By Chuck Strouse
By Scott Fishman
By Terrence McCoy
By Ryan Yousefi
By Ciara LaVelle, Kat Bein, Carolina Del Busto, and Liz Tracy
By Pepe Billete
By Ryan Yousefi
By Kyle Swenson
In an August 23, 1996, letter to McClure, Abe Koss (still unaware that McClure was acting at the direction of the U.S. Attorney's Office) expressed his outrage at McClure's proposed agreement. "My client told you that she sent the faxes in question," Koss wrote. "She told you that she sent them at a time when she felt seriously injured by the actions of your client. She did not send them with the intention of making your client settle this claim, and certainly not to extort or do any criminal act whatsoever. She sent them while in a depressed and irrational state of mind, only to lash out at your client for what your client has done."
Koss also objected to language in the proposed settlement that would have implicated him in the alleged conspiracy. McClure wanted Sachs to admit that she told Koss in January she had sent the faxes. Sachs, however, denied to McClure that she had told Koss. At the end of his letter, Koss demanded that McClure rewrite the agreement and that they meet again in a few days.
Before that meeting could take place, however, both Sachs and Koss received letters from Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Butler: "This is to advise you that you are a target of a federal investigation being conducted in this district into possible violations of federal criminal law, including possible extortion of a Judge of the Dade County Court."
Neither Sachs nor Koss has been charged with a crime, and both maintain they have done nothing wrong. Furthermore, Sachs now denies she sent the faxes and asserts that they were actually sent by a friend of hers, Peter Sosa, who has since died of AIDS. In November 1996, Sachs filed her lawsuit against Venzer (minus any reference to sexual orientation), and in a recent deposition explained why she allegedly lied about sending the faxes:
"McClure: So it's your testimony today under oath that Mr. Sosa sent this fax, not you.
Sachs: That's correct.
McClure: Why did you once tell me that you sent it?
Sachs: Because you were beating the shit out of me to say I sent it. And to -- and to end this case so I could just have some closure in my life to all this. It was the only way I was going to satisfy you."
Sachs went on to claim she never asked Sosa to send the faxes and she only learned after the fact what he had done.
"McClure: How did you determine it was him?
Sachs: He told me. I used to meet Peter in church on Sunday. He used to go by himself on Sunday. I didn't know he was dying at the time. And I told him what happened with the faxes.
McClure: So on Sunday -- on some Sunday, reasonably shortly after this first fax was sent, you just happened to run into Mr. Sosa at church and told him this story and he said, 'Isn't that something? I sent it'?
Sachs: No. He said, 'How are things going with your lawsuit?' I said, 'We just got information that somebody was sending faxes, or a fax, to Venzer's office,' and I said, 'I'm just trying to find out who did it.' And he looked at me and he just started laughing. He was not completely rational at this time. He was dying.
McClure: Was anybody else present during that little exchange?
Lynne Sachs believes she is under federal criminal investigation because Venzer and her stepfather used their political connections to initiate the probe in hopes of forcing Sachs to drop her claim. (Sachs offers no evidence to support this charge, and Scott Feder calls the allegation ridiculous.) Even though she says she didn't send them, Sachs considers the faxes to be harmless, and she dismissively brushes aside the notion that Venzer might have been hurt or embarrassed by them. "She's making it seem like it was this big secret," Sachs says smugly. "I never met anybody who didn't know she was gay."
She has expressed the same cavalier attitude toward her former attorney, Abe Koss. Seven months ago Koss sent a letter to Mary Butler, the federal prosecutor overseeing the criminal investigation, pleading with her to clear him. In the six-page letter, he outlined the history of the dispute between Sachs and Venzer. "My obligation as an attorney is to defend my client's interest zealously," he wrote. "That is exactly what I did throughout this case. At no time did I remotely consider doing anything wrong or unethical, and much less criminal in order to assist or allow my client to extort the Judge into doing anything."
Koss sent Sachs a copy of the letter for her review, but says he never intended for her to make it public. In fact, he specifically asked her not to distribute it because it revealed he was the target of a federal criminal investigation. Nonetheless Sachs did send out copies of the letter; she even attached it to a pleading in her court file, thus making it a public record for anyone to see. (In September Venzer's attorneys successfully obtained a court order striking Koss's letter from the court file.)