The Case of Vang Pao
The St. Paul Pioneer Press reported Wednesday that San Francisco attorney John Keker, a Marine Corps. platoon commander in the Vietnam War, is taking the defense of Gen. Vang Pao. Keker is regarded as one of the nation's top trial lawyers, and is taking the case without compensation, vowing to fight the charges to the bitter end.
The article quotes Keker as saying, "I certainly don't take cases so people can plead guilty," and "I don't think Gen. Vang Pao is going to acquiesce to these charges. ... We wouldn't be here unless I thought Gen. Vang Pao didn't want to fight this." Pao, who led a CIA-backed Hmong rebellion during the Vietnam War era, is regarded as a spiritual leader in the large Hmong communities in both Minnesota and California. Keker cites his service in Vietnam as compelling him to assume this case. Keker has formerly represented Eldridge Cleaver as well as acting as prosecutor during the trial of Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North for 16 felony charges related to the Iran-Contra affair.
Rallies in three states, including two in St. Paul, have been held in support of the Gen. Vang Pao.
Outside of the Pioneer Press' coverage of these trial updates, The Star Tribune posted no coverage of the matter at this point.
The St. Paul Pioneer Press' article can be found here: