Thursday, October 07, 2010

Attorney Tim Ashford on the withheld 911 tape of the Omaha Two case

October 7th, 2010

Omaha attorney Tim Ashford is representing Mondo we Langa (formerly David Rice) in his effort to gain a new trial for the August 1970 bombing murder of a policeman.

Ashford, who grew up a few blocks down on the same street where patrolman Larry Minard was murdered, has filed a request with the 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals for a new trial. The court has not yet acted on the request.

Ashford explains that he took on the case because it was apparent that justice was not done in the 1971 trial which was marred by conflicting police testimony and withheld evidence by the Federal Bureau of Investigation regarding the identity of the anonymous 911 caller that lured Minard to his death.

Mondo and Ed Poindexter were leaders of the Nebraska chapter of the Black Panthers called the National Committee to Combat Fascism. Both men were targets of J. Edgar Hoover’s clandestine war on domestic political activists, Operation COINTELPRO,

Paul Young, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the Omaha FBI office, had promised Hoover in a secret December 1969 COINTELPRO memorandum that he would target the leaders for “counter-intelligence measures” in the near future. Hoover chastised Young for not producing results and told him to be “imaginative” in getting the Panther leaders off the Omaha streets.

The day Minard died, Young conferred with Glen Gates, the Assistant Chief of Police, and offered to send the 911 tape to the national FBI crime lab for analysis--with no written report to be issued. When Ivan Willard Conrad, the crime lab director, got the COINTELPRO memo from Young about withholding a report on the identity of Minard’s killer he called Hoover to discuss the request.

Hoover told Conrad to “do it” and the exchange was noted by Conrad on the memo which he initialed and dated. The jury that ultimately convicted Ed Poindexter and Mondo we Langa never got to hear the voice of Minard’s killer.

Tim Ashford talks about Hoover’s order to cancel the lab report with thinly veiled contempt. “They withheld, the FBI, the mighty FBI, withheld a memo regarding the 911 tape…..These are political prisoners.”

Ashford says the COINTELPRO memo, “illustrates clearly a motive by the police, imputed to the prosecution, to withhold the 911 tape from Mondo and co-defendant Poindexter from making any use of the tape at Mondo’s trial.”

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