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Title: Oral History Interview with Daniel H. Pollitt, April 11, 1991. Interview L-0064-8. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Pollitt, Daniel H., interviewee
Interview conducted by McColl, Ann
Funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this interview.
Text encoded by Jennifer Joyner
Sound recordings digitized by Aaron Smithers Southern Folklife Collection
First edition, 2008
Size of electronic edition: 92 Kb
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2008.
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The electronic edition is a part of the UNC-Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South.
Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2008-00-00, Celine Noel, Wanda Gunther, and Kristin Martin revised TEIHeader and created catalog record for the electronic edition.
2008-02-19, Jennifer Joyner finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of recording: Oral History Interview with Daniel H. Pollitt, April 11, 1991. Interview L-0064-8. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series L. University of North Carolina. Southern Oral History Program Collection (L-0064-8)
Author: Ann McColl
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Daniel H. Pollitt, April 11, 1991. Interview L-0064-8. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series L. University of North Carolina. Southern Oral History Program Collection (L-0064-8)
Author: Daniel H. Pollitt
Description: 102 Mb
Description: 26 p.
Note: Interview conducted on April 11, 1991, by Ann McColl; recorded in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Note: Transcribed by Unknown.
Note: Forms part of: Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Series L. University of North Carolina, Manuscripts Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Note: Original transcript on deposit at the Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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Interview with Daniel H. Pollitt, April 11, 1991.
Interview L-0064-8. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Pollitt, Daniel H., interviewee


Interview Participants

    DANIEL H. POLLITT, interviewee
    ANN McCOLL, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
ANN McCOLL:
This is an interview with Dan Pollitt in the continuing series of interviews at the UNC Law School. Today's date is April 11, 1991 and the interviewer is Ann McColl. Today we're going to go over some of the cases you've handled over your career, so why don't you start with whatever you want to.
DANIEL H. POLLITT:
Okay. I'm going to start with when I started practicing. The first firm I was with was sort of reputable and we represented the NAM, the National Association of Manufacturers. They were threatened with indictment for violating the lobbying act. The lobbying act required people who lobby to disclose the amounts they get from everybody. They told the NAM to give the money that they received for grass roots lobbying to put on television programs and radio programs and newspapers and all of that, which is indirect lobbying. So, my firm and the NAM brought a suit against the Attorney General to enjoin him from enforcing the Lobbying Act on the theory it's unconstitutional. So that was my first case: Is the Lobbying Act unconstitutional? We won. We won because the constitutional implications led the court to construe it only to lobbying in the lobby, but not to the grass roots type of thing where you arouse the populace to write their congressmen.
ANN McCOLL:
What was the Constitutional issue?
DANIEL H. POLLITT:
The first amendment. We also had a crazy little development. I was a primary researcher and I was told to research this and research that vagueness and a number of things and then we discussed it. There were only seven in the firm.

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Whether you should eliminate something because it detracts, it's not a very good argument and it will detract from the thrust of the good arguments. One of the points was cruel and unusual punishment. I had done everything because one of the penalties was that if you're guilty you're subject to jail and to a fine and you can't lobby anymore for, I forget, a year or maybe two years. So I thought that was cruel and unusual to say you can't lobby which is exercising your right to petition Congress for redress of grievances. And they decided that was too weak, so we put that in a footnote somewhere; a lengthy footnote. We were before a three judge Federal court and one of them, Judge Holtzhoff, was on it and he thought that was the way to dispose of it. So his concurring opinion went off on cruel and unusual punishment. In any event, that was my first case. Then I went and clerked for a year. That firm broke up because we won the Ute Indian case and recovered Utah for its value and got the largest free ever up to that time. It was in the millions. So the firm broke up and one of the senior partners went to be the President of his alma mater, the University of Montana. Another one of them went to be the President of his alma mater which was Brigham Young. Another one became the General Counsel of the NAM. The fourth guy went to head the D Cartel program in Germany at the time. Another fellow became a partner in a major law firm. I had all those options. There were two associates. We didn't split the millions.
In any event, then I went with Joe Rauh. [Phone ringing] I was working for Joe Rauh was where we were before the phone call. The first two cases I had there, you

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always remember the first ones, was the…. One was the Local 333 B of the Longshoreman's Union who had gone on a strike and the Governor had seized the ferry boats. They were representing the ferry boat workers in Chesapeake Bay. So we brought the suit to declare the Virginia seizure law unconstitutional and we won. That was big. There were maybe fifteen states that had laws that if there's a strike in a public utility the Governor is authorized to seize the industry and operate it until the strike is resolved and they always wait until the Union caves in. So that was my first case with Joe Rauh which was mine to write the brief and so on. The other one was Jim Kutcher who was a Trotskyite of some variety, Worker's Socialist Party, who had lost his legs in North Africa during World War II and had a job with the VA where he did some clerical type thing. They fired him as disloyal because of his membership in the Trotskyite group. So we represented him and brought the suit to challenge in the loyalty security program which we won as to him. They said Trotskyites are not dangerous. Then they threw him out of his public housing because he was a member of the Trotskyite group. There was a law there. We fought that law and won, but it was challenging loyalty security things. Then we represented the Auto Workers and the Farm Workers and the Shoe Workers and a number of unions. My first Supreme Court case which I had, the others Joe Rauh the senior partner takes over at a certain point, but the one I had was for the Farm Workers where there was a strike in the sugar cane industry in Louisiana. They got an injunction against the strike. I think there is a Louisiana law

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or the judge improvised one that says you can't strike during the harvest season. As soon as the harvest is over, it's okay to go on strike.
ANN McCOLL:
When they don't need you anymore.
DANIEL H. POLLITT:
So we took that one and that one was mine. We went to the Louisiana Supreme Court and lost. They said that it's an important industry in the state and they can protect it against strikes. We went to the Supreme Court and I filed the brief and won on the brief. We got a reversal without an argument.
ANN McCOLL:
That's pretty unusual, isn't it?
DANIEL H. POLLITT:
Yes, it's very unusual. I'd sort of wanted to argue. So that's the kind of things I was doing.
ANN McCOLL:
Did you ever have a case where you didn't believe in your client's cause?
DANIEL H. POLLITT:
No, never.
ANN McCOLL:
Is that because of the kind of firm?
DANIEL H. POLLITT:
Yes. That was the kind of firm I was in. When we represented the NAM, for example, I agreed that they had a first amendment right to do this without having to disclose it, because then later we represented a number of NAACP groups. They'd call in the secretary and say, "Bring the membership list." Then in the House Committee on Unamerican Activities they'd bring in somebody on the Communist Front Group and say, "Bring in the membership list." Disclose first amendment rights, so I felt very comfortable working for the NAM, although I was glad when the firm dissolved and I was sort of free to go elsewhere.
In any event, then I went to Arkansas and they passed a law

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requiring all public employees including University professors to disclose whether or not they were a member of the NAACP or contribute to it. I was a member and I did contribute to it. So we tried to get the law changed and didn't. Can I tell you a little story about that one?
ANN McCOLL:
Great.
DANIEL H. POLLITT:
A number of states followed the government and said that if you are a member of any organization on the Attorney General's list you're a security risk and you have to go through a hearing and quite often you lose like Kutcher did. There had been a guy in the Arkansas legislature who had been a plumbing contractor and the head of the American Legion who introduced this bill. They could fly to Arkansas. And they failed twice, two consecutive legislative sessions and then in the third one, which was in 1955, he introduced his bill and then he had a heart attack and he went to the hospital and they said, "He's about to die. Let's pass his bill for him to show our respect." So they passed his bill and then he got well and they went to the Governor who was a bad guy, Orville Faubus. The Chancellor and I, I was his lawyer on these matters, went down to see the Governor. He agreed to veto it which he did because it was unconstitutional. The Supreme Court had so held in a case out of Oklahoma recently. But then the NAACP started up and Brown against the school board. So they passed one for the NAACP. If you were a member you got fired. So we litigated that. I resigned because I couldn't sign the oath. We filed a suit and won in the Supreme Court.

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ANN McCOLL:
In the Arkansas Court?
DANIEL H. POLLITT:
No, in the U.S. You can't do that sort of thing. So that was my history. Then we came here. I'm used to litigating and I liked it and enjoy it, so I kept on doing it.
ANN McCOLL:
Would you do it primarily during the summers or is that something you do while you're here?
DANIEL H. POLLITT:
And in the winter. It carries on. In the summer I worked in a law firm where that's all we did all the time, but then I'd come back and there'd be problems here which I would get involved in. Going backwards from where we are now, a brief resume, right now I'm representing a guy named Thornton in the Eleventh Circuit and I just filed a brief a couple of weeks ago. Thornton is in his early sixties now and he was a Marine veteran of World War II and went back in Korea and then he went to college and became a civics teacher in Florida, south Florida. Then his life fell apart. His father died, his brother committed suicide, his wife has Alzheimer's, his sister became an alcoholic and it was too much for him and he got mentally incapacitated. He blamed it all on Reagan. So he wrote letters to Reagan saying, "I'm going to kill you because you are responsible for my misfortunes." So the FBI and the security group came to interview him and they decided he was sick and they took him to the hospital, the emergency hospital, and they agreed he was sick and they put him in there. At the end of his thirty days, they sent him to another place for further observation and they agreed he was sick. Then they sent him to a more permanent place. Ultimately, he went to the warehouse place in the panhandle of

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Florida where he was. Then he got a little bit better and they sent him to Columbia where his sister was for Christmas. He forgot to take his medicines and had a relapse. He wrote five more letters from there to Reagan and the Columbia, South Carolina FBI came to interview him and decided he was sick and they put him on the bus in Columbia to go back to Tallahassee.
ANN McCOLL:
Even though they thought he was sick?
DANIEL H. POLLITT:
Yes. They took him to the bus station and got him on the bus, called the hospital and said he was coming. Somebody met him and took him back to the hospital where he wrote ten more letters to the President from the hospital. and you know, it's dated and post marked; this is a mental hospital. So now it was in the province of the Alabama branch of the FBI. They investigated and decided they ought to indict him. So he got indicted for writing threatening letters to the President which is five years in jail and a thousand dollar fine. They sent him to the mental institution in Springfield, Missouri which is where they send mental people in the Federal prison system to see how he was. They said he was competent to stand trial if he's heavily medicated. They didn't say "heavily medicated", but they said if he had a certain dosage. So they went back and a court appointed counsel pleaded him guilty without a plea. So he went before the judge and the judge said, "You plead guilty?" "Yeah". And they said to Thornton, "How do you feel about this?" And he said, "I need help." That's all he said. "I need help." They asked, "Did anybody promise you anything?" And he said, "No, but my lawyer told me that he doubted that you would give me the

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maximum." And the judge said to the lawyer, "Do you have anything to say?" And the lawyer said, "No," whereupon the judge said, "Okay, I've been getting threatening letters and this is a dangerous thing to do and I'm going to make an object of you." He gave him five years on each of the letters.
ANN McCOLL:
How many letters?
DANIEL H. POLLITT:
Ten letters. But the first five letters to run consecutive with the second five. So he got twenty-five years of active time. So they then sent him up here to Butler which is where they treat mentally disturbed prisoners and he was at Butler. So he went from the state mental institution to the Federal mental institution. He had great help there from the psychiatrist at the Duke Hospital who spent one day a week there. After about eight years, Thornton got better with the medicine and everything else. And he said, "I shouldn't be here." He wanted out and he wrote the Civil Liberties Union and I got involved and I'm his lawyer and it's now on the Eleventh Circuit on adequacy of counsel. So that's my Thornton case. Last year, I had Millano. Millano was charged with rape and convicted of rape. I don't think he raped the woman. I don't think the woman was raped. The situation is Millano was a bartender and he'd fallen in love and he was planning to get married with the woman who is now Mrs. Millano. She, too, was a bartender. She had been a school teacher, but felt more at home at the bar, so she had a job. They decided to get married and move to Orlando, Florida. So on a given morning or day, he was to go to Orlando and get a job and find a house and then she would join him and

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then they would get married. They had a party the night before he was to leave. They were night people and he got off work at 1:00 and she got off work at 1:00. They were near a hospital and the hospital people came when they got off at 12:00 to the bar and so they had a night party which lasted until about 3:00 in the morning. Then Mr. Millano and his fiance went to her apartment and went to bed. They woke up at 12:00 with the cops at the door saying, "Your car has been in an accident or was seen somewhere. Can you come with us?" So they both went with them in a cop car and they pulled up about three or four miles away in a residential area and they brought some people down, "Is this the one?" And they said, "Yes, that's the one." They identified Millano. Now, shifting to what the victim said. The victim said she was in her house vacuuming at about 11:00 in the morning and there was a knock on the door and then a swarthy, dark-skinned person said, "Can I use your telephone? I'm looking for somebody and I can't find him. I have an address and I can't find it." And she said she didn't have a telephone, but the people next door did. So he went next door and knocked and "Can I use your telephone?" And the woman said, "Yes, come on in." He used the telephone and made some calls and it was always busy. She then said, "You've been here enough. That's enough." So he left and the neighbor said she saw him go back to the victim's house and knock on the door again and the woman there said, "What's up?" She said that he pulled out a pistol and told her to take off her slacks and lie down and had intercourse with her. He then left and told her to go take a shower. As he left, the victim's

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husband was returning from walking the dog and they passed each other; as he was leaving the house, he was coming in. He said, "Hi," or whatever. Then the husband said that he went in and his wife was screaming. They went next door and used the telephone and called the cops and the cops were there within fifteen minutes or so. She described her assailant as Puerto Rican-like; short, stocky, dark. The neighbor said she had taken down the license plate and they checked the license plate and it was Millano. So they then went to Millano. The rape was at 11:00 and they got there at 12:00. They then took the woman to the hospital where she again described the guy as dark and swarthy and that's important because the guy is fair skinned and blue eyed. She said big and he's the size of her husband which is 5'7". She described him as six feet tall and dark. But Millano was brought in the cop car and sat there and they brought the victim. The neighbor and the husband came out and they all looked at him in the car one at a time and said, "Yes, that's the guy," which is a pretty suggestive line up.
ANN McCOLL:
This is against constitutional principals, isn't it?
DANIEL H. POLLITT:
Right. Then they took the victim to the hospital and the doctor examined her and said, "She's not had intercourse for seventy-two hours". Then they sent the rape kit where they get the pubic hair and the spray paints and so on and sent it to the crime lab and they reported back no sperm. So, probably there was no rape and probably if there was it wasn't him because he did not meet the description. But his lawyer, he got a lawyer, and the lawyer said, "There is no case against you. Let's make

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it airtight. We'll get a polygraph." So they got a polygraph guy from somebody who teaches polygraph at the Charlotte Community College and he's home free. He didn't do it. He wasn't there. He went to bed at 3:00 in his wife's apartment and his girlfriend said, "Yes, he was here." Then his mother came by and saw his car there at 11:00 and left a note under the windshield saying, "Don't forget to come by for a meal before you go to Orlando." So we have the girlfriend and the mother are his witnesses. So his lawyer called up the DA and said, "How about a polygraph," and he didn't tell him about his own polygraph. He didn't say, "We've already had one." And the DA says, "Okay, but let's agree that the result will be admissible." So they agreed that the result would be admissible. Then they had a polygraph. It started off to get the guy upset. "How many times did you masturbate when you were seventeen?" You know, that kind of question. And the guy's blood pressure started to pump and it showed that he lied.
ANN McCOLL:
This was a test that was done by the…
DANIEL H. POLLITT:
By the police department. So at the trial they went through it all and the victim said, "That's the one," and told her story and he told his story. Then the last witness was the cop who came in with his lie detector test. Then the defense came in with theirs and the judge said, "That's not admissible". The first one is that shows he lied because they'd stipulated, but they hadn't stipulated as to the other one. So they let in one lie detector test and not the other. In any event, the North Carolina Supreme Court says it's okay to use a lie detector test

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when there is consent. So he went to jail. The jury found him guilty. Then three years later, maybe, the North Carolina Supreme Court said in another case, "No more lie detector tests. They are inherently unreliable. You can't use them even if there is consent because they are inherently unreliable." Then Mrs. Millano comes to the Civil Liberties Union and she said she'd been to see Ramsey Clark in New York and he had suggested that they go see the Civil Liberties Union and me. So she came to me and I thought, "Well, he shouldn't stay in jail." So I filed the habeas corpus petition and my point was that he's in jail on wholly unreliable evidence and that's bad. So we went to Judge McMillan and he agreed that that was bad and issued the writ.
ANN McCOLL:
This was in District Court?
DANIEL H. POLLITT:
The District Court in Charlotte. Then the state appealed to the Fourth Circuit and the Fourth Circuit held that this did not…. The question was retroactivity. Did the decision imply retroactivity? So, it was really a retroactivity case. I had the law on my side as of that time, but the Court said it's not of constitutional dimensions. They said it's a state rule of evidence which does not trigger constitutional issues and therefore, the Federal Courts have no jurisdiction to hear it. It didn't arise under the Constitution. My argument was, "When you convict somebody on wholly unreliable evidence, that's due process." I lost. Then I went to the Supreme Court on petition for cert and I lost. I didn't take it. So then I wrote to the Parole Board and did all this stuff and he's now out on parole.

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ANN McCOLL:
How many years did he serve?
DANIEL H. POLLITT:
He was there at least seven years in prison. He's a nice guy. Also, his wife married him before the trial and she's not a kook. I mean she's a college graduate and a very sensible person and I figured she would not have married someone who had committed a rape. She is the one who knew whether or not he was sleeping with her on the pull-out couch or not at the time the rape occurred. That convinced me first. Then when I got the medical evidence that there'd been no rape and then saw her physical description of her assailant. So in any event, that was terrible. But Millano is now out.
ANN McCOLL:
Do you get most of your cases through the Civil Liberties Union?
DANIEL H. POLLITT:
Yes, a lot of them.
ANN McCOLL:
How do you decide which ones you'll take?
DANIEL H. POLLITT:
It depends on whether I feel emotionally involved. Like Thornton, hell, twenty-five years for an insane, crazy guy writing a crazy letter? It's terrible. Then I thought, "Millano? Hell." But in any event, now go back.
Before then was maybe Wilbur Hobby. Wilbur is a long time friend and he was the President of the North Carolina Civil Liberties Union. There was a Federal program giving job training and people would apply for grants from the Department of Labor and it was administered through the states. You'd go the State Department of Labor and ask for the Federal money and, "Here's what you're going to do with it," and "Here's your budget". If you're approved, you get it. So, there weren't many people, private people, applying for

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this type of money. So the AFL-CIO set up a corporation to do this sort of thing. They became fairly active and they hired somebody from Watts who had done the Watts when Watts got lots of money to redo Watts out in California. This guy had been head of it and so they hired him to come and he became an adjunct professor of sociology at N.C. Central. He was in charge of the AFL program, but Wilbur was the titular head and would sign everything. They had a program to train some people how to use computers, thirty-five people how to use computers. They were to be from Durham County and Graham County and somewhere else and they had to be under a certain income. You had a budget and there was so much for bus allowance and there was also so much to rent computers. So, the got the grant and it was a hundred and thirty thousand and they trained the thirty-five people and they all got jobs except one. They did it for a hundred thousand and turned back thirty. But the budget they had was for people to get on the bus at Durham and go to Raleigh where the training was. Nobody showed up the first day and nobody showed up the second day. So they took the bus money and bought a van. They went and picked everybody up at their house to get them to go to school and learn this stuff. Then the computer broke down that they were using because they have all these unskilled people using it. There was the repair bill which was fifty dollars an hour for showing up and then so much. So they found out they could buy the computers. When you buy them you get a service contract which is cheaper than renting them. So they did that. Wilbur was indicted. When the whole program was over they had

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the old van left over and they had the computers left over. So they indict Wilbur for fraud in that instead of using the bus money for buses, they used it to buy a van and instead of using the rent money for the computers, they bought the computers.
ANN McCOLL:
But it didn't end up costing anything?
DANIEL H. POLLITT:
They saved money and they gave it back. But they indicted them and they were convicted. Wilbur was convicted. I didn't try the case. What's his name did. He teaches. Rudolph. Rudolph did. It was a lengthy trail and he did a good job. When the trial was over and he lost he said, "Well, I'm exhausted. I'm burned out." He and his wife went to Florida for a vacation. Well, a guy named Shelley Blum in Charlotte thought he'd take the appeal and he did take the appeal to the Fourth Circuit and lost. Then he was exhausted. They'd each been paid. I'd been the co-chairman of the defense to raise the money for Wilbur and we paid them and it was a sizeable legal fee. And then they were all through and so I thought, "Well, hell, I'll take it on and go to the Supreme Court."
ANN McCOLL:
Did they have any money left then?
DANIEL H. POLLITT:
No, there was no money left at this point. That's one reason why I take cases, when there's no money and nobody else will do it. But the only issue left after all this was whether the foreman of the Grand Jury that indicted Wilbur was a white male and the foreman is appointed by the judge. In the eastern district of North Carolina, the Federal judges had appointed white males since the mind of the man [unknown] So that was the only issue I had because all of the others had been

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dropped. So I lost in the Supreme Court, but I won. I won in the sense that the Court agreed that you shouldn't do this.
ANN McCOLL:
Shouldn't have a white…
DANIEL H. POLLITT:
No, you can't systematically appoint only white males and they said so in the opinion. But I lost in the sense that the remedy for a hundred years when there's a defect in the jury system is to set aside the indictment and start all over again. But the Chief Justice, Berger, wrote the opinion and said that there was no need to take such Draconian measures. Our opinion will send a message and that's all you need. So I lost six to three and Wilbur went to jail for four years in Lexington. So that was my Wilbur Hobby case.
And while Wilbur was in Lexington, he met another client of mine, Frank Thompson, who was the Congressman from New Jersey and my boss for a long time. I worked for his committee.
ANN McCOLL:
When you would go up? in the summers?
DANIEL H. POLLITT:
Yes. And we were good friends. They got him on ABSCAM.
ANN McCOLL:
This was in the early 80's?
DANIEL H. POLLITT:
Yes. What they did with him which was typical of the others was they got a lawyer in Philadelphia who was hoodwinked. He thought he was going to be the attorney in America for the sheiks with all the money. How they got him is a different story, but he did think that. So he was getting five thousand dollars for every Congressman he could take to the house on R Street which the FBI rented. He was supposed to produce people who would take bribes, but he got five thousand whether they took

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a bribe or not. So he went to Frank Thompson and said that the sheiks wanted to invest a lot of money in Trenton, New Jersey. Frank Thompson is the Congressman from Trenton and they were going to redo the Delaware River and have a river-front place and something, and could Frank Thompson help them? And he said, "Of course, that's great." And they said, "Well, they are coming to Trenton on a given date. Can you meet them there?" "Yes." And so he had an appointment book. "I'll meet him in Trenton." And he met the sting man from the FBI.
ANN McCOLL:
And this was actually the sting man?
DANIEL H. POLLITT:
Yes, the sting man from the FBI. So they had umpteen millions of dollars and the sheiks wanted to invest it in America and they were doing that, you know. No question. So Johnson said, "Fine, great." And he had brought in a lawyer for this who represents Jewish groups and who is a real estate lawyer. They talked about putting up some low cost apartments on the river front for elderly Jews and the B'nai B'rith or somebody was going to sponsor it. That's what they talked about and everything was fine. Then the sting man and the Philadelphia lawyer who was working with them left and Frank Thompson called his friend who is a judge in Philadelphia. They'd been ship mates in the Navy. He said, "Do you know this lawyer?" And the judge said, "Yes, I know him. He's a good fellow. He used to work for the liberal Democrats who were the mayors and Senators and worked for the Attorney General and he has a good reputation. His partner is a city councilman. So he satisfied himself that it was legitimate. That was great. Then I got a call a month later saying that the

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big chief is coming over from the Arab…. "Can you meet him at Georgetown?" I met him at my lunchtime. So I went to meet him at the R House and everything was being taped. They said, "We want to go ahead with the investments in Trenton, but you know the people are getting restless and they may overthrow him and he's got his money out, but if he has to flee, he'd like to go to Switzerland or the Riviera, but maybe he would like to come to America. Could you help him?" And Thompson said, "Well, yes, I can help him. I helped a lot of Hungarians when they came". In fact, there's a soccer coach at Rutgers named Frank Thompson Lanvinovitch or something. He named his son after Frank Thompson. So then he reached and got the telephone and called his office. He has a woman there who does immigration work for him. And he said, "Could you get me a memo on what you have to do for some sheiks to get into America. They have lots of money. They are self-supporting and they want to invest here. Let me have a memo when I get back." So he hung up and says, "I'll find out how you do it." And then they said, "Well, you're a great fellow and we'd like to give you a campaign contribution." And he said, "I can't take one. It's illegal to take money from foreigners."
ANN McCOLL:
And all of this is on tape?
DANIEL H. POLLITT:
All of this is on tape. And then his beeper beeped and he said, "There's a roll call vote. I've got to leave." And they said, "Well, can you come back tonight after work?" He said, "Yes, I'll bring back the memo and everything on the way home." So then he left and then he came back. After he left,

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they kept the tape on and the sting man turned to the Philadelphia lawyer and said, "You've brought us another lousy apple. This guy is not going to take money." And the sting man says, "Yes, he's street-wise. He's very street-wise and he's covering up. You just leave it to me. You give me the money and I'll hand it to him." And they said, "How in the hell do we know that you won't keep it?" He said, "Well, we want to do it in our presence," and the guy said, "Okay, but don't mention money because he won't take it if you say ‘money’. Say, ‘shit’ and he'll take it." So then here comes Frank Thompson that evening and he has the memo. He says, "Here's the memo on the sheiks and what he has to do first is see our ambassador. That's the first step. You have to see our ambassador in that country. And then here, you can read the memo." And then they said to him, "Here's the papers about what we're going to do in Trenton. Some papers." And they gave him a briefcase. Now earlier, they had the FBI guy say, "This is fifty thousand dollars for Congressman Frank Thompson of the Fourth District of New Jersey," and he's counting all this money into a briefcase. Then they closed the briefcase and then they said, "Here it is." They gave the briefcase to Frank Thompson. And Frank Thompson says, "Here, Creiden," the Philadelphia lawyer, "You take care of this for me." So then they leave.
ANN McCOLL:
So Frank Thompson assumes it's papers having to do with the investments?
DANIEL H. POLLITT:
Yes. So then Creiden, the Philadelphia lawyer, calls back and says, "We made the switch in the limousine." So he says

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he gave the money to Thompson. That's the evidence. And he was found guilty. There's a little bit more, but that was the essence of it. He was tried with John Murphy who is a Congressman from Staten Island, the most decorated soldier in the Korean War and number one in his class at West Point, chairman of the committee on fisheries and maritime and an unblemished record, sort of a right winger, a right wing Democrat. They got him because they said that Frank Thompson had split with him and they had no evidence of that. They then had gone to see Thompson and said, "The sheiks have their oil and they'd like to have their own fleet. Do you know anybody who can help us get a fleet?" And Thompson said, "We'll go see Jack because Jack is the chairman of maritime and fisheries." Then they talked about a fleet and then they talked about a shipyard where the fleet could dock on Staten Island. There was an abandoned shipyard there and so they talked about Murphy. Congressman Murphy called somebody. They carried cargo and bulk. You truck it on and you don't unload it or anything. Containers. Container ships which were operating out of Wilmington to Puerto Rico and they'd gone broke. So he talked to the President of that company and they said, "Yes, we'd like to get some new capital from the Arabs and we'll operate out of Staten Island. You know, we can take oil and everything". So he thought it was legitimate. And then the sting man told Creiden, the Philadelphia lawyer, "I think Murphy is another sour apple. He's not going to take money." And Creiden said, "He'll take it from me, but not from you." The guy says, "Well, I want to go one on one with him. You give him the

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money, but I'm going to check you out." So Creiden says, "I gave him the money." So they get Congressman Murphy in the kitchen of the R Street house, one on one with the sting man who said, "I hope you're enjoying the money." And the guy said, "What money?" And he says, "The Creiden money." He said, "Nobody gave me any money. What the hell are you talking about?" And the guy laughed, "That's a good joke. That's what I would do." And it's on the tape, his laughing. Well, Murphy was then on his way home for the weekend and he went to National Airport in Washington and called a private detective office in New York and said, "I'd like to see you on Monday because something fishy is going on down here." And he hired the detective to find out who these people were. And he got convicted by the jury. It's just totally unreal. Then they had the mayor of Camden who was a party and he was a real crook. He's on the tape saying, "What do you want? Prostitutes, machine guns? I've got them all. Whatever you want." So he was taking money and so on, but he was also a real estate agent and he was going to buy places in Atlantic City. And I forget who else was, but a couple of other crooks. They were all conspiring to take the money and defraud the government. So they had two honest people and a couple of dishonest people and Creiden was involved. He's taken the money and he got his law partner to make believe he was the head of the Immigration Service and he said, "I've got the head of the Immigration Service in my pocket and he'll take some bribes. Can you give us a briefcase for fifty thousand?" He took his law partner there and they recognized him as not being the director of the

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Immigration Service and they said, "Somebody is after you. Somebody is putting you on. You got to be careful." They had him on tape bribing his law partner in to defraud the sheiks. And in any event, Thompson was convicted, Murphy was convicted. They were all convicted. Thompson had Arnold and Fortis and Porter and they had a bill of five hundred thousand bucks. I was also on the defense then. And when the trial was over they said, "We're exhausted. You're exhausted. You don't have any more money. We're through with you." So they abandoned him when he was convicted and so I took over the appeal.
ANN McCOLL:
So you knew about the case?
DANIEL H. POLLITT:
I'd gone up to witness, to observe and so on. So I filed the appeal.
ANN McCOLL:
And this is again with no money?
DANIEL H. POLLITT:
No money. He lost. We lost in the second Circuit and then I got Joe Rauh, my old boss, and we filed the petition for cert and we lost. They didn't agree to hear it. Then Jenrette came along and Jenrette's lawyer lost at the Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia. He left Jenrette and Jenrette came to me because I'd worked for Thompson and I'd talked to Joe Rauh and we agreed that this was a horrible thing that the government is doing to Congressmen to trap them, entrap them. So we were angry and so we took Jenrette's case and they didn't take cert. So that was my ABSCAM. That was that. So those are my recent cases.
ANN McCOLL:
I noticed in all of these the person didn't win. How do you keep your spirits up?

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DANIEL H. POLLITT:
Occasionally I win. Now I have a few things. Oh, the "N.C. Echo". What this was, they were starting to integrate North Carolina Central and this was the black pride period. The editor of the newspaper, "The Echo", had an editorial saying that there are too many whites coming to our campus. They are taking over and we are too hospitable to them, so let's not be hospitable to them and don't get out of their way on the sidewalks or anything." Then they also had a person on the street interview, "What do you think of all these whites coming in?" Everybody who answered said, "It's terrible. What are you going to do about it?" So it was an anti-white issue of the newspaper. The Chancellor said, "We're not going to fund you anymore until you apologize," and this sort of thing. They said, "We won't do it. We have editorial freedom to be anti-white." So they cut off their funds. I got involved and brought the suit to make them restore the money on the theory that student editors have a right to be rambunctious and racist and whatever they want to be. I won that in the Fourth Circuit. So I do win on occasion. That was an interesting one. I have some others, but let me mention two things which are typical of what I've been doing here for thirty years and that is faculty and student affairs. You don't go to the courts.
One was the Michael Paull. Did we talk about Michael Paull?
ANN McCOLL:
Yes.
DANIEL H. POLLITT:
Well, one was Michael Paull.
ANN McCOLL:
This was, "To His Coy Mistress"?

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DANIEL H. POLLITT:
We won that one in the sense that they restored him to his teaching assistant and we got the rules changed so that graduate students who teach have certain rights. And the other one was Frank Freymann. Did we talk about him?
ANN McCOLL:
Yes.
DANIEL H. POLLITT:
So there again I lost as far as Freymann's job was concerned, but we got the rules changed, so that was a benefit. There are a lot of those type of things that I do. People come in and they don't get promoted or they get assigned lousy class hours and their chairman is against them or something. One of those a year where you go before the Grievance Committee or you advise them how to do or what to do.
ANN McCOLL:
And how do you usually get involved in these cases?
DANIEL H. POLLITT:
They come and they knock on the door and say, "Can I see you for a few minutes?"
ANN McCOLL:
So they've heard about you through the grapevine?
DANIEL H. POLLITT:
Yes. I feel like I'm the ombudsman here. There are a lot of court cases. Some years ago, the Fourth Circuit had trouble getting lawyers to take the poor people's appeals. They didn't have any money for them or if they did, it was five hundred dollars for murder and two hundred fifty for grand larceny or something. So Brockton Craven was on the court and he asked me if I couldn't get some students to work on these cases for the court. I got a seminar going. Their clerk of court, when they got a file he would glance through it and if he thought there was something to it he would put the whole file in a box and send it down here. Then we would have somebody go through

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the files and decide what it was all about and whether it was a worthwhile issue or not and we would write a memorandum and send it back to the clerk. Then the clerk, if he agreed that there was something to it, would assign me to the case with the student. So that went on for three or four years. Then the University of Pennsylvania wanted to get in on this and Duke did and Virginia and William and Mary. There was no longer a need for us to do it, so I let it go and did something else. So in that period, I had three or four arguments every year before the Fourth Circuit.
ANN McCOLL:
Did you ever think about practicing law full time and not being a professor here?
DANIEL H. POLLITT:
No, I like this because I can take cases while I'm a professor and then in the summer, I worked for my old law firm for many years until I started to work for Frank Thompson in the Congress. I always thought that was more important to try to get some legislation enacted instead of like Millano is great, or Thornton. So I win. I think I'll win on him. And they'll prove his counsel was inadequate when they pleaded him guilty to something that goes for twenty-five years. And if he'd read the two Supreme Court cases under that law, one of them says it has to be a real threat, not a make believe threat. It's not some guy drunk at a bar who says, "I'm going to get my gun out and whip the President's ass," or something like that. And the other one is that the guy had been convicted of it and sentenced to five years and the Supreme Court in a footnote said, "This is outrageous. Five years, that's the max, but to give somebody

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five years is unheard of. The average sentence is much less." So I had the lawyer for Thornton read the two Supreme Court cases. He should have known that number one, it has to be a real threat, not a crazy letter from a crazy person and two, that even if he was guilty, five years is far too much. He sat there silent, see, without saying a word while the judge gave twenty-five years. So I think I'll win, but when I win what have I won? Thornton will get a new trial and I assume they won't retry him. That's all that. I mean it has no implications to anybody else, except I don't think Thornton should…. He's now out. He's been paroled. He writes and says it's really hard for a man in his early sixties to find anything when he has been sentenced to prison for writing threatening letters to the President when he has a history of mental instability. And it is hard, you know, you can imagine. I feel whatever I can do for Thornton I should do.
ANN McCOLL:
That's great.
END OF INTERVIEW