TERRY REED DISMISSES MENA LAWSUIT
Return-Path: firstname.lastname@example.org Date: Tue, 4 Jun 1996 11:51:15 -0700 (MST) X-Sender: email@example.com To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: Free Speech <email@example.com> Subject: [FreeSpeech-NewsWire] "TERRY REED DISMISSES MENA LAWSUIT" SPECIAL TO THE TRIBUNE-REVIEW Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted by Matt Williams on June 04, 1996 at 11:28:46:
"TERRY REED DISMISSES MENA LAWSUIT" By Doris O'Donnell SPECIAL TO THE TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Terry and Janis Reed won't get a chance to tell a federal judge their tale of guns, drugs and money laundering at a tiny airport in Mena, Ark., during the early 1980s when Bill Clinton was that state's governor.
Their civil lawsuit against two former Arkansas state troopers has been dismissed, mainly because a federal judge refused to allow evidence of alleged illegal drug smuggling and gun running during the Clinton era that the jurist said "was based on conjecture, speculation and coincidence" and not on "a factual foundation."
U.S. District Judge George Howard Jr. of Arkansas ruled earlier that the Reeds could not introduce any evidence in their civil suit relating to Terry Reed's missions with the FBI, the CIA, former Gov. Bill Clinton, the late international drug dealer Barry Seal or Dan Lasater, a Clinton associate convicted on drug charges. It was that ruling that prompted the Reeds' attorneys to file a motion for dismissal of the case last week. "Judge Howard totally shut down our case," said Janis Reed from her home in North Kansas City, Mo., yesterday. "Terry has been working on a film in Mexico, and I am not prepared to go into court and lose after five years of trying to get this case heard. ... We cannot walk into court without evidence."
The trial had been scheduled to begin yesterday. Reed and his wife filed the civil rights suit in 1991 against former Arkansas state trooper and Clinton bodyguard Raymond "Buddy" Young and Tommy L. Baker, a former trooper who is now a private investigator.
The suit claimed the two ex-troopers concocted a felony charge against Reed regarding a stolen aircraft as part of a larger conspiracy to punish Reed for refusing to cooperate with an alleged drug smuggling operation at Mena. Reed met Young when Young was chief security trooper for the then-Gov. Clinton.
Reed, 47, a decorated veteran who served eight years in Vietnam, stated in court depositions he was recruited by Oliver North in 1982 - when North was at the White House - to raise money and secure airplanes for the Nicaraguan Contras. Eventually, Reed trained Nicaraguan pilots at a rural airstrip at Nella, Ark.
Later, as a CIA "asset," Reed set up a warehouse in Guadalajara, Mexico, as a CIA mission for transshipment of guns to the Freedom Fighters. Reed became alienated from his CIA handlers when he found the CIA was transporting large amounts of cocaine to the United States through his warehouse.
Reed detailed his odyssey in a book titled, "Compromised," which has become a best seller. The case was originally scheduled to be heard before Howard Jan. 16 when the judge postponed it. On March 8, 1996, Howard denied Reed's motion to include references and witnesses to the Mena operation. Reed and his New York counsel, Robert S. Meloni and Michael Dowd, presented the court with a list of approximately 100 witnesses.
After Howard's ruling, Reed said, "The legs have been cut from under our case."
``Devastation does not come close to describing our feelings,'' Terry Reed said in a three-page statement from Little Rock late Monday. ``After years of dragging this case through the federal civil system, Judge Howard has manipulated us into the following legal posture: We can go to court but we cannot put on critical evidence ... This will be interpreted by the Clinton spin doctors as a victory. There will be no mention of the fact our hands were tied and our mouths were gagged and the so-called trial was a travesty of justice.''
``All along, Reed said, we (knew) and Judge Howard knew this case was not only about violation of our civil rights, but carried with it the burden of re-educating the court, the jury and the American people about a painful period known in the annals of history as Iran-Contra.''
Reed said he and his legal team penetrated the layers of government disinformation about the Reagan administration's efforts to aid the Contras by training them in Arkansas. ``The executive branch's by-passing of Congressional restraints designed to prohibit or restrict military aid to the Contras through the law known as the Boland Amendment was in great part carried out on Arkansas soil with the full knowledge and complicity of our now-sitting president, Bill Clinton,'' Reed said.
Reed claims Howard in the past ``condoned'' our efforts and then, for unexplained reasons, `` decided to protect these scoundrels (Baker and Young) ... In recent months, Judge Howard has gutted our lawsuit and in the process has exposed the strings to which he is attached - strings that are obviously being pulled from Washington, and more significantly, from the White House.''
Young, regional director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, based in Denton, Texas, said, ``I think Reed did what he had to do ... dismiss the case. He claimed we violated his Constitutional rights ... but you could hardly read the charges. They were frivolous. It was a fairy tale. The lawsuit was only to promote his book.''
Young, who was appointed to his FEMA post by Clinton, said he was represented by the Arkansas state attorney. He said the lawsuit hurt Baker's investigative business and also cost him more than $50,000. ``There never was a case. It was a lot of mumble-jumble,'' Young added.
Last Friday, Meloni moved for a voluntary dismissal of the case. The judge granted the dismissal "with prejudice," which means the Reeds cannot refile. Once before, they has asked for a dismissal and then re-instated the case.
Meloni said the "plaintiffs have suffered and carried an enormous burden for over eight years, having lived through the experience of being criminal defendants, and winning a hard-fought acquittal in that case, and then prosecuting a civil rights lawsuit in this court since July 1991.''
In his motion, Meloni claimed the judge's ruling excluded vast portions of the Reeds' case and meant that the court had, in effect, "guaranteed that the plaintiffs, whether or not they win at trial, would not have their story told or the case that they pleaded, tried before a jury. He added: "The plaintiffs were fully prepared to try this case - the full case - at the last scheduled trial date set for Jan. 16, 1996. For reasons that were never adequately explained, this court abruptly canceled that trial date and adjourned it six months to June 3, 1996."
In June 1988, the Reeds were indicted in Kansas on mail fraud charges, stemming from statements by Young and Baker that they had stolen their own airplane and collected insurance money on the plane. The charge against Janis Reed was dropped and Reed was later acquitted.
At the time, Reed claimed he had put his plane in for repairs and never saw it again. During that period, Ollie North was asking airplane owners to "donate" aircraft to the Freedom Fighters. Baker claimed he found Reed's plane in either September or October of 1987 at a North Little Rock airport. Baker and Young claimed they were doing "reasonable police work" when they found the plane.
Ronny Baker, now a private investigator in Little Rock, said: ``They (the Reeds) just didn't have a case. We never knew of any Contra training at Nella or Mena when I was in the state police. And no one sent me to find that plane of Reed's. It was an accident that I stumbled on to it. And I was retired at the time.''
Reed charged they "manufactured" evidence to retaliate against him for checking out of the CIA gun-drugs operation. "We've got five years in on this case," said Mrs. Reed, the mother of three sons. "This dismissal is on the lawyers' terms, not ours. Terry wanted to ask for an emergency stay. He drove to Little Rock this morning from home to talk to the judge."
Howard recently presided over the three-month criminal case against Whitewater partners James and Susan McDougal and Arkansas Gov. Jim Guy Tucker, who were convicted of various charges of benefiting illegally from nearly $3 million in federally backed loans. David Hale was the federal prosecutor's chief witness against the trio. Hale pleaded guilty in 1993 to defrauding the Small Business Administration and was sentenced to 28 months in prison and ordered to make $2.04 million in restitution.
The McDougals were partners with Bill and Hillary Clinton in Whitewater land development from 1978 to 1992.
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