Declaration of Dennis Banks, September 1977

[Editor’s note: This statement was also reproduced in its entirety in the article, The Downfall of Jim Jones, © 1980 by Larry Lee Litke.]



I, Dennis Banks, also known as ___________, declare that I am a citizen of the United States, and that I am [Handwritten addition: “44”] years old.

Several months ago, in May 1977, my friend Leighman [Handwritten correction: “Lehman”] Brightman was contacted on the phone by a man named George Coker. He wanted Lee to set up a meeting between myself and a man named David Conn, concerning the question of my extradition to South Dakota. Naturally I was concerned about this when I was notified of the call. In the next couple of days there were other calls. Lee called David Conn and asked him for some more information about my extradition. Conn told Lee that he wanted to talk to me about Peoples Temple and Jim Jones.

Lee asked Conn what Jim Jones had to do with my extradition. Conn wouldn’t tell him. He said it was strictly confidential and that he would only talk about it with him and me personally.

So Lee set up a meeting between myself and David Conn at Lee’s house in El Cerrito for that night.

At the meeting, Conn showed up with a folder of papers. He read notes from the papers. I noticed the paper was stationery from the Standard Oil Company of California. Conn said that he was working with the U.S. Treasury Department, with an IRS agent, and with two men from the San Francisco Police Department. He told me the first name of the Treasury agent [Handwritten insertion: “(Jim)”] he was working with. But Conn did not talk about my extradition problem. He read material that was disparaging to Jim Jones. He went on for some time. Finally I interrupted Conn. I asked him what all this stuff about Jim Jones had to do with my extradition. Conn asked me, “Well, you took money from the church, didn’t you?” He said that my association with Peoples Temple could reflect very badly on my extradition. He then asked me to make a


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public denunciation of Jim Jones. He assured me that if I made such a denunciation, the rulings on my extradition would go in my favor. I asked him why a statement against Jim Jones could help my extradition. 

Conn said that such a statement would be a determining factor with people like the Governor and other government agencies making decisions about my extradition. He said that if I came out with a statement against Jim Jones that a decision against my extradition could well be forthcoming.

Conn was obviously making a deal with me, and I was being blackmailed. Conn let me know that besides working with the Treasury agents and other government agents, that he was already working with ex-members of Peoples Temple, such as Grace Stoen, and that he had other people who would talk against Jim Jones. He said that the Treasury agents had already talked with Grace Stoen.

Conn pressed hard for me to meet with a U.S. Treasury Department agent alone that very night.


I was further pressured to meet with the agent from the Treasury Department. The deal was to meet with the agent and to prepare a public statement against Jim Jones in return for some kind of immunity against my being extradited. I refused to talk with any Treasury agent without my attorney, Dennis Roberts. Conn insisted that I had to do it alone.

At this point, Lehman Brightman asked Conn to leave the house.


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The next night I was called at D.Q. University by Conn. Conn told me that it was very urgent that I meet with the Treasury agent that very night, alone. I said to Conn that I had already told him I wouldn’t meet with the Treasury agent without my attorney.

These agents all knew that I had a lot hanging over me. Besides the extradition (which to me is certainly a life and death matter), I also had a case in Federal Court in which the Treasury Department was involved. I have often made it clear that if I am extradited to South Dakota, that is like a sentence of death, because I am certain that I will be killed there.

So this was definitely a deal that I was being offered. Because it was not just a matter of Conn indicating that it would go well with me if I co-operated, but the implication was that if I didn’t co-operate, it would go badly for me. This was to me a threat, and obvious blackmail.

I declare, under penalty of perjury, that all of the foregoing is true and correct, executed this _6_ day of September, 1977 at Davis, California.

(Signed) Dennis J. Banks
Dennis Banks