Clinton Petitioned On Pollard Review
Hadar Avraham - The Jewish Press (NY) - December 8, 2000
Congressman Anthony Weiner made a direct appeal late last month both to President Bill Clinton and to Wilma Lewis, United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, on behalf of Jonathan Jay Pollard, imprisoned for life on charges of spying for Israel.
Weiner based his petition on irregularities in Pollard's legal proceedings, citing the injustice of denying Pollard's new attorneys, Eliot Lauer and Jacques Semmelman, access to all the material relevant to the case.
While government officials stand firm on their decision to withhold certain documents which they claim would warrant a denial of clemency or commutation, Weiner maintained that "to continue to deny the request for access to material prohibits Mr. Pollard's attorneys from adequately addressing these claims," adding that "basic fairness requires that counsel have access to the materials on which the government relies."
Two days earlier, Weiner had co-signed a letter to Clinton with fellow congress members, Jerrold Nadler and Janice Schakowsky in which he raised the issue of a legal procedure overlooked by Pollard's then attorney.
This omission, asserted Weiner, "appears to have deprived (Pollard) of direct appellate review of the sentence, and doomed Mr. Pollard to an unreviewed sentence of life in prison."
On the basis of this action, which Weiner called a "simple and straightforward task," he requested a resentencing "so that the truth can finally be uncovered."
Weiner also referred to a motion for re-sentencing filed on September 20, based on serious government misconduct which passed undiscerned by Pollard's attorney at the time.
Lending his support to the ideas aired by Weiner, Nadler and Schakowsky, was Fernando Ferrer, borough president of the Bronx, who also wrote to Clinton expressing similar ideas.
"'I urge you to commute Mr. Pollard's sentence, and, at the very least, I urge that the government not oppose Mr. Pollard's application for a new sentencing hearing," wrote Ferrer to Clinton.