What follows is a review of the NPPA letter sent to former United States Attorney James Reynolds on 11/6/17 along with a brief telephone call on 11/27/17. To be clear at the outset, Mr. Reynolds is entitled to exercise his First Amendment right to free speech, as are we to challenge his questionable public statements.
The text of the telephone call is set forth below (Footnote #1).
By way of background and as a follow-up to the previous NPPA blog, Mr. Reynolds was sent a letter on November 6th asking specific questions concerning his public statements in an undated letter to President Obama and an interview with the New York Daily News. (Fn. 2).
The NPPA letter offered Mr. Reynolds the opportunity to respond to the following questions: (Fn. 3)
-His justification for believing that justice is served with Peltier only serving 20 ½ years, each, for the brutal murder of two already severely wounded FBI Agents.
-To clarify the critical statement to the New York Daily News that “we may have shaved a few corner(s) here and there” regarding Peltier’s conviction and appeals, and as a result, impugning the reputation of at least former United States Attorney Evan Hultman.
Reynolds should answer these questions for the following reasons:
1) “Reynolds claims to have ‘directed Hultman’s handling of the appeal of Leonard Peltier.’
Statement of Lynn E. Crooks, Retired Assistant United States Attorney, North Dakota.
"This claim is a gross misstatement of the record. The trial record being in Fargo, ND it was only logical that I be given primary responsibility for assigning and coordinating research projects with other members of the trial team and then preparing the first drafts of the Government’s responses to the murderer’s arguments. In doing so I had numerous conversations with Mr. Hultman and all other members of the trial team, as well as my own United States Attorney. Other than small stylish changes there were no substantial changes that I can recall being made to the agreed upon drafts which were prepared in this fashion. I had no conversations of any kind with Mr. Reynolds. To the best of my knowledge he contributed nothing what-so-ever to what went into the final brief on Direct Appeal or into any of the subsequent government briefs resisting Peltier’s numerous attempts to obtain Post Conviction Relief.” (Emphasis added)
2) On December 7, 2017 former United States Attorney Evan Hultman was contacted and advised of the content of Reynolds’ letter and media interview. Because of a critical family matter Mr. Hultman advised that he would formally respond when able. However, his initial reaction concerning Reynolds was extremely negative.
3) Reynolds’ letter to President Obama appears as a “Press Release” on the Peltier website. (Fn. 4) (Reynolds provides his claimed authority to speak in favor of clemency as the former U.S. Attorney who allegedly “directed” the handling of Peltier’s appeals).
4) On the Internet, Peltier supporters have quoted Reynolds’ New York Daily News statement that “we may have shaved a few corner(s) here and there.”
5) Reynolds public statements to the media may provide the new Peltier legal team with an avenue to pursue regarding Peltier’s conviction and failed appeals.
* * *
We only have Mr. Reynolds public statements to hint at his motivation to become a shill for the Peltier camp. At what point he decided to support Peltier is unknown. Perhaps he ignored, forgot, or wasn’t knowledgeable of the voluminous legal proceedings and documentation in the Peltier case, but then conceivably became enamored and then sucked into the murk of Peltier myth and folklore.
However, Reynolds did take that step perhaps understanding he was going against his own conscience, best judgment, and fidelity to his former position and colleagues by stating “I know I’m going against company policy, as they say.”
Reynolds public statements called into question Peltier’s conviction and appeals by suggesting, “corners” were “shaved” and by doing so, assailed the integrity and reputation of the federal prosecutors, and by implication, himself as well. Which brings us back to the initial premise: If Reynolds had any information of this sort, where has he been for the past twenty-five or so years and why did it take him this long to crawl out of the woodwork? Peltier had other clemency and parole opportunities, but by all accounts, Reynolds remained mute.
Reynolds public position for Peltier can be viewed in two ways: supporting clemency (commutation of sentence) and the issue of Peltier’s guilt or innocence.
Claiming that it’s a matter of Peltier’s age and time served rings hollow.
Reynolds commented that, “But at this point, we’ve got 40 years on him, 40 pounds of flesh, maybe it’s time to let him go ... I don’t think keeping him in there will make society a better place."
Forty pounds may be a little generous and perhaps it is possible that the bloated figure I sat next to at Lewisburg Penitentiary in 2009 may no longer be a physical threat, but then there’s the matter of justice and society is always better served when justice is the final outcome. (Fn.5)
As for Peltier’s age and health, perhaps Mr. Reynolds should consider the alternative. Facing, as we all must, the inevitable challenges of aging, with Reynolds now approaching his 79th year, or, at age twenty-eight being critically wounded and then having his face blown off? Doubtful Reynolds would choose the latter.
Calling into question the handling of Peltier’s conviction and appeals, by implication and inference, could suggest that Reynolds may also support Peltier’s spurious claims over the years. A few for instance:
“I can’t believe that the FBI intended the deaths of their own agents…they didn’t even have a warrant for his arrest—nor does it jibe with the fact that scores, even hundreds, of FBI agents, federal marshals, BIA police, and GOONS were all lying in wait in the immediate vicinity.” A lie! (Fn. 6)
“There were dozens, maybe hundreds, of FBI, local lawmen, GOONs, and white vigilantes out there, suddenly appearing within minutes as if from out of nowhere…” A Lie! (Fn. 7)
“I fired a few shots above their heads, not trying to hit anything or anyone…” A lie! (Fn. 8)
“I didn’t see their agents die, had no hand in it, would have done anything to stop it had I only known in time…” A Lie! (Fn. 9)
“…(Law enforcement) had been gathering in the area for a planned paramilitary assault on the Pine Ridge reservation…This raid had obviously been preplanned. Maybe they figured they could come in and finish us off after the two agents had drawn our fire, giving them the excuse they needed.” A lie! (Fn. 10)
“This story is true.” (Peltier’s only alibi, that the phantom Mr. X killed the agents and drove off in the infamous red pickup.) A Lie! (Fn.11)
And there is so much more.
* * *
Mr. Reynolds ended our brief telephone conversation with:
“Well you’re an interloper in this whole thing, dancing on these guy’s graves and I don’t think it’s very appropriate.”
Interloper? Apparently Mr. Reynolds doesn’t understand the meaning of the term.
By definition an interloper is a person who becomes involved in a place or situation where they are not wanted or are considered not to belong.
Reynolds alleged personal involvement in the Peltier case—as questionable as it may be—is at least a quarter century in the past. Where has he been concerning Peltier since the early 1980s and did he harbor any affirmative feelings towards Peltier when he allegedly had the opportunity and authority to say so? Reynolds, an interloper, now materializes at this point in time.
Here’s the difference: This writer was in the FBI for nearly three decades and after meeting Jack Coler’s youngest son and witnessing all the misinformation Peltier had posted on the Internet and in the public domain—that was unchallenged up to that point—something had to be done. Peltier’s denigration of the memory and sacrifice of two young Agents brutally murdered in the line of duty—for which he was convicted—prompted taking up the cause to honor their memory.
As fellow Agents, whom I never met, challenging and exposing Peltier’s years of fabrications and outright lies, Mr. Reynolds, is “appropriate.”
No, Mr. Reynolds, their memory here has been sustained. However, it is more telling that someone in your previous position and who publically supported clemency for a convicted brutal double murderer, makes you the one who is dancing on these guy’s graves.
And for the record, so perhaps you will remember, their names are,
Jack R. Coler and Ronald A. Williams.
“In the Spirit of Coler and Williams”
Mr. Reynolds, take a few moments and meet Jack and Ron:
“Remembering FBI Special Agents Jack Coler and Ron Williams”
Video produced by the Society of Former Agents of the FBI
1) Telephone conversation on November 27, 2017:
James Reynolds (JR): Hello.
Ed Woods (EW): James?
EW: Hi, this is Ed Woods, I wrote you a letter on November sixth regarding Leonard Peltier and I just wanted to make sure you received it.
JR: I did.
EW: OK, would you care to make any responses to the questions I raised?
EW: Well, you took a pretty strong stance for clemency for Peltier with your letter and your interview with the Daily News, so are you in a position to back up some of the claims that you made?
JR: I’m not going to discuss it with you; I don’t know why I should.
EW: Well, I think you should because as a former U.S. Attorney…
JR: Well you’re an interloper in this whole thing, dancing on these guy’s graves and I don’t think it’s very appropriate.
(From notes taken during the conversation and transcribed immediately thereafter.)
2) New York Daily News interview, Tuesday January 3, 2017.
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/ex-u-s-attorney-backs-leonard-peltier-bid-clemency-article-1.2933475 (Last accessed 12/4/17)
(Press release with Reynolds’ letter; Last accessed 12/4/17: Peltier’s then attorneys Marty Garbus and Cindy Dunne offer the typically skewed version of the Peltier case, but two things stand out; for a not so apparent reason, while quoting James Reynolds, they make no mention of the elephant in the room (shaved a few corners…), and then they dredge up very tired old news about 8th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Gerald Heaney. Judge Heaney did offer his opinion about freeing Peltier, but they would dare not tell the rest of the Heaney story; http://wwwnoparolepeltiercom-justice.blogspot.com/2017/10/peltier-heaney-factor.html
6) http://www.noparolepeltier.com/timing.html Ron Williams calling for assistance on the FBI radio:
Footnotes 6 through 10, quotes taken from Peltier’s autobiorgraphy Prison Writings, with additional references.
http://www.noparolepeltier.com/585.html (Paragraph 4)
8) Peltier admits for the first time in a televised 60 Minutes interview with Steve Kroft that he fired “at” the Agents. http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xc9ofu (Last accessed 12/3/17)
9) http://www.noparolepeltier.com/judge.pdf Peltier’s conviction and review and details regarding Judge Heaney. http://www.noparolepeltier.com/585.html (Direct Appeal: note the names of Evan L. Hultman and Lynn E. Crooks)
http://www.noparolepeltier.com/debate.html#amazon, Peltier’s alibis.
10) The fallacy of a preplanned raid. The “Sanctioned Memo:”
11) The lie of Mr. X: Quote from Peltier in the film Incident at Oglala.
(Note: To all the loyal NPPA supporters, thank you, and even the Peltier supporters who are on the NPPA emails lists, best to all for a healthy and Happy New Year. )