Goode Denies Rejecting Use of Crane Instead of Bomb
PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ The special commission holding hearings on the MOVE tragedy may make public its interviews with a police bomb squad officer who has refused to testify, a federal judge ruled today.
Lt. Frank Powell, who dropped the bomb May 13 that started a fire which killed 11 people and burned 61 homes, on Wednesday invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and refused to testify before the commission.
The Philadelphia Special Investigation Commission, which is in its third week of hearings, is seeking to present five private interviews that Powell gave commission investigators before the hearings began.
U.S. District Judge James McGirr Kelly rejected a request from the Fraternal Order of Police, representing Powell and other officers subpoenaed to testify, to keep the interviews secret.
″The FOP is trying to prevent the people from knowing what happened,″ commission counsel William Lytton said after the hearing.
The judge ruled Wednesday that witnesses can cite the Fifth Amendment in refusing to appear before cameras and microphones, but that the constitution does not prevent them from being interviewed in private.
Lytton said the judge did not intend by that order ″to limit the ability of the commission to investigate and make public its investigation.″
A commission spokesman said Wednesday that Officer William Klein, who built the bomb, also has said he will invoke his Fifth Amendment rights. According to reports, Klein used a powerful military explosive without his superior’s knowledge, then failed to reveal the contents of the bomb for several months.
Also Wednesday, Mayor W. Wilson Goode denied rejecting plans to use an expensive crane instead of a bomb to knock off a fortified bunker from the radical cult’s row house headquarters.
Police Sgt. Albert Revel, testifying Wednesday before the commission, said Powell told him Goode opposed using a crane because it would cost $6,500.
″The statement is not true,″ Goode said in his first denial of testimony before the commission he appointed.
After Revel’s statements, Lytton said the commission had not heard of any rejection based on cost.
Police Commissioner Gregore Sambor and Goode testified last week that a crane was rejected because the plan would not work.
Revel said he learned of the plan last week from Powell as he prepared his testimony with an attorney hired by the FOP.
″He told me he took it (the plan) to the police commissioner on May 10, who then asked the mayor, and the commissioner told him the mayor wouldn’t OK the $6,500,″ Revel said.
Revel said he also found Powell’s story ″astounding″ because, as his part in preparing the tactical plan against MOVE, he had looked into using a crane and was advised that it was unworkable.
Goode’s denial came through a brief statement released through his office.
″If any such request had been made it would have been approved,″ he said.