Alan Dershowitz: Cautious, optimistic that Pollard will go free

©The Jerusalem Post

Jonathan and Esther Pollard outside the Manhattan Federal Courthouse in New York City (photo credit: REUTERS)

World renowned lawyer Alan Dershowitz expressed cautious optimism on Wednesday that Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard's strict parole restrictions would be relaxed on Friday, when he completes his fifth year of parole from his life sentence for spying for Israel.
It is up to the US Justice Department to renew the conditions by the time the five years are up, or they are presumed to expire immediately. Neither Pollard nor his lawyers have been told anything, a source close to Pollard said Wednesday.
Pollard’s parole conditions since he was released from prison five years ago require him to wear an electronic GPS ankle bracelet at all times, to be subjected to unfettered monitoring and inspection of his computers and prevent him from leaving his New York home before 7 a.m. or returning after 7 p.m.
"I am cautiously optimistic but I have been cautiously optimistic before," Dershowitz told The Jerusalem Post in a phone interview. "With Jonathan Pollard, there are people in government who raise absurd objections."
Dershowitz said that if what he called "the unjustified parole restrictions" are renewed, he has a chance to receive commutation from US President Donald Trump.
While Dershowitz has not been in touch with Pollard for many years, he represented him in the past, has pushed presidents for his release and continues to actively try to help.
Dershowitz recalled that he thought he persuaded Bill Clinton to commute Pollard's sentence to time served in a conversation on Martha’s Vineyard when Clinton was president. But then-CIA chief George Tenet vetoed the commutation.
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Pollard has reason for concern that the conditions will be renewed because he still has 10 years left of his life sentence. It was given before life sentences in America were reduced from 45 years to the 30 that he served. Parole conditions lasting five years are considered standard procedure.
“Under normal circumstances – that is, with any other prisoner, including spies for enemy nations, drug dealers, etc. – the five-year marker would have significance,” a source close to the Pollards said. “Provided that there were five years of good conduct, it would be honored immediately. But not for Israel’s agent. Nothing in this case has ever been handled according to normative legal practice.”
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