BACKGROUND: The LaRouche Case, the Fraudulent Prosecution of Lyndon LaRouche

May 14, 2019
Lyndon LaRouche from his prison cell.

This article is part of LaRouchePAC's pamphlet, 'Restoring the Soul of America: The Exoneration of Lyndon LaRouche.'

by Barbara Boyd

As the accompanying letter by former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark summarizes, Lyndon LaRouche was the victim of a politically motivated, gross miscarriage of justice that involved:

  • the abuse of counter-intelligence procedures to initiate a politically motivated counter-intelligence investigation of a Presidential candidate, including collaboration between U.S. and British intelligence organizations;
  • the laundering of the fruits of that illegal counter-intelligence investigation into a criminal investigation and subsequent criminal prosecution of LaRouche;
  • coordination between government officials and select news organizations in orchestrating a public defamation campaign against LaRouche through leaks and planting false stories in the national news media;
  • coordination between government officials and political opponents of LaRouche to influence the outcome of elections; and
  • misconduct by government officials, including withholding evidence, misleading the federal courts, illegal wiretaps, suborning perjury, unlawful searches and seizures, witness tampering, and other violations of the rules governing criminal proceedings.

FBI agents in Leesburg, VA, the site of the raid of LaRouche and his associate's headquarters.

The prosecution of LaRouche was supervised, in part, by Robert Mueller from his positions in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston, Massachusetts and at Main Justice. In that role, Mueller was actively involved in the abuses indicated above.

While LaRouche had been the target of illegal politically motivated counter-intelligence operations from at least the time of J. Edgar Hoover’s COINTELPRO operation, the events that ultimately led to his prosecution began with an August 27, 1982 letter from the British government to the FBI urging a federal investigation of LaRouche. At that time, LaRouche was a two-time candidate for President of the United States and had announced his intention to run for a third time in 1984.

These campaigns had catapulted LaRouche into political prominence in the United States and internationally, but what had drawn the ire of both the British and Soviet governments was LaRouche’s public role as a promoter of what later became known as the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) and as a private interlocutor to President Ronald Reagan and his staff on matters of national security and economics related to the SDI. Officials within the intelligence community who were opposed to President Reagan and favorable to the British initiated a counter-intelligence investigation. Richard Morris, at that time an assistant to National Security Council Advisor William Clark, testified to this effect in one of LaRouche’s criminal trials.

It was under the rubric of that investigation that the abuses cited above occurred. Central to the implementation of what became known as the “Get LaRouche Task Force” was a coordinated effort among government agencies, private political opponents of LaRouche, and the news media. This was organized in at least three meetings in early 1983 at the home of John Train, a New York investment banker active in U.S. and British intelligence circles. Among the attendees at the meetings were officials from the FBI, CIA, Wall Street Journal, NBC News, and other news organizations. The meetings held at Train’s home led to an unprecedented national and international defamation campaign against LaRouche comprised of thousands of news articles and broadcast reports. This defamation campaign escalated substantially after two LaRouche candidates, running for Lt. Governor and Secretary of State, won the March 1986 Democratic primary in Illinois.

The “Get LaRouche Task Force” unleashed a barrage of defamatory news stories and in October 1986 conducted a raid on LaRouche’s headquarters in Leesburg, Virginia. The raid was shocking in its intensity, consisting of over 400 armed law enforcement personnel with tanks, helicopters, and fixed-wing aircraft. An armed raid on the home of LaRouche, which was intended to provoke a violent confrontation and the murder of LaRouche, was called off after the intervention of President Reagan.

In April 1987, the federal government initiated an unprecedented involuntary bankruptcy proceeding against three companies associated with LaRouche. All of the entities had taken political loans from supporters, loans which the FBI claimed were fraudulent. However, few lenders interviewed or coached by the FBI to claim fraud in 1986 and 1987 did the FBI’s bidding. Instead, they said they would ultimately be repaid. But the government-initiated bankruptcy shut the doors of the companies, preventing any future repayment. On the same day as the bankruptcy, the FBI began to interview lenders nationwide about their loans, which could now not be repaid, looking again for those who might now claim they had been defrauded. After LaRouche’s 1989 conviction, federal bankruptcy judge Martin Bostetter ruled that the government’s 1987 bankruptcy action was illegal and the result of government misconduct and fraud.

Charges were first brought against LaRouche in Boston, Massachusetts in July 1987 with a trial commencing later that year. In the spring of 1988, that trial ended in a mistrial after evidence of government misconduct surfaced. After the mistrial, the jury was polled by the Boston Herald and the jury foreman told the media that the jury took a poll and that at this point in the case, following the presentation of all of the government’s charges of fraud, but before the defense had even made its case, the jurors would have voted not guilty.

New charges were brought against LaRouche on October 14, 1988. LaRouche and six co-defendants were charged with mail fraud and conspiracy to commit mail fraud, based on political loans made to political publishers associated with the LaRouche movement. LaRouche was also charged with a Klein conspiracy concerning his income taxes: The government claimed that he had prevented them from figuring out the taxes owed.

Chief Judge Albert V. Bryan, Jr., scheduled trial for November 21, 1988, only five weeks after the indictment was returned. Judge Bryan, who had previously signed the unprecedented bankruptcy order which prevented the repayment of the loans at issue in the trial, ordered that the defense could not reference the bankruptcy at the trial. Less than one month later, all the defendants were convicted. Bryan sentenced LaRouche to fifteen years in prison. Recognizing the sheer impossibility of mounting a competent defense in this rush to judgment, more than a thousand U.S. lawyers, joined by prominent international jurists, filed an amicus brief in the Fourth Circuit appeal of the Alexandria convictions. After serving five years in prison, from 1989–1994, LaRouche was paroled, after thousands of elected officials and political leaders from the U.S. and abroad, military leaders, lawyers, artists, and other prominent individuals called for his exoneration. His conditions of parole continued until March 2000.

LaRouche on His Prosecution

In a February 15, 2000 article titled “He’s a Bad Guy, But We Can’t Say Why,” LaRouche himself wrote about his targeting:

"As of August 19, 1982, the date of Kissinger’s letter to FBI Director Webster, there were five publicly well known issues behind Kissinger’s personal motives for targeting of me for Justice Department dirty operations. All five were both political in nature, and involved my associates’ ongoing journalistic investigations into matters of notable public interest, respecting corrupt activities in which Kissinger was personally involved.
"First, was the continuing political controversy between Kissinger and me over the issue of urgent reforms in the post-1971 international monetary system.…

"Second, was my launching of a public campaign, in February 1982, to overturn Kissinger’s arms-control policies. This attack on existing, Kissingerian arms-control policies, reflected my ongoing back-channel discussions with the Soviet Government, discussions which led to the March 23, 1983 announcement of a Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) proposal to the Soviet government, by President Ronald Reagan.…
"Third, was our published attention to the contents of a public address which Kissinger himself had delivered to a London Chatham House audience on May 10, 1982, in which Kissinger bragged that he had worked behind the back of his President, under British direction, during the period he served as U.S. Secretary of State and National Security Advisor.…
"The fourth issue was our news organization’s investigation of information indicating Kissinger’s personal involvement, with Israel’s Ariel Sharon and others, in a disgusting “West Bank land-scam” operation…
"The fifth issue was my authorship of a special report, Operation Juárez, published just a short time before Kissinger’s now-notorious “Dear Bill” letter to FBI Director [william] Webster. Operation Juárez set forth a proposed U.S. policy for dealing with what I had foreseen, since Spring 1982, as an impending Mexico debt-crisis, to be expected no later than September 1982. The crisis exploded mere days following the initial publication of that report. During the period immediately following, Kissinger was heavily deployed into Mexico, with U.S. government backing, in the effort to prevent Mexico’s government of President López Portillo from continuing to respond to the crisis in the manner outlined in Operation Juárez."

In a later account, published by his 2004 Presidential campaign, “ ‘Convict Him or Kill Him!’ The Night They Came to Kill Me,” LaRouche, focused on his

“opposition to Schachtian economics, to utopian military madness, and to the past four decades’ cultural-paradigm down-shift of the economy, mind, and morals of our nation”
as the interrelated reasons for his targeting. He particularly focused on his proposal for the Strategic Defense Initiative as a triggering event, noting that the decision to go after him was made no later than President Reagan’s March 23, 1983 address adopting LaRouche’s SDI proposal. In his words, he had become “too capable a political force of opposition to their schemes to be allowed to live.”



Ramsey Clark Letter to Attorney General Janet Reno

April 26, 1995

The Honorable Janet Reno
Attorney General of the United States
Department of Justice
10th and Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20530

Re: U.S. v. Lyndon LaRouche, Jr. et al.

Dear Attorney General Reno,

I have been an attorney in this case since shortly after the defendants were sentenced in January 1990 and appeared as co-counsel on appeal and on the subsequent motions and appeals in proceedings under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 and F.R.Cr.P. Rule 33. I bring this matter to you directly, because I believe it involves a broader range of deliberate and systematic misconduct and abuse of power over a longer period of time in an effort to destroy a political movement and leader, than any other federal prosecution in my time or to my knowledge. Three courts have now condemned the Department’s conduct in this prosecutorial campaign. The result has been a tragic miscarriage of justice which at this time can only be corrected by an objective review and courageous action by the Department of Justice.

As you may recall, in August 1993, co-counsel and I requested a review of the issues presented by the case and the withdrawal or amendment of the Department’s 792 submissions to the parole commission. Both requests were rejected at that time by Laurence A. Urgenson, Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General, who noted that the matter was then pending before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals and any executive review should not interfere with judicial review.

The appeal has been denied and no further judicial action is pending or contemplated. All of the actions for which we seek review took place under prior administrations, and Mr. LaRouche and his co-defendants are either on parole or have completed their sentences. But a complete review remains vital, because of the gravity of the violations, the precedential effect they have on future Department conduct if they are not addressed, the price of the appearance of this injustice and the fact that other defendants prosecuted by the State of Virginia as part of joint federal-state task force efforts are imprisoned and serving draconian sentences from which they have little hope of release unless the overreaching multi-government miscarriage of justice is recognized.

Because of its resonance with the decade long vendetta against him, I am also concerned by recent events which may threaten action by the Parole Commission that could jeopardize Mr. LaRouche’s parole.

The investigation which ultimately led to the indictments against LaRouche, et al. was made public in late October 1984, when U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts William Weld held a press conference to announce its commencement based on allegations aired by the NBC TV station in Boston. In fact, federal harassment and investigation had preceded this public surfacing for years.

On October 6, 1986 indictments were returned Boston against key members of Mr. LaRouche’s political party. Simultaneously a massive two-day search involving over 400 law enforcement officers was conducted at the Virginia offices of several businesses associated with the political movement and 2 million documents were seized. The investigation continued and Mr. LaRouche himself was finally indicted in a second superseding indictment returned in Boston during July of 1987 and on May 4, 1988 a mistrial was declared. During the period William Weld was Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Criminal Division where he supervised the Department’s pursuit of Lyndon LaRouche.

After the Boston mistrial, in a ruling on a motion regarding prosecutorial misconduct, the trial Judge, Robert Keeton, made the first judicial finding of outrageous government wrongdoing. Although he denied the relief sought, he found “systemic and institutional prosecutorial misconduct.” In a separate post trial matter, Judge Keeton found that the F.B.I. case agent Richard Egan had improperly destroyed documents “in plain violation” of representations to the parties and the court.

Despite the fact that a retrial in Boston was scheduled for January 3, 1989, the Department of Justice decided to seek a more favorable forum and legal theory and rushed through an indictment in the Eastern District of Virginia on October 14, 1988. Five weeks later trial commenced in the Alexandria “rocket docket” on November 21, 1988. Four weeks later all defendants including Mr. LaRouche were convicted. The appeal was denied by the Fourth Circuit.

Collateral relief was denied by the trial court and on appeal by the Fourth Circuit. During the Boston federal grand jury investigation, the government sought contempt sanctions against certain companies associated with the political movement. The resulting sanctions, exceeding 20 million dollars, were the basis on which the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia filed an unprecedented and unlawful petition in bankruptcy against the companies sanctioned in 1987. The Department did not intend to recover money. It wanted to silence voices and destroy a movement. The government, ex parte, sought and received an order effectively closing the doors of these publishing businesses, all of which were involved in First Amendment activities, effectively preventing the further repayment of their debts. A handful of these very debts were the basis of all the new federal charges in Virginia. The bankruptcy court made it impossible to repay the handful of creditors who might complain to the government. When the bankruptcy court finally ruled on the petition in 1989, after the convictions in Alexandria, it dismissed the case. The court found the government to have engaged in “objective bad faith” and a “constructive fraud upon the court” in filing the involuntary proceeding. The publisher’s doors never reopened.

The government thereby created a pool of lenders who could not be repaid by the debtors as a matter of law, and from this pool a handful were then presented as victims at trial and were asked whether they had been paid. This stratagem was necessitated by the prosecution’s recognition that evidence of ongoing repayments would jeopardize their case. Payments were made up to the bankruptcy date, but were impossible thereafter, clearly intended to advance the criminal prosecution, as was later demonstrated by documents released under FOIA and statements made by AUSA John Markham.

On February 18, 1995, the third and most pointed judicial finding of prosecutorial misconduct was made by a New York Supreme Court Judge in a ruling on Brady and Rosario violations which occurred during a related prosecution. After “a hearing to inquire into the relationship and extent of cooperation between the federal prosecutor in Virginia and the New York prosecutors…,” the court ordered a new trial, holding that:

All of the foregoing circumstances suggest a studied and calculated effort to use against the defendants enormous amounts of information that the Virginia [federal] prosecutor made available to the New York Attorney General without the onus of revealing any of the exculpatory or other pertinent information that a New York prosecutor has an obligation to locate and produce for defendants. (footnote omitted). These circumstances raise an inference of a conspiracy to lay low these defendants at any cost both here and in Virginia.

People v. Robert Primack, et al., indictment No. 8654/87, Supreme Court of New York, New York County, Part 81/83, opinion of Crane, J., 2/16/95.

Significantly, New York Judge Crane also evaluated the testimonial veracity of FBI Special Agent Klund, a case agent on the LaRouche investigation:

…[t]he court rejects Agent Klund’s explanation that his chart was truncated in photocopying. The court finds it painfully obvious that… his testimonial speculation was intended to protect the secrecy of these Reports [of FBI 302 witness statements].

In conjunction with the defendants’ 2255 motion in the Eastern District of Virginia, six volumes of newly discovered evidence were attached as appendices. These materials consist of 85 pieces of evidence, discovered post-trial, which bear primarily on governmental misconduct. This material, which has never been seriously reviewed, reveals a range of misconduct, including:

• misrepresentation of material facts and Brady violations by the prosecutors;
• withholding of relevant materials from the prosecutors by the FBI to avoid its discovery;
• unlawful searches and seizures by government agents;
• subornation and condonation of perjury;
• witness tampering;
• failure to disclose promises, rewards or inducements to witnesses;
• improper utilization of a civil matter to advance a criminal prosecution;
• denial of the existence of, and failure to produce an existing FBI file on Lyndon LaRouche compiled under Executive Order 12333; and
• creating adverse media coverage through leaks and unattributed comments.

In short, it demonstrates a pervasive conspiracy and concerted action designed to do precisely what Judge Crane found, “lay low these defendants at any cost,” and then to cover their tracks. The fact of political motivation in this conspiracy is demonstrated by the evidence, particularly by that which reveals the collaboration between the government and avowed political antagonists of LaRouche and his movement.

These materials, with previously available evidence of misconduct, more recent discoveries, the judicial findings of misconduct and the overwhelming appearance of injustice make the full review requested a matter of great importance not just to the defendants but to the Department of Justice and the public.

While you will know best what office in the Department can conduct the review most effectively, I believe it should be an office with Department-wide authority and that the Criminal Division is inappropriate because of its intimate involvement in the prosecution over the years.

I bring this matter to you directly not merely as an advocate for clients who I believe are the victims of a gross miscarriage of justice caused by governmental misconduct, but in the belief that righting such wrongs is essential to justice and faith in our institutions. I would like to discuss this matter with you. I will bring documents which support the statements in this letter at that time for you, or the official you designate. I will call your office for an appointment.

Ramsey Clark

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