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LESSON: Even before the black swan knocks on our doors, we must, sadly, document everything possible to include paperwork, audio recordings, and even video interviews. It saved my life, over and over, during this horrific decade, but I should have implemented this extreme practice twenty years earlier. Today, my consulting associates chuckle when I suggest every contract or disclaimer signing be videotaped.


The below lesson is an excerpt from my recently released Amazon #1 Best Seller, When Not If: A CEO's Guide to Overcoming Adversity, Forbes Books. 


I sat in the Western Tidewater Regional Jail (WTRJ), the same facility the FBI dropped me in 4 years earlier at the beginning of this horrific journey. My court-appointed appeal counsel Larry Woodward visited me more than most inmates. Many inmates only met their court-appointed attorneys minutes before entering their plea deals (phenomenal miscarriage of justice). While Woodward seemed conscientious, I always believed he had been given clear orders to micromanage and control the defendant (me), whom AUSA Brian Samuels repeatedly referred to as “an economic danger.” Like most court-appointed lawyers, Larry had many clients to serve and the most expeditious way to do that was to get each one to take a plea deal. He would get his check from the court and move onto the next defendant.


The last thing most court-appointed lawyers want is to go to trial. Larry and I had numerous screaming matches while I was chained to the desk and floor in the attorney–client meeting room. He demanded I take a plea. I argued that I go to trial, again!


Becoming a little brighter along the way, I took copious notes during each session, mailed the notes to Ashleigh with the stamps she bought me in WTRJ, and she then scanned them and sent them to Woodward and his assistant by email weekly. When everything went south—again—this documentation was priceless in saving my life—again.


I refused to discuss a plea offer for the second indictment. I kept yelling, “This is more ludicrous than the first indictment!” I had come that far standing on what I believed was honorable and principled. I couldn’t fold now. My obstinance caused me to sit in the horrific local jail for another eight months before I began to believe the advice, again.


Since these experiences I have studied prisoner-captor behavior and negotiations, and I apply it regularly with my consulting clients facing significant transactions and negotiations. I should have studied this earlier.


Being that I had two separate judges, Judge Jackson for the resentencing of overturning the first sentence, and Judge Wright Allen for the new indictment, Larry Woodward convinced me he could move both cases to be heard by Judge Wright Allen, and since they had history together, she would likely provide much more favorable rulings.


I became convinced that if I only stopped fighting, the first sentence of twelve years would be cut in half, and I could go home now. Ground Five of the submitted Motion pursuant to 28 U.S.C. #2255 stated, “Woodward…convince(d) Martinovich that counsel had negotiated an arrangement with the government and the District Court (Judge Allen) for Martinovich to receive no more than an aggregate ‘5-6 years’ sentence in return for Martinovich stopping his numerous appeals and ‘putting an end to this.’”


This would send me home immediately after over 4 years in prison.  I couldn’t resist the deal.


And I will tell you next week about the carefully scripted ambush which provided great theater for the papers, resulting in even more years in prison for me than before I “won.”  I never learn. Thank God, literally, I documented every minute detail. 


Have a great week!


Order Amazon #1 Best Seller When Not If (Hardback, Kindle, Audio):


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