Reuben and his colleagues immediately recognized how explosive the Millses’ charges were. “At the time, Jim Jones was an acknowledged civic leader,” recalled Reuben. “I mean, he was the Second Coming in this city, bringing together black and white, rich and poor. He had presidents and governors and congressmen kissing his ring. And Joe Freitas was one of those people.”
Reuben and the chief of the special prosecutions unit, a former US prosecutor named Bob Graham, girded their loins and walked into their boss’s office to present the accusations against the Peoples Temple. As Reuben and Graham itemized the charges to Freitas and his number two man, Danny Weinstein, the room grew tense. “We lay it all out, and you could’ve heard a pin drop,” Reuben said. “And then Joe looks at us and says, ‘What, are you guys nuts?’”
Freitas heatedly pointed out to his special prosecutions team that people walked into the DA’s office all the time with wild charges and personal grudges. “You guys can’t just buy this stuff,” Freitas admonished them.
Reuben and Graham were incensed. The hard-charging, windmill-tilting DA who had hired them — and told them they had carte blanche — was now suggesting that they back off what could be the hottest case they’d ever worked. They immediately knew what was going down. They’d read the newspapers and knew all about the furious allegations swirling around the city: that Jim Jones and his zombie flock had stolen the election for Mayor Moscone, and had worked hard for Freitas too.
“We were pissed,” Reuben recalled later. “It was too dynamic for us not to dig into. All the names mentioned — Willie Brown, Dianne Feinstein, George Moscone — the whole gang was in there, I’m sure. And, of course, it was obvious to us — we’re not idiots — Joe was in the middle of the thing. He knew that if we started doing this thing, his career might be affected.”
Freitas was too politically savvy to simply shut down the Peoples Temple investigation. He knew that his angry investigators’ suspicions could wind up in the press. So he gave his special team just enough leash to quietly look into the Millses’ accusations. And to make sure that Reuben and Graham did not dig too deeply, Freitas appointed a young deputy named Tim Stoen as his liaison on the case.
Reuben did not know much about Stoen. The deputy DA, who wore horn-rimmed glasses and three-piece suits, was a straitlaced loner. “He was a nerdy kind of guy,” Reuben recalled. “Very bright, well spoken. We thought he was one of us, a reformer. But we joked about it, because he seemed too idealistic. He really wasn’t friendly with anybody, just did his own thing.”
As Reuben and his team dug deeper into the Millses’ hair-raising stories about the Peoples Temple, the allegations were checking out. Interviewing other defectors and anxious relatives of temple members, the investigators soon learned how fearful these people were of reprisals from Jones’s security guards — all of whom, Reuben discovered, had long rap sheets. Reuben promised his witnesses that he would protect their anonymity. But when he and his colleagues casually referred to their partner on the case, Deputy District Attorney Tim Stoen, the witnesses looked stunned. “Tim Stoen?” said one defector to Reuben, with panic in his eyes. “He’s Jim Jones’s top legal advisor.”
As for Harvey Milk. His name is a great litmus test for telling if someone is a true San Franciscan. All true native San Franciscan's know their history and know that Milk and Moscone were shot a few weeks after the Jonestown Massacre. That Milk was Jim Jones guy on the Board of Supes. That Jim Jones supporters voter fraud got Moscone elected mayor, who returned the favor by making Jim Jones head of the Housing Dept. And that Milk and Moscone, especially Milk, helped Jones loot the city Housing Dept to help finance Jonestown.
Thats why Dan White was found not guilty of murder by the jury. Most right thinking people at the time thought Dan White had done the City a real service. Especially by killing Milk. Who was little more than Jim Jones gofer. The real tragedy was that it broke White and he killed him self soon afterwards. A genuinely good guy totally out of his depth. He was always just a fireman at heart.
As long as politicians like Willie Brown are still around there will be no proper memorial to those 900 plus poor people murdered in Guyana. Brown was way to close to Jim Jones for far too long. And too many of the "progressive" politicians still around today in SF have blood on their hands. Real blood. Lots of it.
Remember that the next time you hear them pontificating about the ills of the world. And why the victims are so wary of trying to seek justice.
Jim Jones was an evangelical communist who became a minister to infiltrate the church with the gospel according to Marx and Lenin. He was an atheist missionary bringing his message of socialist redemption to the Christian heathen. "I decided, how can I demonstrate my Marxism?," remembered Jones of his days in 1950s Indiana. "The thought was, infiltrate the church." So in the forms of Pentecostal ritual, Jones smuggled socialism into the minds of gullible believers..