Oliver North's lawyers Friday sought to force former President Reagan to testify when the defense opens its case next week.
"The importance of Mr. Reagan's testimony to the defense is clear both from the record to date and from" North's opposition to Reagan's efforts to quash the subpoena, said lawyer Brendan Sullivan. In a two-sentence motion, Sullivan asked U.S. District Judge Gerhard Gesell to enter an order enforcing an earlier subpoena for Reagan's appearance.Gesell ruled Jan. 30 that the former president shall remain subject to call in connection with a subpoena issued by North's lawyers Dec. 30. North's lawyers have tried to bring out at the trial that Reagan was much more involved in secretly assisting the Contra rebels in Nicaragua than has previously been known publicly.
Sullivan brought out that the president personally approved - based on a recommendation by North and others on the National Security Council staff - a secret 1985 deal to give Honduras $110 million in covert aid as an inducement to support the Contras. North was on the NSC staff.
The defense also brought out that Reagan apparently approved a plan to airdrop intelligence data and recoilless rifles to the Contras for the purpose of destroying ships carrying arms to the Nicaraguans. Reagan's actions came at a time when Congress had banned U.S. military aid to the Contras.
Reagan and then-Vice President Bush were served with subpoenas on Dec. 30, and both sought to quash them.
In his Jan. 30 ruling, Gesell said North had failed to demonstrate that Bush has any specific information that would make his testimony "relevant and material." The judge quashed the Bush subpoena. Gesell said he would await developments in the trial with regard to the subpoena for Reagan.