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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF MISSISSIPPI
JACKSON DIVISION


UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

 

VS.

 

NORRIS FAUST, Jr.


CRIMINAL NO. 3:96CR101BS
 

   The Grand Jury charges that:

 

COUNT ONE

 

A. THE GRAND JURY INVESTIGATION:

   On or about August 28 and 29, 1996, the United States Grand Jury for the Southern District of Mississippi had been duly empaneled and sworn by the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi. The Grand Jury for that district was inquiring into matters and conducting proceedings in which the laws of the United States authorized an oath to be administered to witnesses. On or about those dates, the United States Grand Jury for the Southern District of Mississippi was conducting an investigation into matters under the jurisdiction of the Office of Independent Counsel In Re: former Secretary of Agriculture Alphonso Michael Espy. This aspect of the investigation was predicated on information implicating alleged violations of Federal Criminal statutes, including violations of Title 15, United States Code and Title 18, United States Code.

B. BACKGROUND:

   1. On March 8, 1993, Secretary of Agriculture Alphonso Michael Espy, the Chief of Staff to the Secretary of Agriculture, NORRIS FAUST, Jr. (Espy's handpicked appointee as State Executive Director of the ASCS), and various proposed members of the Mississippi State ASCS Executive Committee met in Jackson, Mississippi for the swearing in ceremony of defendant NORRIS FAUST, Jr. to the position of State Executive Director of ASCS. Later that afternoon at a meeting in the State ASCS office located at 6310 I-55 North in Jackson, Mississippi, the following individuals were in attendance: NORRIS FAUST, Jr., the Chief of Staff to the Secretary of Agriculture, and Keith Mitchell, among others.

   2. Prior to the meeting, Keith Mitchell who was under consideration for appointment to the State Executive Committee of ASCS had been involved in a dispute with the USDA in Washington, D.C. involving the denial of substantial deficiency payments. The dispute involved his two sons' participation in his farming operation while at the same time attending college full-time. The Chief of Staff to the Secretary of Agriculture had represented Keith Mitchell and his sons in the appeal process before the USDA in Washington, D.C. as a paid consultant prior to his appointment as Chief of Staff to the Secretary of Agriculture.    

   3. During said meeting, with the approval of the Chief of Staff to the Secretary of Agriculture, NORRIS FAUST, Jr. signed an order eliminating the regulation requiring the reporting of persons listed on farm operating plans who had outside interests other than the farming operation. This official action was taken at the request of Keith Mitchell and done with the approval of the Chief of Staff to Secretary of Agriculture Espy and was a matter in which both were directly involved.

C. MATERIALITY:

   It was material to the Grand Jury investigation to determine who initiated the change in policy, to determine the motivation for the change in policy, to determine if this change was a legitimate policy decision associated with a new administration, and whether the change was motivated by illegal compensation or other corrupt activity.

D. MATERIAL FALSE STATEMENTS:

   On or about August 28, 1996, in the Jackson Division of the Southern District of Mississippi, NORRIS FAUST, Jr., being under oath and duly sworn to testify truthfully as a witness in a proceeding before the United States Grand Jury for the Southern District of Mississippi, did knowingly make false material declarations as follows:

(Transcript Pages 44-45)

Q: Let me ask you this: Did you have any program specialists with ASCS in the room with you there?
A: Yes, sir, I did.
Q: Who?
A: Robert Williams and Tom Breeland.
Q: All right. Now, Robert Williams was the county executive director, correct?
A: In Tunica, yes, sir, who ended up being with me for I guess four, five, six months I guess, sir.
Q: What other program specialist?
A: Tom Breeland.
Q: Tom Breeland. What was his title?
A: He was my state conservation, over conservation.
Q: Did you consult with them before you made the decision right there in that room to change the directive?
A: Yes, sir, I did.
Q: When did you consult with them?
A: I talked with them.
Q: When.
A: I left and went and talked with them.
Q: When?
A: That day.

   The aforesaid underlined testimony of NORRIS FAUST, Jr. as he then and there well knew and believed was false.
   All in violation of Title 18, United States Code, 1623.

COUNT TWO

   The allegations contained in paragraphs A and B of this indictment, as set forth above, are realleged and incorporated by reference as though fully set forth herein.

E. MATERIAL FALSE STATEMENTS:

   On or about August 29, 1996, in the Jackson Division of the Southern District of Mississippi, NORRIS FAUST, Jr., being under oath and duly sworn to testify truthfully as a witness in a proceeding before the United States Grand Jury for the Southern District of Mississippi, did knowingly make false material declarations as follows:

(Transcript Page 152)

Q: Let me ask you this, Mr. Faust. The two people you named as being there were Robert Williams?
A: Tom Breeland.
Q: Tom Breeland?
A: And then John Tanner, which I have found later, John Tanner also helped draft that notice, sir.
Q: How did you find that out?
A: I asked this morning.
Q: He said he did?
A: Well, Tom Breeland told me, said they went to John Tanner to draft, to help draft that notice, because he was the payment limitation expert.

   The aforesaid underlined testimony of NORRIS FAUST, Jr. as he then and there well knew and believed was false.
   All in violation of Title 18, United States Code, 1623.

COUNT THREE

   The allegations contained in paragraphs A and B of this indictment, as set forth above, are realleged and incorporated by reference as though fully set forth herein.

F. MATERIAL FALSE STATEMENTS:

   On or about August 29, 1996, in the Jackson Division of the Southern District of Mississippi, NORRIS FAUST, Jr., being under oath and duly sworn to testify truthfully as a witness in a proceeding before the United States Grand Jury for the Southern District of Mississippi, did knowingly make false material declarations as follows:

(Transcript Pages 154 and 155)

Q: Let me ask you this: Could that have already been prepared and brought by somebody?
A: No, sir. No, sir. No, sir.
Q: Somebody went out and actually used the typewriter and typed it up or word processor?
A: Yes, sir. Now, I'm not saying it could have brought -- no, sir, they didn't. No, sir, that was done by, I state my life with Tom Breeland and Mr. Williams. That was done right there in that office.
Q: Did you see them do it?
A: No, sir, I didn't see it be drafted. They brought it to me.
Q: And do you know how long it took them?
A: I'm not for sure. I'd say I imagine it took them 30 minutes, somewhere in that ball park I imagine.
Q: And did you talk with them during the time they were preparing it?
A: No, sir.
Q: Okay.
A: No, sir.
Q: So you had no input on it whatsoever:
A: No, sir. I left it up to the specialists to do what they thought was right on it.
Q: Did you give them any direction before he typed it up?
A: No, sir.

   The aforesaid underlined testimony of NORRIS FAUST, Jr. as he then and there well knew and believed was false.
    All in violation of Title 18, United States Code, 1623.

 

A TRUE BILL:

 

 



FOREPERSON
GRAND JURY 95-1

 



DONALD C. SMALTZ
Independent Counsel

 

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