The Blog

Whistleblower Charged With Three Felonies for Exposing Diebold's Crimes

Whistleblower Charged With Three Felonies for Exposing Diebold's Crimes
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

A whistleblower in Los Angeles is in legal trouble and needs our help. Stephen Heller is alleged to have exposed documents in Jan. & Feb. 2004 which provided smoking gun evidence that Diebold was using illegal, uncertified software in California voting machines. The docs also showed that Diebold's California attorneys (the powerful international law firm Jones Day) had told them they were in breach of the law for using uncertified software, but Diebold continued to use the uncertified software anyway. Heller is alleged to have come across these docs while temping as a word processor at Jones Day, and he is further alleged to have taken the docs and exposed them to the bright light of day. Now, after sitting on this for 2 years, the Los Angeles District Attorney, under pressure from Jones Day, is going after this whistleblower with 3 felony charges, each of which carries the potential of time in state prison. Here is a story in the LA Times. Heller's lawyer believes the 2 year wait to file charges was due to the then-impending 2004 election, and that Diebold and their attorneys didn't want the information to be made public in the lead up to the election.

The documents also look bad for Diebold's California lawyers, Jones Day. According to Bev Harris, author of the book Black Box Voting, the docs "provided evidence that the Jones Day law firm was helping Diebold to cover up the fact that they were installing uncertified software which, as it turns out, caused thousands of voters to be unable to vote just weeks later."

Bev Harris continues, "Jim March, another investigator for Black Box Voting, and I immediately took the documents to both the California Attorney General's office and to Kevin Shelley, who was then the California Secretary of State. Just days later, the secretary of state decertified Diebold." At the time, Shelley called the company's conduct "reprehensible" and said "their performance, their behavior, is despicable," and that "if that's the kind of deceitful behavior they're going to engage in, they can't do business in California." In an interview, Shelly said "We will not tolerate the deceitful conduct of Diebold, and we must send a clear message to the rest of the industry: Don't try to pull a fast one on the voters of California." Shelley then requested Cal. Attorney General Bill Lockyer to investigate taking criminal and civil actions against the company based on what he called "fraudulent actions by Diebold." Lockyer eventually dropped the criminal probe of Diebold but he sued the company on behalf of California, and Diebold settled out of court for $2.6 million.

Let's make this clear, folks. The docs Heller is accused of exposing were important evidence. First, they show that Diebold and their attorneys, Jones Day, conspired to mislead the California secretary of state, and that the lie they told was material, and resulted directly in the disenfranchisement of voters. Second, another document demonstrates that Diebold lied to the secretary of state when it represented that certain problems with its software were "fixed." This document, the release notes for the new software, showed that the problems were not fixed. Third, the documents showed that Diebold had been advised by Jones Day that what it had been doing with its uncertified software was illegal. Fourth, the documents show that Jones Day advised Diebold that it was subject to criminal prosecution. So in a nutshell, Diebold was defrauding the state government and taxpayers of California, and disenfranchising the voters of California. And the documents PROVE it.

And for allegedly exposing Diebold's felonious behavior (which led directly to Diebold being de-certified in California), for allegedly helping protect the taxpayers and voters of California, for allegedly helping to keep elections clean and fair, what happens? Diebold, the true criminal in this case, and their powerful international law firm Jones Day, press the L.A. District Attorney's office to hammer Heller, a whistleblower. Three felonies! Diebold was (and probably still is) screwing California voters, Heller is alleged to have seen the smoking gun evidence of Diebold's crimes, and, like a true patriot and whistleblower, allegedly exposed that smoking gun evidence, and now HE'S the one facing jail time. Only in Bush's America!

And the irony is, if Heller is convicted of a felony for exposing Diebold's crimes against the California voters, he'll lose his right to vote. Diebold will win. We can't let that happen!

But we can help. Let's flood the Los Angeles DA's office with phone calls, letters and emails asking them not to crucify this whistleblower.

Now of course, BE POLITE. Remember you are writing, calling and emailing the office of the Los Angeles District Attorney, which is a branch of law enforcement. Being harassing, rude, or threatening will only get you in legal trouble of your own, and it won't help Steve Heller, the whistleblower.

Talking points:

Don't prosecute Stephen Heller. He's a whistleblower, not a criminal, and he should not be prosecuted.

Diebold is the criminal here. Stephen Heller is alleged to have exposed Diebold's criminal activity, and that makes him a whistleblower. He should not be prosecuted.

Diebold's election malfeasance strikes at the very heart of our democratic republic. Without clean elections, we don't have democracy anymore. Those who expose such crimes are whistleblowers and should not be prosecuted.

America has a long history of whistleblowers exposing criminal activity, and prosecuting them is wrong; it puts a chilling effect on others who might see criminal activity and want to expose it.

Heller is getting pounded. He's the victim of bullies; a huge, powerful, wealthy, politically connected corporation and their equally huge and powerful international law firm are slamming him, grinding him up in legal machinery for allegedly lifting up the pretty skirt Diebold shows to the world, exposing the dirty, stinking criminal secrets that lie beneath. For what he's alleged to have done, there was nothing in it for him. No financial gain (in fact a serious financial loss, because he got fired from his job, and he's had to pay 10s of thousands of dollars to his lawyers, and owes them 10s of thousands more). And he's now at risk of over 3 years in state prison. It's insane. His cause is a worthy one, and he needs our help. Please call, write and email today.

Email the Los Angeles District Attorney's office at

A good old fashioned snail mail letter is very powerful tool:

District Attorney's Office
County of Los Angeles
210 West Temple Street, Suite 18000
Los Angeles, CA 90012-3210

And of course, phone calls:

Telephone (213) 974-3512
Fax (213) 974-1484
TTY (800) 457-7778 (8:30am - 5:00pm M-F)

Let's help defend a whistleblower from Diebold and their attorneys!

Popular in the Community