Carter Seeks Pardon For Heiress Hearst

Reuters/October 6, 1999

Los Angeles -- Former President Jimmy Carter has asked President Clinton to grant a full pardon to Patty Hearst, the newspaper heiress who joined an urban guerrilla group after it kidnapped her in 1974, the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday.

Carter has told Clinton, Vice President Al Gore and Attorney General Janet Reno that Hearst has led an exemplary life as a wife and mother since 1979 when Carter as president ordered her release after 22 months in jail, the newspaper said.

"She's been a model citizen in every way," the Times quoted Carter as saying. "My heart went out to her when her case first came to me." Hearst, now 45, was the subject of one of the most sensational criminal cases of the 1970s.

Granddaughter of press magnate William Randolph Hearst, she was kidnapped from her San Francisco apartment in February 1974 by three guerrillas of the Symbionese Liberation Army, a far-left group of university radicals and escaped convicts.

Several weeks later, she announced from captivity that she had joined the guerrillas. She was filmed by surveillance cameras taking part in a bank robbery with them, adopted the alias Tania, released recordings in which she called her parents pigs and posed for a picture with a sub-machinegun. She was captured in September 1975 and sentenced to seven years in jail for bank robbery. In her trial she said she had been beaten and brainwashed by her captors.

Now married to her former bodyguard and with two daughters, she lives in a wealthy Connecticut suburb and describes herself as a Republican. The Justice Department has confirmed that she has applied for a pardon, the Los Angeles Times reported.

But one of the federal prosecutors in her trial, San Francisco lawyer David Bancroft, has written the Justice Department arguing strongly against a pardon, the Times said.

It quoted him as describing Hearst as "a willing participant in some pretty horrible stuff" and that "her notion of having been a victim has been rejected by a jury and several judges on appeal."


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