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Grand Jury Reportedly Seeks Letter To Priest About Charity Donations

March 18, 1985

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) _ A man who contends he was made to write an affidavit in defense of socialite Claus von Bulow appeared before a grand jury today, reportedly to be questioned about a letter von Bulow allegedly wrote to a priest.

David Marriott refused to disclose what transpired in court today, and state prosecutors have refused to say what allegations the grand jury was called to investigate.

The Boston Herald reported today that the grand jury has subpoenaed the letter von Bulow allegedly wrote to the Rev. Philip Magaldi on July 26, 1983, seeking advice about charitable donations of up to $1 million.

Von Bulow, 58, a Danish financier and socialite, was convicted three years ago of twice trying to kill his heiress wife, Martha ″Sunny″ von Bulow, with insulin injections. Last year, the Rhode Island Supreme Court overturned the conviction, and von Bulow is to stand trial again next month on attempted murder charges.

His wife, 53, remains in a coma that doctors say is irreversible.

Marriott, 26, of Wakefield, Mass., signed a defense affidavit for von Bulow during the appeal but now says von Bulow made him write it. Magaldi signed an affidavit corroborating Marriott’s statement, but he still stands behind that statement.

Marriott’s affidavit said he delivered drugs, needles and syringes to Mrs. von Bulow’s son, Prince Alexander von Auersperg, more than one year before her first coma in 1979. Magaldi, who had served as a counselor to Marriott, said Marriott had told him of the deliveries.

The Herald said the letter to the priest is typed on von Bulow’s letterhead and signed by him.

″I want to repeat my wish to consult with you in finding an acceptable charity for donating the royalties of my book,″ the Herald quotes von Bulow as writing. ″The total profits, including film rights, could be anything between $500,000 and $1,000,000.″

Von Bulow goes on to say that ″nothing will be published until all legal proceedings have been terminated,″ the newspaper said.

The letter closes with: ″I would appreciate your thoughts and will be guided by you,″ the newspaper said.

William Dimitri of Providence, Magaldi’s lawyer, told the Herald: ″I have no comment. I haven’t seen the letter. I have no knowledge of it.″

He said Magaldi had not been subpoenaed. ″I don’t know if he’s the subject of any investigation. He’s not guilty of any perjury,″ Dimitri said.

Von Bulow’s lawyer, Alan Dershowitz, did not return telephone calls to his office this morning. Suda Prohaska, a spokeswoman for the Rhode Island attorney general’s office, said, ″We will have no comments.″

Mrs. von Bulow slipped into a coma in 1979 at the family’s Newport mansion. She recovered but was found one year later in a coma from which doctors say she will never emerge.

The defense is expected to argue that she was self-destructive and anti- social and caused her own injuries by indulging in sweets, alcohol and drugs.

Marriott also contends he has tapes of conversations that incriminate von Bulow in unspecified crimes. He was interviewed by the CBS News program ″60 Minutes″ about the tapes, and a source close to the case said CBS has copies.

Prosecutors have subpoenaed Marriott and CBS for the tapes. Marriott has said he will invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. CBS is fighting the request in a New York court, where a decision is expected Friday.

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