Former Black Militant Alleges FBI Conspiracy
NEW YORK (AP) _ A former black militant who says an FBI conspiracy led to his 1968 conviction for planning to murder civil rights leaders appeared in court Thursday, vowing to continue fighting to clear his name.
″A wrong has been committed here that I don’t intend to let them get away with,″ 71-year-old Herman Ferguson said after a session before the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The federal government is appealing a U.S. district judge’s order requiring it to hand over confidential FBI documents that Ferguson says will show he was framed.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Froot conceded the source in this case no longer wants confidentiality and has even given media interviews. Edward Howlette, the undercover police detective who infiltrated Ferguson’s group in the 1960s, is now an attorney in the New York City area.
Froot said confidential FBI records must remain so permanently, partly to assure future sources that their identities will remain secret.
Circuit Judge Roger Miner said: ″Now I know the meaning of slavish adherence to the law.′
The appeals court was to make its decision later.
A follower of Malcolm X, Ferguson taught black liberation and founded a Queens gun club for blacks, licensed by the National Rifle Association.
A state court jury convicted him in 1968 of planning to kill Roy Wilkins, then the director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and Whitney Young, who headed the Urban League.
He was sentenced to 3 1/2 to 7 years in prison, but fled to Guyana while free on appeal. Ferguson was jailed in April 1989 when he returned to fight his conviction.
Since August, he has been in a work-release program that requires him to spend three nights a week in prison. He spends the rest of the week with his wife and teaching black studies at a Catholic school in Harlem. He’s eligible for parole in July.