Trials & Litigation
Woman convicted of filing fake $100B liens against former US attorney and others
Posted Jun 18, 2014 5:30 PM CDT
By Martha Neil
“I don’t owe anyone $100 billion," former U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald testified in federal court in Chicago this week, and a jury apparently believed him.
After testimony from Fitzgerald, a sitting federal judge and a current and former magistrate judge concerning $100 billion maritime liens allegedly filed by Cherron Phillips on a dozen officials, the jury convicted her on 10 of the 12 counts she faced after less than three hours of deliberation, the Chicago Tribune reports.
The 44-year-old defendant, who is said to be a follower of the sovereign citizen movement, was accused of filing the liens in retaliation after being barred from the courthouse and banned from filing pleadings on behalf of a brother who pleaded guilty in a drug case. Phillips, who until now had no criminal history, was charged with 12 counts of retaliation against a federal official by filing false claims.
Phillips was taken into custody after the verdict because, U.S. District Judge Michael Reagan explained, she is “a paper terrorist” and might be dangerous because she doesn't recognize the court's authority. She could get as much as 10 years when she is sentenced in October.
Although not acknowledged by Phillips as her defense counsel, attorney Lauren Solomon argued to the jury that the “ridiculous” liens hurt no one and said a number of the claimed victims knew nothing about the liens until federal authorities alerted them.
"This is just such a sad case, and there are a lot of grounds for leniency,” Solomon said after the verdict, suggesting that probation might be an appropriate sentence for her client.
ABA Journal: "‘Sovereign citizens’ plaster courts with bogus legal filings—and some turn to violence"
ABAJournal.com: "Woman accused of filing $100B fake liens against prosecutors, judges in revenge for brother’s case"