ST. LOUIS - Journalist Ray Hartmann broke the nationally-recognized news story about a Chesterfield man and “Sound of Freedom” crowdfunder who was charged as an accessory to child kidnapping. Hartmann discussed his perspective on the story, as well as the upcoming Republican Presidential Debate and more on Our Daily Show! on

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The “Sound of Freedom” crowdfunder was identified as Fabian Marta of Chesterfield. While Marta was one of thousands of financial contributors to the film, the story caught national media attention due to the contradictory nature of the charges filed against him and the film’s plot about a former government agent rescuing children from human traffickers.

Hartmann said he was happy to see his story gain national attention - not because of the charges or the film, but for an entirely different reason concerning Marta’s local reputation.

“What I found out with sources is that Mr. Marta was better known locally … as the sugar daddy [of] the famous Rockwood School sugar babe - former sugar babe - a very conservative woman who got elected, Jessica Clark, who got elected to the school board about a little over a year ago,” Hartmann said.

He then clarified that being a “sugar babe” is a “form of professional accompaniment to wealthy guys,” adding that in the past, being a “sugar babe” might have kept one from winning an election.

“Jessica is a member of the Rockwood School Board, and this is the man who launched her sugar babe career - this was St. Louis’s first sugar daddy,” Hartmann said. “The alleged crime is not of particular importance to most people, and the Sound of Freedom connection is probably overstated at best, but I just love the fact that Fabian Marta - our town’s preeminent Sugar Daddy, or at least was - is in the national news.”

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Hartmann said Marta’s involvement in the Rockwood School District, and his support of Clark’s campaign, has contributed to the “effort of conservatives to redefine a public school district” in St. Louis. He said he doesn’t expect Clark to resign over the charges filed against Marta, since criminal connections have become more accepted among Republican public figures in recent years - which, he added, will make tonight’s Republican Presidential Debate particularly interesting.

“The debate, I think, is going to be fascinating,” Hartmann said. “This early in the primary, it's a game of ‘Kill the Man with the Ball’ - and that is, whoever’s ahead, normally you go after … well, Trump is so far ahead that he doesn’t count. They’re all counting on him getting convicted.”

Former President Donald Trump has announced repeatedly on his social network Truth Social that he will not be participating in “THE DEBATES.” Hartmann said he had a question for the candidates who will be there.

“‘As President, will you agree not to prosecute Joe Biden for any reason on the theory that we don’t prosecute former presidents and political enemies - the one they’re using now to say how terrible it is that the Justice Department has investigated and prosecuted Donald Trump?’” Hartmann said. “I’ve never heard anybody answer that - that would be a fun question for them.”

Hartmann founded and wrote for the Riverfront Times and currently writes Ray Hartmann's St. Louis Insider Substack. He is also a co-founder and ongoing panelist on the Nine PBS show “Donnybrook.”

The full interview with Hartmann can be watched at the top of this story or on

Ray Hartmann

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