A witness for the defense...

Witness- John Trudell [1976]

Questions asked by William Kunstler...

Q: Does the American Indian Movement believe in self-defense if native Americans are attacked?

A: Yes

Q: And who was Annie Mae Aquash?

A: She was a 30-year-old woman from Nova Scotia, Canada, and she had been with AIM for quite a while and she was very much respected and she was close to a lot of people that were within the AIM group.

Q: Is she alive or dead?

A: Annie Mae is dead.

Q: When did she die?

A: She died in February [1976] of this year.

Q: And how did she die? [An objection from the prosecution - If it please the Court, I object to this on the grounds it is incompetent, irrelevant, immaterial...

The Court response - Sustained...]

Q: And prior to her death, did you have a conversation about David Price [FBI agent] with Annie Mae Aquash?

A. Yes, we did.

[Another objection from the prosecution, and the testimony was continued out of the hearing of the jury.]

The Court: Mr. Trudell, Mr. Kunstler asked you about this conversation you had with Annie Mae Aquash and the Government has objected to it on the grounds it is hearsay, and I have sustained the objection. Mr. Kunstler wants to make what is know as an offer of proof here. He wants to offer the Court what your answer would have been if I would have let you testify. You understand?

The Witness: Yes.

Q: Mr. Trudell, did you have a conversation with Annie Mae Aquash with reference to David Price?

A: Yes, I did...

Q: And would you indicate for the record what she said to you and what you said to her?

A: She told me she had been arrested at Crow Dog's and...Price saw her and when he saw her he shined his flashlight on her and when he saw who she was he said, "There you are. We have been looking for you," and that is all the conversation that took place there. They took them all to Pierre and she said during her interrogation by Price and another agent...that Price had told her he knew that she knew who shot those agents, and that she could - should cooperate, and if she would, she would get a new identity, and she would get a new place to live...She cussed at him and he told her that if she wanted to have that attitude he would see her dead within a year...The last time I saw her was the first - very first part of October, I believe - in Los Angeles. She told me at the time that she would go back to court and then the next time I saw anything, I saw her on TV in Oregon, three days before she was going to appear in court, and she had been arrested with Kamook Banks and Russell Redner and Kenneth Loud Hawk in Oregon in Oregon and that was the last time I ever saw her [the results of this arrest are chronicled in Loud Hawk - The United States versus the American Indian Movement, Kenneth S. Stern, University of Oklahoma Press, ISBN 0-8061-2587-X]. She went back...

The Court: South Dakota

The Witness: Yes. And she was still in custody as far as I knew at the time. And I got this message that...Annie Mae was in trouble and could I help her. I couldn't because they had a warrant for my arrest in Nevada on a charge that was later dropped. I could do nothing about it. The nest time I - Dennis told me she had been shot in the back of the head. He told me this in California. This is when he was out on bail there...I know it was within two days or so after they found the body and I knew nothing about that.

Mr. Kunstler: February 24th.

The Witness: I was sitting in the car with Dennis and he said, "You know they found Annie Mae -" No, he said it this way. He said, "You know that body they found? That is Annie Mae." I didn't know about a body. The he said that...

The Court: Getting back to what she said again, about what Price told her. What was it Price told her?

The Witness: He told her if she wanted to have that attitude, that - They had made an offer to her.

The Court: All these promises!

The Witness: ...wanted to have that attitude that he would see her dead within the year. It was not a - He didn't say he would see her charged or anything, because they couldn't charge her because she was here in Cedar Rapids at Crow Dog's trial on the day of that shooting.

At few days later, Kunstler took this matter up with Agent Price, whom some of the Indians, at least, had suspected of involvement in the killing:

Q: Do you know a woman by the name of Annie Mae Aquash?

A: I interviewed a woman who is also know as Anna Mae Pictou [maiden name], Anna Mae Aquash.

Q: That is the same woman, isn't it?

A: To my knowledge it is.

Q: When did you interview her in connection with this case?

A: I never did.

Q: Did you talk to her?

A: I have talked to her.

Q: And when you talked to her was it in an attempt to get information about this case?

A: No.

Q: Did you mention this case to her at all?

A: I would have to review my interview, but I don't remember that I did.

Q: Didn't you tell her that if she didn't cooperate with you she would be dead within a year?

A: No, I did not.

Q: If you did, you would, of course, say so?

A: I did not say those words.

Q: I am not asking those questions. If you had made such an expression to her, a potential witness, you would admit it under oath, wouldn't you?

Prosecution: I object. The question has been asked and answered three times.

Mr. Kunstler: He hasn't answered it.

The Court: Can you answer that question?

The Witness: I am telling the truth, and I did not say those words and if I had said those words I would say I said those words.

At this point, Dino Butler [defendant] leapt to his feet and shouted, "Say them!"

Q: Do you remember when you spoke to Annie Mae Aquash?

A: Yes.

Q: When was that?

A: I talked to the girl who identified herself as Anna Mae Aquash, I believe, on September 5, 1975...

Q: And with reference to Annie Mae Aquash on that day, is it your testimony that you had no discussion with her about the shooting at Oglala?

A: I remember I was specifically interested if she could help me with the murder of Jeannette Bissonette...[Jeanette Bissonette-AIM supporter killed by sniper at Pine Ridge. There was an unsuccessful attempt to link AIM members to the murder. Beyond this, there was no further investigation]

Q: When you spoke to Annie Maw Aquash about the murder of Jeannette Bissonnette, did you at any time during that discussion, discuss the events of June 26th of 1975?

A: Not that I remember.

Q: Never came up at all? That is your testimony.

A: As far as I can remember it did not come up.

Q: By the way, Jeannette Bissonnette was killed on the Pine Ridge Reservation, wasn't she?

A: Yes. Three months to the day before the agents were killed.

Q: Was anybody indicted for her crime?

A: Not yet.

...In the Spirit of Crazy Horse
Peter Matthiessen

By My Signature I Support The Call For Justice For Anna Mae
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Comments to Senator
Ben Nighthorse Campbell:

The investigator...

We might as well learn to bury each other...

Anna Mae's Cousin Follows The Trail...

Anna Mae Timeline

a song for anna mae...

Living In This Way the legend of anna mae

Warrior Headstones

Relinquishing A Legacy of Hatred,
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Conversations with Dino Butler

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