- via MAL Contends

The Vietnam-era airman who witnessed the death of a colleague killed in a gruesome C-54 aircraft accident in 1969 at a Naval Air Facility in Naples, Italy, and was convicted of fabricating his role at the death scene in seeking VA disability benefits is appealing his conviction.

[img_assist|nid=1231|title=Keith Roberts|desc=|link=node|align=left|width=79|height=100]Keith Roberts' appeal brief is due June 29 before the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. The government brief is due July 30.

Roberts' reply brief is due August 13. Oral arguments are scheduled at the Court's convenience. The case number is: U.S. v. Roberts, E.D. of Wisconsin federal court, docket 05-CR-118. U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, 07-1546.

Despite a mountain of evidence corroborating Roberts’ narrative of events, US Atty Stephen Biskupic’s office was able to convince a jury that Roberts committed wire fraud, using the same federal magistrate to whom wrongly convicted state worker Georgia Thompson's case was assigned.

The appeal will address the US Department of Justice’s disregard for the code of federal regulations covering the Veterans Administration and the alleged violation of Roberts’ constitutional rights.

“What do Extraordinary Rendition, Torture of Prisoners; Abu Gharib; Guantanamo Bay, Georgia Thompson, and U.S. V. Keith Roberts have in common? The answer is George W. Bush, Alberto Gonzales and a total disregard for the rule of law and our Constitution,” said a source close to the defense team.

Said Robert Walsh, the appellate attorney for Roberts, "The local VA Inspector General going directly to the U.S. Attorney without any review by VA attorneys appears to be unprecedented and is a violation of 38 Code of Federal Regulations, section 3.905."

The U.S. Attorney prosecuting a case such as this without a proper investigation by the F.B.I. or U.S. Treasury is outrageous. It is contrary to the Department of Justice guidelines for such cases. Failure to follow those well-thought out procedures is unwise. So we arrive at this bizarre outcome."

Some questions that remain unanswered is why did the US Atty step in prior to the exhausting of the administrative law remedies, when Roberts’ case was still being adjudicated at the VA? What was the rush?

Roberts had accused the VA of fraud in the processing of his claim and a source at the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center in Milwaukee e-mailed a radio show in Madison, saying:

“[Others at the VA] said the only reason Airman Roberts was ever prosecuted was because he was a ‘belligerent ass’ who kept insisting that he get paid back to discharge. He was demanding an appeal in Washington.

“I'd have to say that you guys are TOTALLY right about Roberts' conviction being bullshit ... ”

Coming soon, how US Atty Stephen Biskupic defied federal law.