New Document Upates President, Refutes Shelby

Justice4JP Release - January 8, 2001

Pollard Attorneys Update White House and Refute Senator Shelby's False Allegations

In a recent letter to a senior White House official, Pollard attorneys Eliot Lauer and Jacques Semmelman update the executive by providing a status report on their client's 2255 motion to vacate his sentence, which was filed in US District Court for the District of Columbia on September 20, 2000.

The attorneys also refute false allegations about Jonathan Pollard reported by the press as having been made by Senator Shelby in a recent letter to the President, uging him to deny clemency to Pollard. A copy of the attorneys' letter follows.

Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle

101 Park Avenue
New York, New York 10178-0061

December 29, 2000


The Executive Office of the President
The White House
Washington, D.C.


The following information is offered in support of our request for clemency on behalf of our client, Jonathan J. Pollard.

On September 20, 2000, on behalf of Mr. Pollard, we filed a motion to vacate the sentence on the ground that Mr. Pollard was deprived of effective assistance of counsel prior to, during and immediately after the sentence. Mr. Pollard's declaration and our memorandum of law in support of the motion are available on the Pollard website

Of particular interest is the Government was asked by the United States District Court to provide a time to respond to Mr. Pollard's motion. After taking two weeks, the Government informed the Court it required 40 additional days as it needed to "consult with others who were involved in the original prosecution and defense of this matter."

Apparently, having consulted with the former prosecutor and defense counsel, the Government concluded that it does not have an answer to the merits of Mr. Pollard's motion. Accordingly, the Government's sole response was to argue that Mr. Pollard's motion was barred by the statute of limitations.

Yesterday, we filed with the Court our reply in further support of Mr. Pollard's motion and our response to the Government's statute of limitations position. We believe it is particularly significant that the Government, after consulting with those involved with the sentencing of Mr. Pollard, offers no response on the merits. In the midst of the statements and innuendo reported in the press with reference to Mr. Pollard, indeed, it is curious that the public is unaware of the significant fact that the United States Government offers no answer on the merits to Mr. Pollard's very substantial arguments. In brief, our motion documents that the sentence was the product of a fundamental breach by the United States Government of its plea agreement with Mr. Pollard, which breach was acquiesced in by counsel, who provided ineffective assistance that now is the subject of Mr. Pollard's motion.

A second facet of the Pollard case also may be significant to you and the public. As reported in the press, Senator Shelby of Alabama apparently has written the President opposing a pardon for Mr. Pollard on the grounds attributed to Senator Shelby that Mr. Pollard "endangered the lives of our intelligence officers." Senator Shelby's comment is similar to statements attributed to former Chief Prosecutor Joseph diGenova. For example, NBC's Tim Russert commented on Meet the Press in September that the former Chief Prosecutor had stated to him that Mr. Pollard had "given up the names of agents." When we heard this statement, we immediately wrote Mr. diGenova on September 19. In our letter, we advised Mr. diGenova that, having reviewed the voluminous files in the Pollard matter, we were aware of no evidence or statement by the Government that supported the statement that Mr. Pollard had "given up the names of agents" or, indeed, the similar statement attributed to Senator Shelby that Mr. Pollard had "endangered the lives of our intelligence officers."

Mr. diGenova candidly wrote back on September 20 and conceded that the statement attributed to him was not based in fact, but was a matter of his "professional opinion." As we noted in our reply to Mr. diGenova, even piling inference on inference, there is nothing in the Pollard record to support the statement that Mr. Pollard did anything to "endanger the lives of American intelligence officers or agents." In light of Mr. diGenova's candid concession that his views are based upon "opinion" and the fact that the public record contains no support for the charge, it would seem appropriate to ask Senator Shelby the basis for the statement attributed to him that Mr. Pollard "endangered the lives of our intelligence officers." As stated earlier, there is no support for this statement in the public record. And, if Senator Shelby were to suggest that the statement attributed to him is based on the 25 pages of sealed material, does that have the ring of authenticity? Surely, if that were the case, the prosecutor in the context of the voluminous and heated submissions prior to Mr. Pollard's sentence would have made this claim a focus of his presentation. That the record is devoid of this charge suggests that the charge is new or based on surmise and, certainly, not based on hard facts.

We would welcome the opportunity to provide you with any further information that you might require.

Very truly yours,

Eliot Lauer
Jacques Semmelman

  • See Also: The Court Case 2000 Page