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Hofmann’s Court Mistake (Part 11 of 13)

Brent Ashworth tells about his testimony at the preliminary hearing to decide whether Mark Hofmann should be bound over for trial.  Was it effective testimony?  I’ll let you decide.

Brent:  I wasn’t saying anything nice about him. I asked Bob Stott, afterwards I said, “Bob, how come they didn’t call me back?” I said, “I would have called me back and tried to…” He said, “Look, you were throwing javelins,” is the way he put it, “at his client for two solid hours. You knew way too much.” He said, “He’s not going to ever call you back.  Don’t worry about it.”

We will also talk about a tactical mistake made by Mark Hofmann’s defense team, which caused Mark to decide to plead guilty rather than risk a jury trial.

Brent:  Hofmann’s attorney asked to meet with the judge in chambers and Stott met with him, the two lead [lawyers.] And Yengich says, “My client is really still suffering from his wounds.” His knee and his fingers have been blown [off.] He was being pushed in there every day by his dad and his wife in a wheelchair. And he said, “I am unable to adequately visit with him because of the pain and suffering.” He says, “It would really benefit if we had one week off from this [court.] If we could ask for a week off, [it would really help.] Judge Grant told me, “By this point, I wouldn’t get to give him a day off.”

But he said, “It struck me that maybe I should because I might get reversed when I got further up the chain. So I gave him a week off:. And he said, “What really griped me is when he came back a week later and says I need one more week.” And he says, “I was really [angry.] I didn’t want to.”

But he finally decided to give him the second week. We gave him the week. He says “Do you know Brent? Something funny happened. The one thing that I didn’t have before he got those two weeks off, is I knew he’s a bad guy. But I didn’t have a motive for him to kill Steve and Kathy. I didn’t have any motive for murder there. And that’s why I was questioning whether to turn it over or not. You know, at that point, I knew he was a bad guy. I didn’t like him, but he said, a killer they didn’t make him out to be.

And so, I was wondering, and we gave him the two weeks. He says, “When we came back, that’s when they had Throckmorton. And they found the forgeries. He says you might not have known the sequence of that. But he says that came about during that two weeks that Hofmann had his two weeks off. He says they nailed his butt to the wall while he was gone is when they found the cracking in the ink. And they found the forgeries.

GT:  So was that kind of a mistake by the defense then to ask for the two weeks off?

Brent:  Oh, yeah, it was a big mistake.

Check out our conversation….

Mark Hofmann’s defense team made a tactical mistake by asking for more time, allowing the prosecutors time to find the forgeries.

Don’t miss our other conversations with Brent!



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Why 3rd Bomb Wasn’t Suicide Attempt (Part 6 of 13)

In the recent Netflix documentary, “Murder Among the Mormons,” Mark Hofmann is heard on a prison recording that he was trying to commit suicide with the 3rd bomb.  However, police reports indicate the 3rd bomb blast was a mistake.  Brent Ashworth tells why he thinks the 3rd blast was an accident.

GT:  Let me just set that up. Because Shannon Flynn when I interviewed him, he said that he thought that it was a suicide attempt. And we did hear a prison recording where Mark said it was a suicide attempt, but George Throckmorton, and the ATF basically knew when that bomb went off, they knew immediately, number one, that Mark was the bomber. And number two, they said it was an accident. So help us help us resolve that conflict.

Brent: But anyway, the point was, is that they sent [ATF agent] Jerry Taylor and Mark was still in the hospital coming out of his coma or whatever. He blew his kneecap and a couple of fingers off. And Jerry said, “I want to be the first to ask him questions.” So they did. They brought him up. And when Mark came to, [Jerry] just asked him, “What happened?”

Brent: Mark said, “Well, I got to my car.” And it was a little MR2. We’d sat on there several times to do deals as I told you before. And he opens the door and he says, “This package fell off the dashboard and onto the seat and blew me into the street.” Well, that’s not what the eyewitnesses said either. The eyewitnesses said that they saw this man get partway into the [car.] He was sitting on the seat with his right hip. Both feet were still on the pavement. Here’s what the eyewitnesses said. He was leaning into the car when the thing blew up.

GT:  To put it in the backseat or something?

Brent: Yeah. In the process George said that he hit the the gearshift which set the mercury switch off. It was mercury switch activated.

GT:  All he had to do was tip the package.

Brent: All he had to do was tip it. He hit the gear shift. It was right in his way, moving the thing to the back. I mean it was very little room to work in and he hit the gear shift and that set the bomb off. He was blown into the street. If he’d had the door shut, if he was trying to commit suicide, he would have been killed. But he wasn’t tryng to commit suicide. In fact, the eyewitnesses said he couldn’t figure out what he was leaning into the car with. He’s trying to stay as far away from it as he could. But he hit the gearshift.

GT:  I would think he’d put it in the trunk. But I know there were important documents in the in the trunk.

Brent: Well, I was mostly just junk he put in there to make look like a McLellin Collection. You know what? They showed me a lot of that stuff and most of it was Civil War documents of General McClellan. I mean, he’s a pretty smart guy. But General McClellan didn’t spell his name the same way as William McLellin.

How did a Civil War general get mixed up in this?  Check out our conversation….

Evidence at the scene indicates the 3rd bomb blast was an accident, not a suicide attempt by Mark Hofmann.
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Trials of Lee/Forgery

John D. Lee was convicted in the second trial for his role in the Mountain Meadows Massacre.  Will describes what he believes was a deal between prosecutors and the LDS Church.

Will:  Anyway, Sumner Howard, or a member of his team, his assistant goes before Judge Borman, and says, “Judge, I have eaten dirt, and I have rolled around in the dirt, but I’m going to get the job done.” Borman is, of course, a little puzzled by this. But the job at this time is to convict John D. Lee. Howard, in his letter following Lee’s execution, explains “I knew that the only way I would be able to get a conviction was to come to a deal with the Mormons.”  That’s exactly what happens. Essentially, the first thing Borman does is drop the indictment against William Dame. The Church/Brigham Young has put his own attorneys on the defense of William Dame. So, once Dame is essentially turned out of jail, the focus shifts to the next likely candidate who is John D. Lee.

Do you think there was a deal to convict John D. Lee?  We’ll also talk about a forgery connected to the Massacre and why Bagley included it in his book, Blood of the Prophets.

GT  1:42:58  All right, so I want to ask you one more question, and then we can move on to your other book The Whites Want Everything, if we can talk about that, if that’s okay. I was a little bit surprised. I’ve talked with George Throckmorton and Steve Mayfield. George is a big forensic expert. In the appendix to your book, “Blood of the Prophets,” you have included what people have referred to as the Dead Lee Scroll.

Will:  I invented that.

GT:  (Chuckling)  That’s right. I forgot about that. So, there was a plate of lead with like a confession from John D. Lee found in Lee’s Ferry, I believe. You can give us more information on that. George says it’s a forgery, and I was surprised that you had put it in the appendix to your book.  Why did you do that?

Will:  Because it was breaking news. It had just happened. They actually found that Dead Lee Scroll as the Olympics were coming up, also as “Blood of the Prophets” was about to be released. You couldn’t have planned any promo campaign for a book any better than that. At first I thought, “Well, this got to be a forgery.”  Then when I read the text I thought, “It matches up. It’s what Lee feels like.”  He is sick at that time, according to his journal. So I put it in the book. Now, Rick Turley and I went to Page, Arizona, and we went into a National Park Service museum, or maybe, it was either a park service or a BLM Museum.  Rick Turley and I go, along with all the Utah Westerners, we go into the museum at Page, Arizona, that has the Dead Lee Scroll. I’d never seen it. I think Rick had already seen it. But they pull it out, and on the spot, Rick and I have a debate over whether this is an authentic document, wherever it came from, or a forgery. Rick is really on. He’s convinced this is a forgery.

We’ve got some photos of Lee’s Ferry and the Dead Lee Scroll in the video, so be sure to check out our conversation on Youtube….

Will Bagley discusses the Trials of John D. Lee, and the Dead Lee Scroll.

Don’t miss our other conversations with Will!

449: MMM Cover Up (Bagley)

448: John D. Lee’s Role in Massacre

447: Bagley Critiques Turley

446: Buchanan & George Smith’s Role in MMM

445: Handcart Disasters & Mormon Reformation

444: Will Bagleyon Juanita Brooks