Among the many suggestions mentioned in the Reno News & Review of things to do this summer is to read Michael Vernetti’s Lies Within Lies, about infamous Nevada federal judge Harry Claiborne. A part of Nevada history you won’t want to forget!
Michael Vernetti was recently interviewed by the KLAS TV Channel 8 investigative news team regarding his new book, Lies Within Lies, about former Nevada federal judge Harry Claiborne. Vernetti shares his thoughts on the infamous judge, his life both in and out of the courtroom.
At its core, “Lies within Lies” is a convergence of hearts. Romantic hearts, stout hearts, and those with a heart felt belief in the law clashing against the cold-hearted bureaucrats intent on bringing down Judge Harry Claiborne. It’s a chilling page-turner one must occasionally put down to absorb what transpired. It’s not pretty.
Harry Claiborne was as famous – and star-crossed – as any lawyer who ever came out of Las Vegas. His Reno trials on bribery and tax evasion charges and his confrontation with the U.S. Congress over impeachment dominated Nevada news from 1980-87, when he returned from prison. His suicide in 2004 galvanized public opinion once more.
Test your knowledge by answering the following questions:
1) Claiborne’s first scrape with federal prosecutors involved charges that he:
a) Fell behind in alimony payments
b) Hunted big game without a license
c) Ordered a bug placed in his girlfriend’s home
d) Took a bribe from a defendant for letting him off easy
2) One of the leading proponents of investigating Claiborne was:
a) U.S. Attorney Mahlon Brown III
b) FBI Director William Webster
c) Washoe County District Attorney Cal Dunlap
d) Las Vegas FBI chief Joseph Yablonsky
3) Las Vegas private detective Eddie LaRue was involved in the Claiborne case because:
a) He helped launder bribe money for Claiborne
b) He had secret tapes of Claiborne in compromising positions
c) He served as Claiborne’s bodyguard
d) His agency once tailed a Claiborne love interest
4) Claiborne’s lead defense attorney was:
a) F. Lee Bailey
b) Oscar Goodman
c) Gary Spence
d) Joseph Alioto, Sr.
5) Claiborne’s chief accuser on bribery charges was:
a) Whittaker Chambers
b) Anthony Spilotro
c) Joe Conforte
d) Frank Sinatra
6) Claiborne’s first trial ended how?
a) A charge of jury nullification
c) Innocent verdict
d) Mistrial on several counts
7) The subject of Claiborne’s second trial was:
a) Income tax irregularities
c) Mann Act violation
8) Claiborne railed at whom for being “a bunch of crooks”?
a) Strike Force attorneys
c) His ex-wives
d) Income tax preparers
9) Congress moved to impeach Claiborne because:
a) He failed to vote in federal elections
b) He wouldn’t resign his office
c) He wasn’t a U.S. citizen
d) He claimed Nevada was not part of the U.S.
10) Claiborne’s staunchest Senate supporter during impeachment was:
a) Albert Gore, Jr.
b) Ted Kennedy
c) Orrin Hatch
d) Harry Reid
11) After he returned to Nevada, Claiborne earned a living by:
a) Practicing law
b) Starting a private detective agency
c) Preparing income tax returns
d) Marriage counseling