WEST CHESTER – An independent candidate for the US Senate in Pennsylvania who is facing charges of impersonating a police officer has won the right to travel about the country for his work as an intelligence consultant without the permission of local authorities.
On Friday, Common Pleas Judge Patrick Carmody granted the request made by Everett Alexander Stern to have the conditions of his bail modified so that he would not have to check with the Chester County Office of Pre-Trial Services before leaving the county on business.
Stern is accused of pulling over a car driven by a woman at the luxury apartment complex outside West Chester where he lives, using flashing emergency lights and telling her he was a “federal” agent.
Stern, 37, of West Goshen who has filed to run in the November election against Democrat John Fetterman and Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz, told Carmody that he needs to travel not only for his work as a consultant for his firm, Tactical Rabbit, but that he also has connections with the on-going investigation by the House Jan. 6 Committee investigating the Capitol riot and former President Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2022 presidential election.
According to a press release his campaign issued in March, when he declared his candidacy as an independent, Stern appeared before the committee to testify about what he called a plot by former National Security Advisor Gen. Michael Flynn to find compromising information on Pennsylvania politicians to pressure them to support for an audit to bolster Trump’s discredited charges that President Joe Biden’s win was fraudulent.
Flynn has publicly denied the allegations.
“I am a man of the highest honor and integrity,” Stern said via a video-link to Carmody’s courtroom during the bail hearing, at which he was represented by defense attorney Ryan Grace. “What is happening here is a complete miscommunication.”
Carmody allowed Stern’s request to have his bail changed from $ 1,500, unsecured, to being released on his own recognizance – or “ROR bail – in which a defendant does not have to be supervised by the county bail agency.
The judge’s decision came over the objection of the county bail agency and a senior prosecutor in the District Attorney’s Office.
Grant Jones, of the bail agency, said there was no reason why Stern could not easily follow the guidelines to get permission to travel. He said in the case of truck drivers, who have to drive out of the state, the OK is given over the phone.
“It’s a very simple process,” he said. “I don’t see any reason why he can’t do that.”
Chief Deputy District Attorney Michelle Frei, supporting the recommendation of the bail agency, said part of her objection to giving Stern a free rein without supervision was the “disturbing allegations” made against him by the police in West Goshen.
According to an arrest affidavit filed in the case, Officer Sean Graham said that he was called to the parking garage at The Pointe at West Chester, a complex on South Matlack Street near the Route 202 Bypass, shortly after 8 pm on March 30. There , he met a man who said he witnessed an encounter between the driver of a man who was using red ad blue emergency lights and a number of women in a car in the garage.
The witness said the male left the scene in his car at a high rate of speed.
In interviewing the women later, Graham said he was told that the four had gone to the complex where a friend used to live to “hang out” and eat Taco Bell in the garage. There, they saw a blue BMW drive by them, park, and a man got out and began to approach the Jeep they were in. The owner of the car said they decided to leave, but the man got back in his BMW and followed them.
As they drove through the garage, the male driver began using emergency lights to stop them, and the woman said she believed he was a police officer. They pulled over and the man got out, walked to the Jeep and announced he was “a federal officer,” according to the affidavit. They said he yelled at them, then got back in his car and left, driving back up the garage ramp.
Graham was able to locate the BMW and trace it to Stern. When the officer went to his apartment di lui, Stern acknowledged that he had stopped the Jeep because he was concerned for his safety di lui.
“Stern reported that he had received threats against him due to previous investigative work he had performed for the federal government,” the affidavit reads. He said he followed the Jeep and used the lights he had in the car to stop it. His version of what he told the driver was different, however, saying instead that he was “a federal candidate.”
When Graham accompanied Stern to the car, he found a tactical flashlight Stern said he kept in the car that flashed red and blue like police emergency lights. Stern also told the officer he had two firearms in the car – one inside the cabin and one in the trunk.
He was charged in April with a misdemeanor count of impersonating a public servant and summary counts of harassment and disorderly conduct. His case di lui is awaiting trial before Carmody.
Grace, of the West Chester law firm of Bellwoar and Kelly, told Carmody that his client needed to be able to make quick decisions about travel for his intelligence consulting business and that although he had remained compliant with the bail restrictions, they had proven “cumbersome .
“All that this is doing is putting hoops in his way,” Grace said. “He has a very important job in which the travel is essential.”
In granting the motion to remove the restrictions, Carmody acknowledged that the case against him seemed to be one of the mistaken intentions. But he cautioned the consultant not to take matters of safety into his own hands in the future. Call the police, the judge said.
“You believe you were misinterpreted,” Carmody said. “You weren’t doing something creepy. I get it.
“But obviously between now and when your case is resolved you can’t get into any trouble. You do not want to pull people over and represent yourself as a police officer, ”the judge said. “That is how you get in trouble.”
This spring, Stern – a former Republican – announced that he has switched his party affiliation and run as an independent for the seat being vacated by Sen. Pat Toomey.
“I no longer in good faith, can run as a Republican candidate seeing where the party is headed,” said Stern. In a press release, he said he is particularly alarmed by the rightward shift of the party, the influence of right-wing extremism by the likes of Flynn and the behavior and nature of Trump.
“I think that many traditional Republicans are unhappy with the direction the party is going in,” he said in the release. “I can offer them an alternative. I stand for promoting justice, fighting corruption, and holding people accountable and I can no longer do that in the GOP. My number one goal is protecting Democracy and the rule of law. “
To contact staff writer Michael P. Rellahan call 610-696-1544.