Date: February 26, 2016 08:35AM
(posted by Steve Benson, RfM, February 11, 2011)
Part 1 of 2
According to a good source in Utah's Mo Corridor, Mormon apostle Dallin H. Oaks offered to step down from the ranks of the Twelve over a well-publicized tiff between the two of us.
It happened after I outted him for lying to a reporter about Boyd K. Packer's behind-the-scenes involvement in the excommunication of Paul Toscano--who was a Salt Lake City attorney, an outspoken critic of the General Authorities, a firm advocate for women's rights and a member of the so-called "September Six."
Oaks had told me in a private meeting with fellow apostle Neal A. Maxwell held in the Church Administration Building in September 1993 that Packer had exceeded his ecclesiastical authority when he (Packer) contacted Toscano's stake president, Kerry Heinz, in a move to have Heinz excommunicate Toscano. Oaks told me that he (Oaks) was responsible for the portion of the official "Church Handbook of Instructions" dealing with matters of member discipline, not Packer. (Maxwell chimed in at that point, adding that he--Maxwell--had helped bring Oaks into the Quorum of the Twelve because of the need for Oaks's expertise in legal matters). Oaks lamented that Toscanco might end up suing the Mormon Church over violation of his (Toscano's) ecclesiastical rights.
Oaks, in exasperation with Packer, went on to utter this classic line to me about Packer, saying, "You can't stage manage a grizzly bear."
As I left the meeting with him and Maxwell, Oaks asked me to keep what we had talked about confidential. But all bets were off on that score when Oaks subsequently lied on the record to a newspaper reported about what Oaks had told me in private regarding Packer's underhanded actions.
When "Arizona Republic" reporter Paul Brinkley-Rogers asked Oaks in an on-the-record interview about rumors circulating that Packer had been involved in backstage direction of the excommunication of Toscano, Oaks said he was not aware of any such thing, adding that such claims went against everything that he knew about Packer. Reporter Brinkley-Rogers played me the tape of his interview with Oaks and when I heard Oaks lie in this regard, I was astounded. I told the reporter what Oaks had told me in private about Packer's out-of-bounds efforts to get Toscano excommunicated via the stake president--and how what Oaks said to me directly contradicted what he had falsely claimed to the reporter.
I subsequently contacted Oaks by fax and informed him that he had 24 hours to set the record straight, advising him that if he did not, I would publicly do it for him. Oaks called my home in Arizona from Salt Lake City but I was not there at the time (my young daugther answered, instead, and told Oaks that I was still at work). Oaks then proceeded to contact the reporter to whom he had given the misleading interview. He left a message with the reporter, who called him back through the LDS Church Office Building switchboard, reaching Oaks at his home. In that phone call, Oaks admitted to the reporter that he had not told the truth, but insisted that what he had told the reporter about Packer was not a lie; rather, he said, it had been a long interview and he had misspoken.
I listened to the tape of that phone call between the reporter and Oaks, since the reporter had made the recording and later allowed me to listen to it (I have the tape of that phone call--which the reporter eventually gave to me--from which I made a written transcription--which will be quoted later in this post).
I eventually decided to go public with what Oaks had actually said, via a guest column I authored for the "Salt Lake Tribune." I faxed Oaks again and explained that he had broken his trust with me by lying in public about what he had told me in private, that he had not come clean in his phone call he made to the reporter and that I therefore had decided that I not be a partner in his attempted cover-up.
My source (who had excellent contacts) informed me that in the wake of the exposure of Oaks's lies, Oaks offered to resign from the Quorum of the Twelve but was persuaded by fellow Quorumer Gordon B. Hinckley to stay the course.
Oaks stayed the course.
But I suspect that Oaks knew he had been caught flat-footed in his lies; otherwise, he would not have offered to resign in the first place.
Below are informative details on what my source later told me prompted Oaks to inform Hinckley that he was willing to walk the plank by leaving the Twelve. These particulars demonstrate how Toscano's outspoken support of independent thinking ended up exposing the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of Mormonism's highest leadership. They show how behind-the-scenes moves by LDS Inc.'s pyramid-perching leaders to discredit and discipline Toscano for his fiercely-individualistic views eventually led to the public disgracing of Apostles Dallin Oaks, along with Boyd K. Packer--men who, cloaked in Mormon Cult secrecy, had sought to have Toscano muzzled and humiliated, then lied on the record about their efforts to do so.
Oaks' and Packer's plottings against Toscano were ultimately unmasked within the larger context of the Mormon Church's 1993 crackdown on dissidents (notably, the so-called "September Six"). Oaks confessed his participation in the efforts to club and then conceal the ecclesiastical clubbing of Toscano in two private meetings I had with Oaks and his fellow apostle Neal Maxwell, in Maxwell's Church office during September 1993. In those confidential meetings, Oaks confessed to the actual circumstances surrounding the excommunication of Toscano, then expected me to cover for him after he lied in public about what we had privately talked in this regard.
In an on-the-record interview with "Arizona Republic" investigative reporter Paul Brinkley-Rogers, Oaks blatantly misrepresented the truth about Packer's involvement in the excommunication of Toscano who, among other things, had caught the scornful attention of Church apostles by suggesting that Church members need not perpetuate a Cult of Personality by standing up when General Authorities walked into the room.
Yet, Oaks had privately owned up that Packer had inappropriately injected himself into local Church action against Toscano--and, in the process, violated Church disciplinary procedures and opening the Church up to a possible lawsuit from Toscano. Referring to Packer as the source of these headaches, a frustrated Oaks told me, "You can't stage manage a grizzly bear." When subsequently asked by the media about rumors that Packer had worked behind the scenes to get Toscano excommunicated, Oaks claimed ignorance and denied that Packer could ever do such a thing. Had I remained silent in the face of these lies, I would have been an accessory to Oaks' falsifications. Oaks had demanded that I not talk about the conversations we had about the Toscano/Packer affair. Oaks had then prevaricated on the record about what we discussed. Finally, once the cat was out of the bag, Oaks had expected me to cover his keister by covering my mouth.
A question I posed to Oaks and Maxwell concerned reports that Packer had been behind the excommunication of Toscano. To understand the context of the question, it is necessary to review events at the time, as reported in the press.
Packer's suspected entanglement in the excommunication of Toscano became a subject of extensive media coverage in the fall of 1993. Toscano was excommunicated from the Mormon Church on September 19, 1993, "for writing and speaking publicly about Church doctrine, feminism, the state of the faith's leadership and other issues." At the stake high council disciplinary hearing that ultimately sealed his fate, attention was focused on a Sunstone symposium speech Toscano had recently delivered, entitled, "All Is Not Well in Zion: False Teachings of the True Church," in which Toscano was alleged to have made derogatory comments . . . about General Authorities." ("LDS Apostle Denies Ordering Dissident's Excommunication," by "Associated Press," 11 October 1993, sec, D, p. 1ff; and "Six Intellectuals Disciplined for Apostasy," in "Sunstone," November 1993, p. 66).
With the Mormon Church having recently disciplined the infamous "September Six" for activities relating to scholarship and feminism, speculation was rampant that Packer had been "behind the Church's recent crackdown on dissidents." That assessment proved to be well-founded. Five months earlier, Packer had warned a gathering of LDS bureaucrats that some Mormons "influenced by social and political unrest are being caught up and led away" by "the gay-lesbian movement, the feminist movement, as well as the ever-present challenge from the so-called scholars or intellectuals." ("Cartoonist Says Oaks Lied To Protect Fellow Apostle," Vern Anderson, "Associated Press," in "Salt Lake Tribune," 12 October 1993, sec. B, p. 1ff; and Boyd K. Packer, "Talk to the All-Church Coordinating Council," transcript, 18 May 1993, pp. 3, 4)
Packer, however, vehemently denied that he had been behind the banishment of Toscano. Specifically, he insisted he had not directed Toscano's stake president, Kerry Heinz, to convene a disciplinary council against him. While admitting to having met with Heinz to discuss Toscano, Packer assured the press, "We talked doctrine and philosophy. I absolutely did not instruct him to hold a disciplinary counsel and did not then, nor have I ever, directed any verdict. By Church policy, that is left entirely to local leaders. When he [Heinz] left, I did not know what he would do." ("Cracks in the Temple: Mormon Unity in Peril," by Paul Brinkley-Rogers, "The Arizona Republic," 10 October 1993, sec. A, p 1ff)
Packer further revealed to the Church-owned "Deseret News" that his decision to meet with Heinz had been made through a lower-ranking Church middleman. Contrary to Oaks' claim to me in our September 24th meeting that Packer had independently strayed outside approved channels of authority, Packer insisted that, in fact, he had been advised by "the Brethren" to meet with Toscano's stake president. Said Packer, "Even though General Authorities of the Church are free to contact or respond to local leaders on any subject, I felt there may be some sensitivity about his request. The Brethren felt I could not very well decline to see a stake president. I therefore consented." ("Packer Says He Was Concerned by Request for Meeting, But Apostles Endorsed It," by "Associated Press," in "Salt Lake Tribune," 17 October 1993, sec. B, p. 1ff)
Toscano was not persuaded by Packer's explanations. Reacting to Packer's admission of meeting with Heinz, Toscano said, "I knew all along that Boyd Packer was behind it. He's behind all this." ("Grandson of President Asks to be Removed from LDS Church Rolls," Jennifer Skordas, "Salt Lake Tribune," 11 October 1993, sec. D, p. 1ff)
In my meeting with Oaks and Maxwell, I specifically asked if Packer had, in fact, been involved behind the scenes in the excommunication process against Toscano. Oaks confirmed that Packer had. Oaks told me he was "distressed and astonished" over Packer's decision to meet with Heinz, even though he said Heinz was the one who had called Packer and asked "for the meeting." Oaks said it was "a mistake" on Packer's part to have agreed to meet with Heinz, the latter whom Oaks described as "an old seminary man." (Packer had come up with Heinz through the ranks of the Church education system). He told me that, by meeting with Heinz, Packer had gone outside the bounds of his assigned responsibility. Oaks said one of his own areas of expertise was in legal affairs. Maxwell noted that one reason Oaks had been brought into the Quorum of the Twelve was to help rewrite the manual on Church disciplinary procedure. Oaks expressed concern that Packer's involvement with Heinz might lead Toscano "to sue the Church" over violation of his ecclesiastical procedural rights.
In the end, Oaks, with a note of resignation in his voice, said of Packer, "You can't stage manage a grizzly bea
On the heels of my meetings with Oaks and Maxwell, I then accompanied "Arizona Republic" reporter Brinkley-Rogers to Salt Lake City in early October 1993 to assist him in making contacts with LDS leaders, spokesmen, educators and critics for a story on the recent purge of Church dissidents, notably, the "September Six." On October 1st, Brinkley-Rogers met for a prearranged, on-the-record, taped Q & A session with Oaks in his Salt Lake City Church office to discuss, among other things, recent Church action against the dissenters. I had not arranged the interview and did not join the reporter in it, as I did not think it would be appropriate for me to do so. Moreover, prior to the interview, I did not speak to Brinkley-Rogers about what Oaks and Maxwell had told me concerning the Packer/ Toscano matter in my meeting with them on September 24th.
At the conclusion of the interview, I picked Brinkley-Rogers up outside the Church Administration Building and asked how it went. He put the tape into the rental car cassette deck and pushed the "play" button. What I heard astounded--and angered--me. Much of what Oaks had dished up for public consumption directly contradicted what he had told me in private. I was immediately aware of the bind that Oaks had put me in. He had lied to a reporter about events which he had described to me in much different terms. I had no choice but to tell the reporter at that point that Oaks was attempting to pull a fast one on him.
So, there in a rental car in Salt Lake City, for the first time, I revealed what Oaks had shared with me in our September 24th meeting, pointing out the contradictions to what I had just heard on the tape. (see "Cracks in the temple: Mormon unity in peril," Paul Brinkley-Rogers, "Arizona Republic," 11 October 1993, sec. A, p. 1ff)
During the next five days, I privately struggled with how to publicly deal with Oaks' blatant dishonesties. I was torn between remaining quiet (thereby preserving a confidentiality agreement) or setting the record straight (thereby exposing Oaks' act of calculated deception). I spoke at length with my wife, friends, and colleagues--seeking advice and weighing my options. I wish I could say it was an easy decision--that I saw the road brightly ahead of me from the moment I was confronted with Oaks' deceit--but that was not the case. I was troubled and, frankly, even a bit frightened by the possible consequences of speaking out. I did not relish the prospect of being accused of breaking a promise; at the same time, I could not stand by silently, given what I knew. Most of all, I resented the fact that Oaks had put me in this position in the first place.
I finally decided to follow my gut--and my conscience. Oaks' misrepresentations--indeed, his out-and-out lies--prompted me to fax him a letter a few days after the interview. It read as follows:
"6 October 1993
Elder Dallin Oaks
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
47 East South Temple
Salt Lake City, Utah 84150
"PERSONAL AND CONFIDENTIAL
"Dear Elder Oaks:
"I wish to share with you my concerns relative to our private conversation in the office of Elder Maxwell on September 24th, in relation to your subsequent comments to Arizona Republic reporter Paul Brinkley-Rogers on October 1st."
"In our September 24th meeting, I asked you if Kerry Heinz, Paul Toscano's stake president, had had any contact with, or received any instruction from, Elder Boyd K. Packer during the time leading up to Paul Toscano's excommunication. According to my notes taken during our discussion, you acknowledged that Elder Packer met with President Heinz prior to the rendering of judgment by the stake disciplinary council. You said that President Heinz was 'an old seminary man' and friend of Elder Packer during their days together in the Church seminary system and that President Heinz 'called and asked for a meeting' with Elder Packer."
"You told me that you were 'distressed and astonished' that Elder Packer met with President Heinz. Referring to Elder Packer, you observed that 'you can't stage manage a grizzly bear.' You opined that 'it was a mistake for Packer to meet with Heinz and a mistake for Heinz to ask for the meeting."
"You further acknowledged that you later talked directly to Elder Packer and told him that you felt it was wrong and violated Church disciplinary procedure for Elder Packer to have been in contact with President Heinz. You said that Elder Packer had no authority or responsibility to participate in such contact and you told me that you strongly urged Elder Packer not to engage in such contact in the future. You added that you fully expected Paul Toscano 'to sue' the Church over this breach of procedural authority. "
"In contrast to what you told me in private, your public statements concerning the Toscano excommunication process and any participation of Elder Packer in it presented a far different picture. Mr. Brinkley-Rogers asked you: 'In the case of Toscano . . . do you have any evidence that Elder Packer [was] involved in any way in the decision-making process in the disciplining of [him]?"
"You responded: 'As for Elder Packer, Elder Packer does not have a specific responsibility for any area in the Church . . . So, if Elder Packer is having any conversation with Kerry Heinz, it is outside the normal channel. That's all I can say. I have no knowledge of whether he did. But if he, and if he gave a directed verdict or anything like that, that is contrary to policy, it is irregular and it's contrary to what I know of Elder Packer and the way he operates. Elder Packer is not the least bit inclined to shrink from saying things like in the talk you saw [to the All-Church Coordinating Council, 18 May 1993]. He is a forthright, plain-spoken man, but Elder Packer is far too sophisticated and sensitive a man to call a stake president and tell him what he has to do in a Church discipline case. I just don't believe that. What's possible is that a stake president might think he had heard such a thing; nobody can dismiss that possibility . . . that kind of slippage happens in communication. But Elder Packer has no, Elder [Loren C.] Dunn has a natural communications link, though an outdated one; Elder Packer does not. So, that's all I know about that at this point."
"Frankly, I find the differences between what you told me and what you told the press to be irreconcilable and ethically troubling. First, by couching your answer to the question of Elder Packer's conversation with President Heinz in the hypothetical, you falsely imply, it seems to me, that you do not know whether he did talk with President Heinz. Second, contrary to what you told me, you explicitly said to the reporter that, in fact, you were not aware if any conversations took place between Elder Packer and President Heinz. Third, your assertion that for Elder Packer to have talked with President Heinz goes against your knowledge of Elder Packer's modus operandi is contradicted by your admission to me that you knew that Elder Packer had talked to him and that you later talked with Elder Packer about it. Fourth, your blanket denial of knowing anything beyond what you told the reporter is completely undermined, I feel, by what you told me."
"In other words, you have told the truth in private about the Packer-Heinz meeting, while denying the truth in public."
"When you asked that I keep our conversation confidential, I assumed that anything you might subsequently say for the record on the matter would be at least honest, if not complete. However, what you said in public varies significantly from the facts as you laid them out to me. It appears that you have asked me not to publicly divulge our conversation in your hope that my initial agreement to remain silent would keep the accuracy of your public utterances from being challenged."
"I have concluded that to remain silent is unacceptable. It would be a cowardly and dishonest act. It would be analogous to having an individual come to me and say, 'Just between us, I killed my wife,' then turn around and tell the press that the next-door neighbor did it. I would have the clear moral obligation to set the record straight, since refusal to act would do violence to the truth and make me an accessory to the crime."
"I will not be a party to a cover-up. Your request for confidentiality, I believe, has been superceded by the fact that you have lied in public, contrary to the facts as you know them, and that your hope of confidentiality rests on maintaining the deception. It has been observed that 'a lie is like a blanket of snow. It may cover unpleasantness for a time but, sooner or later, must melt, exposing that which was hidden."
"To participate in this fraud would only serve to erode trust and destroy relationships."
"I would hope that you would feel it right to publicly set the record straight. Mr. Brinkley-Rogers' phone number is 602-271-8137. If you choose not to do so within the next 24 hours, I will have no choice but to undertake that obligation myself."
Hell hath no fury like a cover blown.
Oaks responded quickly, calling my home the same afternoon he received the fax, in an attempt to reach me. Our daughter, Audrey--six years old at the time--answered the phone, as Mary Ann simultaneously picked up the line on the other end and listened. "Is your father there?" asked Oaks, in a stern, angry voice. "No," Audrey replied meekly, "He's at work."
Oaks did not have my office phone number but he had the reporter's, since I had given it to him. (Oaks needed to do his explaining to the person he had lied to in the interview, not to me). Oaks left a message with Brinkley-Rogers, who returned the call that evening, reaching Oaks at home through the Church switchboard operator (CSO).
Below is the full transcript of the ensuing conversation between Oaks (O) and Brinkley-Rogers (BR), taped by Brinkley-Rogers (which he later allowed me to audio-copy and which copy is currently in my possession). It is reported here with permission of Brinkley-Rogers.
CSO (choir music in the background): "LDS Church Offices."
BR: "Yes, good evening. Uh, this is Paul Brinkley-Rogers calling from Phoenix."
BR: "Concerning Dallin Oaks' call. He asked me to call the switchboard."
CSO: "Yes. Just a moment, please, while I"--
BR: "Thank you. Thanks a lot."
CSO: "Go ahead, please."
BR: "Thank you."
O: "Hello, Mr. Brinkley-Rogers."
BR: "Good evening, Mr. Oaks. How are you?"
O: "Thanks for calling back."
BR: "Well, thanks for calling me."
O: "Let me put the robe on and go in another room, where I can be comfortable."
BR: "OK, sure."
O: "Thank you for calling back."
BR: "All right, sir."
O: "Somebody has called me a liar and I don't like to (inaudible) to that on a charge like that."
BR: "Oh, all right. How did that happen?"
O: "Uh, well, let me explain. I received a very disturbing letter from Steve Benson."
O: "He compares what I said to him in a confidential setting, relating to Church issues, with a transcript of the interview that I had with you"--
O: --"and accused me of lying."
O: "And I'm a truthful man and I care for my integrity and, uh, and I, I take no, uh, no little, uh, concern for something like this."
O: "Before I talk with you about it, let me ask you a question"--
O: --"so you'll understand why I need to ask that before I speak about this."
BR: "All right, sir."
O: "What I would like to know is the relationship between you and Steve Benson in this matter. Specifically, was Steve on a reconnaissance for you when he asked about two weeks ago for a Church interview and came into an interview, in an ecclesiastical setting, which is the occasion of this comparison?"
BR: "No, I, I had no idea that he even did that."
O: "I didn't think so."
O: "Uh, let me ask a follow-up question."
O: "Uh, is, are you involved in any kind of an effort that Steve is now making to extort information from me--and I use the word 'extort,' uh"--
O: --"to extort information from me in behalf of you?"
BR: "No. I'm not aware of any such thing."
O: "Now, he had, the reason I had to ask that is that he had the manuscript that was our interview."
O: "And he was comparing that with notes he'd made earlier when he had a conversation"--
BR: "Oh, I see. No, I played the tape for Steve of, uh, our interview, you know, after the interview and I noticed that he looked sort of surprised by it."
O: "OK, well, then, I, I take that at face value."
BR: "All right."
O: "And, and you, what I'm going to tell you why, I, uh, oh, why I was aroused by this."
O: "Now, I assume, as I told you at the time, that you're a professional journalist"--
O: "I assume, I take The Arizona Republic at, at face value. Uh, uh, it seems to me like it's been very professional and, and I deal with you in that light."
BR: "All right, sir."
O: "And I assume that neither you nor The Republic want to be used in Steve's grievances against, and controversies with, his Church"--
O: --"that are rather considerable, uh, uh, controversy with his Church."
O: "I was trying to do, to deal with that in having a confidential interview with him."
O: "And now he, he has drawn in this letter to me, he's drawn these two things together"--
O: "And I'd rather deal with you separately"--
BR: "You mean this conversation with you, uh, compared"--
O: "His conversation with me"--
BR: --"compared with the tape?"
O: "Compared with the tape, and that's, uh, what I'd like to do, is deal separately with you."
O: "And I assume that you don't want to get involved with Steve's controversies with his Church."
O: "I assume that that's part of your professional approach to this and if I, if I can deal separately with you, independent of Steve Benson"--
O: --"then it's, then it's much easier for me to (inaudible) my problems."
BR: "All right, so let's go ahead on that basis."
O: "OK, good. Now, when (cough) I received this letter from Steve, which was, uh, a very accusatory letter"--
O: --"and, uh, I presume that you don't know about its contents"--
O: "But when I received this letter, which I did this afternoon about 5 o'clock"--
O: --"I got the transcript out and reviewed it very carefully, the transcript of my interview with you."
O: "When I did that, I saw one sentence in my interview with you--and only one sentence--that I would say overstated the truth."
O: "And that sentence I want to correct."
BR: "All right, sir. Fine."
O: "And I am sorry for it, but in a, in a, our, our interview was 60 minutes long and, you know, I was shooting from the hip (inaudible) along"--
O: --"and it was one of those things, which called to my attention, is inaccurate and I want to correct it."
BR: "All right."
O: "The, the, the only thing I can see that I want to correct."
BR: "OK, sir."
O: "And this is a, is a, uh, oh, about one-fourth of the circumstances that, uh, that, uh, Steve cites in his letter, because I looked, uh, I looked at the others and, and, uh, I think that, uh, I, I don't, uh, feel any necessity under my commitment to integrity to make any change in what I said."
O: "But in this one instance, I do."
O: "The sentence is, is toward the end of the interview."
O: "It is the, the last paragraph of the interview."
O: "I'm looking at the transcript that was made from the recording when made here."
O: "It's, uh, it's in this talk about the Kerry Heinz matter"--
BR: "All right."
O: "And the sentence is this, about having a conversation: 'So, if Elder Packer is having any conversation with Kerry Heinz'"--
O: --"'it is outside the normal channel'"--
O: --"'that's all I can say. I have not'–"my transcript says that. It must be 'no'"–'I have no knowledge of whether he did.'"
O: "That's the sentence that should be stricken."
O: "If you'd just strike out, 'I have no knowledge of whether he did'"--
O: --"then I'll stand by the transcript of things that I said to you, but that statement, 'I have no knowledge of whether he did'"--
O: --"was, uh, as I looked back on the transcript, I think that's inaccurate and I want to withdraw that."
BR: "All right. Now, um, I guess my question is, do, do you have knowledge that he did that, in that case?"
BR: "Is that what we're getting to here?"
O: "Let me just, uh, let me just say this"--
BR: "All right, sir."
O: "Uh (clears throat), when I met with Steve Benson"--
O: --"Uh, I was trying to help Steve Benson in a matter, a Church matter, that does not concern the subject of our interview."
O: "In the course of doing that, I spoke to him confidentially and in a privileged relationship"--
O: --"and, uh, I think his letter and the things he says in his letter, abuse that privileged relationship, uh, in a really, uh, well, I'll stop there."
O: "And, and I, uh, [Steve] also says some things in his letter which he may share with you, I don't know"--
O: "But he, he claims to have notes of things that I've said in the, in the conversation with him"--
O: "I don't affirm his notes."
O: "If he shows you a copy of his letter"--
O: --"I certainly don't affirm his notes"--
O: --"and I'm not either admitting or denying things that I, I was speaking there in a privileged relationship and I don't think that it's fair for Steve, uh, nor is it fair for me"--
O: --"to go into a privileged relationship"--
O: --"and for me to affirm or deny his notes, so I, I simply stand silent on what he claims took place"--
O: --"in a privileged conversation and, as a journalist, you'd understand the privilege."
O: "I think his notes are quite self-serving, but that's, that's simply my, my perspective."
O: "But what I am saying is that I just don't choose to go, uh, I don't choose to be–what's the word I'm looking for?–leveraged"--
O: --"into saying anything more than I said to you in the interview by Steve Benson's use of privileged information."
O: "So, to answer your question, I'd say that I just don't choose to affirm or deny."
O: "But I do wish to withdraw a sentence which, as I read it on the transcript, is inaccurate."
BR: "All right, sir."
O: "So, I, if you will do me the favor of striking out that, you do whatever you want with what remains."
BR: "All right, sir."
O: "And I'm glad to defend whatever remains, but I cannot defend that sentence."
BR: "All right. Well, it's clear to me."
O: "All right. And I appreciate that and I appreciate the opportunity of being able to speak to you as a, on a professional basis and I, I must tell you that I make this phone call because it distresses me when somebody claims that I lie."
BR: "All right. Well, all right."
O: "Because I don't do that."
BR: "OK, sir."
O: "Well, I appreciate the opportunity to visit with you and thank you for calling."
BR: "Thanks for calling me."
(Part 2 follows in post below)