Cease and Desist Letter to Kerry Campaign

Thursday, July 01 2004 @ 10:00 AM PDT

Alvin A. Horne
Attorney at Law
Houston, Texas

Marc Erik Elias, Esquire
General Counsel
John Kerry for President, Inc.

RE: Photograph on pages 24 and 25, Newsweek issue dated March 8, 2004 and Kerry Campaign Lifetime Ad dated May 3, 2004.

June 1, 2004

Dear Mr. Elias:

I'm a former Swift Boat officer and early member of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. I am also an attorney licensed and authorized to practice law in the State of Texas. Below are listed the names of eleven Swift Boat officers of a total of 20 depicted in the referenced photograph with your client, Senator John Kerry. They are:

George Bates
Thomas Heritage
Terrance Costello
Robert "Rocky" Hildreath
Robert Elder
William Houle
George Elliott
William Schumadine
Al French
Larry Thurlow
Jim Galvin

These officers demand that Senator Kerry's campaign cease and desist from all uses of that photograph, taken on January 22, 1969. To my knowledge, of the remaining eight individuals, Mr. Gilbert and Mr. Crosby are deceased and Messrs. Baker, Bernique, Imbrie and MaCann have not indicated a willingness to presently take any position regarding Mr. Kerry.

First, the use of the eleven images in this political campaign wrongfully and incorrectly suggests their present endorsement of his candidacy for President of the United States of America. By letters delivered to the campaign on May 17 and on May 4, 2004, their objections to the use of the photograph in his campaign and their belief that he is unfit to serve as the Commander-in-Chief were made very clear. In fact, as has long been evident to Senator Kerry, all of these gentlemen have felt anything but comradeship with him at any time since his slanderous testimony before Congress in 1971 and other pronouncements that he and they committed war crimes and atrocities. These pronouncements were at least made in Mr. Kerry's book, New Soldier, repeated in Tour of Duty and affirmed as late as Senator Kerry''s appearance on Meet the Press in April of this year. In that process he tarred the entire serving military in Vietnam with his black brush.

Second, no prior consent was sought or obtained from any of these eleven boat officers before the release by Mr. Kerry or his associates of that photograph to Newsweek, or later to those who crafted his Lifetime ad, a calculated invasion of their privacy rights for personal political gain. None of these officers, at the time of the unauthorized release or any subsequent use of the photograph by the campaign of their images were public figures, as that term is understood within the law. We all know of the aspiring politician who seeks to be photographed with whomever they think is the "Great One" of the time. In this case Mr. Kerry has reversed the ploy to suggest a favorable relationship different than the truth. In no way do these gentlemen seek any limelight not now required by the Senator's distortion of the past and his wrongful claim to the American public that these men are his band of brothers.

Lest anyone yawn and be tempted to write this demand off to political hyperbole during the election season, please convey to Senator Kerry that his blatant and continued corrupt use of this photograph is at least on par with successful claims made by individuals suing commercial advertisers for non-consented use of their images. They sought profit in dollars; he seeks profits in votes.

I look forward to Senator Kerry's immediate compliance with the essence of this demand. If that compliance is not forthcoming or if I fail to receive any satisfactory written response from you within ten days of the date of this letter, then further appropriate action will be taken.

Alvin A. Horne
Marc Erik Elias, Esquire