First, please sign and share the petition here: bit.ly/freeamishsam.
Click here for more details and links to all court documents and the indictment.
Feel free to copy and repost on your blog, social media, or print and handout, use as a cover letter for a printed petition (click here to download petition). Since the Amish don’t use the internet, many of them don’t even know about Sam’s situation! Please share the printed petition, get their signatures, then email or mail to me here.
Samuel Girod [G as in Gee: gi-ROD] and his family have been making and selling three all-natural herbal products for nearly 20 years.
No one has ever been harmed by the products; the Girods have pages of testimonials and scores of repeat customers.
Similar products are currently made and sold online worldwide (including on Amazon) by other people using the same or similar basic ingredients. The recipes are online as well, you can make them in your kitchen.
In 2001, an FDA agent informed Sam that his product labels were making medical claims regarding healing certain conditions. At the time, Sam’s label said, ““[g]ood for all skin disorders. Skin cancer, cuts, burns, draws, and poison ivy.”
Sam had to change his label, removing the skin cancer claim specifically, or do very expensive testing proving the claims. Sam changed the label, removing any reference to skin cancer.
Sam did not receive any further communication from the FDA until 2012 when someone called the FDA and reported that a store in MO was selling Sam’s products and that medical claims were being made.
The “medical claims” were in fact customer testimonials contained in a brochure about Sam’s products! These testimonials are no different than Amazon reviews.
Then the FDA claimed to have found a MO customer who had been harmed by Sam’s bloodroot salve.
In early 2013, during the investigation on that claim, FDA agents went to Sam’s home and demanded a warrantless search. Wanting to be cooperative, Sam said OK on one condition: that no photographs were taken (the Amish are religiously opposed to photography). The agents said no problem, no photos.
Then they got on the property, whipped out their cameras and took photos of everything.
Several months later, the Girods went before a federal judge in MO re the medical claims and the person supposedly injured. Turns out, not only has this customer never been identified or produced, the bloodroot salve this customer used was not even Sam’s!!!
Yet that judge put an injunction on Sam’s products with three stipulations:
- none could be sold until all medical claims were removed (referring to the brochures);
- Sam’s bloodroot salve could never be sold again EVER (1); and
- Sam had to allow inspection of his property where the products were made FOR FIVE YEARS.
Sam complied with 1 and 2: he stopped selling the bloodroot salve and stopped using the brochures. He was not so compliant with the searches.
In late 2013, after the injunction, FDA agents came to do a second search. Sam informed them that nothing had changed since the first search 7 months earlier, and that, since they had lied and taken photos during the first search, they were not welcome to do a second.
Sam had a Bath County Sheriff’s deputy there who witnessed the entire event and told the agents to leave the property.
Unfortunately for Sam, he knows his constitutionally-guaranteed rights and he relied on them to make his next decisions.
These three product sales are how Sam’s family made their living. They had been denied this right via an arbitrary regulation made up by a federal agency with no true jurisdiction in the states — and with NO VICTIM.
So the Girods started selling their products again. Then, in 2014, Sam started a legal private membership club and sold his products to members via that framework. Perfectly legal.
Meanwhile, the FDA started criminal proceedings against Sam for disobeying the injunction (selling his products and refusing the search) plus two other very serious charges:
1. The FDA agents claimed that, when they came for the 2nd search, Sam and his family threatened them with physical violence. That is ludicrous enough on the face of it. Plus, the Sheriff’s deputy testified under oath that absolutely no threats were made, that, essentially, the FDA agents lied under oath.
2. The FDA also charged Sam with witness tampering. The witness who was supposedly tampered with? Read the eyewitness account of Mary Miller’s testimony, link below. (2)
The Trial 2.27.17
The Amish do not use lawyers as a rule and Sam did not. This is a decision made by the community, not just the accused. Apparently the Amish don’t trust lawyers. Imagine that.
Because he barely presented a defense against federal prosecutors for whom money and conscience are not problems, Sam was convicted on all counts. (3)
The judge ordered Sam to remain in jail until sentencing on 6/16/17. He’s been in jail since 2/27/17.
Had Sam had a good attorney, he would certainly have been acquitted on the most egregious counts (threatening federal agents and witness tampering). These charges were clearly manufactured solely to make Sam into a “real” criminal, with the FDA being the only victim.
The only other charges — selling “drugs” across state lines — were manufactured out of whole cloth as well. The FDA’s own tests proved that the products were not drugs, that they were made from all-natural ingredients!!! These charges should have been dismissed from the start.
Sam’s sentencing is 6/16 and he is looking at 68 years in prison. This is essentially a life sentence for charges stemming from an innocent labeling infraction!
Sam should not spend a minute in jail. Please sign and share our petition to President Trump for a presidential pardon: bit.ly/freeamishsam
- How does the FDA get away with determining what constitutes a “medical claim” anyway?
- How are they able to define “drug” so broadly that a topical salve made from all edible ingredients becomes a “drug?”
- Why are Amazon reviews ok but Sam’s customers’ testimonials a basis for criminal charges?
- How is the FDA able to create criminal penalties for violation of arbitrary rules?
- How does this kind of action against an Amish grandfather making salves from all-natural ingredients protect the public, particularly considering that every 19 minutes, someone dies from an FDA-approved pharmaceutical, an actual drug that has been tested and “proven safe”?
- How will Sam’s incarceration for life make the American public any safer?
- Considering that no one was harmed by his products, how has spending millions of dollars on Sam’s prosecution and 16 years of harassment made the world a better place?
There is a better way to handle this. Let us Americans make healing claims on our products with the disclaimer, “These claims have not been scientifically proven. Please use your internet and library to verify claims to your own satisfaction prior to use.”
Sam’s prosecution is a prime example of bureaucracy run amok, enforcement for enforcement’s sake to justify an agency’s existence. There are literally thousands of people in jail (4) for breaking agency regulations fabricated by the agencies! Their rules and regulations are as arbitrary and illegal as they can be, with the result of making us all criminals in our own homes.
Who exactly is being protected here?
(1) In the indictment, bloodroot is repeatedly referred to as “dangerous” with no documentation whatsoever. Bloodroot is from a plant grown in North America, it’s perfectly legal and used by millions of people for centuries for healing purposes. Bloodroot products are sold all over the internet, including on Amazon.
(2) Mary Miller is the 2nd witness called: http://www.kyfreepress.com/2017/03/trial-fda-v-samuel-girod-day-2/
Sally Oh is a native Kentuckian, wife, mother, blogger, homesteader, chickenista, recovering REALTOR® and Functional Medicine Practitioner. A liberty activist and registered voter, that’s her falling down a rabbit hole.