In a state case, people who harm children get the option to bond out of jail before trial. It is very difficult in a federal case because it puts the government at a greater risk of losing the trial and the US Government does not like to lose. There is no check on the prosecutor or agents, etc., at these hearings. There is only a magistrate judge listening to accusations and character assassinations launched by the government.
If you read anything online from this hearing, it was either taken out of context or a total lie. The first item that was brought up was my Dublin trip. After a race at the Isle of Man, I hooked up with a girl while I was there, and we did not part on good terms. The week I was arrested I had been talking to her (we made up by the way) and she was planning on meeting me for a wedding that summer. I am assuming they took some of the jokes we made about what happened in Dublin and put their spin on it. Next involved a friend I had been with a couple of times in Dallas. They took some texts I had with her (one of which she mentioned she could not get a sitter one night so we would have to get together after her daughter went to sleep). The FBI said that we may have molested her daughter and they directed CPS to check into it. Well CPS did check into it. They showed up unannounced and snatched her little girl while they ‘conducted’ their investigation. She was cleared, as was I of any wrongdoing, and her child was returned. However, my friend had her life turned upside down because the government was frantically searching for evidence for a case against me. They accomplished absolutely nothing from this, and I was never able to apologize to my friend for putting her through that. I’m so sorry Kayla!

The prosecution succeeded in that hearing because I was denied bail and I sat for about eight months in the county jail where I was only allowed out of my cell for one hour per week. FYI, this is designed to destroy people mentally so they will agree to a plea deal. That was certainly the worst eight months of my entire life. Absolutely nothing in my detention hearing was brought up in my trial aside from the text conversation with the agent because all the other accusations were false. No charges were ever filed. This was nothing more than a smear campaign. The FBI is great at this and does it in nearly every case they take to trial. 

In this country, you have a constitutional right to a trial by jury. You also have a right to testify in your defense. However, rejecting the government’s plea deal results in a substantial increase in your prison sentence if you lose at trial. So does testifying in your defense because it is considered perjury. You know when right is no longer a right? When you are penalized for exercising it!

I feel like I had an excellent attorney, but a federal trial is not a trial for justice, it is just a formality. In hindsight, being what it is, I’d strongly caution anyone thinking of going to trial against the United States of America. For starters, the United States is the accuser, and all of your jurors are citizens of the United States. Federal laws are also typically written in such a vague way that they can be broken and prosecuted with ease. Just ask any of the parents involved in the college admission scandal if they thought they were committing fraud or laundering money to get their kids admitted into a more prestigious university than they deserved. The prosecutor also has unlimited time and resources to devote to your case because so few people go to trial. Finally any charge of a sexual nature these days shifts the burden of proof to the defendant. You need to prove that you’re innocent beyond a doubt rather than the government proving you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. It is not an issue of simply being innocent. You need a group of federally experienced attorneys and expert witnesses to combat the Fed’s group of attorneys and expert witnesses. This can easily translate into a seven-digit bill at $450 per hour plus for each attorney. I’m sure I could have easily been charged double what I was, but we didn’t have the time to properly prepare for the trial.  Federal trials are typically short and the judge (who in my case was a 70+ y/o lady with a lifetime appointment as a Federal Judge), just wants to get the trial done. She spent about thirty minutes selecting the jury and seemed very annoyed during the entire trial because she had to be there. 98% of federal defendants plead out before the trial and of the 2% that go to trial, roughly 97% of those are won by the government.

Craig on a hill

I was offered a plea deal and told if I took this to trial, I would get 19 years and 8 months to life in prison. I was also told that based on the judge that I have, I could expect to get around 25 years. She lives in Beaumont and hates coming to Dallas for the trial. However, I am innocent of this and under the advice of my attorney decided to go to trial. She said there was a clear lack of intent in my texts to entice anyone (in fact, it appeared that I was the one being enticed) and I was entrapped as a matter of law. I was also informed that there were defense attorneys all over the country looking at my case because it set a new precedent for government overreach. I was told I had a better shot than most, but I’d have my best shot on appeal because many jurors simply cannot get over the charge. Either way, I’m not going to admit to a crime I didn’t commit even if it means less prison time and holding onto my life savings.  

Despite filing for two continuances to prepare for the trial, we were denied and taken to trial in 90 days even though our expert witnesses were not available. The first day of my trial I was awakened by guards in my jail cell at 3:30 a.m. to make the long trip to the courthouse. I hadn’t seen the sun in months and my head was spinning. I remember seeing them sit on the jury and thinking most of these folks look like people I’ve seen at Walmart, at midnight. I mean they were dressed nice enough, but most were of a different generation just your average country folk. I, on the other hand, looked like an eighties Robert Palmer video surrounded by 3 well-dressed female lawyers. This was supposed to be a jury of my peers but people like me would have said whatever it took to get out of jury duty because they had better stuff to do. I also really seriously doubt any of these people knew the first thing about online hookups, or even the series Catfish. Things were not looking good.  

Craig on Staircase

The trial lasted three days. It was three days of personal texts, sexy emails, posts, and text of the chat conversation with the agent. Out of about six years of every email and text I have ever sent and received, there was not a single one that talked about anything with anyone underage. However, the half dozen agents, interns, and PR specialists that work with the federal government sure made it look like I was capable of something illegal by taking excerpts of messages and emails from friends joking whenever I’d date someone younger than myself, which I did a lot. All of this was taken out of context, but this is all they had. We always assumed that a jury would find reasonable doubt considering I went back to my car after seeing the apartment.


Well apparently, so did the FBI agent because she covered her ass on that. The FBI agent said she made a ‘mistake’ when she rented the apartment, and that the apartment number was missing and that was the reason I went back to my car. This was a bald-faced lie by the FBI because the apartment number was as plain as day. We even proved this at trial when we enlarged one of the FBI’s photographs of the door after I was arrested. You could clearly see tape over the apartment number but when we pointed this out nobody really seemed to care too much (or maybe they didn’t understand.) The reason I went back to my car was because I changed my mind about going to some random apartment in some sketchy apartment complex. What I didn’t know at the time is that that particular apartment was filled with a bunch of cops that were freaking out because I was going back to my car. No way were these hardworking cops going home without arresting someone that day considering all the trouble they went through. The FBI’s lie about the apartment number was a huge blow to my case.  In my opinion, it removed ‘reasonable doubt’ in the minds of the jurors.  What bothers me most is that cops are allowed by law to lie to a defendant as much as they want to get them to commit this crime. What difference does it make to them to lie to a jury too? That answer is that it doesn’t. After closing arguments, I did get good news from the judge. She said, “Well in all my years as a judge I have never done this, but I am going to give the jury instructions for an entrapment defense.” This means that at the very least the government induced the crime, and I was not predisposed to commit the crime. Shouldn’t that alone be entrapment? While we were excited to hear that and the jury took a long time to reach the verdict, they decided I was not entrapped, and I was found guilty of using a computer to entice a minor.  

Craig Bike