In a taped confession played today, accused assassin Dan White cited this city's political chicanery and pressures as major reasons for his killing Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk last Nov. 27.
White's reasons for the double shooting were broadcast in a dramatic confession played in the courtroom of Superior Court Judge Walter F. Calcagno. On the tape, White cried during the 24-minute confession, just as he broke down today as is was heard by the jurors.His wife Mary Ann sobbed throughout the testimony.
White resigned as a supervisor on Nov. 10, citing personal and financial pressures and then, after vows of support from his numerous relatives, asked for it back on Nov. 14. Moscone initially agreed, but later wavered.
"It came out that Supervisor Milk and some other were working against me to get my seat back on the board," White's taped voice, full of choked tears, recounted.
"[Moscone] told me that he had some comments made to him that he felt some of the people in District 8 ddin't want me to serve, and I told him these people . . . had traumatized my family by taking me, taking, pressing charges against me at the district attorney's office twice on false charges . . ."
"I never took money from anybody but the papers print it. Like, my constituents believe it. They, they asked me about it . . . Two months later the [district attorney] said they're unfounded but no one hears about it, that the charges are false. But my family suffers for it and I suffer for it."
White said that he began suspecting problems about a week before, when he was told by Moscone to gather support from his district if he wanted to keep his job.
"I could see the game that was being played, they were going to use me as a scapegoat, whether I was a good supervisor or not, that was not the point. This was a political opportunity and they were going to denigrate me and my family and the job that I had tried to do, and more or less hang me out to dry."
White had been elected in San Francisco's first district election of supervisors. The district system was the result of a campaign by neighborhood activists, grass-roots politicians like Milk and some labor unions. White had little previous experience with any of these groups, which largely set the tone of the city's convoluted, interest-group politics. Except for friends in the police and fire departments-who pressured him to take back his resignation-White had no real political base beyond a network of neighborhood friends.
White said on the tape that just before killing the mayor there was "just like a roaring in my ears" and that "I got kind of fuzzy and my head just didn't feel right."
He faces two charges of murder in the first degree with "special circumstances." If found guilty of this charge, and the "special circumstances," he could face a death sentence.