Jump to content
The Education Forum

Richard A. Sprague


Recommended Posts

Richard A. Sprague was born in Philadelphia. He received his B.S. from Temple University and his LL.B. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. After joining the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office in 1958, Sprague served as a Chief Assistant District Attorney, Chief of the Prosecution Division, Chief of the Trial Division and Chief of the Homicide Division. From 1966 to 1974, he was the First Assistant District Attorney of Philadelphia County.

Sprague became a national figure when he successfully prosecuted Tony Boyle, President of the United Mine Workers for the murder of Joseph Yablonski. He also had a record of 69 homicide convictions out of 70 prosecutions.

In 1976 Thomas N. Downing began campaigning for a new investigation into the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Downing said he was certain that Kennedy had been killed as a result of a conspiracy. He believed that the recent deaths of Sam Giancana and Johnny Roselli were highly significant. He also argued that the Central Intelligence Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation had withheld important information from the Warren Commission. Downing was not alone in taking this view. In 1976, a Detroit News poll indicated that 87% of the American population did not believe that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone gunman who killed Kennedy.

Coretta Scott King, was also calling for her husband's murder to be looked at by a Senate Committee. It was suggested that there was more chance of success if these two investigations could be combined. Henry Gonzalez and Walter E. Fauntroy joined Downing in his campaign and in 1976 Congress voted to create a 12-member committee to investigate the deaths of Kennedy and King.

Downing named Sprague as chief counsel of the House Select Committee on Assassinations. Gaeton Fonzi was to later say: "Sprague was known as tough, tenacious and independent. There was absolutely no doubt in my mind when I heard of Sprague's appointment that the Kennedy assassination would finally get what it needed: a no-holds-barred, honest investigation. Which just goes to show how ignorant of the ways of Washington both Sprague and I were".

Sprague quickly assembled a staff of 170 lawyers, investigators and researchers. On 8th December, 1976, Sprague submitted a 1977 budget of $6.5 million. Frank Thompson, Chairman of the House Administration Committee made it clear he opposed the idea of so much money being spent on the investigation.

Smear stories against Sprague began appearing in the press. David B. Burnham of The New York Times reported that Sprague had mishandled a homicide case involving the son of a friend. Members of Congress joined in the attacks and Robert E. Bauman of Maryland claimed that Sprague had a "checkered career" and was not to be trusted. Richard Kelly of Florida called the House Select Committee on Assassinations a "multimillion-dollar fishing expedition for the benefit of a bunch of publicity seekers."

Probably the most important criticism came from Eldon J. Rudd of Arizona, a former FBI agent who had worked on the assassination investigation. He declared that the HSCCA had "already fanned the flames of rumour, distortion and unwanted distrust of law inforcement agencies." However, Fauntroy defended the work of Sprague: "threshold inquiries by a thoroughly professional staff... in the last three months have produced literally a thousand questions unanswered by the investigations of record."

On 2nd February, 1978, Henry Gonzalez replaced Thomas N. Downing as chairman of the House Select Committee on Assassinations. Gonzalez immediately sacked Sprague as chief counsel. Sprague claimed that only the full committee had the power to dismiss him. Walter E. Fauntroy agreed with Sprague and launched a campaign to keep him as chief counsel. On 1st March, Gonzalez resigned describing Sprague as "an unconscionable scoundrel"

Louis Stokes of Ohio was now appointed as the new chairman of the HSCA. After a meeting with Stokes on 29th March, Sprague agreed to resign and he was replaced by G. Robert Blakey.

Sprague later told Gaeton Fonzi that the real reason he was removed as chief counsel was because he insisted on asking questions about the CIA operations in Mexico. Fonzi argued that "Sprague... wanted complete information about the CIA's operation in Mexico City and total access to all its employees who may have had anything to do with the photographs, tape recordings and transcripts. The Agency balked. Sprague pushed harder. Finally the Agency agreed that Sprague could have access to the information if he agreed to sign a CIA Secrecy Agreement. Sprague refused.... "How," he asked, "can I possible sign an agreement with an agency I'm supposed to be investigating?"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

John Simkin Posted Today, 08:03 AM

Richard A. Sprague was born in Philadelphia. He received his B.S. from Temple University and his LL.B. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. After joining the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office in 1958, Sprague served as a Chief Assistant District Attorney, Chief of the Prosecution Division, Chief of the Trial Division and Chief of the Homicide Division. From 1966 to 1974, he was the First Assistant District Attorney of Philadelphia County.

Sprague became a national figure when he successfully prosecuted Tony Boyle, President of the United Mine Workers for the murder of Joseph Yablonski. He also had a record of 69 homicide convictions out of 70 prosecutions.

In 1976 Thomas N. Downing began campaigning for a new investigation into the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Downing said he was certain that Kennedy had been killed as a result of a conspiracy. He believed that the recent deaths of Sam Giancana and Johnny Roselli were highly significant. He also argued that the Central Intelligence Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation had withheld important information from the Warren Commission. Downing was not alone in taking this view. In 1976, a Detroit News poll indicated that 87% of the American population did not believe that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone gunman who killed Kennedy.

Coretta Scott King, was also calling for her husband's murder to be looked at by a Senate Committee. It was suggested that there was more chance of success if these two investigations could be combined. Henry Gonzalez and Walter E. Fauntroy joined Downing in his campaign and in 1976 Congress voted to create a 12-member committee to investigate the deaths of Kennedy and King.

Downing named Sprague as chief counsel of the House Select Committee on Assassinations. Gaeton Fonzi was to later say: "Sprague was known as tough, tenacious and independent. There was absolutely no doubt in my mind when I heard of Sprague's appointment that the Kennedy assassination would finally get what it needed: a no-holds-barred, honest investigation. Which just goes to show how ignorant of the ways of Washington both Sprague and I were".

Sprague quickly assembled a staff of 170 lawyers, investigators and researchers. On 8th December, 1976, Sprague submitted a 1977 budget of $6.5 million. Frank Thompson, Chairman of the House Administration Committee made it clear he opposed the idea of so much money being spent on the investigation.

Smear stories against Sprague began appearing in the press. David B. Burnham of The New York Times reported that Sprague had mishandled a homicide case involving the son of a friend. Members of Congress joined in the attacks and Robert E. Bauman of Maryland claimed that Sprague had a "checkered career" and was not to be trusted. Richard Kelly of Florida called the House Select Committee on Assassinations a "multimillion-dollar fishing expedition for the benefit of a bunch of publicity seekers."

Probably the most important criticism came from Eldon J. Rudd of Arizona, a former FBI agent who had worked on the assassination investigation. He declared that the HSCCA had "already fanned the flames of rumour, distortion and unwanted distrust of law inforcement agencies." However, Fauntroy defended the work of Sprague: "threshold inquiries by a thoroughly professional staff... in the last three months have produced literally a thousand questions unanswered by the investigations of record."

On 2nd February, 1978, Henry Gonzalez replaced Thomas N. Downing as chairman of the House Select Committee on Assassinations. Gonzalez immediately sacked Sprague as chief counsel. Sprague claimed that only the full committee had the power to dismiss him. Walter E. Fauntroy agreed with Sprague and launched a campaign to keep him as chief counsel. On 1st March, Gonzalez resigned describing Sprague as "an unconscionable scoundrel"

Louis Stokes of Ohio was now appointed as the new chairman of the HSCA. After a meeting with Stokes on 29th March, Sprague agreed to resign and he was replaced by G. Robert Blakey.

Sprague later told Gaeton Fonzi that the real reason he was removed as chief counsel was because he insisted on asking questions about the CIA operations in Mexico. Fonzi argued that "Sprague... wanted complete information about the CIA's operation in Mexico City and total access to all its employees who may have had anything to do with the photographs, tape recordings and transcripts. The Agency balked. Sprague pushed harder. Finally the Agency agreed that Sprague could have access to the information if he agreed to sign a CIA Secrecy Agreement. Sprague refused.... "How," he asked, "can I possible sign an agreement with an agency I'm supposed to be investigating?"

Dean Andrews to Garrison:

You're a mouse fighting a gorilla.

Oliver Stone takes this account from Jim Garrison, whose 1988 memoir, On the Trail of the Assassins, contains a virtually identical exchange.

This seems appropriate to John's post RE: R. Sprague of the HSCA as well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Secret Files That Would Have Proven James Earl Ray Not Guilty

March 22nd, 2006

In the first House Select Committee on Assassinations 1977 interview with James Earl Ray, Chief Counsel Richard Sprague agreed with Ray and his legal team that all materials concerning the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. as well as President John F. Kennedy (including CIA, FBI and other intelligence agency files) should be made available to them as well as the committee. Mr. Sprague, Ray and Ray's legal team believed the files would produce evidence that Ray did not shoot Martin Luther King Jr.

One week later Richard Sprague was forced to resign his post because he found it impossible to do his job with the requirement that he sign a secrecy agreement before he could view the files he requested. He did not believe he could properly investigate a US Government Department or Agency if he agreed to keep secret the proof that Ray wasn't the assassin of King.

Chief Counsel Richard Sprague is heard saying that he too believes all CIA, FBI and other files having anything to do with the entire matter (MLK and JFK's assassination) should be made available to the committee and Ray's legal team. It is believed that the files will contain proof that Ray was 'handled' via methods used by the Intelligence services and set up to take the wrap for the MLK assassination.

It is now known that in the 1960's President Lyndon Johnson set up the 'Domestic Operations Division' (Another DOD) to carry out special operations within the United States which would be separate but support Defense Department, NSA and FBI operations of national security interest. CIA agents in the US and throughout the world could be directed from the White House via the use of a secret communication channel between the agent in the field and the President labeled CRITICOM (Critical Communication). In the execution of an assassination or what would be established as a legal execution of a clear and present danger to the national security of the United States of America a very simple VOCO (Verbal Order of the Commanding Officer) could be the triggering mechanism. This kind of operation would have no paperwork to prove that it ever happened and any coincidental evidence would be classified top secret and never released to the public until such time as it could be confused or would be useless for investigative purposes.

James Earl Ray, Attorneys Jack and Mary Kershaw and Gary Revel-Special Investigator and Richard Sprague believed that the CIA had files that would produce evidence of a US Government-Organized Crime connection with Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination. Ray's admission that he was given a phone number by Raoul to call for instructions and help when needed connected organized crime. That phone number turned out to be the number for a motel in New Orleans owned by Mafia Boss Carlos Marcello.

Former D. C. Congressional Delegate Walter Fountroy chaired the House Select Committee on Assassinations for a period of time and discovered his telephones and television were bugged. Fauntroy said in a 1999 trial that Richard Sprague's replacement, Robert Blakey, did not follow up on James Earl Ray's request for files from the CIA and others. What is clear is that Mr. Blakey would have signed a secrecy agreement with the CIA and others for whatever information he received thus even if he knew today that James Earl Ray was innocent he would be legally bound not to say so.

http://www.bestsyndication.com/Articles/20...es_earl_ray.htm

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is now known that in the 1960's President Lyndon Johnson set up the 'Domestic Operations Division' (Another DOD) to carry out special operations within the United States which would be separate but support Defense Department, NSA and FBI operations of national security interest. CIA agents in the US and throughout the world could be directed from the White House via the use of a secret communication channel between the agent in the field and the President labeled CRITICOM (Critical Communication).

According to this (written apparently by Gary Revel, a "Special Investigator"), Tracy Barnes's Domestic Operations Division at the CIA was actually run from the White House by LBJ (who was only vice president when the division at the CIA was set up). This is big news to me if true. Who exactly is Gary Revel, and what would his source be on this?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is now known that in the 1960's President Lyndon Johnson set up the 'Domestic Operations Division' (Another DOD) to carry out special operations within the United States which would be separate but support Defense Department, NSA and FBI operations of national security interest. CIA agents in the US and throughout the world could be directed from the White House via the use of a secret communication channel between the agent in the field and the President labeled CRITICOM (Critical Communication).

According to this (written apparently by Gary Revel, a "Special Investigator"), Tracy Barnes's Domestic Operations Division at the CIA was actually run from the White House by LBJ (who was only vice president when the division at the CIA was set up). This is big news to me if true. Who exactly is Gary Revel, and what would his source be on this?

Hi Ron.

No clue on Revel - however, worth mentioning, as I've mentioned previously - probably sick of hearing it :lol: Hume's bit on Roland 'Bud' Culligan - Culligan stated that along with his handler, Odom [or Odum], there was without fail, a representative from the White House present in every planning session concerning a potential hit. Some folks may be inclined to believe Culligan was just another bogus story - if that is that case, why are the majority of his files at NARA 'Postponed in Full?' Probably because he killed a lot of people - on orders, and with approval, sanction and involvement at the highest level. Just because he gave us 3 phony names for the JFK related hits, IMO, doesn't mean much. He may have simply been playing a game - which he was forced to do when they wouldn't accept his resignation, put him in jail on a phony bad check charge, and then took all his money.

AGENCY : HSCA

RECORD NUMBER : 180-10115-10037

RECORDS SERIES : NUMBERED FILES.

AGENCY FILE NUMBER : 014403 (FOLDER 7 OF 14)

DOCUMENT INFORMATION

ORIGINATOR : US HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.

FROM : KENNEY, JANE.

TO : CULLIGAN, ROLAND.

TITLE : T

DATE : 10/19/1976

PAGES : 1

DOCUMENT TYPE : LETTER.

SUBJECTS : CULLIGAN, ROLAND.; CIA.

CLASSIFICATION : UNCLASSIFIED

RESTRICTIONS : REFERRED

CURRENT STATUS : POSTPONED IN FULLDATE OF LAST REVIEW : 06/29/1993

COMMENTS : Box 257.

AGENCY : HSCA

RECORD NUMBER : 180-10115-10037

RECORDS SERIES : NUMBERED FILES.

AGENCY FILE NUMBER : 014403 (FOLDER 7 OF 14)

DOCUMENT INFORMATION

ORIGINATOR : US HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.

FROM : KENNEY, JANE.

TO : CULLIGAN, ROLAND.

TITLE : T

DATE : 10/19/1976

PAGES : 1

DOCUMENT TYPE : LETTER.

SUBJECTS : CULLIGAN, ROLAND.; CIA.

CLASSIFICATION : UNCLASSIFIED

RESTRICTIONS : REFERRED

CURRENT STATUS : POSTPONED IN FULLDATE OF LAST REVIEW : 06/29/1993

COMMENTS : Box 257.

AGENCY : HSCA

RECORD NUMBER : 180-10115-10064

RECORDS SERIES : NUMBERED FILES.

AGENCY FILE NUMBER : 014403 (FOLDER 11 OF 14)

DOCUMENT INFORMATION

ORIGINATOR : CULLIGAN, ROLAND.

FROM : CULLEGAN, ROLAND.

TO : HYATT, JORGE.

TITLE : [No Title]

DATE : 12/06/1975

PAGES : 2

DOCUMENT TYPE : LETTER.

SUBJECTS : CULLIGAN, ROLAND.

CLASSIFICATION : UNCLASSIFIED

RESTRICTIONS : REFERRED

CURRENT STATUS : POSTPONED IN FULLDATE OF LAST REVIEW : 06/29/1993

COMMENTS : Box 257.

AGENCY : HSCA

RECORD NUMBER : 180-10108-10229

RECORDS SERIES : NUMBERED FILES.

AGENCY FILE NUMBER : 013910

DOCUMENT INFORMATION

ORIGINATOR : CITIZEN

FROM : CULLIGAN, ROLAND B.

TO : JORGE, HYATT.

TITLE : [No Title]

DATE : 10/27/1976

PAGES : 10

DOCUMENT TYPE : LETTER.

SUBJECTS : CIA, STAFF.; LEADS & INFORMATION.

CLASSIFICATION : UNCLASSIFIED

RESTRICTIONS : REFERRED

CURRENT STATUS : POSTPONED IN FULL

DATE OF LAST REVIEW : 06/28/1993

COMMENTS : A duplicate copy of Bath letters 6 enclosed. Box 243.

AGENCY : HSCA

RECORD NUMBER : 180-10115-10033

RECORDS SERIES : NUMBERED FILES.

AGENCY FILE NUMBER : 014403 (FOLDER 6 OF 14)

DOCUMENT INFORMATION

ORIGINATOR : CULLIGAN, SARA.

FROM : CULLIGAN, ROLAND.

TO : BAISH, GEORGE.

TITLE : [No Title]

DATE : 06/17/1976

PAGES : 1

DOCUMENT TYPE : LETTER.

SUBJECTS : CULLIGAN, SARA.; CIA.

CLASSIFICATION : UNCLASSIFIED

RESTRICTIONS : REFERRED

CURRENT STATUS : POSTPONED IN FULL

DATE OF LAST REVIEW : 06/29/1993

COMMENTS : Box 257.0

AGENCY INFORMATION

AGENCY : HSCA

RECORD NUMBER : 180-10115-10052

RECORDS SERIES : NUMBERED FILES.

AGENCY FILE NUMBER : 014403 (FOLDER 9 OF 14)

DOCUMENT INFORMATION

ORIGINATOR : CULLIGAN, ROLAND.

FROM : CULLIGAN, ROLAND.

TO : BUSH, GEORGE.

TITLE : [No Title]

DATE : 01/17/1976

PAGES : 3

DOCUMENT TYPE : LETTER.

SUBJECTS : CIA.; CULLIGAN, ROLAND.; CASTRO, FIDEL.; DOD, STAFF.

CLASSIFICATION : UNCLASSIFIED

RESTRICTIONS : REFERRED

CURRENT STATUS : POSTPONED IN FULL

DATE OF LAST REVIEW : 06/29/1993

COMMENTS : Tabbed CIA 257-10. Box 257.

AGENCY : HSCA

RECORD NUMBER : 180-10115-10051

RECORDS SERIES : NUMBERED FILES.

AGENCY FILE NUMBER : 014403 (FOLDER 9 OF 14)

DOCUMENT INFORMATION

ORIGINATOR : CITIZEN

FROM : CULLIGAN, ROLAND.

TO : HYATT, JORGE.

TITLE : [No Title]

DATE : 12/06/1975

PAGES : 2

DOCUMENT TYPE : LETTER.

SUBJECTS : LEADS & INFORMATION.

CLASSIFICATION : UNCLASSIFIED

RESTRICTIONS : REFERRED

CURRENT STATUS : POSTPONED IN FULL

DATE OF LAST REVIEW : 06/29/1993

COMMENTS : Tabbed CIA 257-9. Box 257.

AGENCY : HSCA

RECORD NUMBER : 180-10115-10067

RECORDS SERIES : NUMBERED FILES.

AGENCY FILE NUMBER : 014403 (FOLDER 12 OF 14)

DOCUMENT INFORMATION

ORIGINATOR : CULLIGAN, ROLAND.

FROM : CULLIGAN, ROLAND.

TO : [No To]

TITLE : [No Title]

DATE : 11/02/1975

PAGES : 4

DOCUMENT TYPE : NOTES.

SUBJECTS : CULLIGAN, ROLAND.

CLASSIFICATION : UNCLASSIFIED

RESTRICTIONS : REFERRED

CURRENT STATUS : POSTPONED IN FULL

DATE OF LAST REVIEW : 06/29/1993

COMMENTS : Box 257.

AGENCY : HSCA

RECORD NUMBER : 180-10115-10067

RECORDS SERIES : NUMBERED FILES.

AGENCY FILE NUMBER : 014403 (FOLDER 12 OF 14)

DOCUMENT INFORMATION

ORIGINATOR : CULLIGAN, ROLAND.

FROM : CULLIGAN, ROLAND.

TO : [No To]

TITLE : [No Title]

DATE : 11/02/1975

PAGES : 4

DOCUMENT TYPE : NOTES.

SUBJECTS : CULLIGAN, ROLAND.

CLASSIFICATION : UNCLASSIFIED

RESTRICTIONS : REFERRED

CURRENT STATUS : POSTPONED IN FULL

DATE OF LAST REVIEW : 06/29/1993

COMMENTS : Box 257.

AGENCY : HSCA

RECORD NUMBER : 180-10115-10039

RECORDS SERIES : NUMBERED FILES.

AGENCY FILE NUMBER : 014403 (FOLDER 7 OF 14)

DOCUMENT INFORMATION

ORIGINATOR : BUREAU OF PRESTONS.

FROM : DUTTON, R.E.

TO : ROGERS, PAUL.

TITLE : [No Title]

DATE : 10/15/1976

PAGES : 1

DOCUMENT TYPE : LETTER.

SUBJECTS : CULLIGAN, ROLAND.

CLASSIFICATION : UNCLASSIFIED

RESTRICTIONS : REFERRED

CURRENT STATUS : POSTPONED IN FULL

DATE OF LAST REVIEW : 06/29/1993

COMMENTS : Box 257.

AGENCY : HSCA

RECORD NUMBER : 180-10115-10043

RECORDS SERIES : NUMBERED FILES.

AGENCY FILE NUMBER : 014403 (FOLDER 8 OF 14)

DOCUMENT INFORMATION

ORIGINATOR : CITIZEN

FROM : FARRELL, CHRISTOPHER.

TO : AIKEN, EARL.

TITLE : [No Title]

DATE : 10/15/1976

PAGES : 3

DOCUMENT TYPE : LETTER.

SUBJECTS : CULLIGAN, ROLAND.

CLASSIFICATION : UNCLASSIFIED

RESTRICTIONS : REFERRED

CURRENT STATUS : POSTPONED IN FULL

DATE OF LAST REVIEW : 06/29/1993

COMMENTS : Box 257.

AGENCY : HSCA

RECORD NUMBER : 180-10115-10044

RECORDS SERIES : NUMBERED FILES.

AGENCY FILE NUMBER : 014403 (FOLDER 9 OF 14)

DOCUMENT INFORMATION

ORIGINATOR : CITIZEN

FROM : FARRELL, CHRISTOPHER.

TO : SHERWIN, ROBERT.

TITLE : [No Title]

DATE : 10/27/1976

PAGES : 1

DOCUMENT TYPE : LETTER.

SUBJECTS : CIA.; CULLIGAN, ROLAND.

CLASSIFICATION : UNCLASSIFIED

RESTRICTIONS : REFERRED

CURRENT STATUS : POSTPONED IN FULL

DATE OF LAST REVIEW : 06/29/1993

COMMENTS : Tabbed CIA 257-2. Box 257.

etc. etc.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is now known that in the 1960's President Lyndon Johnson set up the 'Domestic Operations Division' (Another DOD) to carry out special operations within the United States which would be separate but support Defense Department, NSA and FBI operations of national security interest. CIA agents in the US and throughout the world could be directed from the White House via the use of a secret communication channel between the agent in the field and the President labeled CRITICOM (Critical Communication).

According to this (written apparently by Gary Revel, a "Special Investigator"), Tracy Barnes's Domestic Operations Division at the CIA was actually run from the White House by LBJ (who was only vice president when the division at the CIA was set up). This is big news to me if true. Who exactly is Gary Revel, and what would his source be on this?

As chance would have it I just came accross this a few minutes ago while searching for more information on percy Foreman.

This is about Gary Revel,

apparently he wrote the 1977 song 'they slew the dreamer', which was about Martin Luther King

THEY SLEW THE DREAMER

Let a dreamer take the fall

They turned the courtroom

Into a costume ball

THEY SLEW THE DREAMER

Made another sing their song

THEY SLEW THE DREAMER

But the dream lives on

Lyrics by Gary Revel-Mary Noel

Published by Sony/ATV Music

John

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 7 months later...

Namebase entry:

http://www.namebase.org/main4/Richard-A-Sprague.html

Davis,J. Mafia Kingfish. 1989 (423)

DiEugenio,J. Destiny Betrayed. 1992 (229)

DiEugenio,J. Pease,L. The Assassinations. 2003 (52, 55-8, 61-4, 66-7)

Duffy,J. Ricci,V. The Assassination of John F. Kennedy. 1992 (443)

Fensterwald,B. Coincidence or Conspiracy? 1977 (151-2)

Fonzi,G. The Last Investigation. 1993 (176-83, 193-8)

Freed,D. Death in Washington. 1980 (138)

Groden,R. Livingstone,H. High Treason. 1990 (360, 362-71)

Kantor,S. The Ruby Cover-up. 1992 (263, 404-6)

Lane,M. Gregory,D. Murder in Memphis. 1993 (vii, 266)

Lane,M. Plausible Denial. 1991 (29-35, 84)

Liberation Magazine 1977-04 (9)

Los Angeles Times 1977-03-30 (I2)

Marrs,J. Crossfire. 1990 (520-3)

Morrow,R. First Hand Knowledge. 1992 (294-6)

Newman,J. Oswald and the CIA. 1995 (418)

Pepper,W. Orders to Kill. 1995 (61-2, 487-8)

Turner,W. Rearview Mirror. 2001 (294-5)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 months later...
Richard A. Sprague is the lead attorney, with his son, at Sprague & Sprague, one of Philadelphia's premier law offices.

BK

LATEST NEWS FROM PHILLY:

Fumo's lawyer: Charges political

By John Shiffman

Inquirer Staff Writer

277598616702.jpgJohn Costello / InquirerRichard Sprague convenes a rare news conference the day after State Sen. Vincent Fumo's federal indictment. At right is attorney Mark Sheppard, also on the Fumo legal team.

State Sen. Vincent J. Fumo's lawyer attacked the U.S. attorney's motives yesterday and called the 139 charges against his client nothing more than a malicious effort by the Bush administration to drive powerful Democrats from office.

"This is an indictment born of political ambition," lawyer Richard A. Sprague told reporters. "It reeks of malice."

Sprague described U.S. Attorney Patrick L. Meehan, who was appointed by President Bush, as a political operative who loaded Fumo's indictment with "twists and distortions, venal and salacious entries, deliberate statements out of context."

Meehan's spokesman called Sprague's comments "inaccurate and regrettable."

Sprague's harsh words came on the same day that Fumo resigned from an influential post: a seat on the Delaware River Port Authority, which runs the PATCO line and regional bridges.

Fumo is charged with fraud, conspiracy, and obstruction of justice on a grand scale - using state Senate staff and funds from a neighborhood charity to support an opulent lifestyle and then orchestrating a cover-up after the FBI started asking questions.

In all, prosecutors say Fumo (D., Phila.) misused more than $2 million in public money and funds from the charity he helped create, Citizens' Alliance for Better Neighborhoods. Fumo's influence gained the charity $30 million from Peco Energy, the DRPA, and state grants.

Fumo, whose personal worth exceeds $20 million, is accused of using the charity's money to pay for political polls, cars, power tools, farm equipment, personal errands and shopping sprees.

Among the most sensational allegations is that Fumo used people on the Senate payroll to clean his house and spy on ex-girlfriends and political opponents.

If convicted, Fumo likely faces two to four years in prison, and perhaps as many as 10 years.

Sprague, one of the city's most prominent lawyers, convened yesterday's news conference at his Rittenhouse Square law office a day after his client, one of the most powerful politicians in Pennsylvania, pleaded not guilty.

Sprague offered a glimpse into Fumo's defense against the obstruction-of-justice charges - that the senator directed a cover-up by ordering aides to destroy e-mails after he learned of the FBI investigation.

Fumo did nothing wrong, Sprague said. The senator's office simply followed a longstanding "document retention" policy that called for the office to routinely clear computers of old e-mails.

"Mr. Meehan knows that when Citizens' Alliance was under investigation, Sen. Fumo went and sought advice from a lawyer - not me - on whether he had to change his policy... . That lawyer told Sen. Fumo, 'No, you don't have to change your policy because you haven't been subpoenaed... .' "

The 81-year-old lawyer, a former prosecutor who rarely holds news conferences, spoke for 75 minutes yesterday but refused to answer specific questions about Fumo's spending and use of staff.

Instead, he mostly mocked Meehan and his case:

On using Senate workers for personal tasks:

"... Ask yourself: What is to prevent someone who is devoted, dedicated to their boss, Vince Fumo, to knock themselves out and, beyond their Senate time, do activities that make his time more efficient and make him more effective as a state senator?"

On using Senate workers for political tasks:

"How is it that Vince was able, as everybody concedes, to be the most effective senator Philadelphia has ever had? By just sitting in his office, or by doing political activity, anywhere, everywhere?"

On Meehan's post-indictment news conference:

"Mr. Meehan said that Sen. Fumo crossed the line. He did this, he did that... . Mr. Meehan talks as though Sen. Fumo has been convicted. That kind of presentation is an outrage."

On the size of the 267-page indictment:

"How do you make headlines as a prosecutor? I know all the tricks of the trade... . When you have a weak case, throw in the kitchen sink. Throw everything you possibly can in the indictment. Maybe something will stick."

On whether the Bush administration specifically targeted Fumo:

"Hopefully, they are... using the FBI to get Osama bin Laden and not Vince Fumo, but what I am saying is that they, from on high, do have a policy of using local U.S. attorneys to try to get effective Democrats."

Because of the scope of the case, Sprague said, he expects the trial won't begin for a year. He said the government has interviewed more than 1,000 people and plans to call 100 to 200 witnesses at trial.

"I am going to stick with this case and try this case," Sprague said. "I am 81 years young."

Meanwhile, Fumo yesterday continued to shed some of his clout in the state and the region - at least temporarily.

He stepped down from the DRPA, where he was long a power who exerted control over the agency's money and jobs. Fumo helped direct about $10 million from DRPA to Citizens' Alliance.

"I regret, due to the lack of time and energy, to be able to serve on the DRPA board," Fumo wrote in a letter to Auditor General Jack Wagner, who appointed Fumo.

Fumo yesterday also pulled his name from consideration as vice chairman of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency, the state's wealthy college-loan agency. But he'll remain on the board.

The indictment has already hit Fumo in his pocketbook: When he stepped down as the ranking Democrat on the Appropriations Committee on Monday, Fumo also lost his $98,691 salary as a Senate leader.

Fumo, who has served for 29 years, now makes as much as a freshman senator - $73,614.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...

I found Dick Russell's interview of Richard A. Sprague on 25th May 1978 very interesting. He obviously learnt a great deal from his experience as acting counsel and drector of he HSCA. As he said: "There was total dishonesty in the reporting of newspapers that I would otherwise have confidence in, such as the New York Times and the Washington Post... as a result, this attitude by the press was most successful in taking advantage of the attitude of Congress in general, and by individual Congressmen wh were manipulated such that the press could achieve a tone to help kill the investigation."

Dick, do you think that Sprague would have got to the truth if he had remained as director of the HSCA? What are your views on his replacement, Robert Blakey? Has Sprague made any recent comments on the JFK assassination?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I found Dick Russell's interview of Richard A. Sprague on 25th May 1978 very interesting. He obviously learnt a great deal from his experience as acting counsel and drector of he HSCA. As he said: "There was total dishonesty in the reporting of newspapers that I would otherwise have confidence in, such as the New York Times and the Washington Post... as a result, this attitude by the press was most successful in taking advantage of the attitude of Congress in general, and by individual Congressmen wh were manipulated such that the press could achieve a tone to help kill the investigation."

Dick, do you think that Sprague would have got to the truth if he had remained as director of the HSCA? What are your views on his replacement, Robert Blakey? Has Sprague made any recent comments on the JFK assassination?

I'm pretty certain we would have gotten a LOT closer to the truth had Sprague remained HSCA counsel, because he was tough and uncompromising and ready to travel roads that his successor, Blakey, was not. (I'm specifically talking about the CIA's role in the Oswald saga). I'm not out to impugn Blakey's integrity, but let's face it - the Mob-fellas-did-it scenario is a bit too pat and in keeping with America's good guys-bad guys mentality that avoids the harsher realities. I am not aware of any recent comments Sprague may have made about the HSCA or the assassination.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 years later...
I found Dick Russell's interview of Richard A. Sprague on 25th May 1978 very interesting. He obviously learnt a great deal from his experience as acting counsel and drector of he HSCA. As he said: "There was total dishonesty in the reporting of newspapers that I would otherwise have confidence in, such as the New York Times and the Washington Post... as a result, this attitude by the press was most successful in taking advantage of the attitude of Congress in general, and by individual Congressmen wh were manipulated such that the press could achieve a tone to help kill the investigation."

Dick, do you think that Sprague would have got to the truth if he had remained as director of the HSCA? What are your views on his replacement, Robert Blakey? Has Sprague made any recent comments on the JFK assassination?

I'm pretty certain we would have gotten a LOT closer to the truth had Sprague remained HSCA counsel, because he was tough and uncompromising and ready to travel roads that his successor, Blakey, was not. (I'm specifically talking about the CIA's role in the Oswald saga). I'm not out to impugn Blakey's integrity, but let's face it - the Mob-fellas-did-it scenario is a bit too pat and in keeping with America's good guys-bad guys mentality that avoids the harsher realities. I am not aware of any recent comments Sprague may have made about the HSCA or the assassination.

I have excerpted some of the more appropriate parts of Dick's interview with Sprague at my JFKCountercoup2, where I post information and sources that I am using in other articles as a reference.

JFKCountercoup2: Dick Russell Interview with Richard A. Sprague

For the complete interview, buy the book.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...