President Trump, pardon ‘Junior’ Johnson

By WND Guest Columnist

By Bill Hoge

Charles “Junior” Johnson is a friend of mine who has been unfairly persecuted and prosecuted for nearly two decades – and it is time for it to end. I’ve been doing business with Junior for over 30 years and found him not only to be honest but the most dedicated businessman to his investors that I’ve ever seen.

There is only one way to end this persecution of Junior Johnson: President Trump should pardon him, and in the interest of justice and fairness I urge the president to do so.

Johnson moved to Las Vegas in 1996 to start a dotcom business called PurchasePro (NASDAQ-PPRO). The journey was anything but easy, but eventually PPRO went public in 1999 and swiftly became an overnight sensation. Once established, PPRO attracted a powerful board of directors including former Kentucky Gov. Martha Lane Collins, Office Depot Chairman/CEO David Fuente, former MGM Mirage Chairman/CEO Terry Lanni and former UNLV President Carol Harter. Johnson’s stake in the company was worth in excess of $1.2 billion dollars, and the original investors from Kentucky aggregately profited over $300 million. Feeling blessed by his good fortune, Johnson donated millions.

At the time, PPRO’s strategic partner, AOL, was being highly scrutinized by the government for buying media giant Time Warner for $165 billion. Government investigators pressured Johnson to falsely testify against AOL executives David Colburn and Myer Berlow. When Johnson refused to cooperate he immediately became a corruption target himself. AOL eventually paid $210 million to have any charges against it dropped, but Johnson was indicted for fraud by Paul McNulty (later fired for lying to Congress), prosecuted by Dana Boente (later used a fake FISA application to spy on Trump campaign), and the government’s press conference announcing the prosecution was conducted by none other than James Comey (fake FISA to spy on Trump campaign).

Johnson was convicted of conspiracy to commit fraud by email, by Judge Walter Kelley, who resigned the next day after leveraging this case into a million-dollar payday with the Jones Day Law Firm. Junior was never found guilty by a jury. The newly assigned judge, unfamiliar with the case, sentenced Johnson to nine years incarceration based on financial losses derived from false testimony given by the FBI (United States of America v. Charles E Johnson Jr., Aug. 30, 2005 transcript). The judge also ordered Johnson to personally pay almost $10 million in restitution even though every unsecured creditor received 100% of their money plus 20% interest on that balance.

Released in 2015, Johnson returned to his hometown of Lexington, Kentucky, and brilliantly built another successful enterprise, called Privato Group, which expects 2020 revenues to reach nearly $40 million dollars.

Johnson became aware and reported to the U.S. Attorney’s Office major fraudulent billing of CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) by a Kentucky laboratory. But instead of being appreciated, Johnson again found himself a target of an investigation. Eventually, when no victims or crimes could be established a violation was filed.

Sure enough, Johnson’s probation officer filed a violation just eight days prior to Johnson’s supervised release ending. The supervised-release violation was based on using a player’s card from a casino as a hidden bank account. It is in no way similar to a bank account. Yet, the court considered Johnson not reporting this as a financial bank account as a violation and revoked his supervised release. Junior was not able to use the evidence that these accusations were untrue during the hearing.

The hearings were very out of the ordinary as the judge appeared to be pushing the U.S. Attorney on what to do and say. The parole officer was even on recording stating that he felt that Johnson believed that he was telling the truth throughout, and then during the hearing that changed and was re-positioned.

With the recent coronavirus developments and President Trump talking about telehealth and how it will help the country to get this under control, it is imperative now for action, as one of the companies Junior is looking to grow includes a fully developed telehealth and wellness application with the ability for blue-tooth medical devices to gather and monitor information automatically for remote patient monitoring.

Junior has the full support of Pat Nolan, the director of the Center for Criminal Justice Reform. Pat worked on the First Step Act with Jared Kushner and was acknowledged by President Trump for his effort.

See the documentation involving Junior Johnson’s case.

Bill Hoge is a friend and former employee of Charles “Junior” Johnson.

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