Defense claims feds set up Hmong in Laotian coup case

SACRAMENTO — Defense lawyers are expected on Monday to file documents in federal court here that charge agents and prosecutors with fabricating a case against 11 men charged with plotting the violent overthrow of the Laotian government.

In a motion to dismiss due to "outrageous government conduct," the lawyers claim the fraudulent nature of charges is revealed in thousands of pages of reports and dozens of hours of wiretap recordings turned over to the defense team by prosecutors.

"That evidence demonstrates that the agents in this case made numerous false statements and material omissions in their sworn affidavits, which have fundamentally mischaracterized the defendants' alleged conduct — and that the prosecuting attorneys repeated many of those misstatements, even while they held clear and irrefutable evidence contradicting them," the motion charges.

It states that prosecutors and agents have maintained the investigation was triggered when retired Army Lt. Col Harrison Jack of Woodland contacted a defense contractor and tried to purchase AK-47 automatic rifles.

"The prosecutors have repeated this allegation many times...., telling the court that the person Jack called was a 'legitimate defense contractor,' and 'not a fake one, a real one who has government contracts in Iraq, who has business in Iraq and other places," the motion says.

But, it says, evidence disclosed by the government "shows the person was not a 'defense contractor' at all, nor apparently involved in arms sales in any way. Rather, he sells specially processed water, which he claims (and Col. Jack apparently believes) can cure leukemia, prostate cancer, shingles, and numerous other ailments."

Moreover, the conversation "did not concern weapons to use in any 'coup plot,' but rather for persecuted Hmong villagers to use solely for self-defense," the motion says.

It says that, while agents attested in affidavits that the defendants planned an "insurgent military operation," the conversation between Jack and the purveyor of healing water "is the only part of the supposed 'coup plot' that the government did not propel and direct itself."