'Sovereign citizen' convicted of filing bogus liens against fede - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

'Sovereign citizen' convicted of filing bogus liens against federal officials

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CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) - A woman who considers herself a “sovereign citizen” and therefore immune from federal jurisdiction was found guilty Wednesday by a U.S. District Court jury of abusing the court system by filing a series of bogus $100 billion liens against various public officials.

Cherron Phillips, 44, was accused of of targeting four judges including former chief U.S. District Court Judge James Holderman, and law enforcement officials including former U.S. Attorney Pat Fitzgerald, as revenge for her brother’s drug conviction, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.

During closing arguments at the end of her three-day trial Wednesday, prosecutor Nathan Stump said the series of phony liens “was not justice, it was vengeance. It was petty, it was sneaky, it was a cheap shot ... it was a crime.”

Though none of the 12 victims Phillips targeted were seriously inconvenienced by the liens, the crime had “shocked” at least one judge and was “no laughing matter,” Stump said.

But defending Phillips, lawyer Lauren Sullivan said in her closing argument that Phillips’ actions were akin to “trying to pass Monopoly money and being charged with counterfeiting.”

The phony liens were for such huge amounts that they were “ridiculous” and “patently absurd,” Sullivan said, arguing Phillips had acted out of loyalty to her brother Devon Phillips and a “feeling of powerlessness in the face of the federal system.”

A dozen victims, including Fitzgerald, Holderman and three other judges all testified for prosecutors during the trial, but Phillips did not present any defense.

Outside the presence of the jury, she again Wednesday morning indicated that she does not recognize the court’s right to try her.

Phillips is one of a growing number of defendants in Chicago’s federal court who attempt to disrupt legal hearings by asserting that they are “sovereign citizens” exempt from federal law — a legally meaningless distinction that has never succeeded in court.

Other recent devotees of the “sovereign citizen” movement include bank robber Jose Banks, who had to be restrained to a wheelchair during his trial last year, and later staged a daring escape from the 17th floor of the Metropolitan Correctional Center before he was finally captured.

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