Documents unsealed in ongoing Bolton appeal

Documents unsealed in ongoing Bolton appeal
Charles and Linda Bolton (Photo source: WDAM)

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Documents previously under seal in the ongoing appeal requests for a new trial of former Forrest County Chief Deputy Charles Bolton have been made public.

U.S. District Judge Keith Starrett ruled Monday evening that documents filed by Bolton's former attorney, Joe Sam Owen be unsealed. The documents are roughly 100 pages that contain emails, text messages, a 2014 plea offer, and other court filings.

Charles and Linda were convicted September 15, 2016 by a jury of their peers after a two-day trial in Hattiesburg.

Charles was convicted of nine charges related to federal tax evasion and filing false tax returns, Linda was convicted on five charges of filing false tax returns. Charles was sentenced to a total of 45 months, and Linda was sentenced to 30 months in the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

The latest court filing issued by Starrett orders "Charles Bolton to respond to the government's motion and specifically point to portions of Joe Sam Owen's response that will prejudice him, either on appeal or in the event of a new trial if awarded on appeal, should it be unsealed and made available to the government. Bolton did not point to a single piece of formerly privileged evidence which would prejudice him either on appeal or in the event of a new trial. Instead, Bolton objects to what he believes is the improper breadth of Owen's arguments and accusations, some of which he claims are irrelevant."

Starrett went on to detail that the court is concerned only with previously privileged information which could prejudice Bolon on appeal or in the event of a new trial.

Bolton and his legal team filed their response to the judges request on August 4th, and "delineates the portions of attorney Joe Sam Owen's response," in reference to the documents being unsealed.

"Owen's response goes too far and amounts to an attack by an attorney on his former client. Owen's response transcends the boundaries authorized by the Court and by applicable law," according to Bolton's filing.

"Because one of the grounds Mr. Bolton asserts in support of the motions is ineffective assistance of counsel, the court, in order to allow Owen to 'exonerate himself from the allegations,' granted Owen's request to deem the attorney-client privilege waived, and ruled that, considering the breadth of the allegations, it would not impose any limitation on the scope of the waiver," according to the filing.

Bolton and his legal team state that the allegations made by Owen disclose privileged information and are nothing other than an attempt to smear Mr. Bolton and others in future proceedings.

The following are bulleted/numbered items taken directly from the court filing:

  1. Repeatedly lied to Owen.
  2. Hired lawyers to advance a scripted narrative on his behalf without regard to the truth.
  3. Concocted and carried out a conspiracy with others to set up his own attorney (Owen, upon whose efforts Mr. Bolton’s freedom depended) to fail.
  4. “retrofitted” and “manufactured” a “feigned” conflict of interest claim against Owen by, “at some unknown point in 2016…reaching for the law straw, and fabricating his new theory of a conflict.”
  5. Engaged in a “cooperation ploy” with the government to secure his freedom.

"Perhaps because Owen believes that the 'only…purpose' of the motions is to 'damage and harm Owen,' he spares no one from his invective-filled philippic, including almost every attorney (save himself) who has represented either of the Boltons, and almost everyone (save himself) associated with the Boltons' trial efforts, and almost every friend of the Boltons who tried to help him," according to the filing from Bolton's legal team.

The following are bulleted/numbered items taken directly from the court filing:

  • “Carl Nicholson is lying and “is in a state of denial” – the John Lee conflict story… conveniently serves the purpose of facilitating the separate lawsuits recently filed by Charles and Linda Bolton against the accounting firm of Topp McWhorter Harvey, PLLC and John Lee. One could speculate with a degree of accuracy that Nicholson is assisting Charles and Linda Bolton in the Civil lawsuits.”
  • Phil Hull is lying- Hull’s statements to Owen are “totally inconsistent with his affidavit.”
  • Mr. Bolton’s current counsel is lying- Owen “assumes that present counsel was paid well by someone to assimilate motions with fictitious facts and arguments.
  • Bolton’s friends lied- “It is apparent that Charles Bolton, or one of his friends, hired lawyers to advance a scripted narrative on his behalf without regard to the truth.”
  • John Chain lied
  • Willie Huntley “was a note taker for the sole purpose of preparing the post sentencing motions” who “opted to do nothing” but “sat mute at counsel table taking notes” during the sentencing hearing.
  • Some or all of Mr. Bolton’s carousel and/or battalion of lawyers have lied.
  • George Clark is lying

"These and other allegations in Owen's response have nothing to do with Mr. Bolton's claims against Owen and should remain sealed," written in the motion by Bolton's legal team.

You can see the full documents unsealed from Federal Court below: