- The Washington Times - Friday, January 14, 2011

As pro bono attorneys for Jonathan Pollard, we never cease to be amazed at how those hostile to Pollard feel compelled to invent facts. Evidently, these adversaries recognize that the actual facts are not sufficient to justify keepingPollard in prison any longer. Most recently, in the Jan. 5 issue of The Washington Times, Joseph DiGenova, the U.S. attorney who prosecuted Pollard, made false and inflammatory allegations inconsistent with, and in some respects directly contradicted by, the public court record (“Netanyahu seeks pardon for Pollard,” Page 1).

For example, Mr. DiGenova claims that Pollard received about $500,000 per year from Israel. However, this allegation is nowhere to be found in the court documents signed and publicly filed by Mr. DiGenova while the case was ongoing. Indeed, the sentencing judge did not even impose a fine on Pollard. Twenty-five years after the fact, Mr. DiGenova seems to have invented this claim for the purpose of trying to impede the powerful wave of support for Pollard’s release.

Mr. DiGenova’s insistence that Pollard remain in prison for life is likewise inconsistent with the fact that in 1986, after conducting an extremely thorough six-month investigation, Mr. DiGenova signed a plea agreement in which he agreed not to ask the sentencing judge to impose the maximum sentence of life in prison.

Mr. DiGenova is not the only person with knowledge of Pollard’s case. A growing roster of distinguished former government officials have called for his release. These include George Shultz, who served as secretary of state at the time of the case; former Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey; former Sen. Dennis DeConcini; former CIA Director James Woolsey; and Lawrence J. Korb, who served as assistant secretary of defense under Caspar Weinberger at the time of the case. In 1987, Weinberger demanded that the judge impose a life sentence. Years later, however, he described the case as “a very minor matter, but made very important. … It was made far bigger than its actual importance.”


In the face of growing support for Pollard’s release, Mr. DiGenova apparently feels the need to make his opposing views heard. He is entitled to his opinion, but not to invent facts. That he feels a need to do so underscores that the actual facts can no longer justify keeping Jonathan Pollard behind bars.

ELIOT LAUER

JACQUES SEMMELMAN

Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle, LLP

New York