The Clay Shaw trial testimony of Perry Raymond Russo, continued
BY MR. DYMOND:
Q: Now, Mr. Russo, did I understand you to say that this last statement here, "It could have been Banister and Lewallen" was impossible because you didn't know of Lewallen at that time?
A: No, Rick Townley showed me a picture of Lewallen, and I think the District Attorney's Office showed me a picture of Lewallen, but they didn't name anybody, they just showed me pictures.
Q: Did the picture that you were shown have a beard on the face of Lewallen or not?
A: Rick Townley's picture, yes.
Q: Do you recall the picture of Lewallen having been shown to you by me during the preliminary hearing in this case?
A: Oh, yes, you showed it also, right, correct.
Q: So, as a matter of fact, you did know about Lewallen, you did?
A: You did show it to me.
Q: At the time you were talking with Layton Martens?
A: This is '68, right, you are giving me a '68 date, August?
Q: August 17, 1968.
A: You are right.
Q: Now, you say the District Attorney also showed you a picture of Lewallen. Is that right?
A: The District Attorney?
A: Yes, I guess. Now, I am not sure.
Q: Did that picture have a beard on it or not?
A: Well, I have seen so many pictures, I suppose one of those, and there were several with beards on them, several people.
Q: Did the District Attorney ever put a beard on the picture of Lewallen, that is, draw it in and in either ink or pencil?
A: No beards were put on any pictures, and I don't know, no one was identified in the pictures.
Q: The only picture that you saw a beard put on was the picture of Lee Harvey Oswald. Is that correct?
Q: Now, I am referring to the same occasion of your talking with Layton Martens now, Mr. Russo, and I will ask you if you made this statement: "I am afraid to make any move because no matter what move I make, one side or the other will come after me resulting in criminal actions against me."
A: What do you want to know?
Q: Did you make that statement to Layton Martens?
Q: You deny that?
Q: I ask you whether you made this statement: "I was supposed to be given $25,000.00 by Garrison."
THE COURT: When you bring up prior contradictory statements, you have to acquaint the witness of when it was said, to whom it was said, and under what circumstances.
MR. DYMOND: We have done that, Judge.
THE COURT: You haven't been as to who --
MR. DYMOND: All of this is to Layton Martens.
THE WITNESS: I do.
BY MR. DYMOND:
Q: "I was supposed to be given $25,000.00 by Garrison for helping him out, but thus far I have only received $300.00."
A: All right, now, yes, I said that.
Q: You did say that?
A: Yes, and there needs to be a long explanation of that one. Phelan asked me about that, WDSU asked me about that, and Walter Sheridan told me, you know, I was getting money, and I in 1968, when I talked to Layton Martens, I said, "These characters said that, they felt I was getting paid paid off," two rumors, one I was going to get $25,000.00 and the other I had gotten $5,000.00 before and I would get $5,000.00 after the Defendant was convicted, those were the two rumors, but, you know that guy from WDSU had the gall to ask me that, and so if I said that, he just was cutting off the first part of the sentence, I said they said I was getting $25,000.00.
Q: You deny that you told him that you were supposed to be given $25,000.00 by Garrison for helping him out, but that thus far you had received only $300.00?
A: Absolutely. With the understanding that, you know, like I told you I said it.
Q: Now, as a matter of fact, as of that date, had you received $300.00?
A: In August of 1968?
Q: That is correct.
A: During the preliminary hearing I was down here for about -- before the preliminary hearing a little while, right afterwards I was here for about three weeks with no -- doing no work at all, and the District Attorney covered expenses up to $300.00, and twice after that, once with the Dean Andrews trial, while I was on subpoena, and I think the District Attorney's Office, some kind of check for about $45.00 or $50.00.
Q: How long were you here for that time?
A: Four days, I think, four days, and there was only one other time, similar amount.
Q: When was the other occasion?
A: I can't -- a hearing that you were having.
Q: And what was the total amount you received on those occasions?
A: Approximately the same amount, $50.00 or $60.00 or $70.00.
Q: On each occasion?
A: No, two, one was about $50.00 the other was $60.00 or $70.00, and the other before the preliminary hearing for three or four weeks, I missed work, they paid $300.00.
Q: Now, I ask you whether on that same occasion you made this statement to Layton Martens "I am going to California very soon to get away from this."
A: Absolutely, I made that statement. Do you want to know why? I had been planning to go to California since Mr. -- before Mr. Shaw was indicted, I planned to go to California that summer, and there were several hearings of course, and the trial was delayed and I put it off until the next summer, and there were more hearings and the trial was again delayed and I put it off to this coming summer, "to get away from it all," absolutely, but I had every intention of returning.
Q: I want to ask you whether you made that statement to Layton Martens on the same occasion "I am not real sure if they were plotting against Castro or Kennedy."
A: A qualified yes, very qualified.
Q: Did you, first of all, did you make that statement, Mr. Russo, and then you may explain it.
A: Well, all right, yes, let me put it yes and I am going to say no afterwards, and I want to say yes, but it depends, in other words, Ferrie talked about Castro too, you see, and he thought Castro was a good thing in Cuba, but he wanted to replace him, he thought Che Guevera was better and actually what he wanted, he had a long philosophy about that too, and I told Layton Martens, I said they were plotting both to get Castro and Kennedy, and I said of course with these broad generalizations they were talking about, no specifics at all as to when and where, and they were plotting to get Castro too as well as Kennedy.
Q: So actually you told him, you were referring to the night in question on Louisiana Avenue Parkway, weren't you?
A: No, referring to the whole year.
Q: The whole year?
A: The time I knew -- that year intensively during the summer.
Q: Referring to the summer of 1963?
A: '63, right, I mean, Castro was mentioned probably up there at the meeting where the Defendant was, but not a great -- I don't remember anything specifically being said about Castro, but I know days before Ferrie talked about Castro, sometimes he talked about the Gueverian Reform was a good thing, sometimes he talked about the economics of Cuba and sometimes he talked about Castro had to go.
Q: So when you told Layton Martens that you were not sure whether they were plotting to get Kennedy or Castro, you were referring to the summer of 1963 in general?
A: It would probably be the whole thing.
Q: Were you referring to any other time that more than one person got together and planned to kill somebody, and if so, what specific time?
A: No, nobody much talked around Ferrie. He came over and said quite a few things about killing people or killing Presidents.
Q: Now, during the summer of 1963, did you attend any other parties or meetings where there would have been anything that went on that could have been interpreted as a plot to kill anyone?
A: No, except broad generalized remarks that Ferrie made. It was not at a meeting or party or anything else, sometimes he would pass over, and if I happened to be reading or studying or working with the basketball team or anything like that, he might get on the subject.
Q: Now, Mr. Russo, in your statement that you made to Layton Martens, you said you were not sure whether they were plotting to kill Castro or Kennedy, and in using the word "they," you would be referring to more than one person, would you not?
Q: Therefore, you would not have made that reference had you been referring to only David Ferrie having made the statement, would you?
A: Oh, well, I mean if I am including the whole year, surely I would say "they," because we did not break it down.
Q: And your statement referring to the entire summer of 1963 and not knowing whether they were plotting to kill Castro or Kennedy would have included the party up at David Ferrie's house and the meeting that you described which took place after. Is that right?
Q: Now, is it your testimony that you did not know James Lewallen at all?
A: No, I did not.
Q: Mr. Russo, I show you a photograph which I have marked for identification "D-10," purporting to be a photograph of James Lewallen, and I will ask you whether or not that looks familiar to you.
A: No, I have seen a similar photograph.
Q: To your knowledge, have you ever seen the person depicted by that photograph?
Q: I take it you never talked to him either then. Is that right?
A: No, I don't think so.
Q: Now, I show you another photograph which I have marked for identification "D-11," purporting to be a photograph of the same person and ask you whether you recognize the person depicted by that photograph.
A: This, the smaller photograph, D-11, looks like that I could have possibly seen this man, but not "D-10."
Q: Referring to the photograph which I have marked for identification as "D-11," would you say that the hair shown on the individual in that photograph was just about as thick or thicker or not as thick as the hair of the person whom you have described as Leon Oswald?
A: No, I'm not real sure of the differences, it seems that the other hair was messed up -- I couldn't say if it was lighter or heavier.
Q: I am not referring to color, now.
A: No, well, thicker or lighter?
Q: I will ask you the same question concerning the photograph marked for identification, "D-10."
A: This looks a little heavier.
Q: That would be heavier than the hair of Leon Oswald?
MR. DYMOND: If the Court please, in connection with the testimony of this witness, we would like to offer, file, and produce in evidence the two photographs which we have marked for identification "D-10" and "D-11."
THE COURT: Any objection?
MR. ALCOCK: No objection.
THE COURT: Let them be received in evidence.
(Whereupon, the photographs offered by Counsel were duly marked for identification as "Exhibit D-10" and "Exhibit D-11" and received in evidence.)
BY MR. DYMOND:
Q: Did you ever know a man or a boy by the name of Alvin Beauboeuf?
A: No, sir.
Q: Have you been introduced to a person at David Ferrie's house by the name of Alvin Beauboeuf?
A: No, not that I know of, I have only seen one picture of Beauboeuf in the newspaper, and from that picture I don't know.
Q: Would you be willing to state that during the year 1961, the year 1962 and the year 1963, that Alvin Beauboeuf never lived with David Ferrie?
A: Would I be willing to state that?
A: I don't even know him.
Q: During those years, were you in a position concerning your association with Ferrie, to be aware of the fact that a particular individual was living with him?
A: No, I would not be aware of that, no.
Q: During which of those years do you feel that you would have been aware of --
A: Only when he told me. You see, always he had people around him, sometimes he had Spanish people, sometimes younger people, he always had people around, and if you wanted to pick out one of them, this guy is his roommate for six months and this guy is the roommate for the next six months, the only time I ever knew he had a roommate was this guy Oswald.
Q: During the year 1963, considering the frequency of your visiting at David Ferrie's home, do you fell that a person could have been living there with him without your knowing about him, living there for a period of six months or more?
Q: Did you ever know a man by the name of Melvin Coffey?
A: I never seen a picture of him, I have been asked that before.
Q: I take it you never met Coffey in person?
A: Not by name, I haven't seen a photograph that I could really tell you that anyone ever told me this is a photograph of Melvin Coffey. I never heard that name.
Q: Did you know Maurice Brundy?
A: I do now.
Q: Did you know him back in 1963?
Q: Did you know any of Dave Ferrie's friends?
A: Well, they had many worlds, even Layton Martens said that, many worlds they belonged in.
Q: Well, I will be more specific and ask you whether you knew of the friends who frequented David Ferrie's home during the year 1963.
A: Some, not by name, I didn't see them, you know, I would just see people.
Q: Did David Ferrie introduce you to people at his home?
Q: And you don't remember any names?
A: Nobody stuck out, it was just the same crew, if he was over at the house he just was with one or two people most of the time, none of these people ever amounted to anything.
Q: Is it your testimony that you cannot now name one friend of David Ferrie's whom you met at his home other than Leon Oswald and Clem Bertrand and the two Mexicans?
A: There was a young guy named Tommy, it might have been the Tommy that you were referring to, I don't know, that would be about all of the names that I would want to say definitely.
Q: You can't name any others?
Q: You had an open invitation to David Ferrie's house and he had an open invitation to yours?
A: As I stated in the preliminary hearing and what I said to you, of the 20 or 30 times that I was over there, I might have not stayed over five minutes on half of them or two-thirds of them and the other few times I did stay for some period of time.
Q: Have you ever known a man by the name of Guy Banister?
A: I have seen him somewhere, I have seen photographs of the man. I have seen him some- where.
Q: Did you say that you have met Guy Banister, or have you just seen pictures of him?
A: I have seen him but just where I am not familiar it may have been with Ferrie, I don't know.
Q: You can't tell us where you saw him with Ferrie?
A: Well, I am not sure it was with Ferrie, I have seen him somewhere, though.
Q: Mr. Russo, I show you a photograph which I have previously marked for identification "D-1," and ask you whether this is the person you remember having seen as Guy Banister.
A: Well, I mean, I never saw anyone as Guy Banister, but I think I have seen this man, yes.
Q: I show you another photograph of the same individual which I have marked for identification as "Defense 2," purporting to be a photograph of Guy Banister, and ask you whether you have seen that man.
A: Right, I think I have.
Q: I ask you to search your memory and tell us whether it is possible that you can tell us where you saw Guy Banister and under what circumstances.
A: Well, I thought about this for a long time, and I just can't place him, I was thinking politically, perhaps, and I said no, I didn't see him anywhere there, and I thought about Ferrie, and it is possible that I could have seen him with Ferrie, but I am just not sure where I had seen this man before.
Q: Would your memory be able to tell us if you saw him with Ferrie, possibly where he was?
A: If I could remember I saw him with Ferrie, probably I could think of where, I am sure.
Q: Are you unable to do that?
A: I thought about this for sometime, I know I was never formally introduced to him.
Q: Do you recall whether or not this man had a hat or when you saw him?
A: No, I don't recall.
Q: Do you recall whether he had white hair --
A: Whether he had white hair?
Q: He did have white hair. Do you recall approximately how tall a man he was?
A: Oh, no.
Q: Do you recall his approximate build and weight?
A: No, I don't, but I have a feeling, though, I don't want to stand by this, I have a feeling he was in -- might have been in an automobile that I saw him in around the house, I am not going to say that.
Q: Would you be able to recollect as to whether he was a fat man, a skinny man, or a normally-built man?
Q: You would not?
MR. DYMOND: If the Court please at this time, we would like to offer, file, and introduce into evidence the two photographs which have been previously marked "Defense 1" and "Defense 2," but have not previously been introduced.
MR. ALCOCK: They haven't been identified, have they?
MR. DYMOND: They have been identified as photographs of Guy Banister and the witness said he may have seen him with Ferrie.
THE COURT: I will receive them in evidence.
(Whereupon, the documents referred to by Counsel as "Exhibit D-1" and "Exhibit D-2" were received in evidence.)
BY MR. DYMOND:
Q: Mr. Russo, have you ever known an attorney by the name of G. Wray Gill?
Q: Have you ever known an attorney by the name of Jack Wasserman, W-a-s-s-e-r-m-a-n?
A: No, I don't think.
Q: Never had?
Q: Now, getting back to you testimony of yesterday, did you state that you very frequently played basketball up at Tulane and Loyola in the evening?
A: Well, once or twice a week.
Q: And I think you named a group of people with whom you usually played. Is that right?
A: Well, this was over a period of several years, yes.
Q: Would you mind naming these people again?
A: That I played basketball with? Well, Kenny Carter, Joe Cook, Butch Larone was there, King, Louie Gremillion, David Evelyn, my cousin, Lefty Peterson, O.J. Lecour from Tulane.
Q: How about Mike Ogden?
A: Oh, no.
Q: You didn't name him yesterday.
A: That, I was trying to -- let me clear that up so I might be able to explain that. He was in relation to the political stuff, he was a Republican, I knew Mike, that is the only way I knew him. That was about getting involved with the Republicans in late '63 and early '64 when I started getting involved with the Republicans.
Q: Now, Mr. Russo, if you had thought that this was a serious threat on the life of President Kennedy which was hatched up on Louisiana Avenue Parkway, would your loyalty to David Ferrie have prevented your reporting it to the local authorities?
A: Well, I had no loyalty to David Ferrie.
Q: So I take it it would not have prevented your doing so. Is that correct?
Q: Would there have been anything to prevent your reporting it to the local authorities at that time in order to possibly prevent a tragedy, if you had considered this a serious threat, it a serious threat?
A: Right about September, before November?
Q: That is correct.
A: For a while, no.
Q: Would I be fair in explaining your reason for not reporting it by saying that you did not consider this a serious threat to the life of President Kennedy?
A: Well, you don't know how to -- in other words, you could not tell how to take Ferrie, you know, whether it was an academic discussion or whether it was something serious, there was always the key to his personality. Quite a few things he did back up and quite a few things I don't know if he did or didn't, but some of them were so fantastic such as invading Cuba, I couldn't tell if he was going to invade Cuba or not, and my tendency would be to say that he would not, and so, I mean, when it gets down to sitting down and talking with a man and saying if he is serious or not, it's hard to say. I mean, it is just hard to say.
Q: As a matter of fact, I believe Ferrie even made a one-man submarine propelled by paddles which were operated with your hands. Is that correct?
MR. ALCOCK: Objection, that is not in evidence.
THE WITNESS: I don't know if it is, I heard --
MR. ALCOCK: It is assuming something that is not in evidence.
MR. DYMOND: I withdraw that.
BY MR. DYMOND:
Q: Now, I take it then that you didn't know whether they were just shooting the breeze, whether this was a bull session or what it was?
Q: And you just didn't consider it important enough to report. Is that right?
Q: Mr. Russo, referring now again to the Sciambra memorandum, and more specifically to the third paragraph --
A: Page what?
Q: On Page 1, on Page 1, yes, this statement, "Russo said that he and Landry and a small group of other boys used to always pal around together, and that it was common knowledge to everyone that Ferrie was a homosexual, and that Russo and his buddies were trying to alienate Landry from Ferrie." I think you corrected that yesterday by saying that you had never said that Ferrie was a homosexual.
A: I said that Ferrie had never said that, Ferrie --
THE COURT: You said Ferrie never admitted to you --
THE WITNESS: He never stated anything near along those lines, although I didn't go into this, this is not exactly the situation either.
BY MR. DYMOND:
Q: Yesterday you said that you had not said that Ferrie was a homosexual. Isn't that right?
A: I said that Ferrie had not said that.
Q: And are you saying now that Ferrie never admitted to you he was a homosexual?
A: Oh, no.
Q: Never. I refer you to the same Sciambra memorandum on Page 4, approximately 15 lines from the bottom of the page, wherein you have given an account of Ferrie having told you he used an aphrodisiac on his roommate that aroused the roommate sexually and he had intercourse with his roommate. Is that correct?
A: No. The only -- he said it worked like a -- that is the nearest he ever came to saying it, I made a point of this down in New Orleans, probably, the nearest he ever came to saying that, but he didn't say anything about intercourse at all.
Q: Is that another correction?
A: Right down on Page 2, this is the same thing essentially, I figured I corrected that here on Page 2 at the bottom sentence, "He also said that Ferrie essentially confessed to him he used hypnosis for sexual purposes," I said that is not correct, and another thing, on Page 3, "He also admitted to Russo for the first time that he was a homosexual and he wanted to know if Russo would be willing to take a drug," and I said that is incorrect.
Q: That is absolutely not correct?
A: Right, and, you know, I just say that --
Q: Now, this statement which I shall read to you right now, "Ferrie told Russo that he had been trying the aphrodisiac drug on his roommate and it worked perfectly, he said that he and his roommate laid in bed naked and he gave the drug to his roommate and the roommate became very passionate and aggressive and had intercourse with Ferrie." Are you now saying that is an incorrect statement?
A: I covered it essentially with the first two, this is what -- "Ferrie told Russo that he had tried the aphrodisiac drug on his roommate and it worked perfectly," that is about it. I essentially covered it with the other corrections, covered that, Ferrie never ever said that.
Q: Are you saying now that Ferrie did not tell you that he had intercourse with his roommate?
A: He said the roommate tried, that is the nearest he came. Now, he never said he did.
Q: So then this memorandum is in error once again in saying that you told Mr. Sciambra that Ferrie had told you that he had intercourse with his roommate. Is that right?
A: Probably, that is probably just deduction up there in Baton Rouge, because I don't remember that.
Q: Is there anything right about this memorandum, Mr. Russo?
A: Well, do you want to go down it page by page.
Q: Now, getting to the portion of the memorandum which relates the incident concerning pornographic film you have located that?
A: Right, Page 3.
Q: Is it your testimony now that you did not sell this film as related in this memorandum?
A: Yes, I did.
Q: You did sell it?
Q: To whom did you sell it?
A: To a man in Baton Rouge who was a seaman. You see, the correction I made essentially here, if you look right toward the middle, I made two corrections on the page, "He said that he would --" Ferrie said, "He said that he would have to get $150.00 a roll for the film because it was pretty risking going in and out of Cuba," and that $150.00, I don't know where that came from, and a little on further, about "Russo said he took the film and sold it to someone whom he said -- "sold it to a seaman, and, as I recall it, I sold it to a seaman.
Q: You sold it directly to a seaman?
A: Yes, or a guy that had been on a ship.
Q: You sold it for $150.00?
Q: How much did you sell it for?
A: $40.00, $30.00.
Q: Did you split the money with Ferrie?
A: No, I was in Baton Rouge at the time, this is in Baton Rouge.
Q: Well, Ferrie was not to get any money out of the sale of this film?
A: Well, I forgot about it after he brought it over, he never did bring the subject up again, he left the film there and forgot about it.
Q: And Ferrie told you he had to get $150.00 for the film because of the risk involved in getting it out of Cuba?
A: Not that particular time, he said he could get as many as needed out of Cuba, and he said, you know, there has to be a pretty good price, but $150.00, I don't know about that, and that is the only one he ever brought over.
Q: He expected to be compensated for the trouble that he went to and the risk he went to in getting the film. Is that right?
A: Well, I guess so.
Q: And he never did get any part of the money that you sold the film for?
A: That was, gee, 19 -- whatever it was when he brought it over, I didn't sell it until '67, '68, '67.
Q: Did you and Ferrie or you by yourself sell any other film of this nature?
Q: How about still pictures?
A: Sell any still pictures?
Q: Never did?
MR. DYMOND: Your Honor, the next subject that I am going to get on will take a little while. I see we are right before 12:00 o'clock.
THE COURT: That is a good time to stop. Would you take charge of the Jury.
Gentlemen, we are going to recess in a moment for the noon lunch. Again I must admonish you and instruct you not to discuss the case amongst yourselves or with anyone else.
You can take them out, Sheriff, the bus is ready, take charge of the Jury.
You are released under your bond, Mr. Shaw, the witness is excused until 1:30.
(Whereupon, a luncheon recess was taken.)
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