(This blog is now using Michaels' name because she has appended it to the letter and it has also appeared in the Star Tribune)
Not wishing to interfere with the jurors after their long duty, Michaels did not linger nor attempt to speak to the jurors after the grueling 7 week trial, but she forwarded this letter by email and (after checking with, among others, Detective Cardenas) she asked via a third party to please quickly post the letter. Here it is...
Open Letter to Jurors,
I cannot even begin to express our most sincere and heartfelt appreciation for the time and effort and heart you put into this trial of State of MN vs. Larry Darnell Maxwell.
The sacrifices you all made and the honor you all brought to our system was so far beyond what anyone could have expected or anticipated and your diligence was the final work of many people who trusted all their hard work would be both recognized and validated by your verdict. All the faith was well placed.
I had to think that in some ways it appears to be a very difficult position to have such a heavy burden that must be kept silent from those you love and trust and would otherwise be discussing such important matters with. I also thought how such a dedication of literally weeks of your life brings a climatic ending of one chapter for those of us, who worked so hard for this end, and yet we were unable to shower you with praise and thanks for all you did. I know from the dedication you showed throughout this trial that doing the right thing is a reward in itself, but you deserve so much more.
I was not able to speak with you, or testify before you, but you listened and weighed many of the facts that have affected our lives for the past three years.
Maxwell, and those working with him in these crimes you have had to listen to in grave detail again, and again, had damaged our lives in such a way that it will take years to recover, if ever completely. So few know how identity theft really affects the victims, and especially in our situation, complete strangers quietly and with swift precision stole things from us we took a lifetime to build.
My husband, a very gentle, intelligent and hard working person, took great pride in the credit history he built. He took great pride in his well laid plans of when to retire and knowing he had made many sacrifices over the years for the end to be able to spend precious and quality time with his family and to travel.
All of our plans have been destroyed. Our credit was demolished. Our options taken away from us. We had creditors calling endlessly; we had foreclosures on our credit report on houses we’d never seen. We lost the credit we had because of random credit checks that came back so low our creditors no longer trusted us with any line of credit and our rates were raised significantly. We had two daughters we were so proud of beginning college that we couldn’t help, because we couldn’t co-sign loans for them. We couldn’t refinance our home, buy a car, and take a vacation. Our lives were filled with stress and pain and shame forced upon us by predators that stole money, trust, the freedom and lifestyle of others to enrich their own.
We have been told numerous times that taking a case like this to trial is such a risk of the time, resources and finances of the community that often cases go untried because the business aspect sometimes weighs the risk greater than the outcome expected for these criminals.
We were told, it’s too complicated; it’s so complex that it’s not been cost-effective to go after these thieves. One of the statements I will relay in our victim impact statement is that we cannot send the message that because these criminals are clever they get a free pass. They don’t need a get out of jail free card, because it’s too risky to invest in trying to send them to jail!
We are so incredibly proud of all those who decided, it’s not okay to get away with these vicious crimes because the crimes are hard to take to trial, that jurors are smart enough and dedicated enough to see through these crimes and that they will be held accountable.
Detective Cardenas, Brad Johnson, Liz Johnston, Glenn Miller, the Commerce Department, my dear friend Janet Havlish, all gave months of their lives to this case. My husband and I lived it, and refused to give up though it took over a year to get it in the capable hands of those to take it to the next step, and our lives have been affected EVERY SINGLE DAY by the losses we incurred, financially, emotionally and even physically. It stressed our marriage, our home, and our family and robbed our children of things we had promised and could no longer provide. They stole our ability to move forward in our business, to buy a car, to buy or sell a house, to take a vacation and even to answer our own phone in order to avoid repetitive conversations trying to convince others we didn’t deserve to be in this situation.
I tend to be the one to speak for my husband and I, because he finds it difficult to do these things, but he expressed his most heartfelt thanks and feels the same relief I do in the thoughts that we will move ahead and rebuild our lives from this point.
Thank you again, again and again,
John Foster (the REAL John Foster) and his wife, Melony Micheals.
(End of Letter)
Though eager to speak to jurors, I mostly refrained, merely telling a few the URL for my blog so they could read the coverage if they were inclined. I had the longest conversation--naturally--with The Dude Who Loves Sports. He pointed out Greg Coleman had spoken to HIM first, and he only responded, politely, to Coleman's casual questions about football. In his hand, Dude had a letter in nice letterhead envelope, bearing the name and address of Judge Chu. It was, I presumed, some kind of formal thank you letter.
Free advice from JNS: keep that letter with your tax info. You can get a tax break for jury duty.