LaRouche’s Videotaped Deposition Sought by Grand Jury, Attorney Says
WASHINGTON (AP) _ A federal grand jury investigating alleged fraud and conspiracy to obstruct justice by organizations of political extremist Lyndon LaRouche has subpoenaed a videotape and transcript of sworn testimony by LaRouche, an attorney said Monday.
The deposition, in which LaRouche was believed to have been questioned about his knowledge of alleged illegal activities, was conducted last month in connection with a series of civil suits involving LaRouche’s 1984 presidential campaign committees and a Newark, N.J., bank.
The records of the deposition had been scheduled for destruction under terms of an out-of-court settlement reached in those suits, said Albert Besser, attorney for First Fidelity bank.
The out-of-court settlement was reached in negotiations that began after LaRouche underwent a day of questioning under oath in a closed federal courtroom here.
Besser said he received a subpoena for the deposition issued by the U.S. attorney in Boston on behalf of the grand jury, and said the evidence has not been destroyed.
Robert Mueller, U.S. attorney in Boston, said, ″I can neither confirm nor deny that.″
Besser said he had asked for a hearing before a federal judge in Newark to get a decision on whether the grand jury should get the testimony.
Federal investigators have made clear they were interested in seeing LaRouche’s answers.
Although neither side has discussed the deposition, LaRouche is thought to have been questioned about any knowledge or involvement in allegations of fraud by his fund-raisers. These allegations were spelled out in a 117-count federal indictment Oct. 6.
Ten LaRouche followers and five of his campaign committees and corporations were charged with wire fraud and conspiracy to obstruct justice. The indictment alleges that $1 million in authorized credit card charges was obtained from more 1,000 people nationwide.
First Fidelity was the bank in which LaRouche’s campaign committees deposited its credit card charges obtained from individuals. The bank seized $200,000 in LaRouche’s campaign deposits in late 1984 when a large number of charges were returned as unauthorized by the card holders.
The LaRouche committee sued the bank for breach of contract and the bank filed a series of countersuits charging fraud, racketeering and defamation.
The settlement agreement has not yet been filed in court. In it, both sides agree to make no further accusations about the other for four years. The bank is to keep the money it seized and LaRouche’s organization is to pay the cost of the depositions, about $5,000.