Kevin Costner as New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison
"For those who have forgotten or are too young to remember," Dallas Morning News reporter Jon Margolis wrote in May 1991, "Garrison was the bizarre New Orleans district attorney who, in 1969, claimed that the assassination of President John F. Kennedy was a conspiracy by some officials of the Central Intelligence Agency." "Garrison even managed to put one hapless fellow on trial for his role in this alleged conspiracy," Margolis continued. "Having no case, Garrison lost in court."(1)
Washington Post reporter George Lardner, Jr., who had covered Garrison's JFK probe in the late 1960s, received an early draft of the JFK screenplay and promptly weighed in with his opinion. ". . . Oliver Stone is chasing fiction," he wrote. "Garrison's investigation was a fraud."(2)
In Time, Richard Zoglin called Garrison "a wide-eyed conspiracy buff," "somewhere near the far-out fringe of conspiracy theorists, but Stone seems to have bought his version [of the assassination] virtually wholesale."(3)
Even movie critic Joe Bob Briggs got in on the act. "The main role in the movie JFK is not JFK," Briggs writes. "It's not LBJ. It's not Governor Connally or Jackie or Chief Justice Warren or Lee Harvey Oswald or Jack Ruby. The main role in the movie is this flake from Nawluns."(4)
"Of course, if you asked Oliver," Briggs continues, "the only reason we think Jimbo Garrison is a flake is that he's been persecuted by the media conspiracy, the Cuban conspiracy, the FBI conspiracy, the CIA conspiracy, the conspiracy of the doctors at Parkland Hospital, the conspiracy of all the employees at the Texas School Book Depository, and now the conspiracy of all guilty Texans to whitewash what their state did to the President."(5)
"We have a few theories about JFK ourselves," the film critic concludes harshly. "It stands for Just Full of Krap."(6)
Stone's critics were hardly confined to the mainstream. When he consulted with members of the loosely knit community of Kennedy assassination researchers, many of them devout believers that a conspiracy had taken John F. Kennedy's life, the filmmaker found many of them equally horrified about his choice of Garrison as his movie's centerpiece.
Author and pioneering researcher Harold Weisberg had been one of Garrison's staunchest allies throughout the two years of the DA's assassination probe. Like countless others, he accepted at face value Garrison's deadpan assurances that the evidence he had chosen to reveal publicly, such as the testimony of Perry Raymond Russo, was only the tip of the iceberg. His real case, the DA asserted, was being preserved in secrecy for the trial.(7) When Weisberg learned on the eve of the Clay Shaw trial that, in fact, Perry Russo was and had always been Garrison's entire case against Shaw, the Whitewash author realized he had been conned.(8)
Weisberg made a vociferous effort to talk Stone out of using Garrison as his film's protagonist. When his direct entreaties failed, it was Weisberg who handed the first draft of Stone's script over to George Lardner at the Post.(9) In a letter to the filmmaker, Weisberg wrote bitterly, "You have every right to play Mack Sennett in a Keystone Kops Pink Panther, but as an investigator, Jim Garrison could not find a pubic hair in a whorehouse at rush hour."(10)
"Jim Garrison's investigation was a fraud," Weisberg would later tell CBS television.(11) For Oliver Stone "[t]o do a mishmash like this out of love for the victim and respect for history?" Weisberg remarked to George Lardner. "I think people who sell sex have more principle."(12)
The filmmaker found such criticism difficult to fathom. Hadn't people read Jim Garrison's books? Didn't they know that Big Jim (as the six-foot-six Garrison was known to many) had solved the Kennedy assassination?
Oliver Stone, by his own admission, had never paid much attention to the details of the JFK assassination at the time it occurred; and when Jim Garrison made headlines with his New Orleans investigation three years later, the future Academy Award winner was in Vietnam. His interest in the case was sparked in 1988, when Garrison's publisher, Ellen Ray, ran into the filmmaker at the Latin American Film Festival in Havana, and handed him a copy of Big Jim's newly published memoir, On the Trail of the Assassins.(13)
"Jim Garrison opened my eyes," Stone would later state.(14)
The book "read like a Dashiell Hammett whodunit," the filmmaker explains.(15) "This pistol whipping occurs on the night of November 22, 1963, on a rainy night in which this guy, Jack Martin, gets his skull laid open by his boss, Guy Banister, and out of that little Raymond Chandler kind of incident, Garrison spins this tale of international intrigue -- a hell of a trail. As a dramatist, that excited me."(16) "It starts out as a bit of a seedy crime with small traces, and then the gumshoe district attorney follows the trail, and the trail widens, and before you know it, it's no longer a smalltown affair. That seemed to me the kernel of a very powerful movie."(17)
Stone didn't know, and never learned, that this key event he describes, the pistol-whipping of Jack Martin, contrary to Jim Garrison's claims, had nothing whatsoever to do with the Kennedy assassination. The filmmaker had no inkling that the "trail" the former DA claimed to have followed was nothing but a hodgepodge of bogus leads, crackpot witnesses, and "facts" sprung fully formed from Big Jim's own imagination. There was no trail; it was all a fiction Jim Garrison created.
The director met personally with the former DA, by then a judge on the Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal, and was deeply impressed with him. He "threw everything he had at the old judge," writes Stone biographer James Riordan. "He brought up all the old accusations: that Garrison had taken bribes while a New Orleans district attorney, that he was nothing but a self-aggrandizer, even that he'd been a front man for [New Orleans organized crime boss] Carlos Marcello and the Mob."(18)
Stone not only ended up taking Garrison's denials about such things at face value;(19) he consistently failed to investigate the factual accuracy of key events in the ex-DA's conspiracy yarn. The pistol-whipping incident is only one example.
The filmmaker took on faith Garrison's assertion that the FBI failed to investigate the lead with which the DA decided to reopen his probe in 1966, David Ferrie's midnight drive to Houston on the night of the assassination.(20) He accepted Big Jim's description of Ferrie's trip as the "thread that unraveled" the entire Kennedy assassination.(21) The filmmaker never learned that, at Garrison's instigation, the trip had been exhaustively scrutinized by the FBI, with the cooperation of the New Orleans Police Department, the Houston police, and even the Texas Rangers. It had nothing whatsoever to do with the assassination.
Stone saw no reason to question Garrison's assertion that he had been about to arrest David Ferrie at the time of Ferrie's death (a death Big Jim convinced Stone had been a murder, contrary to the unequivocal evidence of a natural death), although it had been common knowledge around the DA's office that there was never even a shred of evidence linking Ferrie to the assassination.(22) In 1994, former Assistant DA James Alcock, the lead prosecutor in the Clay Shaw trial, went on record admitting there had never been any plans to arrest Ferrie.
Stone trusted Garrison when he said that numerous eyewitnesses had identified Dean Andrews's mysterious "Clay Bertrand" to the DA's office as New Orleans businessman Clay Shaw. It never occurred to Stone that an elected official, a district attorney of a major metropolitan center, would fabricate such a story.
The filmmaker accepted Garrison's claim that Lee Harvey Oswald had been working out of ex-FBI man Guy Banister's private detective agency in the summer of 1963. Stone had no conception of how a district attorney could conjure such a theory out of thin air, then go out and find "cooperative" witnesses to support it.
But one of Garrison's former assistant DAs has noted that it wasn't unknown for the DA's men to file charges and then go out and find whatever dubious evidence they could in order to make the charges work.(23) Following his arrest of businessman Clay Shaw, Garrison himself told journalist James Phelan, "This is not the first time I've charged a person before I've made the case."(24)
In February 1967, at a time when the DA's very own files show he had no evidence whatsoever that a conspiracy to assassinate John F. Kennedy had ever existed in New Orleans, or that any New Orleans resident was implicated in such a conspiracy, Garrison told the press, "My staff and I solved the case weeks ago. I wouldn't say this if I didn't have evidence beyond a shadow of a doubt. . . . We know what cities were involved, we know how it was done in the essential respects, we know the key individuals involved and we are in the process of developing evidence now" to prove it all.(25)
"Most of the time you marshal your facts, then deduce your theories," observes another of Garrison's former assistants, Charles Ward. "But Garrison deduced a theory, then he marshaled the facts. And if the facts didn't fit he'd say they had been altered by the CIA."(26)
In a statement uncannily mirroring Ward's, though written years later, former Garrison chief investigator Pershing Gervais writes, "Garrison inverted the criminal investigatory process. You should begin by assembling the facts and from the facts you may deduce a theory of the crime. . . . Garrison did the opposite. He started with a theory and then assembled some facts to support it. Those facts that fit the theory, he accepted. Those that did not, he either ignored or rejected as CIA misinformation."(27)
Oliver Stone never saw any of this. He simply took Garrison at his word.
"There was a lone wolf integrity there," Stone said of his meetings with the former DA. "He had a lot of weak spots, but the majority of the man was solid as a rock. I thought that from the book, and it was confirmed to me when I met him."(28)
But On the Trail of the Assassins is a work of fiction, a fact the author was hardly about to volunteer. ". . . I was expecting a biased account," longtime assassination researcher Patricia Lambert has written of Garrison's memoir, "but I was unprepared for what I found. Wherever reality failed to suit his needs, Garrison simply changed it."(29) For Lambert, the result called to mind Mary McCarthy's famous remark about Lillian Hellman: "Every word she writes is a lie, including a and the."(30)
Stone eventually met with a number of principals in the case, but he inevitably chose to discount the views of those who challenged Garrison's account.(31) "Jim Garrison made many mistakes," Stone states. "He trusted a lot of weirdos and followed a lot of fake leads."(32)
But Jim Garrison did not simply follow fake leads; he seized them eagerly and embellished upon them, sometimes fashioning them into cornerstones of his case for conspiracy.
When Dean Andrews, in an attempt to test Garrison's intentions, pulled a name out of thin air, "Manuel Garcia Gonzales," and claimed that "Gonzales" had been an associate of Lee Harvey Oswald's, Garrison quickly announced to the press that he had uncovered the name of the "triggerman" in Dealey Plaza: "Manuel Garcia Gonzales." He would gladly give up Clay Shaw, the DA said on one occasion, if he could only get ahold of the "real" assassin: "Manuel Garcia Gonzales."
When researcher Jones Harris pointed out to Garrison that a five-digit number, 19106, appeared in the address books of both Clay Shaw and Lee Oswald, Garrison promptly declared the number not only a bona fide Shaw-Oswald link, but also an encrypted version of "Jack Ruby's unlisted telephone number." The fact that Jack Ruby had no unlisted telephone number proved no more a deterrant to the DA than the media's confirmation that the number 19106 in Oswald's address book was part of a telephone number (DD 19106) of an Oswald acquaintance in the USSR, while the figure in Shaw's address book (PO 19106) was a post office box of one Lee Odom, a business acquaintance whom Shaw had met on a single occasion, years after the JFK assassination. Garrison went ahead and repeated the absurd claim in his 1988 memoirs.(33)
It was a fact of enormous significance to the DA that David Ferrie made a stop in Galveston, Texas, on his way back from Houston the weekend of the assassination; Galveston, Big Jim pointed out, was the very same city to which Jack Ruby placed a phone call that weekend, to his friend, Breck Wall. Was Big Jim saying that Dave Ferrie met Breck Wall in Galveston? journalist James Phelan asked him. "We haven't established that," the DA replied. "But look at the pattern. . . . the Warren Commission would have you believe that all this was just a coincidence."(34)
Garrison never produced the slightest evidence linking Ferrie, Ruby, or Breck Wall to John F. Kennedy's murder, but it didn't stop him from repeating his claim about the Galveston "connection" in his 1970 book, A Heritage of Stone.(35)
Such nonsense was the rule, not the exception, with Jim Garrison, who obsessed over what he called his "propinquity theory," his belief that conspirators could be identified because they lived in close proximity to one another (or, as Patricia Lambert describes it, "a geographical twist on guilt-by-association.") "Suspects" were called into the DA's office for questioning simply because they had once lived on the same street or block as Lee Oswald, David Ferrie, or Clay Shaw. If someone was acquainted with one of these men and once lived near another of them, it meant something, even if the DA never quite figured out what. Several such individuals are named in Jim Garrison's 1988 memoirs, despite never having been proven to have even a significant association with any of the DA's alleged suspects, much less a connection to the President's assassination.(36)
". . . Garrison had a peculiar attribute that became clear, with almost pathological enormity, in the two years before Shaw was taken to trial," writes James Phelan, who became one of Garrison's most damaging critics. "He had a lively imagination in postulating possible scenarios of what had happened in the Kennedy assassination, using circumstantial evidence and supposition. Such an approach is common among puzzle-solvers, whether prosecutorial or journalistic. In its simplest form, if A knows B and B knows C, it is sensible to examine whether C had any dealings with A, and if so, whether they had any bearing on the matter being explored. Where Garrison departed from the norm was that once he had established an ABC relationship, even by circumstance and without any substantive evidence, it became set in concrete. Instead of testing a postulate against the evidence, and discarding it if it didn't fit, he persisted in trying to hammer the evidence into a shape that would fit his postulate."(37)
Garrison himself helped clarify his line of reasoning in discussions he had with researcher David Lifton. He told Lifton that "his office had established an ironclad link between Ruby and Oswald. As evidence, he cited the fact that a Ft. Worth telephone number, PE 8-1951, was listed in Oswald's address book and also was found on Ruby's phone bill." Lifton looked it up and found that the telephone number, as indicated in Oswald's address book, was for television station KTVT, Channel 11, in Fort Worth, Texas.
When Lifton confronted Garrison with this fact the following day, Garrison "became very truculent and annoyed," Lifton reports. "David, stop arguing the defense," he told the researcher. "But what does it mean, Jim?" Lifton asked. "Is there someone at the TV station whom you can prove knew both men?" "It means whatever the jury decides it means," the DA replied, adding, "Law is not a science." "But what do you think, Jim?" Lifton persisted. "What is the truth of the matter?" "His answer is one I will never forget," Lifton writes. Garrison said, "with considerable annoyance and contempt": "After the fact, there is no truth. There is only what the jury decides."
Garrison also was willing to pursue virtually any means to establish such linkages between "suspects." The eager recruitment of crackpot witnesses is one example.
Jim Phelan writes:
In the two years between the Shaw hearing and the trial, Garrison's staff interviewed hundreds of would-be witnesses. There are certain sensational cases that have a fascination for unstable people and fetch them forth in droves. A classic example was the "Black Dahlia" mutilation murder of playgirl Elizabeth Short in Los Angeles. Over the years, dozens of people came forward and confessed to this crime, which still remains unsolved. Celebrated cases also attract witnesses who are not psychotic, but who falsely identify key figures out of faulty memory or a desire to lift themselves out of dull anonymity into the spotlight. Chief Justice Frankfurter once commented that eyewitness testimony is the greatest single cause of miscarried justice. In a sensational case, a careful prosecutor often spends more time winnowing out false witnesses than he does working with authentic ones.Charles Spiesel was one such witness. The seemingly mild-mannered bookkeeper appeared at the Clay Shaw trial and related an account of a party he had attended in the summer of 1963, where he claimed to have overheard Clay Shaw and David Ferrie discuss the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
The Garrison investigation had a disastrously low threshold, across which trooped a bizarre parade of people eager to bolster his conspiracy scenario.(38)
Spiesel's testimony could have proven extremely damaging to Shaw, had defense attorney Sal Panzeca not happened to receive a lucky tip about Spiesel's background. Investigation in Spiesel's home town of New York City confirmed that Spiesel had filed a sixteen-million-dollar lawsuit against the City of New York and numerous other defendents, alleging that "during a period from January 1, 1948, to July 5, 1964, a total of sixteen years, [the defendants] had used a new police technique to torture him and conspired with others to torture the plaintiff." Spiesel claimed these defendants also "harassed him, annoyed, tailed him, tapped his phones, and prevented him from having normal sex relations. . . . kept him hypnotized for periods of time, caused him to make errors in his work because of their hypnotic control, wreaked psychological terror upon him, prevented him from making business deals and from borrowing money from public agencies, surrounded him with competitors in the tax return business . . . hired 'plants' to work in his office," and utilized "disguises in their attempts to pass themselves off as his relatives for the purpose of gaining entrance to his home . . ."
Though Garrison would forever claim otherwise, several of the DA's former assistants and investigators have confirmed that their boss was perfectly aware of the true nature of Charles Spiesel's credibility. "Well, he'd make a hell of a witness," an assistant DA who had interviewed Spiesel in New York told Garrison, "but he's crazy." Garrison chose to use Spiesel anyway.(39)
Garrison was fully apprised that the key testimony of his star witness, Perry Raymond Russo, had emerged only after several interrogation sessions under the influence of first sodium Pentathol, then hypnosis. Numerous media interviews prior to these sessions flatly contradict Russo's testimony against Clay Shaw. If Garrison was unaware of this when he put Russo on the stand for Clay Shaw's preliminary hearing, he was subsequently briefed on all the details by James Phelan, the first outsider to be allowed to read the transcripts of two of Russo's pre-hearing interrogations. Garrison assured Phelan he would drop the charges against Clay Shaw if what Phelan told him were true. Even though Phelan was only reporting what Garrison's own documents said, and NBC subsequently uncovered evidence that the "Leon Oswald" of Russo's testimony could not have been Lee Harvey Oswald, the charges against Shaw remained. (It took a jury all of fifty-four minutes to dismiss Russo's story.)
During his two-year assassination probe, Garrison repeatedly denied to the local press that he was relying upon Jack S. Martin for information.(40) Martin was known all around town as a crackpot, a drunk, and a would-be informant of dubious reliability. He had been institutionalized and diagnosed with a "sociopathic personality disorder, antisocial type," and had fled the state of Texas after a fraudulent medical career as a "doctor" and underground abortionist came to a halt with the death of one of his patients. He was later known to brag about how clever he had been to beat the murder rap that ensued.
Jim Garrison knew perfectly well what an unconscionable witness Martin made; the DA himself admitted to Life editor and NODA insider Richard Billings that he couldn't rely upon Martin's claims about David Ferrie, because Martin was simply "a liar who hates Ferrie." But Garrison continued to meet privately with Martin, take statements from him, and even put him on the office payroll as an investigator. But only in later years, when Martin was dead and forgotten by most, would Garrison publicly name him as a source of information.
When all else failed, Garrison would simply fabricate evidence out of thin air. His office was never able to establish that the mysterious "Clay Bertrand" of Dean Andrews's Warren Commission testimony had ever existed. But, Garrison told his staff, "Bertrand" lived in the French Quarter, was a homosexual, and was named Clay; this description fit prominent businessman and civic leader Clay L. Shaw; therefore, Garrison declared, Shaw was "Bertrand." Dean Andrews subsequently admitted that there was no "Clay Bertrand," and that he had invented the entire story for his own personal gain. But Garrison would persist in his identification of Shaw as "Bertrand" for the rest of his life.
When Garrison was unable to link two of his favorite suspects, David Ferrie and Guy Banister, to the JFK assassination, he fabricated a tale that the two men had been involved with the Central Intelligence Agency and an ostensibly CIA-run Cuban exile training camp that had briefly been active in July 1963. But neither Ferrie nor Banister had anything to do with the CIA or the training camp in question, which itself had no connection to the CIA. Garrison's files, in fact, contained evidence that neither Ferrie nor Banister was involved with the training camp, evidence that was later expanded upon by a congressional subcommittee. But this did not stop Garrison from repeating his story for decades, and even inventing non-existent statements from Jack Martin, of all people, in an attempt to bolster his claims.
As many examples of Garrison's dishonesty and deceitfulness as there are, they do not represent the DA at his very worst. As Patricia Lambert notes in her landmark study of the Garrison case, False Witness, it was not, as Oliver Stone would have us believe, that Garrison trusted the wrong people; rather, it was the people who trusted Jim Garrison that suffered.(41)
Dean Andrews believed his old pal, Jim, when he said that as long as Andrews refrained from contradicting the DA's theory that Clay Shaw was Andrews's mysterious "Clay Bertrand," Andrews would have nothing to fear from him. Garrison subsequently had Andrews called before the Grand Jury, blackmailed him over an illegal parole action Andrews had once effected, and when Andrews said, as per his reluctant agreement with the DA, that he couldn't affirm or deny that Clay Shaw was "Bertrand," Garrison had him charged with perjury. Andrews lost his job and was disbarred. He ended his life as a clerk at the Criminal District Court Building. All because he trusted Jim Garrison.(42)
One of Lee Harvey Oswald's Marine buddies, Kerry Thornley, was voluntarily helping Garrison with his JFK probe until the DA instructed Thornley to give false testimony against another witness before the Grand Jury. When the ex-Marine balked, Garrison turned around and charged Thornley with perjury, trumping up phony testimony from a self-styled French Quarter voodoo priestess named Barbara Reid.
Nor was this as low as the DA was willing to stoop. According to convicted burglar John "John the Baptist" Cancler, one of Garrison's investigators, Lynn Loisel, tried to solicit Cancler's help in planting incriminating material in Clay Shaw's home. Loisel and the DA's chief investigator, Louis Ivon, offered a close friend of David Ferrie's, Al Beauboeuf, three thousand dollars and a job with an airline if he would help "fill in the missing links" of Garrison's "case" against Clay Shaw.
In an attempt to coerce Ferrie into being more "cooperative," Garrison ordered Ferrie's godson, Morris Brownlee, rearrested on an old narcotics charge previously dropped for lack of evidence.(43) When onetime Ferrie friend Layton Martens failed to give Big Jim any incriminating information about Ferrie, Garrison charged Martens with perjury, obviously a favorite tactic of the DA's.(44) As noted by onetime Garrison investigator William Gurvich (who resigned in June 1967 over Garrison's improper methods and his lack of a genuine conspiracy case), Garrison believed that "everyone reads the headlines concerning arrests and charges but few people read denials or correcting statements."(45)
Garrison was so enraged at the way NBC reporter Walter Sheridan and WDSU broadcaster Richard Townley were poking holes in his case that, according to Gurvich, he ordered his men to have the two arrested, handcuffed, and beaten. "Arrested for what?" an assistant DA asked. "What do you mean, for what?" Garrison roared. "Just arrest them." When informed there were "no grounds" for an arrest, the DA told the aide not to be "so legalistic."(46)
When public outrage over Garrison's expenditures on the Kennedy probe motivated him to seek private funding (a system since deemed unconstitutional) even the DA's financial backers found themselves at risk. When one of his key backers, Willard E. Robertson, expressed disapproval over Garrison's hounding of one witness, the DA bluntly told Robertson, "I'm calling the shots. How would you like to be indicted?"(47)
Time after time, Oliver Stone's JFK creates fictional incidents to generate sympathy for his protagonist. One especially ironic scene depicts Garrison mourning the death of Robert F. Kennedy; in reality, Garrison publicly accused Bobby Kennedy of being, in essence, an accessory after the fact in his own brother's murder. He stated on ABC-TV that Robert Kennedy was "without any question of a doubt . . . interfering with the investigation of the murder of his brother" and was, in fact, making "a real effort to stop it."(48) He told UPI that RFK was making "very positive efforts" to obstruct his investigation. When an ABC News reporter asked Garrison if he meant to say that RFK was, in effect, "letting the murderers of his brother walk the street," Garrison replied, "Well, yes, that's a fair statement."(49)
The ugliest side of Garrison, however, may well have been his most private face, something that largely escaped scrutiny until the publication of Patricia Lambert's False Witness.
Some commentators have noted that, throughout his years in office, Garrison seemed to wage an obsessive vendetta against New Orleans's homosexual community. One of the DA's earliest theories of the assassination was that it was a "homosexual thrill-killing" and a "sadist plot." The DA himself admitted privately that his interest in Clay Shaw as a suspect hinged upon Shaw's homosexuality, which was widely rumored in New Orleans.(50)
In 1967, shortly following his indictment of Clay Shaw, Garrison discussed the various conspiratorial forces out to destroy his investigation, and the many charges being leveled at him. Next, he said, he expected them to accuse him of "child molesting." As Patricia Lambert notes, in light of later events, this statement sounds like a preemptive strike.(51)
In 1969, a prominent New Orleans family briefly considered pressing charges against Garrison for the sexual molestation of their thirteen-year-old son. In the end, concerns for privacy and the safety of their son caused the family to drop the matter, but the head of a local citizens' watchdog committee informed the Orleans Parish Grand Jury of the matter, and someone on the Grand Jury leaked word of the story to columnist Jack Anderson. Off the record, Anderson confirmed with Grand Jury foreman William J. Krummel, Sr., that the Grand Jury was looking into the matter. Krummel was afraid to speak for the record, he said, because "I'm afraid that if I say so [in public], they'll [the DA's office will] want to throw me in jail."(52)
Anderson confirmed the story with the boy's family and decided to devote one of his columns to it. Noting that one of the family members "is one of the most respected men in the South," Anderson reported that the Grand Jury was investigating the allegation that Jim Garrison had molested a thirteen-year-old boy in June 1969 at the New Orleans Athletic Club. The Grand Jury ultimately declined to pursue the matter, however, and the story faded away.(53)
In 1993 Patricia Lambert was granted interviews with several family members, including the victim and an older brother who was present when the incident occurred. In exchange for a pledge of anonymity, the brothers agreed to relate what had happened.(54)
The two boys accompanied their father every Sunday to the New Orleans Athletic Club; it was a "family ritual," the older brother explained. The three were alone in the club's swimming pool when Jim Garrison approached them and struck up a conversation. In accordance with the club's rules, all were swimming nude; to reduce contamination, bathing suits were not allowed, as the pool's salt water could not be chlorinated. After chatting briefly, Garrison invited the three to join him in the club's Slumber Room. The brothers would have preferred to decline the offer, as they had no interest in taking a nap in the middle of the day. "No, we ought to go," their father insisted, "he's talking about the Kennedy assassination and we might find out something."(55)
The three accompanied Garrison to the Slumber Room, which resembled a "dormitory bunk room"; it was rectangular with an aisle down the middle and a row of beds on each side. Both brothers recall how dark the room was, as there were no windows. "You shut the door," the older brother recalls, "and it was black." "Everybody get into bed and I'm going to turn off the light," Garrison said, and they all complied. The younger brother took "a cot way to the back," while Garrison took the cot next to him; the father and older brother were on the other side of the room. "I don't know if Garrison set it up that way or not," the younger man says. "Because all he had to do was sit on the edge of his bed, reach across, which he did, you know, and lift the blanket."(56)
"When Garrison first did it," the younger boy recalls, "my eyes were not adjusted to the dark and I . . . could just make out the image of somebody. And . . . when somebody lifts up a blanket and sticks their hand under there -- and he didn't really grab. He just fondled a bit and then he sat back down and I jumped up and I went over to my brother and said, '[name deleted], are you playing a joke on me?' . . . I didn't know what was going on. . . . And [his brother] said, '[name deleted], go back to bed. Daddy's going to be really mad at you if you cause any trouble in here.' So I went back. He thought I was just being a little kid, you know. So then when [Garrison] did it again and I could tell who it was . . . then I went back to my brother and told him . . ."(57)
The older brother went to their father and said they had "to leave right now." Their father, oblivious to what had happened, objected until he realized something was seriously wrong. Outside the Slumber Room, the older brother explained to their father what had happened, "and he was visibly shaken." The father went to retrieve his clothes from another room, and while he was gone Garrison came out of the Slumber Room.(58)
"I walked up to him," the older brother recalls, "and I said, 'You son of a bitch, you pervert, you queer.' I was livid. I couldn't believe this guy tried to molest my little brother. I was really into Garrison's face. I was really threatening him. I was enraged. I may have put my hands on him. I know I scared him because he said, 'You're assaulting me and I'm going to have to defend myself.' And he went back toward his locker and I remember I could see in his locker there was a gun hanging in there -- like a .38 snub-nose revolver -- hanging in a shoulder holster on a hook in his locker. At that point I became very concerned that Garrison was going to shoot me and I remember seeing, to my surprise, that there was another man who witnessed this. A man in his sixties, by the lavatories. I remember thinking, oh, good, there's a witness to this, but he left the area because he didn't want to get involved. By this time my father had gotten dressed and sort of caught me at the tail end of this altercation. He was five-feet-ten-inches and I vividly remember him walking up to [the six-foot-six-inch] Garrison and he took his finger and he started poking him in the stomach and he said, 'You fooled with the wrong people this time. You're not going to get away with this.' Garrison said, 'You're crazy. I don't know what you're talking about.' And he said something to the effect that 'I'm going to have your son arrested for assaulting me.' At that time we left. We went home."(59)
Somehow word had gotten out about the incident, because their phone began "ringing off the hook" with people urging the family to press charges. The father called a relative, an attorney, who advised against taking any action; he thought "terrible harm" would come to the younger son and that they "would never prove anything." In fact, the family became so concerned for the boy's safety that they began picking him up from school everyday. "They thought something was going to happen to me," he recalls. "I went to see the Kevin Costner movie -- which made me sick, to glorify him like that. I saw Stone in the Napoleon House [café] one day -- I wanted to tell him about this. But it's so awkward."(60)
Journalist David Chandler, who had once been quite friendly with Garrison (the DA had been best man at Chandler's 1965 wedding) insisted to Patricia Lambert that the Slumber Room incident was merely the tip of the iceberg. Garrison was "basically a pedophile," Chandler alleged, claiming first-hand knowledge of Garrison's preferences for adolescent girls, "around sixteen and younger."(61)
All the while, of course, the DA could be sure that the power of his office would protect him from suffering any consequences; none of his victims dared to risk a public confrontation with the man. For their part, the two brothers of the Slumber Room incident remain angry to this day about what happened, but all involved feel that they would have fared much worse had they pressed charges. In light of the tactics Garrison used in his assassination probe, it hardly seems far-fetched to expect him to have gone to similar lengths, or worse, should his own life and career become jeopardized by his actions.
Rosemary James, one of the reporters who broke the story of Garrison's investigation in February 1967, was privy to some of the discussions going on within the family and their close circle of friends: "there was an effort to protect the child, which was why nothing came of it," she says. Garrison always "had a very stormy personal life," James adds, and "used to slap his wife around in public all the time." "To cast someone like Kevin Costner to play him as Mr. Untouchable Robin Hood," she observes, "and to have scenes with him as this big family man sitting around the dinner table -- it's just a big sick joke."(62)
Jim Garrison as Chief Justice Earl Warren in JFK
In the end, of course, it will be Oliver Stone and Kevin Costner's characterization of Jim Garrison that most people will associate with the DA. "When I first read Jim Garrison's book on the Kennedy assassination," says Stone, "very clearly imprinted was the soul of a gem. You have a prosecutor, an honest man who had served his country in World War II and Korea, with a family, who believes in the American way. And there's something fishy going on in his backyard in New Orleans, so he does his job, it's his duty. And doing his job takes him into stranger, more bizarre circumstances again and again. And eventually he's accused, pandered, ridiculed and humiliated, then defeated. That is a good story, if you believe what he was after was right."(63)
Something Oliver Stone never figured out, however, was why so many people who do think what Jim Garrison purported to be after was right, condemn the man just the same. After all, contrary to the claims of Garrison himself, who alleged that many of his critics were government agents in disguise, Big Jim's harshest detractors have always been the conspiracy researchers whose work the DA did so much to devalue.
Anthony Summers, author of Conspiracy (later reissued as Not in Your Lifetime), writes that the Garrison investigation "has long been recognized by virtually everyone -- including serious scholars who believe there was a conspiracy -- as a grotesque, misdirected shambles."(64) "What angers investigators about . . . Jim Garrison," Summers adds, "is that his cockeyed caper in 1967 was more than an abuse of the justice system. It was an abuse of history, and -- more than any other single factor -- [responsible] in discrediting . . . genuine researchers for a full decade . . ."(65)
Attorney James Lesar, founder of the now-defunct Assassination Archives and Research Center (AARC) adds, "Although a dedicated group of people kept researching the case, it wasn't until 1974 that several things took place that started to again ignite public interest."(66)
Discussing Garrison's cameo appearance in Oliver Stone's JFK (portraying Chief Justice Earl Warren), longtime researcher Paul Hoch writes, "Unintentionally, this is not just an ironic touch: the actions of both men did much to discourage or co-opt other investigations."
Best Evidence author David Lifton calls Garrison "intellectually dishonest, a reckless prosecutor, and a total charlatan." "Jim Garrison was one of the biggest frauds that ever came down the pike," Lifton wrote in a 1995 e-mail to Garrison advocate Gary Aguilar. "He prosecuted innocent people, did an enormous disservice to the movement, and when the jury acquitted Shaw, it was 'good riddance.'"
Researchers like Summers, Lesar, Hoch and Lifton express the way most conspiracy-oriented researchers felt about Garrison prior to his Oliver Stone-fueled "comeback."
In 1967, Accessories after the Fact author Sylvia Meagher wrote that "as the Garrison investigation continued to unfold, it gave cause for increasingly serious misgivings about the validity of his evidence, the credibility of his witnesses, and the scrupulousness of his methods. The fact that many critics of the Warren Report have remained passionate advocates of the Garrison investigation, even condoning tactics which they might not condone on the part of others, is a matter of regret and disappointment."(67)
"[Clay] Shaw . . . was easily acquitted after a two-month proceeding in which all the shocking evidence against him promised by Garrison failed to materialize," writes Presumed Guilty author Howard Roffman. "Garrison was in consequence widely condemned by the media, and the New Orleans fiasco caused the virtual destruction of whatever foundation for credibility had previously been established by critics of the Warren Report. . . . [H]is unethical behavior and the mockery of justice . . . left the public and the media highly suspicious of Warren Report criticism."(68)
"Garrison was wrong about Clay Shaw and Edgar Eugene Bradley," writes Legacy of Doubt author Peter Noyes. "The case against them was a monumental fraud. Every time Garrison opened his mouth in the days after Ferrie's death, his appearance of credibility appeared to be giving way to one of lunacy."(69) "Perhaps the most perceptive observer of the circus in New Orleans was Hugh Aynesworth [who wrote] 'Jim Garrison is right. There has been a conspiracy in New Orleans -- but it is a plot of Garrison's own making. It is a scheme to concoct a fantastic 'solution' to the death of John F. Kennedy, and to make it stick; in this cause the district attorney and his staff have been parties to the death of one man [Ferrie] and have humiliated, harassed and financially gutted several others.'"(70) "The trial was a sham; it was perhaps the most disgraceful legal event of the twentieth century."(71)
Noyes's statements are reprinted in an anthology edited by Peter Dale Scott, Paul L. Hoch and Russell Stetler, The Assassinations: Dallas and Beyond.(72) The editors of that volume call the Shaw prosecution "seemingly indefensible."(73)
Crime of the Century author Dr. Michael L. Kurtz writes, "As a historian, I find the distortions of Jim Garrison and Oliver Stone appalling."(74)
Contract on America author David E. Scheim writes that "as Garrison's case unfolded, his specific accusations became increasingly outlandish and the thrust of his efforts increasingly questionable."(75)
Writes Reasonable Doubt author Henry Hurt: "Jim Garrison's performance proved to be disappointing, particularly after months of highly publicized promises of what he would present at the trial. He produced no witnesses to suggest CIA involvement in an assassination conspiracy. He produced nothing, really, that went beyond what had been presented at the preliminary hearing two years earlier."(76) "To many observers, Jim Garrison seemed obsessed with the destruction of Clay Shaw."(77)
"The Garrison affair was sown with the seeds of its own destruction," author Harrison Livingstone (High Treason, High Treason 2, Killing the Truth) states, "by the premature charging of a suspect (Clay Shaw) with no case against him."(78) "The kindest way of discussing the sad history [of the probe] is that the glare of the public spotlight unbalanced Garrison and those who worked for him so that mistakes were made and their hand was forced."(79) "Like so much of what is said and done in the research community, the example of Garrison provides a few hard facts and a lot more loose talk, mistakes, excess, lies, and wrong statements. He is almost a model for slick and not so slick operators who get into the 'conspiracy business' looking for exposure, success, and a buck."(80)
Jim Garrison "did not have a case against Clay Shaw," says Cover-Up author J. Gary Shaw.(81)
"The evidence of Shaw's participation in a conspiracy was flimsy," states G. Robert Blakey, Chief Counsel of the House Select Committee that reinvestigated the assassination in the late 1970s, and author of Fatal Hour: The Assassination of President Kennedy by Organized Crime, "and from his indictment to eventual acquittal in 1969, the course of the investigation was downhill to disaster."(82) "The testimony of the 'star witness,' Perry Raymond Russo, had been blatantly concocted."(83)
F. Peter Model and Robert Groden's JFK: The Case for Conspiracy notes that Garrison's investigation "resembled a Barnum & Bailey circus featuring the Spanish Inquisition. Charging that the 'American Power Elite had a vested interest in creating historical mythology,' Garrison weaved his own. . . . Garrison promised he would show the world that [Clay Shaw] was at the core of a cabal involving Texas oil barons, Cuban sugar tycoons, the ex-Nazi rocket experts of NASA, and all others interested in the elevation of Lyndon Johnson. Mind-boggling as this skein was to begin with, it would grow even more absurd by the time Garrison managed to indict Clay Shaw. . . [T]he entire case would end up jerry-built on links, coils and conundrums. And as things got out of hand, and Garrison sensed it, he unhappily lapsed into demagoguery, citing chapter and verse from 'documents' he had not seen nor could he produce."(84)
Many among even those who believe that Garrison may have been on the right track have had to question his methods. Gaeton Fonzi believes firmly that some of Garrison's theories were correct, but calls the Shaw prosecution a "debacle," conceding, "As a result of his erratic conduct during that investigation, the hasty charges he filed against New Orleans businessman Clay Shaw, and Shaw's quick acquittal by a jury, Garrison was thoroughly discredited in the news media and by many assassination researchers."(85)
One of Garrison's online advocates, Martin Shackelford (praised by author Harrison E. Livingstone as "one of the most valuable of all researchers into the assassination of John Kennedy"), notes that in Big Jim's memoir, On the Trail of the Assassins, ". . . Garrison takes liberties with the truth."(86)
Even one of Jim Garrison's most ardent supporters, and a personal friend of the onetime DA, had to take exception to the fictionalized Garrison case portrayed by Oliver Stone in JFK. Rush to Judgment author Mark Lane writes:
[Oliver] Stone chose as his hero Jim Garrison. I was delighted when I first heard that news. However, unwilling to record history and true only to the Hollywood concept of a technicolor version of black and white in which no grays are countenanced, Stone, to prove how correct Garrison had been, was determined to demonstrate how guilty Clay Shaw had been.
Garrison had prosecuted Shaw in New Orleans for conspiracy to assassinate President Kennedy. After a lengthy trial Shaw had been acquitted in record time . . . Stone was confronted with a problem. If the evidence Garrison had gathered had not been sufficient to establish Shaw's guilt in the minds of an objective juror, how could he, Stone, prove Shaw's guilt to the satisfaction of his audience?
Here Stone becomes inventive. He was neither bound by the cumbersome rules of evidence nor the rules of criminal procedure. He could create celluloid evidence. Shaw had died; therefore, Stone was not bound by the laws of defamation which apply, in the United States, only to the living. Apparently, the less-codified rules of common decency were not an impediment either. . . .(87)
Was "Bertrand" really Clay Shaw, Garrison wondered. Shaw consistently denied that he had ever used that pseudonym. I never saw credible evidence which convinced me that he had ever used the alias. Stone, untroubled by evidence, fact or logic, showed Shaw apparently offering to the first police officer who inquired that he had used the name "Bertrand." If Shaw had used the false name as part of his CIA cover so that the telephone call [to Dean Andrews] could not be traced back to him, why would he have betrayed himself at the first opportunity? Stone did not dwell on the subject. Through the magic of celluloid he abandoned the scene. . . .(88)
Where Stone labors to demean Clay Shaw and to condemn him by introducing a bizarre gay orgy scene and by inventing a meeting with David Ferrie and the district attorney's staff, he is indulging his own fantasies and misleading the audience.(89)
Why? people frequently ask. Why would an elected official embark on a course such as this without sound justification and rock-solid evidence? Was he just riding the zeitgeist of the times, exploiting popular paranoia? Were there, in fact, sinister forces behind him, seeking to divert attention from more promising leads? Was the episode born out of ambition, perhaps a longing for national prominence and higher office?
One of the most thorough analyses of Garrison's JFK probe is The Garrison Case: A Study in the Abuse of Power, by Milton E. Brener, an attorney who once labored as an assistant DA under Big Jim. Brener writes:
"Certainly," said many in New Orleans, "Garrison must have something." A man in his position would be stupid, indeed, to make such statements without some solid evidence -- and Garrison was certainly not stupid. Overlooked by many who so reasoned was the clear possibility that the man was stark, raving mad.(90)
This is the man Oliver Stone chose as the hero of his movie on the John F. Kennedy assassination. Even more significantly, however, this is the man whose views became the prism through which Stone viewed the event. Views that seemed to confirm Garrison's were embraced; views that diverged from Big Jim's were dismissed as misinformation or, predictably, government propaganda.(91)
In a January 15, 1992, speech to the National Press Club, an outraged Oliver Stone faced his critics and staunchly defended Jim Garrison. He had heard "all the horror stories" about Big Jim, he said, and none of them held up upon investigation. He challenged Garrison's detractors to show him their evidence.(92)
Of course, they have, many times over. Patricia Lambert even wrote a meticulously researched volume, False Witness, on the true nature of the Garrison probe and the man behind it. To this day, Stone refuses to respond. When an interview with Stone was solicited for a television documentary based on Lambert's book, Stone refused to appear.(93) "Having glanced at Ms. Lambert's book," Stone wrote the producers, "I don't see myself participating creatively in your enterprise."(94)
This is the way a self-proclaimed "cinematic historian"(95) deals with the facts about not only his hero, Jim Garrison, but the historical record concerning John F. Kennedy's death.
"Garrison was trying to force a break in the case," said the filmmaker, in one particularly candid moment. "If he could do that, it was worth the sacrifice of one man. When they went onto the shores of Omaha Beach, they said, 'We're going to lose five, ten, fifteen thousand people to reach our objective.' I think Jim was in that kind of situation."(96)
"Let justice be done, though the heavens fall," proclaims Oliver Stone in JFK, through the vehicle of Jim Garrison.(97) Ironically, it was the real-life David Ferrie who may have been summing up his experience with District Attorney Jim Garrison when he composed a statement that could apply equally towards Oliver Stone's ends-justify-the-means rationalization of Garrison's behavior:
If this is justice, then justice be damned.
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1. Jon Margolis, "JFK Movie and Book Attempt to Rewrite History," Dallas Morning News, May 14, 1991, reprinted in Oliver Stone and Zachary Sklar, JFK: The Book of the Film (New York: Applause, 1992), p. 190.
2. George Lardner, Jr., "On the Set: Dallas in Wonderland," Washington Post, May 19, 1991, reprinted in Oliver Stone and Zachary Sklar, JFK: The Book of the Film (New York: Applause, 1992), p. 192.
3. Richard Zoglin, "More Shots in Dealey Plaza," Time, June 10, 1991, reprinted in Oliver Stone and Zachary Sklar, JFK: The Book of the Film (New York: Applause, 1992), pp. 205-06.
4. Joe Bob Briggs, "Joe Bob Goes to the Drive-In," June 21, 1991.
5. Joe Bob Briggs, "Joe Bob Goes to the Drive-In," June 21, 1991.
6. Joe Bob Briggs, "Joe Bob Goes to the Drive-In," June 21, 1991.
7. Harold Weisberg, Oswald in New Orleans (New York: Canyon, 1967), pp. 247, 398, 401-03.
8. Harrison Edward Livingstone, High Treason 2 (New York: Carroll and Graf, 1992), p. 522.
9. George Lardner, Jr., "On the Set: Dallas in Wonderland," Washington Post, May 19, 1991, reprinted in Oliver Stone and Zachary Sklar, JFK: The Book of the Film (New York: Applause, 1992), p. 192. Harrison Edward Livingstone, High Treason 2 (New York: Carroll and Graf, 1992), pp. 530-31.
10. Robert Sam Anson, "The Shooting of JFK," Esquire, November 1991, reprinted in Oliver Stone and Zachary Sklar, JFK: The Book of the Film (New York: Applause, 1992), p. 221.
11. Harrison Edward Livingstone, High Treason 2 (New York: Carroll and Graf, 1992), p. 522.
12. George Lardner, Jr., "On the Set: Dallas in Wonderland," Washington Post, May 19, 1991, reprinted in Oliver Stone and Zachary Sklar, JFK: The Book of the Film (New York: Applause, 1992), p. 192.
13. James Riordan, Stone (New York: Hyperion, 1995), pp. 351-52. Patricia Lambert, False Witness (New York: M. Evans and Co., 1998), p. xv. Robert Sam Anson, "The Shooting of JFK," Esquire, November 1991, reprinted in Oliver Stone and Zachary Sklar, JFK: The Book of the Film (New York: Applause, 1992), p. 212.
14. Robert Sam Anson, "The Shooting of JFK," Esquire, November 1991, reprinted in Oliver Stone and Zachary Sklar, JFK: The Book of the Film (New York: Applause, 1992), p. 215.
15. Robert Sam Anson, "The Shooting of JFK," Esquire, November 1991, reprinted in Oliver Stone and Zachary Sklar, JFK: The Book of the Film (New York: Applause, 1992), p. 213.
16. James Riordan, Stone (New York: Hyperion, 1995), p. 352.
17. Robert Sam Anson, "The Shooting of JFK," Esquire, November 1991, reprinted in Oliver Stone and Zachary Sklar, JFK: The Book of the Film (New York: Applause, 1992), p. 213.
18. James Riordan, Stone (New York: Hyperion, 1995), p. 353.
19. James Riordan, Stone (New York: Hyperion, 1995), p. 391. Robert Sam Anson, "The Shooting of JFK," Esquire, November 1991, reprinted in Oliver Stone and Zachary Sklar, JFK: The Book of the Film (New York: Applause, 1992), p. 217. When one reporter asked Stone about Garrison's alleged ties to New Orleans Mob boss Carlos Marcello, Stone replied, "I looked Jim straight in the eye and asked him about it. And Jim told me he'd only met him two brief times on social occasions. I believe him." (Stone and Sklar, p. 217.)
20. JFK: The Documented Screenplay, Oliver Stone and Zachary Sklar, JFK: The Book of the Film (New York: Applause, 1992), p. 24.
21. James Phelan, "Rush to Judgment in New Orleans," The Saturday Evening Post, May 6, 1967.
22. From investigator Tom Bethell's journal: "[Assistant DA James] Alcock discussed Ferrie and pointed out he saw no reason to believe Ferrie was involved." (October 2, 1967.) "I had been boiling up for a row with Mark Lane and his lieutenant Gary Sanders, and it burst today. I confronted Lane with his right to read and xerox our files -- he was in the process of reading the Ferrie file when this occurred. I asked him how he felt that xeroxing the files contributed to the investigation. He kept quite calm and replied that Garrison set policy in the office, not me, and that therefore he could xerox them if he wanted to, which was I suppose a reasonable answer. I also told Lane that it was my belief he had lied to me about some information provided him by David Lifton. Lifton, a friend of Wesley Liebeler in Los Angeles, had managed to get some information from Liebeler about the classified pages on David Ferrie in the National Archives. Liebeler worked on this area for the Warren Commission and had copies of the classified pages, which he read out to Lifton one evening. (He would not let Lifton have copies of them.) Lifton ran home and wrote down all he could remember. He then later met Lane and told him he had this material written down. Lane told him that he had to have it because he was on his way to New Orleans and Garrison would like to see it. Lifton gave him the material, as well as some info from some columnist. Lane says he only got the columnist material, not the other. Lifton was quite surprised to hear this, and surprised to hear that we did not have the Ferrie material in the office by now. Their stories are in flat contradiction, and there is no doubt in my mind that Lane is lying. The fact is the Ferrie material is worse than useless to Garrison, because it indicates that the FBI is not hiding anything significant about Ferrie, and thus deprives Garrison of an excuse to talk about governmental secrecy, etc. Lane is smart enough to realize this, and no doubt decided that the best thing would be simply not to show the Lifton material to Garrison at all." (November 3, 1967.) "I saw Lane later in the afternoon, and we more or less agreed to stop the feud. I told him, however, what it was that concerned me more than anything: some of the files, which I was supposed to be in charge of, were something of an embarrassment to me. The Ferrie file contains no evidence that Ferrie knew Oswald, which is the relationship which the investigation was originally predicated on. The Ferrie file is, in fact, simply a report on a negative investigation. Under the circumstances then, it was somewhat embarrassing to have outsiders like Gary Sanders coming round reading the file. Lane reacted as though he appreciated my problem and then said: "Well, in [the] future, if anyone looks at the Ferrie file, just tell them that the important material from it has been put into a confidential file somewhere." By saying this, of course, Mark Lane was acknowledging the lack of basis for the investigation." (November 4, 1967.) "When I arrived in the office in the morning, Steve Burton was already there, going through some of the files in my office. Evidently Ivon had let him in. Of course, most of the sensitive files (Shaw, Bradley, Thornley) are not there, but in Louis Ivon's office. Burton had, however, made a bee line for the next most interesting file -- Ferrie (actually two files on Ferrie). He had looked through them already and was looking at something else. I started to talk to him about something and then he said: "I think it's a good idea not keeping the Shaw file here where people could see it. I notice you have got all the important material withdrawn from the Ferrie file as well." I said nothing, just vaguely nodded. Of course, he had seen the Ferrie file in its entirety." (February 26, 1968.) "Billings feels that Garrison was in possession of important and convincing information implicating Ferrie early on in the investigation -- information which he has never made available to anyone. Billings feels this because Garrison was so positive, so sure, so convincing, about Ferrie. I do not believe this is true for a minute. Garrison has a way of being very sure and very convincing about things on precious little evidence." (March 15, 1968.)
23. Patricia Lambert, False Witness (New York: M. Evans and Co., 1998), p. 132 fn.
24. James Phelan, Scandals, Scamps, and Scoundrels (New York: Random House, 1982), p. 155.
25. Milton E. Brener, The Garrison Case (New York: Clarkson N. Potter, 1969), p. 84.
26. Patricia Lambert, False Witness (New York: M. Evans and Co., 1998), p. 228.
27. Patricia Lambert, False Witness (New York: M. Evans and Co., 1998), p. 228.
28. James Riordan, Stone (New York: Hyperion, 1995), p. 354.
29. Patricia Lambert, False Witness (New York: M. Evans and Co., 1998), p. 201. See Lambert's book for further details. See also the Kennedy Assassination Home Page's article on the subject.
30. Patricia Lambert, False Witness (New York: M. Evans and Co., 1998), p. 201. See Lambert's book for further details. See also the Kennedy Assassination Home Page's article on the subject.
31. Patricia Lambert, False Witness (New York: M. Evans and Co., 1998), pp. 214, 216.
32. James Riordan, Stone (New York: Hyperion, 1995), p. 354.
33. Jim Garrison, On the Trail of the Assassins (New York: Warner Books, 1992), pp. 170-71.
34. James Phelan, Scandals, Scamps, and Scoundrels (New York: Random House, 1982), p. 148.
35. Jim Garrison, A Heritage of Stone (New York: Berkley, 1975), p. 102.
36. Patricia Lambert, False Witness (New York: M. Evans and Co., 1998), pp. 54-55, 206 fn. Jim Garrison, On the Trail of the Assassins (New York: Warner Books, 1992), pp. 134-35.
37. James Phelan, Scandals, Scamps, and Scoundrels (New York: Random House, 1982), p. 162.
38. James Phelan, Scandals, Scamps, and Scoundrels (New York: Random House, 1982), p. 169.
39. Patricia Lambert, False Witness (New York: M. Evans and Co., 1998), pp. 132-35, 284. "But he's crazy": Tom Bethell, The Electric Windmill (Washington, D.C.: Regnery Gateway, 1988), p. 70.
40. Patricia Lambert, False Witness (New York: M. Evans and Co., 1998), p. 279.
41. Patricia Lambert, False Witness (New York: M. Evans and Co., 1998), p. 225.
42. Patricia Lambert, False Witness (New York: M. Evans and Co., 1998), p. 177.
43. Patricia Lambert, False Witness (New York: M. Evans and Co., 1998), p. 45.
44. Patricia Lambert, False Witness (New York: M. Evans and Co., 1998), p. 45.
45. Gerald Posner, Case Closed (New York: Random House, 1993), p. 426. Milton Brener concurs: "He wouldn't worry about whether the charges were true or not. The press just loved him. When he made public statements, his only concern was whether it was going to get him a headline." (Ibid.)
46. Patricia Lambert, False Witness (New York: M. Evans and Co., 1998), p. 115. Dialogue nominally reconstructed.
47. Harold Weisberg, Oswald in New Orleans (New York: Canyon, 1967), p. 370. Emphasis added.
48. Edward Jay Epstein, The Assassination Chronicles (New York: Carroll and Graf, 1992), p. 247.
49. Gus Russo, Live by the Sword (Baltimore: Bancroft, 1998), p. 407.
50. Patricia Lambert, False Witness (New York: M. Evans and Co., 1998), pp. 89, 225-26, 232-42. Sources for Garrison's investigation of the assassination as a conspiracy of sexual deviants include Richard Billings's journal and James Phelan, "Rush to Judgment in New Orleans," The Saturday Evening Post, May 6, 1967.
51. Patricia Lambert, False Witness (New York: M. Evans and Co., 1998), p. 232.
52. Patricia Lambert, False Witness (New York: M. Evans and Co., 1998), p. 232.
53. Patricia Lambert, False Witness (New York: M. Evans and Co., 1998), p. 233.
54. Patricia Lambert, False Witness (New York: M. Evans and Co., 1998), p. 233.
55. Patricia Lambert, False Witness (New York: M. Evans and Co., 1998), p. 233.
56. Patricia Lambert, False Witness (New York: M. Evans and Co., 1998), p. 234.
57. Patricia Lambert, False Witness (New York: M. Evans and Co., 1998), p. 234.
58. Patricia Lambert, False Witness (New York: M. Evans and Co., 1998), p. 235.
59. Patricia Lambert, False Witness (New York: M. Evans and Co., 1998), p. 235.
60. Patricia Lambert, False Witness (New York: M. Evans and Co., 1998), p. 236.
61. Patricia Lambert, False Witness (New York: M. Evans and Co., 1998), p. 236. Chandler became disillusioned with the DA in the mid-Sixties, however, when he took note of Big Jim's consistent pattern of avoiding investigations into organized crime, which had long been prevalent in New Orleans.
62. Patricia Lambert, False Witness (New York: M. Evans and Co., 1998), p. 226. As Lambert notes, Garrison's mistreatment of his wife, Elizabeth, was widely reported, and ranged from throwing a drink in her face in a restaurant to reports that he abused her physically. (Lambert, p. 231.) "I did get mad at my wife one time in public," Garrison admitted to journalist Art Kevin. "Doesn't every husband and wife get that way sometime?" (Art Kevin, "The Jolly Green Giant: A Look Back at the Case against Clay Shaw by DA Jim Garrison," Kennedy Assassination Chronicles, Vol. 3, No. 2.)
63. James Riordan, Stone (New York: Hyperion, 1995), p. 357.
64. Anthony Summers, Conspiracy (New York: Paragon House, 1989: 1992 update), "Update . . . November 1991": unnumbered front matter, first page.
65. Anthony Summers, Conspiracy (New York: Paragon House, 1989: 1992 update), "Update . . . November 1991": unnumbered front matter, fourth page.
66. Gerald Posner, Case Closed (New York, Random House, 1993) pp. 453-54.
67. Sylvia Meagher, Accessories After the Fact (New York: Vintage, 1992), pp. 456-57.
68. Howard Roffman, Presumed Guilty (Cranbury, New Jersey: A. S. Barnes & Co., 1976), pp. 28-29.
69. Peter Noyes, Legacy of Doubt (New York: Pinnacle, 1973), pp. 108-09.
70. Peter Noyes, Legacy of Doubt (New York: Pinnacle, 1973), p. 111.
71. Peter Noyes, Legacy of Doubt (New York: Pinnacle, 1973), p. 114.
72. Peter Dale Scott, Paul L. Hoch and Russell Stetler, eds., The Assassinations: Dallas and Beyond (New York: Vintage, 1976), pp. 296-300.
73. Peter Dale Scott, Paul L. Hoch and Russell Stetler, eds., The Assassinations: Dallas and Beyond (New York: Vintage, 1976), p. 9.
74. Michael L. Kurtz, Crime of the Century (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1993), p. xiii.
75. David E. Scheim, Contract on America: The Mafia Murder of President John F. Kennedy (New York: Shapolsky, 1988), p. 48.
76. Henry Hurt, Reasonable Doubt (New York: Henry Holt & Co., 1985), pp. 276-77.
77. Henry Hurt, Reasonable Doubt (New York: Henry Holt & Co., 1985), p. 278.
78. Harrison Livingstone, Killing the Truth (New York: Carroll & Graf, 1993), p. 535.
79. Harrison Livingstone, High Treason 2 (New York: Carroll & Graf, 1992), p. 509.
80. Harrison Livingstone, High Treason 2 (New York: Carroll & Graf, 1992), p. 511.
81. Bill Marvel, "Oliver's Twist," Dallas Morning News, December 27, 1991; Stone and Sklar, p. 327.
82. G. Robert Blakey and Richard N. Billings, Fatal Hour: The Assassination of President Kennedy by Organized Crime (New York: Berkley, 1992), p. 53.
83. G. Robert Blakey and Richard N. Billings, Fatal Hour: The Assassination of President Kennedy by Organized Crime (New York: Berkley, 1992), p. 193.
84. F. Peter Model and Robert J. Groden, JFK: The Case for Conspiracy (New York: Manor, 1976), p. 47.
85. Gaeton Fonzi, "The Kennedy Assassination: Stepping on Stone: Who Can You Trust?" Gold Coast, April 1992; Stone and Sklar, p. 500.
86. Martin Shackelford, newsgroup post, June 5, 2000.
87. Mark Lane, "Fact or Fiction? The Moviegoer's Guide to the Film JFK," Rush to Judgment (New York: Thunder's Mouth, 1992), p. xxxi.
88. Mark Lane, "Fact or Fiction? The Moviegoer's Guide to the Film JFK," Rush to Judgment (New York: Thunder's Mouth, 1992), p. xxxii.
89. Mark Lane, "Fact or Fiction? The Moviegoer's Guide to the Film JFK," Rush to Judgment (New York: Thunder's Mouth, 1992), p. xxxiii.
90. Milton E. Brener, The Garrison Case (New York: Clarkson N. Potter, 1969), p. 226.
91. Numerous examples are collected in Oliver Stone and Zachary Sklar, JFK: The Book of the Film (New York: Applause, 1992).
92. Patricia Lambert, False Witness (New York: M. Evans and Co., 1998), p. xviii. The speech is printed in Oliver Stone and Zachary Sklar, JFK: The Book of the Film (New York: Applause, 1992), pp. 403-07.
93. "Fax to Jean Horton Garner, Senior VP and Co-Producer of the History Channel special based on Patricia Lambert's book False Witness, from Oliver Stone," August 16, 2000.
94. "Fax to Jean Horton Garner, Senior VP and Co-Producer of the History Channel special based on Patricia Lambert's book False Witness, from Oliver Stone," August 16, 2000.
95. George Lardner, Jr., "On the Set: Dallas in Wonderland," Washington Post, May 19, 1991, reprinted in Oliver Stone and Zachary Sklar, JFK: The Book of the Film (New York: Applause, 1992), p. 192, cited in Patricia Lambert, False Witness (New York: M. Evans and Co., 1998), p. 213.
96. Robert Sam Anson, "The Shooting of JFK," Esquire, November 1991, reprinted in Oliver Stone and Zachary Sklar, JFK: The Book of the Film (New York: Applause, 1992), p. 223.
97. Oliver Stone and Zachary Sklar, JFK: The Book of the Film (New York: Applause, 1992), p. 116.
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