Law: Parsing A Sentence

Are the feds out to get Norman Mailer? The Pulitzer-prizewinning author (The Executioner's Song) charged last week that two friends convicted on drug- smuggling charges were given heavier sentences to pressure them into implicating him. Mailer was a character witness in the 1983 trial of Writer Richard Stratton and the 1984 trial of Literary Agent Bernard ("Buzz") Farbar, but denies having been an accomplice. "I made no Fifth Amendment claim then, and I didn't need to," he says. Mailer spoke up after nine prominent writers, including William Styron and Nora Ephron, published a letter in the New York Review of Books...