By Michael E. Miller
By Allie Conti
By David Villano
By Jose D. Duran
By Michael E. Miller
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By Kyle Swenson
By Luther Campbell
Koss says he is mortified by Sachs's callously publicizing his private correspondence with the U.S. Attorney's Office. "Lynne and I had a big fight over that letter," he reports, noting that it prompted him to quit as her attorney. "I still believe in her. I believe to this day that she did not send the faxes. I still like her greatly as a person. Lynne unfortunately is unable to see that." When she becomes desperate, he observes, she attacks even those who are trying to help her.
Sachs is unrepentant for any harm she's caused Koss, and says she should have dropped him as her attorney long ago. "My feeling is I've got to take care of me," she declares. "I can't care about Abe any more. He didn't help me. He hurt me."
Sachs has gone through several attorneys, including Brian Pelzman, who believed she had a strong claim against Venzer -- if only she would keep to the relevant facts. In a July 11, 1996, letter to Sachs, Pelzman agreed to represent her but also offered some advice. "On somewhat of a more personal note," Pelzman wrote, "I want you to understand that although I believe in your case, I often hear vengeance emanating from you during our conversations. I want to caution you not to be vengeful for the wrong committed against you, but to take the attitude that you merely want to be compensated for the damages you have sustained as a result of Judge Venzer's improper conduct. Unfortunately, incidents such as this one happen from time to time, and although the results are unpleasant, it is important that you not act vindictive, as it would reflect adversely upon your character if and when this matter goes before a jury." Less than three weeks later Pelzman withdrew as Sachs's attorney, citing among other reasons Sachs's preoccupation with "irrelevant issues."
Pelzman's letter may prove to be prophetic, especially regarding the issue of character. Venzer's attorneys have investigated Sachs's past and have uncovered facts they believe will destroy her credibility before a jury. For example, Sachs admitted in her deposition that she has lied about her educational background. Her resume claims a bachelor's degree in liberal arts and a master's degree in economics from George Washington University. She received neither. "I thought it would help me get a job," she now says. "If that's the worst thing I've done, thank you, God."
She also failed to file tax returns in 1992, 1994, 1995, and 1996. On the day of her deposition with Venzer's attorneys, she finally mailed in all of them. During the deposition, she refused to answer certain questions about why she hadn't filed the returns sooner, citing her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. "Something kept coming up," she says today. "I'm not trying to cheat anybody. I owe $27,000 to the government and I now have an agreement with the government to pay this over time. Somehow I'm going to pay my taxes."
Sachs has stated that she filed for bankruptcy in 1994 in order to sidestep the lawsuit claiming she owed a former friend $10,000. (The friend's canceled checks, however, bear the notation "loan" on the memo lines.) Sachs's bankruptcy allowed her to avoid other debts as well. Her bankruptcy petition lists nearly $3000 in credit card bills she wanted absolved, $2600 in dental bills, and personal loans from friends totaling $16,200. Sachs says she contacted each of the people to whom she owed money, explained her circumstances, and promised to pay them back.
Venzer's attorneys say Sachs frequently threatens to sue people. "Ms. Sachs feels that any time someone disagrees with her, she is going to threaten to sue them," Scott Feder charges. In addition to her lawsuit against Venzer, Sachs is suing InterAmerica Car Rental, where she worked as a receptionist. She is claiming sexual harassment.
Feder says she also threatened to sue the Immunology and Retrovirology Research Institute and the local chapter of the American Red Cross. In her threats against the Red Cross, Sachs complained that she had been slandered and her reputation damaged by the organization. David Roger, chairman of the board of directors for the Greater Miami and the Keys Chapter of the American Red Cross, does recall Sachs making threats against the organization, but he says the matter was resolved. He would not elaborate.
For her part, Sachs denies ever threatening the Red Cross. "They will take everything in my life and try and twist it," she complains. "I'm a good person and I have to keep reminding myself of this every time I deal with these people. I'm not the person they are making me out to be."
Sachs, who will be 49 years old in November, is now representing herself in her lawsuit against Judge Venzer. The case, which is still in the discovery phase, has been assigned to a Broward County judge. The U.S. Attorney's Office will not comment on the existence of a criminal investigation. This past December prosecutors asked Sachs if she would voluntarily appear before a federal grand jury -- under oath and without immunity -- to answer questions regarding the faxes sent to Venzer. She refused.