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THE COOPERATING WITNESS

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Coach Lee48

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Barbara Laken and her family learned about the American justice system and conspiracy law the hard way when her husband Glenn was wrongly accused and charged with conspiracy to commit bribery. He pled not guilty but was convicted and spent time in jail for a crime he didn’t commit. Barbara Laken brings awareness to the issues surrounding conspiracy law in this country in her compelling novel called THE COOPERATING WITNESS (Volume Publishing, November 2009). Many assume taped evidence presented in court automatically proves guilt. Actually, conspiracy law in the U.S. allows taped evidence to be manipulated by the prosecution in order to make their case. The use of cooperating witnesses is commonplace in conspiracy investigations. However, cooperating witnesses are often promised immunity for past crimes in exchange for their help; a strong incentive to use any means possible to get evidence. This situation is nothing new. Over 40 years ago TIME magazine reported that “American prosecutors have increasingly and often unfairly taken advantage of the fact that conspiracy requires less evidence of actual illegal conduct than any other crime.” Recent pressure in the financial industry suggest that more of these types of cases could be prosecuted now more than ever. In addition, the use of tactics now allowed by the Patriot Act make it even easier. If it could happen to Glenn Laken it could happen to anyone. Sweeps4bloggers.com said “In her gripping debut novel, Barbara Laken examines the paranoid subtext of the War on Terror, and the power conferred on criminal informants working for American intelligence agencies trying to protect the public from future attacks. Inspired by the true exploits of a financial criminal turned informant, The Cooperating Witness explores the perils of the United States’ growing reliance on surveillance technology as a means to pursue law enforcement.”

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