Cards Look Good for Pollard
January 28, 2000 - ABC News - Eric Wagner
WASHINGTON - It looks like Jonathan Pollard,
convicted more than 15 years ago of spying for Israel, may ask a federal
court to re-examine his case in the coming months, hoping perhaps to
capitalize on a rare confluence of New York politics and Middle East
Yes, a succession of Israeli prime ministers and American Jewish groups
have pleaded with the White House for years to reduce Pollard's
sentence or pardon him altogether. President Clinton rejected these
appeals twice, but more than a year ago agreed to review Pollard's case.
Although the relevant agencies submitted their (reportedly negative)
recommendations almost a year ago, the White House has so far refused
to announce the result of the "review". Which suggests to some that
Pollard's fate may be linked to an overall Middle East peace
agreement, perhaps an American gesture to sweeten the peace deal for the
And in New York, Senate candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton has found that
both her likely opponent and most New York City Democrats favor an
early release for Pollard.
Enter Larry Dub. By way of a series of successful Israeli High Court
decisions for his client, Pollard's main lawyer has forced Israel to
admit that Pollard was an agent in its employ (rather than a 'rogue'
operator); to grant Pollard citizenship; and to legally pledge to help
Pollard get out of prison.
Pollard refuses to be interviewed by ABCNEWS, but sources say
and documents recently released on his Web site appear to
indicate that he will argue that his original lawyers and his sentencing
judge made substantive and procedural errors in his case.
Pollard's original lawyer apparently missed a deadline to file an
appeal of his sentence, and the sentencing judge ignored the plea
agreement that Pollard struck with federal prosecutors.
Pollard's lawyers seem to believe that a federal judge reviewing a
request to reopen the case would seek comment from the other party to
the case - the U.S. government.
That could, in turn, force the Justice Department to signal its support,
opposition or ambivalence about the matter. Either way, the
administration, which has held the Pollard card for some time, would be
forced to show its hand. Mrs. Clinton could be asked what she thinks
about reopening the case.
With a peace deal among Israel, Syria, and the Palestinians within
reach, with a tight Senate election race in New York, and with a
president in his final year in office, Pollard may find the planets
better aligned than they have been in years.
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