News From Indian County Allows
Peltier to Withdraw Lawsuit
Reserve, Wisconsin - Responding to a motion filed May 25, 2004, by Leonard Peltier's attorney Barry Bachrach to enforce a settlement agreement in the Eighth U.S. District Court of Claims in Minneapolis, Minnesota, between convicted prisoner Leonard Peltier and Paul DeMain, editor of News From Indian Country, the following letter was released today, and filed with the federal court.
The original lawsuit was filed by Leonard Peltier on May 1, 2003, based on statements published in News From Indian Country on March 10, 2003. Those statements included the following, "As editor of News From Indian Country, I stand by our credible and trusted sources, and my present belief, that the primary motive for the murder of Annie Mae Pictou-Aquash by other members of the American Indian Movement in Mid-December 1975, allegedly was her knowledge that Leonard Peltier had shot the two agents, as he was convicted."
Those statements have not been retracted by Paul DeMain, or News From Indian Country as part of the agreement by News From Indian Country to allow Mr. Peltier to withdraw his lawsuit.
"From the beginning of this lawsuit, until its withdrawal, I have felt the lawsuit was frivolous and without merit, and represented an assault on the constitutional right to freedom of speech and the search for truth and justice in Annie Mae's case," said Paul DeMain.
In addition, News From Indian Country has published accounts aired by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in which an interrogation of Annie Mae Pictou-Aquash was conducted by Peltier during June of 1975, and related the testimony of KaMook Nicols , at Arlo Looking Cloud's murder trial on February, 4, 2004, in which Nicols testified that Peltier had bragged to her and Annie Mae Pictou-Aquash about shooting both agents at close range.
Peltier's attorney, Barry Bachrach, on October 3 notified the federal court that he would subpoena W.O. Brown, a pathologist who has been dead for over ten years, to testify against DeMain and at least four FBI agents, including David Price, and William Wood, as plaintiff witnesses, a list of government agents that surprised even some of Peltier's own supporters.
"At every turn in this case, including the most recent diatribe about filing a motion to compel News From Indian Country to agree to have the case dismissed, Peltier's attorney, and public relations representative Harvey Arden have utilized the lawsuit for publicity stunts to attract media attention to a waning cause," said DeMain.
"The day Leonard Peltier shows remorse and takes responsibility for his actions of June 26, 1975, rather than just showing remorse to the cameras for what happened, is the day Leonard Peltier will begin to regain the credibility amongst those people I have known to support him in the past. His continued support of John Graham's fight against extradition to the United States to stand trial for the 1st degree murder of Annie Mae speaks volumes about Peltier's continued fear of the emerging truth in her case. "
DeMain continued, "My great-great-great-grandfather, Captain Honyere Doxtator, who fought with George Washington against the British, killed British soldiers as part of his responsibilities as a warrior of the Oneida Nation. He didn't claim to be back in the longhouse saving the children when the battles took place."
Dear Mr. Bachrach:
I have agreed to make the following statement on issues discussed previously with Robert Robideau, and allow Mr. Peltier to withdraw his lawsuit against me and News From Indian Country.
As I was prepared to allow your office to conduct the last two previous depositions scheduled and cancelled at your request, I believe the following material lives up to the spirit of our joint discussions on the matter, and as agreed to by you in previous emails.
Whatever our differences about other issues, I agree with Leonard Peltier that there have been numerous instances of questionable conduct by the FBI and other law enforcement agencies in connection with prosecution of Native Americans in this country. I also agree that the legal, social, and political environment prevailing on the Pine Ridge Reservation during the 1970s could be legitimately compared to a war zone. In my opinion, there has also been widespread misconduct in the judicial system historically with respect to cases involving Native Americans.
More particularly, I do not believe that Leonard Peltier received a fair trial in connection with the murders of which he was convicted. Certainly he is entitled to one. Nor do I believe, according to the evidence and testimony I now have, that Mr. Peltier had any involvement in the death of Anna Mae Aquash.
I understand that Mr. Peltier has agreed to withdraw his lawsuit against News from Indian Country and me, and will ask the Court to dismiss the lawsuit in its entirety, with prejudice (i.e., none of his claims may be pursued later). Thank you for your assistance in resolving this matter.Paul DeMain, Editor
News From Indian Country