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Summary of Prosecutions Summary of Non-Prosecutions




Summary of Prosecutions


The National Security Staff

Name

Charges

Outcomes

Sentencing

Robert McFarlane
(national security adviser)

Charged with 4 misdemeanor counts of withholding information from Congress.

Pleaded guilty to all 4 counts. Then cooperated with the investigation.

2 years’ probation, $20,000 in fines and 200 hours community service. Pardoned.

Oliver North
(NSC staff)

Indicted on 12 counts, including conspiracy and making false statements.

Convicted of 3 charges: accepting a gratuity, aiding in the obstruction of Congress, and destroying documents. Given a suspended 3-year prison term, 2 years’ probation, $150,000 in fines, and 1,200 hours of community service.

A court of appeals vacated his conviction for further proceedings to determine whether his immunized testimony influenced witnesses. The judge dismissed the case based on evidence that it had.

John Poindexter
(national security adviser)

Indicted on 7 felony charges; stood trial on 5 of them.

Found guilty of 2 counts of false statements, 2 of obstructing Congress, and conspiracy. Given 6 months in prison for each count, to be served concurrently.

A court of appeals vacated his conviction since his immunized testimony may have influenced witnesses. The case was dismissed.



The Private Operatives

Name

Charges

Outcomes

Sentencing

Richard Secord
(Head of the Enterprise)

Indicted on 9 counts relating to his gifts to an official, secret foreign accounts, and obstruction of investigations.

He pleaded guilty to 1 felony count of false statements to Congress.

2 years’ probation.

Albert Hakim
(Head of the Enterprise)

Charged with supplementing an official’s salary.

Pleaded guilty to giving money to North.

2 years’ probation and a $5,000 fine.

Thomas Clines
(Businessman in the Enterprise)

Indicted on 4 felony counts of falsely reporting his earnings to the IRS in 1985 and 1986.

Found guilty for both underreporting earnings and for stating on tax returns that he had no foreign accounts.

16 months in prison and $40,000 in fines. He was ordered to pay the cost of the prosecution.

Carl Channell
(fundraiser)

Charged with conspiracy to defraud the U.S.

Pleaded guilty.

2 years’ probation.

Richard Miller
(fundraiser)

Charged with conspiracy to defraud the U.S.

Pleaded guilty.

2 years’ probation and 120 hours of community service.



The Central Intelligence Agency

Name

Charges

Outcomes

Sentencing

Clair George
(deputy director for operations)

In his first trial, which ended in a mistrial, he was indicted on 10 counts of perjury, false statements, and obstruction.

In a second trial, he was found guilty of 2 out of 7 counts: making false statements and perjury before Congress.

Pardoned before sentencing.

Duane Clarridge
(European Division, chief)

Indicted on 7 counts of perjury and false statements about a shipment of U.S. missiles to Iran.

No trial took place.

Preemptively pardoned.

Alan Fiers, Jr.
(Central American Task Force, chief)

Indicted on 2 counts of withholding information from Congress about aid to the Contras.

Pleaded guilty.

1 year of probation and 100 hours of community service. Pardoned.

Joseph Fernandez
(CIA station chief in San Jose, Costa Rica)

Indicted on 5 counts of conspiracy to defraud the U.S., obstruction of the Tower Commission, and making false statements.

The case was dismissed in D.C. As a result, a 4-count indictment was issued in Virginia (the conspiracy change was dropped.)

The case was dismissed after the attorney general refused to mandate the disclosure of information relevant to the defense.



The Department of State

Name

Charges

Outcomes

Sentencing

Elliott Abrams
(assistant secretary for inter-American affairs)

Indicted on 2 counts of withholding information from Congress about secret efforts to support the Contras.

Pleaded guilty.

Sentenced to 2 years’ probation and 100 hours of community service. Pardoned.



The Department of Defense

Name

Charges

Outcomes

Sentencing

Caspar Weinberger
(secretary of defense)

Indicted on 5 counts of perjury, making false statements, and obstruction.

No trial took place.

Preemptively pardoned.






Summary of Non-Prosecutions

The Independent Counsel investigated a number of government officials that he decided not to prosecute for a variety of reasons. Here you can find information about those investigations and the reasons that Walsh chose not to bring charges.



The National Security Council Staff

Name

Reasons for Investigating

Reasons for Not Prosecuting

Paul Thompson
(NSC general counsel)

His false assertions that he did not know of a certain presidential Finding or about the destruction of documents seriously obstructed the investigation.

The passage of time since the events, Thompson's peripheral role overall, and the development of strong cases against more central government officials.

Fawn Hall
(Oliver North's secretary)

Knew about North’s activities, but not the details. Helped him shred and alter documents that showed he had violated the Boland Amendments.

Hall was given immunity in exchange for testimony about North’s activities.

Robert Earl
(Subordinate to North)

Helped North calculate the marked-up prices of the arms sold to Iran, knowing that the profits would go to the Contras.

Earl was given immunity in exchange for testimony about North’s activities.



The Central Intelligence Agency

Name

Reasons for Investigating

Reasons for Not Prosecuting

William Casey
(CIA director)

Allegations of wrongdoing made about him by others, most prominently North.

Hospitalized before IC was appointed. Died in 1987.

Robert Gates
(acting director of central intelligence)

Testified falsely about when he first learned about the Diversion (received a report on it during the summer of 1986 from CIA official Richard Kerr). Also helped prepare Casey’s false testimony.

Gates claimed that he did not recall the meeting. IC was not confident in Kerr's testimony. Also, Gates may not have known Casey’s speech was false.



The Department of State

Name

Reasons for Investigating

Reasons for Not Prosecuting

George Shultz
(secretary of state)

Shultz had known significantly more about arms shipments to Iran than his testimony reflected.

IC could not prove that his testimony was deliberately false when given.

M. Charles Hill
(Shultz’s executive assistant)

Hill withheld notes and helped prepare inaccurate testimony regarding Shultz's knowledge of arms transfers to Iran.

IC believed it would not be appropriate to prosecute Hill, since Shultz was not the subject of prosecution.

Nicholas Platt
(State executive secretary)

Like Hill, Platt failed to produce a large quantity of relevant handwritten notes to Iran-Contra investigators.

Platt's notes were far more fragmentary in general. He also prepared no testimony.

Edwin Corr
(ambassador to El Salvador)

Gave false testimony and also withheld documents. Under a grant of immunity he provided hundreds of documents, but continued to give false testimony about meeting with Secord and North.

The witnesses against him recanted their testimony. IC believed that investigating Caspar Weinberger and other State officials was more worthwhile.



The Department of Defense

Name

Reasons for Investigating

Reasons for Not Prosecuting

Richard Armitage (assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs)

Falsely testified that he did not learn of a number of missile shipments to Iran until CIA Director William Casey’s testimony in 1986.

The evidence against Armitage was substantial, but not enough to prove beyond a reasonable doubt.



The White House

Name

Reasons for Investigating

Reasons for Not Prosecuting

Ronald Reagan (president)

Set the stage for the illegal activities of others by encouraging support for the Contras during the October 1984 to October 1986 period when the Boland Amendments banned such aid.

There was no proof Reagan authorized or was aware of the Diversion or that he had knowledge of the extent of North's control over the Contra-resupply network.

George Bush
(vice president)

Contrary to his public pronouncements, he was aware of the arms sales to Iran.

No evidence proved that he violated laws or that he was aware of the Diversion.

Edwin Meese III (attorney general)

His “inquiry” was a damage-control exercise, not an effort to find the facts. Even after learning of the Diversion, Meese failed to secure records in NSC staff offices or protect evidence. In reporting to Reagan and his senior advisers, Meese lied about what he had been told by stating that Reagan did not know about the 1985 shipments, which Meese said might have been illegal.

Statute of limitations had run out on his 1986 activities. In 1992, Meese denied recollection of the statements attributed to him by both Weinberger’s and Regan’s notes. Enough time has passed to raise doubt about the deliberate falsity of his denials.

Donald Gregg (National security adviser to George Bush)

Investigated for possible false testimony regarding his knowledge of Felix Rodriguez's involvement in North's Contra operation.

Despite conflicts between documentary evidence and witness testimony, IC could not prove a criminal case against Gregg beyond a reasonable doubt.

Donald Regan
(White House chief of staff)

Attended Reagan’s national security briefings each morning and was present during the most significant meetings among Iran-Contra principals. May have participated in the November 1986 cover-up of Reagan’s knowledge and approval of the November 1985 HAWK missile shipment

Evidence of the apparent cover-up was only found in 1992. When asked about these events, he was honest and helpful. When his notes were subpoenaed in late 1991, he cooperated then as well.