Journal Entry: Phillip Wasserman-02/22/2024-Letters from Prison Number 2

Journal Entry

Well, it’s the night before turn-in. I have to be required to turn in by 2 PM, but I was advised by the great people at White Collar to do it first thing in the morning because otherwise, I could be sitting with a huge group of people to process and in a holding cell all weekend. So as a result, I’m going to get up at 6 AM, get in the car at seven, and have my wife drive me and check in around nine or 9:15 AM. I was thinking tonight, how did I go from Mar-a-Lago to prison? And if you’re wondering, I was a member of Mar-a-Lago, did a huge amount of business there (President Trump’s club and Home), celebrated my 50th birthday there with 220 friends and clients, mostly clients, in the same ballroom that a lot of you have seen on TV. In further letters, I’ll talk more about Mar-a-Lago and my interactions with President Trump while before he was president, including a great time when he yelled at me. I’ve been fighting the government for 40 years, actually for 42 years. During that time, I’ve beaten them every time. I’ve sued politicians on behalf of clients, beat the Securities and Exchange Commission on behalf of the insurance industry, and seen my fortunes go up and down. I never viewed myself as a victim, always as a warrior. The problem with this fight is my family and my friends have all been collateral damage. I’ve lost houses and cars before, but I’ve always made them back. It was hard on my wife, was hard on my ego, but it was just money. I earned it back. I have a great story to tell you about one year when I was really down and how a friend came through and repaid a substantial loan that allowed me to continue gifting for abused foster children at Christmas. It’s a little bit of a longer story, and I’ll tell that in the future letter. I was advised today I did not go in thinking while with me and I’m a victim and to be blunt, I don’t feel that way at all. I have a strong appeal, a good attorney, a strong record for appeal, but that’s really the only way to fight right now. There’s nothing else I can really do, but there is a saying that success is the best revenge. I believe there are a lot of people wrongly incarcerated, and I want to do everything I can to help them. The United States of America incarcerates a higher percentage of the US population than any other country. Having dealt with the justice system from the other side and I handled hundreds and hundreds of criminal cases, over 1000 actually, had 150 cases go to jury trial and lost about five of them. I won cases that I never should’ve won. And of course, lost the most important one, the one where I was on trial. I pissed off a lot of people. And if I could do it all over again, I’d piss them off more. I used to sit in the courts for the state of Florida on a Monday morning, and it was like a cattle call of hundreds of people, most charged with just the stupidest things you could ever imagine. And the courts were full, and there were a lot of courtrooms like that. And it was just one of expediency, cut a deal, plead to something you probably didn’t do, don’t do any jail time, do some probation, pay a fine. I remember one of the court clerks asked me once, “Why do you care so much?” I continually think that people forgot why this country was founded on the principles. It was founded on. I know it wasn’t taught in history that the whole economy of America was built on the slave trade. It’s a fact. I wasn’t taught that in economics either, and I have a degree in economics. We weren’t taught that settlers committed genocide against the indigenous people. So I’ve been asked, what am I going to tell people when they ask me why I’m in prison? And I think the best answer is because I have a big mouth. Now I want to reiterate, I plan on causing no problems in person. I plan on helping the people in there. I plan on achieving as much greatness as I can while I’m in there and standing out being extraordinary. I’m not mad at the guards; they’re just doing their job. I’m not mad at any prison employee; I don’t think anybody working there is overpaid. But I am angry at the system. It needs to be changed. We need to stop being a country where when you stand up, people try and shut you down. No, it’s not as bad as in Russia, or if you stand up to Putin, you end up dead. But isn’t our system of government really one that is dishonest? The claims to be so high and mighty. Why do we send money all over the world when we have people in our own country who go hungry? When our infrastructure is crap? When the cost of medical care is ludicrous? Everybody thinks that one voice can’t do anything. It’s hard for one voice to do anything, but I call your attention to the march on Washington where I think there were 200,000 voices making a statement. As Americans, we saved the world in World War II. We fight against terrorism. But I think everybody agrees that our elected officials are far from the best people. My first goal while in prison, whether I’m there for two weeks until I’m found it out if possible, pending appeal, whether I’m there for 18 months in case I win my appeal, or whether I’m in there for 10 years and nine months, is to help create a better system for everybody for all Americans. And I’m going to end on this note; I was too young for Vietnam by just a couple of years, and I saw what happened to people who were drafted and didn’t want to go. I went to Great Lakes Naval Hospital at 13 to see a step-relative who had been blown up by stepping on a land mine at 19 years old. I saw rows of hundreds of 18 and 19-year-old boys, missing arms and legs. And these people who weren’t injured when they came back from Vietnam or spit on; they didn’t volunteer to go; they were drafted; they had no choice. Ask any Vietnam vet you know how they were treated if you get a chance, look at the old movie “Heroes” starring Henry Winkler. We used to treat our vets like crap, and now we honor them like we should. The system still isn’t good for them. It’s still hard for them to get their benefits. They still suffer from PTSD, but today you stand up and you think a veteran for their service. If that changed can happen in 50 years, let’s think about the possibility for other change in the next 50 years. The next letter will be from the inside. Thanks for reading.

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