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Meese Talks 2 1/2 Hours to Grand Jury About Wedtech

June 01, 1987|From Times Wire Services

WASHINGTON — Atty. Gen. Edwin Meese III testified for 2 1/2 hours today before a federal grand jury investigating whether he violated any laws in connection with his handling of the Wedtech Corp. bribery case.

Neither Meese nor his attorney, Nathan Lewin, would comment on the attorney general's testimony as they left the courthouse.

Meese and his attorney hustled past reporters standing outside the grand jury room to a waiting elevator and quickly left the building, apparently through a basement garage.

Later, Lewin disclosed that Meese had also appeared before the grand jury in March.

The special prosecutor in the case, James McKay, declined to say whether Meese had cooperated fully with the jury panel or whether the attorney general would be called to testify again.

Meese recently acknowledged that while he was a top adviser to President Reagan in 1982, he interceded on behalf of the Bronx, N.Y., company, which was seeking a $32-million Army contract.

He later invested $60,000 in a blind trust run by a financial consultant who worked with Wedtech and who became a member of its board of directors.

The attorney general, who said he was ending his investment in the blind trust, was questioned today by special prosecutor McKay and by Carol Bruce, a member of McKay's staff added specifically to investigate the allegations against Meese. She also declined comment.

McKay was originally appointed to determine whether lobbying for Wedtech by former White House aide Lyn Nofziger had violated ethics laws.

At Meese's request, McKay's jurisdiction was recently expanded to include Meese's efforts to help Wedtech get the contract to build small engines and his financial relationship with W. Franklyn Chinn, the financial consultant.

The investigation also includes financial arrangements between Wedtech and Chinn and E. Bob Wallach, a longtime friend of Meese who represented the attorney general during his 1984 confirmation fight.

Both Chinn and Wallach received professional fees and stock from Wedtech, as had Nofziger.

Wedtech won the contract to build the small engines after a White House meeting presided over by one of Meese's top aides. The Army had objected to Wedtech's bid, saying it was too high.

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