WASHINGTON — The prosecutor in Michael K. Deaver's perjury trial today accused the Reagan Administration of tolerating "backdoor and back-stairway favor buying" and said Secretary of State George P. Shultz's "ringing endorsement" under oath of Deaver's integrity shows the Administration cares little about ethics.
"The successful outcome of the Deaver trial should not be mistaken (for) a resolution of the more serious problem which brought about the appointment of an independent counsel in the first place," Whitney North Seymour Jr. said in a statement.
"That problem is too much 'loose' money and too little concern in Washington about ethics in government," Seymour said at a press conference, referring to "vast sums of money" spent by corporations and foreign governments "to buy influence and favors."
Seymour said that "until the attitudes of government leaders change, there is little that prosecutors can do except put a thumb in the dike."
The prosecutor said Secretary of State Shultz demonstrated lack of leadership when he vouched for Deaver's character at the trial.
"He stepped forward and gave a ringing endorsement of the honesty and integrity of a defendant on trial in a criminal case charged with a serious felony," Seymour told reporters. "He never even bothered to read what the charges were. I think the jury decided that was irresponsible."
"The fact that the secretary was willing to come testify in this trial without even reading the indictment is, I think, an indictment in itself," Seymour said.
The prosecutor had erupted in anger during the trial when Shultz steadfastly defended Deaver's "very direct, honest approach" on behalf of a lobbying client.
Acquittal on Envoy Issue
Deaver, one of President Reagan's closest and oldest political associates, was convicted Wednesday of lying to a House subcommittee and a grand jury that investigated the propriety of the lobbying he did for high-paying clients after he resigned as deputy White House chief of staff.
Within nine months of Deaver's leaving the White House staff, his firm had signed $3 million worth of lobbying contracts with major defense contractors, other large corporations and several foreign governments.
Deaver was acquitted of a charge that he lied by saying he was only minimally involved in selection of a U.S. acid-rain envoy to Canada before he left the White House staff.