Political extremist and fringe presidential candidate Lyndon H. LaRouche Jr. called himself the victim of "a political fix" yesterday after the Supreme Court let stand his mail fraud and tax evasion convictions.
The court, without comment, turned away arguments that LaRouche and six associates were denied a fair trial in federal court in Alexandria.
"I am not surprised. I was warned that a political fix was in to get me out of the way politically," LaRouche said from the Rochester, Minn., prison where he is serving a 15-year term.
"From President Bush on down it is known that I am innocent. This means that no one in the U.S. can expect justice," LaRouche said in a statement.
LaRouche and the others were convicted in late 1988 of participating in a criminal conspiracy involving more than $30 million in defaulted loans. Prosecutors said LaRouche fund-raisers, based in Leesburg, solicited loans with no intention of repaying the lenders. Prosecutors also said LaRouche avoided taxes by reporting no income and having his living expenses paid through corporations he controlled.
In their appeal, attorneys for LaRouche and the others convicted with him -- William Wertz, Edward Spannaus, Michael Billington, Dennis Small, Paul Greenberg and Joyce Rubinstein -- argued that the defendants were denied adequate time to prepare for trial, that jury selection was unfair and that the trial judge wrongly curtailed the defendants' right to present their case.
The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond upheld the convictions in January.
Meanwhile, in another Virginia case, the Supreme Court yesterday agreed to review a ruling that a New York City distributor of adult books and films must turn over business records, but not videotapes, to a federal prosecutor in Alexandria.
The U.S. Attorney's Office had attempted to subpoena corporate records and videotapes from Model Magazine Distributors and two other New York City businesses run by Martin Rothstein.
The 4th U.S. Circuit ruled last year that Model Magazine Distributors must turn over its corporate records, but said the government failed to demonstrate the relevance of other records or of the 193 videotapes sought from the company.
The government and Rothstein appealed to the Supreme Court.
Justice Department lawyers argued that the ruling "threatens to disrupt the ordinary operation of grand jury investigations."
Rothstein accused prosecutors of engaging in a "fishing expedition" and said they should not be allowed access to his company's business records.