Published September 15, 2004
WASHINGTON – A veteran who testified to John Kerry (search) about atrocities he committed in the Vietnam War (search) is now claiming that the Democratic presidential candidate coerced him to tell tales.
Steven Pitkin, an Army combat veteran, told FOX News that Kerry coached him and others to say they had witnessed war crimes, even after Pitkin told Kerry that he had not.
"Before they started the camera, they told me, 'We need you to speak about the atrocities that happened over there.' The whole company line that I initially came out and said, I was coached to say that over and over again," Pitkin said.
Kerry's former brother-in-law, David Thorne, attended that Winter Soldier investigation, in which more than 100 Vietnam veterans told anti-war activists that they had either committed or witnessed unspeakable war crimes. Thorne flatly denied Pitkin's charges.
"Kerry never forced anyone to testify to war crimes in any way. [Kerry] went to Winter Soldier to listen to what they had to say and to investigate for himself," Thorne said.
Kerry collected the testimony ahead of his appearance during a 1971 hearing in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on widespread atrocities against Vietnamese civilians. He has said the graphic testimony he gave was merely a repetition of testimony combat veterans told him.
Click in the box near the top of the story to watch a report by FOX News' Major Garrett.