Rupert’s total take as a result of the conviction has been estimated at around $5 million. This consists of an acknowledged $1.5 million from the FBI up to the year 2000, plus a similar payment from MI5 through the pro rata agreement for services to them, plus a reported $50,000 per month for life and a substantial percentage of the profits of a book on his life and times in Ireland being ghost-written by two US journalists. Much of these payments were dependent on the conviction of Michael McKevitt. Acquittal in the trial would have been a financial disaster for David Rupert. It also would have been a major embarrassment for MI5, the FBI the Gardai and the Irish DPP’s office.
An undated and heavily censored MI5 file note made available on discovery reads: “Rupert volunteered he was a “whore” … and his motive is money. He had earlier told the FBI that he hoped the money would not dry up …During the disclosure hearing in October 2002 the English Barrister Simon Dennison was asked by Defence lawyer Philip McGee S.C., did he agree that Rupert’s motivation was financial, Mr Dennison replied he was in agreement that Rupert was financially motivated.
An undated MI5 paper says: “On November 28th, 2000, when discussing the possibility of giving evidence against McKevitt, Rupert stated that his participation (in any prosecution of McKevitt) was dependent upon the right terms. He asked his handlers what the figures were. He was told it was vital to avoid any suggestion that his testimony had been induced by some promise of reward. He could not be rewarded for his testimony. He could be compensated for his loss of earning potential; the impact on his lifestyle and arrangements could be made for the necessary security measures to be taken to ensure his protection for as long as they were needed. The language used was for legal reasons to avoid the perception of inducement to him.
As a veteran performer in State and Federal courts since 1974 Rupert was clearly at ease with the cut and thrust of cross-examination. When Mr Hugh Hartnett S.C trapped him into contradicting himself he resorted to the expression so beloved of some witnesses at the Dublin Castle tribunals of saying “he could not recall” what he had said earlier. On one occasion when Hartnett pointed out that he was saying the opposite of what he had said the previous day in court, Rupert retorted: “I do not recall what I said yesterday … you’ve done your job this morning, you have me thoroughly confused.” On another occasion during the trial Mr Hartnett pointed out to the court where Rupert, in answer to questions from the defence on the previous day said “he couldn’t recall” on 254 different occasions.
However, the court, in their judgement pointed out how they were impressed by Rupert’s recall, which was bizarre and in stark contrast to Rupert’s performance while under cross-examination.
Michael McKevitt Justice Campaign