Perry Russo -- PerjurerJim Garrison charged Clay Shaw with perjury for denying an association with Lee Harvey Oswald or David Ferrie, but at trial, Garrison's own star witness, Perry Russo, admitted to having perjured himself at Shaw's preliminary hearing, and Garrison did not charge him.
Perry Russo is questioned by Irvin Dymond:
Q: Would you say you do not remember who actually went into David Ferrie's house with you. Is that right?
A: No, I would not be willing to state exactly who went.
Q: I am reading to you from your testimony during the preliminary hearing commencing at the top of page 152 of the transcript, "You cannot name one of them, can you," and the answer is "There were friends there, I could tell you who I associated with at the time, I am sure it was one of them. Question, Can you name one of the three or four people who went with you to the Oswald apartment, the party which you testified to, I meant Ferrie's apartment in mid-September of 1963, Answer, Peterson was with me that night, I am sure he came inside, I will not testify for him, but I am sure he came inside. Question, Did he go to the house with you in the same vehicle? Answer, Well, we had two or three cars, we were up playing basketball at that school, there was just a bunch of people, a bunch of guys and girls, we had either finished studying or what, I don't know, what particular reason we were up there at school, I was always up there late at night, every night, and so I just drove back, and I don't think I was in my own car because I don't think I had a car at the time, who stepped in with me I am sure Lefty did."
Could you tell me why at this time you cannot say who went inside the party with you?
A: Well --
Q: Just one moment, please. Whereas at the time of the preliminary hearing you stated that you were sure that Lefty Peterson had gone in with you?
A: Well, if you will check back, you will check back a couple of pages on a couple of pages before that, I am going to paraphrase you here, I am not sure what your question was, after some questions concerning who was there and who was not, I said I would not be willing to say, you say how in the world can you remember how a person was dressed and you can't remem- ber who you were with, and I said well -- and then you kept pushing, now, I had given you those after you pushed, and I am willing to state possibly those people were there, but I am not going to swear to them being there.
Q: But you did say that at the time of the preliminary hearing that you were sure Lefty Peterson was there, you don't quarrel with that?
A: That is an abridgement of my first position there, and I maintain the first position now.
Q: I'm referring now to the second to last question on the bottom of page 152, "Question, You are sure Lefty was in the car with you," and the answer is "I am sure he stepped up with me, I don't know if he was in another car or not." "Question, Well, give us the names of all of the other people who went there in all of the cars that went with you." "Answer, I don't remember all of the cars that went with me, inside I would say Lefty Peterson was there and Sandra Moffett, and that is all I can say, say definitely, would be willing definitely to say was there."
Now, will you tell us why back at the time of the preliminary hearing you were willing to say definitely that Sandra Moffett went into the party with you and you testify now that you do not know who went in?
A: On Direct, the preliminary hearing as well as Cross on the preliminary hearing you asked me several times who was there and I kept giving you the same answer that I said, I associated with the same people, and probably it could have been either those two or several others that I associated with at that time, but as far as me remembering who was there, I more remember the people that I saw then the people that I was with because I associated with the same people every day.
Q: So you would not be willing to definitely say now that Sandra Moffett and Niles Peterson went into the party with you?
A: I said that only after you had forced me into that position, I said it.
Q: I forced you to say these two people were definitely with you?
A: If you will let me have that for one minute, I will show you the question I was talking about, it is in there somewhere, right here, sir, I could not find it exactly, from about right here, sir.
Q: Did you find the part that you have reference to?
A: Page 150, after the 15th, you say, is the question, and the answer is yes, and then would you call the 20th the latter part of the month, answer it would probably be the middle also, you have testified as to having attended this party at Ferrie's apartment in mid-September of 1963, how did you get up there to the apartment, and the answer, I was -- that I was brought up, by home, one or the other of my friends, one of the other of your friends is the question, and the answer is yes, and you don't remember what friend brought you up there, and the answer -- at that period of time, many people were with me at that time, the question is Russo, you don't -- you did not have very much trouble testifying -- and it goes on, by Mr. Ward, I would like to make an objection, he is assuming a fact, and it is argumentative, and Judge Bagert sustained it, and it goes on can you explain why your memory -- and Mr. Ward says I object, Judge Bagert sustains it, improper question, you are testifying that you don't know who took you there, and the answer is I am testifying I was with a bunch of people, how many people, maybe three others besides myself, and you can't name one of them, can you, and Mr. Ward says I object, he never asked that question before, and Judge Baggart says objection overruled, you cannot name one of them, can you, there were friends there, I can tell you who I associated with at the time, I am sure it was one of them, and that is the position that I took at the preliminary hearing.
Q: And it was because of that line of questioning that you stated that you could definitely say that Sandra Moffett and Lefty Peterson went inside, is that right?
A: Because of that line of questioning that I could definitely say what?
Q: That Sandra Moffett and Niles "Lefty" Peterson went into the party with you.
A: At that time it would be a probable guess that one of those two or both of these two would have been with me, I associated with them as well as quite a few other people.
Q: You don't state a probable guess as a definite fact when you are testifying, do you, sir?
A: You asked me over and over and I gave you an answer over and over and you still want the same question answered, and I am trying.
Later, Russo admitted that his entire testimony against Shaw had been false.
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