San Jose Mercury News - Dec. 7, 1978
Mark Lane, FBI meet secretly
Guyana probe enters San Jose
By Knut Royce
Controversial attorney Mark Lane and Terri Buford, longtime Peoples Temple treasurer, held a secret meeting in a San Jose hotel Wednesday with federal officials investigating the murder-suicide in Guyana.
The meeting was held under tight security. One official said San Jose was chosen as the site because it was hoped the session would attract little attention.
The discussions reportedly centered on the possibility of immunity from prosecution for Buford in the event she cooperated with investigators.
Lane and Buford met with U.S. Justice Department lawyers, a deputy district attorney from San Francisco and FBI agents. The two were taken this morning by federal agents from the San Jose Airport to the Hyatt House, where the secret meeting was held.
The outcome of the meeting could not be determined Wednesday night.
Lane has been a Peoples Temple lawyer since September.
Donald Freed, a Lane associate who met with the attorney and Buford in Los Angeles on Tuesday, said Lane was "going to the wall on the concept that the only persons who wore a white hat in this carnage is Terri Buford."
Freed also said that Lane would argue for "guidelines for immunity," and that he "wants to see the money (estimated at $10 million) go to the survivors." In addition, he said, Lane wants "to protect the life of Terri Buford."
A federal source said the Justice Department had made no deals with Lane or Buford in agreeing to the meeting, which he said was held in San Jose for security reasons.
Buford, 24, is believed to have left the Jonestown, Guyana commune in September to take over the leadership of the Peoples Temple in San Francisco. She reportedly defected soon afterward and contacted Lane.
Lane has kept her away from reporters, but has claimed, in interviews, that she had intimate knowledge of the temple's finances and other information that would shed light on the events that led to the tragedy. He has said she has information on Peoples Temple accounts in Switzerland and Panama that hold $7 million, and of $3 million stashed away at the Jonestown commune.
While keeping Buford incommunicado, Lane has been preparing a series of stories on the Peoples Temple, based in part on her information, that is scheduled to be released next week.
A source at the Hyatt House said the FBI had called Tuesday to reserve a room. Wednesday morning, the source said, a woman asked the hotel's receptionist where Terri Buford's room was, and was ushered to the Monterey Suite, which was reserved under the name of Larry Lawler. A Lawrence Lawler is an FBI agent in the San Francisco office.
The federal investigation is said to focus on whether the murder of Rep. Leo J. Ryan was an assassination conspiracy, which would provide federal jurisdiction in the slaying of the congressman.