Jim Garrison -- Perjurer
Dave Reitzes



During the 1971 US district court case, Clay L. Shaw v. Jim Garrison et al, Garrison refused to answer many questions put to him and gave numerous answers that are demonstrably false. In fact, some of Garrison's statements are so easily demonstrated false -- such as his claim that David Ferrie was alive at the time Clay Shaw was indicted (Ferrie died on February 22, 1967; Shaw was arrested March 1, 1967, and indicted on March 22) -- that it is impossible to conclude that Garrison was deliberately telling a lie. (See Patricia Lambert's superb book on the Garrison case, False Witness, for more on the Christenberry hearing.)

The same cannot be said for September 22, 1967, when Garrison took the witness stand to testify with regard to the defense's motion to quash the indictment against Shaw. Two questions were asked and answered before Judge Edward Haggerty -- who would later preside over the Shaw trial -- instructed Garrison to answer no further questions, and admonished Shaw's defense counsel, "This is not a pretrial [hearing] on the Shaw case."

The two questions that were asked and answered were: Had Garrison received financial aid from the organization known as Truth and Consequences -- yes, Garrison said he had -- and had Perry Raymond Russo failed several polygraph examinations? No, Garrison replied, "certainly he has not."(1)

Garrison knew perfectly well that Russo had badly failed a March 8, 1967, polygraph examination administered by Jefferson Parish deputy sheriff Roy Jacob, as well as attempts to administer a second test on June 19, 1967, by NOPD polygraph examiner Edward O'Donnell. In fact, Russo had confessed to O'Donnell that he wasn't sure whether he had seen Clay Shaw at David Ferrie's apartment or not, and that if he had to give a direct 'yes or no' answer, he would have to say that, no, Shaw was not at Ferrie's apartment.(2)

When Garrison was informed about Russo's confession, he flew into a rage and accused Russo of selling out "to the CIA" and "to NBC," which had just learned of Russo's failed polygraph of March 8.(3)

Both polygraph examiners were instructed by Garrison's staff (Andrew Sciambra in the case of Roy Jacob, Lynn Loisel and Lou Ivon in the case of Edward O'Donnell) to never mention the examinations to anyone; O'Donnell was instructed not to write a report on the incident. O'Donnell refused to obey this instruction, and promptly wrote a full report, which he hand-delivered to Jim Garrison himself. Later, O'Donnell was called into Garrison's office, along with Perry Russo, James Alcock and Andrew Sciambra. Garrison showed the report to Russo and asked if it was accurate. Russo equivocated until O'Donnell, bluffing, hinted that the polygraph examination might have been tape-recorded. Russo then admitted the report was accurate.(4)

Garrison buried the report and made an unsuccessful attempt to have Edward O'Donnell fired from the NOPD. O'Donnell testified for the defense at the trial of Clay Shaw.(5)

In part four of my article, "Who Speaks for Clay Shaw?" I debunk the Garrison-inspired myth that Clay Shaw perjured himself at trial. Ironically, it turns out to be Jim Garrison himself who is the perjurer.

Had Perry Raymond Russo failed several polygraph examinations? No, Garrison replied, "certainly he has not."


When I posted this at alt.assassination.jfk, another poster demanded I produce "documentation" that Perry Russo failed his polygraph test with Roy Jacob. I responded that there is no documentation, as Big Jim ordered Jacob not to write a report on Russo's polygraph, nor discuss the issue with anyone. Jacob obeyed the first part. No report was written, and Jacob's paperwork on his polygraph examination of Perry Russo was confiscated by Garrison's men. It has never surfaced.

Jim DiEugenio claimed in a personal e-mail to me that William and Leonard Gurvich were responsible for Russo failing the test. DiEugenio cites as "proof" of this certain letters from Jim Garrison, making the same allegation. Were the allegation true, however, Garrison would not have confiscated and destroyed the documentation. Any honest official would have fully documented the circumstances and ordered another examination. The DA certainly would not have denied both to the media and to the Grand Jury, under oath, that Perry Russo had failed such an examination -- as Russo had done twice, with two separate administrators.

"The men who administered both polygraph tests flatly deny that Russo and Bundy(6) failed the test," Garrison told Playboy magazine. But Garrison never produced any documentation to support his claim, and it was polygraph operator Roy Jacob who personally told an NBC reporter that Russo had failed his examination.

Garrison used the exact same tactics with Edward O'Donnell, the second polygraph operator to question Russo. Unlike Jacob, O'Donnell defied Garrison's order not to write a report on his session with Russo; in 1971, Russo admitted that O'Donnell's report was accurate, and there were several witnesses to O'Donnell's 1967 meeting with Garrison, in which he confronted Russo with his report, and Russo did not deny O'Donnell's statements.

Now here's the punchline. According to Jim Garrison's 1988 memoirs, "The lawyers on the special team and I considered using a 'lie detector' test [on Perry Russo], but since such tests are highly imperfect and inadmissible in court we rejected the idea."(7)

If anyone perjured himself during the Clay Shaw proceedings, it was prosecution witness Perry Raymond Russo, who admitted under oath that he lied during the preliminary hearing about the presence of two witnesses at the alleged "assassination party" of September 1963. Later, he confessed in a series of tape-recorded interviews with Shaw's defense team that his entire testimony against Shaw was a lie.

Jim Garrison lied and lied and lied. He did so in his own writings, he did so to the media, he did so to a congressional subcommittee, and he did so under oath.


Back to the top

Back to Reitzes newsgroup menu

Back to Jim Garrison menu



1. New Orleans States-Item, September 26, 1967; Paris Flammonde, The Kennedy Conspiracy (New York: Meredith Press, 1969), p. 240.

2. Edward O'Donnell, Report to Jim Garrison, June 21, 1967, reproduced in full in Patricia Lambert, False Witness (New York: M. Evans and Co., 1998), pp. 287-89, and at the Kennedy Assassination Home Page.

3. Milton Brener, The Garrison Case (New York: Potter, 1970), p. 109; Lambert, pp. 92-3, 114-5.

4. Milton Brener, The Garrison Case (New York: Potter, 1970), p. 109; Lambert, pp. 92-3, 114-5.

5. Shaw trial transcript, February 26, 1969 (2043), pp. 2-20; Shaw trial transcript, February 27, 1969 (2045) pp. 2-3; Brener, 259; James Kirkwood, American Grotesque (New York: Harper, 1992), pp. 401-02; Lambert, 172.

6. Bundy failed a polygraph test administered by James Kruebbe. (Lambert, pp. 100, 102.) Despite Garrison's 1988 claim that "we [Garrison's staff] were satisfied that [Bundy] was telling the truth" (Jim Garrison, On the Trail of the Assassins (New York: Warner Books, 1991), p. 182), in actuality, several Garrison staffers (including James Alcock and Charles Ward) begged their boss not to use Bundy as a witness. (Lambert, pp. 100, 102.)

7. Garrison, p. 177.


Back to the top

Back to Reitzes newsgroup menu


Back to Jim Garrison menu

Back to JFK menu


Search this site
    powered by FreeFind

Back to JFK menu

Dave Reitzes home page  


Dave Reitzes home page