The main clue this was no average trial came when the defendant – acting as his own attorney – told the jury: "What we have here is the tail end of a 32-year CIA conspiracy."
Thor Hansen, 68, is no average guy and while the charge against him – bond-jumping – isn't uncommon, his defense was one of a kind.
Hansen's colorful "resume" includes stints leading the notorious Outlaws motorcycle gang, dealing drugs to undercover agents when he lived in Lighthouse Point, and training a "broomstick army" of refugees in Lantana in what he calls a CIA-backed effort to overthrow the Haitian president.
He's a successful country folk musician in his native Norway; co-wrote his biography "Outlaw Biker"; married Maxwell House coffee heiress Ritchey Cheek Farrell; and has a criminal record dating to 1965.
Prosecutor Strider Dickson told jurors Wednesday the case was simple -- Hansen is only charged with walking out of Fort Lauderdale's federal courthouse during his 1981 trial for cocaine distribution, jumping a $95,000 bond and returning to Scandinavia.
Hansen says it's much more complicated.
He alleges there was a massive conspiracy to sideline him when his CIA-backed mission for the Carter administration – training soldiers to overthrow Haitian President "Baby Doc" Duvalier – got too hot to handle.
Hansen said undercover Drug Enforcement Administration agents entrapped him into selling an ounce of cocaine at Anthony's Runway 84 restaurant in Fort Lauderdale 32 years ago.
On the second day of his May 1981 trial, he claims that a man he says was a CIA operative, journalist Ron Laytner, escorted him from the courtroom and told him that foreign, maybe Libyan agents, would kidnap his heiress wife and baby daughter.
Hansen testified that when he ran he was still intoxicated from celebrating what he anticipated would be certain victory.
Prosecutors have a different theory: Their case was going great and Hansen fled to avoid prison. They say he hid in a house off Alligator Alley, sailed to the Bahamas and flew to Norway, leaving his family behind.
In his absence, the 1981 jury found him guilty of selling drugs. He was eventually caught in Belgium in 1997, extradited to Miami and served a seven-year prison term. But Hansen wasn't tried for bond-jumping because of a technicality in his international extradition.
He was deported to Norway when he was released in 2004 but campaigned to return to fight the bond-jumping charge.
Hansen finally persuaded the U.S. to let him return in November and has been locked up since then.
He told jurors he wants to search for his drug-addicted daughter, who disappeared last year in California and may have been kidnapped. In court and in a screenplay he's collaborating on, he said he hopes to collect a money judgment against the CIA and other branches of the U.S. government that he alleges wronged him.
The case moved quickly Wednesday despite Hansen's rambling cross-examinations, combative line of questioning and repeated accusations that witnesses were lying.
Laytner, 79, the Fort Lauderdale-based journalist who testified he was not a CIA operative, said he met Hansen in the 1980s to write a story about him. He supported Hansen's claim that his militia was government-backed but denied he worked for the CIA.
"I don't want to sound rude but this sounds like madness," Laytner testified under questioning by Hansen.
Laytner was less polite when Hansen alleged Laytner told him to flee: "It's not true, you're talking with Martians."
Retired DEA agent, William Ledwith, who arrested Hansen in 1981 appeared perplexed by some of Hansen's questions: "Sir, with all due respect, I don't know what you're talking about." As Ledwith left the courtroom, Hansen told him: "Believe me, you're going to lose your pension and go to jail."
U.S. District Judge William Dimitrouleas repeatedly tried to get Hansen to let court-appointed lawyer Joseph Chambrot take over his defense but Hansen only agreed just before closing arguments. The jury, which includes three lawyers, deliberated for 30 minutes and will return Thursday. If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison.
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