'60 Minutes' Tape Played at Hasenfus Trial

From Times Wire Services

Government attorneys prosecuting American flier Eugene Hasenfus today played a tape of a "60 Minutes" television interview in which Hasenfus admitted running supplies to U.S.-backed Nicaraguan rebels.

Court spokesman Thelma Salinas said Hasenfus was present at the People's Tribunal session during which a prosecutor showed the tape from the CBS-TV "60 Minutes" program broadcast Oct. 19. Journalists were not allowed to attend.

Hasenfus reportedly was accompanied by his lawyer, Enrique Sotelo Borgen, and an assistant.

Tape Given by CBS

In the interview, conducted by Mike Wallace, Hasenfus described a clandestine network based in El Salvador that ferried tons of supplies to the rebels.

A CBS spokesman in New York confirmed in a telephone interview that CBS gave the Nicaraguans a tape of the interview, in which Hasenfus admitted being part of an operation to smuggle weapons to contra rebels.

"One of the ground rules was they wanted to videotape the interview," said the spokesman, who asked not to be identified.

Were 'Taking Notes'

"They had audiocassettes there, they were taking notes. It was the feeling of '60 Minutes' that since (more) cameras would have gotten in the way, that we would provide them with a copy of the interview. They would have videotaped the interview anyway."

Hasenfus expects to be convicted by the Nicaraguans but hopes that his plea for mercy will lighten the sentence, his American lawyer, former U.S. Atty. Gen. Griffin B. Bell said today.

Hasenfus will make a "mitigating statement" and "has thrown himself on the mercy of the court," Bell said.

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