A surprise tape recording has added a new twist to the hearing in which the "Wilmington 10" are seeking a new trial.On it, a key defense witness said his reversal of testimony that helped send the civil rights workers to jail in 1972 was a lie.
Startled defense attorneys and courtroom spectators listened as James Stroud, who prosecuted the Wilmington 10 for the burning of a grocery store during 1971 racial violence, presented two tape recordings of conversations he said he had with Allen Hall last week.
Judge George M. Fountain allowed the entire tapes to be played.
Hall told Stroud on the tapes that his original testimony was true, but he recanted it because he was told by Wilmington 10 backers in Washington, D.C., that "something bad would happen to me."
He said prosecution witness Jerome Mitchell recanted his testimony because he felt Stround should have helped him get out of a jail term he was serving on a murder conviction in exchange for his testimony.
A third prosecution witness, Eric Junious, was "tricked into" reversing his testimony, Hall told Stroud.
The three men said last week that they had lied in testimony during the 1972 trial. THey said Stroud had coached them in the lies.