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Court Throws Out Former CIA Officer's Conviction After 20 Years in Prison
TBO ^ | 10/29/03 | AP

Posted on 10/29/2003 7:30:08 AM PST by Tumbleweed_Connection

HOUSTON (AP) - A federal judge threw out the conviction of a former CIA operative who has spent 20 years in prison for selling arms to Libya, saying the government knowingly used false evidence against him. Edwin P. Wilson, 75, was convicted in 1983 of shipping 20 tons of C-4 plastic explosives to Libya - something he said he did to ingratiate himself with the Libyan government at the CIA's request.

In a scathing opinion released Tuesday, U.S. Judge Lynn N. Hughes said the federal government failed to correct information about Wilson's service to the CIA that it admitted internally was false.

"Confronted with its own internal memoranda, the government now says that, well, it might have misstated the truth, but that it was Wilson's fault, it did not really matter, and it did not know what it was doing," the judge wrote in a 24-page ruling.

It was not immediately clear whether the judge's decision would free Wilson from prison - he received prison time for three separate convictions, including one for attempted murder.

At his 1983 trial in Texas, prosecutors introduced a sworn statement from a top-ranking official that Wilson didn't do anything for the CIA after his retirement in 1971.

"It was just a flat-out lie. He did a lot," defense attorney David Adler said Tuesday.

Adler said the Reagan-era officials who pushed the case had been embarrassed by revelations they were trading arms for information and made Wilson a scapegoat.

"For over 20 years he's been claiming he was not some kind of rogue CIA officer and he did not get a fair trial and, of course, it turns out he was right," Adler said.

Days after his conviction, but before his sentencing, the CIA forwarded a memo to the U.S. attorney's office saying at least five projects Wilson had worked on for the CIA after 1971 had surfaced - including a planned trip to Iran with the CIA's deputy director.

Hughes said officials failed to inform Wilson's attorneys of the memo and that in his appeal, the government failed to acknowledge that the affidavit was false and suppressed other evidence that might have helped him.

The memo and documents about later discussions were obtained by Wilson's defense under the Freedom of Information Act and through court discovery for his 1999 appeal.

Prosecutors have the option of appealing the judge's ruling or retrying Wilson. Adler said he didn't expect prosecutors to appeal, but U.S. Attorney Michael Shelby of the Southern District of Texas said his office had not made a decision.

"Obviously the charges (against Wilson) are very significant and we want to make sure we do the right thing," Shelby said in a story in Wednesday's Houston Chronicle.

Wilson, who set up front companies abroad for the CIA and posed as a rich American businessman, is serving a 52-year prison sentence in a federal prison in Allenwood, Pa.

In 1982, he was lured out of hiding in Libya and brought to New York for arrest. A federal court in Virginia convicted him of exporting firearms to Libya without permission and sentenced him to 10 years.

He was convicted in Texas in 1983, receiving a 17-year sentence for similar crimes, and a New York court sentenced him to 25 years, to run consecutively with the Texas and Virginia sentences, for attempted murder, criminal solicitation, obstruction of justice, tampering with witnesses and retaliating against witnesses.

TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Front Page News; Government; News/Current Events; US: Texas; US: Virginia
KEYWORDS: 1983; armsales; armssales; c4; cia; edwinwilson; libya; prison; released

1 posted on 10/29/2003 7:30:08 AM PST by Tumbleweed_Connection
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To: Tumbleweed_Connection
I call it the "Noriega Lesson". NEVER CROSS/BETRAY THE CIA. They'll get you! They never forget.
2 posted on 10/29/2003 7:32:45 AM PST by NetValue (They are not Americans, they're democrats.)
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To: Tumbleweed_Connection
Merchant of Death wins on appeal, should have been title of article.

Also title of book written about this character.

3 posted on 10/29/2003 7:34:20 AM PST by dts32041 (Is it time to practice decimation with our representatives?)
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To: dts32041
Lynn Hughes appointed by...who?
4 posted on 10/29/2003 7:35:58 AM PST by steve8714
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To: dts32041
Wilson is guilty of sin. Barcella, the chap who prosecuted him helped write a book about it. Peter Maas, I think was the author.
5 posted on 10/29/2003 7:36:49 AM PST by cardinal4 (Hillary and Clark rhymes with Ft Marcy park...)
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To: cardinal4
Sorry; guilty AS sin..
6 posted on 10/29/2003 7:37:12 AM PST by cardinal4 (Hillary and Clark rhymes with Ft Marcy park...)
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To: steve8714
Lynn Hughes appointed by... President Ronald Reagan

A Puzzle to Be Solved An Interview with Lynn N. Hughes U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of Texas

“I enjoy my job as a trial judge because I look upon each case as a puzzle to be solved,” says United States District Judge Lynn N. Hughes of the Southern District of Texas. Judge Hughes has served as a judge in the Southern District of Texas since 1985, following six years of service on the Texas Civil District Court. He came to the bench after 13 years in private practice, during which he dealt with numerous judges who left him with the impression that service on the bench would be intellectually engaging.

Born in 1941, Judge Hughes, a native Houstonian, grew up in neighborhoods near downtown Houston, such as the Fifth Ward and the area adjacent to Allen Parkway near the present site of SCI. His first interest was politics. While in the fifth grade, he distributed leaflets for the election of Dwight Eisenhower. He was also active in the Boy Scouts, an organization that made a lasting impression upon him. “Looking back on it, I find that the most constructive time I spent in my childhood was as a member of my Boy Scout troop,” Judge Hughes recalled. He especially learned the virtues of self-reliance and cooperation through camping trips and outings.

Judge Hughes attended Houston public schools, graduating from Lamar High School in 1959. He then left Texas to attend the University of Alabama, where he majored in anthropology, graduating in 1963. To this day, Judge Hughes continues his interest in anthropology and reading about history, architecture, and geography. Indeed, one’s first visual impression upon entering the Judge’s inner office is that of books, vast numbers of books, stored in both built-in shelving and special shelving he has installed in his office. The other is that of Judge Hughes’ idol, Abraham Lincoln, represented by a larger than life bust of Lincoln, perched atop the judge’s roll-top desk, as if peering down upon the Judge’s day-to-day work.

While in college, Judge Hughes opted out of the typical campus fraternity activities of the day in return for a series of volunteer political positions. He recalls spending much free time at college operating campaign sound trucks and telephone banks, including working as the county campaign manager for a candidate for Congress. Following the guidance of family friends, and overcoming his mother’s plea that he follow the family tradition of engineering, Judge Hughes enrolled at the University of Texas Law School after graduating from college.

While pursuing his law degree between 1963 and 1966, Judge Hughes continued to volunteer for political campaigns, including the Goldwater-Johnson campaign in 1964, which he recalls as a lonesome exercise for a Texas Republican. Judge Hughes commuted to Houston in his third year of law school to run (unsuccessfully, as it turned out) for a set in the Texas Legislature. On his graduation from law school, Judge Hughes returned to Houston, and began developing his private law practice, a combination of transactional work and litigation.

One aspect of private practice that Judge Hughes enjoyed was the direct personal relationship that he had with his clients. It was during this stage of his career that Judge Hughes began to concentrate upon his now well-known penchant for plain language in legal pleadings, a subject upon which he has been a frequent author and speaker. Judge Hughes gave as an example of this style the avoidance of Roman numerals as paragraph dividers in his youthful pleadings, and his excluding superfluous (and to him archaic) legal terms.

In his twenty-two years on the bench, Judge Hughes stated that he has “thoroughly enjoyed my years as a judge.” Although he has a criminal docket as a federal judge, he has found little difference between the job of judging state lawsuits and federal lawsuits, but he does find the two experiences differentiated by the greater “creature comforts” like support staff on the federal bench.

One of the most enjoyable experiences that Judge Hughes has had as a jurist was attending the University of Virginia School of Law for two summers in 1988 and 1989 to obtain the degree of masters of laws. Pursuing this goal demanded a different time commitment for Judge Hughes than he was used to, because before that time, he had taken only one two-week vacation during his legal career. Nevertheless, with the diligence of his staff, Judge Hughes was able to spend seven weeks each summer away from the court to attend class and to earn his master’s degree. He characterizes his return to law school at the age of 48, by now an experienced lawyer and jurist, as “a chance to go back to law school and to do it right.” He also came away with a heightened appreciation for the challenge of academic training, something he himself has pursued as an adjunct professor at South Texas College of Law since 1973.

When asked to explain his role as a judge, Judge Hughes commented, “As a judge, you do a lot of law and some justice. I work at improving my product – that makes me critical of other’s work.”

Judge Hughes finds pleasure in even routine cases by processing them efficiently. One of the ways that he has been able to do this is through renditions from the bench after oral hearings. In doing so, he saves by his own estimate up to six months in the life of a lawsuit. Judge Hughes says that the Houston Bar Association produces the greatest return to the profession and community of all the associations, and admires its high quality. His principal suggestion for practitioners appearing before him is for them to learn the facts of their cases well and to work on their presentation. Following his philosophy of the importance of concise and plain writing, Judge Hughes encourages practitioners to take care in writing and editing their submissions to all judges, since most presentations in his court are in writing.

7 posted on 10/29/2003 7:44:48 AM PST by af_vet_1981
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To: Tumbleweed_Connection
I hope the poor bastard sues for back pay, including OT, night differential, interest and punitive damages.
8 posted on 10/29/2003 7:47:09 AM PST by Henchman (I Hench, therefore I am!)
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To: Tumbleweed_Connection
Ed Wilson was a crook and hustler at the highest level. He was guilty then and is guilty as convicted now. Its a dirty game and the players know this. Con men play where they can find their marks. Be it individuals or governments. Wilson was a con man on an international level. This is another attempt at revisionist history.
9 posted on 10/29/2003 8:05:10 AM PST by Khurkris (Scottish/HillBilly - Revenge is an Art Form for us. Ranger On...)
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To: Henchman
Not likely.

Unlikely he will ever see the outside of a Prison.

This is just one of many convictions.

Though I agree the information should have been disclosed. They should imprison those responsible for hiding this information.
10 posted on 10/29/2003 8:32:10 AM PST by ImphClinton
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To: Khurkris
It appears that the Federal court with the assistance of the C.I.A. is doing the revising. The chump was framed.
11 posted on 10/29/2003 8:36:06 AM PST by em2vn
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To: Tumbleweed_Connection
This is huge compared to some percieved leak on a panty clad non-CIA op.

Equal outrage from the media, not.
12 posted on 10/29/2003 8:48:29 AM PST by Ursus arctos horribilis ("It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees!" Emiliano Zapata 1879-1919)
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To: em2vn
It appears that the Federal court with the assistance of the C.I.A. is doing the revising. The chump was framed.

And for good reason. He was the go-between for the military narcotics trafficing and transshipment from Panama involving Manuel Noriega and the then-CenCom Commander.

Manuel *El Sapo* Noriega ... Edwin P. Wilson ... Gen. Colin Powell

13 posted on 10/29/2003 4:52:48 PM PST by archy (Angiloj! Mia kusenveturilo estas plena da angiloj!)
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To: ImphClinton
I agree.
14 posted on 11/02/2003 5:11:29 AM PST by Henchman (I Hench, therefore I am!)
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To: Tumbleweed_Connection
This guy was convicted and sentenced in 1983.

Iran/Contra was in 1986.

How was this a diversion from Iran/Contra?
15 posted on 11/02/2003 5:15:22 AM PST by Guillermo (Go 'Dawgs, Sic 'Em!)
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To: Henchman
I hope the poor bastard sues for back pay, including OT, night differential, interest and punitive damages."

Amen and amen!!!

16 posted on 01/12/2004 7:13:14 AM PST by Robert Drobot (God, family, country. All else is meaningless.)
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