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WALSH PLANS TO NARROW IRAN-CONTRA CHARGES AGAINST POINDEXTER

SHARE WALSH PLANS TO NARROW IRAN-CONTRA CHARGES AGAINST POINDEXTER

Prosecutors trying to avoid a clash over national secrets said Friday they will narrow the Iran-Contra indictment against former National Security Adviser John Poindexter, while Poindexter's lawyer said he'll try to force President Bush and former President Reagan to testify.

Defense attorney Richard Beckler said the government's plan to adjust but not drop a broad conspiracy charge "doesn't make any sense," but the judge said it depends on the specifics of the prosecution motion, which won't be submitted until next week.Beckler said he wants to subpoena Reagan and Bush because Poindexter "had substantial contact with both of these individuals throughout this offense as outlined in the indictment."

Associate independent counsel Christian Mixter told U.S. District Court Judge Harold Greene that after the charges are narrowed "there would be no reason to involve" Bush and Reagan in the trial.

Independent counsel Lawrence Walsh said the prosecution will seek dismissal of theft and wire fraud charges, which deal with the diversion of Iran arms-sale proceeds to the Nicaraguan rebels, and portions of the broad conspiracy charge against Poindexter.

Later in the day, Walsh filed a motion to dismiss the three charges against arms dealer Richard V. Secord, who is scheduled to be tried separately in November.

In court papers, Walsh said he wished to avoid the same legal fight over state secrets that loomed in the Poindexter case, particularly because of the reluctance of federal agencies to give Secord access to classified documents to prepare his defense.