TO: Charles Ogletree
FROM: Allie Sheffield

DATE: 7/26/83
SUBJECT: Transfer Memo U.S. v. Thomas

Case scheduled for trial before Judge Webber on 9/14/93

William Thomas, (who likes to be called "Thomas") is charged with destruction of property - felony, arising out of an incidnt at the Pennsylvania Avenue gate of the White House in March. A huge sign Thomas had made somehow caught fire and somehow was pushed into a marble pillar of the white house gate. As a result of the heat from the fire and/or water, the pillar turned black and chipped and cracked. There are pictures in the file taken ba me & a friend of mine the weekend after this of that gate.

The Park Police originally tried to get the U.S. Attorney to paper the case as arson, but the papering people refused, pointing out that even if they had evidence that he set this structure on fire (which apparently they do not), the structure was not a "building", and the D.C. Code specifically requires that a person burn a building to commit an arson. According to AUSA Dan Cisin (in an off-the-record conversation), the Park Police left, then came back about an hour later and cornered the chief papering assistant in an office fo 1 1/2 hours, until the AUSA agreed to paper the case as a felony destruction of property - White House gate, just to get rid of them.

The case was indicted before the Preliminary Hearing.

After I got the indictment/arraignment notice, I saw the AUSA assigned to this case in the Grand Jury, William (J.J.) Jackson, in the hall of the courthouse, and asked him how in the world he could indict this case. He said that even though I was right that there was no evidence of malicious intention to destroy the White House gate, the Grand Jury relied on "reasonable inferences" arising from the fire to constitute the malicious intent. [!!].

I've had several conversations with AUSA Marc Tucker, to whom this case is assigned for trial - before Judge Webber. Marc is not overwhelmed with the case, and I have told him all of the above. He says he does not think "reasonable inferences" get you past an MJOA on destruction of property, and if that's all he has - reasonable inferences - he will try to get his supervisors to dismiss. (The case is still very political). He also told me the reason the case is in Superior Court is that the Park Police/Secret Service were not having any luck in District Court

Transfer Memo - William Thomas
page 2

getting Thomas locked up, so the decided to change courts and maybe things would improve.

As reported in other memos in the file, my client is one of the full-time anti-nuclear demonstrators in front of the White House. Norman Meyer, the man who the Park Police killed at the Washington Monument last winter, was another of this group, and is a major hero of Thomas. On March 11, which was a Friday, Thomas and some other of the demonstrators were at their usual place on the sidewalk of the Pennsylvania Avee. side of the White House, near the driveway to the West Wing. Thomas had a large three sided sign with a floor. Inside this "structure" were most of his own personal belongings, and most of the personal belongings of the other three demonstrators who are regular anti- nuke protestors there. Somehow, the sign caught on fire. Thomas says that the burning large sign was pushed by somebody, and he's not certain who, to the back of the side-walk, nearest the White House, because the alternative was toward Pennsylvania Avenue. There were a lot of Park Police and Secret Service there, filming the whole thing. The sign apparently was pushed up against a marble pillar to the gate. A fire truck came, and the firemen sprayed the sign with water, which put out the fire, but the marble pillar the sign had been against was blackened and the marble chipped. Thomas was arrested for arson.

Thomas did not make any statements, according to Marc Tucker, and no evidence was seized from him. As far aa he could tell me, there is no evidence that Thomas set the fire of his sign.

The video tape which Park Police and/or Secret Service were making during this whole thing is presently in the custody of Marc Tucker, and can be seen any time. I have not seen it, but it clearly is critical.