by James Buchanan
A recent news article reports “A North Idaho lawyer accused of plotting to to kill his wife and mother-in-law failed to convince a federal jury Thursday that he was the victim of a government conspiracy to silence him. The jury of 11 women and 1 man convicted Edgar Steele on all four counts, which alleged heâ€™d hired a hitman-turned-FBI-informant to kill his wife, Cyndi Steele, and mother-in-law. Federal agents foiled the plan, though a pipe bomb later was found attached to Cyndi Steeleâ€™s sport utility vehicle. Cyndi Steele, however, stood by her husband throughout the case. ‘Heâ€™s innocent,’ an emotional Cyndi Steele said after the verdict was read. ‘He did not do this, and we have the proof, which was denied in the courtroom.’ â€
One of the biggest fears of Edgar Steele’s supporters was that a federal judge would simply rule out all evidence and testimony from witnesses and any expert testimonial that pointed out flaws in the alleged government recordings of Steele and Fairfax.
The Feds claimed to have a tape of Edgar Steele talking with Larry Fairfax about murdering his wife and his mother in law. The murders for hire reportedly depended on money from an insurance policy according to Larry Fairfax. The Steeles however had canceled their insurance policies so the very basis of the murder plot did not even exist.
Edgar’s wife, Cyndi Steele heard the government tapes and observed that whenever her husband was allegedly talking about the murder plot the background noise would change and that there was no inflection in Edgar’s voice.
Edgar Steele’s defense team hired audio experts to analyze the government tapes and to find out anomalies. The judge arbitrarily denied use of the expert testimony questioning the tapes.
The only thing the jury got to hear were the (fabricated) tapes of Edgar Steele and Larry Fairfax. The judge told them that Larry Fairfax was a reliable, paid FBI informant, leaving out little details like the strong possibility of Fairfax stealing a large stash of silver from the Steeles. Fairfax placed a live bomb on Cyndi Steele’s car, which resulted in Fairfax being locked up for most of the last year. I wonder if the jury knew about that detail.
Steele was probably allowed to deny the charges, much like a defendant in the Soviet purge trials of the 1930s, but with no evidence allowed on his behalf and the government fabricating evidence against him, his situation was bleak.
Edgar Steele had just survived a ruptured aorta in November of 2009. His wife was the only person helping to take care of him at his home. Plotting to kill his wife would have been the equivalent of an invalid plotting to kill his nurse.
Both Edgar Steele’s wife and mother-in-law believe that Edgar has been framed. Larry Fairfax had been spying on the Steeles, posing as a handyman for six months. He apparently didn’t find any evidence of any illegal behavior, but he apparently did discover a large quantity of silver stashed at the Steeles’ home. (He may even have built some of the hiding places for the silver as a handyman.)
According to a letter from Edgar Steele, Larry Fairfax stole the silver from the Steele’s home and then put car bombs on both of the Steele’s cars to try to kill both of them. When that murder attempt failed, Fairfax then told his FBI handlers that Steele was plotting to kill his wife and mother-in-law. Someone with considerable audio expertise must have helped Fairfax fake the tapes. Curiously, Israel fabricated a fake audio that they tried to use to discredit the peace flotilla that they attacked a year ago. (Steele frequently criticized Israel in his columns.) Fairfax had just gone bankrupt in April of 2010 as his logging business had failed so Fairfax was in dire financial straits and had a very strong motive to commit a very large theft.
A federal judge however can rule out all of that circumstantial evidence pointing to Edgar Steele’s innocence which gives the government a tremendous edge especially when they’ve done the framing.