In the early morning hours of Tuesday, Mar. 16, 2021, federal agents, local law enforcement, and half a dozen other 3-letter agencies kicked in the doors at Free Talk Live’s studio, the Bitcoin Embassy, and the Shire Free Church, among other places arresting 6 individuals and confiscating several Bitcoin vending machines, computers, and other personal items over the bastardly crime of selling crypto without a government permission slip.
Ian Freeman, a minister of the Shire Free Church, founder of the syndicated radio show Free Talk Live, peace activist, and mover for the Free State Project took the Crypto6 case to trial in late 2022. Sadly after extensive manipulation and lying by the government the jury came to a verdict of guilty on all counts brought to trial. However that isn’t the whole picture as the prosecution dropped 17 of 25 charges before the trial even began. The judge has indicated he believes Ian’s got a good basis to appeal as well.
One of the many problems in the case is that the government presented no evidence of any crimes and the prosecutor based the case solely on inferences that a crime was committed. What was presented was a case based largely on flimsy testimony that actually proved Ian’s innocence. For instance the FBI sent in an undercover agent who attempted to get Ian to sell him crypto after revealing that he was a drug dealer. When Ian refused the agent went around him without Ian’s knowledge to purchase crypto from a church vending machine. The FBI agent admitted on the stand his description of Ian giving him a ‘wink and a nod’ to do so wasn’t true under cross examination.
In another instance the government tried to prove tax evasion via an IRS agent that admitted under cross examination that they usually contact a person that they believe owes taxes before bringing criminal charges. This never happened and the agent even admitted that Ian might not owe any taxes at all. 4 of the tax evasion counts are based on this. Other evidence from the IRS also proved Ian nor the Shire Free Church was under any obligation to file a return as churches and ministers thereof are exempt from filing under most circumstances. Some critcs have suggested the church was setup to sell Bitcoin, but in actuality the church long pre-dates the sale of crypto and crypto sales were merely one outreach effort of many. The church also housed low income families, drug addicts, and raised money to build orphanages in Africa. The church contributed to 100 nights homeless shelter among many other projects.
As the defense lawyer pointed out at the end of the trial this case was entirely based on speculation and cherry picking of transactions to make Ian look crooked despite Ian knowing nothing of any scams or crimes. In fact it was shown at trial that Ian did extensive KYC (Know Your Customer) despite there being no requirement to do so and the banks didn't do any KYC at all for any of the handful of 'victim' witnesses that the prosecutor put up on the stand. These witnesses were in fact victims, but not of Ian or the Shire Free Church. Third parties of whom Ian had no knowledge of were getting their victims to lie to the banks and church about the reasons for why they were purchasing Bitcoin. The jury was then asked to convict based entirely on inference.
For more extensive coverage of the trial check out the transcripts now available. Also check out the videos to the right below and for the maximum details on the case and appeals follow us on Telegram, Matrix, and Mastodon via the links below.
I blogged daily for the entire 10 day trial in an effort to ensure complete coverage of the Crypto6 case. You can find summaries of testimonies and each days events here: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7, Day 8, Day 9, Day 10. For more information such as additional sketches, photos, videos and links to third party coverage check out the Telegram and Matrix links below.
Now that the trial is over you may be wondering whats next? Sentencing comes next and after that appeals can begin. Typically a judge will sentence and then cage someone whose been convicted while on appeal. However in exceptional circumstances where that appeal is likely to succeed a judge will not imprison a person. That is the case here and the judge has indicated that it’s unlikely he’ll be holding Ian on appeal. After the sentencing hearing we should find out whats next, such as the exact grounds that appeals will be based.
Ian's sentencing hearing has been delayed repeatedly. At the moment (as of September 12th) the 2nd half of the sentencing hearing is set for October 2nd, 2023 at 10:00 AM.
There is one other piece of important news. As Aria took a plea deal she's now currently at a federal spiritual retreat. For the next ~8-18 months you'll be able to write to her at the link posted below.
For those able to attend the address of the court and Ian's sentencing hearing will be: US District Court, 55 Pleasant St, Concord, NH 03301.History Of The FBI's Decades Long Attack On Free Staters, Free Talk Live, & The Shire Free Church Ballad Of The Crypto6 Doc NBC Free State Series EP10: Crypto6 Write To Caged Activist Aria DiMezzo Aria DiMezzo's Spiritual Retreat Blog Get A 'Free The Crypto6 T-Shirt' Join the read-only Telegram room for case updates Join the read-only Matrix room for case updates Follow Mr Penguin on Mastodon for updates to the Crypto6 case Partake in the Crypto6 on the Shire Society Forums