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SHARON v. TIME
November 26, 1984
ARIEL SHARON, Plaintiff, against TIME, INC., Defendant
The opinion of the court was delivered by: SOFAER
The court has reviewed in its entirety the deposition of Ambassador Morris Draper. Defendant seeks permission to read most of that deposition to the jury. The Government of the United States opposes the use of the deposition at the trial, or the classified exhibits referred to therein, but it has no objection to the deposition being read in camera to the jury. In particular the Government argues that the issues discussed at the deposition are sensitive matters, bearing upon continuing foreign affairs concerns of the United States. Furthermore, the Government questions defendant's need for testimony in the deposition, arguing that it is peripheral to the issues in this case, especially when the testimony is compared to the evidence in the possession and control of defendant's reporters, which defendant's reporters refuse to reveal.
The Government is correct. Little or nothing in the deposition adds to the backgrounds information already in evidence in the form of the Kahan Commission Report. Defendant is invited to refer the Court to specific testimony that it needs. The only specific matter thus far referred to is evidence concerning general Eitan's apprehension of revenge, which is wholly consistent with the evidence on this subject contained in the Kahan Commission Report. The court will consider allowing some limited use of such testimony, in the interests of justice, only if during the trial it becomes clear that the relevant statement in the Report is challenged by the plaintiff. If defendant wishes to propose other specific material for use in its case, the facts sought to be established by that material must first be proposed to plaintiff in the form of a stipulation. If no stipulation is possible on a given point, the court will consider whether to allow use of the deposition, and whether an in camera reading is practicable or necessary; most of the material is obviously innocuous.
The court may also permit use of the deposition to impeach specific statements made by any witness at the trial, but clearance must be obtained from the court prior to any such use.
The motion of the United States to prevent the use of the Draper deposition and exhibits is granted, subject to possible future exceptions on the grounds stated above.
The request of defendant for yet another Letter of Request for International Judiciary Assistance is denied. We are now at a point when further requests may well prejudice our chances of obtaining the truly important evidence in this case. No further requests will be approved, absent a strong showing of need. The present application contains no showing at all as to the testimony expected to be developed and why it would be expected to be useful at trial.
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