Letter: May 12, 2003 - Ashcroft Responds Belatedly to Rep. Barney Frank

Posted to Web: September 8, 2003

J4JP Prefacing Note:

This is the second of three letters between Congressman Barney Frank and Attorney General John Ashcroft. Congressman Barney Frank originally wrote to Attorney General John Ashcroft on August 12, 2002 requesting that he grant Jonathan Pollard's security-cleared attorneys access to the secret portions of Jonathan's sentencing docket. Nearly a year would go by before he received the response below from Ashcroft's office, completely side-stepping the issue. Frank issued a reply indicating his consternation with the response. There has been no further reply from to date. Links to the other letters are below.

U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Legislative Affairs

Office of the Acting Assistant Attorney General
Washington, D.C. 20530

May 12, 2003

The Honorable Barney Frank
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Congressman Frank:

This is in response to your letter to the Attorney General requesting that Jonathan Pollard's current counsel, Eliot Lauer and Jacques Semmelman, be given access to classified documents filed with the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in 1987 in connection with the sentencing of Mr. Pollard. I apologize for our delay in responding to your letter.

On November 29, 2000, counsel for Mr. Pollard filed a motion seeking access to these documents in order to represent him regarding "contemplated petitions for executive clemency and/or commutation of sentence." The United States opposed the motion on the grounds that counsel had made an insufficient showing of the need to these materials. On January 12, 2001, Chief Judge Norma Holloway Johnson denied the motion, finding that counsel had "not demonstrated a need to know' the contents of the classified materials." A motion by counsel for Mr. Pollard for reconsideration of the January 12, 2001 order was denied by Judge Johnson on August 7, 2001.

On August 16, 2001, counsel filed another motion for reconsideration. In May 2002, counsel filed a pleading seeking to add an additional argument to its August 16, 2001 motion. The court has not ruled on these matters, which remain pending. Accordingly, further comment by the Department would be inappropriate.

I hope that this information is helpful. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like assistance on any other matter.


Jamie E. Brown
Acting Assistant Attorney General

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