Clark Responds

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Clark confirmed in an interview that he had spoken about the LaRouche case in Europe at the CSCE conference, but said he had not seen the transcript of his speech that appeared in LaRouche's New Federalist, and said his speech was not written in advance so he had no copy. If the report of Clark's comments in New Federalist are accurate--and to a large degree they reflect wording in the appeals brief he signed--then there are serious questions as to what he thinks of the LaRouchians. Clark seems to discount as propaganda the charges that the LaRouchians are fascists, anti-Semites, or neo-Nazis. Other critics question Mr. Clark's decision to appear at the CSCE-related meeting at all, pointing out that such appearances go beyond legal representation.

Clark said he had not seen any materials suggesting the LaRouche people were using his name to organize students and others into their antiwar work but he would like to see that material or any other related information. But Clark seemed relatively unconcerned that the LaRouchians might be using or abusing his name in their political work. "That's a risk you always have," as a defense counsel, said Clark.

Clark said that the somewhat glowing description of the LaRouche political movement in the appeals brief he signed reflected the right of any defendant to portray itself in a positive light.

According to Clark, the prosecution of LaRouche in Virginia was a travesty of procedure and a clear violation of the Constitutional right to a fair trial. Clark said the issue was not whether or not the LaRouche people were guilty of crimes, but whether or not they had received a fair trial. On the question of representation of controversial clients on legal appeals, Clark said:

It's a question of rights, not a question of facts. I remain focused on the legal rights and not the nature of the person involved. I oppose the death penalty on principle, I assume many of the people who I represent on death penalty appeals are in fact guilty, but that is not the point. If you have to apologize first you have a done a disservice to the case. I resist government abuses of people's rights. The government demonizes people...once you have conceded the demon you have lost the principle involved in the defense. By prefacing a defense by first saying `of course, he is a terrible person' it disables people from considering the matter fairly.

Clark said the government had demonized people like Saddam Hussein and Lyndon LaRouche and that he felt it was not appropriate to give in to the pejorative labeling of such persons when discussing their activities. This is the same rationale used by Clark in 1986 when he was criticized for not distancing himself from his client Karl Linnas, a Nazi collaborator who was eventually deported because he had lied about his past to gain entrance to the U.S. after World War II. Clark represented Linnas in an appeal which objected to the procedures followed in the deportation. Critics of Clark, including Daniel Levitas of the Center for Democratic Renewal, said Clark was insensitive to the fact that anti-Semitic and pro-Nazi groups were using Clark's appeal to buttress their claims that Linnas was innocent or that the Holocaust was a hoax.24

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