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Sterling Family Fund

$73,090 of $100k goal

Raised by 1,812 people in 17 months

Laurie Lewandowski   CARPENTERSVILLE, IL
On January 26, 2015, Jeffrey Sterling was convicted on 9 counts under the Espionage Act for leaking classified information regarding a CIA operation to author James Risen who in 2006, published a book titled “State of War”. The conviction was based entirely on circumstantial evidence. Mr. Risen was not required to testify and the prosecution could produce no documents, no recordings, nothing that directly linked Jeffrey as a source for Mr. Risen’s book.   In fact, the FBI agent who investigated Jeffrey for over 10 years testified that there was absolutely no evidence that Jeffrey was a source.

He is due to be sentenced on April 24, 2015. His attorneys are currently appealing the conviction. Unfortunately for Jeffrey, he became the government’s primary target because he had the audacity to do two things

He went through appropriate legal channels to address his concerns about a covert CIA operation.

He filed a discrimination lawsuit against the CIA in August of 2001 (two months later he was fired) which was coincidentally thrown out because proof would require release of classified information. Jeffrey contacted Mr. Risen in an effort to have his discrimination story heard. Mr. Risen subsequently did write an article about Jeffrey’s lawsuit.  Another story was published in the May 20, 2002 issue of “People” magazine. Here is an excerpt:

“Sterling joined the CIA in 1993 and two years later became a case officer in the Iran Task Force. (He was the only black among its more than 20 professionals.) To prepare, he spent a year studying Farsi, the language of Iran. Sent to Bonn in 1997 to recruit Iranians as agents, he grew frustrated when he wasn’t given new prospects to recruit. Perplexed, he returned to Langley and confronted his supervisors. “I asked why I wasn’t receiving any assignments. They said, “Well, you kind of stick out as a big black guy,” Sterling recalls. “They said, ‘You bring unwanted attention to where you’re assigned. Everyone in management agreed I was too conspicuous. And I said, “Well, when did you realize that I was black?”

Arrested in 2011, he was fired from his job at Anthem Healthcare. This, after winning an award in 2010 for saving the company over 32 million dollars due to healthcare fraud. He has been unable to get another job. He and his wife Holly lived off their savings and Holly’s income as a social worker for a few years but the money has run out. Their house is on the cusp of foreclosure, they have had to depend on the kindness of family, friends and in some cases total strangers for the money to travel from their home in Missouri to court in Virginia.

I have never met a man with more integrity and more strength in family values. You know when you meet him that he is a man who puts family and honesty above all else. There are many people who believe that Jeffrey was steamrolled because of his color and because he stood up for what he believes in and would not plead guilty to something he did not do.

Please consider making a donation to help Jeffrey’s family to ease the ongoing financial burdens they face.

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Update 35

12 hours ago

What I am going to write today is graphic, it might make you feel uncomfortable. However, I think it’s important for all of you to know what daily life is like for Jeffrey. Ironically , as I started to post this update, Holly texted me regarding Jeffrey. He hasn’t been feeling well for a few weeks and thought he was having a heart attack. The prison did an EKG, said there were some abnormalities but put it down to poorly placed leads and offered no further testing. Today he is suffering from shortness of breath and light headedness. The medics will see him in the morning. There is no sense of urgency. When I hear these things from Holly it really hits home.

Jeffrey is not just “away”, he is in a federal correctional facility considered low security. He shares space with child molesters, rapists, murderers and other career felons.
At his first visit with the prison psychologist, she didn’t even look at his file just asked how many times he had been incarcerated.
Every time Jeffrey wants to send a letter, he must buy a stamp, we can’t send it to him, If he wants salt or pepper or any type of spice on his meal, he must pay for it, we can’t send it to him.
He sleeps on a concrete bed with a foam mattress and no pillow.
If he gets a cold, he can’t buy cough syrup because inmates will use it for tatoo ink.
If he wants sneakers to walk, he has to buy them.
When Holly goes to visit he can pay for food out of the vending machine in the visitor area. Holly will typically spend all the allowable time with Jeffrey going without so she can use the money she brought to let Jeffrey eat.

The prison had a plumbing issue that lasted for three days, 900 men urinated and defacated in toilets that were overflowing and did not flush for THREE days. You would think a hazmat team would come in and do the cleanup but no, inmates were responsible for the cleanup.
Jeffrey spends a few hours every day tutoring inmates who are primarily illiterate and have no desire to change. For this task he earns either 67 or 69 cents per day (I can’t quite remember).
It’s easy for me, for all of us to go about our days, worrying about both trivial and important things, spending time with our loved ones and living life to forget, in our very humanness, what Jeffrey faces every day. No, he is not at a camp, able to hang out with the likes of Rod Blegovich and other political prisoners. Jeffrey is incarcerated in a demoralizing facility where he struggles every day to maintain his dignity and his hope.
Please keep Jeffrey and Holly in your thoughts and prayers. Continue to send Jeffrey kind words. Mail is important to him.
Jeffrey Sterling, 38338-044
FCI Englewood
A bit of good news perhaps, a tentative date has been scheduled with the appellate court to hear arguments. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

Blessing to you all. Keep you loved ones close. Be ready with a smile and a hug for they can turn a frown upside down.

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Update 34

1 month ago

As the one year date approaches for Jeffrey, my ask is that each of you keep him in your thoughts. In the next few days Jeffrey will be celebrating a birthday and I know he would be thankful for your kind thoughts and words. His address is:

Jeffrey Sterling, 38338-044
FCI Englewood

Thanks all of you for your generosity over this last year. Your support has allowed Holly to see Jeffrey monthly in Colorado. In addition, it has allowed Jeffrey to purchase things you and I take for granted like peanut butter, socks and salt.
Jeffrey’s appellate attorneys have filed the appeal, the government has responded, of course not in Jeffrey’s favor and his attorneys have rebutted. Please feel free to go to Wikipedia and scroll to the bottom for selected case files if you are interested in reading some of the material.
Ultimately, we want Jeffrey to be released and his innocence declared. It seems unlikely, but we continue to hope and pray. In the meantime please keep spreading Jeffrey’s story. It would be exceptional if it went viral and the entire world knew about his journey.

We are very thankful for all your support.
The flowers are blooming, take time to share one with a friend or a stranger.

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Update 33

3 months ago


As I sit on my couch, I’m mindful that Jeffrey currently doesn’t have the luxury of enjoying this respite that all of us take for granted. He has been in prison for almost a year for doing the right thing.
Jeffrey continues to struggle with his conviction. In a country that prides itself on being the land of the free and the home of the brave, a country that celebrates and rewards the men and women who serve and protect our nation I found a process that is selective in nature. When Jeffrey went to the Senate Intelligence Committee with genuine concern for the safety of his fellow Americans, he challenged the status quo. That, is what Jeffrey struggles with. The why?, when he was doing what he was sworn to do as a CI a officer.

Jeffrey’s appellate attorneys continue with his appeal. The briefs have been filed. The wheels of justice move slowly. The White House has not responded to the presentation of Jeffrey’s petition. So we wait.
Jeffrey waits, struggles to cope with a conviction and a sentence that is not deserved.
Holly waits, for the one weekend a month she can fly out to see her husband in Colorado.
Our entire family waits, for freedom for Jeffrey, for truth, for justice.

Please don’t forget Jeffreys plight. Send him you notes of encouragement. He loves to receive cards and letters. Although he can’t always respond, he is appreciative of all your correspondence.
Thank you for all that you have done and all you continue to do. Your support means a great deal to all of us.

Smile at a stranger today. It might be just what they need.

Jeffrey Sterling, 38338-044
FCI Englewood

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Update 32

5 months ago

Wednesday, February 17th , over 150,000 signatures were presented to the White House. The petition asks for the immediate pardon of Jeffrey. Because the petition has more than 100,000 signatures the White House is required to acknowledge acceptance and to my understanding, the President is required to provide a response.
These supporters are part of a growing network of people who understand the need for government transparency and accountability. I had the honor and the pleasure of attending a wonderful news conference where supporters Norman Solomon, Jesselyn Radack, John Kiriakou, Delphine Halgand and Dr. Cornel West in addition to Holly offered incite into Jeffrey!s plight and the travesty of justice that has prevailed for the last 10 years. I think Dr. West said it best when he said “Shame on you” referencing the President’s unfounded persecution of Jeffrey. After the news conference Jeffrey’s supporters marched to the White House where Jeffrey’s wife Holly and renowned professor and activist, Dr. Cornel West spoke.

I hope that the momentum from this news conference puts pressure on the White House, that is forces main stream media to focus on this issue. The petition continues to receive signatures so if you haven’t already, please consider adding your name to the list at and roots

Thank you all for your support and your donations. It means a great deal to both Holly and Jeffrey.

Here is a personal message from Jeffrey.

“Everyday I ask why I am forcibly separated from my wife Holly, our family and friends, why am I in prison? I know the answer because it is born out of who I am today and what I have always been. The answer to my daily question is because through the years I said “no” to discrimination at the CIA. I said “no” to government intimidation and retaliation. I said “no” to compromising my principles by pleading to a crime I did not commit.

All the while I was saying “yes” to doing the right thing not only for myself but also for my country. I took a stand and followed the rules and for this I was targeted and summarily finished. Throughout, I have thought I stood alone.

I have learned differently. While I have been invisible to many, many more here in this country and throughout the world have expressed solidarity with me and the cause of justice or the struggles I have endured. Their undying support and encouragement, along with that of my incredible wife Holly inspires me to continue fighting. Thank you all.”

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