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Popkin Up Against The Wall


By Richard J. Meislin

There are only two days left And no one seems to know what will happen.

With the U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals' quick and uncommonly forceful rejection yesterday of a limited agreement by Samuel L. Popkin, assistant professor of Government, there seem to be only two possible conclusions to the long-running series of trials: answers or prison.

Yesterday's action is the second severe disappointment to Popkin and his attorneys in the past eight days. Only last Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to grant a stay so that Popkin could petition to have his case heard by them. Their rejection of his request effectively shattered any hope of further appeal.

So all that remains now, it seems, is action by the Federal District Court, where the entire process began last March That court, according to U.S. Attorney Warren P Reese, could on its own volition revoke Popkin's bond and place him behind bars for up to 18 months.

Important to note is the cause for the appeals court rejection of his stipulation his use of the government's own brief to the Supreme Court to emphasize what ne has been claiming all along--that he should not be forced to reveal confidential sosurces of information.

The government's brief had stated that the grand jury's questions ask only for the "disclosure of personal contact with fellow scholars concerning ther mechanics of the production and dissemination of the 'Pentagon Papers' study," and that "the witness in questioned not about his sources but merely about conversations with other scholars."

Popkin's stipulation said, in effect, that if that was the limit of the government's interest, he would answer; however, he added that "my refusals have always been directed toward questions requiring disclosure of confidential sources of a sensitive nature, not those relating merely to other scholars."

Thus he agreed to answer, but implied that he would provide little or no information not already given.

Popkin appears to be up against the wall. And there is very little time remaining for him to get down.

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