Legal Defense Trust | About the Trust

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Statement by Kirk J. Stark,
Trustee of the Stephen Kim Legal Defense Trust

Dear Friends & Supporters,

I am writing to ask for your support for my dear friend, a loyal and devoted public servant — Stephen Kim. As you may know, on August 27, 2010, government lawyers announced that they were charging Stephen with the crime of unauthorized disclosure of national defense information. The government is alleging that in 2009 Stephen divulged classified information to a journalist about how a foreign country would likely respond to proposed international sanctions.

Stephen’s lawyer, Abbe Lowell, has confirmed that even the government does not allege that Stephen revealed military secrets, operations or anything like Wikileaks. And yet government lawyers have persisted in pursuing these questionable charges. Unfortunately, despite extraordinary efforts, Stephen’s lawyers were unable to persuade the government to dismiss the charges. Faced with the impossible choice between admitting to the government’s accusations or defending himself against a federal criminal action, Stephen pleaded not guilty and hunkered down for the fight of his life.

It is hard to imagine how one might react to getting news like this. Anyone above a certain age has faced some sort of life-shattering event — a grave illness perhaps, or a death in the family. No one escapes the ordinary tumult of life. I’ve tried to put myself in Stephen’s shoes — to imagine what it might be like to be on the receiving end of a federal indictment. It is a frightening thing to imagine, even as a thought experiment. Unfortunately Stephen doesn’t have the luxury of simply imagining these things — his everyday

reality for the past several months has been one of shock, fear, anxiety, and uncertainty. I’ve learned from talking to Stephen that there is a special type of suffering and loneliness associated with being in his situation. Many of life’s tragedies are common enough that friends and family know how to respond. We pay a visit, bring food, offer condolences. But when a friend is indicted by the federal government, especially for something as vague and unfamiliar as the ”unauthorized disclosure of national defense information,” we can’t help but feel puzzled about how to react, what to say, what to do.

One of the reasons we launched this website was to give Stephen’s friends, family, and supporters an opportunity to express their support for Stephen. As you can probably imagine, Stephen greatly needs your moral support. Anyone who has experienced loneliness and suffering knows the value of a simple phone call, chatting over a cup of coffee, or even just a note sent by email.

But Stephen also needs your financial support and for that reason we started the Stephen Kim Legal Defense Trust. Unfortunately, given the magnitude of the financial burden Stephen faces, we are not in a position to be shy about asking for your help. Stephen has already depleted his life savings in defending against these charges. His parents have sold their home to help pay for their son’s legal defense. Yet despite these extraordinary efforts, Stephen still faces a seemingly insurmountable financial burden.

Now is the time for the rest of us to step forward and share in this sacrifice, so let me state our request in the plainest terms: we need your support, and while donations of any amount are welcome, the frank truth is that larger donations will be most helpful. My personal hope is that we can make it as easy as possible for people to give as much as possible
to help Stephen during this difficult time.

I would like to thank you for taking the time to read this letter and consider our request. In addition, I know that Stephen and his family would like to extend their heartfelt thanks to everyone who has already supported them throughout this ordeal. We are confident that, with your help, Stephen will be fully cleared of any wrongdoing and all charges will be dismissed.

Gratefully,

Kirk J. Stark
Professor of Law, UCLA
Trustee, Stephen Kim Legal Defense Trust