[Editor’s note: These two transcripts have been edited to the extent that Jean Brown’s replies – designated by parenthetical marks on the pdf, have been made into separate lines for ease of reading. Accordingly, the initials of the speakers have also been added.]
Jean Brown & Dan Sheehan – phone conversation 9/7/78
JB: Let me tell you what’s developed – we have a situation where we’ve been working with two guys – Don Fried [Freed], and also Mark Lane have been helping us. We have a guy who’s been working closely with [Tim] Stoen for quite a while – an investigator by trade [Joe Mazor]. He was kind of jilted by Stoen, floating around free, better, etc. He talked to these other gentlemen, and was interested in providing information, of which he has a great deal. A lot of things very damaging to Stoen. What it points to his intelligence background, and [at] least this is what we were led to believe, and there’s enough credibility to his story to lead Pat [Richartz] and Charles [Garry] and others that there’s truth to it. None of us here has talked to him, but it was the opinions of those who did, and also of our attorney, that it was best, since the subject had already been broached (by the way, it was all documented,) to have him proceed and go over there. He was just sent over there. We pushed to get him over while Charles was there, he was retained by Charles. He’s ready to talk. That’s the way it appears. Now the other side is he’s a really hateful person. He hates this side as much as he hates the other side. When we met him at the airport, we made some very warm remarks, and he said “well, you know, if that person was back in the United States right now, I’d arrest him.” And he makes an overt act, refused to shake one of our black members’ hand. We realize we’re dealing with a person with no moral character, we realize he’s a snake, but we’re walking into this situation where he made this comment just before he left. We’re pretty deep into it. The question is if you’ve had any experience with this kind of thing, or if you have any…
DS: Well, I’m not sure I have everything linked together in my mind – is he going somewhere to testify?
JB: (No, he’s going to Georgetown to meet with Jim.)
DS: With the direction to do what?
JB: (He’s going to inform)
DS: About whom?
JB: (Other than his activities over the past several years with Stoen.)
DS: Ok, now I’m trying to get a little bit clear in my mind here the relationship Stoen has to Jim.
JB: (Stoen was the attorney for our church for a long time. Now this guy says he’s getting large amounts of money from out of the country, and he has an intelligence background.)
DS: And he’s the one who’s been giving big hassles to Jim.
JB: (Yes, he has)
DS: And has [he] been giving evidence of some sort to Federal or State authorities?
JB: (He has to the extent that there’s been a transaction which Stoen was a part of up in Mendocino County – a property transaction that Stoen was a part of, that the Title company has returned all of the money to the people that made the transfer. In other words, Stoen[‘]s Notary has been revoked, and he was involved in a transfer which prompted the Title company to return all of the money to the people.)
DS: Ok, I’m trying to get the bottom line on this Stoen. He’s the guy who’s been saying a lot of derogatory things about the church
JB: (Oh, yeah, he filed three lawsuits against the church, he’s the one who’s claiming to be the father of Jim’s child, and he’s our main antagonist. We are finding out that he’s receiving money, and has intelligence background with Rotary International – He provoked an incident in East Germany, and it all ties in.)
DS: What can Charles and Jim do with it?
JB: (Well, it’s a turn-around. It can prove a conspiracy. The guy seems to have quite a bit of information. It seems like a good thing to follow, but you’re dealing with a snake.)
DS: Sure. What is the guy’s motivation for going down and giving the information to Jim and Charles?
JB: (There’s been some discussion with Don Freed and Mark Lane of doing a movie – he could provide the dramatic contrast in this film.)
DS: Hmm. So the bottom line is that Charles and Jim are thinking about doing a movie about the harassment of the church by Stoen.
JB: (Yes, and all the different agencies that he’s representing, that he’s getting funded from. See that would effectively wipe out all the lawsuits. A lot of things could come from it.)
[last line of text cut off]
JB: [()like he’s going to be disbarred. And then we get into this situation where I looks like it’s going to be fruitfull, and then… Maybe it’s panic, maybe it was ill-advised all along. I don’t know.)
DS: Well, it looks like at this point you’re pretty much in control of any information he gives. I mean any information he gives, Charles can check the documentation on it and check it for credibility, and then Charles and Jim can try to make some very concrete decisions based on it. You may be able to use it in some way to negate the three civil suits that are underway now. It doesn’t seem that anything now could go wrong.
JB: (That’s what we wanted. We’re just completely novice in this sort of thing.)
DS: [This paragraph starred.] The thing for you to do now is trying to translate… First of all, you will be getting background information from him of an investigative nature. The key is to get names of people that can verify what he says: third-party verification for paper documentation. It’s very difficult to get it, not necessarily because he isn’t telling you the truth, but maybe because he is in possession of sensitive information that other people won’t want to talk about, sworn affidavits and things like that. So the fact that you may not be able to get third-party verification or names of people, etc. may not necessarily mean that what he says isn’t true.
JB: (I guess that that’s the bargain we’ve taken, and we entered into this knowing we were taking a lot of risks.)
DS: Yeah, but you have to be very careful, because one of the classic moves is what we call “hanging a leg out”. It’s having someone come to you like this and give you false information to get you to put all your eggs in one basket, and have you lean on him, and then have him turn on you. So that’s why you have to do everything you can to get third-party verification or documents, as many as you can get on this thing. It’s a classic play. A lot of times they’ll assume that you are very unsophisticated politically, and that you will check it, you’ll want to believe it so badly. But there’s surely no harm in having him communicate to Charles what information he has. What you should do is try to retain – and I know a few but they’re all working for me right now – try to retain a genuinely credible and trustworthy private investigator. Once you get the information from this guy, hire a good private investigator to check out the information he gives you. If you can get a good private investigator you can trust, and have him tell you the situation as he sees it, having checked the story on the information he has, to lead him to believe what the facts are.
JB: (I guess the only danger is jumping in and taking the information at face value.)
DS: That’s right. That’s the only danger I can see. The key is, you don’t even have to hire him – you could retain him as a private investigator. You’d have to be careful, because he could go ahead and do something, and trying to say he was ordered to do so by Jim and Charles. He could go put a wiretap on somebody, he could break into a home, and trying to set up your people, and try to charge them with conspiracy. You have to be very careful that you don’t ask him to do an awful lot from this point forward. I would be very clear about that. Not do anything but ask him to give the information he has now. I’d be extremely reluctant to retain him as an agent for yourself until you can trust him. We have precedents for this. Remember Harry Orchard. They did that thing in Idaho. They did it against Bill Haywood, where they went and met this guy talk to them a little bit, and talked them into letting him be an agent for them, then he went in and did this stuff and killed the governor of Idaho, saying that they put him up to it. It’s classic.
JB: (We realize the danger. But then when he gets to the airport and says that belligerent thing, well, second thoughts isn’t even the word for it.)
DS: Well, yeah, but that cuts two ways. If he was really trying to go in there to cut you up, he wouldn’t be stupid enough to say that. What’d I do, is number one, get all the information you can from him. Number two, retain someone who’s a very good, if you can, Triple A investigator, who comes to you from very reliable sources, talk to Charles and ask the guys in the office who they have who’s a good solid investigator, that they work with, have him check out the information for you before you take any public
position supporting it. Don’t get yourself hanging out predicated on his reliability. Then decide to make judgments based on what you think the facts are. You seem to be in control at this point. A fourth point I was going to make, is don’t retain him any longer than you have to, don’t give him any powers of agency to do anything for you. It can be very risky, but as long as you make it clear that he’s not authorized to act [in] any way as your agent, there’s no way I can see you’re in jeopardy, as long as you put an independent agent out to check his story. It seems easier for me because I’ve been at it for so long, it’s just that those are obvious things you should think of. Then you’ve got to slow down, you’ve got to evaluate your control, then you minimize any risks or vulnerability to Jim.
JB: (Well, I think that’s it, I don’t think there’s anything we can do, it’s just that he came up with this very belligerent attitude. It may be bluff, you just don’t know.)
DS: Yeah, well, take your precautions.
J.B.: Well we can’t thank you enough. By the way, when are you going to be out here?
DS: Well, right now we’ve got the motions in front of the judge. He was going to decide… He was going to come into town the first of September and rule on them, but he’s not, so we’re assuming about the middle of September, I’m going back to Washington to meet with three Congressional hearings about stuff that we’ve dug up about wiretapping and surveillance and all, the Red Squads here. We’re thick into it. What you should get, there’s an excellent book that has just come out about these kinds of people that were talking about, it’s called “Spooks”. Inspired fellow by the name of John Houtin [Jim Hougan], or something like that. (goes on to describe the book & the subculture of finks) Have the investigator you hire read the book. It’ll give him a good background on the type of people you’re dealing with.
Jean Brown & Mark Lane – phone conversation 9/9/78
Jean explains the background on Mazor at the airport.
ML: He’s a very bad man. Did he leave?
JB: (Yeah, he’s on his way. That reaction doesn’t surprise you or anything, huh?)
ML: I think it’s not as bad as his feeling it and not saying it. Did he go by himself?
ML: Well my feeling is that it was not a good idea.
JB: (They felt that way overseas, too.)
ML: I’m sorry it went that way. I spoke to Donald a couple of days ago, and I said that if I was going overseas in a couple of days, it would be good to accompany him, and watching the whole time. What’s happening, I don’t think it’s a good idea for him to go alone.
JB: (He’ll be met at Georgetown.)
ML: Yeah, I know, but I don’t think he’ll come back, the state he’s in now. I think what happened at the meeting in San Francisco is extremely important – we could build on that in terms of making great inroads. But I don’t think this trip at this time by him alone is constructive. But there isn’t anything we can do about that now. The situation was that there was a lot of information he could give us while he was in the US, but why give him the opportunity to…
JB: (Well, the situation was that Charles was in Guyana, and he felt it was important that he get the chance to have a couple of conversations with him. Felt it was very important that he get on down there and talk while he was there.)
ML: Well, ok. That’s one relief, certainly.
JB: (If you have it in your schedule to go, they would certainly like to have you there.)
ML: They would? When were they thinking of?
JB: (Whatever is most convenient for your schedule, now or later – I understand you’re on your way now to England.)
ML: Maybe I could do that on the way back, or… Have you talked to him about what you want him to talk about?
JB: (Yeah, Charles did – he followed up with a call.)
ML: To investigate, you mean?
JB: (Well, specifically about Stoen, I think, I don’t know.)
ML: How long will Charles be there?
JB: (He’ll be there through about the 15th I think.)
ML: Does Charles understand that I’m not interested in trying any of these cases, do you think? Charles may be very defensive of his position as counsel. I’m a lawyer. I don’t want to become counsel, nobody’s talking about that. But Charles has in the last several years lost some very important clients, like Huey Newton and Bill Walton and people like that. I think he may be feeling a little defensive with another lawyer coming in. But I’m not coming in as a lawyer in any way. I think I might come in useful as an investigator working with Donald. But I don’t want to take any cases from Charles, he’s a very good lawyer, I’m not licensed to practice in California, I’m not going to try any cases. I think he should be reassured about that.
JB: (I don’t know how to go about doing that. I mean, you’re coming in as a friend, we appreciate [blank space of missing word] more than words can say, really, and we want you to know that…)
ML: Well, thank you. Let me get back to you maybe later in the day. By the way, does it take longer to get there from England or the US? I don’t think I can get there while Charles is still there. Would it be helpful, do you think?
JB: (Well, under the circumstances, I just can’t judge that. I think there is validity to what you said, about Charles feeling threatened, but I also know that Jim and the others are more than appreciative of your help, and I guess we pretty much leave that up to you, Mark. Whatever you feel is appropriate, and what fits your schedule.)
ML: Let me see what I can do. I feel there is a lot of work to be done with this guy yet, and if he goes there and creates a scene or something, he’s going to come back with some information and be able to testify that these people had been kidnapped. I mean, he could say anything. Despite that one meeting, he’s not an ally, he’s an enemy and a thoroughly unscrupulous person. Everything that you all know about him is true, and that person hasn’t changed any. But at that
meeting we have worked out a temporary alliance because we have a common enemy, Stoen. I think it would be better to build on that. What I wanted to do, frankly, before he went over there was meet with him a couple more times and get affidavits from him. I don’t want to hear him say in court that that tape is altered and doctored.
JB: (That’s what we would like to have had.)
ML: I think we’re going to have to go a little more slowly – that step was a giant step, and now I think we have to take a few small steps to get ready for the next big one. So we may have a rescue operation to do when he gets back and try to get him back to where we are, or on the other hand he may be impressed by what he sees.
JB: (Ok, I think that is what Charles is bargaining on.)
ML: But he’s not a normal person.
JB: (We know that. We saw that last night.)
ML: Well, just judge everything he’s done up till now. He’s a con man with a long record, and if he can get information and sell it to the FBI or CIA or whatever, he’ll do it, and he was very excited about the idea of making a film and everything. But if they can make him a better offer, they have more money than we do. He’s available. So what we may have to do is to up the stakes a little bit for him.
JB: (Well, maybe you can talk it over a little bit with Don.)
ML: Oh I sure will.
JB: (Last night was the first contact we’ve had with him, and boy…)
ML: I’m surprised he did that, because it’s almost a little reassuring to me. Because it sounds to me that he’s a poor agent or he doesn’t know exactly what he’s doing. But if he were going down there as an agent with the purpose of coming back and telling lies, that’s not the way to start the trip. You could just say, ok, forget it. And there’s nothing he could gain by making that statement. It makes him out to be a nut. I mean, when people act contrary to their own personal interests, it makes you wonder about their stability.
JB: (Well, that was exactly what they wanted overseas, some affidavits, and for him to be accompanied, those were two absolutes, but they said it just got all jammed up. That was just the way it happened. So maybe with that in mind, you and Don might decide what you feel about it. It would be helpful at this point.