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Panel Retracts 1 Perjury Count Against Deaver

August 22, 1986|ROBERT L. JACKSON | Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — The chairman of a House subcommittee that voted last week to seek perjury charges against lobbyist Michael K. Deaver has retracted one of its allegations in a letter to Deaver's attorneys and to special prosecutor Whitney North Seymour Jr., it was learned Thursday.

Rep. John D. Dingell (D-Mich.), who heads the oversight subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee, said in the letter that he "would like to bring to your (Seymour's) attention further information" about the panel's contention that Deaver lied about a meeting he had on Feb. 27 with James C. Miller III, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget.

The letter said there is now reason to believe Deaver did not lie about that meeting in his testimony before the committee. Removal of that matter would leave standing two perjury allegations by the committee against the former White House deputy chief of staff.

A subcommittee aide who asked not to be identified called the retraction "a technical correction that does not affect the overall perjury case against Deaver."

Seymour is reviewing the House subcommittee's report and other evidence of alleged ethics law violations before deciding whether to seek a grand jury indictment against him. The ethics law forbids high ranking federal officials from lobbying former colleagues for one year after leaving office.

Talks About B-1 Bomber

In its report adopted unanimously Aug. 12, the panel said that Deaver, who left office in May, 1985, perjured himself when he testified that he had discussed the Feb. 27 meeting, both before and after it occurred, with officials of Rockwell International Corp.

Deaver met with Miller on behalf of Rockwell, one of his clients, to urge that the budget official support production of the Rockwell-manufactured B-1 bomber.

The committee report said that Rockwell officials testified "there were no discussions between Mr. Deaver and any official of Rockwell . . . at which the possibility was raised of a meeting or discussion between Mr. Deaver and OMB Director Miller."

However, Dingell's letter dated Aug. 14 said that Charles H. Harff, Rockwell general counsel, had called the subcommittee after release of the report to say that Deaver, at a meeting in his Georgetown office last fall, "may have suggested that it may be productive to visit certain individuals, including various United States senators and OMB Director James Miller."

Other Charges Remain

Investigators have not suggested that it was significant that Deaver would have talked to Rockwell officials about such a meeting. Solely pertinent in the complaint was that he was not candid in his testimony about it.

With the removal of that allegation, still standing against Deaver are charges that he failed to tell the panel, under intense questioning, about his meetings early this year with two American ambassadors overseas and a similar meeting last summer with Robert C. McFarlane, then President Reagan's national security adviser. The investigators allege that he lobbied the officials for private interests at those meetings.

Randall Turk, an attorney for Deaver, said Thursday that his client "will be exonerated of any wrongdoing."

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