Bomber and forger, Mark Hofmann had a tangled web of interactions.  Forensics expert George Throckmorton discussed Mark’s dealings with church leaders.  What got Mark in hot water with church officials?

GT:  He had an appointment with, I believe it was Elder Oaks, Elder Pinnock. I don’t remember who all.

George: Elder Pinnock was the one that was dealing with him quite a bit.

GT: Yeah. And so, so can you a little bit about what was the relationship between Mark Hofmann and Elder Pinnock?

George: Business. Elder Pinnock had a history. In fact, I’ve known him. He was my wife’s bishop when we got married and so I’ve known him. I knew him for a long time before this and he was, you know, as much a victim as anybody.

It turns out this Mark Hofmann was trying to give more credence to the Spaulding Theory, which states that Sidney Rigdon got a copy of the Spaulding Manuscript, gave it to Joseph Smith, and Joseph plagiarized the Book of Mormon from Solomon Spaulding.  The problem has been, there has never been any connection between Joseph Smith and Solomon Spaulding.  However, Mark tried to solve that problem with a forgery with a new collection known as the McLellin Collection.

George:  There’s an old theory called a Solomon Spaulding theory. Are you aware that?

GT: I am aware of that.

George: Okay. But one of the problems, it’s never been given much credibility. They think that Solomon Spalding wrote it.

GT:  Wrote the Book of Mormon.

George:  And Martin[1] just copied the Book of Mormon, but there was really no relationship between Solomon Spalding and Joseph Smith that could be found. So, it’s not given a whole lot of credit. I mean there’s always people that bring it up, but my opinion is not given credit because they never met until too late, until this land deed showed up. And it’s a land deed that was signed by Solomon Spalding and Martin Harris. So, it showed there was a relationship between Solomon Spalding and Martin Harris and the date was appropriate. And this is the document that Mark Hofmann showed Hugh Pinnock and Al Rust and some others, and he says this is part of the McLellin Collection.

Given all the mounting evidence against Mark Hofmann, why were prosecutors interested in a plea deal?  It seems evidence was pretty strong to convict him of a 1st Degree murder.  George Throckmorton tells of conversations between prosecutors and Hofmann’s lawyers.  Why was the Hofmann sentence so light?

GT:  I know he’s gotten a big stiff sentence anyway, even with second degree murder. Well, why did we plea bargain to second degree murder on this?

George: Politics.  It has always intrigued me. The amount of politics that takes place in everything, criminal investigations are the same thing.

But because there was instructions made to settle the case period, it was settled before it should have been. And for instance, it’s normal in law enforcement if ever you make a plea bargain. The purpose is you get the confession from the person first and if that person cooperates, then you go in and recommend the plea bargain because if you made the plea bargain first, the suspect has no reason to cooperate and that’s exactly what happened with Mark Hofmann.

But in retrospect, looking back at it, I do not criticize the attorneys that I disagreed with because as we look back, because he did confess, the FBI had to admit that they were forged and other people had to admit that he was a crook instead of an honest guy that we were framing, if you will. So overall it turned out okay.

What are your thoughts concerning Mark Hofmann and his crimes?

[1] George was referring to Martin Harris, but he meant Sidney Rigdon.  In a future interview with Steven Mayfield, you can see the forged land deed with Sidney Rigdon’s forged signature.