Huckabee Aide: Gov Pushed for Rapist’s Freedom

Dec 5, 2007 6:00pm

Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee made a rare personal appeal to release a convicted rapist from prison, a former top aide to the GOP presidential hopeful confirmed to ABC News. Butch Reeves, formerly the criminal justice counsel to the Arkansas governor’s office, handled all requests for clemencies and communications with prisoners. His account of a key 1996 meeting between then-Gov. Huckabee and the state parole board largely supports an earlier version of the meeting by former board member Charles Chastain. It contrasts with Huckabee’s position that he did not pressure the board. THE BLOTTER RECOMMENDS Blotter Despite Victims’ Pleas, Huckabee Pushed Rapist’s Freedom Blotter Mom: ‘Carol Sue Would Be Alive Today’ If Not for Huckabee Good Morning America Video Huckabee: Not So Tough on Crime Click Here for Full Blotter Coverage "At their invitation, I went to their meeting. Someone brought up his case," Huckabee said Tuesday, describing his meeting with the board. "Frankly it was simply part of a broader discussion. I did not ask them to do anything." In a phone interview, Reeves said Huckabee told the board members he thought there was "something nefarious" about the criminal justice system in Dumond’s case, and that the rapist got a "raw deal." Huckabee said he believed Dumond’s sentence, originally a life sentence plus 20 years, was "way out of bounds" for his crime, raping a 17-year-old high school student. Reeves said he could recall only a few such appeals being made by a governor. In an interview Wednesday afternoon, Huckabee told ABC News he believed the Dumond story was a "complete exploitation." Video: Brian Ross talks to Mike Huckabee about the release of Wayne Dumond "What a sad thing that in an election year, we’re going to take the grief of these people…and make this a political issue, and try to point fingers and blame." Reeves confirmed Huckabee received at least one letter from an alleged victim of Dumond’s, and that he put Huckabee on the phone with her to discuss her alleged rape. The campaign today said Huckabee had received a letter from the woman. Huckabee’s former counsel said the then-governor also received information about Dumond’s alleged role in a murder while serving in the Army. The new information from Reeves puts in sharper contrast Huckabee’s recent statements that he wished he "knew more" when he advocated for the release of Dumond in the late 1990s. This morning, ABC News and the Huffington Post Web site reported on letters received by Huckabee’s office from Dumond’s alleged and confirmed victims and their family members. "I am also a rape victim of Dumond’s," reads one heavily-underlined, bolded letter to Huckabee from a dossier purported to have been in Huckabee’s files during the period. "Please reconsider your decision to release Dumond." "I’m willing to take whatever responsibility anyone wishes to ascribe to me," Huckabee told ABC News Wednesday afternoon. But, he insisted, "I certainly did not pressure that board." Do you have a tip for Brian Ross and the Investigative Team?

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