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Licensed to Lie: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice Hardcover – May 1, 2014

4.8 out of 5 stars 139 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


''Licensed to Lie reads like a cross between investigative journalism and courtroom drama. The takeaway is that both Bushies and Obamaites should be very afraid: over the last few years, a coterie of vicious and unethical prosecutors who are unfit to practice law has been harbored within and enabled by the now ironically named Department of Justice.'' --William Hodes, Professor of Law Emeritus, Indiana University, and coauthor, The Law of Lawyering

''When you ve finished reading this fast-paced thriller, you will want to stand up and applaud Powell's courage in daring to shine light into the darkest recesses of America's justice system. The only ax Powell grinds here is Truth.'' --Patricia Falvey, author of The Yellow House and The Linen Queen, and former Managing Director, PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP

''Last year four government officials demonstrably lied under oath, and nothing has been done to them--two IRS officials, the Attorney General, and James Clapper-which caused Ed Snowden to release the fact that the US is spying on its citizens and in violation of the 4th amendment. That our government is corrupt is the only conclusion. This book helps the people understand the nature of this corruption-and how it is possible for federal prosecutors to indict and convict the innocent rather than the guilty.'' --Victor Sperandeo, CEO and author, Trader Vic: Methods of a Wall Street Master

''This book is a testament to the human will to struggle against overwhelming odds to right a wrong and a cautionary tale to all-that true justice doesn't just exist as an abstraction apart from us. True justice is us, making it real through our own actions and our own vigilance against the powerful who cavalierly threaten to take it away.'' --Michael Adams, PhD, University Distinguished Teaching Associate Professor of English Associate Director, James A. Michener Center for Writers, University of Texas--Austinor

''I have covered hundreds of court cases over the years and have witnessed far too often the kind of duplicity and governmental heavy-handedness Ms. Powell describes in her well-written book, Licensed to Lie.'' --Hugh Aynesworth, journalist, historian, four-time Pulitzer Prize finalist, author, November 22, 1963: Witness to History



A former Justice Department lawyer, who now devotes her private practice to federal appeals, dissects some of the most politically contentious prosecutions of the last 15 years.

Powell assembles a stunning argument for the old adage, “nothing succeeds like failure,” as she traces the careers of a group of prosecutors who were part of the Enron Task Force. The Supreme Court overturned their most dramatic court victories, and some were even accused of systematic prosecutorial misconduct. Yet former task force members such as Kathryn Ruemmler, Matthew Friedrich and Andrew Weissman continued to climb upward through the ranks and currently hold high positions in the Justice Department, FBI and even the White House. Powell took up the appeal of a Merrill Lynch employee who was convicted in one of the subsidiary Enron cases, fighting for six years to clear his name. The pattern of abuse she found was repeated in other cases brought by the task force. Prosecutors of the accounting firm Arthur Andersen pieced together parts of different statutes to concoct a crime and eliminated criminal intent from the jury instructions, which required the Supreme Court to reverse the Andersen conviction 9-0; the company was forcibly closed with the loss of 85,000 jobs. In the corruption trial of former Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens, a key witness was intimidated into presenting false testimony, and as in the Merrill Lynch case, the prosecutors concealed exculpatory evidence from the defense, a violation of due process under the Supreme court’s 1963 Brady v. Maryland decision. Stevens’ conviction, which led to a narrow loss in his 2008 re-election campaign and impacted the majority makeup of the Senate, seems to have been the straw that broke the camel's back; the presiding judge appointed a special prosecutor to investigate abuses. Confronted with the need to clean house as he came into office, writes Powell, Attorney General Eric Holder has yet to take action.

The author brings the case for judicial redress before the court of public opinion.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 456 pages
  • Publisher: Brown Books Publishing Group; 1St Edition edition (May 1, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1612541496
  • ISBN-13: 978-1612541495
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (139 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #333,041 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By S. Dill on May 28, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a federal criminal defense attorney for nearly 20 years, this book resounded LOUDLY with me. The acts of the U.S. Attorney that she describes are endemic. I have been lied to, threatened with bar complaints and had complaints made to judges behind my back, all for trying to provide a zealous defense to my client. Everything Sidney Powell says here is true.

Not only is it true, but it's a page turner, including back stories of people whose lives were ruined by aggressive prosecutors. If you are interested in justice and the corruption of the process designed to provide it, READ THIS BOOK.
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Format: Hardcover
When I was a teenager I read the Exorcist, and until today, no book I have read since has come close to being as scary. Sidney Powell’s “Licensed to Lie” comes very close. Of course, the Exorcist is fiction and even though it’s scary, everyone knows that the danger is all in their minds. “Licensed to Lie” unfortunately is not fiction. The scary thought is that this book shows real examples of real people that are trusted with immense power to uphold the law; and that they have used that power to take away the freedom and fortune of defendants regardless of whether they have actually committed a crime or not. This book takes you through the process of prosecutors that have used unethical and illegal means to convict with the aid of sympathetic judges at each level of the trial and appeal process. Ms. Powell has demonstrated the courage to name names; and some of these names are still in high places within the government today. If this book doesn't scare the hell out of you, you’re not paying attention.
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Sidney Powell -– a DOJ prosecutor for ten years and then the last twenty as a private-practice, world-renown, federal appeals attorney -- has done the citizens of the United States a great service with his bold look at the rampant corruption in our supposed Department of Justice [“DOJ”]. Prosecutors specializing in coercion, subornation of perjury, witness-intimidation, witness tampering, illegal deep-sixing of evidence helpful to a defense, under no threat of real punishment even on rare occasion someone gets the goods on them…& the list goes on & on -- all done for career advancement. Worse, most federal judges helping them do it – acting more like heads of the prosecution team than neutral, truth & justice bound arbiters. In a word “DISGUSTING!” Jaw-dropping stuff all Americans should be aware of. I wasn’t surprised having lived it on the sharp-end myself -- "Innocents In Prison? No Kidding, Judge Rakoff!" -- [...] -- but I was strengthened that someone of Sidney’s stature was brave enough to expose the club! A club that specializes in inflicting gratuitous pain, while cowardly hiding behind robes & badges, to advance their own careers – in my book the real criminals. BTW: The white collar attorneys’ are a big part of the problem, most starting as prosecutors, many of whom themselves behaved this way to land their seven figure jobs & then make a fantastic living pleading out frightened people & suborning perjury vs or withholding witnesses from others. They should be the loudest voice for a DOJ cleansing but too much money is at stake. Thank you, Sidney! Everyone else, A must read!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is just the tip of the iceberg! You won't want to put the book down. Its story is frightening. The scariest part is that the stories are NOT fiction. Americans need to wake up to the tactics used by the "justice" department. If you think it couldn't happen to you, you are wrong. My husband & I actually lived through a nightmare similar to that of which this book describes. Everything mentioned in this book happened to us - bold face lies to judges, tampering with evidence, withholding of evidence, document dumps, intimidation - the list goes on. Two years of hell to have the charges dropped "due to evidentiary concerns." Time and time again, all across the country, federal prosecutors suffer no consequences for committing the same acts that would send the rest of us to prison. No repercussions to those who should be held to a higher standard.

The book is a great read!
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This story might have been sub-titled The Godfather IV, despite the probable copyright issues. In the 1974 Academy Award Winning movie The Godfather II, the US Senate is investigating the Corleone crime family. Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) and his family are the subject of a Senate committee probe. Frank Pentangeli (Michael Gazzo), a former member of the Corleone family, has taken the stand to spill the beans about the Corleone’s criminal empire. Just then he notices that his brother (from Sicily) is sitting in the gallery, next to the Don. The threat is obvious; if Pentangeli cooperates with the government, his brother is dead.

Fast forward to the early 2000’s after the bankruptcy of Enron and the Department of Injustice (I refuse to use the term “Justice” until they clean up their act) is prosecuting Arthur Andersen, one Andersen partner, and executives of Merrill Lynch, NatWest and of course Enron (in what I refer to as The Godfather Part IV). In the latest Godfather episode, the US Department of Injustice (DOI) is prosecuting former executives over the course of almost a decade in the Southern District of Texas, Houston, rather than before a US a Senate committee. And the DOI borrows a trick or two from Michael Corleone.

Of course one might ask how any of these defendants could possibly get a fair trial in a town as collectively pissed off as Houston? But fair trials were not a priority for the DOI or the Houston federal court system.

The DOI didn’t bring any long lost brothers to the courtroom. But their threat was nearly as terrifying—a federal indictment.
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