HARASSMENT DIARY, by Paulette Cooper (1982)
Part 7: Frame-up: The Big Grand Jury
My 1997 editorial comments are enclosed in [[double square brackets]].
(Sorry, this was not formatted. The following all refers to the second Grand Jury; I went to the first one without a lawyer, thinking I was being called as an expert witness on Scientology, and not realizing that I had been framed and was in serious trouble.)
Anything written in [[ ]] was added today. The rest was written around 1982. I've added paragraphs now to make it easier to read
Not surprisingly, I was petrified when I went off to the Grand Jury. My lawyers and I still had no idea what the evidence was, although we pretty much thought it had been my typewriter that had been used.[[for the bomb threats the Scientology PR director in New York claimed to have received]]
That whole afternoon, [[at the Grand Jury]] I tried desperately hard to answer every question as truthfully as I could, foolishly believing that if I did that, any idiot could see that I was innocent. (I also foolishly believed I couldn't be indicted for perjury if I told the truth).
It was the first time I saw the actual letters themselves (the previous evening had been a photocopy) and had never seen that type of airmail stationery before (and wondered also why air mail stationery had been used to mail a letter from one place in New York to another) (1)
I kept being asked if I had seen the stationery (no), touched it (no) typed it (no) had any idea who wrote it (Meisler), etc. I answered all questions truthfully for hours and never took the 5th. But I knew I was in trouble nonetheless when Gordon [[the Assistant U.S. Prosecutor on this case]] asked later for my social security number, whether I was on drugs, whether I understood what was going on, etc.
Then he leaned forward and asked something like "well then, could you explain how your fingerprint got on the second letter?" I almost collapsed. I felt like a grand piano collapsed on my head and the room actually turned upside down (I sort of fainted sitting up).
Still, I kept my external composure but was so totally unprepared for this, that I really had no explanation. (Although I wished later that I had said that a fingerprint on a piece of paper is not like a fingerprint on a piano at the scene of a crime. A piece of paper can be moved around, and fingerprints obtained before someone writes something on it.)
Instead, I began to express my suspicions about Nibs [[L Ron Hubbard, Jr., with whom I had spent a month working on some writing about six months earlier]] and explained how he had access to my apartment.
That evening, I was greatly relieved, despite the disaster of the day, convinced that since I so obviously told the truth, all would be OK. Thus, I was horrified and petrified the next day when Gordon told Jay [[my main lawyer]] that he thought I was lying and I was going to be indicted for perjury as well as for sending the two bomb threats.
Gordon also offered to drop the whole case however if I would go back in to the Grand Jury and change my testimony, and he promised that everything would be sealed and secret forever. (2)
(1) After the Grand Jury, I asked Joy* on the phone if she had "red and blue bordered air mail stationery" and she said no. But I described it wrong. It wasn't bordered totally--just on one side which is why she got confused.
[[I don't know if I explained this earlier. Joy, a distant cousin, (the one who was also attacked in what appeared to be an attack aimed at me), had moved to New York from California a few months earlier and was spending the nights with her boyfriend (Bob U..., a lawyer) a few blocks away.
In order to keep her mother from finding out that she was sleeping over with a man --remember that this was 1972 when such things were frowned on -- she kept some of her things at my house, and would come to my place from work each day, talk with me, call her mother, and write some friends in California (phone calls were expensive and there was no internet). Then she'd leave to spend the rest of the night at her boyfriend Bob's.
(2) I was against it for moral reasons (I honestly believed at the time that I physically could not lie under oath before a Grand Jury), and also out of anger (why in hell should I lie under oath and admit to a crime I didn't commit so the government could save face for having made a mistake.)
Bob [[S..., my boyfriend at the time, who was an attorney]] was against it for very practical reasons. He pointed out that if I said I sent bomb threats, even under seal, every time there was a bomb threat in New York, I would have the FBI at my door. As it was, once I was indicted for it I worried about this from the time of my indictment until 1977 anyway.