Lindemuth attorneys, prosecutor spar on what FBI told witness

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) — Prosecutors and defense lawyers are wrangling over whether an FBI agent “falsely told” a man investigators were questioning that Kent D. Lindemuth “was dangerous because he had shot and ‘killed’ people.”

The FBI never told the man that Lindemuth, 66, had killed anyone, the prosecution said in response to the defense.

Both sides filed their arguments over the matter as part of the case over Lindemuth allegedly having received a pair of guns.

On April 10 and 11, Lindemuth was tried in U.S. District Court on one count of possessing and receiving a Remington .22-caliber rifle and a Smith & Wesson .357-caliber revolver purchased at an auction.

At the time of the auction, Lindemuth was under a federal judge’s order to not possess firearms and had signed a form acknowledging the prohibition of his firearm possession or acquisition.

“There is no evidence that Lindemuth ever possessed the guns,” defense attorneys William J. Skepnek and Kevin Babbit wrote in their proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law.

U.S. District Court Judge Daniel Crabtree – not a jury – will decide whether to acquit or convict Lindemuth.

The dispute centered on FBI questioning of Patrick Thomas Ledford, who testified during the Lindemuth trial that he attended an auction at a West Topeka home where he successfully bid on a rifle and a pistol at the direction of Lindemuth.

The prosecution contended Ledford acted as a “straw man” for Lindemuth to buy the two firearms for him.

In the Lindemuth defense’s “conclusions of law and findings of fact,” defense attorneys wrote that factors, including Ledford wanting to be on the “ ‘good team’ while being falsely told that Lindemuth had killed people,” may have pushed Ledford into looking for ways to provide testimony the “agents clearly desired.”

Answering the defense’s proposed findings, assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Hathaway fired back.

“Agent (Scott) Gentine never told Ledford that Lindemuth killed anyone,” Hathaway wrote. The prosecution response quotes what it says is a transcript of an interview of Ledford by Gentine and a second investigator.

“I don’t think he killed them,” Hathaway’s court response quoted Gentine as saying at one point.

Defense attorneys countered that the prosecutor accused the defense of creating a false transcript offered as evidence to mislead the judge.

Defense attorneys contended Hathaway “maligned” the integrity of the defense attorneys.

In the prosecution’s proposed findings and facts, Hathaway wrote that Lindemuth willfully obtained constructive receipt of firearms when he knew he was under indictment.

Lindemuth manipulated a straw-buyer to attend an auction, was overheard saying he couldn’t bid on guns because he was a convicted felon at that time, had the buyer make bids at the nod of Lindemuth’s head, paid for the firearms and handled and inspected the firearms, Hathaway contended.

Lindemuth “intended to take actual possession of the firearms in the future, Hathaway wrote.

Lindemuth attorneys contend the prosecution didn’t show evidence that he possessed the revolver and rifle purchased at the auction.

In challenging the prosecution of their client, defense attorneys also contend Lindemuth’s constitutional rights to bear firearms are being denied. The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution says in part that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

Prosecution and defense attorneys will make closing statements to the judge on an unspecified date.

Lindemuth’s possession of firearms were restricted after he was convicted of a felony charge of making a criminal threat in Shawnee County District Court and indicted in federal court with a series of charges.

However, a state appellate court overturned the state conviction, and Lindemuth was acquitted of more than 100 federal counts following a trial in late 2017.