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Colorado Springs Fellowship Church Files $75M Claim Against Federal Government, Citing Grand Jury Abuse Related to Religious Discimination, Freedom of Association - EWORLDWIRE

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Colorado Springs Fellowship Church

Company Information :
Colorado Springs Fellowship Church
3578 Harstel Drive
Colorado Springs, CO 80920
Ph. 719-271-5854

Colorado Springs Fellowship Church Files $75M Claim Against Federal Government, Citing Grand Jury Abuse Related to Religious Discimination, Freedom of Association

For Immediate Release

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo./EWORLDWIRE/April 9, 2010 --- Court records indicate that Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Kirsch selectively targeted Colorado Springs Fellowship Church members strictly based on religious affiliation with the Church. Church members were called in to testify before a grand jury investigating business-related fraud, but Church members say they were subjected to a barrage of questions about the Church and Pastor Rose Banks, not related to the matter under investigation. The alleged abuse by the prosecutor was so pervasive that the grand jury foreman stated in open court that the Pastor was the target of the investigation.

CASE: Colorado Springs Fellowship Church, Administrative Tort Claim (Department of Justice, Civil Division, Torts Branch) Case # 157-16-45999.

RELATED CASES: Federal Criminal Case # 09-cr-00266-CMA & 09-cr-00151-CMA

The Colorado Springs Fellowship Church's claim cites specific incidents where Assistant United States Attorney Matthew T. Kirsch, and FBI Agents John Smith and Robert Moen used the power of the grand jury process to selectively and maliciously pursue the Colorado Springs Fellowship Church, its Pastor and its members during the course of a criminal investigation of a local business. The Church and its members claim that 1st and 4th Amendment rights were violated.

Others outside the Church with intimate knowledge of the target companies were not subjected to any interviews, nor were they called to testify before the grand jury about their knowledge related to these companies.

Over 9,000 pages of a total 18,000 pages of discovery in the small business case were actual Church banking records and personal banking records of Pastor Banks and numerous church members. The Pastor and these parishioners are not named in any search warrants, nor they have been notified that they were under investigation by the U.S. Attorney's Office. AUSA Kirsch's and the U.S. Attorney's Office actions indicated they were secretly targeting the church, which became overwhelming apparent when - in open court during a related case - AUSA Kirsch questioned grand jury foreman Cynthia Haid about who the target of the investigation was. Ms. Haid shockingly responded, "Rose Banks" (Pastor of The Colorado Springs Fellowship Church).

The Tort Claim was filed in November 2009. The federal government has six months to respond to the filing (response expected between April – May 2010).

Other basis for claim:

- Allegations that the FBI and the Postmaster General searched personal business mail boxes and mail box records of several members of the Colorado Springs Fellowship Church. These parishioners are not named in any search warrants and have not been notified that they are under investigation by any of these federal agencies.

- Parishioners lost jobs and reputations were destroyed when FBI agents went to places of employment and to neighbors, criminalizing them

- Two members of the Colorado Springs Fellowship Church sought to meet with an appellate court clerk, only to be surrounded by armed immigration and customs agents called to the federal courthouse based on a false report of their intentions (no arrests or detention of any sort occurred from this incident).

Bivens claims are expected to be filed soon by the Colorado Springs Fellowship Church.

In addition to the above cited situation, the church also believes that the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Judge Christine Arguello of the United States District Court of Colorado colluded in their efforts to convict the Pastor’s daughter Lawanna Clark to a six-month jail sentence for perjury and to deny her bail pending appeal - even though undisputable post-trial evidence exonerated Clark completely.

The defense team brought in Certified Forensic Document Examiner Judith A. Housley who provided findings sufficient to prove innocence and exonerate Clark. In fact, the handwriting expert proved without question that Clark was innocent.

Judge Arguello has, in addition, denied a 30-day period for reporting to a correctional facility, demanding the Pastor’s daughter to report to a correctional facility within 15 days of being notified by the Bureau of Prisons (despite probation officers' appeals to consider the normal reporting period of 30 days).

The church believes that the U.S. Attorney for Colorado, David Gaouette, in a deliberate and malicious act, issued a press release on Jan. 27, 2010, citing the small business indictment as the "Banks Indictment" in the Government's continuing effort to slander Pastor Banks and the Colorado Springs Fellowship Church in the press.

The press release highlighted the statement which led to Mrs. Clark conviction, without mention of posttrial evidence that proved Clark's innocence.

Mrs. Clark's appeal is being handled by noted criminal defense attorney John Cline who defended Oliver North, Los Alamos scientist Wen Ho Lee, and was part of the defense team for Lewis "Scooter" Libby.

The latest development in this matter is the blanket distribution of personal claims filed by the church, Pastor and parishioners being sent to criminal defense attorneys representing defendants in the criminal case. The church and members are incensed by this violation of their privacy.

Many letters related this matter have been written to high-level officials in the Obama administration and Department of Justice, including President Obama and Eric Holder, with no internal investigation being ordered. The Civil Division of The Department of Justice (DOJ) recently responded in writing acknowledging receipt of the Church's claim and other claims filed by the Pastor and Church members.

Other letters have been sent to the ACLU, Al Sharpton of the National Action Network, Melanie Sloan of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, and Jesse Jackson and Jesse Jackson Jr. of the Rainbow Push Coalition.

The Department of Justice Civil Division has referred the matter to the DOJ Office of Inspector General and Office of Professional Responsibility to investigate the activities of AUSA Kirsch and the U.S. Attorney's Office in Colorado.

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Sam Thurman
Colorado Springs Fellowship Church
3578 Harstel Drive
Colorado Springs, CO 80920
PHONE. 719-271-5854

KEYWORDS: government, corruption, religion, discrimination, justice, abuse, church, prosecutor

SOURCE: Colorado Springs Fellowship Church


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