1997-06-02, Jean Duffey: Action Alert
Date: Mon, 2 Jun 1997 12:33:07 -0700
From: Allen Comstock <email@example.com>
Subject: ciadrugs] Updates & Action Alert!
My task force officers and I fought the dirty political machine in Arkansas as hard we could in 1990, but it was a losing battle. Even though a leaked federal memo named Dan Harmon the target of a federal drug and corruption investigation, the media supported Harmon for district prosecutor. And even though a federal grand jury was unanimously ready to indict Harmon, U.S. Attorney Chuck Banks cleared him. I was personally discredited and professionally destroyed, and Harmon inherited my task force when he became prosecutor.
He set up his office as an extortion and drug ring. An FBI agent told me they "have known about Harmon for years but are not going to do anything about it." However, by 1995, Harmon's criminal behavior had become blatant and he got careless. His now ex-wife, Holly DuVall, got caught outside Harmon's jurisdiction with cocaine packages from the district's evidence locker. The local paper ran a story, and the feds were forced to make a big show.
A year and a half later, Harmon was indicted on racketeering charges, an appearance that something significant was happening, but that changed by the end of the first week of Harmon's trial. I've not been in Arkansas but have talked daily with others who have watched the trail, including Linda Ives.
The reports are frustrating. The government's case is based primarily on indicted witnesses who have been given leniency in exchange for their testimony - a built-in defense for Harmon. This was absolutely unnecessary. The indictment could have gone back ten years (to 1987) and included ALL the witnesses provided to the 1990 grand jury. Those witnesses included an attorney, a secretary, two of Harmon's ex-girlfriends, another ex-wife, and at least two friends. Not one of them were indicted for anything, and each had various testimony about Harmon's illegal drug activity, yet the government chose to ignore them. There is no excuse for them having a weak case against Harmon, now.
If Harmon wins in the courtroom, he will win big in the media, which has already portrayed him as the victim of over-zealous feds. His hometown paper does not even attempt to appear unbiased. Their associate editor, Lynda Hollenbeck, threw her arms around Harmon in an emotional embrace on his first day in trial. Her article that day is typical: http://www.idmedia.com/courier-jury-selection.htm As far as the rest of the state's media, they wouldn't know news if it reached out and bit them - which it did Friday.
As head of Arkansas's Parents of Murdered Children, Linda Ives has watched countless criminal trials. She knows ineffective prosecution when she sees it, and Friday's proceedings nearly brought her to tears. When court was dismissed, she walked outside where the media cameras were waiting to interview Harmon. She sat quietly to the side on a retaining wall while Harmon crowed about how well the trail was going for him. When the interview was completed, Harmon turned to Linda, smirked, and bade her with a drawled, "Well, hello Ms. Ives." Harmon did not expect a response, but he got one.
Linda flew off the retaining wall, and yelled, "You SOB, you should be on trial for murder and you know it." Everyone was momentarily stunned, then Harmon took off without responding. Linda bolted after him - cameras and crew in-tow - insisting that he participate in the exchange he started. Harmon did not respond, and most remarkably, neither did the media. Not one question. No one asked, "What is she talking about, Mr. Harmon?" "What murder?" "Who is she?" "Why don't you respond to her?" Of course, they knew the answers, which is why they didn't ask. They also ignored Linda. This incredibly newsworthy encounter was a non-story in the Arkansas media.
So, should we bombard them with e-mail. No, I think not. It would make them look like fools to report it now. We need to get other media sources to make them look like fools. If you know of a reporter or news program that would be interested in this story, please feel free to contact them. Linda or I will be happy to give interviews. We can be contacted through our website. http://www.idmedia.com/
And by all means, if you have not yet sent a fax or e-mail to the Wall Street Journal, as requested in the previous "Action Alert," please do that NOW!!! Of all the things that will be most effective, supporting Micah Morrison will be the greatest. If you missed that "Action Alert," go to: http://www.idmedia.com/comments.htm
Thank you to everyone who responds to my "Action Alerts." Sending a few sentences via e-mail may seem insignificant, but don't underestimate the power of public opinion on the media.
I'm heading for Arkansas as soon as I forward this to Mark, who will be sending it on to you. I'll be attending the trial each day and will update you with any significant occurrences.
Regards to all,
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