From the April 2008 Idaho Observer:

Chief government witness in Hinkson persecution convicted of fraud

On April 8, 2006, The Marine Corps League banished Elvin Joe Swisher of Cottonwood from a fraternity of marine combat veterans for life. Swisher was found to have lied about his military service record and how he received the medals he proudly wore. Swisher was also the chief witness in the persecution of David Hinkson, the brilliant CEO of the innovative, colloidal minerals supplement company Water OZ of Grangeville. Swisher claimed that Hinkson offered to pay him $10,000 to kill two federal agents and a federal judge. Though Hinkson would never do that and there was ample evidence to prove he didn’t, the federal government simply blocked the evidence and proceeded with the persecution. In the April, 2006 edition of The IO, we ran the story of Swisher’s banishment by Hinkson’s father Roland with a lead in by IO editor Don Harkins. After the article was published, Swisher sued a large class of people alleging libel, slander and defamation. Included in that class was Roland Hinkson, Harkins, Hinkson attorney Wesley Hoyt and members of the Marine Corps League. Last year, Judge Edward Lodge dismissed most of the allegations and most of the defendants. But, he allowed Swisher to proceed with the defamation suit against Roland Hinkson, Hoyt and Harkins. Swisher’s claim against Harkins was his comment in the lead wherein he refers to Swisher as "a pathological liar." It would appear that a federal prosecutor, a federal jury and a federal judge have entered a verdict supporting Harkins’ contention by finding Swisher guilty on all counts of living a lie, accepting benefits and wearing false honors for decades.

Swisher’s sentencing is scheduled for June 26, 2008.

BOISE, April 8, 2008—The two-day trial of Elvin Joe Swisher concluded today with the jury’s guilty verdict on all counts of defrauding the Veterans Administration of hundreds of thousands of dollars and Theft of Valor, claiming Swisher had no right to wear US military awards and medals.

The unanimous verdict in Judge Lynn Winmill’s Idaho District Federal Court also proves that Swisher perjured himself in the 2005 "murder-for-hire case" of David R. Hinkson, of Grangeville. As the government’s chief witness against Hinkson, whom Swisher claimed attempted to hire him to kill two federal agents and a federal judge in 2004, Swisher presented the court with documents proving he was a combat veteran from the Korean War Era—the same documents that are now known forgeries.

Swisher, who in the 2005 Hinkson case testified of his own courage and that he was entitled to wear the Purple Heart and a double award of the Bronze Star for exceptional bravery, testified yesterday of his own cowardice and that it was the affair with the "old lady" of his commanding officer which caused him to be court martialed.

The trial that concluded in Boise today showed overwhelming evidence that Swisher was never involved in combat, never went to Korea and that his claims of valor were completely false and fraudulent.

In the earlier case, Swisher testified Hinkson wanted Swisher to murder three federal officials because Swisher’s was supposedly experienced in killing people from his military career, and because, as Swisher said, he had killed "so many" people in combat. "As it turns out, all of this was a lie," said Wesley W. Hoyt, attorney for Hinkson. "Worse than the lying was the U.S. government’s complicity in Swisher’s perjury in the 2005 Hinkson case," commented Hoyt.

In January 2005, Swisher fooled Federal Judge Richard Tallman and a jury of 12 Idaho citizens with his false and sometimes salacious accusations against Hinkson. At issue was a charge that Hinkson supposedly solicited Swisher as a hitman to murder selected government officials. Instead of solicitation, Swisher used his imagination to create a murder-for-hire fiction that never occurred in order to put Hinkson in prison.

Swisher had previously demanded that Hinkson sign over one-half of his WaterOz business to Swisher or he promised he would testify against Hinkson and see him "rot in jail for the rest of his life" explained Hoyt. "In the Hinkson case, the Judge would not allow the jury to hear about Swisher’s forged documents or Swisher’s plot to put Hinkson in prison for the rest of his life."

In June 2005, at Hinkson’s sentencing hearing, because Judge Tallman was incensed that anyone might threaten the lives of federal workers, he made an example out of Hinkson by giving him the maximum sentence. Hinkson has been in jail/prison since 2004, facing a total of 43 years in solitary confinement in maximum security at Florence, Colorado, branded as a terrorist. "The fact of the matter is that Hinkson never threatened or solicited anyone" said Hoyt, "it never happened. But, because of the pride of the government officials, another innocent man has been rotting in jail for years."

The U.S. Attorney’s office allowed itself to become embroiled in Swisher’s lies and used Swisher as its confidential informant against Hinkson when they knew Swisher’s heroism awards were fraudulent and his government documents were forged. As an example of the arrogance of the U.S. attorneys, Hoyt pointed out that, "When asked why he did not disclose the nature of the forged documents to Hinkson’s defense counsel in advance of the 2005 Swisher testimony as required by law, U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan of the Anti-Terrorism Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington DC, said: ‘Why should I?’"

The reason why is because that was his job and that was the law and U.S. attorneys are not above the law. "The U.S. attorneys in the Hinkson case need to be investigated for vindictive prosecution," said Hoyt.

Hoyt, an attorney of Clearwater, Idaho, said of his client "he never had a chance. The deck was stacked against him from the beginning. Everyone on the government side hated Hinkson because he was branded as a tax protestor.

[At the time Swisher alleged Hinkson was soliciting him to murder three feds, Hinkson was suing two of them, Deputy U.S. Prosecutor Nancy Cook and IRS agent Gregory Hines, in civil court for malicious prosecution].

"Then, when government officials found Swisher to be a cooperative witness because he wanted to cover up the fact that he had fraudulently obtained a disability award from the VA in July of 2004, worth $3,000 per month plus hospitalization, the government then acted like Swisher was an authentic combat hero, who was credible and believable because he would be their hero and bring down Hinkson. My investigation revealed that all of Swisher’s accusations were a fraud, yet, Judge Tallman would not allow any evidence or listen to any argument that showed that Swisher as the government’s witness was a fraud.

"It was like being in a police state" Hoyt said, "because admission into evidence of every item favorable to Hinkson was denied by the judge and every item of false accusation by the government was permitted.

"The conviction of Swisher now cinches the fact that the government should never have prosecuted Hinkson for the solicitation charges and that another innocent man is in prison" said Hoyt.

Hinkson supporters are awaiting a decision from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to decide whether Hinkson should be entitled to a new trial. The court convened over a year ago and reportedly chastised the U.S. attorney’s office for using Swisher as the government’s chief witness against Hinkson. Though the hearing went well for Hinkson in that it would appear enough new evidence surfaced to warrant a new trial, the Ninth has yet to render a decision.

Swisher’s conviction is likely to help compel the Ninth to publish a ruling on Hinkson’s appeal sometime soon.

Swisher is scheduled for sentencing June 26, 2008. He faces up to 20 years in prison.

Note: For those who have been concerned about Dave Hinkson, he has been in maximum security and in solitary confinement most of the last four years. At first doing time under those circumstances had been extremely difficult for him, as it would be for anyone. But, he has had nonstop support from his family and a close circle of friends. That, combined with his cases moving forward with a hopeful glimmer here and there, he has been doing much better of late, according to his father. His brilliant mind has been occupied, he has been productive and his outlook is positive. The Swisher conviction has brought on a new wave of hope that his release is inevitable—it’s only a matter of time now. (DWH)