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May 04, 1977 - Image 1

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Michigan Daily, 1977-05-04

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The Michigan Daily

Vol. LXXXVII, No. 1-S

Ann Arbor, Michigan--Wednesday, May 4, 1977

Free Issue 24 pages plus supplement

VA defense raps witnesses

By KEITH RICHBURG
Defense attorneys at the Veterans Administration
(VA) Hospital murder trial yesterday blasted the
prosecution for trying to introduce a list of new wit-
nesses. During their oral arguments before Federal
Judge Philip Pratt, the lawyers representing VA nurses
Leonora Perez and Filipina Narciso claimed that the
"last minute" witnesses were listed to testify to the
presence of a mysterious man in a green operating
gown.
The unidentified "man in green" was supposedly
seen lurking the corridors of the hospital at the time
of the unexplained breathing failures during the sum-
mer of 1975. Defense attorneys will no doubt contend
that the unknown person may be responsible for the
failures.
"THE GOVERNMENT knew about the man in green
when they prepared the (original) witness list," said
attorney Michael Moran. He pointed out that none of
the new witnesses could add anything to the case. "How
can they testify to not having seen a man in green if
they didn't see anybody else either?" Moran asked.

Judge Pratt ordered that none of the potential wit-
nesses be called until he reached a decision.
The prosecution is attempting to prove that Narciso
and Perez injected Pavulon, a powerful muscle relax-
ant, into the intravenous feeding tubes of nine of their
former patients. Two of the patients died following
respiratory arrests.
WHEN THE TRIAL opened last March, Assistant
U.S. Attorney Richard Yanko promised "there will be
no smoking gun testimony." In his opening statement,
Yanko oultined the prosecution strategy of building a
web of circumstantial evidence. "And if you think
y'ou'll be left with no doubts, you're in for a surprise,"
he said.
Defense attorney Edward Stein, one of the four law-
yers representing the two nurses, made reference to
Yanko's comment in his own opening statement. "When
it's all over, reasonable doubt will fill up the court-
room, it will surround you, screaming at you," he
said. -

As testimony enters the sixth week of the complex
trial, key issue in the case has become the very con-
ditions of the VA Hospital itself during the summer of
1975, in a defense strategy of suggesting that under-
staffing and incompetence could have caused the
breathing failures.
NINE PATIENTS suffered respiratory arrests that
summer, two of them fatal. Narcisco and Perez, who
were assigned to the Intensive Care Unit at the time,
are being charged with two counts of murder, seven
counts of poisoning, and one count of conspiracy.
In their effort to show the adverse conditions at the
VA could have contributed to the respiratory arrests,
defense attorneys played on the fact that the two
doctors in charge of patient Mark H. Hogan, who died
had been practicing for only 29 days.
On April 20, Dr. Roberta Kurtz testified that she
was only an intern at the time of Hogan's breathing
failure. Kurtz said that she was "surprised" by the
See VA, Page 11

Viet U.S.
PARIS (P)-Representatives of shook hands in an apparent re- It
the United States and Vietnam flection of the warm atmosphere con
opened formal negotiations yes- at the talks. Holbrooke said ern
terday on the establishment of "we had a frank, friendly and fort
diplomatic relations between very useful discussion." Hien, nat
the two governments. An agree- standing besidethe America yea
meat is expected quickly. delegate, added smilingly in retf
The two delegations, headed English: "I have to agree with a
by Richard Holbrooke, U.S. him." 'lei
Assistant Secretary of State for A Vietnamese spokesman said
Sa'theast Asian Affairs, and no details of the discussiV n
Vietnam's Deputy Foreign Min- would be disclosed until the ' d use
ister. Phan hien, met for three- of the talks, possibly wit.n two
ami-a-half hours in the newly- weeks. The meetings ill re- If
o"e-'ed Vietnamese embassy. sume it the Vietnamese em- ear
They will meet again today. bassy today and the nc °t two ha
meetings will be at the ab
AT THE END of the meeting, can embassy, the spokesman by
Holbrooke and tHen smilingly said. rai

launch t

t was the first high-level
tact between the two gov-
ments since Communist-led
ces occupied the South Viet-
mese capital of Saigon two
vS ago and the country was
fed the following year. It
s also the first time the
.aming white ,s:,gda-Shaped
tnamese embassy 'ilding,
ugur:: d by Pr - '.Pham
F T.ng last week, hit, been
d tOr business,
NFORMFJD SOORCES said
ter tha rite twvo governments
.t oared the way toward es-
lishing diplomatic relations
abandoning the preconditions
sed by each side.

The United States had de-
manded a full accounting for
2,500 Americans missing-in-ac-
tion in the Vietnam war, while
Hanoi had demanded the United
States lift its trade embargo and
pay more than $3 bililon in war
reparations.
During his official visit to
France last week, Premier Dong
said the two sides maintained
these demands but no longer re-
garded them as obstacles to the
establishment of diplomatic te-
lations between H a n o i and
Washington.
SOURCES HERE said the two
governments w o u 1 d probably
agree to set up diplomatic rela-
tions at ambassadorial level
fairly quickly. and would then
use their respective embassies
to pursue the search for the

aiks
MIA's and talks on possible
American economic aid to Ha-
noi. It was assumed that the
U.S. trade embargo would be
dropped or substantially eased
soon after an agreement to es-
tablish diplomatic relations.
Earlier yesterday, however,
Hanoi's official newspaper said
an agreement to normalize re-
lations might not be concluded
until the United States agreed
to give Vietnam the reconstruc-
tion aid it has demanded. The
Nhan Dan newspaper report,
broadcast over Radio Hanoi and
monitored in Bangkok, said
three problems remained be-
tween the two countries - the
normalization of relations, the
MTA question and U.S. reuara-
tines. It described the three as
inter-related.

Magruder: Nixon to
deny cover-up role
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) - Richard Nixon was
lersonally involved in the cover-up that followed the Water-
gate burglary, but probably will not admit It in an upcoming
television interview, says convicted conspirator Jeb Stuart Ma-
gruder.
Former President Nixon's first interview since his resigna-
tion will be televised Wednesday night. David Frost, ,a British
television personality, reportedly paid Nixon $600,000 for more
than two hours of taped interviews that have been reduced to
four television shows. Magruder said he would not watch the
shows.
"I'M AFRAID WE'LL GET THE VIEW that he wasn't in-
volved in the covej"-up," Magruder said when interviewed last
week by the Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph. "But I know
personally he was. Only a guilty person accepts a pardon; why
would a person accept a pardon if he weren't guilty."
The unreality of the Nixon White House and its preoccupa-
tion with materialism were root causes of Watergate and Nixon's
downfall, said Magruder. The former White House aide is now
a vice president of Young Life, a non-denominational Christian
organization based here that works with teen-agers.
"If he admitted his involvement, it would be much easier
for the American people to understand and forgive," Magruder
said. "What made it easier for me is the fact that I did come
clean."

RICHARD HOLBROOKE, left, assistant secretary of state for South East Asian affairs shakes
hands with Phan Hien, Vietnamese vice foreign minister on the steps of the Vietnamese Em-
bassy in Paris, yesterday as other members of the American and Vietnamese negotiating
teams look on The U.S. and Vietnam began talks yesterday in Paris amid expectations that
diplomatic relations could be established between the two countries.

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