A gruesome suicide, a likely murder, a tragic plane crash, wrongful imprisonment, and gripping courtroom scenes draw readers into this compelling story, giving them a frightening perspective on justice and who should be accountable when evidence is withheld. Licensed to Lie is the true story of the strong-arm, illegal, and unethical tactics used by headline-grabbing federal prosecutors in their narcissistic pursuit of power.



Sidney Powell served in the Department of Justice for ten years in Texas and Virginia and has devoted her private practice to federal appeals for the past twenty years. She was the youngest Assistant United States Attorney in the country when she was appointed. Later, she became Chief of the Appellate Section for the Western and Northern Districts of Texas. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers and served as its President. Recognized by her peers as a “Super Lawyer” and named as one of the “Best Lawyers in America” for years, she has been lead counsel in more than 500 appeals in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, resulting in more than 180 published opinions, and was President of the Bar Association of the Fifth Federal Circuit. Powell’s briefs have long been featured as samples for practitioners. 

In Licensed to Lie, Powell leads readers through the disturbing events, missteps, cover-ups, malfeasance, and corruption of justice that have caused her to question the system she has been committed to for over thirty years. With the narrative style of a legal thriller, this true story captures the drama of the law, the real human costs and consequences of the corruption of justice, and cautions for anyone facing the Department of Injustice.



Themis 2544“This book should serve as the beginning of a serious conversation about whether our criminal justice system continues to live up to its vaunted reputation. As citizens of a free society, we all have an important stake in making sure that it does.”

- From the Foreword by Alex Kozinski, Chief Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in his personal capacity

“It would be malpractice to litigate against the Department of Justice without reading this book.”  Brendan V. Sullivan, Jr.  Williams & Connolly

“This book reads like a cross between investigative journalism and courtroom drama.”  – William Hodes,  Professor of Law, and Coauthor, The Law of Lawyering

“That our government is corrupt is the only conclusion. This book helps the people understand the nature of this corruption—and how it is possible for federal prosecutors to indict and convict the innocent rather than the guilty. Every business person– and anyone– who values freedom should read and heed the warnings of this compelling work.”  - Victor Sperandeo, CEO & author – Trader Vic: Methods of A Wall Street Master

“When you’ve finished reading this fast-paced thriller you will want to stand up and applaud Powell’s courage in daring to shine light into the darkest recesses of America’s justice system. The only ax Powell grinds here is Truth.”  - Patricia Falvey, Author of The Yellow House

“As a prosecutor for over 29 years in the state courts of Texas, I am aware of both the possibilities for unfairness to the accused, and of the pressures on some prosecutors to win cases. Sidney is able to articulate these issues in telling the stories within Licensed to Lie, and she holds up a clear moral and legal compass to point us all toward prosecution according to law and the facts.”  - Jane Davis, former lead prosecutor, District Courts, Bexar County, Texas

[Full Endorsements Here] [Source Materials]


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Alex Kozinski’s Foreword to Licensed to Lie

Feb 04, 2014

AKNinth Circuit Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, in his personal capacity and not speaking for the Court in any way, has written the Foreword for Licensed to Lie. Here’s a tidbit:

“While no one openly disputes the validity of the Brady rule, many prosecutors see it as a thorn in their sides—an obstacle to overcome rather than a welcome responsibility to be scrupulously observed. . . While there are certainly many honest and fair-minded prosecutors, a disturbing number fail to disclose exculpatory evidence to the defense.  Some prosecutors affirmatively and knowingly conceal it. . . .

Sanctions against prosecutors who violate Brady are practically unheard-of and professional discipline is non-existent.  As a consequence, there is, as I’ve said elsewhere, ‘an epidemic of Brady violations abroad in the land.’

The author of this book is a former prosecutor turned private practitioner who represented a defendant in one of the high-profile cases discussed in the pages that follow.  She was called in by the defense team after the client had been convicted.  As she describes her first meeting with the client and his lawyers,  they were ‘[t]raumatized, exhausted, wrung out, meek, and broken’ as a result of what had been a brutal trial.  ‘I seemed to have more testosterone than all of them put together,’ she quips.  In truth, Sidney Powell has more testosterone than pretty much any roomful of lawyers, be they men or women.  Writing a book like this more than proves it.  Not only does she take on, by name, prosecutors and former prosecutors who continue to serve in powerful and responsible positions, she is also relentless in criticizing judges before whom she has practiced for years.  Few lawyers have the stones to do this.

 [T]his book should serve as the beginning of a serious conversation about whether our criminal justice system continues to live up to its vaunted reputation.  As citizens of a free society, we all have an important stake in making sure that it does.”


Licensed to Lie Featured by Fox News/John Stossel

Jan 19, 2015

The 6-minute video of John Stossel’s show OVERLORDS, featuring LICENSED TO LIE: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice may be viewed here on Vimeo.


Judge Emmet G. Sullivan Curtails DOJ’s Abuse of Subpoenas

Jan 16, 2015

Judge Sullivan has shut down the Department’s abuse of Rule 17 subpoenas in this opinion.United States v Vo (Opinion)


The Secret Docket of the Eastern District of New York

Jan 09, 2015

See this Petition for a writ of certiorari and this article for the New York Observer.


Judge Duffy Brands AUSA Okula As “Liar”

Dec 14, 2014

Stanley Okula FacebookAs reported in the New York Observer, senior federal Judge Kevin Duffy verbally branded AUSA Stanley Okula as a “liar” after catching Okula in a misrepresentation regarding whether the United States Attorney had issued press releases in the Michael Little and related cases.

For the transcript we have available, see 2014-12-4 U S v Michael LittleTR.

Our friends @Popehat pointed out that this is not Okula’s first offense.  He has been reamed by judges on two continents in two cases.


Sierra Pacific Levels Serious Fraud Charges Against Prosecutors in Moonlight Fire Case and Judges Recuse!

Oct 15, 2014

A federal judge today has ordered the recusal of all federal judges in the Eastern District of California and asked Ninth Circuit Chief Judge Alex Kozinski to name a judge from another district to hear the serious case and allegations of fraud and misconduct that may warrant setting aside a $55 million settlement agreement payable to the United States.  See this 2014-10-15_Order_of_Recusal-c.  The Press Release re Moonlight Fire 10-9-2014of the filing is also available, and it includes allegations in a Declaration from a former Assistant United States Attorney,  expressing his belief that he was terminated from working on the case because of his ethical concerns.  The Defendants’ extraordinary motion is PA Rule 60(D) motion-c.



Aug 28, 2014

esullivanMany of the people named in LICENSED TO LIE, such as Attorney General Eric Holder, are in the news daily–often, not favorably.  But one of the heroes in this true legal thriller, is a real Article III federal judge of great integrity and courage.

Meet United States District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan.  Judge Sullivan is one of the primary heroes because he helped uncover prosecutorial misconduct by the Public Integrity Section prosecutors for the Department of Justice in its corrupted prosecution of former United States Senator Ted Stevens.  He appointed a special prosecutor to investigate the Department of Justice and its attorneys.

He is in the news now because he is presiding over the Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by Judicial Watch against the IRS seeking the emails of Lois Lerner and her nefarious colleagues, and he’s entered various orders discussed here, here and here, extracting information from the IRS.  Thanks to Judge Sullivan, we now know (and broke the news) that Lois Lerner’s blackberry was destroyed after the Congressional inquiry focused on her.



Another hero in Licensed to Lie is the man Ninth Circuit Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, in his foreword for Licensed to Lie, called “the fabled” Brendan Sullivan–the highly esteemed leader of Williams & Connolly in Washington DC.  Brendan Sullivan and his partner Rob Carey, Simon Latcovich and their team represented Alaska Senator Ted Stevens, fighting relentlessly until they uncovered egregious prosecutorial misconduct, important evidence the prosecutors hid from the defense, and obtained the dismissal of all charges against Senator Stevens.


IRS Shenanigans

Aug 25, 2014

For the latest declarations filed by the IRS in Judge Sullivan’s court, revealing that the IRS destroyed Lois Lerner’s Blackberry also, see IRS Executed Declarations (8-22-2014) and see my articles in the New York Observer

From Judicial Watch Weekly Update:JudicialWatchWeeklyReport0830.


At the CATO INSTITUTE and on C-SPAN with Alex Kozinski Discussing Licensed to Lie

Aug 04, 2014



Brian Oxman Interviews Sidney about LICENSED TO LIE

Jun 06, 2014

brianoxmanTo listen to the broadcast, click on the media players below.


Dennis Miller Discusses LICENSED TO LIE with author Sidney Powell

Jun 03, 2014








Apr 16, 2014

Themis 2544Check out the INDEX  to Licensed to Lie for the names of all the attorneys, judges and others who are discussed in the book!  Here are a few to get you started:  former Acting Attorney General Matthew Friedrich, former Deputy Director and General Counsel of the FBI Andrew Weissmann, Chief White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler — all who “plainly suppressed” evidence favorable to the defense while four Merrill Lynch Executives went to prison for conduct that was not criminal.

Also included are the Operation Polar Pen prosecutors who obtained the corrupt conviction of United States Senator Ted Stevens, cost him his Senate seat, and changed the balance of power in the United States Senate while they hid the evidence that showed his innocence and undermined the government’s witnesses.  The Stevens’ s prosecutors, directed by Matthew Friedrich and his Deputy Rita Glavin, included Brenda Morris, Nicholas Marsh, Edward Sullivan, and Alaska Assistant United States Attorneys Bottini and Goeke.




Renowned Journalist & Author Hugh Aynesworth Endorses Licensed to Lie

Feb 23, 2014

hugh_aynesworth“ I have covered hundreds of court cases over the years and have witnessed far too often the kind of duplicity and governmental heavy-handedness Ms. Powell describes in her well written book, Licensed to Lie.

Hugh Aynesworth,  journalist, historian, four-time Pulitzer Prize finalist,and author of November 22, 1963: Witness to History



Director/Screenwriter Steven Bernstein Reviews Licensed To Lie

Feb 23, 2014

   No matter what side of the political fence you stand on, this book is remarkable.

The story of Enron, Ted Stevens, and the legal and personal aftermath, at least as it was popularly presented, became part of the collective zeitgeist and was set in stone. None of us has the time or inclination to understand the minutiae of every event, no matter how significant.  Certainly what went down in Texas, Washington, Alaska, and New Orleans was significant, but few of us have knowledge of what really occurred.

I was certain Ted Stevens was crooked.  I was also certain everyone at Arthur Andersen and Enron was crooked. As it turned out, some were, but remarkably, a lot were not. People who were convicted were innocent and went to prison. This should concern everyone.

What is even more shocking is that the federal prosecutors whom I had always presumed to be full of virtue and zeal had much more zeal than virtue and that the crimes here went beyond the excesses of some Enron executives. This is worse. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?  

What some at Enron did was terrible, but the moral advantage of government over the private sector interest is accountability.  If the private sector fails us, we cannot vote them out, unless we have a whole bunch of shares which we mostly don’t.  But the beauty of government is accountability, and it is essential  that those individuals who,  like the police and prosecutors,  are granted extraordinary powers must also be subject to extraordinary limits and controls over those powers.

Tyranny is not giving government power. Tyranny is giving government power that is not regulated and controlled.

Sidney Powell weaves an extraordinary tale of federal prosecutors run amok seemingly with little control.   In my own mind, I am certain they thought they were doing good, but their substantive misconduct that Ms. Powell uncovers is so egregious and far reaching that it goes to the very foundation of our democracy and how it may be at risk.

This is a brave book. The taking on of the forces that Ms. Powell attacks can do her no long term good, but clearly she is serving a higher calling: the Rule of Law.

I know Sidney Powell.  She is a force. Almost six feet of southern woman who has a limitless hospitality and generosity of spirit but who simply cannot countenance the slightest corruption. In her friends, she can barely forgive it; in those in power, she finds it unconscionable.  This is Sidney.  I live in Los Angeles in the grey of the marine layer but also the grey of moral uncertainty.  Sidney visited here, and it was not just her height that made her stand out. She was genuinely shocked by all she surmised. This is not how she conducts business.  Sidney is a woman and a lawyer who believes in important things, and I am certain what drove her to write this book was no particular axe that needed grinding, though she has a well sharpened one in her literary hand.  Rather, Sidney witnessed something that was simply wrong, and she is one of people burdened with the sense that wrongs should be righted and truths should be told.

Boldly, bravely, dangerously, and elegantly she does that in this book. I couldn’t put it down. Like a great novel, it revealed much of the human condition and of human frailty. It was a frightening book for those who fear for our way of government, but ultimately it is a triumph.  It is significant that this book can be published and these things can be said.  No tyrant would allow this to be printed because it indicts some of the most powerful jurists in the land. So it should be a point of pride for all of us that Sidney can speak up without fear of recourse because this courageous discourse, this calling to task of the corrupt, is the foundation of our democracy. Bravo Sidney Powell.  

Steven Bernstein,Writer/Director: Dominion


Trader Hall of Fame Member Victor Sperandeo Discusses Licensed to Lie

Feb 05, 2014

VSperandeo0029fb2“Last year four government officials demonstrably lied under oath, and nothing has been done to them–two IRS officials, the Attorney General, and James Clapper -which caused Ed Snowden to release the fact that the US is spying on its citizens and in violation of the 4th amendment.

That our government is corrupt is the only conclusion. This book helps the people understand the nature of this corruption—and how it is possible for federal prosecutors to indict and convict the innocent rather than the guilty.

Every business person– and anyone who values freedom–should read and  heed the warnings of this compelling work.”

Victor Sperandeo, CEO of the EAM Companies & author of Trader Vic: Methods of a Wall Street Master and other books


Distinguished Professor and Novelist Michael Adams Writes about Licensed to Lie

Feb 04, 2014

Michael Adams.jpegMs. Powell, through her words and acts, resurrects the wisdom of the past. It was Edmund Burke who reminded his followers more than once that “Justice is itself the great standing policy of civil society; and any eminent departure from it, under any circumstances, lies under the suspicion of being no policy at all.”

And Charles de Montesquieu reminded us that “There is no crueler tyranny than that which is perpetuated under the shield of law and in the name of justice”—to which we might add Ms. Powell’s lesson: that justice remains a mere abstraction unless men of conscience practice it religiously every day.

From Michael Adams, Ph.D. University Distinguished Teaching Associate Professor of English; Associate Director, James A. Michener Center for Writers, University of Texas, Austin


Mike Moses Endorses Licensed to Lie

Feb 04, 2014

CoverLicensed to Lie is a compelling read and frankly, quite alarming.

It exposes why many Americans fear their own government.

It is a breathtaking read that examines the impact on the lives of innocent individuals when the United States Department of Justice pursues wrongful prosecutions.

Sidney Powell goes behind the scenes and reveals a story that will hopefully will inspire readers to insist upon on a judicial system that is fair and protective of all citizens.

-Mike Moses, Dallas, Texas



New York Attorney Ike Sorkin Endorses Licensed to Lie

Feb 04, 2014

headshot--Web-Photo--Sorkin Licensed to Lie is a remarkable and frightening revelation of surprises – one after the other – about how a group of purported elite prosecutors wrapped themselves in the flag, hid evidence, misled me and my co-counsel in the Enron barge case, and in the process, destroyed countless lives while a number of federal judges turned a blind eye to their egregious prosecutorial misconduct.

I saw it happen, but like me and my co-counsel, we were unaware of the breadth and scope of the deception. Licensed to Lie draws back the cobalt- blue curtain bearing the seal of the United States Department of Justice to expose how these prosecutors disregarded constitutional rights in a concerted effort to obtain convictions at the expense of doing justice.

Those people – the former Enron Task Force prosecutors – are an elite cabal who went on to significant decision-making positions in the federal government.

Conspiracy of Fools and The Smartest Guys in the Room, both best-sellers, told only the story known at the time. This book goes much deeper, discloses evidence the prosecutors hid for years, and tells it all – one shocking revelation after the other.”

Ira [“Ike”] Sorkin







AUDIO INTERVIEW & ARTICLE: Former Federal Prosecutor Reveals DoJ Corruption in New Book

Financial Myth Busting Radio Show Interviews Sidney Powell, Author of New Book, “Licensed to Lie: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice”

WASHINGTON TIMES EDITORIAL: When the watchmen fail–Abuses by ambitious federal prosecutors have become an epidemic

In the NEW YORK OBSERVER:  The Noose Tightens on IRS

Cavuto and Sidney Powell on Judge Emmet Sullivan and IRS

For all my articles on the New York Observer


ANOTHER REMARKABLE REVIEW by ForeWord Reviews.  Here’s an excerpt:
“Powell has done the law and every citizen a great favor by calling out an unholy practice of government attorneys. Licensed to Lie: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice, by defense attorney Sidney Powell, is a lurid tale of deceit and amoral behavior on the part of government prosecutors. It is so well written and researched that the story makes for a stunning read.”


Talk Show Host CHAD HASTY Interviews Sidney on LICENSED TO LIE


NEW Review:


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