BACKGROUND: The LaRouche Case, the Fraudulent Prosecution of Lyndon LaRouche

This article is part of LaRouchePAC's pamphlet, 'Restoring the Soul of America: The Exoneration of Lyndon LaRouche.'


by Barbara Boyd

As the accompanying letter by former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark summarizes, Lyndon LaRouche was the victim of a politically motivated, gross miscarriage of justice that involved:

  • the abuse of counter-intelligence procedures to initiate a politically motivated counter-intelligence investigation of a Presidential candidate, including collaboration between U.S. and British intelligence organizations;
  • the laundering of the fruits of that illegal counter-intelligence investigation into a criminal investigation and subsequent criminal prosecution of LaRouche;
  • coordination between government officials and select news organizations in orchestrating a public defamation campaign against LaRouche through leaks and planting false stories in the national news media;
  • coordination between government officials and political opponents of LaRouche to influence the outcome of elections; and
  • misconduct by government officials, including withholding evidence, misleading the federal courts, illegal wiretaps, suborning perjury, unlawful searches and seizures, witness tampering, and other violations of the rules governing criminal proceedings.

FBI agents in Leesburg, VA, the site of the raid of LaRouche and his associate's headquarters.

The prosecution of LaRouche was supervised, in part, by Robert Mueller from his positions in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston, Massachusetts and at Main Justice. In that role, Mueller was actively involved in the abuses indicated above.

While LaRouche had been the target of illegal politically motivated counter-intelligence operations from at least the time of J. Edgar Hoover’s COINTELPRO operation, the events that ultimately led to his prosecution began with an August 27, 1982 letter from the British government to the FBI urging a federal investigation of LaRouche. At that time, LaRouche was a two-time candidate for President of the United States and had announced his intention to run for a third time in 1984.

These campaigns had catapulted LaRouche into political prominence in the United States and internationally, but what had drawn the ire of both the British and Soviet governments was LaRouche’s public role as a promoter of what later became known as the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) and as a private interlocutor to President Ronald Reagan and his staff on matters of national security and economics related to the SDI. Officials within the intelligence community who were opposed to President Reagan and favorable to the British initiated a counter-intelligence investigation. Richard Morris, at that time an assistant to National Security Council Advisor William Clark, testified to this effect in one of LaRouche’s criminal trials.

It was under the rubric of that investigation that the abuses cited above occurred. Central to the implementation of what became known as the “Get LaRouche Task Force” was a coordinated effort among government agencies, private political opponents of LaRouche, and the news media. This was organized in at least three meetings in early 1983 at the home of John Train, a New York investment banker active in U.S. and British intelligence circles. Among the attendees at the meetings were officials from the FBI, CIA, Wall Street Journal, NBC News, and other news organizations. The meetings held at Train’s home led to an unprecedented national and international defamation campaign against LaRouche comprised of thousands of news articles and broadcast reports. This defamation campaign escalated substantially after two LaRouche candidates, running for Lt. Governor and Secretary of State, won the March 1986 Democratic primary in Illinois.

The “Get LaRouche Task Force” unleashed a barrage of defamatory news stories and in October 1986 conducted a raid on LaRouche’s headquarters in Leesburg, Virginia. The raid was shocking in its intensity, consisting of over 400 armed law enforcement personnel with tanks, helicopters, and fixed-wing aircraft. An armed raid on the home of LaRouche, which was intended to provoke a violent confrontation and the murder of LaRouche, was called off after the intervention of President Reagan.

In April 1987, the federal government initiated an unprecedented involuntary bankruptcy proceeding against three companies associated with LaRouche. All of the entities had taken political loans from supporters, loans which the FBI claimed were fraudulent. However, few lenders interviewed or coached by the FBI to claim fraud in 1986 and 1987 did the FBI’s bidding. Instead, they said they would ultimately be repaid. But the government-initiated bankruptcy shut the doors of the companies, preventing any future repayment. On the same day as the bankruptcy, the FBI began to interview lenders nationwide about their loans, which could now not be repaid, looking again for those who might now claim they had been defrauded. After LaRouche’s 1989 conviction, federal bankruptcy judge Martin Bostetter ruled that the government’s 1987 bankruptcy action was illegal and the result of government misconduct and fraud.

Charges were first brought against LaRouche in Boston, Massachusetts in July 1987 with a trial commencing later that year. In the spring of 1988, that trial ended in a mistrial after evidence of government misconduct surfaced. After the mistrial, the jury was polled by the Boston Herald and the jury foreman told the media that the jury took a poll and that at this point in the case, following the presentation of all of the government’s charges of fraud, but before the defense had even made its case, the jurors would have voted not guilty.

New charges were brought against LaRouche on October 14, 1988. LaRouche and six co-defendants were charged with mail fraud and conspiracy to commit mail fraud, based on political loans made to political publishers associated with the LaRouche movement. LaRouche was also charged with a Klein conspiracy concerning his income taxes: The government claimed that he had prevented them from figuring out the taxes owed.

Chief Judge Albert V. Bryan, Jr., scheduled trial for November 21, 1988, only five weeks after the indictment was returned. Judge Bryan, who had previously signed the unprecedented bankruptcy order which prevented the repayment of the loans at issue in the trial, ordered that the defense could not reference the bankruptcy at the trial. Less than one month later, all the defendants were convicted. Bryan sentenced LaRouche to fifteen years in prison. Recognizing the sheer impossibility of mounting a competent defense in this rush to judgment, more than a thousand U.S. lawyers, joined by prominent international jurists, filed an amicus brief in the Fourth Circuit appeal of the Alexandria convictions. After serving five years in prison, from 1989–1994, LaRouche was paroled, after thousands of elected officials and political leaders from the U.S. and abroad, military leaders, lawyers, artists, and other prominent individuals called for his exoneration. His conditions of parole continued until March 2000.

LaRouche on His Prosecution

In a February 15, 2000 article titled “He’s a Bad Guy, But We Can’t Say Why,” LaRouche himself wrote about his targeting:

"As of August 19, 1982, the date of Kissinger’s letter to FBI Director Webster, there were five publicly well known issues behind Kissinger’s personal motives for targeting of me for Justice Department dirty operations. All five were both political in nature, and involved my associates’ ongoing journalistic investigations into matters of notable public interest, respecting corrupt activities in which Kissinger was personally involved.
"First, was the continuing political controversy between Kissinger and me over the issue of urgent reforms in the post-1971 international monetary system.…

"Second, was my launching of a public campaign, in February 1982, to overturn Kissinger’s arms-control policies. This attack on existing, Kissingerian arms-control policies, reflected my ongoing back-channel discussions with the Soviet Government, discussions which led to the March 23, 1983 announcement of a Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) proposal to the Soviet government, by President Ronald Reagan.…
"Third, was our published attention to the contents of a public address which Kissinger himself had delivered to a London Chatham House audience on May 10, 1982, in which Kissinger bragged that he had worked behind the back of his President, under British direction, during the period he served as U.S. Secretary of State and National Security Advisor.…
"The fourth issue was our news organization’s investigation of information indicating Kissinger’s personal involvement, with Israel’s Ariel Sharon and others, in a disgusting “West Bank land-scam” operation…
"The fifth issue was my authorship of a special report, Operation Juárez, published just a short time before Kissinger’s now-notorious “Dear Bill” letter to FBI Director [william] Webster. Operation Juárez set forth a proposed U.S. policy for dealing with what I had foreseen, since Spring 1982, as an impending Mexico debt-crisis, to be expected no later than September 1982. The crisis exploded mere days following the initial publication of that report. During the period immediately following, Kissinger was heavily deployed into Mexico, with U.S. government backing, in the effort to prevent Mexico’s government of President López Portillo from continuing to respond to the crisis in the manner outlined in Operation Juárez."

In a later account, published by his 2004 Presidential campaign, “ ‘Convict Him or Kill Him!’ The Night They Came to Kill Me,” LaRouche, focused on his

“opposition to Schachtian economics, to utopian military madness, and to the past four decades’ cultural-paradigm down-shift of the economy, mind, and morals of our nation”
as the interrelated reasons for his targeting. He particularly focused on his proposal for the Strategic Defense Initiative as a triggering event, noting that the decision to go after him was made no later than President Reagan’s March 23, 1983 address adopting LaRouche’s SDI proposal. In his words, he had become “too capable a political force of opposition to their schemes to be allowed to live.”