Will Wayne Bent’s tome ever reach jury?

COMMENTARY

With years of uploading his religious teachings onto the Web now under his belt, one might suspect that some of what Wayne Bent has published in cyberspace is destined to become a focal point in the State of New Mexico’s criminal case against him.

Arm-chair prosecutors often point to the bits of Bent’s posts concerning “consummations” and “laying naked” as proof of what they is a man guilty of pedophilia.

But less than two hours prior to the start of Bent’s trial, it seems reasonable to consider the possibility that little to none of what Bent had published on his church’s Web site, strongcity.info, will ever be heard by a jury.

It’s one thing to say what seems obvious; that Bent has espoused his religious beliefs on the ‘net for years.

But it is an entirely different matter when it comes to proving it.

Even if a post had a byline stating that it had been written by Wayne Bent (and many posts do), absent an admission by Bent, one would be tasked with gathering evidence to support any claim that Bent had penned the piece.

The pursuit of evidence on computers requires the proper experts, time and money; all perhaps even more scarce in the largely remote 8th Judicial District.

How likely is the State of New Mexico to make such investments as it sets-out to prove its contention that Bent had criminal sexual contact with two teenage girls?  It may appear to be an unpopular question.  But, again, it seems worth considering.

Beyond90Seconds.com has learned that a purported expert in computer forensics recently shared some of his knowledge with the prosecution’s team.  That person’s name, Sam Redman, also appears on the witness list.  Although that’s no guarantee he’ll be called to testify.

I’m told that following his discussions with members of the DA’s Office, Redman was later interviewed by Bent’s attorney.  That’s not surprising as his name appears on the State’s witness list.sam_redman

Redman’s name may be familiar to regular visitors of this blog as he has often written in the comments sections of posts concerning the Bent case.

While I haven’t confirmed it, word is that back in 1986, Redman was one of two developers of the first caching program for the personal computer. I’m also told that, in 1987,  he also won the PC Magazine award for Technical Excellence for application software.

According to a source, the prosecution in the Bent case wanted Redman to testify about his experience in capturing files that Bent and many of his followers had published, then removed from the Internet.  I’m told that Redman was able to preserve those files with their “cache date stamps”.  That would appear to be important in any attempt to prove who had published and/or written the text on those files.

Beyond90Seconds.com has learned that Redman is also the person who built the Web site that “mirrors” the site Bent had taken down. It’s interesting to note that over the weekend a new tab appeared on that mirror site: Legal.

I’m told Redman had previously shared the new “Legal” page with the prosecution. Clearly, the new page is aimed at nailing Bent.

Should the State’s case reveal itself to be devoid of any pursuit of Bent’s cyber postings, expect the DA’s team to invest considerable energy on what was said in the safe house interviews with the alleged victims. Letters written by the girl known as “Healed” to prosecutors could also become a focal point of the State’s case.

And then, there’s also the expected defense argument about freedom of religion.  But that would be a story for another time…

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7 Responses to Will Wayne Bent’s tome ever reach jury?

  1. avatar
    raycot December 8, 2008 at 11:40 am #

    “Even if a post had a byline stating that it had been written by Wayne Bent (and many posts do), absent an admission by Bent, one would be tasked with gathering evidence to support any claim that Bent had penned the piece.”

    Just put Wayne on the stand and ask him if he wrote those things. If he denies it then he is denying everything that Waynesworld exists for (in their imaginations)and seeing Wayne lie so blatantly to the court could break the influence that he has over his followers. Wayne would probably prefer to admit to his postings and risk a little more jail time than to deny them to remain free but risk liberating his followers minds.

  2. avatar
    Sam Redman December 8, 2008 at 12:24 pm #

    Raycot — They can’t “just put Wayne on the stand.” The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives every person the right to refuse to answer any questions or make any statements when questioned by authorities and that right extends to the courtroom.

    At trial, the Fifth Amendment gives a criminal defendant the right not to testify, if they choose not. This means that the prosecutor, the judge and even the defendant’s own lawyer cannot force the defendant to take the witness stand in the trial, if he doesn’t want to. Furthermore, when a defendant exercises his right not to testify, the jury is not permitted to take that refusal into consideration when deciding whether the defendant is guilty of the crime which has been charged.

    If he decides of his own free will to testify… then you are correct. He could (in that situation) be shown the documents and asked if he indeed wrote them.

  3. avatar
    raycot December 8, 2008 at 12:56 pm #

    “If he decides of his own free will to testify… then you are correct. He could (in that situation) be shown the documents and asked if he indeed wrote them.”

    Of course…assuming that he doesn’t decide to take the fifth.

    Do you know if the prosectuion can refer back to Wayne’s testimony in front of the Grand jury that indicted him?

    BTW…I think it’s good of you to give your time and expertise to this case.

  4. avatar
    Sam Redman December 8, 2008 at 2:02 pm #

    Let me clarify one point regarding “the fifth.” A defendant in Mr. Bent’s situation would not need to “take the fifth,” although, by just opting out, he would be exercising his right under that very amendment not to testify. He simply would be able to sit at the defendant’s table and not say anything in open court.

    That term, “taking the fifth,” generally means an overt refusal to testify (while sworn in a witness) on the grounds that it might incriminate him. That is only applicable when a witness is able to compelled to appear and to be called to the stand, such as any person subpoenaed for the defense or the prosecution in a criminal trial or any witness in a civil trial (both defendant and plaintiff can be compelled). It also would apply in situations where governmental bodies have broad subpoena power (such as before congressional committees). So, “taking the fifth” is only done when someone is in the witness box and is asked a question to which the answer might incriminate or tend to incriminate. If a defendant takes the stand in his own criminal trial, then “taking the fifth” in response to any question also is not appropriate, because at that point he will have, in effect, admitted to the charges by stating that if he answers then he will be admitting guilt (as such, it would be changing his plea from innocent to guilty). Sitting on the bench is different in that saying nothing does not signify admission of guilt.

    About grand jury testimony. Generally, by law anything said in a grand jury hearing is secret and cannot be used as evidence. A grand jury hearing is not meant as a fact-finding exercise for the prosecution. Since, in the grand jury, no one has been charged with a crime, anyone can be subpoenaed to appear. If Bent was subpoenaed to appear before the grand jury and had not been given his Miranda rights and while on the stand admitted to the crime for which he was subsequently charged, then, no, that admission would not be able to be used in the trial (because he would have been compelled without being read his rights).

    However, if Bent appeared before the grand jury voluntarily or if subpoenaed and his rights were fully explained to him, and then he admitted to the crime for which he was later indicted, that is another story. Those admissions are often allowed as evidence.

    But, getting any admission admitted which was done under the circumstances described earlier is a very difficult task (everything there is a secret in such situations). Voluntary admissions before a grand jury are sometimes (rarely) admitted, but it takes some special particulars for that to happen.

    Most likely Bent didn’t admit to anything criminal in the grand jury testimony and even if he did… there would be quite a bit of legal maneuvering to get it admitted as evidence for the trial jury to hear.

  5. avatar
    Jan December 8, 2008 at 3:16 pm #

    Anyone with a serious interest in this case really needs to read the Legal Page, prepared by Mr. Redman.

    http://strongcity2.info/legal.html

    He has managed to really capture each and every point that is legally and morally significant to this case and presented it in such a way that is most impressive.

    One should pay particular attention to the “Source Text,” in the 3 iframes at the top of the page. Reading those really gives a clear picture of some of the shocking actions Wayne has spoken of with these young girls. As a female, I cannot tell you how offended I was at Wayne’s actions and thoughts regarding females.

    For me though the last section “how it continued through the years,” is the most impressive. It is masterfully written and helped me better understand exactly how Wayne has actually created his own religion with his very own unique interpretations of the Bible.

    Mr. Redman himself shows an extensive knowledge of the Bible throughout, in addition to being thoroughly knowledgeable of the law. Plus he obviously must be a computer expert to have preserved what once was deleted on line for all to see.

    I do hope that some way this excellent presentation will be admitted at least in part, during the trial.

    And I am glad Mr. Horner was able to bring Mr. Redman’s efforts to our attention here on his blog.

    Thank you Mark for that!

  6. avatar
    James Reynolds December 9, 2008 at 8:40 am #

    All along I thought strongcity2.com was a mirror of Michael Travesser’s website.

    I guess I can mirror some cool tools for people to use, ssshhh don’t tell anyone that I am putting a virus in there though. Mirrors always work the best with cracks in them, lets just break the thing and use it.

  7. avatar
    HardlyWorking December 9, 2008 at 11:13 am #

    James – Perhaps you didn’t notice that at the top of each page it says this:

    “The “Home” tab is as mirrored. All other tabs were done by the mirror staff (not associated with Strong City).

    Exception: The archives have true copies of cache “date stamped” original pages, captured after site shutdown.”

    It was obvious to me that everything under the home tab is what was mirrored. And the rest is as designated. I did notice that the original 117 minute video, which is exactly as appeared on the strongcity.info site, is displayed under the videos tab. It all seems rather straight forward.

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