Julian Bond Says He Never Used Cocaine, Blames Wife's Charges On Domestic Rift

Posted: April 15, 1987

ATLANTA — Former state Sen. Julian Bond yesterday denied his wife's allegations that he was a cocaine abuser and criticized the news media for reporting what he described as a domestic dispute.

"I've never used cocaine. Never at all, never at all," he said during an interview on a local radio station.

When asked later in the program if he would submit to a drug test, Bond replied:

"No. I'd never take a drug test. As long as I live, I'll never take a drug test."

Earlier, during a terse news conference at Morehouse College where he refused to answer reporters' questions, Bond read a statement in which he said he had "not committed or been charged with any crime" and criticized what he called "those professional scavengers and gossip mongers who have made life hell for innocent people."

"What is at issue here is a family affair, of concern only to those who are intimately involved," he said. His wife's allegations had been made "in anger," he said, and had since been retracted. "As far as we are concerned, the matter is closed."

It was the first time that Bond, 47, has discussed the allegations since they were published Saturday in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Bond, a prominent civil rights activist in the 1960s, served for nearly 20 years in the state legislature, then resigned to run for Congress last fall. During that campaign, John Lewis, who defeated Bond in the Democratic primary runoff, challenged him to take a drug test. Lewis took one and passed, he said. Bond refused to take one, maintaining that drug testing was akin to McCarthyism.

Yesterday, Bond said the drug test was not an issue in his defeat.

"It's comforting for many people to say now that it was a cause for my defeat in the campaign," he said. "I really don't think so. Our polls showed just before the election that this was really not an issue."

Bond, whose national reputation was built partly through his good-natured relationship with reporters, often sounded bitter and combative as he endured questions yesterday about alleged drug abuse, marital problems and a romantic relationship with a woman who police said had been arrested three times on

drug charges.

It was that woman, Carmen Lopez, who was engaged in a fight with Bond's estranged wife, Alice, on March 18, an altercation that apparently caused Mrs. Bond to make her accusations.

The next day, she filed assault charges against Lopez. She also went to the Atlanta police narcotics unit and told police that Lopez was her husband's

drug supplier, according to a confidential police report of her account.

"Mrs. Bond indicated that Julian Bond has had a cocaine abuse problem since 1983 and that she could no longer tolerate his use of drugs," the report says. Mrs. Bond told police her husband used cocaine "at least" every two hours on a daily basis, according to the report.

The report stated that Mrs. Bond told police she had also observed other prominent Atlanta citizens using cocaine, including a state senator and Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young.

Young was in England yesterday. Sandra Walker, chief of communications for the mayor's office, said she was familiar with the report.

"The mayor has said in response to the allegations that he doesn't know what cocaine looks like, he wouldn't know it if he saw it and he's never used it," she said.

Walker said Young would be back in the United States tonight and has scheduled a news conference for tomorrow.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Saturday that Young had telephoned Mrs. Bond from Japan and told her "if she was telling passing rumors . . . she shouldn't do anything in a fit of emotion."

In a second meeting with police March 25, Mrs. Bond said that she had received a phone call from a "personal friend," that she was distraught about "leaks" concerning the investigation and that she no longer wished to cooperate with police, according to a copy of the police report.

On Thursday - two days before the story was published - Mrs. Bond telephoned the newspaper and said "the information given (by her) was not correct."

Bond mentioned that telephone call several times yesterday.

"From the beginning of the current controversy, it has been my intention to remain silent," he said at the news conference. "What is at stake here is a family affair, of concern only to those who are intimately involved.

"Mrs. Bond and I have been married for more than 25 years. We have raised five wonderful children, and we are proud of each of them. We have, unfortunately, been living apart for nearly six months and it is from our hurt and pain at this separation that this affair arose. . . . Mrs. Bond has retracted the allegations and charges she issued in anger and I am satisfied with her withdrawal."

During the radio interview, Bond repeatedly criticized the media in general - describing reporters as "professional scavengers and gossip mongers" - and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in particular.

He said the newspaper has "at least 15 people working on this, and at least five of the people - I have personal, eyewitness testimony that five of the people working on the story are drug abusers themselves."

He refused to identify the reporters, saying he did not want to "embarrass these people as my family has been embarrassed," but said he had reported the information to the newspaper's editor.

Bill Kovach, the editor, issued a statement in which he said: "Mr. Bond is in error. I have never received a call or information from Mr. Bond about any employee on the newspaper nor, so far as I've been able to ascertain, has any other member of the newspaper staff received such information from Mr. Bond or anyone else."

Bond said during the radio interview that he has not talked to any law enforcement officer about the drug allegations. He said he had not spoken to Mayor Young about his wife's statements, either.

Bond did say that he knew Lopez, but he would not characterize their relationship. He also confirmed the confrontation between Lopez and his wife but would not elaborate.

According to police records, Lopez, 36, has been arrested three times on

drug charges and has been convicted for credit card theft and for verbally abusing a police officer. All but three months of her three-year jail sentence on the credit card conviction in 1981 was suspended on the condition that she leave Fulton County, Ga.

She is awaiting trial on cocaine trafficking charges resulting from a Nov. 21, 1986, incident at her home in adjoining DeKalb County.

Yesterday, Lopez surrendered to police to face the March 18 assault charge. She posted $500 bond and was released.

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