Oliver North and national security adviser Robert McFarlane collaborated in lies to Congress reminiscent of the tactics Adolf Hitler used in ruling Nazi Germany, the prosecutor said Tuesday in final arguments at North's Iran-Contra trial.
"North and McFarlane were following Adolf Hitler's official strategy, which is the victor will never be asked if he told the truth," prosecutor John Keker told the jury.Keker also contended that North, a former White House aide, tried to clear himself of charges by claiming "the devil made me do it."
North "blames other people. `McFarlane made me do it. Casey told me to do it,' " he said. William Casey was CIA director at the time.
Defense attorney Brendan Sullivan will follow Keker with closing arguments before the case goes to the jury later this week.
North is accused of 12 criminal charges, including obstructing Congress and making false statements to Congress and the attorney general. They focus on an alleged attempt to cover up various aspects of a secret Reagan administration operation to aid the Contra rebels in Nicaragua when Congress banned U.S. aid.
Conviction on all counts carries up to 60 years in prison and $3 million in fines.
"The tragedy of Oliver North is that the man who cared so much for freedom in Nicaragua forgot about the demands of freedom . . . here at home," said Keker.
He said that if North had looked up when he went into the Nov. 23, 1986, interview with the attorney general, he would have seen these words inscribed in stone:
"Where law ends, tyranny begins."
Keker said North responded to congressional inquiries in the late summer of 1985 by falsely denying that the National Security Council staff was assisting the Nicaraguan rebels.
In preparing the letters, North was "shutting down, obstructing, halting, fouling up" the congressional inquries, said Keker.