Nicaraguan rebel leader Adolfo Calero testified today in Oliver L. North's criminal trial that he hadn't expected the former Marine lieutenant colonel to make personal use of any of the $90,000 Calero gave him to help free American hostages in Lebanon.
"I had absolute trust in what Col. North was doing, so I was not intent in demanding an accounting" of the money, Calero said. "He said that he had an accounting. We talked about getting it, but I guess I never got around to it."
Prosecutor John Keker asked Calero if he expected North, who is charged with taking $4,300 of the money, to spend any of it on himself.
No, Calero replied.
Calero, one of the top leaders of the Nicaraguan Contras, testified that he gave North the funds in traveler's checks after the White House aide "mentioned the need to help rescue Americans held hostage."
The money came from a Miami bank account that had received $32 million in deposits in eight months after Calero gave North the account number, he testified.
Calero said he never asked where the money came from. The money began flowing in, he said, in June, 1984, soon after official United States financial support for the Nicaraguan guerrillas stopped.