Pollard Plea

Seth Gitell - The Forward (NY) - September 24, 1999

Jonathan Pollard is asking Hillary Rodham Clinton for her help in getting him clemency. Pollard, convicted of spying on behalf of Israel, spoke to the Forward last week through the executive vice president of the National Council of Young Israel, Rabbi Pesach Lerner. Pollard is only permitted to telephone a limited number of approved phone numbers. Pollard provided answers to the Forward's questions via Rabbi Lerner who relayed them back to the Forward.

"Mrs. Clinton's position would be of significant concern to all New York State voters," Pollard said. "How she feels on things like the use of secret evidence and broken plea agreements and using a case like mine to inflict collective punishment on the entire Jewish community would be of concern to a lot of people," Pollard said. Pollard acknowledged wrongdoing. "I broke the law," Pollard said. He praised Rep. Robert Wexler, a Democrat from Florida, for speaking in favor of his clemency to the President.

Mr. Wexler likened Pollard's punishment to the Clinton impeachment, arguing that in both cases the punishments did not fit the crime. Said Pollard: "This is a very important question because during the attempted impeachment process all the President kept saying is 'show me the evidence, let me see the evidence that you have against me so I can mount a defense.' That is all I have asked for 15 years, and they have repeatedly turned me down."

Pollard also criticized Prime Minister Barak for not pressing his case. "Netanyahu has confirmed that there was a post-Wye agreement for my release, which was to occur parallel to the release of the Palestinian prisoners. Barak was informed of this linkage but when he came to Washington he detached my case. He told Clinton that this was not a concern of ours," Pollard said.

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