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TESTIMONY OF JEFF FORT, ACCOMPANIED BY COUNSEL,
The CHAIRMAN. Be seated.
Mr. PATNER. My name is Marshall Patner, P-a-t-n-e-r. Mr. Chairman
The CHAIRMAN. Just a moment.
Mr. PATNER. Mr. Chairman, on July 1, 1968, I presented a request to you. I would like at this time to have that request made part of the record,
The CHAIRMAN. Let me see the request.
Mr. PATNER. I have supplied copies to you and to each of the members of the subcommittee, if you would like some further copies I have them.
The CHAIRMAN. With respect to your request to which you have referred, for the record, this request which is brief and concise may be printed in the record at this point. (The request is as follows:)
CHICAGO, ILL., July 1, 1968. Ton. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee on Investigations of the
Committee on Government Operations of the United States Senate: My client, Mr. Jeff Fort, has been subpenaed to appear before this committee concerning an investigation of the Woodlawn area job training project, Chicago, Ill., funded by the Office of Economic Opportunity. On behalf of Mr. Fort, i hereby request and demand :
1. That each person who has made statements or presented evidence before this subcommittee, either orally or in any written form, including by affidavit, which tends to defame Mr. Fort or otherwise adversely affect his reputation, and any persons who shall hereafter do so, be called to appear personally before this subcommittee and at such time to be confronted personally by Mr. Fort and his undersigned counsel, after reasonable notice to Mr. Fort and said counsel of the time and place of such personal appearance by each such person.
2. That the undersigned counsel for Mr. Fort be permitted to personally orally cross-examine, in a reasonable manner, said persons described in paragraph 1, above.
3. Mr. Fort also requests and demands the right to present additional evidence as to the issues described in paragraph 1, above. Respectfully submitted.
MARSHALL PATNER, Attorney for Mr. Jeff Fort.
I hereby affirm that I personally delivered a copy of the attached letter of request and demand, dated July 1, 1968, to the Honorable Senator John McClellan on July 4, 1968, at
MARSHALL PATNER. The foregoing was signed before me on July
Witness or Notary Public. The CHAIRMAN. Request No. 1 is a matter that addresses itself to the discretion of the committee. The number of the witnesses to which you referred whose testimony may have reflected upon your client, Mr. Fort-a number of those witnesses have appeared in person, are here, some of them today in person, and as to whether the committee will call
any other witnesses, witnesses that you may request, is a matter that addresses itself to the committee at the time you submit their names and make a special request for a given witness.
Your request No. 2, that the undersigned counsel for Mr. Fort be permitted to personally orally cross-examine in a reasonable manner said persons described in paragraph 1 above cannot be granted under the rules of the committee.
You may submit questions for the committee to present, to ask witnesses that may have appeared or may appear to testify with respect to your client.
The committee will weigh those questions and if proper will ask the questions.
No. 3, "Mr. Fort also requests and demands the right to present additional evidence as to the issues described in paragraph 1, above." Those matters will be resolved as we proceed after he has testified.
If you have witnesses you wish to produce for him the committee will consider them. I cannot rule upon No. 1 and No. 3 at this time. No. 2, the committee will be governed by the rules of the committee.
Mr. PATNER. Mr. Chairman, may I respond very briefly?
Mr. PATNER. I then request that the Chair strike from the record any testimony under rule 13 which is testimony or other evidence that tends to defame or otherwise adversely affect the reputation of my client.
It is our position, Mr. Chairman, that if the testimony is so adverse under the standards set up under rule 13 we must have the right to either, to confront or cross-examine the witnesses who did not appear to file affidavits.
The CHAIRMAN. Rule 13 reads—were you through?
Mr. PATNER. I was going to say we would otherwise be denied a fair hearing
The CHAIRMAN (reading rule 13): Any person whose name is mentioned or who is specifically identified, and who believes that testimony or other evidence presented at a public hearing, or comment made by a Subcommittee Member or counsel, tends to defame him or otherwise adversely affect his reputation, may (a) request to appear personally before the Subcommittee to testify in his own behalf, or, in the alternative, (b) file a sworn statement of facts relevant to the testimony or other evidence or comment complained of. Such request and such statement shall be submitted to the Subcommittee for its consideration and action.
Under that rule there is no authority and no reason for the committee to strike from the record anything that may have been sworn to here under oath in which your client's name was mentioned either favorably or adversely.
So we will not strike. The ruling of the Chair will be if I am sustained, that nothing we have received in the record thus far will be stricken from the record.
Senator MUNDT. We are limited by rules. We have called Mr. Fort, he is here. He will have ample opportunity to testify in his own defense.
Mr. PATNER. I understand that. It was my position and it is our position on behalf of my client unless we can confront and crossexamine
The CHAIRMAN. A little louder.
It is our position that unless we are able to confront and crossexamine the witnesses that we are denied any remedy to respond to the harm that rule 13 of this committee recognizes if rule 13 is not adequate to afford us a fair hearing that rule should be amended, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, that is your suggestion. You understand we have preferred no charges against your client. This is not a court. He is not on trial. This committee cannot deprive him of liberty or impose any penalty for anything he may have done.
All this committee can do is to investigate matters that come within its jurisdiction which the Congress by appropriate resolution and by the rules of the Senate have instructed and given this committee a mandate to investigate and that is what we are doing.
Now, Mr. Fort's name has been mentioned quite frequently in connection with Government money that has been expended on a project with which he is identified in the high capacity of center chief of this project.
Senator MUNDT. At what salary?
The CHAIRMAN. In this aspect of this hearing we are investigating the expenditure of that money, what it was spent for. It was allegedly spent for school. He was instructor or center chief of one of these units, center No.1.
The Congress is interested and the Senate is interested in ascertaining how this money was spent, what the taxpayers got for it and whether it was a legitimate expenditure or if it was a wasteful expenditure or if it was expended under circumstances where it was not even calculated to produce any benefits.
All of those matters address themselves to the committee and are subjects that are involved in this inquiry.
He is a proper witness before the committee because he is the recipient of Government funds. He will be interrogated accordingly.
Senator MUDr. To make it short, Mr. Counsel, he appears here as a Federal employee getting over $500 a month from the Federal Government.
He appears here in complete compliance with rule 13 to defend himself against any charges which have been made.
The other rules you allude to, you will be given the same courtesy we afford other witnesses and other counsel, to submit to us questions which are relevant, pertinent, respectable, in which case the committee has the habit of asking those questions of the people you have been talking about.
But we have to do that after we have heard your client. Let him first of all purge the record as far as he is able of any charges which he has read about or heard about, or which have been made.
Mr. PATNER, Senator Mundt and Mr. Chairman, as a great deal of the testimony, evidence, documents that have come in are based on hearsay, double or triple hearsay, it is our position that it is inadequate that Mr. Fort could defend himself from the charges that have been made unless he can confront and cross-examine those witnesses.
Reserving all other questions that can be raised here ranging from the propriety of the subpenaing and scope of the examination, we cannot proceed unless we can have the right to confront and cross-examine the witnesses.
The CHAIRMAN. Will you state your name—I have heard your statement-will you state your name please?
Mr. FORT. Jeff Fort.
Mr. PATNER. I am sorry, Mr. Chairman, I must instruct my client we cannot participate without the right to cross-examine.
The CHAIRMAN. Just a moment, counsel. We have extended you the courtesy of permitting you to appear. You listen to the committee for just a moment.
We seek information from your client regarding a Federal project where he was employed and where he received money.
The committee desires to pursue its duty under the rules of the Senate and under the special resolution adopted that directs this committee to inquire into or study the cost of Government at all levels with a view to determining its economy and its efficiency and with a view of investigating organized crime and also the investigation of riots and causes of riots, how they might be prevented.
That is a subject matter of this inquiry. Your client has information that is pertinent to this inquiry. He has been sworn.
I am going to insist with the approval of the committee, the members present, two of which constitute a quorum, that he answer the questions, and I will ask you to take your seat and have your client take his seat and let the questions be asked.
Mr. PATNER. I appreciate the courtesy, Mr. Chairman.
Senator MUNDT. Mr. Chairman, before counsel speaks any further, I think he should be alerted to something he may not know.
As far as I know, this may be your first appearance before the committee.
Mr. PATNER. Yes, sir.
Senator Munds. There is only one manner in which your client can avoid testifying before this committee. He has the same right as any other citizen has, to take the fifth amendment on those questions which he thinks an honest answer might tend to incriminate him.
If he simply refuses to answer the questions that you now suggest he will be subject to a vote of contempt of Congress which provides a jail sentence of its own.
I think you should know that. A lot of witnesses have walked out of this committee and other investigating committees and have wound up in the Federal jail because of contempt of Congress.
This is an official proceeding. You have the right of the fifth amendment, of course, if the answers incriminate. You should know in advance if you walk out you have subjected yourself to contempt of Congress.
Mr. PATNER. I appreciate Senator Mundt's admonition. It is our position that the hearing cannot be a fair one without the remedies and rights afforded that we have requested and reserving all other rights, I must advise my client that we cannot participate. Thank you, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Just a moment. I don't think you want to show us a discourtesy.
Mr. PATNER. No, sir; I do not.
Do I understand that you are advising your client, telling the committee and advising the client not to answer any questions that may be asked of him?
Mr. PATNER. I am standing and advising my client to stand, Mr. Chairman, on the requests that we have made. Unless those are granted so that we can have a fair hearing, we cannot participate.
The CHAIRMAN. I am asking you the question if you will permit your client to answer questions?
Mr. PATNER. If those requests were granted he would answer all questions.
The CHAIRMAN. I have told you certain parts of your request will be considered in due course when the occasion arises for them.
One of them will have to be denied under the rules of the committee.
Mr. PATNER. Yes, sir. It is upon the denial of that request that we cannot participate.
The CHAIRMAN. Your contention is because of denial of item No. 2 you cannot proceed?
Mr. PATNER. That is correct.
The CHAIRMAN. Item No. 2, which I read to you from your request, which is:
That the undersigned counsel for Mr. Fort be permitted to personally orally cross-examine in a reasonable manner said persons described in paragraph 1, above.
Mr. PATNER. That is correct. That includes the right to confront and cross-examine such witnesses who have made statements adverse as set out in rule 13.
The CHAIRMAN. Very well. You acknowledge that your client was subpenaed to be here and is now under subpena before this committee?
Mr. PATNER. I do.
The CHAIRMAN. And that subpena was duly served on him and he is here in response to that subpena?
Mr. PATNER. Yes. But I reserve questions about the sufficiency of the subpena, itself.
The CHAIRMAN. Let the subpena be printed in the record at this point.
(The document referred to is as follows:)
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES
To Jeff Fort,
PURSUANT to lawful authority, you are hereby commanded to appear before the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the Committee on Government Operations of the Senate of the United States, on 4 June, 1968, at 10 o'clock a.m., at their committee room 01 Old Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C., then and there to testify what you may know relative to the subject matters under consideration by said committee,
HEREOF FAIL NOT, as you will answer your default under the pains and penalties in such cases made and provided.
TO J. N. Tierney, U.S. Marshal by Herbert J. Lowe, Deputy, to serve and return,
GIVEN under my hand, by order of the committee, this 20 day of May, in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and 68.
JOHN L. MCCLELLAN, Chairman, Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the Com
mittee on Government Operations.