Jury in Deaver perjury trial to study transcripts of 58 witnesses. GOVERNMENT ETHICS
Jury deliberations in the Michael Deaver perjury trial resume today after a weekend recesss. After meeting for six hours Friday, the jury of seven women and five men passed a note late Friday to United States district court Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson saying it could not proceed without a copy of the trial transcript of testimony by 58 witnesses in the 18-day trial. Judge Jackson excused them for the weekend and said the transcript would be available this morning.Skip to next paragraph
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Mr. Deaver, once a top aide to President Reagan, left the White House in 1985 to start a lucrative public relations business. Deaver is charged with five counts of lying to a congressional subcommittee and a federal grand jury about his contacts with former administration colleagues on behalf of his private clients.
He is being prosecuted by an independent counsel, or special prosecutor, appointed under federal ethics laws.
Deaver's lawyers say his misstatements were made without criminal intent. Rather, they assert, the questionable statements were caused by memory lapses attributable to Deaver's admitted alcoholism.
After Deaver resigned as the White House deputy chief of staff, several large corporations and foreign governments retained him as a lobbyist for six-figure fees.
If convicted of all five perjury counts, Deaver could be sentenced to a maximum of 25 years imprisonment and fined $34,000.
Two hours after they began deliberations on Friday, the jury asked for a transcript of Rear Adm. John Poindexter's testimony about a phone call he received from Deaver. The former national-security adviser, himself facing possible indictment for his actions in the Iran-contra affair, said Deaver was seeking help in arranging a meeting between President Reagan and a South Korean official on a trade matter.
The indictment charges Deaver with lying when he said he did nothing to help the Korean envoy, Kim Kihwan, get an appointment with the President. Mr. Kihwan met with Mr. Reagan, and Deaver later got a $475,000 contract to represent the Korean government.
Judge Jackson instructed jurors to ignore the claim that Deaver's failed memory resulted from alcoholism. ``There is simply no evidence in this case that defendant's testimony before the House of Representatives subcommittee or the grand jury was affected in any way by alcoholism or alcohol,'' he said.
At the beginning of the trial Jackson granted the defense permission to call expert witnesses to prove Deaver suffered from alcoholism.
Deaver's attorneys rested their defense without calling any witnesses, however. The only witnesses to address the alcoholism issue were three former employees of Deaver's lobbying firm. On cross-examination, they testified that once they learned that Deaver was a recovering alcoholic, they understood his memory lapses. Jackson deemed that testimony hearsay failing to prove Deaver suffered from the disorder.
In his closing argument, Whitney North Seymour Jr., the independent counsel, said Deaver engineered a ``deliberate plan of cover-up'' to bury evidence that he used his 20-year association with President and Mrs. Reagan to get business.
``If the world knew the way he was using his relationship with [the Reagans] to entice these clients .... it probably would have broken their hearts,'' he said.
In a folksy manner contrasting to Seymour's formal presentation, defense lawyer Miller said his client could have gone to the Reagans personally but did not invoke that privilege ``because of the type of man he is.''
Miller accused Seymour of ``overreaching'' in his prosecution and vindictively bringing perjury charges against Deaver after prosecution for ethics violations was frustrated for lack of substance.
Unlike most of the prosections's 52 witnesses, Deaver testified before the grand jury without benefit of documents to jog his memory, Miller said.
``How would you like to sort out the meetings you attended if you had attended 10,000 meetings?'' Miller asked. He also told the jurors Deaver was, ``sandbagged by general questions.''
Deaver is also accused of failing to remember lobbying on behalf of Trans World Airlines, Boeing Co., Rockwell International Inc., and the governments of Puerto Rico and Canada.