Ninth Circuit Cancels Oral Arguments in FBI Lawsuit, Blocks Jan. 6 Plaintiff's Chance to Speak

(Credit: Brandon Aquino. Used with permission.)

You feel like you’re reading about a different country when you delve into what our government has done to Siaka Massaquoi. He’s an actor (watch his brilliant work in the Babylon Bee series about a California couple moving to Texas), he’s the Vice Chair of the Republican Party of Los Angeles County (LAGOP), and he’s a man of faith and conviction. He’s also someone who had the gall to be present in Washington, D.C. on January 6, 2021, and for that, he’s paying a heavy price.

Did he riot? No. 

Did he hurt anyone? No. 

Did he attack police officers? Again—no. But he was there, and that’s enough for the hyper-politicized, banana republic Department of Justice headed by crusading Attorney General Merrick Garland to make his life a living hell. 

To wit: authorities summarily raided his North Hollywood, California apartment at 5:45 am on June 10, 2021. He was allegedly handcuffed, interrogated, and harassed by FBI agents. They took thousands of dollars of his belongings—and have never bothered to give them back:

…the FBI seized his $3,000 laptop, $500 cellphone, Make America Great Again (MAGA) baseball hats, personal 12-step recovery journals and has yet to return them.

“I filed in small claims court to get my stuff back,” Massaquoi told Legal Newsline. “The judge at the time said she can't rule on anything because the case on you is still open. Now, mind you, I've never been charged and I wasn't arrested.”

What did he do at the Capitol to earn such harsh treatment? Massaquoi told RedState he never even entered the building:

No, no, no, no. Never went in. Stood at the doorway, took pictures. Talked to the police that were standing there, followed their commands when they were given to me, took video. The videos were taken off of Instagram the next day.

That’s not the only way the federal government hassles Massaquoi. I ran into him at an airport in the summer of 2021, and he described how he is routinely hounded by aviation authorities despite the fact that he has never been charged with a crime:

What It's Like to Be Flagged by the Feds: A Personal Story

However, far from being a frothing-at-the-mouth lunatic, he’s a thoughtful conservative with plenty of great ideas about how we can still save our country:

Meet Siaka Massaquoi, the Passionate Conservative in the Viral California-to-Texas Babylon Bee Videos

The courts aren’t particularly interested in what he has to say, though. Massaquoi filed a lawsuit regarding his treatment by the FBI, and while the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed an earlier trial court’s dismissal of his Fourth Amendment claim, they suddenly canceled oral arguments scheduled for Aug. 18 on his First and Fifth Amendment claims. The order came down in late July, but he wasn’t notified until August 11:

“The federal government violated my first amendment rights when the FBI barged into my house and now the court is continuing to do the exact same thing by canceling my chance to raise my grievance in person,” Massaquoi said.

He has been eagerly awaiting his chance to tell his story and was jolted by the revocation of his opportunity to speak.

You know, I have the emails and stuff that were sent to me to say, hey, your case is going to be heard, one, and then about a month later month and a half later I got another e-mail saying, your oral argument’s on the 18th. … I was doing a podcast with my lawyer Larry Klayman (he started Judicial Watch, and now he's the head of Freedom Watch) and we were getting ready for it. 

And he goes, make sure you invite a bunch of people, you know, so we can have a good contingent there.

 But then they pulled the rug out from under him. 

This isn’t how America is supposed to work. He has not been charged with or arrested for anything, yet he’s constantly badgered, his stuff has been taken from him (5th Amendment, anyone?), and now a court has decided that they can adjudicate his case without ever hearing from him. They don’t care what he has to say (emphasis mine):

"The court is of the unanimous opinion that the facts and legal arguments are adequately presented in the briefs and record, and the decisional process would not be significantly aided by oral argument," the July 28 order states. "Therefore, this case is ordered submitted on the briefs and record without oral argument on August 18, 2023, in Pasadena, California."

I’m privileged to have met Siaka, and he is one of the most positive, upbeat individuals I have ever come across. His faith and determination will get him through this, but it’s still been a nauseating display of power politics by the people who are supposedly in charge of keeping our populace safe. As Massaquoi himself notes, despite the fact that he hasn’t even been charged with jaywalking, he is still in peril:

I believe if they get this case dismissed, they're going to come back around and try to charge me with something to lock me up. I watched them do that to other people. 

He told RedState that to the Department of Justice, it’s all a game—but their message is anything but fun:

Don't ever step up again. Don't ever open your mouth. Look what we do, from everyone from Trump all the way down to some actor in Hollywood. Keep your mouth shut and we'll tell you what science is. We'll tell you what life matters. We'll tell you all these things, and then you just tell us that your response should be, “How high?”

That’s what we’re seeing. 

He also has a chilling warning: history has witnessed this kind of behavior many times, and it usually doesn’t end well. 

It's wild and I'll be honest with you, man, when you see these people locked up… My mom told me—we're from Liberia; I'm first generation American—and she told me about her father, my grandfather, who was the pastor at the only major church in Liberia, main pastor, he would speak politically about the administration. They told him to shut up; stop speaking from the pulpit. He said no. 

He along with other people who were part of the opposition party either disappeared, were locked up, or were straight-up murdered. And that was a place that had a constitution, and that was a place that had elected officials and that was a place that thought that they weren't a third-world violent country. And then that ended up turning into a 20 years civil war, where kids were eating each other's hearts.

People act like this thing is cool because their political team is winning right now. And they miss the forest for the trees. It's never been about one side against the other for the regular people. It's been the elites versus everyone else for the history of humanity. 

We’ll see what happens Friday. But so far, nothing exhibited by our justice system represents the even-handed execution of fairness that our great experiment is supposed to deliver. 

RedState articles by Siaka Massaquoi:

The Discarded American 

SIAKA MASSAQUOI: From the Front Lines of the Culture War


Trending on RedState Videos