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FOLO – Zach writes to his friends

FOLO – Zach writes to his friends

By: Magnolia Tribune - March 28, 2008

Zach writes to his friends


I wanted to give yall an update on my situation. Last Friday I had to make the most difficult and painful decision of my life. As you already know, I was charged by indictment last November for conspiracy and bribery of a state court judge. I have always maintained my innocence with respect to those charges and continue to do so to this day. As a result, I was willing to face trial by myself on those charges, which carried up to 75 years in prison and $1.5 million in fines.

Late last week, the government prosecutors agreed to drop all of the original bribery charges and instead charge me with a different and separate offense of “misprision of a felony,” which carries a potential 3 year sentence, and to recommend probation. I agreed to this. Misprison of a felony essentially means that I had knowledge of a felony and failed to report it to authorities. The particular felony I had knowledge of was that Tim Balducci, who was not our firm’s counsel of record, had improper ex parte conversations with a state court judge about our case in an effort to obtain a ruling in our favor. Although I was not aware of any money being paid to the judge, I was aware of Tim’s personal relationship with the judge and that he was using that relationship, in part, to influence the judge. I was aware of this and failed to report it or take any action to stop it. I deeply regret this failure and have taken full responsibility for my actions. I cannot comment any further on this, but you should feel free to contact my lawyers if you need a more detailed explanation of the charge.

Although the government is recommending probation, the Judge does not have to accept it. It is within the sole discretion of the Judge to determine my sentence, and he could impose anything from probation to the 3 year maximum sentence. One of the things that Federal Judges consider in determining a sentence is letters about the person charged from people who know that person well. I am therefore humbly asking each of you to write a letter to Judge Neal Biggers on my behalf. The letters should detail what kind of person I am, my attributes, and specific examples of my good character, kindness, generosity and good deeds. The more detailed the better. Letters that just say “Zach is a good guy” will not carry nearly as much weight as those that detail who I am and what I am about. It would be helpful to the judge to include who you are, how you know me, how well you know me, and how long you have known me. The more thought you put into the letter the better. But please do not write anything accusatory of the government or about the fairness of all this as that may upset the Court and make matters worse.

The Letters should be addressed to the Honorable Neal Biggers, but should not be sent to him. Instead, they should be sent to the attention of my lawyer, Nathan Garrett, by mail, email or fax. He will accumulate all the letters and send them to Judge Biggers at the same time. My sentencing hearing will be in 6-8 weeks, but the letters should be sent to my lawyer within the next week or at your earliest convenience. Nathan’s address is as follows:

Nathan Garrett
Graves Bartle & Marcus, LLC
1100 Main Street, Suite 2600
Kansas City, Missouri 64105
Direct Dial: 816-285-3052
Fax: 816-817-1216

I don’t have everyone’s email address, so please feel free to forward this request to anyone you can think of that knows me and would feel comfortable writing a letter on my behalf.

While my apologies on Friday were directed to the Court, I want each of you to know that I apologize to you. It is unfair for me to ask you to take time away from your life to help me recover from my mistake, but that is exactly what I am asking you to do. You are my friends, and I am yours. If you have any questions, please call or email Nathan Garrett (ED NOTE see contact above) or Mike Moore.

Your friend,



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Magnolia Tribune

This article was produced by Magnolia Tribune staff.