Lawyers for former CIA agent Edwin P. Wilson asked a federal judge here yesterday to dismiss charges against Wilson because the government acted improperly by tricking him into leaving his sanctuary in Libya in order to expose him to capture.
In a 114-page document filed with U.S. District Judge John H. Pratt, the lawyers--Herald Price Fahringer and John A. Keats--presented a broad range of arguments in an efort to persuade Pratt to dismiss the charges against Wilson.
Wilson, who is in custody in lieu of a bond of $40 million, was first indicted in April 1980 on charges that he supplied explosives and trained terrorists for Libyan ruler Muammar Qaddafi, and that he participated in a conspiracy to assassinate a Libyan dissident.
In their filing yesterday, Wilson's lawyers, citing a 1974 federal court decision in New York in a case involving alleged torture, argued that Wilson was forced to return to this country against his will and that "fraud of the worst sort" was used by the government to capture him last June. The New York decision said judges can free defendants arrested as a result of illegal government actions.
Wilson contends that he left Libya believing that he could travel with impunity to the Dominican Republic to work on what he thought was a request by the National Security Council to set up an intelligence network in Central America. When he arrived in that country, officials put him on a plane for New York, where he was arrested.
Wilson's lawyers argued that the man who tricked him--Ernest R. Keiser--was acting on behalf of the government when he persuaded Wilson to leave Libya. The lawyers also contended that Keiser showed Wilson a letter from Mark Richard, deputy assistant attorney general. Keiser assured a Wilson associate that, with the letter, it was "perfectly safe" for Wilson to leave Libya, the lawyers said.
The letter, dated Feb. 5, is a two-paragraph missive in which Richard tells Wilson that he has talked to Keiser "as to your situation," and says that he is not able "to pursue these matters with you while you remain in Libya. We are sure that under all the circumstances you can appreciate our position."
Wilson's lawyers ask that two prosecutors in the case--assistant U.S. attorneys E. Lawrence Barcella Jr. and Carol Bruce--be disqualified because they are potential witnesses. The lawyers also assert that Wilson's reindictment in August 1981 was improper because it occurred while the prosecutors were plea bargaining with Wilson.