Church council takes over legal aid for Elian Gonzalez's father

Posted: Friday, April 28, 2000

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The National Council of Churches has taken over the fund paying legal expenses for Elian Gonzalez's father from the United Methodist Church's Board of Church and Society.

A Methodist announcement said the change was made April 19 after the denomination's financial office decided such money-raising did not follow rules prescribed in the Methodist policy manual.

Both the Methodists and the church council pay lawyer Gregory Craig and his firm through voluntary contributions for that purpose, not general program funds. The Rev. Thom White Wolf Fassett, head of the Methodist board, said more than $50,000 has been raised from anonymous donors but expenses have probably far exceeded that amount.

Juan Miguel Gonzalez should obtain ''equal representation under the law, which is the hallmark of our democracy,'' Fassett said. ''Our principal goal was to get Elian back to his father.''

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