Nancy Reagan, closing a personally sorrowful year, said yesterday she feels "very badly" about the perjury conviction of close friend Michael Deaver and understands she cannot have any social contact with him while his case is appealed.
In an interview, the first lady made it clear that she and President Reagan could not extend the traditional invitation for Christmas dinner this year to Deaver and his family because of his legal problems.
"I think that, legally, it's my understanding that there can't be any contact while the case is still pending," she said.
Asked whether she thought Deaver should get a presidential pardon, she said, "I don't think that's anything for me to get into, obviously."
She also said it is "not for me to decide" whether pardons should be granted to former national security adviser John Poindexter and Lt. Col. Oliver North, who are both under grand jury investigation for their actions in the Iran-contra scandal.
Deaver -- a Reagan family friend of 20 years who was deputy White House chief of staff from January 1981 to May 1985 -- was convicted Wednesday of perjury in probes of his post-government lobbying.
She grew teary when asked about him, and said she was "sad. I feel very badly" about his conviction. She also said she wrote Deaver a letter after the verdict was delivered.
Of Deaver's forthcoming book, "Behind the Scenes," which portrays her as the person who got her husband "to soften his line toward the Soviet Union" and to move toward an arms agreement, she said, "I haven't read it."
She discounted reports that she was furious over the excerpts that have been printed: "How can I be furious about something I haven't read?"