Washington Roulette:Life, Death, and Rebirth in the Capitol City (the memoir of Donny Ray Williams, Jr.) is the title of the forthcoming memoir written by Donny Ray Williams, Jr, former Democratic political adviser and political appointee of President Barack Obama. The memoir will cover the Williams’ career from it’s beginnings as a Capitol Hill intern, his roommates murder during the DC Sniper Attacks, his rise to United States Senate Subcommittee staff director, his time serving on the staff of Senator Joseph Lieberman, his service as an appointee of President Barack Obama to the demise of his political career due to a wrongful conviction on false allegations.
Williams survived an intense effort by prosecutor Assistant U.S. Attorney Sharon Marcus Kurn who determined Williams’ guilt before any evidence was gathered.
She tried to build a case around her desired outcome. When her case was falling apart, she resorted to a legal tactic that resulted in Williams’ attorney being disqualified from the case. Williams was appointed an attorney who showed little interest in the case and often couldn’t remember facts and details discussed about the case that should have been well known. When the case continued to flounder, she searched desperately for anything she could find to substantiate wrong doing to bolster the claim. She found nothing but emails about drinking with friends. She also fueled the delusions of a jealous, stalking ex-boyfriend of the woman Williams was dating at the time, who decided to become a vigilante and arranged for an employee to attack Williams by throwing a jar full of battery acid in Williams’ face, leaving third and fourth degree burns over a significant percentage of Williams upper left torso and head. Williams spent months and the hospital and under went over two dozen surgeries that continue to this day.
Investigators working the acid attack appeared to be close to calling in the ex-boyfriend into custody until it was discovered that the lead detective in the original case and AUSA Marcus Kurn met with him only days before the attack. A prosecutor was assigned to the acid attack case, but after the new prosecutor learned of AUSA Marcus Kurn’s involvement, all investigative activities involving the acid attack were closed. In other words, in order to protect AUSA Marcus Kurn and the lead detective from potential exposure of wrong doing and/or inciting the attack, the case was completely abandoned. In fact, following the plea deal, Williams was given his iPhone 4 and Macbook Pro that were confiscated from him at the beginning of the investigation. Both were completely erased. Williams, continually pointed to evidence he believed to be contained on his computer as crucial to his defense, but he was never able to get a copy of the hard drive. After it was learned that the government had erased all of the data, Williams sought to recover the information using four different data recovery centers. None could recover any of the information contained on either device. Earlier in the case, the government repeatedly claimed to have made a copy of the drive. Upon learning that the devices were erased, Williams contacted AUSA Marcus Kurn repeatedly over a period of 8 months hoping to recover the image or copy of the drive that was supposedly made (although never provided to the defense), only to find that the government claimed that the drive had been damaged and all the information was unrecoverable.
Please find an email exchange between Williams and AUSA Marcus Kurn:
Given that AUSA Marcus Kurn actually referred to evidence collected from this computer and iPhone, but that none of the information exists in any form to date, it is clear that there was evidence that was not only withheld during the defense, but that was unsubstantiated in building of the already weak and unfounded case against Williams. Williams fully intends to use the proceeds from his memoir and other work to get the plea thrown out and to clear his name once and for good.
Through it all, Williams maintained his innocence, but accepted a plea deal only after it became clear he had no resources to mount an effective defense due to his medical costs and disability caused by his injuries. Prosecutors offered the most lenient deal imaginable because it wanted at all cost to avoid a trail. Williams only accepted because he did not believe he had the financial resources to ensure effective defense. He agonized over accepting the plea and decided in the long run he could fight the case in the court of public opinion and by telling his story loudly and widely.
Williams has vowed to fight the conviction in public through his writings, advocacy for fair trials, and educating men on the dangers men pose to women through misogynistic thinking and behaving. While Williams will go to his death fighting the conviction, he has always been an advocate of women’s reproductive rights as well as women’s rights to their bodies. He feels deeply that any fight against the false conviction must also include an effort to make more men aware of behaviors, that while maybe not overtly sexist or aggressive, that may have a damaging impact on the women of the world. Anti misogyny and anti-sexual violence is now one of the causes of Williams’ life.
Williams has pledged he will spend his life working to have his case overturned and plans to be standing by when AUSA Sharon Marcus Kurn is fired and removed from the DC prosecutors office.
washingtonroulette.com will detail Williams’ expert analysis and unique perspective on political and social affairs from the vantage point of someone who fought the legal system, survived a violent attempted murder, and not only lived to tell tale, but who thrives as a productive and involved member of his community.
From his experiences, Williams brings together a strong policy knowledge with and a powerful street sense that enables him to weed through political bullshit and identify the truth of the matter. Washington roulette.com is designed as a resource for discerning citizens to share information, debate ideas, and gain better clarity on today’s social and political affairs.
PleaDeal Press Release
Plea Deal Press Statement
Donny R. Williams
“He’s always said he was innocent to the point where he wouldn’t, you know, make any kind of a deal which is of course the mistake that people make when they’re innocent they think that the truth will free them, which is true if you have good representation, but if you don’t, then people never hear the truth.”
“…And of course if you don’t have money then that reflects the amount of help you’re gonna get also.”
Susan Sarandon (The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell interview regarding Richard Glossip stay of execution)
In December of 2014, I plead guilty to 3rd degree felony sex abuse, misdemeanor sex abuse, and misdemeanor threats. I did not accept the plea that was offered by the prosecution because I am guilty, in fact, I have never changed my story one iota since this case began. I did not, nor have I ever intentionally give any woman a drug in order to have sex with her. I did not give alcohol to a second woman for the purposes of having sex or touching her. I plead to these charges because after four years of fighting, the removal of my trusted attorney, an acid attack, the failure of appointed attorneys to request key evidence, and a declaration of disability for partial blindness and severe burns, I was completely exhausted and I had absolutely no confidence in either the attorney appointed to this case (when the attorney I chose was dismissed at the prosecutors urging) or the justice system as a whole when a minority defendant is involved. Under the current circumstances, I chose to accept this plea because I simply will not risk being separated from my child for any reason outside of death.
I am under no illusion about changing public opinion on the question of my guilt. I am certain most will say, “If you plea guilty, you are guilty.” I am, however, speaking out because there are facts about this case that even the most dismissive critic should find troubling. I implore the media and the public to consider the following facts:
- The Attorney I paid for was removed from case–my family and I used our life’s savings and donations from a host of friends to hire the firm Coburn and Greenbaum. The prosecutor pushed to have Attorney Barry Coburn removed from the case because he spoke to claimant V3 briefly over a year before I hired him. Only a few short weeks after the firm was disqualified from the case for this reason (and I was appointed an attorney), charges filed related to V3 were dropped completely. The very reason for my trusted attorney and the firm who worked the case as a group being disqualified was no longer an issue but Coburn was never reinstated. I was refunded the savings and a week later the acid attack occurred and I was forced to use money I would have used for my defense to survive the past, nearly two years.
- First Appointed attorney tried to jettison this case
On April 10, 2013, just after my former attorney, Barry Coburn of the firm Coburn and Greenbaum was disqualified from representing me in this case, my appointed attorney engaged in a bitter confrontation with Mr. Coburn who had attended a meeting with myself in the appointed attorney’s office. It became clear that the appointed attorney was angry with Mr. Coburn for an incident that occurred before he was appointed to my case. The appointed attorney angrily yelled and cursed at Mr. Coburn and physically removed him from his office. On April 13, 2012, the appointed attorney offered a motion to withdraw himself from the case. However, the Judge refused the motion. As a result of this incident, the relationship between the appointed attorney and I never recovered; trust was broken on both sides and never regained. The appointed attorney was removed only after I was led to sign a plea.
- Appointed attorneys refused to request key piece of evidence
Both attorneys appointed to this case refused to request a key piece of evidence. From the beginning of this case I repeatedly addressed the fact that V1 texted nonstop during the, less than, two hours she was at my apartment on the day in question. I repeatedly asked appointed attorney 1 for the text messages, which he simply ignored repeatedly for well over a year. After a new attorney was appointed in February of this year, the attorney finally identified the text messages. Upon review of these messages, we discovered that the texts weren’t based on metadata, but were only a download of the texts V1 saved for the sole purpose of this case. Worse still, the texts weren’t downloaded by the Government until late May of 2011, some 10 months after the day of the alleged assault. It can be clearly seen that she is texting other people before she arrived and I remember her texting non-stop during her time at my home, but all texts were deleted from time she was at my home, but texts restart once she left. This is critically important because V1 claims she was unconscious waking up to find herself undressed. Requesting the metadata for the date and time in question could show that V1’s claims of being unconscious were questionable because she texted throughout the duration of the stay. The second attorney appointed to this case stated that he believed it was too late to retrieve the information, and refused to request it. However, I consulted two other attorneys who believed such information would be available from the phone company.
- I was attacked and severely burned with acid by an assailant who met with lead detective and prosecutor only days before On July 3, 2013, I was attacked by someone who a threw jar of some kind of chemical, possibly acid, in my face, which burned the left side of my face, my left arm, chest, head, and back. I was hospitalized for over a month and continue to undergo major surgical procedures. Interestingly, in the days and weeks leading up to the attack, I was being followed by the ex-lover of the girl I was dating at the time, who when he learned about the charges I was fighting, contacted the police. The lead detective in the sex abuse case, Ingrid Harkins and the prosecutor, Sharon Marcus Kurn, both spoke with this individual, sending him background info on the case and trying to get the girl I was dating to make a comment. Although she called the detective and made it clear that she had no concerns about her safety, the prosecutor and lead detective continued to feed him more information and encourage his vigilante-style behavior. The person began to get more agitated and angry; he began to text threats to me and began following me taking photos of me and sending them to my former girlfriend. After she and I moved in together in June 2013 we had not announced our address to anyone but family. When I learned he was following me and taking photos, I reported it to my then newly appointed attorney, who all but dismissed my concerns. After multiple requests via email and in person to file a CPO, I was attacked with acid less than two weeks later. Despite multiple assurances from the acid attack investigator, Ryan Savoy, the ex-lover, was never even questioned by police, no doubt to protect the detective and prosecutor. The ex-lover was incited to violence by Sharon Marcus Kurn’s efforts to manufacture a new victim in this case.
- Obvious factual inaccuracies ignored by prosecutor in rush to prosecute
There are a number of factual incongruences with regard to V1’s account of the day in question. In her Statement to the prosecution, V1 states that. “I woke up in a couple of hours later lying on the defendant’s couch, remembering seeing my pants and my underwear were also laying on the couch…” The prosecutions own documentation shows that she was at my apartment from 3:58 PM and we were back at her home across town shortly after 6:00 PM, after driving through DC rush hour traffic. Given the fact that drinks were made while she was present, and the time it would take for a drug to enter a person’s system, it’s clear that the assertion that she woke up hours later is impossible. In her statement, V1 also states, “But I didn’t regain consciousness [until] around midnight that day.” Video from her apartment complex shows V1 and I driving into the parking garage and entering the building sometime after 6:00 PM. In the video, V1 can be seen walking up stairs carrying materials I provided her including the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Report on Hurricane Katrina, a book that weighs around 8 lbs. V1 appears unsteady at times, but only to a degree that would support my original claim that the moment she said anything about feeling “drunk or funny” I stopped any and all physical interaction and offered to drive her home. In her statement to prosecutors she mentioned that on a previous occasion when we met for drinks, a single drink made her feel too unsteady to drive. On that occasion, V1 stated to me in no uncertain terms that she suffered from, the “Asian Flush” and that it only takes a small amount of alcohol to cause her to feel intoxicated, so I drove her car for her when we went to visit the Lincoln Memorial. On the day of the alleged abuse, it then made sense to me that she felt unsteady, when she did, I stopped all physical activity, and drove her car home. While I cannot say for sure how Ambien was introduced into her system (It’s important to note that toxicology reports provided by the government showed that in addition to Ambien, V1 had 7 additional prescription drugs in her system), it seems puzzling how she can claim to have been unconscious for such an extended period of time, though she clearly explained to me how to get to her home, into her parking lot, up the stairs, and into her apartment with no assistance by me.
I can provide the surveillance video upon request. There has a persistent effort to exaggerate even provable and documented information throughout the course of this case and V1’s statement is a very clear example of that effort.
- The Judge chose not to sever the cases of V1 and V2 The Judge decided not to sever V1 and V2 based on information provided by the prosecutor suggesting that I had given a drug to V2 in a situation similar to the facts of V1. However, there were several important differences:
- V2 never reported any wrong doing and was brought into this case based on an email she wrote to me in the fall of 2010 whereby after a night of drinking she asked whether she and I had intercourse. The prosecution suggests that I served her drinks and sex came afterward, however, in her statement to the prosecutor, V2 admitted that she had been out drinking while watching basketball before she arrived;
- The prosecutor stated to the judge that V2 and I had not had a sexual relationship that summer when we in fact did have such an intimate relationship that included sexual contact other than vaginal intercourse. In fact, this interaction persisted through the entire summer and on into the following year. We even spent a weekend at a beach house together a week prior to the date of the alleged crime;
- The prosecutor argued that V1 and V2 should not be severed because it was a similar allegation of drugging, and that I gave the same drink to V2 to conceal a drug. The Judge agreed despite my attorney providing records of texts messages by V2 where she discussed drinking only wine with me that evening;
- The prosecutor’s own proffer of facts for charges against V2 states, “Once at his home the defendant gave V -2 alcoholic beverages. The defendant engaged in sexual acts and contacts with V2.” The proffer makes no mention of the use of the drug Ambien. Therefore the facts used to encourage Judge Morin’s decision not to sever the cases were false. Severance would have allowed Coburn and Greenbaum to remain in the case.
- Prosecutor chose not to investigate sexual assault of an employee of mine who was assaulted by a white Department of Homeland Security Employee On the day before I was asked to resign from the Senate in 2011, a female staffer on my staff reported to me that she was sexually assaulted on a work trip. The alleged perpetrator was a white official working with the CBP. While the prosecutor learned about this disclosure, she chose not to pursue that case (even though the claim was very similar to the claims made in this case) but repeatedly called the staffer before multiple grand juries urging her to disclose wrong doing on my behalf to the point of harassment. She was harassed so frequently and intensely by the prosecutor that she was forced to retain an attorney to fend off the aggressive tactics. Consequently, the same employee was present on the day I met V1. These facts prove nothing about my guilt or innocence but all played a huge role in my decision to stop fighting. It shows that this prosecutor lengths this prosecutor would go, not to find the truth, but to find ways to support the theory she had before any solid evidence was collected. The Judge, who I believe is a fair man, has so often sided with her in nearly every motion (including the motion to disqualify my original attorney and the motion to sever V1 and V2); I saw no way that I could receive a fair trial.
In closing, I chose to take the plea because the past four years broke the faith I have long held in the justice system. While I am not now, nor have I ever been perfect. Although I have been a philanderer and excessive partier too many times in my life, that behavior never included purposely incapacitating any woman for sex. It should be noted that neither I, nor my attorney requested a plea. Anyone who believes that this prosecutor offered this plea because I got hurt is a fool. This plea was offered because the prosecution wanted to avoid a trial as much as I did. There were always problems with this case and this is the reason a plea was presented in the first place. I feel enormous compassion for the two women who feel they have been victimized in this case and I wish them peace and nothing but good things. However, I have never and will never violate a woman’s right to her own body. I hope that you will consider the information I have presented, and really think about what you would have done in a situation where every part of the effort you put together to mount a strong defense was stripped from you. Would you have given up time next 10 years with your child? Would you have put clearing your name above being at every baseball game, every parent teacher conference, and every moment of teenage angst for your child? Perhaps you would have, but I simply didn’t feel I had the firepower to take that risk.