Ellsberg's Attorney Helps Agnew and Hunt Defenses
Charles R. Nesson '60, professor of Law, who defended Daniel Ellsberg '52 in the Pentagon papers trial, said yesterday that he has received requests for assistance from lawyers representing both former Vice President Spiro T. Agnew and E. Howard Hunt.
Nesson said that he supplied the attorneys with information on motions made in Ellsberg's defense as a matter of professional courtesy since the briefs he gave them are now a matter of public record.
Hunt's lawyers used the information when they filed for withdrawal of Hunt's guilty plea and dismissal of his indictment for the Watergate burglary. They claimed government misconduct in Hunt's prosecution because of the destruction of papers in his safe.
The Ellsberg case was dismissed because of the burglary of Ellsberg's psychiatrist's office by Hunt and G. Gordon Liddy. This constituted governmental misconduct, Nesson said.
Hunt's attorney, Sidney Sachs, noted the irony in using arguments arising from Hunt's actions in the Pentagon papers case as a precedent in trying to free him, said Nesson.
Attorneys for Agnew asked for copies of motions which had been filed by Nesson in his attempt to stop a Boston grand jury from investigation the leaking of the Pentagon papers, the law school professor said.
Efforts were made by Agnew's attorneys to halt the Baltimore grand jury investigation of the former vice president's financial affairs.
Nesson said yesterday that he was not informed as to whether the information was used in Agnew's defense or whether Agnew was aware that his attorneys had requested it.
"I was amused in the extreme," Nesson said of the requests by Agnew and Hunt lawyers. "I would have had plenty of misgivings had they asked for any advice or work product that hadn't already been filed."
Nesson said he did not regard his cooperation with the attorneys as aiding the defense of either Agnew or Hunt, but as an act of courtesy between lawyers to save trouble.