Transcribed and annotated by Dave Reitzes
This is a complete transcript of the NBC News White Paper on Jim Garrison's probe into the John F. Kennedy assassination, originally aired on June 19, 1967. Hosted by Frank McGee, the broadcast incorporated film footage edited from NBC's interviews with numerous witnesses, as well as footage from other sources, such as NBC's New Orleans affiliate, WDSU-TV, and a BBC television interview with Jim Garrison.
FRANK McGEEMany Americans doubt the findings of the Warren Commission. Only one American has had and used legal powers to investigate these findings. That one is Jim Garrison, the District Attorney of New Orleans. His investigation has made headlines for four months. This is an examination of that investigation.
ANNOUNCERThe JFK Conspiracy: The Case of Jim Garrison. Reported by Frank McGee.
FRANK McGEEFour months ago, Jim Garrison said he had positively solved the assassination of John F. Kennedy. He said a man named David Ferrie was under surveillance. When Ferrie died suddenly, he called him one of history's most important figures. On March 1st he arrested a New Orleans businessman named Clay Shaw and charged him with participation in the conspiracy. He said there would be more arrests, a considerable number of them. He said the key to the case is through the looking glass; black is white, white is black.
We have no right to pre-judge Jim Garrison's case. We can legitimately examine his record up to now. Our starting point is the pre-trial hearing of Clay Shaw. Garrison had two key witnesses. The first was a twenty-six-year-old insurance salesman named Perry Raymond Russo. Russo testified that in September 1963, he'd gone to a party in David Ferrie's apartment. Among the guests were several Cubans, Ferrie's bearded roommate, and a man named Clay [sic] Bertrand. Later, when the other guests had left, he found himself alone with Ferrie, the roommate, who he identified as Lee Harvey Oswald, and Bertrand. But despite his presence, they began to discuss openly and in detail a plan to assassinate President Kennedy. Russo was asked if Bertrand was in the courtroom. He said, yes. He was asked to point out Bertrand. He got up from the witness chair, walked over to the defense table, and held his hand over the head of Clay Shaw.
Garrison's second key witness was Vernon Bundy, a twenty-nine-year-old narcotics addict. Mainly on the testimony of Russo and Bundy, a three-judge panel decided that there was sufficient evidence to establish probable cause that a crime had been committed.
In answer to criticism of his witnesses, Garrison pointed out that it was hard to find bank presidents at the scene of this conspiracy. He defended Vernon Bundy:
INTERVIEW OF JIM GARRISON (FILM)The question is, is he telling the truth or not? There are many attorneys who are brilliant liars, and there are dope addicts who have never learned to lie. And that's the case here. The question is, was he telling the truth, and the answer is, obviously.
FRANK McGEEVernon Bundy has been a narcotics addict since he was thirteen. He has a police record. On March 4, 1967, according to Jim Garrison, Bundy turned himself in to New Orleans Parish Prison because he was back on the habit. Bundy says he was first interviewed by Garrison's men the day before he testified.(1)
Two former prisoners told NBC News Bundy had indicated to them that his testimony that he had seen Shaw and Oswald together was not true.
John Cancler, known as "John the Baptist":
INTERVIEW OF JOHN CANCLER (FILM)Q. What is your profession, Mr. Cancler?
A. You mean, what was my profession?
A. I was a burglar.
Q. You were in Parish Prison on this burglary rap.
Q. And did you meet a man named Vernon Bundy there?
A. I found out later his name was Vernon Bundy. See, I didn't know what his name was until I read the paper. I only knew him as "Legs."
Q. What did "Legs" tell you up there?
A. He just said, "I wonder whether I should say I saw him on Esplanade or I saw him on the lakefront." I said, "Man, it's getting bad if you start talking to yourself, too." You know, like some of these guys will stir bug, you know. He said, "No, man." He said, "I'm talking about this cat, Shaw." I said, "What you talking about, man?" He said, "Man, I don't know whether it's best for me to say I saw him on Esplanade Street or the lakefront."
Q. Did Bundy indicate to you whether the story that he was going to tell in court was true?
A. Did he [indicate]? How could he indicate when he would ask me, should he say this or should he say that? If it was the truth, he would know what to say.
Q. It was obvious from what he told you that he was going to tell a lie then?
A. He told a lie.
Q. Did he tell you it was a lie?
A. Sure. I asked him, "Man, is this the truth?" He said, no. He said, "No, it's not the truth."(2)
FRANK McGEEAlso in Parish Prison at the time Bundy testified was Miguel Torres, serving a nine-year sentence for burglary. He met Bundy in a prison hospital.
INTERVIEW WITH MIGUEL TORRES (FILM)Q. What did he tell you about his testimony that day?
A. He says, "Well, that's the only way that I can get cut loose." I asked him, how much time did he owe that state. He said he owed the state five years; he was out on five years probation. And then I said, "Well, that's a hell of a thing to be doing in order to do what you want to do." He says, "Well, the reason I am doing this is, it's the only way I can get cut loose."
Q. In other words, he said to you, in effect, that he was testifying as he was in the Shaw hearing in order to prevent his probation from being revoked, is that right?
A. From being violated, yes, sir.
Q. Did you get the impression that he knew that his testimony in the hearing had been false?
A. Well, just exactly how I said. He said, "The reason I am doing this is because it's the only way I can get cut loose." And the impression I got was that: that it was [an] out-front lie.(3)
FRANK McGEEJim Garrison told a BBC reporter he uses what he calls objectifying tests to make sure his witnesses are telling the truth. One such test is the polygraph, or lie detector. On the morning he testified, Vernon Bundy was given a lie detector test. NBC News has learned that the results of the test indicated that Bundy was lying. Assistant District Attorney Charles Ward was informed of this, and Ward went to Garrison. He told Garrison that in view of the outcome of the lie detector test, the indication that Bundy was lying, Bundy should not be allowed to testify. Despite this, Bundy was put on the witness stand by Garrison. He testified against Shaw. Partly as a result of that testimony, Shaw was held for trial.
More important than Bundy was Perry Russo. He was, in fact, vital to Garrison's case. He linked Shaw, Ferrie, and Oswald; he involved them in the conspiracy to kill John F. Kennedy. Well, how did he come into the case? By his own account, he wrote a letter to Jim Garrison, saying he had some information about David Ferrie's connection with the assassination of President Kennedy. This was on February 22, 1967. That same week he was interviewed by a reporter from the NBC affiliate in Baton Rouge:
INTERVIEW WITH PERRY RUSSO (FILM)Q. What kind of remarks did David Ferrie make about the assassination to you?
A. Toward the end of September, October, I saw him on several occasions, and he brought out the fact, in passing remarks -- whether or not it had any real meaning, I don't know, and I'm not trying to add words to his meaning -- but he said that "we will get him," referring to the President, 'cause we were in elaborate discussions concerning the President. He said, "We will get the President," referring to Kennedy.
FRANK McGEEIn his first public interview, Russo mentioned no party at Ferrie's apartment, no assassination plot, no Clay Shaw or Clay Bertrand. Next he talked to a reporter from WDSU-TV:
INTERVIEW WITH PERRY RUSSO (FILM)Q. [Fades in] . . . at all with the assassination in any way?
A. Well (clears throat), uh, see, that I don't know, and I, you know, it'd be just speculative, speculation.
Q. Did he ever mention Lee Harvey Oswald's name?
Q. No conversation at all about --
A. No, I had never heard of Oswald until the television of the assassination.
FRANK McGEETwo weeks later he would testify at the hearings. He would positively identify Lee Oswald and Clay Shaw. He would describe in detail the party which they were present. He would tell about a plot to kill the President. What had happened?
We know that Russo was visited in Baton Rouge by one of Garrison's assistants, Andrew Sciambra. We know that he spent time on at least three occasions with a man from Garrison's office. And we now know some additional facts. Jim Phelan covered the conspiracy story for the Saturday Evening Post. Nine days before the hearing he met Jim Garrison in Las Vegas. He spent ten hours with Garrison, discussing the case.
INTERVIEW WITH JIM PHELAN (FILM)Q. Did he give you any documents to read in connection with this?
A. Yes, he gave me two documents. One of them was a long memorandum written by Mr. Garrison's first Assistant District Attorney, Andrew Sciambra, which recounted a[n] interview that he had had with Perry Russo in Baton Rouge. This is the first interview that anyone from the DA's office had had with Perry Russo.
Q. And what was the second document?
A. The second document was a hypnotic interrogation of Russo. I believe it was four days after the first interrogation.
Q. Did Russo tell the same story in both of these documents?
A. He did not.
Q. As a witness, Russo said he was at a party at David Ferrie's apartment, and present when Ferrie, Clay Shaw, and Lee Harvey Oswald plotted to kill President Kennedy. Did he tell this story in his first interview?
A. He said nothing whatever about a party or a plot in the first interview.
Q. Was he able to identify Oswald?
A. They made an identification after they sketched a series of beards on the picture of Lee Oswald. I think they drew eighteen or twenty of them before he finally came up with the identification.
Q. Was Russo shown a picture of Clay Shaw?
A. Yes, he was.
Q. Did he identify the picture of the man he knew to be Clay Shaw as Clay Bertrand?
A. He did not. He simply said he'd seen the man.
Q. How many times -- ?
A. He said he'd seen him twice.
Q. And where had he seen him?
A. He saw him once when Kennedy was visiting New Orleans to dedicate the Nashville Wharf, and the second time he said he saw this man was in a car with Dave Ferrie.
Q. Did he mention seeing him at a party in Ferrie's apartment, where people had plotted to kill Kennedy?
A. He said nothing about it. In fact, he said specifically that he had seen him twice, and he said specifically the two times.
Q. When did Russo first describe the details he testified to at the pre-trial hearing?
A. He first mentioned the plot and the party and the presence of Shaw, Oswald, and Ferrie in a deep hypnotic trance, when he was hypnotized by Dr. Esmond Fatter.
Q. Did he remember Shaw and an assassination plot immediately under hypnosis?
A. He did not. He volunteered no information about the party or the plot.
Q. When did he begin to remember?
A. He began to remember when Dr. Fatter asked him a series of leading questions. Well, I would say it went beyond that. Dr. Fatter set the stage for him. He told him that he would be present in Ferrie's' apartment, and that Shaw and Oswald would be there, and they would be discussing assassinating someone. And then Dr. Fatter says, now tell me about it.
Q. Am I correct in reading this from the record: Dr. Fatter saying, quote, "Anytime you want to you can permit yourself to become calm, cool, and collected. You will be amazed at how acute your memory will become in the next few weeks."
A. That is correct.
Q. How did Perry Russo appear when you saw him testify?
A. He was calm, cool, and collected.
INTERVIEW WITH JIM GARRISON (PANORAMA, BBC)Q. Why do you feel that you had to use extraordinary methods like truth drugs and hypnotism to get these people to give their evidence?
A. We decided to give him objectifying machinery to make sure he's telling the truth. We gave him truth serum in order to make sure. Now, it seems to me that this is rather unusual, a prosecuting office which has a pretty good case, making its witness take objectifying tests to make sure they're telling the truth. We did it for this reason. We used hypnosis for the same thing. Just to make sure he's telling the truth.
FRANK McGEEDr. Jay Katz is Associate Professor of Law and Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology at Yale. We showed him the stenographic transcripts of two of Dr. Fatter's hypnotic sessions with Perry Russo.
INTERVIEW WITH DR. JAY KATZ (FILM)Q. Doctor, how reliable, in your view, are sodium Pentathol and hypnotism as a means of reaching the truth?
A. There's a very widespread belief that under hypnosis and under sodium Amytol, subjects will tell the objective truth. But under hypnosis, at least a great many subjects may have greater difficulty to differentiate between fact and fantasy.
Q. Dr. Katz, does it appear to you that some of the questions by the interviewer questioning Perry Russo suggest the answers?
A. I wondered about this, and I was very much struck that on many occasions, the hypnotist introduced very leading questions. This was most striking, if I can use one example, when he directly asked him, or, in fact, not even asked him, but told him to tell him about the conversation that took place with respect to an assassination plot.
Q. Would you comment on [whether] the manner in which the interviews with Perry Russo were conducted made it more rather than less difficult to separate fact from fantasy?
A. Yes, he made no attempt, as far as I can see, to press further, and at least attempt to find out what was fantasy and what was reality.
Q. Then you don't feel that there was sufficient questioning to find out whether Russo was, in fact, telling the truth, or was distorting the truth?
A. That is quite correct. This is also very, very difficult, but one at least can make an attempt, and this attempt was not made in this case.
INTERVIEW WITH JIM PHELAN (FILM)Q. Did you ever talk to Garrison about the discrepancies in his reports?
A. After the hearing in which Mr. Shaw was held at trial, I called Garrison, and I said, "Jim, there's something bothering me deeply." So he said, "Well, I'll get Sciambra out here." And he called him right away on the phone, and he had him come out to his home. He also had his chief investigator, William Gurvich, and the four of us sat there in Garrison's study, and I put this to Sciambra. I said, "There's nothing in your original interrogation about, one, Shaw knowing Oswald, Shaw knowing Ferrie, about the man you identified as having seen, about knowing him as Bertrand, or about a party at Ferrie's apartment, in which they discussed the assassination. In fact, all of the things that were so damaging to Shaw were not in the original report."
Sciambra first told me that I didn't know what I was talking about, because Mr. Sciambra didn't know that I had a copy of this report. And then I told him that I had the copy of it, and I'd read it many times. And at this point, Mr. Sciambra changed his story, and he said, well, maybe he had left it out of the report. That he had written the report under trying circumstances, and he'd been doing a number of things, and he might have forgotten to put it in. And I told him I simply couldn't believe this.
The next day I thought, well, at least if Sciambra were telling a straightforward story, that he would have mention of the crime in his original notes. He might have left it out of the report, but he at least would have taken it down when he was talking to Russo, because he took detailed notes. So I went back to Sciambra, and I asked him, I said, "Where are your original notes? We can settle this quickly." Mr. Sciambra told me he had burned his notes.
FRANK McGEESciambra says Phelan's story is incomplete and distorted.
To objectify the testimony of Perry Russo, whom Garrison described as a very stable young man, Russo was submitted to sodium Pentathol, hypnotism, and, on March 8th, six days before he testified, to a lie detector test. NBC News has learned the following facts about this test. Russo's answers to a series of questions indicate, in the language of the polygraph operator, deception criteria. He was asked if he knew Clay Shaw; he was asked if he knew Lee Harvey Oswald. His "yes" answers to both of these questions indicated deception criteria. Russo's general reaction to this series of questions led the polygraph operator to suspect a psychopathic personality. At least one investigator and one assistant district attorney in Garrison's office were present. The list of questions was taken away from the polygraph operator. He was told not to say anything.
Despite the incomplete test, the preliminary indications of deception criteria, six days later, Russo was put on the stand as the chief witness against Clay Shaw.
The core of his testimony was his description of a party sometime in September 1963. He said Ferrie, Oswald, and Shaw were there. Russo also said several of his friends were present in the early part of the evening: Sandra Moffett, Kenny Carter, Lefty Peterson. We talked with Lefty Peterson:
INTERVIEW WITH LEFTY PETERSON (FILM)Q. [fades in] . . . David Ferrie?
A. Yes, sir, I do.
Q. And how did you meet Ferrie?
A. I met him at Perry's house.
Q. Did you see David Ferrie at any other time?
A. I seen [sic] him twice since then. I seen [sic] him once on Louisiana Parkway. I went to his house with Perry and some other people. About four of us stopped in. We stayed for about 20 or 25 minutes and left.
Q. All of you left?
A. No, Perry stayed there, I think. He didn't leave.
Q. When was this?
A. September 1963.
Q. Describe that occurrence.
A. We was [sic] coming from some kind of sports event, football game, I think.
Q. Do you remember who played?
A. No, sir.
Q. Was it a Tulane game?
A. Yes, sir, a Tulane game, yes, sir.
Q. You're pretty sure it was a football game?
Q. What makes you think it was September?
A. It was the first game of the season, either the first or second game of the season, one of the two.
FRANK McGEETulane played two games that year, one October 4, the other September 20. Under hypnosis, Russo said the party took place September 16. Under oath, he said the party took place sometime, he wasn't sure when, in mid-September. Kenny Carter remembers going to a game with Russo, he thinks it was the Miami game on October 4th.
The date is crucial. Is it possible that Lee Harvey Oswald could have been present, wearing a beard and looking like a beatnik, on those dates? If not, Garrison's hearing case collapses. Where was Lee Harvey Oswald on September 20th?
INTERVIEW WITH RUTH PAINE (FILM)Q. [When you] arrived in New Orleans, do you remember the date?
A. Yes, I think I do. I think it was the 20th of September. That would be, was a Friday.
Q. How long were you there?
A. Over the weekend, left Monday.
Q. Where did you stay when you were in New Orleans?
A. At their apartment [Lee and Marina's].
Q. And can you tell me whether or not Lee was living at home all of the time he was staying there, evenings?
A. Oh, yes, he was. He was there the entire time.
INTERVIEW WITH JESSE GARNER, OSWALD LANDLADY (FILM)Q. In September of 1963, did you see Lee Harvey Oswald often or did you hear him in the house?
A. Well, I used to hear him in the house all the time. I mean, him and his wife used to do a lot of arguing, and the baby would start crying. That's how I knew he was home.
Q. When would you say Lee Harvey Oswald left the apartment?
A. Well, I know he left the same night that his wife left that day. Now, whether it was the 24th or the 25th, I don't remember exactly. But that same day his wife left, he left that night.
FRANK McGEETwo witnesses say Lee Harvey Oswald could not have been living with David Ferrie on September 20th; Oswald was living at home in New Orleans on September 20th.
On October 4th, the date of the Miami-Tulane game, he was in Dallas. He registered with the YMCA. He called Ruth Paine on the telephone. At two in the afternoon, he was interviewed for a job by Ted Gangel of the Padgett Printing Corporation.
Could he have been Ferrie's roommate at any time in September 1963?
INTERVIEW WITH LEFTY PETERSON (FILM)Q. You arrived at the party at David Ferrie's house. Who answered the door?
A. His roommate.
Q. Describe his height, his general build, and . . .
A. He's about 6 or 6'1", about 170 pounds, I'd say. 165, 170 pounds.
Q. Was he quite a bit taller than you?
A. Oh, yeah, he was taller than me, yeah.
Q. How tall are you?
Q. So how much taller than you would he have been?
A. About two or three inches.
FRANK McGEELee Harvey Oswald was exactly five feet, nine inches tall, exactly as tall as Lefty Peterson.
Russo, in trying to identify the roommate with the beard, said Peterson, quote, "would know more about the roommate and be able to identify him."
INTERVIEW WITH LEFTY PETERSON (FILM)Q. [fades in] . . . to you and I'm going to see if you think this fits the description of the man you saw in David Ferrie's apartment. I'm quoting Perry Russo. He said the roommate had sort of dirty blond hair and a husky beard, which appeared to be a little darker than his hair. He said the guy was a typical beatnik. He said the roommate appeared to be in his middle twenties. Would that description fit the man that you saw that night?
A. Just about, yes, sir.
INTERVIEW WITH JESSE GARNER (FILM)Q. I'm going to read a description given by Perry Russo of a man that he saw in the apartment of David Ferrie. He described this man as having a bushy beard, being cruddy -- very, very dirty. In your opinion, could that description have fit the Lee Harvey Oswald that you knew?
A. I don't see how that would fit him, because I've never seen him like that."
INTERVIEW WITH RUTH PAINE (FILM)Q. Perry Russo has described David Ferrie's roommate, whom he identified as a man he knew as "Leon Oswald," as very, very dirty, a typical beatnik, with a husky beard. Do you recall whether Lee Oswald was clean-shaven or had a beard?
A. When I came to New Orleans, about September 20th, he was clean-shaven then, and I never saw him with a beard. I don't believe he had one, to my knowledge. I think Marina would have mentioned it. And he was also neat when he dressed, and clean, it seemed to me. I just feel that Mr. Russo must have seen someone else that he thinks was Lee Oswald.
INTERVIEW WITH LAYTON MARTENS (FILM)Q. You were, in 1963, from the period of at least September through November, closely associated with David Ferrie?
A. That's correct.
Q. You knew practically everyone associated with him at that time, is that correct?
A. That's correct.
Q. If someone lived in his house for more than two or three days during that period of time, in other words, might have been there long enough to be considered a roommate, would you have known about it?
A. Yes, certainly.
Q. There has been testimony recently about a roommate of Ferrie's who was unkempt or wore a beard. Do any of the people you knew and who knew Ferrie fit this description?
A. James Lewallen could possibly fit that description very well. I remember at that time Lewallen did have some sort of beard, and I wouldn't necessarily call him unkempt, but to some people this might represent being unkempt. But one of the things I've noticed, remembering Lewallen, he bears a striking resemblance to this mock picture of Oswald [sketched by the NODA at Perry Russo's direction].
Q. Could he have been considered a roommate of Ferrie's?
A. Yes, he could have, possibly, I think he and Ferrie did room together sometime maybe prior to that, maybe around that time.
Q. Did you know anyone at the time associated with Ferrie by the name of Leon?
A. Well, Jim Lewallen's last name, sometimes people would address him as, "Hey, Lou," "Lee," or something like that.
FRANK McGEEThe facts are these. Russo said Oswald, dirty and with a beard, was at the party, that he was Ferrie's roommate. He said the party took place in mid-September. He said Lefty Peterson was there. The two possible dates Peterson gives for the party, November [sic] 20th and October 4th, make it impossible for the man to have been Oswald.
Russo speaks of the roommate's beard. People who knew Oswald say he never had a beard. Peterson says the roommate was at least two inches taller than he, which [sic] we knew Oswald was Peterson's height. And we know Russo denied knowing Oswald only three weeks before he testified.
Now, Clay Shaw is not an easy man to forget. If Clay Shaw had been present in a room with Perry Russo, Lee Oswald, and David Ferrie, it seems likely he would have been noticed.
INTERVIEW WITH LEFTY PETERSON (FILM)Q. Did you notice a big man of any description, an older man there?
A. No, sir.
Q. There was no one over forty, say in his forties or fifties, something like that?
A. Just Ferrie.
Q. Did you ever hear the name Clay? First name, Clay?
A. No, sir. Never.
Q. Did you ever hear the name Bertrand dropped?
A. No, sir. Never.
Q. Have you seen Clay Shaw's picture?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Was the man you saw in that picture, was he at that party that night?
A. What, Clay Shaw?
A. I didn't see him.
INTERVIEW WITH CLAY SHAW (FILM)Q. Were you at the time or have you ever been in David Ferrie's apartment?
Q. You've heard of the name Clay Bertrand?
A. I have.
Q. Do you know any such person?
A. I do not.
Q. Can you state whether or not you are Clay Bertrand?
A. I am not Clay Bertrand.
Q. In 1963, did you ever have occasion to meet or know Lee Harvey Oswald?
Q. Did you ever have occasion to meet or know David W. Ferrie?
A. I did not.
Q. Do you have any knowledge of a plot to assassinate President Kennedy?
A. None whatsoever.
FRANK McGEEGarrison has based his case on the certainty that he can prove Clay Shaw is Clay or Clem Bertrand. The name Clem [sic] Bertrand was first introduced by a lawyer named Dean Andrews, who told the Warren Commission a person by that name telephoned him, suggesting he provide legal defense for Lee Oswald. Three years later, Garrison suggested to Andrews that Andrews identify Shaw as Bertrand. Andrews said he told Garrison he wouldn't say if Shaw was or was not Clay Bertrand.
INTERVIEW WITH DEAN ANDREWS (FILM)Q. [fades in] . . . the same as Clay Shaw?
A. You say I identified him. I don't know if I did or I did not.
FRANK McGEESince then, Garrison has taken his former friend, Dean Andrews, before the Grand Jury, where he's been indicted for perjury. Before that happened, Andrews talked with us.
INTERVIEW WITH DEAN ANDREWS (FILM)A. Man, I wouldn't know Clay Shaw if I fell over him on the street dead.
Q. Has the occasion arisen for you to listen to Clay Shaw's voice?
A. Ah, yes, since all this popped up, they had him on TV, so I just shut my eyes and listened to the voice, and that's not the voice.
Q. In other words, you're saying that Clay Bertrand is not Clay Shaw?
A. I'm saying that the voice of Clay Shaw is not the voice that I identify as Clay Bertrand.
Q. Now, you have seen Clay Bertrand on two occasions?
A. Two times.
Q. You have seen Clay Shaw's picture?
A. Since this happened? Many times.
Q. Can you say positively that the person you know as Clay Bertrand is not the person you have seen as Clay Shaw?
A. Scout's honor, he is not.
FRANK McGEEClay or Clem Bertrand does exist. An NBC News reporter has seen him. Clem Bertrand is not his real name. It's a pseudonym used by a homosexual in New Orleans. For his own protection, we will not disclose the real name of the man Andrews knew as Clem Bertrand. His real name has been given to the Department of Justice. He is not Clay Shaw.(4)
What then of Perry Russo's testimony?
WALTER SHERIDAN, NEWS INVESTIGATOR (FILM)In my conversations with Perry Russo, he has stated that his testimony against Clay Shaw may be a combination of truth, fantasy, and lies. He said he wishes he had never gotten into this, but now he feels he has no choice but to go through with it. He said that he's afraid if he changed his testimony, that Garrison might indict him for perjury. He said, suppose Clay Shaw is convicted and gets twenty years, and goes through his appeals, and he's sitting down there in prison. I might just call from wherever I am, and say, "Bring your film crews down; I've got something to say." On one occasion, Russo said, "The hell with truth, the hell with justice." He said, "You're asking me to sacrifice myself for Clay Shaw, and I won't do it."
ANNOUNCERThe JFK Conspiracy: The Case of Jim Garrison will continue after station identification.
FRANK McGEEOnly recently has Jim Garrison revealed the extent of the plot that he says brought about the murder of John F. Kennedy.
INTERVIEW WITH JIM GARRISON (FILM)A. There was a plan in operation in the city of New Orleans, which had entirely different objectives than the killing of the President. That was the last thing on the minds of the people that caused this plan to begin. Lee Harvey Oswald was a part, assigned a role, essentially as decoy. I think I can tell you now that, I know, but I mean, I feel like saying for the first time that we've known for many months that Fair Play for Cuba, which he pretended to be so interested in, was a cover for the operation. Oswald was not a Communist. Oswald was not pro-Castro. And as a result of the operation, which was working here in the summer of 1963, a spinoff occurred, an unexpected change of direction occurred, which, in the fall of 1963, resulted in that lethal apparatus being turned against President Kennedy. And that's what happened, and that's the first time I've ever said it publicly.
FRANK McGEECan Jim Garrison prove his increasingly complicated and far-flung case? Until that case is brought to court before a jury, until the evidence is presented, no one can say. We're concerned here only with examining how Garrison has tried to put together that evidence.
On May 12th, Garrison announced he had discovered the same numbers in notebooks of Oswald and Shaw, which, decoded, was Jack Ruby's private telephone number. This is the number in Oswald's notebook, and this is the number in Clay Shaw's notebook [shown on-screen]. A WDSU reporter asked Garrison to explain the code.
INTERVIEW WITH JIM GARRISON (FILM)Q. Mr. Garrison, in Lee Harvey Oswald's diary, the Warren Report says the number in there is DD 19106. However, you say it's PO . How do you determine that it's PO, sir?
A. Well, just more or less by looking at it.
FRANK McGEEBut Russian language experts looking at the page in Oswald's notebook said that what Garrison called an "O" was, in fact, a Russian "D." And the [name Lee] Odom in Shaw's notebook Garrison's office indicated was a CIA cover. But then a man named [Lee] Odom called Garrison from Irving, Texas. He said that he had business dealings with Clay Shaw. He said that this [PO 19106] was his post office box. He had rented it in 1966. He said that he had no connection with the CIA.
INTERVIEW WITH JIM GARRISON (FILM)Q. Do you still think that the number in Lee Harvey Oswald's notebook is Jack Ruby's phone number?
A. If I thought it possible to communicate with you, I'd answer, but I don't think there's any way . . . [voice trails off]
Q. Well, Mr. Garrison, if the PO box didn't exist until late '65, how could it then be Jack Ruby's phone number?
A. Well, that's a problem for you to think over because you obviously missed the point.
FRANK McGEEIrwin Mann is a cryptographer, a professor of mathematics at New York University.
INTERVIEW WITH IRWIN MANN (FILM)Q. You've examined the numbers found in the notebooks of Lee Oswald and Clay Shaw by Jim Garrison's office, have you not?
A. Yes, I have.
Q. And you've seen the explanation given by Mr. Garrison that they are a code for Jack Ruby's private telephone number?
A. Yes, I have.
Q. Based on your experience with codes and cryptography, how would you assess Mr. Garrison's explanation?
A. I would say that it's just a guess, but I really believe that this is not an encipherment of that telephone number.
Q. Have you ever seen an encipherment like this before?
A. No, I certainly have not. In particular, the reaching of the prefix "WH" from a prefix, "PO," is not even unique.
Q. What do you mean by not even unique?
A. I mean that the fact that the sum of the corresponding digits to the letters in the prefix, being thirteen, does not give only one prefix back when you go to decipher what you have previously enciphered.
Q. You could give any number, then?
A. It could give, in this case, six such prefixes.
Q. So it could be any of six prefixes, and he had arbitrarily selected one which fitted into that [theory]?
A. Essentially, that is what he has done.
Q. In other words, if you have the answer to begin with, you can find a code which works.
FRANK McGEEThe people involved in this case are not, as Jim Garrison likes to point out, bank presidents or presidents of the Chamber of Commerce.
Currently serving a term in the New Orleans Parish Prison is John Cancler, who is a burglar. The story he tells involves two of Jim Garrison's key staff members, Louis Ivon and Lynn Loisel.
INTERVIEW WITH JOHN CANCLER (FILM)A. Mr. Ivon called me up and told me to meet with Mr. Loisel again. He says, "I want you to take a ride with me." Mr. Loisel, he was in a light gray, a light cream Falcon, with an aerial on the back. You know, it wasn't like, like the regular detective car, it was one of those compact cars. So he said, "Do you think you can get in and out of the house without anybody knowing?" I said, "Well, you know I can." I said, "Why," you know. He said, "We might want you to do a job for us." So we proceeded downtown to Dauphine Street, the white house, red door. He asked me if I thought I could get in there. I said, "When I was burglarizing," I said, "I didn't bar nothing." I said, "I can get a --" I said, "What did you want me to do?" He said, "I might want you to plant something, put something in there." I said, "Well, listen, man, are you sure you're not setting me up to be getting in one of those windows and get my head blowed [sic] off?" So he said, "No." I said, "Well, I don't want to go into nothing [sic] with my eyes, you know, closed." I said, "What's this all about?" He said, "I can't tell you." I said, "Well, man, if I'm going to do something, going to be part of [this], I think I've got a right to know." So he said, "Oh, this has something to do with President Kennedy's assassination." I said, "Well, why would you want me to put something in there?" I said, "Man, I'm not going to do it; I don't want anything to do with this." I said, "I don't want to be part of it."
Q. Did he tell you whose house it was?
A. No, no, no, he didn't tell me.
Q. Did you later find out?
A. Sure I did.
Q. Whose house was it?
A. Clay Shaw's.(5)
FRANK McGEE[Fades in] . . . lawyer. Andrews knew Clay Bertrand. Lee Oswald was his client. Garrison was sure he could fill in the gaps in the case.
INTERVIEW WITH DEAN ANDREWS (FILM)Q. Did Mr. Garrison at this point ask you about certain operations across Lake Pontchartrain?
A. [mumbling] . . . across Lake . . . [full voice] Yes, I think we discussed that.
Q. Did he ask you if you knew any of the people involved?
A. I think he did.
Q. What did you tell him?
A. Mannie Garcia Gonzales and Ricardo Davis.(6)
Q. Did you know Mr. Gonzales?
Q. Did you know Mr. Davis?
Q. Where did you get those names?
A. Out of the air.
Q. In other words, these names were fictional, as far as you were concerned?
A. Well, I'm trying to see if this cat's kosher, you know.
Q. So what --
A. So he's kosher, I don't know.
Q. So you just picked two names out of the air?
Q. Now, why did you do that?
A. Well, I don't know what he's up to. He's picking me like chicken, shucking me like corn, stewing me like an oyster. I mean, he ain't put nothing down but air. So I give him two names, see which way he's going.
Q. In other words, you made up two names to see what he was going to do with them?
Q. What did he do with them?
A. I don't know. He hasn't done anything yet.
Q. Well, have you had any occasion to have him talk to you about either of those names?
A. About two weeks ago, on a Saturday, we talked. And then he picks up a weapon with an item number on it.
Q. What kind of weapon?
A. Pistol. Semi-automatic. Black. Probably 7.6 millimeter; I didn't examine it. And he says that Mannie Garcia Gonzales in Miami or someplace down there got busted for carrying a concealed weapon. And I told him Mannie Garcia Gonzales was never busted in his life; I didn't believe it. He put the weapon back down, we talked soem more, and that was it, I left.
Q. Did he tell you this was a gun taken from this man?
A. From a Manuel Garcia Gonzales. Now, I don't know if the Manuel Garcia Gonzales he's talking about is for real, or if the Mannie Garcia Gonzales is the name I pulled out of the air. This I cannot say.
Q. What was your conclusion about that conversation?
A. Well, if it's the Manuel Garcia Gonzales that I told him, he's got the right ta-ta but the wrong ho-ho.
FRANK McGEEWe know that Manuel Garcia Gonzales has not been questioned. But many others have, and many have told us that they've been subjected to pressure to give testimony that would build a case against Clay Shaw. Most would not say so publicly. You're going to hear from some who would. None of them has been paid or received any compensation from us for what he's doing.
INTERVIEW WITH SANDRA MOFFETT McMAINES (FILM)Q. Did anyone from Mr. Garrison's office contact you before this warrant was sworn out yesterday?
Q. What did they ask you?
A. They wanted me to go down to New Orleans to look at some pictures.
Q. Did they try to persuade you in any way? Did they offer you anything?
Q. What --
A. Clothing. They offered me [the] best rooms down there, everything.
Q. Are you afraid to go back to New Orleans?
A. In a sense. Because of my record down there. Afraid of anything else, no.
Q. You mean you're afraid that they'll bring out something from your past?
A. Try to.
INTERVIEW WITH MIGUEL TORRES (FILM)A. A few months back they called me out to the control center at Angola, and there was two district attorney investigators who came to me with some pictures in a briefcase.
Q. Who were they?
A. One of them was Lynn Loisel, and I forgot the other one's name.
Q. Louis Ivon?
A. Yes, sir, I believe that's the name. Well, Mr. Loisel, the way he opened up the conversation, he asked me what was the thing that I wanted the most. I told him, needless to say, my freedom. So he said, I could either be cut loose right away, or I could be made to serve this whole nine-year sentence. The way he said it, the District Attorney, Mr. Garrison, could cut me loose completely. He would say he was a very powerful man, that he could hurt many people, or he could also help them. All depend [sic] on how they cooperated with him.
Q. Now, what happened to you after you came back here to the Parish Prison?
A. Well, he started asking me -- You see, I lived in the 1300 block of Chartres, way back when I first came to the states. And then I lived in [the] 900 block of Esplanade, which puts me in a good position around Mr. Clay's house. And he wanted me to say I had been approached by Mr. Shaw in couple occasions [sic], see. And I refused to say that. I told him, I can't say that.
Q. Approached in what way?
A. Homosexual approach. And he wanted me to say that Mr. Clay Shaw was Clem Bertrand.
Q. Had you ever been approached by anyone meeting that description?
A. No, sir. I have never been approached by anyone like that.
FRANK McGEEWhen he was told what Torres and John Cancler had said, Jim Garrison answered, "I wouldn't dignify those people with an answer."
Alvin Beauboeuf was brought to Washington by us to submit to a lie detector test. We paid for the test, for his expenses, and for his lawyers. We paid nothing more. [Click here to read more of NBC's interview with Alvin Beauboeuf.]
INTERVIEW WITH ALVIN BEAUBOEUF (FILM)Q. Did you actually believe Loisel attempted to bribe you to give him false information concerning President Kennedy's assassination?
Q. Al, I have before me here what is purported to be the transcript of the conversation that was recorded there between your attorney, yourself, and Lynn Loisel. Now, are you prepared to say that basically it's a correct transcription of the conversation that took place?
A. Nothing's been cut. It's accurate to every detail.
Q. I'm going to read you a couple phrases from it, and I'd like to ask you a couple questions about it. This is Lynn Loisel speaking: "And I said the boss is in a position" -- he's speaking to your attorney -- "the boss is in a position to put him in a job, you know, possibly of his choosing. Also, that we would make a hero out of him instead of a villain, you understand. Everything would be to your satisfaction. We can change the story around, you know, enough to positively, beyond a shadow of a doubt, you know, eliminate him into [sic] any type of conspiracy or what have you." Later on he says, and I quote again, "I would venture to say, well, I am, you know, fairly certain we could put three thousand dollars" -- he snaps his fingers -- "just like that, you know. I am sure we'd help him financially. I'm sure we real quick, we could get him a job." Now, is that basically the substance of the offer that was made in front of your attorney at that point by Lynn Loisel?
A. That's correct.
Q. Do you believe he was acting with Garrison's --
A. Yes, my attorney asked him, was Jim Garrison aware of his presence and what he was going to say, and he said, yes.
Q. After the New Orleans District Attorney's Office found out about this tape recording [that] had been made, what happened?
A. They got some pictures of me that they said they would hold over my head if I came out with this. They threatened to give these pictures out like they were going out of style if I come out in the open and said these charges of bribery.
FRANK McGEEThe Deputy New Orleans Police Superintendant cleared Loisel and Ivon of Beauboeuf's charges. He said money had been offered to Beauboeuf, but that the offer did not violate the police code of conduct because historically, police here paid informers. He said he could find no evidence that Beauboeuf had been threatened.
Now, this is Fred Lemanns. He ran a Turkish bath on Canal Street in New Orleans.
INTERVIEW WITH FRED LEMANNS (FILM)Q. [fades in] . . . recently had contact with the District Attorney's Office in New Orleans?
Q. Could you tell me about that?
A. Well, I received a call at my place -- I'm now in business in Slidell -- by a man who identified himself as Mr. Robert E. Lee with the District Attorney's Office in New Orleans. He said he would like to talk to me, but not over the phone. And he wanted to know when it would be convenient to come into the office. He said, did I know Clay Shaw? I said, "Well, I know him." He said, "Did he used to come up to your place?" And I said, "Well, some of the times, yes." And he said, "Did he use the name of Clay Bertrand?" And I told him I couldn't be sure that he'd ever used that name, because I didn't remember names that good, or dates. And he said, well, it would be very helpful to them if I could remember any of that. And I said, "Well, I don't want to get involved in anything like this." I said, "I'm trying to get a lease on a building in New Orleans now, if I can raise the money for it, that I think would make a fine nightclub and private club." And he said, "Well, I'm sure that if you help us, that we can help you, and you will get the place that you want." And then he asked me questions about, couldn't I remember that Clay Shaw had used the name, Clay Bertrand when he came to the baths? And the way he asked it, I figured he wanted a yes, so I told him, yes. And he asked me, was there any other people that Clay Shaw, or they kept saying Clay Bertrand, had come up with? And I said, there's one young fellow. And he said, "Well, would his name have been Lee?" And Mr. Lee said that would be helpful, too. So I said, "Yes, there's one man that he called Lee." So he said, "Well, wait here," he said, "Mr. Garrison should be in on the rest of this." So he brought Mr. Garrison in, introduced him to me. He asked, "With this young fellow, couldn't you remember that he had a goatee, or a little beatnik type [of beard]?" I said, "Yes, I can remember that." And then I told Mr. Garrison right out what my plans were in trying to raise money for this club, what would be a private club here in New Orleans. And he said, well, he was sure that I would get it, and that any way at all he could help me, he would. People that helped him, he took care of them.
Q. Was there any amount of money mentioned?
A. Yes, I told him that I need twenty-five hundred dollars.
Q. What did he say about that?
A. He said that he was sure that I wouldn't have any trouble getting that money.
Q. What happened after that?
A. Then Mr. Garrison said, "Well, we want to get all this down in a statement." He said, "I'll send a stenographer in." Mr. Lee and I sat down to make the statement. Well, I couldn't remember everything, and we started the statement, so Mr. Lee would ask me questions. His questions would be, for instance, if I didn't remember too good, he would say, well, would he have been doing this or that.
Q. The statement was then typed up, was that it?
Q. And you signed it?
A. I signed it, but I did not have it sworn to.
Q. Who was there when you signed it?
A. I believe Mr. Ward was, Mr. Lee, and the stenographer.
Q. And what happened then?
A. The last time I was down there, Mr. Lee told me, he said, well, "Fred," he said, "I'm sure Mr. Garrison is going to do something for you, because he always helps people that help him. But," he said, "anything that has to do with money matters, him giving you money, cannot be done in front of anybody else, because that wouldn't look good." He said, "So you're going to have to just talk to him, person to person. Because that way, why, there are no witnesses to it, whatever deal you two make." So I went on back to Slidell, and I did not call Mr. Ivon. And I got to thinking about this pretty bad, and it just struck me that what they were wanting me to do, the more I thought about it there, it wouldn't be right to swear somebody's life away, or ruin the rest of their life on false testimony, no matter what was offered.
Q. Now, when you say it wasn't true, let's go back, did you ever know Clay Shaw as Clay Bertrand?
Q. When you told them that a young man named Lee came up there with Clay Shaw, that was not true?
A. No, it wasn't.
Q. And they knew it wasn't true?
A. Well, I figured that, too, because Mr. Lee previously had asked me, didn't I remember these different things, and it would be helpful if I remembered them.
Q. But in spite of that, you did put all these things in the statement because you thought that's what they wanted in the statement, and you thought you might be able to help yourself by doing it?
Q. Would you say that all of the pertinent answers you gave them were answers that they suggested to you with leading questions?
A. Yes, definitely. Because otherwise, I wouldn't have known what information they want.
Q. And they told you this statement that you signed is now in Mr. Garrison's private safe?
Q. Are you giving this statement to us freely and voluntarily?
A. Freely and voluntarily. In fact, I have hinted to you that I could use some help, but you've told me frankly there's no way, shape, or form that you can give me any monetary assistance.
Q. Are you willing that we show this on television?
A. Yeah. If it'll help to correct, maybe, the wrong that I've done Mr. Shaw in giving that statement and signing it to Mr. Garrison, why, go ahead.
FRANK McGEEYesterday, Fred Lemanns mailed a letter to Jim Garrison. In it, Lemanns said that the statement he had signed concerning Clay Shaw was not true.
Now, we cannot say that the murder of John F. Kennedy did not happen the way Jim Garrison says it did. We cannot say he does not have the evidence to prove it. We can say this. The case he has built against Clay Shaw is based on testimony that did not pass a lie detector test that Garrison ordered, and Garrison knew it. One prospective witness admitted in advance he was going to lie. Members of Garrison's staff, in trying to strengthen the case against Shaw, have threatened and offered inducements to potential witnesses. The results of this four months of public investigation have been to damage reputations, to spread fear and suspicion, and, worst of all, to exploit the nation's sorrow and doubts about President Kennedy's death.
Jim Garrison has said, "Let justice be done, though the heavens fall. We seek the truth."
So do we. Good night.
ANNOUNCERThe filmed testimony you have seen has been edited. The unedited film is available to any authorized investigator with a legitimate reason to see it.
ANNOUNCER 2This program was produced by NBC News, which is solely responsible for its content.
Read a transcript of Jim Garrison's response to NBC.NOTES
Download an MP3 audio file of Jim Garrison's response to NBC.
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1. Bundy and Garrison were lying; Bundy was actually facing a five-year sentence for parole violation at the time.
2. Attorney Milton E. Brener writes:
To those who admire excellence, John Cancler, commonly known in New Orleans as St. John the Baptist, is an interesting, if not an admirable, character. When asked his occupation, he will respond that he was "formerly" a burglar. But he is too modest. He is generally reputed to be one of the most skilled craftsmen in the business. He has been in many of the finest houses in New Orleans and is not seriously challenged as the most expert burglar in the community.3. Milton E. Brener writes:
St. John the Baptist is a tall, well-built Negro of about forty years. He is smart, glib, and cunning. He has never been known to engage in force or violence, however; his field is stealth, chicanery, and connivance.
In early February 1967, John Cancler was confined in the Parish Prison awaiting trial on a burglary charge. In mid-February he was tried and following a three-day trial, was found guilty by a jury. He had quarreled with his attorney during the course of the trial and he contacted me a few days following his conviction. He wanted me to handle his appeal, which I agreed to do. Some weeks later he repeated to me, as he had to many others, both before and after our conversation, stories which he was later to repeat to a nationwide audience on June 19th on the National Broadcasting Company white paper on the Garrison probe.
According to Cancler, while he was confined in the Parish Prison the first part of February 1967, he was contacted by a certain investigator from the District Attorney's Office who asked him to "do a job for us." The job? Cancler was to get into a house without anyone knowing that it had been broken into. Cancler replied that he could do this, and the investigator drove him to a home in the 1300 block of Dauphine Street in New Orleans. Cancler told the investigator that he could break into the house if the windows were "standard," but he was advised that he could not at that time get out of the car to look.
"What am I supposed to take out of the house?" asked Cancler. He was not to take anything out, advised the investigator. He was supposed to put something in the house. What was it all about? "It has something to do with the assassination of President Kennedy," he was told. Cancler claimed he was frightened by anything ''as big as that" and refused to go through with the plan.
Cancler had still another tale to tell. In mid-March, 1967, about a month following his conviction, he stopped a fight between two inmates in the Parish Prison. One of these was Vernon Bundy. The next day Bundy told Cancler that he thought he knew a way to get out of the Parish Prison where he was being held for parole violation. He spoke of the Clay Shaw hearing then in process. According to Cancler, Bundy asked him if he thought it would sound more plausible to say that he, Bundy, had seen Clay Shaw on Esplanade Street or on the lakefront. Further, according to Cancler, Bundy made it clear that he was planning to testify that he had seen Shaw meeting someone and that he was going to tell the District Attorney about it. He also made it quite clear that the statement he planned on giving the District Attorney was not true.
In June I was asked by certain NBC representatives as to whether I, as Cancler's attorney, objected to him repeating these statements on tape for the television broadcast that was then in the making. I advised the NBC representative, Cancler himself, and the Office of the Sheriff Louis Heyd, that this had no connection to the burglary charge I was appealing and was not my concern.
The NBC telecast was on June 19th and the famed New Orleans burglar had his moment of glory on national television.
In early July I saw a press report that Cancler had been served with a Grand Jury subpoena which commanded his appearance on July 12th. I had not the slightest confidence that either the D.A.'s Office or the Grand Jury was the least bit interested in any information that Cancler could give. I doubted very much that there was any impending indictment of either the DA investigator [Lynn Loisel] or of Vernon Bundy, one of Garrison's star witnesses at the Shaw preliminary hearing. Undoubtedly, another perjury charge was in the offing. [Garrison had filed several against uncooperative witnesses, including another Brener client, Layton Martens.] For Cancler this was doubly serious, for in the event of conviction, he would be a four-time loser and face life imprisonment.
I normally refrain from gratuitous unsolicited advice. Further, I knew that Cancler was undoubtedly as familiar with his privileges against self-incrimination as was I. Nonetheless, I felt that a simple warning to keep quiet was in order.
On July 12th I was in Baton Rouge attending to other business and was not present when Cancler appeared before the Jury. An assistant DA, asked by a reporter if he, the assistant, felt that Cancler could contribute anything to the investigation, replied: "Absolutely not." The incongruity of subpoenaing before the Grand Jury a witness who could contribute nothing to the investigation apparently mattered little to Garrison or his assistants.
Upon returning to the city that night, I was completely dismayed to hear the account of the day's proceedings. Cancler had been asked in the Grand Jury room whether the statement he made on the NBC telecast was true. He responded that on advice from his attorney he declined to answer.
He was then taken before the Judge exercising supervisory authority over the Jury, in this case Bernard Bagert, who was asked by the DA to order the question answered. Judge Bagert so ordered. Cancler again refused, claiming his Fifth Amendment privilege on advice of counsel. Cancler was held to be in contempt and sentenced to serve six months in the Parish Prison and pay a fine of $500 or to serve an additional one year. He was then given another opportunity to answer the question, but persisted in his refusal.
I subsequently applied to the State Supreme Court for extraordinary writs seeking to set aside Judge Bagert's contempt conviction and sentence. In late August Judge Bagert, on his own motions, reconsidered his ruling and dismissed the contempt conviction and sentence.
Whether the alleged incident involving Vernon Bundy happened or not is of very little importance. Whether Cancler was solicited to commit a burglary by one of Garrison's investigators is of considerable importance. His unsupported word is certainly not sufficient proof that he was. Neither, however, are Cancler's background conclusive proof that he was not. No serious investigation of the matter has ever been made. Nor has there been a serious denial. (Milton E. Brener, The Garrison Case [New York: Clarkson N. Potter, 1969], pp. 189-91.)
In late August, some two and a half months after the NBC telecast, Torres was subpoenaed before the Grand Jury. Asked about his statement on the NBC program, he refused to answer. Cancler's previous contempt conviction and sentence was still pending before the State Supreme Court [see note #2], and Judge Bagert, though infuriated at Torres's obstinacy, ordered the attorney for Torres, Burton Klein, and the District Attorney to submit legal memoranda the following week. However, the Grand Jury term expired a few days thereafter and Torres was never called before the incoming Grand Jury. The matter was dropped. (Milton E. Brener, The Garrison Case [New York: Clarkson N. Potter, 1969], pp. 191-92.)Click here for a detailed statement given by Miguel Torres to journalist James Kirkwood following Torres's release from prison.
As Frank McGee notes in the broadcast, there were other witnesses who alleged unethical and/or illegal conduct on the part of DA's office employees. Carlos Quiroga is one such witness who did not appear in the program.
Milton Brener writes:
Carlos Quiroga was contacted intermittently for various reasons by DA investigators following his questioning in the early part of 1967. His next contact of consequence with the DA's office began in mid-April and lasted approximately six weeks.
Quiroga is an intense, fiery, short-tempered individual. His eyes still bristle when he speaks of his escapade with Garrison's office. As he tells his story, the words flow quickly and the anger is obviously deep.
On April 14th he was contacted by a DA investigator. The subject discussed was one of Garrison's favorites, another request for a lie detector test. Quiroga agreed. He already had experience with the DA's Office, however, and spoke first to an attorney. The attorney was loath to advise consenting to the test, but pointed out certain dangers that might be faced from the indictment-happy DA upon refusal. He urged caution. Quiroga finally agreed to the test, but requested by letter that he be given copies of the questions to be asked. He was informed that this would be done.
Quiroga . . . was accompanied to the office [of the polygraph operator] by his wife. The operator informed Quiroga that he could not be allowed to see the questions prior to taking the test [contrary to accepted procedure in polygraph examinations], but Quiroga refused to submit to the polygraph unless he were shown the questions, as agreed. The irritated operator called Garrison and was told to inform Quiroga to take the test at once or that he would be arrested immediately.
Faced with this threat, Quiroga agreed and was then given a routine statement to sign to the effect that the test was taken voluntarily. This he refused to do. A heated argument ensued and the operator informed Quiroga that he would not be given the test and would face arrest unless this statement was signed. Quiroga's wife began crying and the harassed Cuban finally signed the statement and submitted to the test. The following day he made a complaint to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, neither the first nor the last complaint to be made to that Bureau by witnesses in the Garrison probe.
On May 10th Quiroga was subpoenaed to appear before the Grand Jury. Upon arrival at the building, however, he was confronted by an assistant district attorney who bluntly informed him, "You failed the lie detector test." He was also told that he must get a lawyer, for unless he changed his testimony, Garrison said, he would be indicted. Quiroga again consulted with an attorney.
Shortly thereafter, he was again subpoenaed before the Grand Jury, this time for May 24th. Prior to going into the Grand Jury room, he was warned again that unless he testified "truthfully," contrary to previous statements he had given, he would be indicted as an accessory after the fact to the murder of Kennedy, and for perjury. Inside the Grand Jury room Quiroga attempted to take the Fifth Amendment and refused to answer questions. He was heatedly told by Garrison, and by one of his assistants, that he could not, under the circumstances, claim the Fifth Amendment and that he must testify or he would be held in contempt. [Note: Attorneys were not permitted to accompany their clients inside the Orleans Parish Grand Jury room, at least not while Jim Garrison was DA. See Brener, pp. 11, 21, 41.]
After repeated threats, he began to answer questions. Garrison and his assistant wanted brief yes or no answers. But Quiroga does not answer briefly. As they do from many Garrison witnesses, the words flow freely from Quiroga. The argument erupted anew. Garrison finally shouted at him uncontrollably to get out of the Grand Jury room. Quiroga left.
He was subsequently told through his attorney that if he "keeps his mouth shut," he will be let alone. (Brener, pp. 187-88.)
Garrison was never able to pin anything on Quiroga, though not for lack of trying. Two of his most notoriously unreliable witnesses -- and Garrison had many such witnesses -- Jack Martin and David Lewis, tried several times to implicate Quiroga in the assassination. Quiroga demanded to be allowed to confront Martin, who immediately betrayed his lack of reliability when Quiroga began quizzing him about dates that some of Martin's allegations were supposed to have occurred. David Lewis was discredited when he claimed that Quiroga had tried to shoot him; a failed polygraph test prompted the confession that Lewis had made the story up for Garrison's benefit. (Brener, 75-76.)
On one occasion, Garrison "called in Quiroga and left him alone in a room, and the Garrison team brought in a rifle with a telescopic sight and left it in the room for an hour or two. They wanted to see if Quiroga was stupid enough to touch it . . . You cannot imagine what they were willing to do to succeed in their case" (Gerald Posner, Case Closed [New York: Random House], p. 436, citing his personal interview with Carlos Bringuier, March 16, 1992.)
4. McGee is referring to Eugene C. Davis, the individual Dean Andrews claimed called him at the Hotel Dieu Hospital on November 23, 1963. At the trial of Clay Shaw, Andrews clarified that Davis had not called to discuss Lee Harvey Oswald, whom Andrews had no reason to believe Davis had ever met. Andrews affirmed that he had invented the story about being asked to represent Lee Oswald in Dallas. While there is some evidence that Davis may have used the alias, "Clay Bertrand," or some variant thereof (see for example the account of Richard Livesay, a mutual acquaintance of Dean Andrews and Gene Davis), Dean Andrews and Davis both insisted he did not. Andrews explained that he pulled the name, "Clay Bertrand," out of the air, as he recalled it as a name that a mutual acquaintance, Helen "Big Jo" Girt, had once called Davis, apparently in jest.
5. See note #2.
6. This statement appears to reflect some confusion on Andrews's part. One of the organizers of the Christian Democratic Movement (MDC) exile training camp that operated briefly in July 1963 was indeed named Ricardo Davis; Davis had been interviewed by the DA's office in early 1967. Other accounts by Andrews omit Davis's name, stating that Andrews had invented only the name "Manuel Garcia Gonzales" for Garrison's benefit. Chances are, these accounts omitting Davis's name are more accurate.
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