Attorneys Demand N.J. Mayor Levin Retract and Apologize

J4JP Release - October 16, 2000

October 16, 2000

Mayor Susan Bass Levin
820 Mercer Street
Room 105
Cherry Hill, N.J. 08002

Re: Jonathan Pollard

Dear Mayor Levin:

We are attorneys for Jonathan Pollard.

We take strong issue with a statement attributed to you in the October 5, 2000 issue of the New Jersey Jewish News, in which you are quoted as saying that Mr. Pollard "was convicted of treason."

In fact, Mr. Pollard has never been charged with or convicted of treason. He was charged with, and pled guilty to, conspiracy to commit espionage. The distinction is significant. Treason entails aiding an enemy of the United States. Mr. Pollard was charged with, and pled guilty to, conspiracy to deliver classified information to the State of Israel, an ally of the United States. He has never aided any enemy of the United States.

The indictment filed against Mr. Pollard by the United States government does not charge him with treason, or with intending to harm the United States. Your reference to him as having been "convicted of treason" is totally unfounded.

You may be interested to know that NBC's Tim Russert recently made a similar error during the first Lazio-Clinton debate. After we wrote to him, he made an on-the-air correction on Meet the Press. (Meet the Press, Sept. 17, 2000)

Mr. Pollard's sentencing proceeding was infected with falsehood and distortion, as well as with other fundamental defects, for which we have recently sought redress in the United States District Court. Because fact and not fiction, and truth and not distortion, are essential to correcting the injustice to Mr. Pollard, your deviation from the truth is very troubling.

We demand that you issue a public apology and a retraction of the accusation that Mr. Pollard was "convicted of treason."

Very truly yours,

Jacques Semmelman

cc: Mr. David Twersky, Editor
New Jersey Jewish News