US Marijuana Party

Friday, March 25, 2005

FBI Pays Loretta Nall a Visit

Some really hyper dude with pinpoint pupils and a tightly-knotted necktie came onto my property Wednesday March 23, 2005 with no warrant and threats of what would happen to me if I did not answer his questions. He said he was FBI and was backed up by a local sheriff's deputy.

Since I am recovering from a mild case of the flu I slept in a little later than usual that morning. Somewhere between 9 and 10 am a silver Crown Victoria pulled up in the front yard. My husband alerted me to the fact that we had company. I didn’t really think anything about it and told him to find out who it was.

“They look like Jehovah’s Witnesses,” he said to me.
“They have briefcases and are walking around back.”

“Deal with them,” I said to him “I don’t feel like it today.”

About that time our guests make it to the back door and a loud, intimidating knock ensued.


I decided after hearing that knock that either these were the most aggressive Jehovah’s Witnesses on earth and they were here to save my soul TODAY or it was law enforcement of some sort or another.

The second guess turned out to be correct.

I wander out of the bedroom in my fluffy pink house robe and hear my husband ask, “Do you have a warrant?”

I assure you that is very last thing anyone (especially foggy headed from sleep and the flu) wants to hear when just greeting the morning.

I hear a male voice say, “No I do not have a warrant but if I have to leave here without talking to Loretta Nall I’ll have a subpoena issued for her to testify in federal court.”

Husband: “What’s this about?”

Agent: “A website called Cannabis Culture and a threat to a Federal Judge.” “Can I please speak to Mrs. Nall?”

Agent said it was in reference to Judge Retchin.

Husband: “Oh, so it must be about the Jonathan Magbie case.”

Agent: “So you are familiar with the case?”

Husband: “Yeah, it’s the one where they killed that quadriplegic guy.”

By this time I was standing behind my husband peering at the agent. My husband looked at me and said, “You want to talk to this guy?”

Rule #1: Never allow a cop to question you without your attorney present.

So why did I talk anyway?
Well, to be perfectly honest, I wanted to know why he was here. Curiosity always gets the best of me.

Me: “Yeah, I’ll talk to him but I need to get dressed first.”

After I dressed I joined the man claiming to be from the FBI out back.
He flashed a badge that did indeed say FBI in large lettering and asked me if I was Loretta Nall. I responded that I was.

Accompanying him was the same female deputy who ran the metal detector last week when I went to court.

The FBI agent’s speech was rapid-fire, rambling, vague and generally confusing. Many of his questions seemed designed to draw me out on topics without committing himself to specifics.

As nearly as I can recall, the discussion went something like this:

Me: “Please excuse my appearance I am recovering from an illness.”

Agent: “Was it the flu?”

Me: “Yes it was.”

Agent: “You won’t mind if I take a few steps back then?”

Me: “Actually, you could get back in your car and leave completely and that would be fine with me.”

Agent: “Chuckle”

Me: “What can I do for you today?”

Agent: “Do you know about a website called Cannabis Culture?”

Me: “Yes. I work there.”

Agent: “Well there was something posted on that website about a Federal Judge and she feared for her life because of it.”

Me: “What are you referring to? What was posted?”

Agent: “Well I am not good with technical things or computers or anything.”

Me: “What are you referring to?”

Agent: “What kind of website is Cannabis Culture? Is it like a message board or a chat?”

Me: “It is a message forum.”

Agent: “There was a message posted there about a judge and needing to be shot. I mean that is just what they told me…I haven’t seen it or anything.”

Me: “Could you be a little more specific about what you are talking about?” The Cannabis Culture forums have thousands of messages.”

Agent: “Is it an American website?”

Me: “No. It is Canadian.”

Agent: “Is the server hosted in Canada?”

Me: “Yes.”

Agent: “Someone with the handle of ****** posted in a message that Federal Judge Retchin in Washington DC should be shot. I’ll have to paraphrase but it was something to the effect of “Somebody ought to shoot that bitch of a judge, but she’ll probably get a reward.” Do you recognize that name or anything?”

Me: “The handle rings a bell.”

Agent: “What does an administrator do on the forums?”

Me: “My duty is to approve or disapprove of new accounts.”

Agent: “So if I wanted to open an account there what would I do?”

Me: “Well, you’d go to the site and click on “New User” and follow the instructions.”

Agent: “And what would you do?”

Me: “Well I’d get an email telling me that someone had registered a new account and then I would either approve it or not approve it.”

Agent: “Yea ok I’m not good with technical stuff…like I said.”

Agent: “Do you know who this person is in real life?”

Me: “No. I have no idea who it is.” “So this is about the judge in the Jonathan Magbie case?”

Agent: “Yes.” “It was posted back in October.”

Me: “Yes. I protested in front of her courthouse with a banner that said, “Judge Retchin is Guilty of Judicial Homicide” for a number of days in October. As head of the US Marijuana Party I often travel and organize protests in response to these kinds of things.” “I’m not sure that handle was registered in October….I think it might be relatively new but I am not certain of that.”

Agent: “No. It was posted by ****** in October.” “This isn’t about free speech. Free speech only goes so far and if you cross the line then there are consequences.” There is a difference in saying “someone ought to be shot” and saying you are going to “shoot someone” and that is what we are trying to figure out here. Do you think there was any real threat in what was posted?”

Me: “No. People were outraged over what happened to Jonathan Magbie and I think whatever post you are referring to was just someone venting that frustration. If I thought someone was out to harm a judge or anyone else I would be the first one to call you.”

Agent: “How did Jonathan Magbie die?”

Me: “Mr. Magbie was a quadriplegic who required a ventilator at night and 24 hour nursing care. He was arrested and charged with marijuana possession, his first ever offense, and Judge Retchin sentenced him to 10 days in jail over the objections of the prosecutor. Mr. Magbie drown in his own fluids on the 4th day.”

Agent: “Well, this isn’t about free speech. This kind of stuff makes us beat our heads against the wall. We have to take these things seriously.”

Me: “I understand.”

Agent: “Thank you for speaking with me today.”
Sheriff’s Deputy: “Thanks Loretta.”

Me: “Sure”

The rambling vagueness of the Agents questions makes it hard to remember parts of the conversation so this is somewhat incomplete. I remember the agent repeatedly referred to the fact that he was technologically illiterate, as if that were one of the most important things about this conversation. Somehow he seemed intent on convincing me that if he didn’t have help that he would not even be able to turn a computer on. Then a little later on he mentioned that they could get all of the technical information they needed “back at the office”. Hmm.

Further, I feel like the Agent didn’t ask me any questions that he did not already know the answers to, which leads me to believe that the only reason they came to my home is because they want to drag me into the middle of something that I have nothing to do with.
Perhaps it has something to do with my court case. Perhaps not.
Either way I fear that a plot is in the works to seize my computers and anything else they feel could benefit them in locking me up or silencing me.

I’d like to add here that since the 15th of March the police have visited my home three times.
Twice to deliver summons on old medical bills and now this incident with the FBI Agent.
The 15th was the day before my court appearance last week. Two days after my court appearance another deputy showed up with another summons on an old bill. As he walked past the window around back he intently peered in, as if what was there was his business, and said to my husband “Boy, you sure got a lot of plants.”

If I didn’t know better I would think they were trying to terrorize me.
I’ll be looking for my subpoena in the mail or, if recent history is an indicator, I suppose they will hand deliver it to me.