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Two notables look for legal relief

JONATHAN POLLARD: Man who sold secrets to Israel wants his life sentence reduced.

By Associated Press
© St. Petersburg Times
published September 3, 2003

WASHINGTON - Jonathan Pollard, given a life sentence for selling military secrets to Israel, appeared in public for the first time in 16 years Tuesday as his lawyers tried to help him win early release.

Pollard looked heavier and grayer than the man who stood in the same courthouse and admitted espionage in 1987. He did not speak as his lawyers argued the government should be forced to turn over secret files that could help his request for clemency.

"Jonathan Pollard is sitting here in court today. He asks only for justice and a fair sentencing, as guaranteed by our Constitution," attorney Jacques Semmelman said. "He has not had that."

Government lawyers argued that another judge was right to reject Pollard's claims and he should not be allowed to press the case further.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan did not immediately rule on Pollard's requests.

Pollard, 49, was a civilian intelligence analyst for the Navy when he copied and gave to his Israeli handlers enough classified documents to fill a walk-in closet. He was not paid when his spying began in 1984, but acknowledged that Israel later began paying him a few thousand dollars a month.

Pollard was caught in November 1985 and arrested after unsuccessfully seeking refuge at the Israeli embassy.

JOHN HINCKLEY JR.: Man who shot Reagan wants to visit his parents without hospital staff.

WASHINGTON - John Hinckley Jr., who shot President Reagan 22 years ago, will have a chance this fall to persuade a federal judge to allow him to visit his parents without being accompanied by psychiatric hospital staff.

Hinckley, 48, has been a patient at St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington since his acquittal by reason of insanity in the shooting of Reagan and three others outside a Washington hotel in March 1981. Hinckley said he shot the president to impress actor Jodie Foster.

U.S. District Court Judge Paul Friedman on Tuesday set Nov. 3 or Nov. 17 for the start of hearings on whether Hinckley should be allowed to have unsupervised visits with his parents. The date will depend on when two government-appointed doctors who have examined Hinckley can testify.

Lawyer Barry Levine made the request in March that Hinckley be allowed 10 unsupervised visits with his parents at their home in the Williamsburg, Va., area. Five would be overnight trips.

With Hinckley and his parents in the courtroom, Levine said Tuesday five doctors had examined his client and concluded "Mr. Hinckley, if released, will not be a danger to himself and others."

The government has opposed Hinckley's request, citing a "history of deception and violence." The U.S. attorney's office for the District of Columbia had no comment after Tuesday's hearing.

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