I, Peter McWilliams, declare:
I am the owner and President of Prelude Press, Inc., one of the last independent publishing companies based in Los Angeles. At no time has Prelude Press, Inc. had a Citibank Visa card. However, on certain occasions, I allow friends and business associates to use my personal credit card for their purchases so that I may accumulate frequent flyer miles on American Airlines. This is particularly applicable to persons who work for me.
In late July or early August 1997, shortly after the arrest of Todd McCormick, Detective Norskog of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department telephoned me. He asked if he could come to my residence to ask a few questions about Todd McCormick. I asked him if I should have my attorney present. He said that was not necessary, as he only wanted to verify Todd McCormick’s employment.
Subsequently, Det. Norskog and another member of the LASD’s Marijuana Task Force visited my home. I explained that I owned a publishing company, Prelude Press, Inc. Det. Norskog told me he was familiar with my book Ain’t Nobody’s Business if You Do: The Absurdity of Consensual Crimes in Our Free Country. He told me that every marijuana "bust" he had been involved with had turned up a copy of that book. His partner agreed.
I informed the detectives that I had given Mr. McCormick a series of advances for a book he was working on about growing medical marijuana. It was published on the Internet in September of 1998 ( and will be printed in book form in the near future.
Following the meeting with the LASD detectives, I was telephoned by a DEA Special Agent, who asked if he could visit me to ask some questions about Todd McCormick’s employment. I asked if I should have my attorney present. He told me that I was not the subject of an investigation, but I would be interviewed only as Todd McCormick’s employer. I agreed and gave them directions to my home.
Later, the DEA agent called and asked if I could come to the DEA office in downtown Los Angeles, as one of the Assistant U.S. Attorneys handling Mr. McCormick’s case wanted to meet me. Again I asked if I should bring my attorney. Again I was told that it was not necessary. The agent assured me that they only wanted to verify Todd McCormick’s employment and that I was not the subject of investigation.
When I arrived at the DEA office, I was informed the Assistant U.S. Attorney was not able to make the meeting after all. There were four DEA Special Agents present. Two of them were SA Zavacky and SA Scott.
One of the agents informed me that my book, Ain’t Nobody’s Business if You Do, was frequently found on bookshelves of drug dealers. The other agents present indicated a familiarity with the book as well.
When asked about Mr. McCormick’s employment at Prelude Press, I said that Mr. McCormick received a series of book advances totaling between $100,000 and $150,000 to write a book on medical marijuana cultivation. I gave the agents a brief description of the way that I used medical marijuana to help me keep down my AIDS medications and told them that since thousands of others suffer from similar ailments, it was my intent to spread the word about this wonderful, natural treatment.
When asked if I was funding Mr. McCormick’s grow operation, I replied in the negative. I said that I was merely giving Mr. McCormick an advance on a book that I thought would be successful and that I would earn back my advance when the book was published.
I was asked if I knew whether Mr. McCormick was using the money I gave him to grow marijuana. I told him that, as a publisher, my duty was to supply the money agreed to, and that authors were notorious for spending advance money in both wholesome and unwholesome ways. I explained that as a publisher, I could not control how an author spent his or her advance. My only concern was that the author got the manuscript in on time.
I was asked if I had visited Mr. McCormick’s Bel Air "mansion." I said that I had visited Mr. McCormick home in Bel Air—certainly the ugliest residence in that city—about five times. The house was a white elephant on the real estate market and Mr. McCormick rented it for less cost per square foot than if he had rented an industrial warehouse. I explained to the agents why the term "mansion" was hardly appropriate.
I said the house appeared to be more of a research center than a marijuana manufacturing facility. Mr. McCormick seemed to concentrate on gathering a large variety of marijuana strains, keeping all the strains alive simultaneously, for eventual testing of their effects on various illnesses. Large-scale marijuana growing facilities, as I understood them, concentrated on a single strain and focused all efforts on producing as much of that strain as possible. Mr. McCormick was doing just the opposite.
I told the agents that I knew that Mr. McCormick had purchased a small amount of marijuana for his personal medical use only two weeks before his arrest at the end of July 1997. I explained that it was my impression that since Mr. McCormick had been in the house for almost five months by the time of his arrest, if he were growing marijuana for resale, he certainly would have produced at least one very large crop and would be selling, not buying, marijuana.
At the meeting, I noticed on the conference table in front of me a microphone used for recording groups. If the DEA recorded my meeting, I have no doubt it would support my remembrance of that meeting. Further, if telephone calls from the DEA are recorded, the two assurances that I would not need my attorney could be verified as well.
I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct.
Executed on April 19, 1999 in Los Angeles, California