Judge Matthew Byrns dismissed the Pentagon Papers trial in Los Angeles of Friday (II May) he said that revelations of White House-ordered wiretapping and bugging made it impossible to continue the trial.
LOS ANGELES, U.S.A. (MAY 12, 1973) (REUTERS)
GV Crowds gather outside court
SCU Lawyer interviewed by newsmen (SOUND)
SV Pressmen jockey for position
SCU Ellsberg speaks (SOUND)
This film includes an interview with Ellsberg's lawyer and with Ellsberg, a transcript of which is included below.
REPORTER: "Were you saying a minute ago that the Government deliberately made this wire-tap disclosure in order to protect the President from having to come and testify?"
LAWYER: "The way we look at it now. There was only one way they could have prevented the hearing on the Watergate from going forward, and that was to come up with electronic surveillance and to have the records destroyed or disappear. Its just very coincidental that they have found the one route that was open to them, and they have effectively stopped the Watergate phase of the Pentagon papers trial. I don't think we will see it again in this court."
ELLSBERG: "I think from the beginning this trial has been an illustration of the lessons of the Pentagon Papers--the actions of an arrogant executive acting contemptuously of law, contemptuously of human beings, going beyond the constitution. The very trial has illustrated what the Pentagon Papers has showed these people doing in Vietnam, and that has continued right until today. Today after we had heard what the Government had been doing--breaking in, burglarising, robbing, forging, leaking documents which they themselves had said were sensitive--we heard the prosecutor in this case tell where the administration is at, and what is their understanding of the constitution and what it means to be an American. The President is innocent until proven guilty but the facts are such that he deserves his day in court. I believe he will have his day in court. I hope he will."
Initials BB/0344 JT/PN/BB/0352
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Judge Matthew Byrns dismissed the Pentagon Papers trial in Los Angeles of Friday (II May) he said that revelations of White House-ordered wiretapping and bugging made it impossible to continue the trial.
Daniel Ellsberg, who had first been arrested for espionage in 1971, and his co-defendant, Anthony Russo, were exultant.
The case has become linked with the Watergate scandal, where the Government has disclosed that two convicted Watergate conspirators broke into the office of Ellsberg's psychiatrist to obtain a medical report.
The judge said that former Presidential aide, John Ehrlichman, had offered him the directorship of the Federal Bureau of Investigation during the trial, but that he had turned it down.
After the dismissal, Ellsberg's lawyer said the Government intentionally had the trial stopped.