Independent presidential candidate Lyndon H. LaRouche testified in court yesterday that he has had no income and paid no income tax for the past 12 years and does not know who has paid for his food, clothing, travel expenses, lawyers' fees and rent over that period.
"I have not made a purchase of anything greater than a $5 haircut in the last 10 years," said LaRouche, testifying for the second day at the trial of his $150 million libel suit against NBC television in U.S. District Court in Alexandria.
In earlier testimony, LaRouche has said that his concern in the suit is not with financial loss, but with damage to his "prime function" of being a philosopher and an economist and with an increase of personal physical danger that he claims have resulted from two NBC broadcasts that portrayed him as the anti-Semitic leader of a "violence-prone" political cult.
LaRouche, 62, is a three-time presidential candidate who will be on the ballot next Tuesday in 19 states including Virginia.
LaRouche is known as the leader of the right-wing National Democratic Policy Committee, but he testified Monday that he belongs only to a loose association of people around the world.
He was testifying yesterday under cross-examination by NBC attorney Thomas Kavaler, who repeatedly turned to read statements LaRouche made in a deposition this summer that appeared to contradict the answers he gave to the same questions yesterday.
LaRouche disputed statements that were read to him from the deposition.
"That's not the testimony I gave this summer. Your testimony is false," LaRouche declared at one point. LaRouche also criticized Kavaler's questioning as a strategy of "lying by fallacy of composition of the question," taking things out of context and pulling "alligators and washing machines" from a "little bag."
Kavaler also showed the jury a 10-minute excerpt yesterday from a half-hour paid political announcement entitled "Walter Mondale and the Danger of Fascism in West Germany" that LaRouche's campaign committee aired on CBS prime-time television a week ago. In the film clip, LaRouche elaborated on his theory that presidential candidate Mondale is an "agent of influence" of the Soviet Union's secret intelligence service.
In testimony yesterday, LaRouche said that as of next Monday, his campaign will have produced a total of 15 such nation-wide televised political spots in the past year, at an average cost of about $250,000 per spot. Three are scheduled to appear on prime-time television next Monday, he said.
During his testimony, LaRouche acknowledged that he had once referred to one of the defendants in his suit, Pat Lynch, a producer for one of the the NBC broadcasts in question, as "Fat" Lynch, and described another defendant, NBC correspondent Brian Ross, as "a scoundrel" who has committed "virtual treason as well as thuggery."
In reference to a document he circulated critical of former secretary of state Henry Kissinger, LaRouche testified that "I wanted Kissinger to sue me because I have evidence." Kissinger, LaRouche said, has been "attacking me, killing my friends and wrecking governments" for years.
Later in the day, LaRouche was cross-examined by an attorney for the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith, which is also a defendant in the case because of an ADL official's statements in the broadcasts that LaRouche is a "small-time Hitler."
"The IRS ought to look into the ADL," LaRouche testified at one point, as he explained his belief that the ADL should be registered as a political action committee instead of a nonprofit organization.