Originally published at: Day 1 of the Crypto6 Trial: Ian’s Lawyer Puts On A Strong Defense | Free Keene
Protest Outside US District Court Ahead Of Trial
The first day of the Crypto6 trial (Dec 6th, 2022) went well for the Crypto6’s defense. More on that in a bit. There appeared to be about ~25 supporters in attendance although not everyone was in any one place all at once. Some were protesting outside, some were denied entry to the courthouse due to an attempt at suppressing support for the crypto6 through new ID and mask rules. 4+ people were denied access for having religious or health objections to the new mask mandate. 3+ people were explicitly denied entry for a newly created and enforced ID rule written in response to people Crypto6 supporters objecting to a not legally authorized demand for ID that existed prior to November. The paperwork was finally obtained evidencing this and is available from the Telegram and Matrix read-only update groups which can be joined via links at TheCrypto6.com
Many news organizations came out to report on the only jury trail to be held in the past 2+ years at US District Count in the District Of New Hampshire. The short list of reporting organizations that were in attendance included at least NBC, the Union Leader, the Sentinel, and an independent documentary crew.
One of the most interesting things I learned about the jury selection process at the federal level is that while it’s “open” to the public to attend the majority of the proceedings are secret. The judge started off with providing information on the process and there being juror questions. Potential jurors were then questioned, of which we learned nothing more than there name and what each potential juror looked like in ~2-3 hours of interviews. In the background all you could hear was some classical music playing over the loudspeaker.
The judge qualified 36 jurors and of those 15 were selected for jury duty with 4 alternatives selected.
The process gives the defense and prosecution an opportunity to ask the group of jurors questions. Some of these were quite interesting.
Except for at the end of the trail the prosecution generally goes first, as they have the burden of proof.
The prosecution utilized this time to ask these questions of the jurors or potential jurors:
How many don’t own a PC? Two responded that they didn’t.
How many don’t own a smart phone? One person responded that they didn’t (he did have a landline however).
How many don’t have an email address? One responded that they have no email address.
They also asked about social media to which nearly everyone had some form of social media.
A question on how many in the crowd were early adopters got a response that only 5 in the crowd would consider themselves early adopters. An early adopter is someone who seeks out the latest technology rather than waiting until it’s established and more widespread to pick it up.
Interestingly while most didn’t consider themselves early adopters about half considered themselves tech savvy and two indicated that they were uncomfortable with tech altogether.
Nearly everyone indicated that they had at least heard of crypto before, but just one indicated that they owned crypto. That juror was promptly dismissed.
Most of the crowd believed that the average age of a crypto user was under 30.
Only half of the crowd had heard of the Nigerian prince email scam and the same was true of the grandson in jail scam.
The general consensus of the jurors was that older people were more vulnerable to scams.
The defense utilized this time to ask the following questions:
What is the reason people have not bought crypto? Some of the reasons given by juror included:
– I work too hard to give my money away
– I don’t understand it
– It’s a pyramid scheme
– I prefer physical assets that have tangible value
– Scared of hackers
Many thought that people not understanding it made it good tool for scammers to take advantage of.
Many believed crypto to be what scammers use.
Of the juror or potential jurors 10 thought that crypto led to more scams.
One juror said in the early days of crypto it was not backed by government.
At least one juror felt he leaned toward crypto being “shady”.
I made as many statistical observations as I could. While not ideal this boiled down to the federal court utilizing a very secretive process by which to select jurors. While the jury selection process is open to the public the actual interview questions and responses are not. This leaves the public with nothing other than what might be available from statistical observations based on outwardly appearances. Thus you may get a feel for the potential juror makeup without any good idea if the process was actually fair or just.
– 22 out of 36 potential jurors had gray hair, no hair, or hair loss
– 10 or more of the 36 potential jurors had brought their own masks to court rather than utilize ones provided by the court at no charge
– 16 of the 36 potential jurors were women
– 100% of the potential jurors were white
– 12 of 36 juror wore glasses
Of the 36 potential jurors they concluded by selecting 15 with 4 being alternatives that can be utilized should people get sick or otherwise miss a day of jury duty.
At this point the judge adjourns the jury for lunch, but not before saying that the jurors will not be exiting from the front door of the building due to “a lot of activity”. This was code for Mr Bitcoin. Mr Bitcoin attended a protest outside the courthouse alongside many reporters and other peace loving activists who support Ian Freeman & the Crypto6.
Once the jurors are released for lunch a bit more back and forth occurs in the courtroom between the judge, defense lawyer, and prosecutor’s team of lawyers.
One issue that was brought up is that the prosecution wants to utilize a prior co-defendant Renee Spinella as a witness in the case. As she has taken a plea deal she could in theory be forced to testify. However there remains an issue because while she can’t be charged again at the federal level forcing her to testify could be self incriminating at the state level should one of any number of intertwining states wish to prosecute her. This is not considered an issue of double jeopardy, but what it does mean is she is likely able to take the 5th despite having taken a plea deal. The defense also revealed that she is considering withdrawing her plea. However, this is unlikely to actually be possible as the circumstances where this can be done are severely limited. If she was poorly advised there however may be grounds for withdrawal, but such withdrawal are rarely granted as the burden on the defendant of proving incompetence is high.
One of the most interesting things in the trial was that jurors were explicitly banned from tooting. Tooting is like Tweeting, but via a more decentralized or federated technology. While there is a standard protocol this generally means Mastodon. This may very well be the first time a federal court has brought up a decentralized or federated social networking platform.
Another interesting note is that the judge said that witnesses will not be wearing masks.
Ian ran a money transmitting business.
That business was a money laundering business.
The one goal to not know where the money came from.
He was involved in romance scams.
He would receive scam money and give Bitcoin in return.
He was intentionally disengaged to serve scammers.
It’s your business. Don’t tell me what you use the Bitcoin for.
No expert is needed to understand Bitcoin.
Selling Bitcoin is not illegal, but Ian’s selling of Bitcoin was illegal.
Bitcoin is pseudo anonymous.
There is no name or account info.
Nobody knows its yours unless you tell them.
It can’t be recalled.
These unique properties are desired by scammers.
Victims don’t know what Bitcoin is.
Ian’s business was involved in:
– Cash deposits
– Wire transfers
– Stacks of cash sent via the mail
Ian charged 10% and sometimes 20% fees!
Ian helped scammers remain anonymous.
There are laws to stop the very types of crimes Ian engaged in.
Businesses have to comply with rules to protect people. This primarily revolves around the bank secrecy act.
– Registering with FinCIN
– Having an anti money laundering policy
– Filing suspicious activity reports with the government
He also had an obligation to stop suspicious activity.
– He did not register
– He did not do other things like file currency transaction reports
– Or file suspicious activity reports
He boasted he respected the scammers privacy.
Ian sold crypto via:
His central basis for doing business was: what you do with your bitcoin is your business. Don’t tell me what you do with it.
Kiosk not registered
“You can get crypto online in various ways. The cheaper ones don’t respect your privacy.”
He’d say to employees:
– Big spenders
– Major wales
He had signs that said “Do not tell staff what you do with your coin. It’s your business to do what you want with it.”
This catered to scammers.
Ian proceeded to expand the business from kiosks to online crypto sales and hired employees.
This enabled him to reach people nationwide.
This was more complicated and he had to use banks to do it.
Banks follow rules.
They would frequently close Ian’s accounts.
At this point she admits Ian did KYC and said that to banks when he did disputes.
He directed people to tell banks deposits were:
– Church donations
– Purchases of virtual goods
– Rare coins
Then afterward he told people to write a different note on receipts about purchasing Bitcoin.
He would sometimes ask for a phone # to verify people knew what they were doing.
He would claim to be a victim to the banks when a recall occurred.
Ian said to contact him via Telegram and in PC he kept selfies of pics on his PC.
Victims never communicated with Ian.
He never asked too many questions.
We’re going to talk about one victim. A 76 year old victim. She sent 3 transactions totally $75,000 over 3 days. Ian charged a 10% fee.
Ian hired people to open banks accounts.
Ian opened bank accounts or had people open bank accounts in the name of churches. Church Of The Invisible Hand. The Shire Free Church. Crypto Church Of NH. Reformed Satanic Temple. Shire Peace Church.
Never told banks he opened accounts for Bitcoin.
He would tell banks he opened accounts for church outreach.
He never paid taxes.
– Tax evasion
– Money laundering of wire frauds
He shared 55 clients with Aria.
He made a sale of Bitcoin to an undercover FBI agent posing as a drug dealer.
In response to questions from the undercover FBI agent posing as a drug dealer asking about KYC Ian responded he disables all that.
The undercover agent went and bought crypto from one of Ian’s vending machines two weeks later and paid a 14% fee.
Ian “looked the other way”.
At this point the defense lawyer gets up and has the opportunity to make his own opening statement and responds to many of the claims of the prosecutor:
Can’t omit things.
(Ie meaning the government is lying)
Sisti says: “government made up stories”, “freemans not a scammer”
If freeman worked with scammers “place scammer on stand”
(note: there is no scammer on the prosecution’s witness list to base the argument of him working with scammers off)
[They] “investigated Ian for years”
[They] “made him out to be bad man”
Ian is most likely the least violent man in this courtroom.
Ian got money back from a scammer for a mother.
He helped a Texas investigator.
Church is real.
Church does real things.
Aided homeless in Keene.
Fed the homeless.
Helped with the courts.
Helped with community service.
“Setup orphanages in Uganda”
Lots of misconceptions going around.
Time to clear the air.
Freeman setup a mosque for the Keene’s Muslim community.
He helps local businesses accept Bitcoin.
He shows them how to do it for free!
Many businesses use his help.
Freeman is not secretive.
Photos have his name on them.
Record of transactions.
Warns people of scams.
Refuses to partake in scams.
He rejects deals.
He turns people away.
He works with law enforcement, on more than one occasion.
Money transmission came info effect post 2002.
Bitcoin did not exist in 2002.
Statute does not even mention Bitcoin.
Corrected only after arrest, and the law then only went into effect in Jan 2021.
Freeman is not in a business.
He’s not even transmitting anything.
Freeman relied on the law to protect himself.
Freeman sought a licensed attorney for legal opinion and relied upon that legal opinion:
The legal opinion said:
1. He was not operating a business
2. Church is not involved in exchange
3. Bitcoin is owned by church, not involved in moving other peoples money
No criminal intent whatsoever.
The banking commissioner of New Hampshire even testified that they are not money transmitters, but simply vending crypto.
Nefarious actors do not get:
– Drivers license photos
– Photos, selfies
All this was preserved for years.
What bank allowed $750,000 to be transferred by a 76 year old?
Freeman is not working hand in hand with scammers.
He warned people of scammers and they still would do transactions.
The undercover agent posing as a drug dealer is a sorry excuse to hang charges on Ian.
Ian refused to do business with the undercover agent.
Freeman told him no.
Why did the undercover agent need to go to the vending machine if Ian agreed to sell him crypto?
This was a “forced transaction”.
Told after the fact.
“I can not tell you you can use that”
What was he suppose to do? Post an armed guard in front of the vending machine?
Vending machines were operated for years at one location without problems. The owner at Murphy’s Taproom said there were zero complaints.
Murphy’s Taproom is open to the public, police, liquor commission, etc.
Remember what I said earlier. We are a “rule of law nation”.
It’s not a “good enough system” that we have.
You all agreed to follow the rules.
We need you now to watch and keep an open mind.
Burden of proof is on them, and it is a heavy one, “beyond a reasonable doubt”.
Sisti asks jury to vote “not guilty”- they failed
That concludes day 1 of the Crypto6 trial.
For more details, pictures, videos, etc on the days events visit TheCrypto6.com and join the Matrix or Telegram read-only Crypto6 updates group. We have links to articles written by others, pictures, videos, and more.
Need a comment for a story your writing on the Crypto6? Want to get in touch? Need copyright sign off for your paper? Contact chris at thinkpenguin com for footage, pictures, potential interviews with those involved or surrounding the Crypto6 and more.