House Subcommittee Completes Hearings On Judge Hastings
WASHINGTON (AP) _ A House subcommittee completed public hearings Thursday in the impeachment proceedings for U.S. District Judge Alcee L. Hastings of Miami, with a woman contradicting the testimony of Dade County Mayor Steve Clark.
Florreyn Joyette Royals, a staff member of the Metro Miami Action Plan, a civil rights organization, said Hastings did not talk to Clark after a breakfast social meeting on Sept.6, 1985, as the mayor had testified before the House Judiciary subcommittee on criminal justice.
Clark told the subcommittee on May 26 that after Hastings had made a speech at the breakfast, the judge stepped off the stage, shook the mayor’s hand and told him to stay away from Kevin ″Waxy″ Gordon, against whom Hastings had approved an FBI wiretap.
FBI agents testified last week that Hastings had compromised the wiretap and caused them to close down three major corrpution investigtions in the Miami area.
Miss Royals told the subcommittee that she was assigned to escort Hastings to the meeting and back to his car after he had spoken. She said Hastings had told her he needed to be in court by 10:30 a.m. and for her to see to it that he finished his speech and was on his way by 10:15 a.m.
″I started tugging at his coat at 10:15 a.m.,″ said Miss Royals, who said she was stooping behind the judge as he made his speech to the organization. ″After his speech, he left. He went back through the catering area and went and got his car. The only person he talked to was our executive director (Lanny Sumptner) who he shook hands with as he went out the front door of the hotel.
″If he had shaken hands with Mayor Clark he would have had to jump over the podium and would have dragged me with him, because I was tugging on his coattails,″ said Miss Royals.
Miss Royals and the Rev. Bryan O. Walsh, a Catholic priest in the Miami diocese, testified on behalf of Hastings as the judge’s only witnesses before the subcommittee closed its public hearings. Walsh said he talked briefly with Hastings and Clark together prior to the breakfast meeting.
Hastings declined to testify before the subcommittee.
He said he believed the subcommittee would exonerate him of the charges but that he is ″personally relieved and prepared to go forward if the articles of impeachment are approved against him.
″I am legally correct, morally correct and spiritually satisfied,″ said Hastings after the hearing.
Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., said he would leave the record open until next Friday so that the defense could submit any documents or statements it wished to make.
Conyers declined to say when the subcommittee would make a recommendation to the House Judiciary Committee on whether Hastings should be impeached. If Hastings is impeached by the House, the Senate will conduct a trial to determine whether he should be removed from office.
In addition to the charge that he compromised the three investigations by leaking the fact that the FBI had a wiretap, Hastings also is accused of conspiring with Washington lawyer William Borders to receive a bribe in exchange for modifying the sentences of two convicted racketeers.
Borders was convicted in 1982 of arranging a $150,000 bribe for Hastings, was sentenced to five years in prison and was fined $35,000. In a separate trial, Hastings was acquitted of the bribery conspiracy charges.