'To Keep Him From Bush Fund-Raiser' Chambers: King 'Whisked' Out of Town - Mar 16, 1990 - Omaha World-Herald
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Mar 16, 1990 'To Keep Him From Bush Fund-Raiser' Chambers: King 'Whisked' Out of Town; [Metro Edition] Robert Dorr. Omaha World - Herald. Omaha, Neb. pg. 11
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(Copyright 1990 Omaha World-Herald Company)
State Sen. Ernie Chambers said Friday that he believes Franklin Community Federal Credit Union head Lawrence E. King Jr. was "whisked" out of Omaha "in a hasty, almost clandestine way" last month so he could not attend an event at which President Bush spoke.
King was taken Feb. 7 to the Springfield (Mo.) Federal Medical Facility for a mental health evaluation. Bush arrived in Omaha that evening and spoke at a $1,000-per-couple breakfast at Peony Park the next morning. The event was a fund-raiser for Gov. Orr's re-election campaign.
Chambers said he has "reason to believe" that King intended to attend the Bush event.
Fred Hawkins Jr., co-finance chairman of the Orr campaign, said that to his knowledge, King did not have a ticket to attend nor did King call anybody in the Republican Party to request a ticket.
"I never saw on any list that he purchased a ticket," Hawkins said. "The idea that somebody wanted him (King) out of town is completely ridiculous."
Doug Parrott, spokesman for Gov. Orr, said from Lincoln: "King didn't receive an invitation. He wasn't solicited. He didn't have a ticket."
The order for the mental evaluation was issued by U.S. Magistrate Richard Kopf the same day King was driven to Springfield by deputy U.S. marshals.
Kopf said King waived a hearing on the order. He ordered the mental evaluation under a federal law that allows such tests to determine whether a defendant in a criminal case understands the proceedings and can assist properly in his defense.
A report on the evaluation was submitted to federal court officials in Omaha March 9 and was sealed at Kopf's order.
Chambers also said he believes that King was sent to Springfield to avoid a criminal trial that, he said, could prove embarrassing to "powerful people at the national level."
At Springfield, Chambers said, King could be given medications that would cause him to appear suicidal and unfit for trial.
"I genuinely suspect that the government may do something to harm him," Chambers said.
Charles Peterson, executive assistant to the warden at the Springfield facility, responded: "That is, in my judgment, an absolutely false statement."
Peterson said the facility's personnel do not force people to take medications.
"We would only prescribe medications for that particular person if the medical staff thought it was in his best interest and he voluntarily requested the medication or accepted it," Peterson said. "In this case, he (King) may not be on any medication or he may have been before he came here. I do not know."
Chambers said some people "have more to gain by Larry King being eliminated than standing trial, people of sufficient power to cause him to be sent to Springfield in the first place."
Chambers declined to name those people.
If King "should die or if his mind should be destroyed," Chambers said, he will elaborate on his allegations. He said he hopes his public statements "will give King a measure of protection."Credit: World-Herald Staff Writer