Pollard to Appear in Court on Tuesday

Janine Zacharia - Jerusalem Post - August 29, 2003

WASHINGTON - Jonathan Pollard will travel from his North Carolina prison cell to the US District Court here on Tuesday, when a judge will consider whether to allow him to continue to challenge the life sentence imposed 16 years ago for spying for Israel. It will be the first time Pollard will be seen in public since his sentencing.

Attorneys for Pollard, who have obtained security clearance, are also seeking permission to view classified court documents from the time of the sentencing.

US District Judge Thomas Hogan ordered Pollard brought to Washington, but did not explain why. In August 2001, US District Court Judge Norma Holloway dismissed, on procedural grounds, a motion brought by Pollard's lawyers for resentencing.

Pollard's lawyers argued that Pollard was ineffectively represented by his attorney at the time of his sentencing, since he failed to object to the fact that the government was breaching its plea bargain agreement when it demanded a life sentence after it had promised not to do so. The attorney then failed to file the paperwork required to appeal Pollard's life sentence. But Judge Holloway dismissed the motion, saying that a statute of limitations for resentencing had expired.

Pollard's lawyers on Tuesday will ask for reconsideration of that ruling, or for permission to appeal it. It is a procedural hearing and will not ultimately determine whether Pollard should be resentenced.

Pollard, a former civilian US Navy analyst, admitted to giving classified information to Israel and was convicted of espionage. One hundred and twelve MKs recently signed a petition saying he should be released on humanitarian grounds.

Government lawyers won earlier rounds in Pollard's court fight to overturn the sentence and will argue that he should not be allowed to press the case further. Prosecutors also want to keep Pollard's new lawyers from seeing secret documents the government filed just before he was sentenced in 1987.

"The burden is on defendant Pollard to demonstrate a 'need to know' sufficient to warrant access to the classified materials in this case," prosecutors wrote in a court filing. "Defendant Pollard has offered no compelling reason for breaching the secrecy of the classified materials in this case."

His supporters claim the judge who sentenced Pollard relied in part on misleading information from the government.

Pollard pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors, but he later argued that the government double-crossed him. Prosecutors had promised not to seek a life prison term, which was the maximum he faced, his lawyers have said. Pollard was convicted of espionage for giving Israel top-secret documents.

Israel has acknowledged that Pollard was its agent, but repeatedly has asked the US to release him. Pollard received Israeli citizenship in 1996.

Pollard's case was reviewed by federal officials in 2000 but he was left off the list of those granted clemency just before president Bill Clinton left office. Israeli officials have continued to press for Pollard's release with the Bush administration.

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