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North Goes Back to Court Unexpectedly : Has Series of Secret Skirmishes With Special Prosecutor

From Times Wire Services

Fired National Security Council aide Oliver North unexpectedly returned to federal court today for a series of secret skirmishes with special prosecutor Lawrence E. Walsh.

North, a Marine lieutenant colonel, wore his uniform as he moved with his lawyers from courtroom to courtroom in the U.S. Courthouse.

Walsh is pressing a criminal investigation into the secret sale of U.S. arms to Iran and the diversion of profits to the Nicaraguan contra rebels.

Supervised Aid Network

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North supervised the covert contra aid network while an aide at the NSC.

None of the lawyers involved would comment on the actions that began with a closed hearing before Chief U.S. District Judge Aubrey E. Robinson Jr. and then moved to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, where both sides filed sealed papers.

Later, North’s attorneys waited outside the room where a special federal grand jury impaneled by Walsh was meeting. Sources said North was talking to the jurors. The grand jury is probing the entire Iran-contra affair.

North had been named in court as a fellow conspirator by fund-raiser Carl Channell and public relations executive Richard Miller when they pleaded in recent days to conspiring to defraud the government by soliciting tax-exempt donations to buy arms for the contras.

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Mentioned by Secord

North also has been mentioned frequently in the congressional hearings, where Richard V. Secord, a retired Air Force major general, wrapped up his fourth and final day of testimony today.

North was fired Nov. 25, 1986, the day Atty. Gen. Edwin Meese III announced that proceeds from secret arms sales to Iran had been improperly diverted to the Nicaraguan contras.

In appearances before congressional panels in the ensuing weeks, North invoked his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination.

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While numerous figures in the controversy have been granted limited immunity from prosecution, North has been given no such protection.


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