Key Lockerbie Witness
Les Coleman -
'I Got My Integrity Back'
From Rumor Mill News <>
From Rayelan --
I received this from Doretta this morning --- As soon as she knows more, she will keep us posted. I want to thank all of you for taking the time to write letters to Judge Platt. I believe your letters changed his heart.
Please take the time to write a letter to Les. If you can afford it, please send him a postal money order. He will need money to supplement food, and if he gets out in a month, he will need money to get back to Kentucky.
Lester Coleman ID #47321-019 Metropolitan Detention Center 100 29th Street Brooklyn, NY 11232
Thank you --
From Doretta --
Les called this evening. The hearing of this morning lasting three hours. Present were Les and his attorney, the plaintiff (US gov) represented by Special Agent David Edward, plaintiff's attorney. Also present was a representative from the Department of Justice whose name Les was not able to determine. This fellow sat in the back of the courtroom observing the proceeding.
Who else do you suppose was present? Two old prosecutorial friends. The prosecutor in Les's Kentucky trial. And the federal probation officer from Kentucky.
The FBI took the trouble and expense of transporting these witnesses from Kentucky to the Uniondale courtroom.
The prosecution harped on Les's testimony in the Kentucky trial, contending that he renounced his affidavit and discussed the Pan Am 103 trial against the mandate of Judge Platt. They insisted on a maximum sentence of two years.
But Judge Platt wasn't moved by their argument. He said that he would not sentence Les on the basis of anything remotely to do with the Pan Am 103 affidavit or trial. He would sentence Les solely on the basis of his "violation" of the supervised release. (As you know, the fact that Les was arrested and convicted of a crime in Kentucky constitutes a violation of his release terms.)
Les was allowed to read, word for word, the transcript of his 1997 meeting with public defender Abraham Clott and his supervisor before the court. This transcript is now part of the public record. It contains evidence that Les was coerced by his public defense team to plead guilty to the perjury charges, as well as his emotional trauma and previous medical neglect/mistreatment. I believe it was presented to support Les's claim that he has no memory of pleading guilty to perjury. Judge Platt has accepted this claim as a fact.
Les put it aptly: "I got my integrity back."
Platt gave Les a sentence of 10 months in prison. Les and his attorney believe this sentence is retroactive to September 1999. If this is true, Les will be released on July 3, 2000. If the sentence will not credit him for time already served, however, he will be held until next February.
By Saturday I should know when his release date will be.
Les told me that Agent Edward was visibly outraged by the relative lightness of this sentence. He described Edward as "apoplectic."
Les truly believes that Platt was moved by the content of the many letters he received from members of Raye's group. That could very well be true. Without those letters, Platt might have taken everything the plaintiffs said at face value. But I also think Platt knows he went too far with his original sentence, and wishes to wash his hands of the matter.
Paul Rinaldo told Les that if he's called to testify in the Lockerbie trial, there is little the FBI can now do to muffle him. I know there's still the matter of a charge issued via the Chicago court. Perhaps Mike can better explain this particular issue.
I would have been happier if the sentence were lighter. The idea of Les in prison for even one more month disturbs me deeply. But Les is satisfied that this was the best outcome he could have hoped for. And he credits all of his friends and supporters with making it possible.
Paul Rinaldo, Les's attorney, will be issuing Les a transcript of this hearing, which he will make available to all of us.
I'll let you know more once I hear from Les on Saturday. For now, heartfelt gratitude to all of you from Les.
"Doretta _____
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