AFFIDAVIT OF PETER McWILLIAMS
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
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 (www.growmedicine.com)
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
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
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,
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,
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