The Clay Shaw trial testimony of Jeff Biddison
CRIMINAL DISTRICT COURT
PARISH OF ORLEANS
STATE OF LOUISIANA
STATE OF LOUISIANA vs. CLAY L. SHAW
EXCERPT OF THE TESTIMONY TAKEN IN OPEN COURT
February 25, 1969
TESTIMONY OF ARTHUR JEFFERSON BIDDISON
B E F O R E: THE HONORABLE EDWARD A. HAGGERTY, JR., JUDGE, SECTION "C"
ARTHUR JEFFERSON BIDDISON, having been first duly sworn, was examined and testified as follows:
DIRECT EXAMINATION BY MR. DYMOND:
Q: For the record, would you kindly state your full name, sir?
A: Arthur Jefferson Biddison.
Q: Where do you reside?
A: 1414 Chartres Street, New Orleans.
Q: How long have you lived there, sir?
A: Since 1957.
Q: What is your occupation, Mr. Biddison?
A: I am a real estate man.
Q: How long have you been in the real estate business?
A: Eight or nine years.
Q: Mr. Biddison, do you know Clay Shaw, the Defendant in this case?
A: Yes, I do.
Q: How long have you known him approximately?
A: Approximately twenty-three years.
Q: Mr. Biddison, referring back to the year 1963, did you own an automobile at that time?
A: Yes, I did.
Q: Can you tell us what kind of automobile it was?
A: It was a 1960 black Cadillac sedan.
Q: I show you a photograph which has been introduced in evidence and marked for identi- fication as State-2, and ask you whether you are able to identify this either as your automobile or one which was similar in appearance to your automobile?
Q: As which can you identify it, yours or a similar car?
A: I can identify it as my automobile.
Q: How do you do that?
A: By the house in the background belonging to the man I sold it to.
Q: Would his name be Hyatt?
Q: Mr. Biddison, from your previous testimony as to how long you have known Mr. Shaw, I would gather you did know him then in 1963, is that correct, sir?
Q: Was he a close friend of yours at that time?
Q: During the year 1963, Mr. Biddison, did you ever have occasion to lend this automobile to Mr. Shaw?
Q: Could you tell us how you are able to be so positive in that answer, sir?
A: This car was used by me in my business and Mr. Shaw had a car of his own at that time.
Q: Do you recall what kind of car he had at that time?
A: A black Thunderbird I believe.
Q: Did you ever lend this automobile to anyone else that you remember?
A: No, this was my personal company car.
Q: More particularly, did you ever lend this automobile to anyone for a sufficient period for them to be able to take a trip out of town?
A: Not in 1963.
Q: When, if ever, did you?
A: In 1966 when I had two cars. In the summer and fall of 1966.
Q: Now, Mr. Biddison, during the years you have known Mr. Clay Shaw, have you ever known him to go under any name other than Clay Shaw or Clay L. Shaw?
Q: In other words, have you ever known him to use an alias?
Q: Have you ever known any individual by the name of Clay Bertrand?
Q: Have you ever known any individual by the name of Clem Bertrand?
Q: Mr. Biddison, during the years you have known Mr. Shaw were you reasonably familiar with his circle of friends?
Q: Did you ever know, or hear of, a man by the name of Leon Oswald or Lee Harvey Oswald?
A: No, not until the assassination.
Q: Since the assassination have you seen photographs of Oswald?
Q: Do you know Mr. Shaw to be acquainted with anyone by the name of Leon Oswald or Lee Harvey Oswald?
Q: Have you heard him mention that name?
Q: Have you ever known a man by the name of David W. Ferrie?
Q: Do you know if Mr. Shaw ever knew him?
Q: Did you hear Mr. Shaw mention David W. Ferrie or Dave Ferrie before being charged in this case?
Q: I show you State-1, purporting to be a photograph of Lee Harvey Oswald, and ask you if you have ever seen that man in person?
A: No, I have never seen this man in person.
Q: Have you ever seen that man in the company of the Defendant, Clay Shaw?
Q: I show you another photograph which has been marked for identification as State-3, and introduced into evidence, purporting to be a photograph of the late David W. Ferrie, and ask you to examine that photograph and tell me whether you have ever seen that man in person?
Q: Have you ever seen that man in the company of the Defendant, Clay L. Shaw?
Q: Now, Mr. Biddison, I show you a photograph which has been marked for identification as State-19, and offered into evidence, purporting to be a photograph of Lee Harvey Oswald with a beard drawn in in pencil, or some other material. I ask you to examine that photograph and ask if you have ever to your knowledge seen the man depicted in that photograph?
Q: Have you ever seen the man depicted in this photograph or one similar to him in appearance, in the company of Clay Shaw?
Q: During the years you have known or been acquainted with Clay L. Shaw, have you become acquainted with his manner of dress?
Q: Have you ever known him to wear tight pants?
Q: Have you ever known him to wear a hat?
Q: Have you ever known him to own a hat other than in military service?
Q: Mr. Biddison, do you recall when Mr. Clay Shaw took a trip to Europe back in 1966?
A: Yes, I do.
Q: What, if anything, particularly recalls to your mind that event?
A: I drove him to the ship, we went to lunch and to the ship when he boarded the ship. I had leased his home to Mr. and Mrs. A. Rosada for the period he was supposed to be away.
Q: Do you have a copy of that lease with you?
A: Yes, I do.
MR. ALCOCK: May we see that if you are going to question him about it?
MR. DYMOND: Yes.
(Whereupon, it was marked for identification as Defense Exhibit 53.)
BY MR. DYMOND:
Q: Mr. Biddison, I show you the document which you have just presented to me and which I have marked for identification as D-53, and ask you if you can tell us what this particular document represents?
A: It represents a lease between Mr. Clay Shaw and Mr. Alberto Fowler, the son-in-law of Mr. and Mrs. Rosada, who leased through my office Mr. Shaw's home for --
Q: What address is that?
A: 1313 Dauphine Street, for an initial period of three months commencing on the 4th day of May 1966 to the 3rd day of August 1966.
Q: You say you negotiated this lease as a real estate agent?
A: As a real estate agent, agent to Mr. Shaw.
MR. DYMOND: In connection with the testimony of this witness we would like to offer, file and produce in evidence the document marked as D-53.
MR. ALCOCK: No objection.
THE COURT: Let it be received in evidence.
(Whereupon, the document offered by Counsel was received into evidence.)
BY MR. DYMOND:
Q: To your knowledge, Mr. Biddison, was this lease ever extended from its initial period?
A: Yes, it was.
Q: For what period of time, if you know?
A: For two periods of time, from August 4th to September 3rd and with the approval of Mr. Shaw it was extended again twice through September 20th.
Q: Even though he was returning prior to that time?
Q: Of what year are you speaking?
A: 1966. There were two extensions.
Q: During the time that Mr. Shaw was out of the country did you receive any mail at your home for him?
A: Not to my knowledge, not at my home.
Q: Did you receive mail for him from any place else?
A: Yes, at my office.
Q: To what name was it addressed?
A: Mr. Clay Shaw, 900 Royal Street, or care of Marilyn Tate Company, and some mail was brought to our office by Mr. and Mrs. Rosada from his home, and some mail was mailed directly to me at my home knowing I would be forwarding the mail to Mr. Shaw in Europe.
Q: What did you do with this mail which you received for Mr. Shaw?
A: On two occasions what I thought would be mail that didn't need to be deposited in the bank or business affairs and that sort of thing, I put in envelopes on two occasions and mailed to him in Spain and England.
Q: For the purpose of determining what type of mail this was, Mr. Biddison, whether it consisted of bank deposits and such, did you have occasion to look individually at each piece of mail received by you for Mr. Shaw?
A: Yes, I opened all mail because I was not going to mail everything. It was at my discretion what I forwarded to him.
Q: Did you at any time receive any mail either at your office, at your residence or any place else addressed to Clay Bertrand prior to the commencment of the trial of this case?
A: Never prior to the commencement of the trial of this case.
Q: How long do you say you have been living at that address?
A: Since 1957. I restored the building. It was not a post office address prior to that time.
Q: What year was that, sir?
Q: Could you tell me what type of mailbox you have there, is it a locked mailbox or one that is not locked?
A: It is a cast-iron post box of probably 1910, 1920 vintage, mounted on the side of my garage entrance to my home, which is the main entrance to my home.
Q: Does it have a locked top on it or not?
A: No, sir.
Q: Who ordinarily took the mail out of your mailbox at home?
Q: Have you ever taken, prior to the commencement of this trial, a letter out of that letterbox addressed to Clay Bertrand?
Q: At the address at which you have lived ever since it was a municipal number, Mr. Biddison, has anyone ever lived there by the name of Cliff Boudreaux?
Q: Have you ever received any mail at your address addressed to Cliff Boudreaux?
MR. DYMOND: We tender the witness.
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