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August 04, 1973 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1973-08-04

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Summer Daily
Summer Edt n of
Edited and managed by students at the
University of Michigan
Saturday, August 4, 1973 News Phone: 764-0552
still another place
AS IF ANOTHER TRIAL of radicals on conspiracy
charges were not enough, the events of the last week
confirm the continuing paranoia of the federal gdvern-
Eight anti-war activists were charged with planning
violent disruptions during the Republican national con-
vention in Miami last year. They are now on trial in
Gainesville, Fla.
Because the demonstrators were members of the
Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) the federal
government could not easily discredit them as "gutless
cowards." So they have tried to label theni as conspira-
THE "VVAW 8", as they are called, have claimed that
their trial is an attempt by the Nixon administra-
tion to divert attention from the Watergate scandal.
They have asserted throughout that their trial is essen-
tially political.
The trial judge, Winston Arnow, of the U. S. District
Court has attempted to prevent this trial from becoming
a reenactment of the trial of the "Chicago 7" and has
prohibited the defendants from making public state-
ments during the trial.
Arnow, during the pre-trial hearings, refused to ac-
cept any link between this case and Watergate and said
there was no evidence of any government misconduct.
BUT THAT RULING was made before two FBI agents
were found this week with bugging devices in a
closet adjoining the defense attorneys' conference room.
Judge Arnow has denied a full hearing into the in-
cident until after the jury is selected. Once the full facts
are known, the case may yet become Watergate Two, as
the defendants assert.
The tragedy of this incident goes beyond its viola-
tions of the constitutional rights of the defendants. The
significance is much greater.
-OR IT PROVES that the paranoic atmosphere that
caused the first Watergate has not left the federal
government. Indeed, the air of suspicion that pervaded
Washington has now spread to Florida
The Watergate scandal is not an isolated incident
and unless we understand that fact its meaning will be
lost. What is being revealed now in the Senate hearings
are not isolated incidents. Rather, they are joined by a
connecting thread of mistrust of the American people.
The incident in Gainesville demonstrates that thisI
mistrust has not dissipated in the least.

Plamondon trial: All the elements

of perfect
Wagner: Well a lot of people
thought it was opium so I was still
selling it.
Davis: Even after you knew it
wasn't opium?
Wagner: That's correct.
Davis: You were still selling it?
- Wagner: That's correct. .. ....
--State's witness Uwe Wagner,
in the Plamondon - Blazier ex-
tortion trial.
Defense counsel Hugh "Buck"
Davis had some strong things to
say to the judge that last day, but
he never got to throw it all at a
German-born alien, drug dealer,
and now judicially confirmed ex-
tortion victim named Uwe Wag-
ner because, probably quite wise-
ly, Wagner didn't hang around aft-
er he'd finished testifying.
Wagner is the state's witness re-
sponsible for nailing R a i n b o w
People's Party (RPP) members
Pun Plamondon and Craig Blazier
to an extortion charge last week.
The convictions followed a hard-
fought, two week long trial in
Cadillac in which the state's deci-
sion to prosecute the defendants
instead of the complainant and
star witness became as important

courtroom melodrama

state. There are more people up
in Traverse City waiting for the
investigation to come down on
their heads," Davis catches his
breath. "He won't get arrested,
he won't get deported, and it cost
him a lot, but he made it. Wagner
hung on and now he's made it."
Wagner: Just before Pun left,
he had a little white derringer
held against his chest, and he
was looking down at it.
Wilson: Was anything said?
Wagner: Nothing was said.
Wilson: Was anyone in a posi-
tion to see this, Mr. Wagner?
Wagner: Bruce Peterson was.
Bruce Peterson is slow and
thoughtful in his speech, has long
red hair and youthfully goat-teed
hang dog face, and turned 17 the
last day of January that the two
defendants visited Wagner at his
house in a little town southwest of
Traverse City. He was living with
Wagner at the time and, from the
time the state police first con-
tacted him in Massachusetts,
maintained that during the visit he
had never seen a gun nor a knife.
From the beginning, the prose-
cution's black sheep, Peterson
ate, slept, and got high with the

the beginning he has maintained
that Wagner was originally only
Blazier's concern, and that he on-
ly went along for the ride to visit
friends and relatives in Traverse
Confessing himself to be "bor-
dering on paranoia" from his fre-
quent contacts with law enforce-
ment agencies and detentional in-
stitutions in the past, Plamondon
also looked like he didn't want to
go back to jail.
-Judge Peterson, of the state's
efforts in the case.
The first day of the trial, Circuit
Court Judge William Peterson lis-
tened to Plamondon cursing
wrathfully at Wagner over the
telephone in in conversation tape-
recorded by the state police.
Turning to the defendant after
the tape had finished playing, the
judge observed: "Co-counsel Pun,
do you remember in church when
they taught you that God sees
and hears everything you do?
Well, you should watch your lan-
guage because now the state does
the same."
"The most mellow judge I've
ever met," observed state's wit-

"Co-counsel Pun, do you remember in church when they taught you
that God sees and hears everything you do? Well, you should watch your
language because now the state does the same.
asis:sii~ssitswssss :::isees~sm sm mis~se meisaissesisesiesisiissssise~sam ese~s semsesisa::..saasia

an issue as the trial itself. V
Wagner insisted that Plam-
ondon and Blazier had threatened
him with knife and gun in an at-
tempt to collect a $3,000 debt on
a marijuana deal. The defendants
however maintained throughout
that there had been no knife and
gun and that the heat generated
during the incidenthresulted from
their discovery of bard drugs on
Wagner - for which Wagner was
never prosecuted.
Dark blonde and long of hair,
handsome a n d peculiarly red-
faced, at the trial Wagner always
strode smiling into the cburtroom
like a big jungle cat who has just
eatens a good me-al. she front
bench left, filled with friends of
thse defense, always camnetIniilh
the quickening of smsall, fuirry ani-
mals in the presence of a snake.
Wagner spoke with a precise and
biting accent, was good at staring
down his examiners, and chewved
his lips and cheeks incessantly.
"tie held onto his $3,000," de -
fense counsel Dasis began that
last day in a catching, rhythmic
cant, "he made it though through
the great opium rip-off, he made
his three best friends split the

defendants, their wives, friends
and lawyers out at the defense
house south of Cadillac during the
"I just feel more relaxed with
them," he explained helplessly to
the court under some unfriendly
questioning from John Wilson, the
The week before he came out to
Michigan from Massachusetts in
order to testify, Peterson was
busted for the possession of three
ounces of weed after someone saw
a big marijuana plant in his win-
dow. Ie declined to comment on
the rumor that it was bought with
the $270 which the state police
gave him to come out to Michi-
gan. There wasn't anything to
worry about for a while anyway,
however, because after he wa
busted the authorities gave him a
'safe passage" to make sure he
ussade it past all the law enforce-
nrt agencies between M'}ssachu-
setts and Michigan.
"It means I can't get busted,"
he explained one evening with a
faint note of awe in his voice. The
safe passage expired the last day
of the trial, however, and he now
faces his own proceedings back in
"It's not honest."
-defendant Craig Blazier, of
Uwe Wagner's business prac-
Convicted extortionist C r a i g
Blazier played football in high
school, was president of his senior
class, and looks and talks like the
sort of clean, All-American hippie
we've come to expect from the
pages of True Love comics.
On the .stand he poured out his
side of the story with little
prompting from his examiners. He
may have been a little too sin-
cere, or clever, however, because
at difficult points he tended to
slip into ingenuousness.
Concerning the hole he kicked
in the' wall of Wagner's bedroom,
for example, his own counsel ask-
ed him if he had ever done any-
thing like that before,
"When I was little I put a dent
in the wall," he recalled to gen-
eral laughter from the people in
the courtroom. Then he added, by
way of explanation, "I was mad
at my little sister."
Blazier's co-defendant was for-
mer Hollywood glamour radical-
on-the-run Pun Plamondon. Sit-
ting at the defense table Plamon-
don looked more than a little fed-
up that he was the object of an-
other courtroom proceeding. From,

ness Bruce Peterson of Circuit
Court Judge William Peterson.
And the last day of the trial this
up-country sage of a judge had
something to say to everyone.
He told the defendants they
were guilty, but as gently as he
He told the state that it had
spent "an inordinate amount of
time and expense" on the case,
then muttered the word "foolish-
He called state's witness Peter-
son a "pliable young man . .
sinwilling to dio anything very evi-
dently harmful lo the defense."
And, maybe so that no one
would think that he was biased, he
called state's witness Wagner in
"unscrupulous, immoral, and dis-
honest person" and "not only a
laswbreaker but a scoundrel."
All in a very kindly tone of
Explaining his verdict, the judge
told the defendants he wus coo-
vinced that they had insdeed "in-
tended to impose their will upon
that of Mr. Wagner" in the mat-
ter of the debt.
Since he could not rely solely
ii Wagner's testimony in the mat-
ter of the knife and gun "beytnd
reasonable doubt," however, he
dismissed the extortion "by threat
of bodily injury" counts and found
them guilty only of "extortion by
threat of accusation."
Outside the courthouse after the
verdict, Suck Davis interpreted
for the press. "Basically he ended
up saying," Davis said, "that he
found the defendants guilty of
threatening to expose Wagner as
a rip-off hard drug dealer."
Just before, Plamondon had ex-
pressed the traditional right of a
convicted man to address a few
last words to the court.
"We appreciate your time and
consideration," he told Judge Pet-
erson. "We feel that this was an
essentially fair trial, we feel the
court was open-minded, and we
appreciate that."
David Stoll is an assistant
night editor for The Daily.
Letters to The Daily should
be mailed to the Editorial Di-
rector or delivered to Mary
Rafferty in the Student Pub-
lications business office in the
Michigan Daily building. Letters
should be typed, double-spaced
and normally should not exceed
250 words. The Editorial Direc-
tors reserve the right to edit
all letters submitted.

Plamondon: (lett) Hollywood glamour radical on-the-run
Blazier: (right) The All-American hippie

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