Home News Stories  

What's New

Graham Defense Update
- Latest Information
- Actions and Events

Position Statement

Who is John Graham?
blank space
- Personal Photo Album

blank space
- A History of Activism
blank space
- Freedom Returned

Statements of Support
- Officials and Chiefs
- Human Rights Groups
- Unions and Activists

Media Publications

How To Contribute

Letter Campaign

Media Files

Contact Us

U.S. vs LEONARD PELTIER - TRIAL TRANSCRIPT
Case Number CR77-3003

EXCERPTS FROM THE TESTIMONY OF MYRTLE POOR BEAR
{Note: The court never permitted a jury to hear this testimony)

VOLUME 21

MR. TAIKEFF: Myrtle Poor Bear.
MYRTLE POOR BEAR, being first duly sworn on the sacred pipe, testified as follows:
MR. TAIKEFF: May I inquire, Your Honor?
THE COURT: You may inquire.

DIRECT EXAMINATION
BY MR. TAIKEFF

Q What is your name?
A My name is Myrtle Poor Bear.
Q Do you know who is the person sitting on the bench, the man with the grey hair to your left up there?
A The judge.
Q And you know that you are in court?
A Yes.
Q Do you know what court you are in?
A Yes.
Q What court?
A Federal Court.
Q Are you nervous?
A Not exactly.
Q Are you frightened?
A Yes, I am.
Q What are you frightened of?
A I don't know.
Q Did you ever meet me before just now when you walked in the courtroom?
A No.
Q How about last night when you got off of the airplane, did someone come to get you at the airport?
A Yes.
Q Who was that?
A You.
Q Okay. Did we speak with each other last night?
A Yes, we did.
Q For about how long?
A It's about fifteen to twenty minutes.

............

Q Do you know an agent of the FBI by the name of Mr. Price?
A Yes, I do.
Q And do you know an agent by the name of Mr. Wood?
A Yes, I do.
Q And did they ever have a conversation with you about June 26, 1975?
A Yes, they did.
Q Do you know a person by the name of Leonard Peltier?
A No.
Q Would you look to your left and there is a distinguished young man there with grey hair and next to him there is another man. Do you know the other man, the one with the dark hair and the moustache?
A Yes.
Q Do you know him personally or do you know who he is?
A I know who he is.
Q Who is he?
A It's Leonard.
Q How do you know it's Leonard?
A I don't know.
Q Is it because he's sitting there and he doesn't look like a lawyer?
A Probably.
Q Did you ever see him in your life?
A No.
Q Before just now?
A No.

............

Q Did Agent Price or Agent Wood ever tell you that they heard that you were at Jumping Bull's when the agents were killed?
MR. CROOKS: Your Honor, before this question is answered I'll interpose an objection that this is clearly a leading question even in an offer of proof it is not proper on cross-examination.
THE COURT: Sustained.
MR. TAIKEFF: All right.
Q (By Mr. Taikeff) Were you ever at the Jumping Bull area on the Pine Ridge Reservation?
A No.
Q Did you ever live with Leonard Peltier?
A No.
Q Do you want to take a drink of water?
A No, I don't.
Q Are you feeling all right?
A Yes, I am.

............

Q Last night did you tell me you were frightened?
A Yes, I did.
Q What were you frightened of?
A I don't know. I am scared of the Government.
THE COURT: What was her answer?
MR. TAIKEFF: I don't know. I am scared of the Government.
Q (By Mr. Taikeff) Did anyone from the Government ever say anything to you to make you afraid?
A The agents are always talking about Anna Mae.
Q What did they say about Anna Mae?
A Oh, they just would talk about that time she died.
Q What did they say about it? You can tell the Judge, it is all right.
(Counsel confer.)
MR. TAIKEFF: May counsel approach your Honor?
THE COURT: You may.
(Whereupon, the following proceedings were had at the bench:)
MR. TAIKEFF: Your Honor, I would ask that your Honor briefly advise her that she is under oath and that you want to hear what she has to say providing it is the truth, and that she has nothing to fear by telling the truth.
She is very frightened, your Honor. She told me last night she is afraid that she is going to be killed, and that's why she is so upset at this particular moment.
MR. CROOKS: Yes, I suspect that she is afraid she is going to be killed. It sure isn't from the FBI.
Your Honor, I would object at the bench to going into anything concerning Anna Mae Aquash for the reasons -- even on the offer of proof -- it has no relevance or bearing to this matter whatsoever. I have no idea what she is going to say, but I think it is completely immaterial and I don't see that there is any justification for going into that in any shape or form.
MR. TAIKEFF: Well, it influenced her conduct in the past in connection with this matter. I think it is highly relevant.
MR. LOWE: The FBI used it as a direct threat to her.
MR. CROOKS: I would ask counsel to state, first of all, what they intend to elicit on that. They certainly know what she is going to say.
MR. TAIKEFF: I will tell you what she told me last night. At first she refused to speak to me on the way back from the airport. Mr. Engelstein was a witness to all that went on, and finally she told me that the reason she didn't want to talk is that she was afraid she was going to be killed; and I asked her, "Who are you afraid of?" and she said, "The agents," and I said, "Why are you afraid of the agents?" and she said that they told her that they were going to do the same thing to her that happened to Anna Mae Aquash.
MR. CROOKS: This is so preposterous, your Honor, This is the same statement that counsel made in court two or three days ago that was supposed to have been made by the witness, and now he tells us it was said last night.
MR. TAIKEFF: That was based on what her sister told us. Her sister told us she was hiding away and that she was petrified, afraid of the agents.
MR. CROOKS: Your Honor, this is why the United States has been objecting to this matter going before the jury in any manner, shape or form.
MR. CROOKS: As far as I am concerned, the Anna Mae {4605} Aquash matter should not be inquired into in any manner, shape or form, it had nothing to do with this case or even these proceedings; and I think it is grossly prejudicial. I would assume that counsel is speaking for the galleries, not for the Court, because it has no relevance to even these proceedings.
MR. TAIKEFF: You can make that assumption. I am telling you that. According to what she has to say, that is what in part influenced her earlier conduct in connection with this matter. She volunteered that fact to me.

............

Q Did the FBI ever give you any money?
A Yes, they did.
Q How much and when?
A I don't remember, That time I was going to Iowa.
Q That was for your travel expenses?
A Right.

............

Q Did the agents ever talk to you about the possibility of your going to jail?
A Yes, they did.
Q What did they say about that?
A (No response.)
Q Please tell the judge what they said about that.
A They said that I could go to jail for court conspiracy.
Q Did they say what kind of conspiracy?
A No, they didn't.
Q Did they say how long you could go to jail for?
A About fifteen years.
Q Anybody from the FBI ever talk to you about AIM or the American Indian Movement?
A Yes. The agents did.
Q What did they tell you about the American Indian Movement?
A They told me that they were going to kill me.

............

Q Did Mr. Wood ever say anything about the subject of getting away with killing people?
A I think he did.
Q Do you recall what he said?
A He said that they could get away with killing because they were agents.
Q Did this have anything to do with signing the papers?
A I don't know.