LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- Hollywood psychic Tamara Rand's prediction of the attempted assassination of President Reagan was a hoax, local television talk show host Dick Maurice admitted in a copyright newspaper story Sunday.
In a statement released later from the Tamara Rand Institute in Los Angeles, the self-styled psychic apologized Sunday for faking the videotape with Maurice, but also defended her prediction and said that Reagan was still in physical danger.
In a front page story in the Las Vegas Sun, Maurice, a columnist for the paper, confessed that the interview he and Miss Rand had claimed was originally taped in January, was, indeed, taped March 31, the day after the shootings.
'I am sorry. I've committed a terrible wrong,' Maurice wrote.
'I have committed the cardinal sin of the columnist. I have perpetuated a hoax on the public and feel very much ashamed.'
Maurice, his producer, Gary Greco, and Miss Rand had insisted the taped interview in which the psychic said she saw President Reagan being shot was taped Jan. 6. Neither Miss Rand nor Maurice, however, was able to produce a copy of the tape, although it was reported to be in her possession.
In the interview, Miss Rand said that President Reagan would be shot in the chest at the end of March or in early April by a young, fair-haired man acting alone. She said his name would be 'Jack Humley.'
Maurice and Miss Rand had insisted the original prediction was made as early as Jan. 5 on a radio show and then repeated in the taped interview Jan. 6 on the KTNV show, 'Dick Maurice and Company.'
Maurice was subsequently suspended from his radio and KTNV TV talk show and also was suspended Friday by Cable News Network, which carried his featured column.
In her statement, Miss Rand said the predictions of the assassination attempt were made at 'various times' before March 30, when Reagan, his press secretary and two security guards were shot and wounded in Washington.
Rand said the assassination prediction could be verified by an article printed in early March in the Sacramento Aardvark, a small weekly entertainment newspaper, and in the notes of the writer, Richard Cartiere.
But Cartiere, a journalism student and editor of the Sacramento City College newspaper, said his March 3 interview with Miss Rand did not include the detailed prediction about the assassination attempt she allegedly repeated March 31 to Maurice.
'The only thing I included in my story was that she said Ronald Reagan was not a well man, the people around him were quite aware of it, and that he would be a one-term president,' he said. 'The rest of it seemed to be a bad reference to possible ailments or an attack.'
Cartiere added that notes of his interview with Miss Rand included references to a 'thud' to Reagan's left side, near his heart.
Miss Rand said there were 'others who heard the prediction prior to March 15,' and pointed out that when she called KNBC-TV anchorwoman Kelley Lange before noon on March 30 to tell her of the prediction, 'I stated categorically that the president had been shot and had not only bumped his head, which had been reported at that time.'
Miss Rand said the taping with Maurice on March 31 was done 'for use by Dick Maurice in a future show reflecting past predictions made by me that had occurred.'
'I had not intended that our actions cause anyone harm,' she said, 'and I hereby apologize ... to the public in general for such action.
'Whatever you might think at this moment, I am not what is important here. What is important is that I continue to see dangers to the president over the next few months, both for his health and safety.'
Miss Rand's publicist, Jill Webber, was notified of the Sun's copyright story early Sunday by UPI in Los Angeles. After talking to Miss Rand she called UPI and said she 'no longer represents Tamara Rand.' She added 'I'm not going to put my professional credibility in jeopardy.'
Hank Greenspun, publisher of the Las Vegas Sun, told UPI that Maurice entered his office Saturday night and said he wanted to confess. 'I told him to sit down and write a confession,' Greenspun said.
KTNV television station general manager Ed Quinn said earlier he did not believe the prediction was made until the day after the shooting.
'Ed Quinn's statement about the actual taping taking place on March 31 is the truth,' Maurice wrote.'
Maurice said the hoax began as a 'way of helping a friend.' He said he was convincedthat Miss Rand's career would benefit. He added that he took full responsibility for the hoax even though Greco was aware of the deception.
Maurice said his first reaction Saturday, when the story had gained considerable momentum, was to resign all his 'journalistic activities,' including his radio and television shows and his newspaper column.
The radio and television shows were suspended for him, but Sun publisher Greenspun said he would not immediately take a similar action.
Maurice said he made the confession on the advice of his attorney, Michael Cherry.
'My role in planning and carrying out the hoax was minor one,' he said, adding, 'I, too, was a victim. My own stupidity and trust allowed me to become a part of this debacle.'
He said as a result he lost a potentially lucrative contract with Paramount television. 'The price has, indeed, been high,' he said.
'They say confession is good for the soul. It is. At least now, I can face myself and my friends.'