James C. McKay, the independent counsel investigating Attorney General Edwin Meese III's ties to scandal-plagued Wedtech Corp., secretly urged yesterday that Meese's former financial adviser be jailed immediately for refusing to release any foreign bank account records needed to follow the "money trail" in the influence-peddling case.
McKay's plea to back up a contempt finding with an indefinite jail sentence for former Meese adviser W. Franklyn Chinn was submitted under seal to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York. It supported a similar unannounced move Thursday by U.S. Attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani in New York, sources familiar with the case said.
In the Giuliani-directed investigation, a federal grand jury is investigating whether Chinn and his business partner, R. Kent London, defrauded Wedtech of $1.14 million. McKay, however, is seeking any foreign bank records to help determine whether Meese benefited from his 1982 intervention on behalf of Wedtech's quest for a Pentagon contract, sources said.
McKay said that if he determined that Meese should be charged with any crimes, then the matter was "obviously of highest urgency." On the other hand, if the facts show that Meese did not commit any violations, he should be "cleared immediately," McKay told the court.