Longform

Smoke and Mirrors

Page 10 of 11

"I can't categorically deny it," says Rudy, who is writing his own book about his dad. "There was a lot happening at that time. My dad evolved from a civil rights man to a revolutionary. And the job of a revolutionary, if you read Che Guevara, is to overthrow a bad government and replace it with a good one. There's nothing to hide. Those were tumultuous times. Times of great change. And in times of great change, there's going to be pain and controversy. Any man who initiates great change is going to initiate great controversy. But I can't answer whether he knew something about it. It might have happened--I don't know. I hate to say it, but I just don't know."

But given the other information in Haro's book, Rudy Gonzales concludes: "He's a complete liar. John was the one working with a snitch. He was so much of an egoist and wanted so much to be the leader instead of someone created by my dad that he was willing to go to any lengths to do it. It was a power struggle within the organization to be recognized as a leader. It was an ego thing."

Haro stands by his book. Corky Gonzales set him up, he says. Corky conspired with a shady informant and overzealous cops to frame him. Corky served him up to authorities to take the heat off Corky and his family.

"Corky tried to put all this shit on my shoulders," Haro says. "For years I was going to be the one branded. How is Corky going to go down in history? How am I? To some people, as a patsy and a fool. But I'm not trying to clear my name. I can't. I knew about [the bombing]. I was there when it went down. Corky wanted me out of the way. Without me, he'd go down as a hero. I'm the only one standing in his way. I'm trying to expose him for what he is. I don't want people to think he was a hero, because he isn't."

The day after Haro's 1975 arrest, he points out, Corky's secretary was also arrested after visiting the Adams County landfill, where 121 sticks of dynamite were found, including 74 matching the type used in the September 17 bombing attempt. At her home, police also found 6,000 rounds of ammunition, an M-1 rifle, a pump shotgun, a 30.06 rifle, a 9mm pistol, a copy of the Anarchist's Cookbook and Corky's briefcase, which contained four police rosters. She was later released, Haro says.

Haro says he's gathering signed statements from people who can corroborate some of the claims in his book. If he has to name names in court to return Ultimate Betrayal to the bookstores, he'll do it.

"I said things a lot of people know but lack the courage to say," he says. "It's not sour grapes. It's something that happened. It's a conspiracy. Not only by the Denver police but by Corky. They're all in it together. People who know me will know that I'm not just shooting my mouth off."

Daril Cinquanta isn't so sure. He's read Haro's book, too. And although 90 percent of Haro's version matches his own, "the other 10 percent is bullshit," he says.

"You can take this and twist it any way you want, but facts are facts," he adds. "Nobody entrapped Haro. He entrapped himself. Haro did this. He made that bomb. And there's no way you're going to convince me he didn't intend to take it to District 4. Joey Cordova was a hero. If we hadn't been there that night, that bomb would have gone off. People would have died. You can take that to the bank."

As for Haro's theory that Corky Gonzales conspired with police and federal agents, the former cop laughs out loud.

"Anyone with half a brain isn't going to believe that," he says. "I was in control. It was my case. It was my informant. Corky Gonzales never snitched. If he was an informant, I'd tell you--believe me."

But Cinquanta also bristles at Vigil's suggestion that he or Cordova planted the explosives. Haro was acquitted, he says, because the jury was intimidated by Crusade members who packed the court.

"Get serious," Cinquanta says. "What I loved about police work was the chase. Why would I entrap them? If you can't get them fair and square, why get them? We used informants for twenty years as drivers or whatever, and the cases were always the suspect's ideas. We were only accused of two cases of entrapment, and neither one of those involved Joey Cordova. And in those that did, we dropped the charges. We exposed Juan Haro for what he was. He will always be a terrorist, a bomber and a radical. He screwed up. He should just admit it."

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Harrison Fletcher