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The Swainson Case: A Political Prosecution?

The Swainson Case: A Political Prosecution? image The Swainson Case: A Political Prosecution? image
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SUN: Do you feel your prosecution was politically motivated?

SWAINSON: When I handed my resignation to the Governor on November 7, 1975, I asked him if he had been notified since October 1 1972-when all this is supposed to have occurred-of any suspected misconduct on my part, or if the State Police had been notified. I was informed that they had not.

I knew for a fact that they had never come to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court prior to his death. And his death, of course, was very prejudicial to me, because he is the man who, as administrative head of the Court, drew up these orders and caused these things to happen.

Why did they wait two and a half years? I think you have to suggest that I was at least one of those persons being discussed as a possible candidate for Philip Hart's soon-to-be-vacated Senate seat. And all of a sudden, I'm destroyed in reputation even by having charges brought against me in the media, let alone going to trial.

I must say that we were the most surprised people in the courtroom when the jury carne in with a seemingly inconsistent verdict, where I am found acquitted of any bribery-conspiracy, but convicted of perjury on matters not related to the case.

I cannot say with any degree of certainty who did this. I have suspicions, when you consider that John Mitchell reorganized all the strike forces in 1972; that Governor David Hall of Oklahoma was charged with a very similar offense; and that charges have been brought against Governor Milton Shapp in Pennsylvania, Govemor Marvin Mandel in Marylaiid, and certainly others.

There seems to be a pattern, but I can't say with any degree of certainty.

SUN: But it is true that this investigation began when Richard Nixon was President, John Mitchell was Attorney General, and J. Edgar Hoover was still running the FBI.

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The Swainson case: a political prosecution?

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SWAINSON: Right. In my case, an FBI agent testified that the reason they didn't reveal the investigation was that I had such great political influence that I could have halted it. Which; to me, is patently ridiculous- because here I am, the former Democratic Governor, sitting on the Supreme Court, and my influence with either John Mitchell, Richard Nixon, or J. Edgar Hoover would be nil.

SUN: Do you feel that any prominent Republicans in Michigan were tied into this?

SWAINS0N: I have no knowledge at all. I think the Republican Party of Michigan is as embarrassed by the actions of Richard Nixon and some of his cohorts as anybody else. But they didn't speak out as clearly as the members of the opposition party.