Congressman Nadler's Appeal to President Clinton

Congress of the United States
House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

December 8, 1993

Hon. William J. Clinton
President of the United States
The White House
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

I am writing to you again concerning the case of Jonathan Pollard because of a recent report in the New York Times, indicating that some of your advisors have recommended against granting executive clemency to Mr. Pollard, or that you may be considering a further delay in his release by several years. As I have in the past, I am strongly urging you to disregard any such advice and grant Mr. Pollard clemency as soon as possible.

An issue which has been sadly neglected in this case is the manner in which Mr. Pollard was induced to enter a plea of guilty and cooperate with federal authorities in identifying all information passed to Israel. In exchange for his plea and cooperation, the United States Attorney promised to inform the sentencing judge of the nature and value of his cooperation and not to seek the maximum sentence of life imprisonment. Although Mr. Pollard and the prosecutors themselves adhered to the letter of the agreement, the Government of the United States did not. Caspar Weinberger, then Secretary of Defense, sent the judge a secret letter characterizing Mr. Pollard's conduct and the harm caused by it in the severest possible terms, and urging that he receive the maximum punishment. Mr. Pollard subsequently received the life sentence he is now serving.

In light of Secretary Weinberger's letter, the government's conduct can only be seen as an outrageous bait-and-switch maneuver. Regardless of whether this sequence of events was envisioned by prosecutors at the time of the plea agreement, the effect of the government's actions was to induce Mr. Pollard to give up his presumption of innocence and right to a jury trial in exchange for a critical concession that was then denied to him. It is hard to imagine a more blatant violation of the right to due process. Moreover, such actions can only impair the ability of the government to obtain the cooperation of criminal defendants, especially those whose cooperation is vital to national security, in the future.

Under these circumstances, and in light of the eight years Mr. Pollard has already been incarcerated - much of that time in solitary confinement - I believe that justice would best be served by commuting his sentence to the time he has already served. I hope you will give this matter your most careful attention.

Jerrold L. Nadler
Member of Congress

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