The case against Michael Segal was a confusing mess of contradictions.
In essence, Segal was accused of mismanaging Near North Inusrance, the company he had spent decades building. The government claimed he misappropriated funds, and defrauded his clients.
On the surface, the charges may have seemed simple. Yet the closer you looked, the less sense they made. To begin with, there was one undisputed fact: not one of Michael Segal's clients ever reported a financial or service loss of any kind, an item the judge who presided over the case couldn’t help but remark upon in the record.
Inane as the concept of victimless fraud may seem, it is only the beginning of the case’s many layers of madness. To dig deeper is to discover a nightmarish saga of cyber-crimes, unwarranted surveillance, corporate saboteurs, and overzealous prosecutors. It is a sensational example of over-criminalization, as the entire government case was based on stretching a supposed violation of a state accounting regulation into a federal crime.
In subsequent re-evaluations of the case, numerous legal observers have stated that Segal was clearly over-charged and over-punished; and further, many have questioned whether he ever should have faced a criminal indictment to begin with.
As part of his commitment to legal advocacy and reform, Michael Segal has elected to share as much of his story as possible. To that end, in addition to co-authoring the legal memoir Convicted at any Cost, he has collected the reams of primary evidence, court documents, and filings that comprise his case record, and made them available here.
This considerable catalogue is perhaps too exhaustive for a casual reader. It will, however, likely be of interest to the many journalists, attorneys, business people, and law students who have come to recognize the incredible questions relating to cybercrime, due process, insurance law, and the Fourth and Fifth Amendments that arose from Michael's prosecution.
It is Michael's hope that this trove may be of use to future business leaders, legal professionals, and law makers who wish to improve the imperfect judicial system they inherited.
The following documents provide overviews and context for Michael Segal's case. They should offer readers with little to no frame of reference a thorough entry into the story.
The collected archive has been organzied within varying areas of legal and scholarly interest. Please note: while an intense effort has been made to include as many primary documents as possible, the collection may continue to grow as new materials become available, and/or are digitized.
Among the many wild actions taken by the government during the Segal case was the misuse of RICO laws. Prosectors lumped unaffiliated assets together, labeled respected businesses as criminal, and seized holdings outside their purview.
The Michael Segal case was a bizarre patchwork of ever-evolving charges, many of which were contradictory in nature. Throughout the process, as prosecution found itself pot-committed, Michael's right to due process became a vague afterthought.
The Segal defense team submitted several motions prior to the trial, seeking hearings on matters related to evidence, discovery, and the role of local media.
Once the actions of the local United States Attorney's office became untenable, the Segal defense team appealed to the United States Department of Justice, seeking misconduct reviews, and calling for reform.
Petition for a writ of certiorari to review the judgment of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.
Numerous observes characterized several prosectors involved in the Michael Segal as wildly overzealous. Their conduct and its impact on the defendant's rights to due process was frequently cause for alarm.
Part of the Segal case involved a number of emails and documents that were unlawfully ripped from the Near North servers. The use of these hacked documents constituted an egregious violation of due process.
The evidence brought against Michael Segal was often misrepresented, drawn from questionable sources, and put forth by dubious actors.
The following organizations work in varying capacities to encourage judicial reform, and improve the American legal system. Aside from standard donations and charitable gifts, Michael Segal is not professionally affiliated with these groups.
Accounts of serious issues within the justice system appear regularly in major newspapers all across the country; though the less "thrilling," non-violent cases rarely seems to capture significant attention.
Here are some typical examples: