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Adil Shahryar: Paperwork as in US archives before Presidentrial Clemency by Ronald Regan

August 13, 2010

http://www.archives.gov/news/john-roberts/accession-60-89-0372/doc023.pdf

http://www.archives.gov/news/john-roberts/accession-60-89-0372/doc002.pdf

http://www.archives.gov/news/john-roberts/accession-60-89-0372/doc057.pdf

Memorandum
Subject Date
Correspondence from Charlton Heston August 17, 1982
Concerning Criminal Conviction of
Adil Shahryar
To The Attorney General From John Roberts k
In a letter to you dated August 9, Mr. Heston appealed
to you to look into the federal prosecution of Adil Shahryar,
who is the son of an Indian government official. The official
is a friend of Mr. Heston’s, and Adil himself has been a guest
in the Heston home.
On August 30, 1981, Adil was arrested by state authorities
in Miami for hotel arson. This arrest led federal authorities
to another crime committed by Adil. Briefly, Adil contracted
to ship video tapes from Florida to London. Adil obtained a
shipping container, and a place for it on a vessel, but in lieu
of videotapes filled the container with scrap paper and two
explosive firebombs. The FBI, with a search warrant, discovered
the phony shipment and bombs prior to their placement on board
the ship. The only reason the container was still on the dock
and not on board the ship was because the ship was late
reaching port.
Adil was tried in federal court, before a jury, on five
counts: (1) attempting to firebomb a ship; (2) false statements
on various certificates in connection with the shipment;
(3) mail fraud; (4) making of a firearm (the bombs); and
(5) use of a firearm (the bombs) in the commission of a felony.
The case was airtight: evidence linked Adil to the purchase of
the bomb materials, and he had only an incredible story
attempting to pin the blame on two associates to present in
defense. He was convicted and sentenced, after a sentencing
hearing, to 35 years. The judge indicated he viewed the
attempted firebombing of the ship as very serious. Adil had
what the prosecutor described as a “superb” defense attorney
during the trial, though Adil fired him before the sentencing
hearing. The original state arson charges are still pending
against Adil. The assistant U.S. attorney who tried the
case concluded that Adil was “dangerous and deserves every
day of the 35 years he got.”
The case is very sensitive and has high visibility in
India. Indian officials have already been to see the assistant
U.S. attorney. I have drafted the attached reply to Mr. Heston
for your signature.
Reproduced from the holdings of the:
National Archives & Records Administration
Record Group: 60 Department of Justice
Accession # 60-89-372
Box 30 of 190
Folder: John G. Roberts, Jr. Misc.
2859 COLDWATER CANYON DRIVE, BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA 90210
August 9, 1982
Dear Mr. Attorney General:
Justice is a complex matter, and perfect justice
is perhaps beyond our reach. That admitted, I nevertheless
bring to your attention a case of which you
may already be aware, that I feel involves a miscarriage
of the American tradition of fair and reasonable
treatment before the law. I do so partly because I
know the young man in question, but also because my
experience in India this July convinced me that a
grave mistake had been made which reflects unfavourably
against the U.S.
The subject is an Indian citizen, Adil Shahryar,
whose father I’ve known well since 1960, when he was
Indian Ambassador to Spain. Adil himself has been a
guest in our home, and we always thought of him as a
fine boy. His father is Mohammed Yunus, a highly respected
member of both of Mrs. Ghandi’s governments,
and a key figure there since before Independence,
when he was a close friend of Mahatma Ghandi. He is
currently chairman of the Trade Fair Authority of
India. Adil’s mother is a professor of Indian history
at the University of Dellhi. We knew the boy when he
was a student here at Berkeley.
Lydia and I have just returned from Delhi, where
we were guests in Mr. Yunus’s home and were shocked
t^ 1 e-irn -hat Adil has been imprisoned in Florida
under a consecutive sentence of thirty five years for
a complicated set of charges involving attempted but
unconsummated arson and fraud. Mr. Yunus believes
his son is totally innocent, as does Adil’s American
lawyer. Of course I can’t make any judgment on his
guilt or innocence. I do feel that the matter deserves
some further attention, and that the sentence is, to
say the least, remarkably harsh. That Adil was
jailed for several months without arraignment, then
held on bail of $1,250,000.00, and that his two
confederates have gone scot-free, is mystifying. Mr.
Yunus has sent me a summary of the matter which I
will enclose with this letter.
Reproduced from the holdings of the:
National Archives & Records Administration
Record Group: 60 Department of Justice
Accession # 60-89-372
Box 30 of 190
Folder: John G. Roberts, Jr. Misc.
CHARLTCIN HESTON 0
I cannot judge the parameters of the case, but I
do know that Adil had two brain operations here in
California, after a motorcycle accident. Once, a
guest in our home, Adil came with his head still in
bandages. Though his prognosis at that time was-not
good, he apparently recovered. Nevertheless, Adil’s
American lawyer, Richard Hammer (who no longer represents
him), insists that Adil was found guilty
because he personally antagonized the judge (Federal
Court Judge J.W. Kehoe) with his arrogant and overbearing
manner. Hammer even found it necessary to
have psychiatric appraisals done. Adil was found
sane, but it’s easy for me to believe that he may
have undergone some drastic mental changes since I
last saw him.
I know you may have received other appeals on
this matter, but I feel I must express my understanding
of the case, as well as my deep concern, and
to urge that if any other solution can be found, such
as deportation, this might be considered.
Lydia and I happened to be in Delhi on the day
Hinckley was declared innocent. An Indian official
remarked to us that we Americans had a strange country,
where a man could shoot the President and get off
scot-free, while another could launch a failed fraud
and get thirty-five years. I had no answer for him.
I’m sorry to add this to your problems. Still,
I’m heartened by the insight and calm moderation
you’ve brought to the heavy responsibilities you’ve
undertaken. Perhaps you can ask one of your staff to
bring these qualities to bear on this case.
Lydia and I both applaud you. Our best to Jean
as well; we hope to see you soon.
As ever,
Reproduced from the holdings of the:
National Archives & Records Administration
Record Group: 60 Department of Justice
Accession # 60-89-372
Box 30 of 190
Folder: John G. Roberts, Jr. Misc.
Adil Shahryar was arrested at Miami on 30th August,
on a charge that he had attempted to set fire to the Sheratc
Beach Hotel there. In reality, it was he who informed the
management about the fire and it was on the basis of this
information that a tragedy was averted. The management
was naturally appreciative of his timely warning and
shifted him to another room.
A day earlier to his arrest, Adil had a tiff with
two men – Bill Hill and Dick Lawsont who were entrusted witl
the task of procuring and shipping a consignment of
Programmed Video Cassettes to London. But since the goods
were not ready for shipment and the valadity of the
Letter of Credit was about to expire, they informed Adil
about a plan to cover up the delay and save cancellation
of the Letter of Credit. Adil didn’t agree, as he was anxic
to get the stuff delivered in London and receive his
normal commission. This greatly incensed the two, as they
felt that according to their plan the shippers won’t
accept a damaged container and thus the valadity of the
Letter of Credit would be automatically extended. This
arson case is still pending with the State of Florida.
Wnile in detention, Federal charges were levelled
against Adil that (a) he had filled the container with
scrap paper instead of video cassettes and (b) placed an
explosive in it with the intent of endangering a ship.
This detection took place when he was in jail. He was
also asked to furnish a bail of $ 1.25 million.
The facts of the case are that Adil had a genuine
Transferable Letter of Credit for t-he supply of vi deo
cassetteso The consignment was neither insured nor booked
in a ship So the question of defrauding anyone or
endangering a ship doesn’t arise. nTe two absconding
persons, who got Adil arrested in the first place on an
arson charge, later implicated him in other cases, and
are still at large. Their arrest warrants were issued
in April ’82o
The Federal cases were taken up after several monthc
This was contrary to the Speedy Trial Act, which provides
trial to begin within seventy days from the date of
information/arrest 0 Being under detention and with such
a huge amount of bail to be furnished, Adil was unable to
defend his interests during the initial months. He was
subsequently convicted by Federal Judge Jarmes Kehoe on
May 17, 1982 in five .cases to consecutive terms totalling
35 years.
Reproduced from the holdings of the:
National Archives & Records Administration
Record Group: 60 Department of Justice
Accession # 60-89-372
Box 30 of 190
Folder: John G. Roberts, Jr. Misc.
2S59 COLDWATER CANYON DRIVE
BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA 90210
Mr. William French Smith
The Attorney General
Washington, DC
i
I
II
I
I
Reproduced from the holdings of the:
Natieonl Archives & Records Administration
Record Group: 60 Department of Justice
Accession # 6 0 -89-372
Box 30 of 190
Folder: John G. Roberts, Jr. Misc.
·C:.
X.9..mw
tlhUSA
·~·a-r·u~l~~.j . i 20:4d
I

MemorandumSubject DateCorrespondence from Charlton Heston August 17, 1982Concerning Criminal Conviction ofAdil ShahryarTo The Attorney General From John Roberts kIn a letter to you dated August 9, Mr. Heston appealedto you to look into the federal prosecution of Adil Shahryar,who is the son of an Indian government official. The officialis a friend of Mr. Heston’s, and Adil himself has been a guestin the Heston home.On August 30, 1981, Adil was arrested by state authoritiesin Miami for hotel arson. This arrest led federal authoritiesto another crime committed by Adil. Briefly, Adil contractedto ship video tapes from Florida to London. Adil obtained ashipping container, and a place for it on a vessel, but in lieuof videotapes filled the container with scrap paper and twoexplosive firebombs. The FBI, with a search warrant, discoveredthe phony shipment and bombs prior to their placement on boardthe ship. The only reason the container was still on the dockand not on board the ship was because the ship was latereaching port.Adil was tried in federal court, before a jury, on fivecounts: (1) attempting to firebomb a ship; (2) false statementson various certificates in connection with the shipment;(3) mail fraud; (4) making of a firearm (the bombs); and(5) use of a firearm (the bombs) in the commission of a felony.The case was airtight: evidence linked Adil to the purchase ofthe bomb materials, and he had only an incredible storyattempting to pin the blame on two associates to present indefense. He was convicted and sentenced, after a sentencinghearing, to 35 years. The judge indicated he viewed theattempted firebombing of the ship as very serious. Adil hadwhat the prosecutor described as a “superb” defense attorneyduring the trial, though Adil fired him before the sentencinghearing. The original state arson charges are still pendingagainst Adil. The assistant U.S. attorney who tried thecase concluded that Adil was “dangerous and deserves everyday of the 35 years he got.”The case is very sensitive and has high visibility inIndia. Indian officials have already been to see the assistantU.S. attorney. I have drafted the attached reply to Mr. Hestonfor your signature.Reproduced from the holdings of the:National Archives & Records AdministrationRecord Group: 60 Department of JusticeAccession # 60-89-372Box 30 of 190Folder: John G. Roberts, Jr. Misc.2859 COLDWATER CANYON DRIVE, BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA 90210August 9, 1982Dear Mr. Attorney General:Justice is a complex matter, and perfect justiceis perhaps beyond our reach. That admitted, I neverthelessbring to your attention a case of which youmay already be aware, that I feel involves a miscarriageof the American tradition of fair and reasonabletreatment before the law. I do so partly because Iknow the young man in question, but also because myexperience in India this July convinced me that agrave mistake had been made which reflects unfavourablyagainst the U.S.The subject is an Indian citizen, Adil Shahryar,whose father I’ve known well since 1960, when he wasIndian Ambassador to Spain. Adil himself has been aguest in our home, and we always thought of him as afine boy. His father is Mohammed Yunus, a highly respectedmember of both of Mrs. Ghandi’s governments,and a key figure there since before Independence,when he was a close friend of Mahatma Ghandi. He iscurrently chairman of the Trade Fair Authority ofIndia. Adil’s mother is a professor of Indian historyat the University of Dellhi. We knew the boy when hewas a student here at Berkeley.Lydia and I have just returned from Delhi, wherewe were guests in Mr. Yunus’s home and were shockedt^ 1 e-irn -hat Adil has been imprisoned in Floridaunder a consecutive sentence of thirty five years fora complicated set of charges involving attempted butunconsummated arson and fraud. Mr. Yunus believeshis son is totally innocent, as does Adil’s Americanlawyer. Of course I can’t make any judgment on hisguilt or innocence. I do feel that the matter deservessome further attention, and that the sentence is, tosay the least, remarkably harsh. That Adil wasjailed for several months without arraignment, thenheld on bail of $1,250,000.00, and that his twoconfederates have gone scot-free, is mystifying. Mr.Yunus has sent me a summary of the matter which Iwill enclose with this letter.Reproduced from the holdings of the:National Archives & Records AdministrationRecord Group: 60 Department of JusticeAccession # 60-89-372Box 30 of 190Folder: John G. Roberts, Jr. Misc.CHARLTCIN HESTON 0I cannot judge the parameters of the case, but Ido know that Adil had two brain operations here inCalifornia, after a motorcycle accident. Once, aguest in our home, Adil came with his head still inbandages. Though his prognosis at that time was-notgood, he apparently recovered. Nevertheless, Adil’sAmerican lawyer, Richard Hammer (who no longer representshim), insists that Adil was found guiltybecause he personally antagonized the judge (FederalCourt Judge J.W. Kehoe) with his arrogant and overbearingmanner. Hammer even found it necessary tohave psychiatric appraisals done. Adil was foundsane, but it’s easy for me to believe that he mayhave undergone some drastic mental changes since Ilast saw him.I know you may have received other appeals onthis matter, but I feel I must express my understandingof the case, as well as my deep concern, andto urge that if any other solution can be found, suchas deportation, this might be considered.Lydia and I happened to be in Delhi on the dayHinckley was declared innocent. An Indian officialremarked to us that we Americans had a strange country,where a man could shoot the President and get offscot-free, while another could launch a failed fraudand get thirty-five years. I had no answer for him.I’m sorry to add this to your problems. Still,I’m heartened by the insight and calm moderationyou’ve brought to the heavy responsibilities you’veundertaken. Perhaps you can ask one of your staff tobring these qualities to bear on this case.Lydia and I both applaud you. Our best to Jeanas well; we hope to see you soon.As ever,Reproduced from the holdings of the:National Archives & Records AdministrationRecord Group: 60 Department of JusticeAccession # 60-89-372Box 30 of 190Folder: John G. Roberts, Jr. Misc.Adil Shahryar was arrested at Miami on 30th August,on a charge that he had attempted to set fire to the SheratcBeach Hotel there. In reality, it was he who informed themanagement about the fire and it was on the basis of thisinformation that a tragedy was averted. The managementwas naturally appreciative of his timely warning andshifted him to another room.A day earlier to his arrest, Adil had a tiff withtwo men – Bill Hill and Dick Lawsont who were entrusted witlthe task of procuring and shipping a consignment ofProgrammed Video Cassettes to London. But since the goodswere not ready for shipment and the valadity of theLetter of Credit was about to expire, they informed Adilabout a plan to cover up the delay and save cancellationof the Letter of Credit. Adil didn’t agree, as he was anxicto get the stuff delivered in London and receive hisnormal commission. This greatly incensed the two, as theyfelt that according to their plan the shippers won’taccept a damaged container and thus the valadity of theLetter of Credit would be automatically extended. Thisarson case is still pending with the State of Florida.Wnile in detention, Federal charges were levelledagainst Adil that (a) he had filled the container withscrap paper instead of video cassettes and (b) placed anexplosive in it with the intent of endangering a ship.This detection took place when he was in jail. He wasalso asked to furnish a bail of $ 1.25 million.The facts of the case are that Adil had a genuineTransferable Letter of Credit for t-he supply of vi deocassetteso The consignment was neither insured nor bookedin a ship So the question of defrauding anyone orendangering a ship doesn’t arise. nTe two abscondingpersons, who got Adil arrested in the first place on anarson charge, later implicated him in other cases, andare still at large. Their arrest warrants were issuedin April ’82oThe Federal cases were taken up after several monthcThis was contrary to the Speedy Trial Act, which providestrial to begin within seventy days from the date ofinformation/arrest 0 Being under detention and with sucha huge amount of bail to be furnished, Adil was unable todefend his interests during the initial months. He wassubsequently convicted by Federal Judge Jarmes Kehoe onMay 17, 1982 in five .cases to consecutive terms totalling35 years.Reproduced from the holdings of the:National Archives & Records AdministrationRecord Group: 60 Department of JusticeAccession # 60-89-372Box 30 of 190Folder: John G. Roberts, Jr. Misc.2S59 COLDWATER CANYON DRIVEBEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA 90210Mr. William French SmithThe Attorney GeneralWashington, DCiIIIIIReproduced from the holdings of the:Natieonl Archives & Records AdministrationRecord Group: 60 Department of JusticeAccession # 6 0 -89-372Box 30 of 190Folder: John G. Roberts, Jr. Misc.·C:.X.9..mwtlhUSA·~·a-r·u~l~~.j . i 20:4dI

http://www.archives.gov/news/john-roberts/accession-60-89-0372/doc002.pdf

®ffiu of th1 Attlrneip rnupra

j Bzt^mgtmi.a (. 0. –

October 4, 1982

Dear Chuck:

Thank you for your letter of September 1, further

concerning the case of Mr. Adil Shahryar.

In your most recent letter you indicated that you

are seeking information concerning the case so that you

could pass this on to Mr. Shahryar’s father. At my request

a member of my staff has consulted with the Assistant

United States Attorney in Miami who is handling the

Shahryar case and has learned that Mr. Shahryar’s father

and other persons acting on Mr. Shahryar’s behalf have already

had extensive meetings with the Assistant United States

Attorney to discuss the case. It is also my understanding

that Mr. Shahryar is represented by counsel and that his

counsel is pursuing an appeal of the federal conviction.

Adil Shahryar’s counsel should be able to provide the father

or others interested in the case guidance on how best to

proceed “rom Adil’s perspective.

In any event I am certain that the Assistant United

States Attorney handling the case stands ready to meet again

with Mr. Shahryar’s father to discuss the case to the extent

this is appropriate and consistent with his obligation —

and mine — to see that the laws be vigorously enforced.

As you say, of course, I must avoid not only the fact but

the appearance as well of interfering in this pending case

or disrupting the normal course of proceedings.

I hope all is well with you. With my warmest personal

regards,

Sincerely,

William French Smith

Attorney General

Mr. Charlton Heston

2859 Coldwater Canyon Drive

Beverly Hills, California 90210

National Archives & Records Administration

Record Group: 60 Department of Justice

Accession # 60-89-372

Box 30 of 190

Folder: John G. Roberts, Jr. Misc.

U.S. Department of Justice

Office of the Attorney General

Counselor to the Attorney General

September 10, 1982

NOTE FOR JOHN ROBERTS:

Ah the eloquence of Charlton Heston.

And he’s a Hollywood Republican too!

WhTat thinkest thee after reading

this epistle? Can we provide him with

“information?’

The AG would like to be as helpful

as he can, appropriately and consistent

with the appearance as well as the

fact of non-interference.

X/f

National Archives & Records Administration

Record Group: 60 Department of Justice

Accession # 60-89-372

Box 30 of 190

Folder: John G. Roberts, Jr. Misc.

r5~i…..2….5………..N.

2E5I9 COLDWATER CANYON DRIVE, BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA 91210

September 1, 1982

Dear Mr. Attorney General:

I appreciate your thoughtful response to

my inquiry into the case of Adil Shahryar. Of

course I fully appreciate both your respect

for our judicial system and your sworn duty

to avoid even the suggestion of interfering

in its process. If you inferred from my

letter that I imgagined you might do otherwise,

I must apologize.

What I sought was information. While I

share your conviction that our courts compare

favorably with any in the world, they are,

like human nature, imperfect. Lacking

access to the record in Adil Shahryar’s case

and aware only that his sentence was of

Draconian severity, I had thought someone on

your staff might inform me more fully, so

that I could pass on to his father advice

usef:ci- in his effort to secure a review.

Certainly his knowledge of the Indian system

of justice is not likely to provide guidance.

I realize that it is perhaps impossible

to respond constructively in this matter

without at least seeming to interfere in due

process. Of course you must not do that, nor

would I want you to. What I want is surely

what we all deserve: your best efforts to

preserve and enhance the rule of law we enjoy

in our country. Thanks for your unswerving

efforts to this end.

Box 30 of’ 10

F d-D Jt

National Archives & Records Administration

Record Group: 60 Department of Justice

Accession # 60-89-372

Box 30 of 190

Folder: John G. Roberts, Jr. Misc.

CHARLTON HESTON

http://www.archives.gov/news/john-roberts/accession-60-89-0372/doc057.pdf

ifftr of t34 Attornt (raenda

an 4fi]mtm11X+ f. 2a5$n

August 27, 1982

Mr. Charlton Heston

2859 Coldwater Canyon Drive

Beverly Hills, California 90210

Dear Chuck:

Thank you for your letter of August 9, concerning

the criminal conviction of Mr. Adil Shahryar.

I can, of course, appreciate the distress that a

criminal conviction and incarceration must cause to those

close to an individual defendant. I am afraid, however,

that it would not be appropriate for me to intervene in

this matter in any way. Mr. Shahryar was convicted of

serious crimes after a full trial before a jury of his

peers, and was sentenced by the judge according to law.

I understand that he is pursuing an appeal of his

conviction.

As a trusted and respected friend of longstanding,

you know that I would not lightly turn aside a request

from you. In circumstances such as these, however, we

must rely on the American criminal justice system. That

system requires the prosecution to prove guilt beyond a

reasonable doubt, and affords the accused every opportunity

to defend himself. It is the best system I know of for

vindicating the innocent.

I know you will understand that I am in no position to

do anything other than abide by the verdict of that system.

I hope that 1ll is well with you and Lydia. You know

I join many others — and the American people generally —

in applauding the public service you continue to render on

so many different fronts. We in Washington hope that your

selfless activities will continue to inspire others.

Best regards.

Sincerely,

Winiam French Smith

Attorney General

Reproduced from the holdings of the:

National Archives & Records Administration

Record Group: 60 Department of Justice

Accession # 60-89-372

Box 30 of 190

Folder: John G. Roberts, Jr. Misc.

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