The story of Ben Kruidbos (pronounced “Cried-Boss”) is a story of what happens when a man of integrity stands up against a legal authority built on corruption and political self-interest.
Yesterday a Florida Judge delivered a ruling, with extreme prejudice, against his former boss, State Attorney Angela Corey – thereby allowing a lawsuit filed by Ben to continue.
Those of you who followed the trial of George Zimmerman may remember Ben; those of you who are not familiar with the specifics might find a parallel to the current headlines of what is happening in Baltimore Maryland in the office of State Attorney Marilyn Mosby.
Ben Kruidbos was the Information Technology Director, the technology expert, within the office of the Jacksonville State Attorney Angela Corey ~Full Backstory~. In his position he was charged with retrieving and reviewing the phone data contained in the cell phone of Trayvon Martin.
The office of Angela Corey held a vested interest in the content of Trayvon’s cell phone because, as we would later discover, the content therein showed how Trayvon’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, and his father, Tracy Martin, lied to state investigators about the details surrounding Trayvon’s activities prior to his encounter with George Zimmerman.
Conversely, George Zimmerman’s defense team also held a vested interest in the cell phone content because much of the public discussion therein was fraught with intentional deception on behalf of the Martin Family attorneys Daryl Parks and Benjamin Crump.
During the trials discovery phase, the FBI and various technological experts extracted data from the phone. In addition the State Attorney’s office also extracted data – some very alarming data, some very controversial data, and much of that data the State did not want to hand over to the defense team.
Consequently, Angela Corey, and state prosecutor Bernie De La Rionda, tried to hide much of the phone data from the Zimmerman defense team.
Enter Ben Kruidbos, who was charged with extracting and analyzing the data and documenting the content therein. Ben noted he was, and had, extracted far more data than was turned over to the defense during discovery. Angela Corey was intentionally trying to hide explosive information from the Zimmerman defense team.
Ben was stuck in an ethical conundrum. He knew data was being hidden by his boss, and yet simultaneously he would be putting his job in jeopardy if he questioned them about it. Ben tried unsuccessfully to discuss the issue with lead prosecutor Bernie De La Rionda, who wanted nothing to do with it because De La Rionda knew the inherent risks within the conversation.
Ben made the decision to reach out to another person for advice and counsel; a former prosecutor in the office named Wes White.
During the pre-trial ‘discovery phase’, Wes White was called to the witness stand by the defense and asked about the total of the phone content. Eventually this led to Ben Kruidbos also taking the stand, and the Corey ruse to manipulate evidence was exposed.
None of the details ever came out in trial, or in front of the jury. Judge Debra Nelson told both the State and Defense teams she was going to address the unethical conduct and possibility for sanctions after the trial. However, on the day the jury handed the not guilty verdict in the Zimmerman trial, Ben Kruidbos was fired by Angela Corey.
Several months later Ben filed a wrongful termination lawsuit, seeking whistleblower protection, against State Attorney Angela Corey.
In response Corey filed a counterclaim against Ben Kruidbos, essentially trying to put him into the legal grinder and wear him down.
Yesterday a Florida judge ruled that Corey’s 2-count counterclaim was dismissed with prejudice (a written order will probably take a month to be issued and filed).
Once the judges Order dismissing the counterclaim is entered, Ben Kruidbos’s suit will be “at issue”, which means the pleadings are closed and there will then be a trial order issued setting various dates for completion of discovery, motions for summary judgment, etc., and then a trial date. That actual trial is probably not likely to occur until the end of the year.
However, to show how convoluted, corrupt, and dangerous a rogue State Attorney can be, we would like to direct your attention to paragraphs 10 & 11 of the allegations of facts found within her failed counterclaim:
[…] 11. Even if the information Plaintiff disclosed to the defense during the Trayvon Martin case did not rise to the level of confidential work product, it was still information belonging to and considered confidential by State Attorney, and Plaintiff should not have disclosed it or authorized it to be disclosed to a third party, especially to the defense attorneys in an active prosecution being conducted by State Attorney.
Think about this paragraph.
State Attorney Corey’s position is not only convoluted, but it demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of our Constitution. The DEFENDANT’S (Zimmerman’s) rights, like the right to a fair trial, in a criminal proceedings are superior to any arguable right that she has to shield negative information that might harm her case.
Corey has an obligation under the law to disclose any material facts which might support, OR IMPUGN her case. She represents the state, and the State’s goal is the lawful application of justice; regardless of who wins/loses.
Think about the ramifications in all of State Attorney Angela Corey’s responsibilities if she, or anyone, is allowed to hide evidence which exonerates the accused, and achieve a guilty verdict despite the transparency of innocence, which only she is privy to.
What does that say about the integrity of the office?
See how dangerous it can be to have such legal authority in positions of power?
Yeah, I think we all can find current parallels: