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Old 02-23-2009, 08:41 PM
matt hughes matt hughes is offline
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 165
Default Letter from Jed Leist

I received this letter in the mail today and thought it was interesting enough to share it with you all. This is the entire letter, I've just removed certain names to protect the identity of his family.

February 13, 2009

Dear Matt,

My name is Jed Leist and I am the person that filed the lawsuit against you for the incident at Mandalay Bay at UFC 64. That being said, I hope you will read this entire letter with an open mind. I am a saved Christian man now, in part because of you. As funny as that may sound right now, please allow me to elaborate.

I went to UFC 64 (Franklin vs. Silva 1) a big fan of yours. No one can deny that you are an incredible athlete and one of the best fighters that the UFC has seen. Getting to meet you at the autograph session was pretty exciting for me. Afterward, I was pretty upset and thought of you and your friends as overly cocky. I had several problems with people after that including your friend Tim Sylvia. I went there from Atlanta looking to have a good time with my friends for the weekend, but left very dejected. I didn't read the bible back then, so I didn't have a very good Christian attitude. I was letting that weekend eat me up inside, instead of just letting it go. Also, I was facing some extremely serious legal problems at home that I'm sure you are aware of.

When I was young, I wanted to follow in my dad's footsteps as a police officer. I joined the Explorers and did a hitch in the US Army, serving in Desert Shield/Storm. After coming home, I made a lot of very bad decisions in life and ended up with a felony record. I matured very late in life. In 2001 when I was 30 years old, I moved to Los Angeles from Grand Junction, Colorado and basically started over. I met my current wife while living there. We are married and have two wonderful daughters ages 6 and 4. We eventually moved to Atlanta, Georgia where we own a nice home in the suburb. Things were going very well for us. My wife is German, so we would travel to Europe twice a year to visit family. In late 2004 I found the opportunity to pursue my dream job that I gave up on so many years before. That was a decision I will forever regret. At the academy, I was named class president. I placed first in shooting and second in academics. Once I started at the department, I really excelled. I was a member of our tactical team and I had a knack for finding drugs. I made more drug seizures than the rest of the officers in our small department combined. That included the largest drug seizure in the city's history. I also obtained a pilot's license in helicopters, my other love. I hoped to someday fly for a department. The best of both worlds. I have never been happier in my life. But, I didn't have Jesus in my life. Of course it all came crashing down on me.

I was arrested by the ATF for being a felon in possession of a firearm for carrying my duty weapon. And my wife was charged with lying on and ATF form by saying that she claimed some guns she bought were hers when they were in fact mine. This was extremely unfortunate because my wife did not know that I was a felon. She had never even had a traffic ticket prior to this. Ingrid was an account manager for 21 years when his happened. She obtained her college degree while working full time and also while carrying and giving birth to our two daughters. All of this at 42 years of age!

In other words, my actions caused my wife to be charged with a felony. She truly never had any idea that she broke the law. (In fact the ATF agent later said that he is convinced that she did not break the law, but by that time it was too late.) I was ultimately given a twenty year sentence (Which everyone thought was a big harsh.) and my wife was given fifteen months. (Which everyone just couldn't believe.) My kids now live in Germany with family and I haven't got to see them in sixteen months. Obviously this just tears my heart out. My wife was a permanent resident, but now INS is trying to deport her when she is released in April of this year. If that happens, I will lose all contact with my family. You may or may