Brown’s Meeting with Chinese Probed
LITTLE ROCK (AP) _ FBI agents investigating Democratic Party fund-raiser Yah Lin ``Charlie″ Trie sought evidence that Commerce Secretary Ronald Brown met with a Chinese arms dealer the same day that the dealer attended a White House coffee with President Clinton, according to court documents unsealed today.
Trie faces federal charges in the campaign fund-raising probe. Agents searched his Little Rock home in October 1997 after obtaining a search warrant that alluded to a Feb. 6, 1996, meeting attended by Brown and Wang Jun just weeks before Brown’s death.
Trie, a central figure in the controversy over foreign-linked campaign donations to Democrats, arranged for Wang to attend a White House coffee with President Clinton the same day.
Wang’s company, Poly Technologies, has been implicated in smuggling of arms into the United States. He is identified as an adviser to the Chinese government in the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee’s report on its investigation into illegal campaign fund raising in the 1996 election.
Wang’s visit to the White House was previously reported and Clinton has said it was inappropriate. Previous reports, however, did not mention a meeting the same day between Brown and Wang.
Brown was a major player in Democratic politics. He was killed in April 1996 when the military transport he was aboard crashed into a mountainside in Croatia. Thirty-four others aboard the plane as part of a government trade mission also died.
The reference to a meeting between Brown and Wang adds a new twist to the investigation into fund-raising irregularities.
Trie, a longtime friend of Clinton and a former Little Rock restaurateur, is scheduled to go on trial May 17 on charges he made and arranged illegal contributions to the Democratic National Committee to buy access to Clinton and other top officials.
The indictment also claims Trie obstructed justice by ordering an employee to destroy documents subpoenaed in 1997 by a federal grand jury and by the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee.
Trie asked a judge to unseal the court file Thursday, claiming that an FBI agent mislead the court in an affidavit that prompted a judge to issue a warrant for a search of Trie’s local residence.
Trie’s lawyers said he had learned in late March or early this month that, contrary to FBI Agent Daniel J. Wehr’s affidavit, Wehr did not participate in an interview of Dia Maria Mapili.
The longtime employee of Trie told agents she was instructed by Trie in 1996 to get rid of fund-raising-related documents stored at his home and garage office.
Agents seized computers and accessories, records, books, business papers, photographs, mail and other documents in the search of Trie’s home, according to court papers that U.S. District Judge George Howard Jr. unsealed Friday.