Michael K. Deaver, the former White House deputy chief of staff, will undergo surgery this morning for removal of a kidney stone, forcing a one-week recess in his perjury trial.
Deaver, accused of lying to a congressional subcommittee and a federal grand jury investigating the lobbying business he formed after leaving the Reagan administration, entered Georgetown University Hospital on Wednesday night, and doctors decided that his condition required surgery.
U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson agreed to the recess after Deaver's lawyers announced that their client would not waive his right to be present at the trial.
The slow-paced trial was to enter its 11th day of testimony yesterday and, with the delay for surgery, may not end until next month.
After talking by telephone with Deaver's physician, Jackson summoned jurors and told them that the hospitalization "has nothing whatsoever to do with the defense of alcoholism" that he is raising in an attempt to rebut the charges.
Deaver, 49, has maintained that alcoholism and poor health made it more likely that he was being truthful when he told investigators that he did not recall contacts he allegedly made on behalf of his lobbying clients.
Deaver was hospitalized in January 1985 for what his lawyers have said was renal failure, a kidney condition unrelated to the kidney-stone problem that first sent him to the hospital Oct. 31, shortly after the jury had been impaneled. He returned to court Nov. 3 after doctors said he did not need surgery.
Prosecutor Whitney North Seymour Jr., describing himself as "an alumnus of kidney-stone removal," requested appointment of an independent physician to examine Deaver and see if he might be able to undergo so-called "shock-wave" treatment, nonsurgical breakup of the stone.
Seymour dropped his request after Jackson said he knew Deaver's physican and volunteered to check on his condition. Later, the judge said he had confirmed that Deaver would undergo surgery and require "a mimimum of 72 hours" recuperation in the hospital and additional rest at home before he could return to court.
Separately, the judge dismissed Sylvia Ann Reeder Norris, 34, of Northwest Washington, from the panel of 16 jurors for what were announced only as "medical reasons." Her dismissal means that one of four alternates must join the jury of 12 that will decide Deaver's fate.