Former White House Counsel: Failure To Release Pollard Would Be A ‘Miscarriage Of Justice’

(Sunday, February 6th, 2011)

In a letter sent recently to President Barack Obama, former White House Counsel Bernard Nussbaum called upon the President to free Jonathan Pollard, who has spent the past 26 years in a federal prison for passing classified information to Israel (the full text of the letter appears below).  With his public appeal for Pollard’s release, Nussbaum joined a multitude of prominent officials from the national intelligence arena and the legal world who have called for Pollard’s sentence to be commuted.

More significantly, Nussbaum is now the fifth individual who reviewed Pollard’s classified file and subsequently issued a public call for his release.  In addition to Nussbaum, former Deputy Attorney General Philip Heymann, former CIA Director R. James Woolsey, former Senator and Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Dennis DeConcini, and Congressman Anthony Weiner of New York, all of whom were privy to the top secret details of the Pollard case, have urged that his sentence be commuted.

Bernard Nussbaum served as White House Counsel under President Bill Clinton from 1993-1994.  During his tenure as the chief legal advisor to President Clinton, Nussbaum was intimately involved in reviewing requests for clemency for Jonathan Pollard.

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In addition to serving as White House Counsel, Nussbaum has had a long and distinguished career in the public and private sectors.  He served an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, as well as a senior member of the staff of the House Judiciary Committee investigating the Watergate scandal during the Nixon Administration.  Nussbaum is currently a partner at the internationally acclaimed law firm of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz.

In his letter to President Obama, Nussbaum noted that like former Deputy Attorney General Philip Heymann, he too had the opportunity to thoroughly review Pollard’s file and has concluded that “the time has come for Jonathan Pollard’s sentence to be commuted.”

“I too believe that Jonathan Pollard has been appropriately punished for his conduct and that a failure at this time to commute his sentence would not serve the course of justice; indeed, I respectfully believe, it would be a miscarriage of justice,” wrote Nussbaum.

In addition to Nussbaum, Heymann, Woolsey, DeConcini, and Weiner, former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz, former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, former Arkansas governor and Republican Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, and former Assistant Secretary of Defense Lawrence Korb have all issued public calls for a commutation of Pollard’s sentence.

The following is the text of Bernard Nussbaum’s letter to President Obama:

January 28, 2011

The Honorable Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC  20500-0001

Dear Mr. President:

I was Counsel to the President in 1993-94.  Along with Deputy Attorney General Philip Heymann, who has written to you regarding Jonathan Pollard, I also extensively reviewed the Pollard file while I served in the White House.  I write this letter to state that I fully share the view expressed by Professor Heymann – as well as the other distinguished former public officials who have written to you – that the time has come for Jonathan Pollard’s sentence to be commuted.

I will not repeat the cogent reasons set forth in Professor Heymann’s letter except to say that I too believe that Jonathan Pollard has been appropriately punished for his conduct and that a failure at this time to commute his sentence would not serve the course of justice; indeed, I respectfully believe, it would be a miscarriage of justice.

Sincerely,
 
Bernard W. Nussbaum

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