Top-Secret Strategy

The "cuckoo-clock trial" of Oliver North is set to start . . . and stop . . . and start . . . and stop . . .

Yes, Virginia, there will be an Ollie North trial. Or at least one will start this week. But don't bet the ranch that it will go all the way to a jury verdict, or even produce much dramatic testimony.

Instead, look for constant repetition of this sequence: North's combative attorney, Brendan Sullivan, tries to introduce in evidence a secret document that supports his client's claim to have acted only under orders from higher authority or merely followed routine Administration policy regarding covert activity. Prosecutor John Keker, on behalf of independent counsel Lawrence Walsh, objects, arguing that release of the document would...

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