Richard Secord, the retired officer who ran arms to the Nicaraguan Contras, lied to Congress in his testimony on the Iran-Contra scandal and covered up more than $1 million in personal profits, a second indictment against him charges.
Secord, enlisted by Oliver North in the Contra arms supply network, said the nine-count indictment unsealed Thursday shows the weakness of the government's original case and is "a senseless attempt to secure a conviction."The retired Air Force major general was originally indicted on six criminal charges in March 1988.
"The decision to indict again is vindictive and contrary to any notion of fair play and professionalism," Secord's lawyers said in a statement. The three-page statement, issued by the Washington law firm of Sharp, Green & Lankford, also asked for financial assistance from the public to help pay for Secord's defense.
Independent counsel Lawrence Walsh "has seen his so-called `conspiracy case' eviscerated by court rulings and most recently by a jury's verdict," said Secord's lawyers.
North, who was indicted with Secord in March 1988, was convicted last week of three of 12 criminal charges against him. Conspiracy and theft counts against the former White House aide were dropped Jan. 13 due to national security concerns.
The new indictment against Secord was returned April 7 by a federal grand jury investigating possible perjury by Iran-Contra figures. It was kept sealed to avoid bringing it out during North's trial.
Secord was the lead witness in the televised hearings conducted in the spring and summer of 1987 by the House and Senate committees. He testified without immunity from prosecution before the congressional panels.
The new charges include seven counts of perjury in connection with his congressional testimony to Congress and one count of obstructing Congress' ran-Contra committees. Secord also is accused of making false statements to congressional staffers about a $200,000 educational benefit for North's children and a $13,800 security system Secord paid for at North's home.
Secord faces a maximum sentence of five years' imprisonment and $250,000 in fines on each count if convicted.
The false statement charge accuses Secord, 56, of denying to lawyers for the congressional Iran-Contra panels that he was aware of any money from the Iran-Contra transactions that went to benefit North.