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U-T editor tells FBI he signed altered letter supporting Wade Sanders

May 6, 2009 - 10:27 am

Union-Tribune opinion page editor Bernie Jones has told the FBI that a letter provided to Judge Thomas Whelan in support of Wade Sanders under Jones’ name was in fact the letter he signed and sent to Sanders’ attorney, Knut Johnson.

On Monday, through an intermediary, Jones told Whelan that the letter the court received bearing his signature was “considerably” different from the one he wrote, giving the strong implication that someone in the Sanders camp had altered the letter without his knowledge.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Alessandra Serano confirmed for CityBeat that Jones was interviewed by FBI agents on Tuesday and acknowledged that the signature on the letter provided to the court was the letter he signed.

Jones’ original letter urged Whelan not to sentence Sanders, who pleaded gulity to charges that he possessed child pornography, to a “long” prison sentence. Sanders altered the letter so that it recommended against “any” prison time and sex-offender status. Jones and Sanders are familiar through Sanders’ past contributions to the U-T‘s op-ed page.

Johnson, Sanders’ attorney, told CityBeat that this is what happened: Jones e-mailed a draft to Sanders, who made changes and sent it back to Jones, who printed it out, signed it and faxed and mailed it to Johnson.

Jones hasn’t responded to CityBeat‘s requests for comment.

UPDATE: Bernie Jones just sent this in an e-mail: “My only intention here was to have my contribution to the public record on the Sanders case correctly reflect what I thought. It now does that. I am not certain what further can be accomplished by continued discussion of the matter.”

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