Eda Gordon – October 20, 2000 – Santa Fe, New Mexico
County of Santa Fe
State of New Mexico
I, Eda Gordon, being duly sworn do depose and state the following:
1. I am a private investigator licensed in the State of New Mexico since 1982.
2. From 1973 through 1975 I worked with the Wounded Knee Legal Defense/Offense Committee, first as a press liaison and then as a paralegal/investigator for the cases arising out of the 1973 occupation of Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.
3. In February 1975 I was a passenger in a carload of lawyers and legal workers attacked at the Pine Ridge Airport by members of the vigilante group known as the “Goon Squad” (Guardians of the Oglala Nation) under the direct orders of Tribal Chairman Dick Wilson. Wilson stood at the driver side the car [sic], and when asked by one of the goons, “What do you want us to do with them, Dick?”, Wilson responded, “I want you to stomp ‘em.” The six of us in the car were pulled out at gunpoint, thrown to the ground, and the men badly beaten. At one point, one of the goons pulled a knife directed at one of the lawyers, Roger Finzel, who was on the ground being stomped by boots and fists. I deflected the knife and received minor cuts on my hand.
4. The attack on the Wounded Knee legal team occurred in the midst of a “reign of terror” against traditional Lakota people who opposed the Dick Wilson regime, but also signaled that the repression had escalated out of control. No longer could the rampant violence on the Reservation be characterized merely as internecine warfare among factions when non-Indian out-of-state lawyers and legal workers had become a target of Wilson and his Goon Squad.
5. It was in this climate of fear four months later that FBI agents Williams and Coler, in unmarked cars, chased a pickup into the Jumping Bull compound in Oglala, and died in an ensuing firefight.
6. In March 1990, at the request of Bruce Ellison, legal counsel for Leonard Peltier, I traveled to Fargo, North Dakota, to interview members of the jury that had convicted Peltier of killing the FBI agents.
7. The purpose of the interviews was to inquire if the jurors would have changed their verdict if new evidence obtained after trial had been introduced at the time of the trial.
8. Subsequent to the conviction of Leonard Peltier, an FBI report was obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, which documented, contrary to FBI testimony at trial, that a ballistics test conducted by the FBI showed that a shell casing found at the scene was incompatible with a weapon attributed to Leonard Peltier.
9. Also obtained under the Freedom of Information Act after trial were FBI reports regarding the radio transmissions of the two agents prior to their death. These reports confirmed that the agents were chasing a red pickup truck into the Jumping Bull compound, not a red and white van, which Leonard Peltier was known to use. None of the transmissions discussed in the reports described the vehicle as a van. Other reports emphasized that for two to three weeks after the incident, the FBI was looking for and stopping red pickups — not vans — in its manhunt to apprehend the suspected killers of the agents.
10. Of the three jurors who agreed to an interview, two said that the discovery of the ballistics test and the discrepancy between the red pickup truck and the read and white van could have changed their verdict.
11. In the course of this post-conviction investigation, I also interviewed Wilford “Wish” Draper and Norman Brown on the Navajo Nation. Both were adolescents living at the Jumping Bull compound on June 26, 1975, and were called as witnesses for the prosecution against Leonard Peltier at the time of the trial. Both admitted that they were intimidated by the FBI into testifying against Peltier and told in front of their mothers that they could spend the rest of their lives in prison if they did not testify to implicate Peltier in the killing of the agents.
The foregoing statements are true and correct to the best of my knowledge.
Eda Gordon (copy of original affidavit below)
Notorized on October 20, 2000.