In his letter, Shahabian specifically faulted the government on three main points. He cited a missing passage in a transcript of a conversation he had with undercover FBI agent Brennan, errors in rough drafts of other transcripts, and the disappearance of original statements that he was asked to sign when he became a government informant.
In one allegation, Shahabian cited a conversation he recalled holding with Brennan but which failed to show up on a tape or transcript.
Shahabian said that in a 1986 meeting with Brennan in front of the Senator Hotel, across from the Capitol, Brennan "opened up his wallet and fanned a stack of $100 bills before me and told me to take what I wanted."
"I was shocked by this behavior and in rejecting his offer, made a clear statement of my disapproval of the use of cash in politics," Shahabian said in his letter.
In contrast, Nuechterlein responded that Brennan told him that all his conversations with Shahabian were recorded and that no recorded conversations were altered or destroyed.
Nuechterlein also recalled that the undercover agent was questioned about the incident during Carpenter's first trial. "Then and now, Brennan unequivocally states that this incident simply did not occur."
Shahabian also described the duress he was under during this period, noting that on the day he first met Brennan, his father was struck by a truck and killed in Hemet.
Shahabian's second point is that there are numerous other errors and gaps in transcripts that make events "appear to be more sinister than what actually had been said."
He said that the transcript of one secretly recorded conversation on Sept. 3, 1987, is flawed. Anyone relying on the transcript, he said, "would come away with a perniciously inaccurate picture" of what transpired.
Just a week later, Shahabian was invited to what he thought was a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service office to help a developer overcome some environmental questions. Instead, he was led into a room filled with FBI agents. Shahabian agreed to cooperate with federal authorities.
After being interrogated by investigators for more than 12 hours at the meeting, Shahabian said, he declined to sign draft statements that he contended erroneously depicted events of the prior year. He said he was told to delete the inaccurate passages and sign the statement.
Shahabian said he did so but continued to balk at signing without the benefit of a lawyer. Based on assurances that his rights were not in jeopardy, he signed a four-page statement agreeing to cooperate and detailing his involvement, he said.
In 1990, while preparing for Carpenter's first trial, Shahabian asked to see the statements but FBI Agent James J. Wedick, who was overseeing the inquiry, "said they were not in the file."
Nuechterlein dismissed assertions that "impermissible pressure" was applied to Shahabian to get him to cooperate with the government.
"While you now may try to cast the circumstances in a different light, you cannot argue with the fact that you were given the choice of either cooperating with the government or refusing to do so. You chose to cooperate," Nuechterlein said in his letter to Shahabian.