BOSTON — Federal prosecutors dropped conspiracy and fraud charges against Lyndon H. LaRouche Jr. on Friday, moments before a Virginia judge sentenced the political extremist to 15 years in prison for related offenses.
All charges against LaRouche and six associates were dropped. The Justice Department refused to drop charges against three co-defendants who are fugitives.
The Boston case--in which LaRouche was accused of conspiring to obstruct an investigation of an alleged $2-million credit card and loan fraud--ended in a mistrial in May after five months of testimony. A new trial was to begin in February.
LaRouche was sentenced in Alexandria, Va., to 15 years in prison for scheming to defraud federal tax collectors and deliberately failing to repay more than $30 million in loans from political supporters.
Assistant U.S. Atty. John Markham said the Justice Department felt dismissal was warranted because "the major participants in the Boston crimes have now received substantial sentences either in Boston or in Alexandria."
"It was the Boston prosecuting effort which led to the evidence which allowed the indictment and convictions in Alexandria, and I think justice was served by the substantial sentences received," said Markham, who handled both cases.
"Additional effort would be a waste of the court's time and resources. We've got nothing more to gain."
LaRouche, who has run for President four times, is known for his extreme views, including support for a quarantine of AIDS victims and allegations that Britain's Queen Elizabeth is involved in drug trafficking.