Pollard Attorneys Respond to DiGenova's Lies in Washington Times
Justice4JPnews - January 15, 2011
J4JP Introduction: Jonathan Pollard's attorneys, Eliot Lauer and Jacques Semmelman submitted the following op-ed to the Washington Times in response to incendiary lies published by the paper and attributed to Joseph DiGenova, the former U.S. Attorney who prosecuted Mr. Pollard.
Although the essay below is consistent with the number of words and other limitations that The Washington Times sets for a right of reply response, the newspaper-apparently in keeping with its own egregious editorial position on the Pollard case - pared the essay down with wanton abandon. The truncated version, eviscerated by the Washington Times, follows the original below.
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Pollard Attorneys Respond to DiGenova's Lies in Washington Times
As pro bono attorneys for Jonathan Pollard since 2000, we never cease to be amazed at how those who are hostile to Mr. Pollard feel compelled to make up facts. Evidently these adversaries recognize that the real facts are not sufficient to justify keeping Mr. Pollard in prison any longer, as he has already served more than 25 years for delivering classified information to the State of Israel.
The most recent manifestation of this phenomenon appears in an article in the Washington Times titled "Netanyahu Seeks Pardon for Imprisoned Spy Pollard" (Wash. Times Jan. 4, 2011). In the article, Joseph DiGenova, the former U.S. Attorney who prosecuted Mr. Pollard, makes a series of false and inflammatory allegations that are directly contradicted by the public court record. Since Mr. DiGenova would be committing a crime were he to reveal anything contained in the non-public, classified portion of the court record, it is fair to presume that he is not doing so. Since his assertions are nowhere to be found in the public court record, the only possible conclusion is that his allegations are false.
For example, Mr. DiGenova now claims that Mr. Pollard was given more than $500,000 per year for his services to the State of Israel. But this allegation is nowhere to be found in the court documents filed by Mr. DiGenova in 1986 -1987, while the case was ongoing. Indeed, the sentencing judge did not even impose a fine on Mr. Pollard. Twenty-five years after the fact, Mr. DiGenova has now invented this extravagant claim, evidently for the purpose of trying to halt the powerful wave of support for Mr. Pollard's release.
Mr. DiGenova's insistence that Mr. Pollard be denied clemency after 25 years is also inconsistent with the fact that in 1986, after conducting an extremely thorough six-month investigation, Mr. DiGenova, as U.S. Attorney, signed a plea agreement with Mr. Pollard in which the U.S. Government (represented by Mr. DiGenova) agreed not to ask the sentencing judge to impose the maximum sentence of life in prison. Mr. DiGenova cannot point to a single fact that he knows now but did not know at the time he signed that plea agreement.
Mr. DiGenova's statement to the Washington Times is also incompatible with the Victim Impact Statement submitted by Mr. DiGenova to the sentencing judge in 1987. While Mr. DiGenova's statement to the Washington Times alleges that it cost the U.S. Government between $3 and $5 billion to repair the damage, the Victim Impact Statement - the court document in which the victim of a crime (in this case, the United States itself) submits a description of the damage it has suffered to the sentencing judge - makes no such reference, but instead describes the actual damage to the U.S. as follows:
"Mr. Pollard's unauthorized disclosures have threatened the U.S. [sic] relations with numerous Middle East Arab allies, many of whom question the extent to which Mr. Pollard's disclosures of classified information have skewed the balance of power in the Middle East. Moreover, because Mr. Pollard provided the Israelis virtually any classified document requested by Mr. Pollard's coconspirators, the U.S. has been deprived of the quid pro quo routinely received during authorized and official intelligence exchanges with Israel, and Israel has received information classified at a level far in excess of that ever contemplated by the National Security Council. The obvious result of Mr. Pollard's largesse is that U.S. bargaining leverage with the Israeli government in any further intelligence exchanges has been undermined. In short, Mr. Pollard's activities have adversely affected U.S. relations with both its Middle East Arab allies and the government of Israel."
These are Mr. DiGenova's words. The Victim Impact Statement says nothing about billions of dollars in damage, which - if true - would surely have constituted harm and impact to the victim. The Victim Impact Statement reflects - at worst - short-term friction between the U.S. and unnamed Arab countries, and temporary reduction in bargaining leverage by the U.S., rather than the severe monetary damage now described by Mr. DiGenova.
Mr. DiGenova is not the only person who has knowledge of Mr. Pollard's case. A distinguished and growing roster of former high-ranking U.S. Government officials with extensive knowledge of the case have come forward and have called for Mr. Pollard's release. These include former Attorney General Michael Mukasey; former Senator Dennis DeConcini, who served as head of the Senate Intelligence Committee; former CIA Director James Woolsey; and Lawrence Korb, who served as Assistant Secretary of Defense under Caspar Weinberger at the time of the case. Mr. Korb was instrumental in convincing Mr. Netanyahu to request clemency for Mr. Pollard. It was Secretary of Defense Weinberger who had demanded in 1987 that the sentencing judge impose a life sentence. Decades later, in an interview with prominent journalist Edwin Black, Mr. Weinberger described the case as "a very minor matter, but made very important. . . . It was made far bigger than its actual importance." Those words cannot be reconciled with Mr. DiGenova's inflammatory statements to the Washington Times.
In the face of this groundswell of support for a belated measure of justice for Mr. Pollard, Mr. DiGenova apparently feels he needs to make his opposing view heard. Mr. DiGenova is entitled to his opinion. But he is not entitled to invent facts in order to support it. That he has felt a need to do so, only underscores that the actual facts can no longer justify keeping Jonathan Pollard in jail after more than a quarter century behind bars.
The eviscerated version published by The Washington Times:
Obscuring facts in Pollard case
The Washington Times - Friday, January 14, 2011
As pro bono attorneys for Jonathan Pollard, we never cease to be amazed at how those hostile to Pollard feel compelled to invent facts. Evidently, these adversaries recognize that the actual facts are not sufficient to justify keepingPollard in prison any longer. Most recently, in the Jan. 5 issue of The Washington Times, Joseph DiGenova, the U.S. attorney who prosecuted Pollard, made false and inflammatory allegations inconsistent with, and in some respects directly contradicted by, the public court record ("Netanyahu seeks pardon for Pollard," Page 1).
For example, Mr. DiGenova claims that Pollard received about $500,000 per year from Israel. However, this allegation is nowhere to be found in the court documents signed and publicly filed by Mr. DiGenova while the case was ongoing. Indeed, the sentencing judge did not even impose a fine on Pollard. Twenty-five years after the fact, Mr. DiGenova seems to have invented this claim for the purpose of trying to impede the powerful wave of support for Pollard's release.
Mr. DiGenova's insistence that Pollard remain in prison for life is likewise inconsistent with the fact that in 1986, after conducting an extremely thorough six-month investigation, Mr. DiGenova signed a plea agreement in which he agreed not to ask the sentencing judge to impose the maximum sentence of life in prison.
Mr. DiGenova is not the only person with knowledge of Pollard's case. A growing roster of distinguished former government officials have called for his release. These include George Shultz, who served as secretary of state at the time of the case; former Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey; former Sen. Dennis DeConcini; former CIA Director James Woolsey; and Lawrence J. Korb, who served as assistant secretary of defense under Caspar Weinberger at the time of the case. In 1987, Weinberger demanded that the judge impose a life sentence. Years later, however, he described the case as "a very minor matter, but made very important. ... It was made far bigger than its actual importance."
In the face of growing support for Pollard's release, Mr. DiGenova apparently feels the need to make his opposing views heard. He is entitled to his opinion, but not to invent facts. That he feels a need to do so underscores that the actual facts can no longer justify keeping Jonathan Pollard behind bars.
Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle, LLP
View original article.
View the January 5th article to which the attorneys are responding :