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Reagan testifies on role in Iran-Contra affair

Published Oct. 16, 2005

Former President Ronald Reagan went before the cameras Friday to explain what he knows about the Iran-Contra affair. Reagan smiled and waved but did not speak to reporters when he entered the federal courthouse to give a videotaped deposition for the trial of former national security adviser John Poindexter.

The former Reagan administration official goes on trial March 5 on charges of concealing from Congress assistance that national security aide Oliver North gave to the Nicaraguan rebels and lying about a 1985 shipment of Hawk missiles to Iran.

On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Harold Greene rejected a request by news organizations that they be allowed to attend the deposition.

However, he said he would order the videotape released within a few days after it is edited to remove material deemed to touch on classified matters.

Friday's testimony, according to court papers, was to concern: The president's knowledge of the Iran initiative and North's relationship with various individuals in the Contra operation.

Whether Poindexter told Reagan of the status of Richard Secord, whom North enlisted to move supplies to the Nicaraguan rebels.

Reagan's discussions with Poindexter regarding a chronology for a November 1985 Hawk shipment.

Whether Reagan advised Poindexter to tell congressional committees they already had been given information about whether North was secretly assisting the Contras.

Three years ago, Reagan portrayed himself as having been kept in the dark by his aides. But Poindexter contends he kept his former boss fully informed about all aspects of the affair - with the apparent exception of a diversion of Iran arms-sale money to the Contras - and that Reagan authorized his activities.