Chad Joy, disclosed a personal relationship between the lead FBI agent in the case, Mary Beth Kepner, and Bill Allen, the CEO of an Alaska oil services firm, here. It is beginning to look like agents are trolling for dates in high-profile cases. There is no indication of what punishment has been meted out in these cases, if any.

The allegation does shed light on the decision not to call Mody to the stand.

Of course, it could be worse. As we have been discussing, Charles Dean Hood was a bit alarmed in Texas when he found that the judge and prosecutor in his death penalty case were sleeping together. A Texas court has ruled that it really doesn’t matter, here

For the full story, click here and here.

20 thoughts on “Filings in Jefferson Case Reveal New Improper Relationship Between an FBI Agent and a Witness”

  1. “did anyone other than me think it was the height of appropriateness that the criminal clown appeared on “Dancing With The Stars” wearing a brown shirt?”

    didn’t think of it till you mentioned it but yeah that’s so. In fact his outfit with a few minor modifications would make a good SA uniform.

  2. Vince,

    Thanks for posting that article. It reminds me of the books that Peter Lance wrote, one of which is entitled “A Thousand Years for Revenge.” It focuses on how the FBI screwed up a very good thing in an Egyptian asset that one agent discovered. This asset was SITTING IN while the Sheik was planning the first WTC attack. The behavior of FBI is mind-boggling. In subsequent books, he brings more to the table about the arrogance, idiocy, bureaucratic back-stabbing that goes on.

    Lest someone accuse me of being unpatriotic, I’m not condemning the entire agency. I have some other “issues” that I won’t go into about the effect they had on the chronic pain community, including friends of mine that died because of their wrongheaded actions taken on an innocent doctor.

    After I read all of Peter Lance’s books, the impression I have of some agents is that there are silly schoolchildren, smoking in the bathroom, and spreading lies about anyone not in attendance.
    That goes for their handling of terrorism as well. I would hope they would learn something from these critiques, but apparently their arrogance is their only skill.

    I heard the FBI made Ephraim Zimbalist Jr. a honorary member of FBI. That’s what they are very good at.

    Wouldn’t be surprised if I got a visit because of this. That’s not paranoia, I learned that from experience as a pain patient.

  3. Getting back to the story at the top, the amorous FBI agent is now hitting the lecture circuit as an anti-Muslim speaker.

    It is reporter Justin Elliott at Marshall’s TPM who has the fundown:

    [quoting] Perhaps it’s not a surprising that Guandolo has emerged issuing what can charitably be described as overheated warnings about Islamic extremism. From the Shelbyville Tennessee Times-Gazette in February:

    [quoting agent] “Every major Muslim organization is controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood, the former FBI agent said, which he said was formed to overthrow America and establish Islamic law.

    “They’re having great success of implementing Shariah law, I could give you a thousand examples,” Guandolo said. [end of agent’s quote]

    Guandolo, the Times-Gazette reported, worked on counterterrorism issues while at the FBI and now works with “Stephen Coughlin, former Islamic Expert for the Joint Chiefs of Staff.” He was not in when we called his home in Virginia. [unquote]

    That local coverage from Shelbyville is at

    The agent would be better off giving lectures to the lovelorn.

  4. What I want to know about Tom Delay was did anyone other than me think it was the height of appropriateness that the criminal clown appeared on “Dancing With The Stars” wearing a brown shirt?

    A brown shirt.


    You can’t write humor like that. Only find it.

    And while we’re at it, there’s something wrong with the expression, “mired in a drought”. Doesn’t a mire have a liquid or semi-liquid component?

  5. Mike S.

    Actually the DeLay case is a little more complicated that that. I say this unfortunately, Ronnie Earle retired and no one is as pissed off at him as was Ronnie. It was a long standing fued between the two. It took three Grand jurys before Earle could get a criminal indictment. I believe that they are in the appeals process to decide what is and can be used at trial. I think this should explain some of the pardon the pun delay.

  6. How come Jefferson’s case has already been tried and Tom DeLay’s
    hasn’t yet gone to court. Oh yeah: Jefferson, Black Democrat and
    DeLay, white, Republican Texan. I’m not excusing Jefferson, but just wondering how DeLay is now on Dancing With the Stars and not in court or in jail.

  7. eniobob
    It has been one of my missions in life to turn people on to that pen. Not only because of the prevention of fraud, BUT they are green, that is, you can get refills. The refills are as expensive as the pens, but the pens are cheap enough that you can throw it away, or do a little part in green. ALSO, the Uniball refill also fits in the bigger version of the pen AND fits Pentels, while writing like Faber-Cassel’s, which in the past was only available in Art or Architecture stores. That’s the final reason I love these: while they write very well, when you lend it to someone, you don’t have to worry about them losing the cap, which is always in my house. A simple click keeps it from going dry.

    Too much info? I’m really not kidding.

    So I have a fetish for stationery and such. Probably not the place to bring it up, but….

  8. I thought tha I would pass this,PSA along to everyone:Walmart and Office Depot carry the Uni-ball 207 pen.
    “They are marked “Helps Prevent Check Fraud” on the packaging.

  9. Aren’t there regulations and codes of conduct that prohibit ‘even the appearance of conflict of interest’? There were for we blue collar workers when I worked for the Federal govt. It was an offense worthy of discipline up to and including firing.

    There seems to be no accountability in our government infrastructure above the lowest levels of worker-bees.

  10. My father’s best friend was in the FBI. He fell in love with the TARGET of the investigation, a madam that didn’t have personal clients, but organized other ladies of the evening. He had to resign, and the married and lived happily ever after.

    That was in the late 60’s. I would think “debriefing” a witness in this manner would be far more egregious. And denying the defendant the right to know? More and more, defendants are being treated as portrayed in the story and movie, The Trial, with Anthony Perkins and Orson Welles. I have a spare, unopened copy if anybody would like to see it.

  11. The best Government Witnesses are Pro’s or Prostitutes, or ladies of the evening or Ho’s male or female take your choice.

  12. Ah, the sacrifices one makes for government service. Judge Ellis finds no reason to permit the jury to hear that the FBI agent is sleeping with the informant. Wonder if he’d feel the same way if they were married?

  13. Perhaps the solution is simply to place coitus among the recmmended procedures for interogation and dialog used by FBI agents. In time this could be extended to all of the federal law enforcement agencies. What does debriefing really mean anyway?

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