Asper Receives Standing
David Asper, one of Milgaard's original lawyers, has received limited standing at the inquiry. That means that his lawyer can cross-examine witnesses but Asper will not receive funding -- or retroactive funding -- as he requested because Commissioner MacCallum needs to see his application in writing.
One reason that Asper wanted standing was that he was afraid that people like himself who tried to free Milgaard may be criticized in the hearings. MacCallum concurred and said that it was possible that David Asper's reputation maybe adversely affected by other people's testimony's and that his own testimony may not be received well by others. According to CBC News, David Asper intimated that some witnesses in the Milgaard trial were "liars" or "bad guys."
The Calgary Sun quoted Asper as describing the Milgaard case as a "war of liberation." He said that at one point it seemed to be "us against everyone," and finished by saying, "I do believe in democracy, and I do believe in the power of the people, and I do believe that if we took our case and said it loud enough and yelled it loud enough, and enough times, that we would prevail."
Asper has already said that David's incarceration helped their case; it was easier to garnish public attention and sympathy for someone who was trapped in prison who didn't belong there.
Asper told the inquiry that he was given the case back in 1986 when he was a law student. It looked like a no-brainer to him because he instantly realized that Milgaard was convicted on the basis of several suspect statements made by two kids, Ron Wilson and Nichol John. By the mid-eighties, Ron had already retracted his damning statements and Nichol never repeated her initial assertion that she had seen David stab someone. That comment was only made when she was coerced by the police and Asper thought that the whole story sounded fishy. He was definitely right about that!