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Boston Five Meet Their Prosecutor at Reunion

October 3, 1993 GMT

BOSTON (AP) _ Former federal prosecutor John Wall tried to put Dr. Benjamin Spock and four co-defendants in jail 25 years ago for counseling young men to resist the draft during the Vietnam War.

On Saturday night, Wall prepared to break bread with the ″Boston Five″ at a 25-year reunion dinner sponsored by the Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts.

″That was a watershed time in my life,″ said Wall, who has since become a prominent defense attorney and strong supporter of the state Civil Liberties Union.

″I was a child of the ’50s, when you didn’t question anything the government said,″ Wall said.

But the former member of the Army Rangers and Marines said he was beginning to oppose the Vietnam War when he prosecuted Spock, the Rev. William Sloane Coffin Jr., Michael Ferber, Mitchell Goodman and Marcus Raskin.

″The children of the ’60s may not have had all the answers, but they certainly were asking all the right questions,″ he said Saturday night as he greeted his former opponents at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel.

The Boston Five were forgiving.

″He has a very sincere change of heart,″ said Coffin, who added, ″he was a ruthless prosecutor, right out of the Marines.″

Raskin was acquitted of conspiracy to aid and abet resistance to the draft, but the other four were convicted. The convictions were overturned on appeal.

Coffin said he believes the country has had a change of heart about the Vietnam War.

″The fact that we’ve elected a president who was against that war means Americans are having second thoughts about it,″ he said.