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Lee Hamilton (D) of Indiana, former chairman of the House intelligence committee, was to be the first witness called by Iran-Contra prosecutors intent on showing that Oliver North subverted democracy by lying to Congress about his secret support of Nicaraguan rebels. Associate independent counsel John Keker told jurors in his opening statement in US District Court Tuesday that Mr. Hamilton's panel wanted to know what Mr. North was doing in 1985 following news reports he was helping the contras in defiance of a congressional ban.

Defense lawyer Brendan Sullivan told jurors in his opening statement that North felt his first duty was to protect the secrecy of covert operations whose exposure could endanger lives.

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