Matt Britton’s History of Political Shenanigans

By Loudoun Insider

Matt Britton, the supposedly Independent Prosecutor in the Mark Tate case, has a long history of involvement with political prosecutions. He was pre-selected to be the chosen prosecutor in the Tate case in recently unsealed motions from the last case.

An interesting story from Fredericksburg by former Leesburg Today reporter Dan Telvock has some interesting criticisms of Britton by former Republican 1st Congressional District Chairman Russ Moulton (link here). This case also involved some interesting parallels to the ongoing FOIA controversies in Loudoun County.

In recent postings on NLS and here at TC, Mike Rothfeld stated his opinion of Britton involving a fishy threat of prosecution. I’ll re-post his comment from the Tate thread below as the first comment here.

Most troubling to me was a email exchange I saw between a reporter and another person where the reporter recounts Britton threatening to prosecute the reporter if he didn’t treat a conversation they had as off the record, when the reporter insists it was on the record.

This pattern of seeing themselves as almighty is what has gotten too many prosecutors in trouble. In an interesting linkage, the Center for Public Integrity has launched a nationwide investigation into the links between political money and land use decisions, with former Leesburg Today reporter Dusty Smith working Loudoun as a case study. Interestingly enough, they launched a big investigation into prosecutorial misconduct in the wake of the Mike Nifong BS in association with the infamous Duke non-rape case (link here). The not so big surprise conclusion was that there are hardly any consequences for prosecutorial misconduct. There may be a chance for insightful cross-pollination here.


Comments

  • Mike Rothfeld’s comment from the Tate thread below:

    King George Prosecutor Matt Britton is also to be heavily scrutinized.

    When Britton indicted me a year after I challenged State Senator John Chichester — Chichester’s brother is the Stafford prosecutor and refered my prosecution to Britton — a Richmond reporter (Tyler Whitley) called about the story as the dectectives sat in my office serving the papers.

    Maybe it is a coincidence, but I believe Britton is a dirty player … as it seems to me clearly that Plowman is.

    And I was actually the THIRD person Britton “investigated and leaked” as a Special Prosecutor that I know of.

    Abuse of the power to prosecute is a very dangerous thing.

    – Mike Rothfeld

  • I Heart Howard Beale says:

    Reading that Free Lance Star article reminded me of the Broad Run school board election last year. If memory serves, Bob Ohnieser (a lawyer) threatened his challenger Tag Greason with a lawsuit. Much was made at the time that Ohnieser might have broken the law (or perhaps violated state bar ethics) by using his knowledge of the court system to threaten a non-bar member with lawsuits.

    That is exactly what Britton appears to be doing–repeatedly. THe difference is Britton has the powerful weapon at his disposal called prosecution. Britton’s role in the Tate smear is one thing, but this prosecutors record of threatening prosecution is downright scary.

    As a resident of Virginia, it scares me to no end that people like Plowman and Britton are trusted with the power to prosecute. Shouldn’t the Virginia State Bar step in?

  • Mike Rothfeld says:

    I was the third (that I know of) of Britton’s political investigations/prosecutions that had leaks as part of the program. Tate makes four.

    Unfortunately, what follows is only from memory and I don’t currently have time to properly research. Still, it’s a start for a reporter … or someone else with an investigative streak.

    Britton investigated a friend of mine from Spotsylvania County, Claude Dunn, for supposedly using church resources to campaign for Board of Supervisors. This was, of course, at the behest of the Spotsy CA. Claude was passing out Christian tracts as he campaigned for himself. After generating two front-page stories in the Free-Lance Star that made Claude out to be either a possible fraud or a freak, Britton decided there was no crime. Claude lost badly to a very favored establishment guy (I think it’s the current BOS Chairman). Circa Summer 2003 maybe?

    Also, Britton prosecuted or threatened (can’t remember) for campaign violations a Stafford candidate for BOS for illegally getting signatures to get on the ballot. I’m working from memory, so please check facts, because this was arguably the dirtiest — even including his going after me. The charge was transparently bogus, and the candidate was running against a well-known establishment incumbant. I think there was even more to the threats. Again, the threat of prosectuion/investigation was leaked to the FLS during the campaign. circa 2005?

    Too many similarities not to be a pattern IMO.

    Prosecutorial abuse on behalf of politics is one of the most dangerous things in the public square, IMO.

    Mike Rothfeld

  • NotMattBritton says:

    My “Not-Namesake” is a disty trickster of the highest order.

    Mike R, … wasn’t there a sheriff’s race too in which he was involved? Memory fails, but I think I was told this was his 5th.

    General scuttle-butt is he was a hatchet man for the Chichester-Potts axis of the moderate establishment types to quell any of the unwashed grass-roots conservatives from challenging the orthodoxy.

    Ironically, not he’s in there helping burnish the conservative credential of Vill Joltzman Hogel – but she is by no means “a grass rootsy” type, … as she has soooooooo often pointed out. She has national credentials, … she was down in Florida involved in Presidential election fraud issues, she was involved in Bill Frists World of Hope scandal, she was involved the PA Senate Race in 2006, and on and on.

    So, while she may appear to be more conservative than these other types she’s in cahoots with, … she is just as dirty and compromised.

    Two names will pop up again, …

    First – Shaun Kenney who had the temerity to call Britton the RPV’s “go to guy” in a conference call this fall about yet another State Senate race;

    Second – Russ Potts. Look back to some history on that link on the NLS archives. Plus, he and Jill (and Jill’s Dad’s money) were way too cozy from 03 through 07.

    Potts is in this up to his eye-balls, … that’s the connection with Britton (via Chichester, etc etc). For Potts, however, he’s probably only guilty of being a slime ball – Britton, Plowman, Whitson Robinson, James Fischer (“Not Benito” Mussolini’s son-in-law) and Jill Hogel Voltzman are all members of the bar.

    The ever insightful I Heart Howard Beale is spot on 100 percent dead eye accurate that this is a case for the Va Bar.

    Anyone in the jurisdiction can complain (hint hint).

    My bold prediction – and I would love the sycophantic NoVa Conservtive to comment on this – is that Jill will try to throw H. Russell Potts “under the bus” – and she will try to do it sooner rather than later.

    Mr. Rothfeld is ssssssssssoooooooooooooo right – our democratic institutions are being threatened by these little piss-ants like Brtitton, Plowman, Whitson Robinson, Fischer, Pottsie, and Hill Vogel Joltzman, and their creepy associates like Robin DeJarnette, Jason Torchinsky, Shaun Kenney.

  • NovaConservative says:

    Throw Potts under the bus? For what?

    If you’re alledging that Potts somehow intervened in this case, consider that even in the general, Potts wouldn’t even endorse Vogel. From what I hear, there were attempts and pressure on him to get him to do that, and he wouldn’t.

    Simple math should tell you that more than a few Potts people voted for Karen Schultz–including some very close to Russ himself.

    There’s just not a tie there–anymore, at least. He didn’t appreciate Vogel running against him in 2003 one bit. Sure, the Vogels eventually gave Potts money, but only after the primary when Potts made commitments that he didn’t end up keeping. It wasn’t a secret that Vogel was (trying, most unsuccessfully because it was hopeless) to help Tate. The great irony here is that if Tate had just done a few basic things right in that race–like maybe show up for fundraisers and events scheduled on his behalf by his supporters–he would have won back then. He almost did, anyway…despite himself.

  • NotMattBritton says:

    stay tuned, NoVa Con, … stay tuned.

    Jill and Potts were linked by the old biblical saying, the enemy of my enemy is my friend

    And if what you say is true that there is no love lost between them, … then why such a surprise that Jill is going to throw him under the bus?

    Stay tuned, NoVaCon, … stay tuned.

  • NotNoVaCon says:

    Okay, admittedly I am new to this conversation, but as a long-time Potts observer, need I remind all of you that Potts openly threatened Tate with legal prosecution? Hell, he even complained about Tate’s finances in one of his committee hearings (Mark Obenshain can confirm — he was there).

    Do NOT be surprised if it turns out that Potts was a catalyst/facilitator/go-between with Jill’s campaign and the prosecutor. Accurate or not, word on the street is that Jill or someone close to her is shopping info around town to that effect. Apparently, the subpoena from Tate’s attorney is having some effect and she is looking for something — anything — to divert attention from her own complicity in the Tate case.

    NoVa Conservative said that Potts didn’t even endorse Jill. So what? I wouldn’t want that guy anywhere near my campaign. But do not confuse recent activity with old grudges. Let us not forget that Jill enthusiastically and ostentatiously held a fundraiser for Potts immediately following his primary victory over Tate in 2003 — and that was when Potts started screaming about getting even with Tate.

    If it wasn’t who Potts did something stupid (which would par for the course for him) and left some sort of trail linking him to the Tate prosecution, then Jill may be setting up someone else. Either way, SOMEONE in this soap opera is going to get thrown under a bus — count on it.

  • How in the world did this morph into a Russ Potts discussion???

    I could care less who started any rumors – I care about the potantial abuse of prosecutorial powers. Any more real info on that topic?

  • NotMattBritton says:

    Yes, LI, yes, … it is all tied together.

    … you are gonna pull the covers back and find Potts and Britton in bed together …

    Now, from time to time, Jill jumped in bed with them, Shaun Kenney took a roll in the sheets with them, …

    But yes, Potts is integral to Britton’s involvment in the Tate case.

  • I Heart Howard Beale says:

    You have any proof of that NMB, other than rumors and spin?

    I think we’re on the same side here, NMB, but bringing Russ Potts into this without proof (I’m making an assumption here) is stupid bordering on idiotic. Let’s just say you are right NMB, what good does it do to publicize this unsubstantiated rumor on a blog? I only see negative reprecussions for the endgame you and I would both like.

    Leave Potts out of this until or unless there is actual evidence of his involvement.

  • There is a Chichester – Britton connection as alluded to in Mike Rothfeld’s comments above, so maybe that somehow ties back to Potts as a member of the old guard of the State Senate, but that’s a bit of a stretch.

  • NovaConservative says:

    Wait–NOW all of a sudden we’re going to try to be responsible with this blog!!!

    Its no more of a stretch than anything else that’s being said on here, LI. There’s no proof of selective prosecution, either.

    I think that there is a hearing tomorrow on these motions…if I recall right from the articles anyway. That could shed some light on which way this is going.

  • NovaCon, that stretch is a huge amount larger than that of selective prosecution, which anyone with a passing familiarity with Loudoun political finance can attest to.

  • NotNoVaCon says:

    Yep. It’s all rumor.

    Just like it was “rumor” that Plowman was pimping the Tate story to the media (turns out that was TRUE).
    It was originally just a “rumor” that Jill’s babysitter and volunteer was behind the complaint (that proved to be TRUE).
    It was just a “rumor” that was spread by VCAP about Tate’s pending indictment (TRUE).
    And it was a “rumor” that Shaun Kenny was lying in public about how and when he and Ed Gillespie learned of the confidential proceedings of the Grand Jury (also TRUE).
    It was a “rumor” that the wife of Plowman’s chief deputy made a large contribution to Jill just before they took the case and weeks before thet “discovered” they had a conflict of some kind (TRUE)

    Jill said she had no connection whatsoever to any of this (TRUE — if you don’t count her baby sitter, or her BFF Robin DeJarnette, or her employee who was shared with VCAP and who posted the original rumor, or her former boss and contributor Ed Gillespie who, acting on just a “rumor” broke the news to Tate in an effort to get him out of the race, or her close associate Whit Robinson (GOP Fauquier Chairman, whose co-chairman James Fisher is just coincidentally Plowman’s chief deputy). Robinson was fingered as the person who relayed the news (oops, I mean “rumor”) to the state party and possibly others.

    And now we have this latest “rumor.” Look, I don’t know if it is Potts or not, but Jill has told more than one current news reporter (that I personally know of) and possibly more than one blogger that she can “name names” involved in the Tate case (the same case she has repeatedly said she was not involved in – the same line NoVa Conservative continues to spout) and Potts is a very likely suspect due to his proximity, history, opportunity and inclination.

    But let’s assume Potts is not the person Jill’s been peddling. One thing is TRUE —

    She’s peddling somebody for “under-the-bus duty” in an effor to divert attention away from the growing evidence of her complicity.

    See you tomorrow at the courthouse. I’ll be the one trying to keep from laughing out loud.

  • NotMattBritton says:

    NoVa Con, … you crack me up!!!!

    There is a hearing tomorrow, … “if I recall from the articles” HA HA HA

    you follow every little nuance of this case!!!!! For all I know, NoVaCon is the pseudonym of one of the subpeonaed parties. “if I recall from the articles” indeed.

    You are funny, NoVa Con.

    LOL!!!!

  • NotMattBritton says:

    I Heart Howard Beale, … you know my esteem for you.

    As for what I want out of this, … it is HONESTLY and INTEGRITY in government. It is indeed a shame to have to turn to pseudonymous blogging to bring some things to light, … but it is a blessing and a boon for our decomcratic institutions that we have that option, …

    Again, the damning point connection is: Jill Holtzel Vogelman’s personal babysitter who was at Jill’s swearing in, front row, center, files complaints against Tate for his race against POTTS.

    It goes to the CA who supports Vogel, who refers it to his old colleague and dear friend, Matt Britton, who is a gunslinger for hire and in the pocket of his State Sen, John Chichester, … POTTS best friend.

    Potts predicts the charges, they are quite similar in style and execution to those used against Mike Rothfeld.

    And reporters have noted that it was POTTS who took up the cause of leaking once Plowman recused himself, …

    I offer, in response to your admonishment IHHB, this 26 May Post from NotLarrySabato, …

    So to sum this up.

    1) Russ Potts predicts an indictment from “crimes” Tate committed when he ran against him.

    2) Russ Potts retires and knowing he is radioactive publicly criticizes both GOP candidates running for his seat- YET fails to field a Republican candidate he can support- as if a guy who ran for Governor because Jerry Kilgore wouldn’t ride in his car at a parade would suddenly allow a candidate he didn’t support to take his Senate seat. Pffft…..

    3) A Holtzman Vogel supporter sends in a complaint about things Tate did while running against Potts to the Commonwealth’s Attorney. The identical things Potts was complaining about Tate doing.

    4) The prosecutor who also supports Holtzman Vogel, subpoena’s Tate’s campaign bank records (already a conflict of interest since he can see and possibly leak activity to the campaign he is supporting) and reviews them.

    5) That prosecutor removes himself and sends the case to someone he was friends with when they both practiced in Fairfax County and who has experience running political prosecutions. Despite having recused himself for clear conflicts he continues commenting to the press on details of the case.

    6) The special prosecutor brought in indicts Tate within a month of the election, with VCAP (Holtzman Vogel supporters) knowing the date of the indictment in advance. (I’ll leave out the part about them being dumb enough to TELL people they knew the date!)

    7) No additional information is released about what the “crimes” are. The indictment is sealed.

    8) Russ Potts calls on Tate to withdraw and hand the Republican nomination (which is the Senate seat) over to Jill Holtzman Vogel.

    Wow. Jill, be sure and roll over and tell Uncle Russ “Thank You”.

    All the above from 26 May, NLS, …

  • I Heart Howard Beale says:

    NMB, everything you said is spot on. We’re on the same side here, and I believe we simply differ on how to bring an end to this charade. The truth will come out. There’s a good size lot of us who will ensure that. The pieces have slowly come together. … and they will continue to until the puzzle is complete.

    My question is this: If Jill is positing to reporters that she has said information, why have the good reporters throught the commonwealth been keeping her secret?

  • NotMattBritton says:

    I know of 2 instances.

    One session she insisted was off the record, … and hinted that if she “had to” she’d “name names,” etc and opined “you won’t believe where it came from,” yada yada blah blah blah.

    Two, she promised a scoop, with some of the same sort of bait, then she cancelled the interview.

    Neither instance did she to my second hand knowledge mention Potts, … it is just a HIGHLY educated guess.

    That is the extent of my knowledge and the specifics.

    Ask NoVaCon, … he/she certainly knows more.

    IHHB, you are a gentleman/lady, and a scholar.

  • NovaConservative says:

    As expected (at least by me), Mark Tate and his lawyers got killed in court today. All those fun little motions you all got spun up over? DENIED. All Tate gets to do is question Plowman specifically about the statue of limitations issue–and that’s it.

    All of that junk was, as I said from the beginning–completely irrelevent.

    http://loudounextra.washingtonpost.com/news/2008/mar/11/judge-denies-tates-motion-subpoena-vogel/?print
    Trial Set in Tate Election Fraud Case
    By Bill Brubaker

    Tuesday, March 11, 2008

    Advertisement

    All Advertisers

    Forget, at least for now, about any courtroom showdown between Virginia state Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel and the man she defeated in last summer’s Republican primary, Mark D. Tate.

    On Tuesday, a visiting Loudoun County judge denied Tate’s motion to subpoena Holtzman Vogel (Winchester) and one of her top supporters to testify in Tate’s felony election fraud case. A Sept. 8 trial date was set.

    Tate, a Middleburg restaurateur, had sought the court’s permission to seek testimony and e-mail records from Holtzman Vogel and Warrenton Town Attorney Whitson W. Robinson, who chairs the Republican Party of Fauquier County.

    Mark D. Tate

    Tate alleges that the charges — first brought during the Republican primary last spring — were politically inspired. Holtzman Vogel said she played no role in the investigation that led to charges that Tate filed hundreds of false campaign finance reports during his 2003 and 2007 runs for the state Senate.

    “I think you’re just grasping at straws and trying to conduct a fishing expedition with Ms. Vogel,” visiting Circuit Court Judge Thomas A. Fortkort told Tate’s attorney, Edward B. MacMahon Jr. “I am going to deny that” motion to subpoena Holtzman Vogel.

    “I’ll say this for the record,” MacMahon told Fortkort near the end of the hearing. “You’re leaving the defendant with no witnesses.”

    Special prosecutor Matthew J. Britton opposed the subpoenas, asserting that Tate’s alleged crimes had nothing to do with his political opponents.

    “The question is whether or not he did these misfilings . . . and whether he did that willfully and intentionally,” Britton told Fortkort.

  • I expected pretty much the same ruling, but this only ups the ante. McMahon probably went too far with trying to pull in JHV with these subpoenas. Sticking only with Plowman would have made it a much easier case. This will all be appealed anyway.

  • NotMattBritton says:

    LI, this case will be won by Tate. No need for appeal.

    I saw in one paper that even Laurie Letourneau who filed the charges is protected from taking the witness stand, … YIKES!?!?!?

    Don’t even rape victims – as accusers – have to take the stand? Aren’t defendants guaranteed a right to face their accuser?!

    But anyway, … how does Britton prove a thing? How does he prove Tate willfully filed false statements? That’s the standard the judge set in the ruling, right?

    By the way, also clear by the Judge’s ruling is that Britton STILL has not detailed the charges. There is no bill of particulars yet.

    Think about that, … two grand juries, all the other commotion, and Britton still has not detailed any charges.

    Oh, and by the way, NoVaCon, … there will be a ton of discovery and it will still get ugly for Jim Plowman, Jim Fischer, Whitson Robinson, at least, and probably Vill Joltzman Hogel, and hopefully, Shaun Kenney and VCAP and RPV.

    In fact, if you note,

  • NovaConservative says:

    Ha. What happened to your laughing all over the courtroom? So much for that.

    “This case will be won by Tate.”

    Right…just like his lawyer’s bogus motions.

    Dream on, buddy…

  • John Cornett says:

    I am currently dealing with Mr. Britton. While I probably have nothing on him that will go anywhere…he is one shady dealer. I am going through an ugly divorce and went to get my ATV that I am paying the bill on. My estranged wife physically and verbally attacked me, took the keys out of my hand and when I grabbed them to take them back, she started a tug of war and lost her grip on the keys and fell…she received a tiny paper cut sized cut on her pinky finger. I was arrested for domestic assualt. She got her best friend to testify as an “impartial witness”. They changed their story 6 times on the stand, obviously commiting perjury…but thanks to Matt, the judge basically ruled that there wasn’t enough evidence to find me innocent…I appealed to Circuit Court. They again couldn’t get a coherent story out and the Judge stopped the trial and spoke with Matt, and Matt came back and offered me disorderly conduct so I could at least stay in the military. The judge upheld the no contact order that was instituted in a previous support hearing. This order specifically states no contact either by phone or in person. I was on the phone with my son and she picked up the phone trying to talk to me…I hung up the phone immediately and sent her an email as there are things we need to resolve concerning the divorce. She printed out the email and filed a show cause for contempt, and Matt pushed it through, so now I have to hire another lawyer…I’m broke…and go fight for my life again. If he would have read the decree he would have seen that I was not in violation. There is plenty of Virginia case law stating that nothing can be implied on a court decree, it has to be specifically spelled out. He has it out for me…I have lost all respect for the judicial system because of this man…he is not interested in the truth…only winning. I am just trying to get away from this woman and she…using Matt…keeps dragging me into court to try and prove to me I am a criminal. He is a disgrace to this country and our institutions.

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