[Note: this post is a supplement to the amazing post by Liberty Chick at Big Journalism today. That post sets out the important facts about Brett Kimberlin and his relationship to Brad Friedman. This post sets forth many of the same facts in my own way, and highlights a few points not mentioned in Liberty Chick’s piece. But you should definitely read her piece for the definitive takedown. It is tremendous.]
Brett Kimberlin set off eight bombs in Speedway, Indiana in 1978 over the course of several days. One blew up a police car. Another blew the right leg off of a Vietnam veteran named Carl DeLong. DeLong’s left leg was also severely injured, and two of his fingers were blown off and then reattached. DeLong carried shrapnel in his body, causing him constant pain . . . which apparently became too much for him. DeLong committed suicide in 1983 by sitting in his van in his garage with the engine running.
Kimberlin was identified by store clerks who sold him bombmaking materials. A search of his car revealed timers similar to those used in the bombing, as well as traces of the explosive used. He was convicted of the bombings. He has never been exonerated by any court.
Authorities suspected Kimberlin did the bombings as a distraction from a murder investigation. Kimberlin was enamored of a pre-teen girl named Jessica [a pseudonym given her by Mark Singer] who went on several unsupervised out-of-state trips with him. Jessica’s grandmother expressed her disapproval of the relationship, and insisted that the granddaughters move into her house to get away from Kimberlin. Kimberlin became suicidal. Then the grandmother was shot in the head at her house. Nobody else in the world had a motive to kill her except Kimberlin. After police arrested Kimberlin and several confederates in Texas in a massive drug smuggling operation, the sole eyewitness to the murder identified one of Kimberlin’s confederates as the man who killed Jessica’s grandmother. But the witness soon died of cancer, and no charges were ever brought against Kimberlin for the murder.
While awaiting trial on the bombing, Kimberlin plotted with an inmate to murder a prosecutor on his case. He promised another inmate bail money to go set off another bomb with similar components while Kimberlin was incarcerated, creating an alibi for Kimberlin.
In addition to his convictions for the bombings, Kimberlin was convicted at trial of impersonating a military official. (He sometimes posed as a military official as part of his smuggling operations). He also pled to the drug smuggling charge in Texas. For all these crimes, Kimberlin was sentenced to 50 years in federal prison for these and other crimes, but was somehow paroled in the early 1990s.
Now Kimberlin is partnered up with Brad Friedman of the BradBlog — the guy who has made such a big deal out of whether James O’Keefe was wearing a pimp outfit at ACORN. The guy who has repeatedly trumpeted the fact that O’Keefe was a federal criminal — for O’Keefe’s pissant misdemeanor violation of entering federal property under false pretenses.
With Friedman, Kimberlin runs VelvetRevolution.us. Together, they report wild-sounding conspiracy theories about voting irregularities, and solicit donations. Kimberlin and Friedman offer rewards of hundreds of thousands of dollars for news of voting fraud. Larisa Alexandrovna of Raw Story once told people at Democratic Underground:
I know Brett… and I know the story of his arrest and what really happened. he has been funding the voter fraud allegations, the afterdowningstreet people, etc.
With all this funding of investigations, offering of rewards, and such, Kimberlin to my knowledge has yet to pay DeLong’s widow any money on the $1.6 million civil judgment she received against him for blowing up her husband.
Speaking of crazy allegations against political figures, remember the guy who claimed that he had sold pot to Dan Quayle?
Yeah, that was Kimberlin.
Garry Trudeau made Kimberlin famous by writing a series of comic strips about Kimberlin’s unsubstantiated allegations about Quayle. Trudeau passed on the story to his friend Mark Singer, a writer for the New Yorker who wrote a sympathetic article about Kimberlin. Singer then wrote a book about him. But as he wrote the book, Singer started to realize that Kimberlin is a con artist. As Joe Gelarden, who wrote about Kimberlin during his trial, memorably stated, Kimberlin “was convicted of perjury – in federal court – before he got out of high school. Think about that for a moment.” In a passage in Singer’s book, Kimberlin is depicted as encouraging Singer to create fictional tales about him, saying: “Make it all up. Make the whole thing up.”
This fabulist, this convicted perjurer, is the guy behind many of the blockbuster stories about voter fraud published at BradBlog.com.
Kimberlin has taken to claiming that he was a political prisoner. For example, he had a band called Epoxy, and the band’s page of biographies for the band members says this about Kimberlin.
Epoxy arose out of the hellish depths of Brett’s time in prison for exercising his First Amendment rights to speech and political activity. Without any trial, Brett was hauled off to federal prison after being targeted by right-wingers who wanted to punish him for being a musician, writing a book and speaking out about politics.
From an interview:
5. Your views and political stance landed you time in prison – Did your views and/or ideas change because of the time you spent in prison?
My views about justice only got stronger in prison. I got to see and feel injustice first hand and spent a lot of time fighting for the rights of prisoners who were uneducated or from foreign countries. I have kept it up since being released, spending a great deal of resources on civil rights and liberties.
6. Many groups and organizations took up your cause and rallied for your release, did this surprise you and how did the media pick up your story?
My case is very convoluted but in essence, I was punished for exercising my First Amendment right to speech. Fortunately, many enlightened people came to my defense, along with the American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, and that is why my band is donating a portion of each sale to those groups. It did not really surprise because the actions of the American Government were so blatant and therefore it was hard to ignore. What does surprise me is that so many people did and do not care what happened to me. My feeling is that if people don’t stand up to government sponsored injustice, it will only get worse.
The Indianapolis Star sets the record straight:
Kimberlin was paroled in 1994 after serving about 13 years of his 50-year sentence. But when he made no effort to pay the DeLong judgment his parole was revoked in 1997 and he went back to prison for about four more years, released again in 2001.
Many questions remain about the investigations Kimberlin has supposedly done with Brad Friedman. The guy appears to be a career criminal along the lines of Tookie Williams. The similarities are great: an intelligent violent criminal involved in multiple acts of deadly violence, who hatches a plot to escape from incarceration by means of murder. When that fails, he starts a massive publicity campaign, mobilizing the politically strident but fundamentally naive segment among the left who love to stand up for prisoners. As part of his campaign, he uses lame “art” to convince people he is a serious person.
The main difference is that Tookie got caught, convicted, and was never let go. Kimberlin? He walked in 1994, and is now a progressive hero walking the streets.
For more, read Liberty Chick’s post, and poke around the blog of a Socrates, who has been writing about the connection between Kimberlin and Friedman for months.
NEXT UP: Proof that Friedman is censoring mention of Kimberlin at Bradblog. Stay tuned.
UPDATE: Kimberlin has now threatened to sue me for this post. To be clear: the post is based almost entirely on published reports from the Indianapolis Star, TIME Magazine, and other news publications. If there are any errors, I invite Mr. Kimberlin to specify them. I will happily correct and retract any mistakes. However, I will not remove anything that is true.