Oliver North's lawyer Thursday attacked the credibility of a fund-raiser for the Contras, saying he gave inconsistent accounts of a conversation in which North allegedly said he didn't care whether he went to jail or lied to Congress.
North lawyer Brendan Sullivan said Carl "Spitz" Channell never even mentioned North's alleged comments in interviews with government investigators on Jan. 9, 1987, and March 12, 1987.Channell first mentioned the alleged North remarks to Texas billionaire Nelson Bunker Hunt on April 25, 1987, three days before Channell entered a plea agreement with the government under which he is cooperating with the prosecution in exchange for admitting to a single felony charge.
"You told prosecutors that . . . North was willing to lie if his activities became public," but there was no mention of Congress, Sullivan told Channell in relating his April 25, 1987, interview with prosecutors.
Channell testified four times in June 1987 but said that it was Hunt who asked North two questions and North simply answered yes to each.
On Wednesday, Channell testified that on Sept. 11, 1985, after dinner at the Petroleum Club in Dallas, Hunt asked North if he was worried about "getting in trouble" for his activities on behalf of the Contras.
"I don't care if I have to go to jail for this, I don't care if I have to lie to Congress about this," North said, to which Hunt "just chortled," Channell related.
U.S. District Judge Gerhard A. Gesell interrupted Sullivan's cross-examination to observe that Channell on the witness stand had given "three versions already" of the Hunt-North conversation.
Sullivan went on to say that in September 1987 testimony, Channell said "absolutely nothing" about North's supposed remarks on jail and lying to Congress.
"You didn't put them in Hunt's mouth and you didn't put them in North's mouth," Sullivan told North.
On Wednesday, Channell testified that President Reagan made a dramatic appearance at a White House meeting to thank 25 wealthy contributors who gave money to support the Contras.