This hemp crop, at the Egles’ farm in Albin near the Nebraska border, was seized by DCI after farmers had harvested it and were drying it in a barn on the property. (Joshua Egle)

The Wyoming Attorney General’s office is defending a Division of Criminal Investigation officer whom the Wyoming Supreme Court found lied on the stand during a controversial hemp farming case.

The Supreme Court on May 19 censured and fined a Laramie County prosecutor for allowing DCI Special Agent Jon Briggs to make false testimony as law enforcement sought to prosecute a pair of hemp farmers as marijuana traffickers. 

On May 21, the AG’s office made clear its support for Briggs. Deputy Attorney General Jenny Craig filed a motion calling for the Supreme Court to redact Briggs’ name from its report on the matter and remove any statements indicating he gave false testimony. In the motion, Craig argued DCI had conducted an internal review that cleared Briggs and that the state’s highest court lacks authority to discipline a DCI officer, at least in this case.

“The [Wyoming Board of Professional Responsibility], the Wyoming State Bar, and this Court did not have jurisdiction to determine whether Agent Briggs engaged in wrongdoing or impose discipline against him,” Craig wrote. 

The Board of Professional Responsibility is a committee of five lawyers and two non-lawyers that holds hearings on attorney discipline matters, according to the Wyoming Bar Association website. 

In last month’s ruling, the court found Briggs testified falsely about a critical exchange with one of the defendants that occurred when officers raided the hemp farm outside Albin. Briggs lied again in a subsequent hearing about not having read an emailed request from defense attorney Tom Jubin asking him to correct his false testimony, the high court found.

The prosecutor, then-Laramie County Senior Assistant District Attorney David Singleton, made no effort to correct the testimony in either case, the Supreme Court found. 

Jubin has called for Briggs to face consequences from DCI, Wyoming’s statewide investigative agency, which is overseen by the AG’s office. 

The AG’s office argues the Supreme Court also denied Briggs’ right to due process by failing to give him a chance to offer his side of the story before issuing a ruling that has impacted his career. Neither the court nor the bar committee interviewed Briggs, Craig wrote. 

Craig declined to speak about the case, saying the AG’s office does not comment on pending court cases. Gov. Mark Gordon nominated Bridget Hill to be the Wyoming Attorney General and she was sworn in on March 15, 2019. 

Dispute stems from troubled hemp case

The damning report against Briggs from the state’s highest court came nine months after a Laramie County judge threw out the case against Debra Palm-Egle and her son Joshua Egle, hemp farmers and industry advocates who helped legalize the crop in Wyoming.  

Singleton had sought to charge the Egles, along with a contractor and his wife, Brock and Shannon Dyke, with drug trafficking conspiracy charges that could have resulted in decades in prison. Briggs investigated the case. The Dykes were on the farm in November 2019 when DCI raided the property and seized 700 pounds of hemp.

A photograph included in a court filing shows Deb Palm-Egle and her son, Josh Egle, to the right of the photograph, with Gov. Mark Gordon at the March 2019 signing of a bill legalizing hemp production. In November of the same year, Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation agents raided the mother-son team’s farm in Albin. (Screenshot from court filing)

Law enforcement officers in tactical gear and armed with rifles and a battering ram conducted the seizure, Brock Dyke previously told WyoFile.

During the raid, Dyke showed DCI agents test results that indicated the plants had low-enough THC concentrations to be classified as hemp, not marijuana. That moment was the one Briggs would later give false testimony about in a Laramie County courtroom, according to the Wyoming Supreme Court. 

Briggs testified on July 9, 2020 that he believed the results he was shown may have indicated THC levels above the legal limit for hemp. They did not, and Jubin provided him documentation in court. Briggs maintained he didn’t know if those were the results he’d seen. 

Jubin later emailed Briggs and asked the agent to correct the error in his testimony.

Hours after receiving Jubin’s email, Briggs sent text messages to Singleton to complain about the defense attorney’s email.

Singleton asked him about the contents of the email in one text message, and Briggs responded that Jubin had written “I’m giving you the chance to correct your testimony.” He also called the veteran Wyoming attorney “actually insane.”

When the trial resumed and Briggs returned to the stand on Aug. 6, 2020, he gave false testimony about the email exchange with Jubin, the Wyoming Supreme Court found. While questioning Briggs on the witness stand Jubin asked about his email seeking to correct the inaccuracy in Briggs’ previous testimony about the test results.

“To be honest, sir, I didn’t read your email,” Briggs responded. “I forwarded it to counsel.” 

Singleton has admitted to the court that he violated the rules governing attorney conduct by failing to correct testimony from the officer, even though he knew it was false. 

While Singleton was fined and censured, Briggs is suffering professional consequences from the Supreme Court’s order and a press release that drew media attention, Craig argued. Some prosecutors have already contacted DCI requesting Briggs not be put on their cases, Craig wrote in the court motion. 

His career in law enforcement is “seriously compromised,” Craig wrote. 

Jubin told WyoFile he had reached out to the AG’s office offering to assist with any possible investigation into Briggs’ testimony and it hadn’t responded to that outreach. 

Craig, however, wrote that DCI had conducted an internal investigation into Briggs’ testimony and cleared him. The agents conducting the internal investigation interviewed Briggs and his supervisor, Special Agent Tina Trimble. 

Trimble has faced her own public discipline recently. In April, she pled guilty to disturbing the peace in Cheyenne Municipal Court following a physical confrontation with a gym owner, according to the Casper Star Tribune

In his interviews, Briggs told investigators he hadn’t read the email, or at least, not really. 

“If I skimmed it that would be the extent of it,” Briggs told the internal investigators, according to Craig’s motion. “I don’t recall getting any jist [sic] of it,” he said, “I mean I am sure I saw words in it somewhere I didn’t know if that was the header of it was somewhere in the body of it, um yeah I was just so put off and disgusted that they would send me that and I don’t recall.” 

Trimble backed Briggs’s recollection. The investigators also interviewed Mark Gifford, the attorney who conducted the Wyoming State Bar’s investigation.

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“I guess it’s possible that [Briggs] didn’t read it but that seems so out of whack with the tone and substance of the text,” Gifford said, according to Craig’s motion.   

The DCI investigators concluded Briggs had not lied on the stand. But it isn’t the last investigation Briggs will face. The Wyoming Peace Officer Training and Standards Commission is also investigating Briggs’ testimony, according to a report by Oil City News. 

That body, which also is under the purview of the AG’s office, has the ability to discipline and even decertify law enforcement officers.

Andrew Graham

Andrew Graham is reporting for WyoFile from Laramie. He covers state government, energy and the economy. Reach him at 443-848-8756 or at andrew@wyofile.com, follow him @AndrewGraham88

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  1. I’ve always said the the “Blue” have been and are still at war with the innocent public. I think Mick Jagger sang something about “all the cops are criminals”….the Rolling Stones must of been on to something there…

  2. Too bad Singleton is no longer in the DA’s office so he could be FIRED. As should Briggs and Craig. WTH are these people thinking?? It’s ok for law enforcement to lie? And then involve a bigger conspiracy to cover up the lie from higher-ups?? While attempting to literally destroy someone’s livelihood?? Really???

    As much as I like to “back the blue”, situations like this make it very hard. This is GROSS ABUSE OF POWER at it’s finest( worst???). IMO, Singleton, Briggs and Craig should no longer be able to work in law enforcement of any kind.

  3. Jenny Craig is NOT correct. The Court disciplined the prosecutor not the DCI investigator. The Bar Disciplinary Office did a thorough investigation, and the Wyoming Supreme Court acted upon it. There was no discipline or fine placed upon the investigator, but his name is part of the facts of the case, and he is far from blameless. Redacting his name would be pointless and is certainly NOT called for here.
    Ms. Craig should find something far more important to spend her time on. Like investigating the fiasco of incompetency that allowed the farmers to be arrested and charged in the first place. Thank God they got a first rate and honest lawyer to help them. Tom Jubin is a well known, highly competent and ethical Wyoming lawyer. Jenny Craig would be wise to borrow a few pages from his book.

    1. Agreed.
      I’d also like to know how Deputy Attorney General Craig concludes that Briggs’s law enforcement career is “seriously compromised”, given that the DCI cleared him in an internal review.
      While we’re at it, I wonder what the chances are that the review will be made public, considering that taxpayer dollars support everyone involved in this mess.

  4. Need to get the AG, DCI, and Briggs in front of Judge Judy so we can hear all the evidence in 15 minutes. Do I care? No. The case was a mistake from the get go. Those who greenlighted it need to go. Officer Briggs may indeed have just fumbled the ball and made a dumb call but the real crime was the entire operation.

  5. After 32 years of practicing law in Wyoming, why am I not surprised that the Wyoming Attorney General’s Office wants to pretend that the agent did not deliberately lie in court? Is it because the DCI is a division of the Attorney General’s Office, and therefore the agent’s misconduct reflects negatively on more than himself. Despite the many honest working cops out there and the many honorable prosecutors, police perjury is a bigger problem than is often admitted. The Attorney General should welcome the exposure of police misconduct, and not try to cover it up or pretend it did not happen even though it reflects poorly on the Attorney General’s Office..

    1. Yes, and you would be hard pressed to find a prosecutor that maintains a Brady list.