With dedication and resolve to fight for all citizens nationwide who have been falsely charged by a corrupt legal/justice system, the US~Observer staff has recently seen the fruits of their efforts pay off huge dividends in seeing the total vindication of Bud Sonnentag. By publicly exposing the facts to the world once again the truth has prevailed against corruption. Over our many years of publishing, the Observer’s mantra remains unshakable… “Stand up to evil and it will flee from you.”
By Kelly Stone
Nye County, Nevada – On December 16, 2004, two false, manufactured felony charges against Bud Sonnentag of Gabbs, Nevada, each carrying a life sentence, were formally dismissed in Nye County Justice Court located in Tonopah, Nevada. The trumped up sex abuse charges were Nye County’s last ditch effort in their two year attempt to break Sonnentag.
According to Sonnentag, his attorney Dave Houston of Reno, Nevada stated, “This is the first time I have ever had a newspaper run one of my cases.” Fortunately for Sonnentag (a 62 year-old war hero without even a traffic ticket on his unblemished record) he contacted the Observer in early May of 2003, and hired the hard-hitting investigative team of journalists to assure his vindication on the dangerous and “opportunistically motivated” felony charges filed against him.
An Unbelievably Corrupt Case History
Nye County’s corrupted justice system held Bud Sonnentag hostage for two years before the Observer’s media pressure finally placed Nye County District Attorney Robert S. Beckett’s unconscionable office under enough exposure that they were literally forced to drop their malicious charges. At the same time and without even knowing it, they would be exposing their facade before the entire country.
Gabbs residents Christopher and Tracy Kephart originally obtained the help of deputy Pat Thyne in getting false charges filed on Bud Sonnentag because he was attempting to help their daughter. When Thyne questioned the daughter she repeated three separate times that Bud Sonnentag had done nothing to her, yet the corrupted deputy filed serious sex abuse charges anyway. Sonnentag told the Observer, “I believe the Kepharts were giving their daughter dope because I witnessed sores around her nose and I truly believed she was being molested at home. When I witnessed the sores I also saw that there was something seriously wrong with her behavior and I knew that it was the result of drugs.”
Sonnentag was originally charged on December 27, 2002 with a felony that didn’t match the false charges being leveled against him and a misdemeanor which had already been found to be unconstitutional by the Nevada Supreme Court (showing DA Beckett’s incompetence). On January 1, 2003 a restraining order against domestic violence that didn’t legally apply to Sonnentag was issued by Justice of the Peace Joe Maslach on the basis of an affidavit by “known drug users Christopher and Tracy Kephart.”
On June 27, 2003 Sonnentag was charged with violating the bogus restraining (for tipping his hat as he drove down the street to pick up his mail at the Post Office ) and intimidation of a police officer. The violation never reached court and the false intimidation charge was quickly swept under Nye County’s well used carpet due to the fact that two witnesses were present who would expose Thyne’s false charge. This carpet is the place Nye County conceals all civil rights violations and it has worked very well for the so-called officials until they experienced the full exposure provided by the US Observer.
In response to Observer pressure the State of Nevada, via Nye County, charged Sonnentag with an escalated felony on August 21, 2003, thinking they could intimidate the Observer and Bud Sonnentag the way they have intimidated countless other victims over the years. Their bully tactics only served to cause the Observer to inform them we planned to escalate our efforts to expose their repeated violations of Sonnentag’s civil rights and that is a promise we have kept. The new felony didn’t match the manufactured false charges and this charge was eventually swept under the same carpet as the first charges.
On September 24, 2003 Sonnentag appeared in Nye County Justice court where his attorney Ken Ward informed him that all the charges were going to be dropped in ninety days. Ward actually struck the deal during a phone conversation with Edward Snook wherein according to Ward, Nye County agreed to drop the false charges if the Observer would stop publishing facts regarding the illegal activities of District Attorney Robert Beckett, Deputy District Attorney Donn Ianuzi, Justice of the Peace Joe M. Maslach and Deputy Patrick Thyne. Ken Ward told investigator Edward Snook, “the DA’s office wants to drop all charges, but they want ninety days to make sure everything goes right,” or in other words to make sure the Observer stopped publishing articles. In December 2003, Ward again spoke with Snook, informing him that the DA’s office was going to take an additional ninety days. At this point Sonnentag became fed up with the severe abuses leveled at him and he informed Snook that he wanted to expose all the corruption that had occurred in his case. Edward Snook, not wanting Sonnentag to enter a corrupted court room, was able to convince him to give the DA another 3 months as Snook believed they would finally keep their word.
In early March Sonnentag’s attorney informed him that the charges were being dropped, but that Nye County wanted to keep the restraining order in place a few more months “just to make sure everything goes ok.” In other words Nye County was obviously afraid of further exposure coupled with a possible federal civil rights lawsuit.
Sonnentag was furious at this juncture and in a meeting with Edward Snook they decided they had listened to far too many lies and that it was time to expose the entire conspiracy. According to Edward Snook, “I contacted our legal counsel about the case and they warned me that if Sonnentag sent tort claim notices to the corrupt officials and I published another article, they would most likely up the charges against him in an attempt to protect themselves. I then met with Sonnentag and explained this and told him I agreed with our attorney.” Sonnentag’s response was, “To hell with them!” Sonnentag went ahead and sent his tort claim notices (March 25, 2004) and at the same time we went to press with the complete story. Tort claim notices were sent to Nye County Sheriff Tony Demeo, Justice of the Peace Joe Maslach, Deputy District Attorney Donn Ianuzi, District Attorney Robert S. Beckett, Nevada State Attorney General Brian Sandoval, Nye County Legal Counsel Ron Kent, Deputy Patrick Thyne and Deputy Craig Barber.
Attorney General Sandoval was served because he has been informed of all the facts regarding the attempted false prosecution of Sonnentag and failed to act when he knew or should have known that the Nye County officials were using their positions of authority within the justice system to wrongfully inflict enormous pain, anguish and agony on Bud Sonnentag.
Sheriff Anthony Demeo was served because he knew or should have known that his deputies (Pat Thyne and Craig Barber) were wrongfully using their positions to falsely prosecute and persecute Sonnentag. It is puzzling why Demeo would allow such abuses, given the fact that he is well known among property rights circles for his stand against federal government intrusions on property owners in the West. It’s always disappointing when a public official appears to be legit and then allows corruption around him to taint both his image and his character.
Immediately upon reading the Observer and receiving their tort claim notices the Nye County officials - with help from state officials - openly furthered their conspiracy against Bud Sonnentag by filing two new felony charges against him, each carrying a life sentence. This act by the conspiring officials topped all others to date and placed a nail in their coffin regarding Sonnentag’s ability to prove they violated his civil rights.
Sonnentag was arraigned on April 27, 2004 in Nye County Justice Court in front of a totally corrupted Justice of the Peace Joe Maslach. Sonnentag appeared without an attorney as Ken Ward had applied to the court to be allowed to withdraw and in one more of their back room deals, Maslach gladly allowed Ward’s request. Maslach informed Sonnentag in front of approximately 30 witnesses that he had two weeks to get another attorney and that he would be back in court before him for a trial. Sonnentag inquired about the insane, yet extremely serious charges and the rude and arrogant Maslach stated, “We can add charges all day long if we want to.” What a corrupted excuse of a Justice of the Peace. In this writers opinion, Maslach and those who have conspired with him to ruin Sonnentag’s life should be removed from office and sent directly to a federal prison. This would definitely occur if the officials in control of the justice system in Nevada were more concerned about ethics and corruption within their ranks than they are about greed, cover-ups and the facades they promote around the world, as they seek more tourism and gambling dollars and therefore more power and control.
On May 6, 2004 Sonnentag was forced to hire attorney Dave Houston out of Reno and the charade started all over again. When Edward Snook interviewed Houston he told him how Ward had malpracticed Sonnentag, how the State of Nevada had abused him in stripping him of every right imaginable and that Sonnentag wanted to have a trial without any plea bargaining or deals. Houston assured Snook that he would get right on the case and have his investigator go to Gabbs and speak with all the witnesses. Snook informed Houston that he already had all the facts and witness statements and that the investigator simply needed to speak with him. As soon as Houston received Sonnentag’s retainer he followed the same path as Ken Ward. His investigator never called and Houston never talked to one witness...
Our readership should keep in mind the fact that all charges would have been dismissed months before had Sonnentag chose to allow the State of Nevada to continue violating his rights in the form of a restraining order. In short, Sonnentag’s character and values cost him plenty of time and money.
After Houston and the DA had postponed the case several times, Nye County once again made a deal to drop the charges. This occurred after a new threat of exposure by the Observer and after the people who had falsely accused Sonnentag were arrested on felony drug charges as well as child endangerment charges.
Running For Cover
Sonnentag appeared in Nye County Justice Court on December 16 where the felonies were dropped with prejudice, meaning they can never be brought up again. At the hearing Sonnentag was informed Nye County had another bogus restraining order violation (9464), which he was never informed of or formally charged with. The State of Nevada had to manufacture another false charge at this juncture because they had to have a charge in order to make their dismissals appear valid. Playing on Sonnentag’s forgiving nature, Houston took him aside and told him that if he would agree to go through an evaluation by one of Houston’s experts that Deputy District Attorney Donn Ianuzi wouldn’t lose his job over the case. Apparently District Attorney Beckett told Ianuzi he would be fired if Sonnentag wouldn’t agree. After Houston guaranteed Sonnentag it would turn out fine (meaning that the expert is simply a bought and paid for expert) the good-hearted Sonnentag agreed to go.
In the written agreement between Sonnentag and the DA, the only charge still on the books is the cooked-up restraining order violation and it will be dropped as soon as a positive evaluation is produced.
As we go to press Sonnentag is still waiting for the results of the test. Both the evaluator and his attorney assured him that the test would be positive, however Sonnentag was told he would have the results well over a week ago. This gives us some concern that the corrupt officials in Nevada State government might just have got to the evaluator. If this does happen our readership can expect yet another chapter in the Bud Sonnentag false prosecution case. However, the bottom line is that Sonnentag has been totally vindicated and all those involved have factually violated just about every right that Sonnentag once possessed.
Any good attorney will have a hay day with this case and hopefully one of the attorneys the Observer has dealt with will step forward and sue the hell out of Nevada for their well documented destruction of Bud Sonnentag.
The Observer sincerely hopes that God will have mercy on all the corrupted and vile individuals in places of authority in Nevada, who have taken part in the well-conspired assault on Bud Sonnentag, a true American hero.