Ramsey Clark Letter to Attorney General Janet Reno
April 26, 1995
The Honorable Janet Reno
Attorney General of the United States
Department of Justice
10th and Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20530
Re: U.S. v. Lyndon LaRouche, Jr. et al.
Dear Attorney General Reno,
I have been an attorney in this case since shortly after the defendants were sentenced in January 1990 and appeared as co-counsel on appeal and on the subsequent motions and appeals in proceedings under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 and F.R.Cr.P. Rule 33. I bring this matter to you directly, because I believe it involves a broader range of deliberate and systematic misconduct and abuse of power over a longer period of time in an effort to destroy a political movement and leader, than any other federal prosecution in my time or to my knowledge. Three courts have now condemned the Department’s conduct in this prosecutorial campaign. The result has been a tragic miscarriage of justice which at this time can only be corrected by an objective review and courageous action by the Department of Justice.
As you may recall, in August 1993, co-counsel and I requested a review of the issues presented by the case and the withdrawal or amendment of the Department’s 792 submissions to the parole commission. Both requests were rejected at that time by Laurence A. Urgenson, Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General, who noted that the matter was then pending before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals and any executive review should not interfere with judicial review.
The appeal has been denied and no further judicial action is pending or contemplated. All of the actions for which we seek review took place under prior administrations, and Mr. LaRouche and his co-defendants are either on parole or have completed their sentences. But a complete review remains vital, because of the gravity of the violations, the precedential effect they have on future Department conduct if they are not addressed, the price of the appearance of this injustice and the fact that other defendants prosecuted by the State of Virginia as part of joint federal-state task force efforts are imprisoned and serving draconian sentences from which they have little hope of release unless the overreaching multi-government miscarriage of justice is recognized.
Because of its resonance with the decade long vendetta against him, I am also concerned by recent events which may threaten action by the Parole Commission that could jeopardize Mr. LaRouche’s parole.
The investigation which ultimately led to the indictments against LaRouche, et al. was made public in late October 1984, when U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts William Weld held a press conference to announce its commencement based on allegations aired by the NBC TV station in Boston. In fact, federal harassment and investigation had preceded this public surfacing for years.
On October 6, 1986 indictments were returned Boston against key members of Mr. LaRouche’s political party. Simultaneously a massive two-day search involving over 400 law enforcement officers was conducted at the Virginia offices of several businesses associated with the political movement and 2 million documents were seized. The investigation continued and Mr. LaRouche himself was finally indicted in a second superseding indictment returned in Boston during July of 1987 and on May 4, 1988 a mistrial was declared. During the period William Weld was Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Criminal Division where he supervised the Department’s pursuit of Lyndon LaRouche.
After the Boston mistrial, in a ruling on a motion regarding prosecutorial misconduct, the trial Judge, Robert Keeton, made the first judicial finding of outrageous government wrongdoing. Although he denied the relief sought, he found “systemic and institutional prosecutorial misconduct.” In a separate post trial matter, Judge Keeton found that the F.B.I. case agent Richard Egan had improperly destroyed documents “in plain violation” of representations to the parties and the court.
Despite the fact that a retrial in Boston was scheduled for January 3, 1989, the Department of Justice decided to seek a more favorable forum and legal theory and rushed through an indictment in the Eastern District of Virginia on October 14, 1988. Five weeks later trial commenced in the Alexandria “rocket docket” on November 21, 1988. Four weeks later all defendants including Mr. LaRouche were convicted. The appeal was denied by the Fourth Circuit.
Collateral relief was denied by the trial court and on appeal by the Fourth Circuit. During the Boston federal grand jury investigation, the government sought contempt sanctions against certain companies associated with the political movement. The resulting sanctions, exceeding 20 million dollars, were the basis on which the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia filed an unprecedented and unlawful petition in bankruptcy against the companies sanctioned in 1987. The Department did not intend to recover money. It wanted to silence voices and destroy a movement. The government, ex parte, sought and received an order effectively closing the doors of these publishing businesses, all of which were involved in First Amendment activities, effectively preventing the further repayment of their debts. A handful of these very debts were the basis of all the new federal charges in Virginia. The bankruptcy court made it impossible to repay the handful of creditors who might complain to the government. When the bankruptcy court finally ruled on the petition in 1989, after the convictions in Alexandria, it dismissed the case. The court found the government to have engaged in “objective bad faith” and a “constructive fraud upon the court” in filing the involuntary proceeding. The publisher’s doors never reopened.
The government thereby created a pool of lenders who could not be repaid by the debtors as a matter of law, and from this pool a handful were then presented as victims at trial and were asked whether they had been paid. This stratagem was necessitated by the prosecution’s recognition that evidence of ongoing repayments would jeopardize their case. Payments were made up to the bankruptcy date, but were impossible thereafter, clearly intended to advance the criminal prosecution, as was later demonstrated by documents released under FOIA and statements made by AUSA John Markham.
On February 18, 1995, the third and most pointed judicial finding of prosecutorial misconduct was made by a New York Supreme Court Judge in a ruling on Brady and Rosario violations which occurred during a related prosecution. After “a hearing to inquire into the relationship and extent of cooperation between the federal prosecutor in Virginia and the New York prosecutors…,” the court ordered a new trial, holding that:
All of the foregoing circumstances suggest a studied and calculated effort to use against the defendants enormous amounts of information that the Virginia [federal] prosecutor made available to the New York Attorney General without the onus of revealing any of the exculpatory or other pertinent information that a New York prosecutor has an obligation to locate and produce for defendants. (footnote omitted). These circumstances raise an inference of a conspiracy to lay low these defendants at any cost both here and in Virginia.
People v. Robert Primack, et al., indictment No. 8654/87, Supreme Court of New York, New York County, Part 81/83, opinion of Crane, J., 2/16/95.
Significantly, New York Judge Crane also evaluated the testimonial veracity of FBI Special Agent Klund, a case agent on the LaRouche investigation:
…[t]he court rejects Agent Klund’s explanation that his chart was truncated in photocopying. The court finds it painfully obvious that… his testimonial speculation was intended to protect the secrecy of these Reports [of FBI 302 witness statements].
In conjunction with the defendants’ 2255 motion in the Eastern District of Virginia, six volumes of newly discovered evidence were attached as appendices. These materials consist of 85 pieces of evidence, discovered post-trial, which bear primarily on governmental misconduct. This material, which has never been seriously reviewed, reveals a range of misconduct, including:
• misrepresentation of material facts and Brady violations by the prosecutors;
• withholding of relevant materials from the prosecutors by the FBI to avoid its discovery;
• unlawful searches and seizures by government agents;
• subornation and condonation of perjury;
• witness tampering;
• failure to disclose promises, rewards or inducements to witnesses;
• improper utilization of a civil matter to advance a criminal prosecution;
• denial of the existence of, and failure to produce an existing FBI file on Lyndon LaRouche compiled under Executive Order 12333; and
• creating adverse media coverage through leaks and unattributed comments.
In short, it demonstrates a pervasive conspiracy and concerted action designed to do precisely what Judge Crane found, “lay low these defendants at any cost,” and then to cover their tracks. The fact of political motivation in this conspiracy is demonstrated by the evidence, particularly by that which reveals the collaboration between the government and avowed political antagonists of LaRouche and his movement.
These materials, with previously available evidence of misconduct, more recent discoveries, the judicial findings of misconduct and the overwhelming appearance of injustice make the full review requested a matter of great importance not just to the defendants but to the Department of Justice and the public.
While you will know best what office in the Department can conduct the review most effectively, I believe it should be an office with Department-wide authority and that the Criminal Division is inappropriate because of its intimate involvement in the prosecution over the years.
I bring this matter to you directly not merely as an advocate for clients who I believe are the victims of a gross miscarriage of justice caused by governmental misconduct, but in the belief that righting such wrongs is essential to justice and faith in our institutions. I would like to discuss this matter with you. I will bring documents which support the statements in this letter at that time for you, or the official you designate. I will call your office for an appointment.