[From an interview with Linda Thompson on the *For the People*
radio show, Feb. 11, 1994. Host is Chuck Harder.]
CHUCK HARDER: We're back. We're talking to Linda Thompson. She's
an attorney. She is the producer of what we call "Waco II",
"Waco, the Big Lie Continues".
Uh, now, what has the government admitted, Linda? What have they
admitted in trial that you have solid evidence of that has not
been out in the press?
LINDA THOMPSON: Well, we need to cover some of the background on
the trial first to understand what's going on.
HARDER: O.K. Sure.
THOMPSON: Walter Smith is the judge. And this is going on in
federal district court, which means it's a federal court as
distinguished from Randy Weaver's situation.
Walter Smith was the judge in Waco. Now Dennis Greene is his
magistrate. Now magistrates do not have the full power of a
judge. They're usually picked by a judge; the judge picks his own
Dennis Greene is the man who signed the search warrant
originally, and has been working hand in hand with Bill
Johnstone, who is the U.S. attorney there. Between them, they
have a long record of having some of the highest rates of gun
prosecutions of anyplace in the country, right in Waco, between
Dennis Greene and Bill Johnstone.
Now Walter Smith, then, is the judge that sealed the search
warrant originally. He is the man who had secret arraignments of
the Branch Davidians (which is illegal. That's like the "star
chamber" back in England.) When these people were brought in and
arraigned, he held it in secret.
Walter Smith, in his first 7 orders about the Branch Davidians,
back in March last year [i.e. in March 1993], called them
criminals! Himself, in his order, he referred to these people as
criminals. Now that is, by itself (as a defense attorney), was
basis to get rid of Walter Smith as the judge in this case. So
it's very, very odd that no one got him off this case with
motions and arguments and so forth.
HARDER: Hang on a minute. Could it be that he put that in there
so that if this thing goes one way or another, somebody can call
for a mistrial or what have you?
THOMPSON: Possibly. But you've got a problem when the defense
doesn't *challenge* it, it's not the basis for an appeal. Unless
another attorney comes in and tries to use the fact that the
attorneys themselves didn't challenge it. But anyway, it would
[unclear] if somebody would have challenged it and lost, they
could appeal it. But secondly, what else he did, he is the man...
most of these Davidians have appointed attorneys... court-
appointed attorneys that are paid by the government.
THOMPSON: Yeah. And Walter Smith hand picked every one of those
attorneys. So all of the attorneys have been picked by the judge.
Then he cut their salaries in half. Now I can tell you: The
appointed jobs do not pay very well. Very few successful
attorneys, anymore, take appointed cases -- for no reason other
than the fact that you *lose* money taking those cases because
you've got to keep your office open while you're being paid this
pittance of money to do a very complex case. So, by cutting the
salaries in half, any of the attorneys that *were* inclined to be
good and do their job couldn't.
Now then he transferred the case to San Antonio. That happens to
be where the government's special prosecutor is from. And it also
happens to be where the government's chief witness for the FBI,
Jeff Jamar, is from. So that makes it very convenient for the
government, less expensive, less hassle. And it causes a *lot* of
trouble for the defense attorneys, who have to commute and
essentially set up an office in San Antonio. Now they're going to
have to fund their own expenses for all of that at the time that
they're being paid virtually nothing!
Now doing any kind of defense on a case this complex is going to
be *extremely* expensive because you've gotta pay a lot of
people. You've gotta take depositions of a lot of witnesses. That
costs about $400 to $1,000 apiece. There's a lot of time
involved. You need a lot of assistants to do it. They don't have
that available to 'em. They can't *do* a good job. Even if they
want to, they can't.
HARDER: Well where's the American Civil Liberties Union in this?
THOMPSON: Well... That's another story. We'll get to them in a
HARDER: All right.
THOMPSON: ...get down to San Antonio to do this trial and you've
got seven... You've got the attorneys that were all picked by
Walter Smith. Walter Smith is still on the case, even though he's
transferred it to San Antonio, he is still the judge.
We get to trial. *He* picked the jury pool and he hand picked all
the jurors. And then he kept the jurors anonymous. You can't know
the identities of each of the jurors. No one can.
Then he put a gag order on all of the attorneys and he hand
picked the press that would be allowed in to cover the story.
He's only allowed 5 members of the press into the trial to cover
the story. *We* know that 2 of those 5 are government. Three of
them we don't know anything about, but we're not *hearing*
anything so we can presume that they were picked for that reason
-- you know, that they would not provide good [press] coverage,
they would not talk this up, and they wouldn't reveal what's
going on in the trial.
So before we even get to trial, what people should understand is
this: This thing is fixed. It's rigged.
Now looking at it you could reasonably think, "Well it's rigged
so they're sure to get a conviction." But that's not true either.
Some of the people who are on trial are *not* Branch Davidians.
They are government plants; they're agents that were already in
Mount Carmel before the raid. You might remember some of the
comments that were made afterwards by Ann Richards and Janet
Reno, uh, that we should have agencies working together so we
don't have a problem with one agency running up on another
agency's undercover operation. This is what happened in Waco. You
had agencies attacking Mount Carmel that didn't know the other
agencies were already working undercover there.
HARDER: Um-hum. [Indicates he understands]
THOMPSON: So some of the people that were brought out, for
instance, the day of the fire, were not Branch Davidians. They
were, in fact, one agency's undercover operatives. That... Those
people are on trial anyway because they can't afford to tell you,
tell the American public, "These are agents." All right? They
don't want their identity revealed.
Now what happens if you have a government agent and you put 'em
on -- you know, an undercover agent like that -- you put 'em on
trial. They're charged with a crime. They have the same
protection as any defendant. They've got the 5th amendment right
not to testify. They never have to admit they're agents. They
never have to testify. And they're fine, as long as they're
THOMPSON: Now what we're seeing in this trial, that I think is
very, very interesting, is the government is *throwing* the
trial. For now, the only side of the story that has been
presented has been the prosecution's case. You will *not* see
a... Realize: The U.S. attorney has no surprises. There are... He
does not put a witness on the stand he has not interviewed. He's
going to know exactly what that witnesses testimony is going to
HARDER: Um-hum. [Indicates he understands]
THOMPSON: Now if you have one brain [cell] in your head, you do
not put a witness on the stand that's gonna hurt your side.
That's the other side's job. All right? You don't go lining up
witnesses that get on the stand and tell things that are bad for
you. And you certainly don't elicit that testimony yourself. And
yet that's exactly what the government has done. They have put up
witness after witness, *of their own*, that has said things like,
"Well, yeah, we did shoot our own agents," "Yeah, well, we were
gonna make this dynamic entry," "Yeah, we did lose the element of
Now. There's 2 reasons this is happening: (1) The government is
throwing the trial. But (2) the only story that comes out that
way is exactly the same story that we've got in the ATF final
report and what we've heard in the media all along. It is damage
control. Even though they appear to be making all these great
admissions, they're not admitting anything more than they've
already admitted. And they're making sure that the story stays
the same in the process of the trial. And they're throwing the
They're probably going to get convictions of the real Branch
Davidians. The people that are acquitted are suspect. But I don't
believe we're going to see convictions of the government agents
in this trial. And I think that's the purpose of what's going on
here and why there has been such extreme control.
HARDER: [Pause.... ] Wow!
Linda Thompson is a lawyer. She is with us. She's talking to us
about what she knows about the Waco trial. She has provided...
She has produced, I should say, a new videotape which is now
[Feb. 11, 1994] just in the duplication stage, called "Waco, the
Big Lie Continues," or "Waco II," if you please. It's available
through us, if you want to call up 1-800-888-9999. We'll be right
(to be continued)