The Clay Shaw trial testimony of Nicholas Tadin, continued



Q: Mr. Tadin, you say this took place in 1964?

A: Yes, sir, about that time.

Q: Could you tell us what month that was in '64?

A: It was in the later summer months, in the later part of the summer. I couldn't tell you exactly what month, but it was in the later part of the summer.

Q: Now, what are you referring to as the "summer months"?

A: Could have been around July.

Q: Well, now, you say it could have been around July or it was during July?

A: It could have been around July.

Q: Could it have been around June?

A: Could have.

Q: Could it have been around May?

A: I couldn't answer that far.

Q: Could it have been around --

A: It could have been between June and August, I will put it that way.

Q: Between June and August?

A: Right.

Q: Now, what building is that that you say Mr. Shaw came out of at that time?

A: At the big hangar on the right-hand side as you come from Dymond Road and make a turn, and there is an incline, and the building on the right, which was a large building, not the large door but that small door, he and Dave came out of there.

Q: Now, how big is that hangar?

A: That hangar?

Q: Yes. About how big?

A: Oh, I guess about -- oh, about -- I have no idea -- pretty big though.

Q: How many times as big as this courtroom?

A: You could put this in there five times, I would say.

Q: You could put this courtroom in there five times, is that right?

A: Yes.

Q: Now, on that occasion when you saw David Ferrie walk out of the door of the hangar, was that the first time you had seen him that day?

A: That day?

Q: That day.

A: Yes, sir.

Q: You didn't see him while he was in the hangar?

A: Absolutely not.

Q: And you say Mr. Shaw walked out about three feet behind him, is that correct?

A: Yes, and Mr. Shaw went to his car and Dave waved at him just like this (demonstrating). Whether he waved at him or what I don't know.

Q: Now, how was Mr. Shaw dressed on that occasion?

A: What was that?

Q: How was Mr. Shaw dressed on that occasion?

A: I can't recall.

Q: Did he have on a coat or a sport shirt or what?

A: I can't recall.

Q: Did he have on a hat?

A: No.

Q: You don't know whether --

A: I am sure he had no hat, because my wife Berta (sic) remarked, says, "Look at the beautiful hair he has got on his head."

Q: Did you say -- you say you don't know whether he had a coat on or not?

A: I can't recall it.

Q: Was his collar open or closed with a tie?

A: I couldn't answer that.

Q: How was David Ferrie dressed on that occasion?

A: Sloppy.

Q: Sloppy, sloppy as usual, or what?

A: I don't know what you call "usual."

Q: Well, you saw him quite a few times, didn't you?

A: Well, yes. He had a pair of baggy pants on, a shirt, and a little funny hat that he always kept on top of his head. At no time I found him without a hat.

Q: Now, prior to that occasion, have you ever been introduced to Mr. Clay Shaw?

A: Never have.

Q: But you say you had seen him riding up and down Bourbon Street?

A: Right.

Q: Riding or walking?

A: Riding.

Q: Always riding, is that right?

A: Right.

Q: What kind of car was he riding in?

A: Thunderbird.

Q: What color?

A: Light cream or white.

Q: Was to top down or up?

A: Top down.

Q: Top down?

A: Right.

Q: And how many times did you say you saw him riding on Bourbon Street?

A: Well, one night I saw him twice. I was standing in front of the Famous Door. He made a round. He had about four young fellows in the car with him, and he turned right around, and a little later on came back again, and then once or twice after that I seen him.

THE COURT: I can't hear you.

THE WITNESS: Once or twice after that I seen him.

Q: Now, Mr. Tadin, when did you first get in touch with the District Attorney's office and tell them --

A: This morning.

Q: This morning?

A: Correct.

Q: Did you read the newspapers and watch TV?

A: Yes, sir, I have, I have read the newspapers and watched the television.

Q: Were you aware that a preliminary hearing was conducted in connection with this case?

A: I certainly was.

Q: Did you read about that in the papers?

A: Yes, I did.

Q: Did you see it on TV?

A: Yes, I did.

Q: Did you know that David Ferrie was one of the parties about whom there had been testimony in that preliminary hearing?

A: Yes, I did.

Q: Did you know that Clay Shaw was the defendant and a party to that preliminary hearing?

A: Was I a party? No.

Q: No, that he was a party to the preliminary hearing.

A: Through the news media.

Q: Did you know that during that preliminary hearing a question had arisen as to whether Clay Shaw ever knew Dave Ferrie?

A: Whether he knew Dave Ferrie?

Q: I say, did you know that the question had arisen in that preliminary hearing as to whether Clay Shaw was acquainted with David Ferrie?

A: Well, the thing that disturbed me from the beginning was your testimony that he did not know.

Q: You said my testimony?

A: Not your testimony, but your opening statement in the paper that Mr. Shaw did not know Dave Ferrie, and I told that to a couple of people and they got onto me and said, "You better get up there and tell these people."

Q: Now, did you follow the preliminary hearing pretty close on the TV and in the newspapers?

A: From the date of this?

Q: The preliminary hearing.

A: You call this the preliminary hearing today?

Q: No, I call the preliminary hearing the proceedings that took place in March of 1967.

A: Oh, yes, yes.

Q: You followed that closely? Is that right?

A: Right.

Q: And is it your testimony that in spite of following that closely, you didn't know that the question had arisen as to whether Clay Shaw was acquainted with David Ferrie?

A: I don't follow you.

Q: Didn't you know that that was one of the questions in that preliminary hearing, whether Clay Shaw was acquainted with Dave Ferrie?

A: Yes, I knew that.

Q: That didn't disturb you?

A: Yes, it did disturb me.

Q: Then why didn't you come forward then?

A: Same like other people want to come forward but don't want to get involved.

Q: Did you want to get involved this morning?

A: Yes.

Q: Why did you want to get involved this morning?

A: I figured I should tell --

Q: Let me finish the question.


MR. ALCOCK: Let him answer the question.

MR. DYMOND: He interrupted by answering the question.

THE COURT: I can't hear both of you at once.

THE WITNESS: I heard --

THE COURT: Wait a minute, Mr. Tadin. Gentlemen, I know emotions get aroused at certain moments, but let's keep it cool if you can. Now what is the question, and then let me hear the objection.

MR. DYMOND: I ask that it be read back.

THE COURT: I ask you, Mr. Dymond, don't argue.

MR. DYMOND: Your Honor, I wasn't arguing.

THE COURT: It looked to me like you were getting mighty close.

MR. DYMOND: Read the question.

(Whereupon, the aforegoing question, answer, and colloquy were read back by the reporter.)

THE COURT: Then you wanted to stop him, and Mr. Alcock interposed by stating he should be permitted to explain his answer.

MR. DYMOND: Your Honor, the reason I --

THE COURT: Wait. I want to know, is that the question first, is that your question?

MR. DYMOND: The reason I wanted to stop is that he had commenced his answer before I had completed my question.

THE COURT: No, sir.

MR. DYMOND: Just the last question there, and you will see what I mean.

THE COURT: All right. I am not going to get excited about it.

Let me see. As I understand the legal situation, Mr. Alcock, you were objecting to Mr. Dymond's interrupting the State's witness's answer by stating that he should be peritted to finish his answer.

Is that correct? MR. ALCOCK: Yes.

MR. DYMOND: No, by my stating I wanted to be permitted to finish the question.

THE COURT: If you will let me try to explain the situation to find out what is the legal objection of the State, if I can find that out, then I can understand your objection.

MR. DYMOND: All right.

THE COURT: Mr. Alcock, is that your position?

MR. ALCOCK: Yes, Your Honor.

THE COURT: In other words, Mr. Dymond, Mr. Alcock is objecting to you interrupting the witness, because he claims the witness had not finished explaining his answer. Is that the legal situation? You say no?

MR. DYMOND: I say no, right.

THE COURT: Tell me what your position is.

MR. DYMOND: I had not completed my question when the witness launched forth on an answer, and that is when I interrupted him on his answer because I hadn't completed the question.

THE COURT: Let's go back to the record. Let's see if you had or not. Madam Reporter, you understand the situation. Now let's see if Mr. Dymond completed the question, and, if so, let's see if the witness had completed his answer.

Now take it easy, I think we can find that out.

MR. DYMOND: Your Honor, I will stop the reporter right at the point where I want to finish my question.

THE COURT: I hope you don't. I want to hear the whole thing. Wait a minute, Mr. Dymond.

(Whereupon, the same passage was read by the Reporter.)

THE COURT: Mr. Dymond, I will overrule you and permit him to finish that answer, sir.

MR. DYMOND: Your Honor, do you mean that I am not permitted to even complete a question?

THE COURT: Mr. Dymond --

MR. DYMOND: I know that my question was meant to be, Judge. Do you think I am misleading the Court or something?

THE COURT: No, I am not saying you are misleading, I say you are confused.

MR. DYMOND: I am not confused at all. I wanted to ask him why didn't he want to get involved then if he wanted to get involved now.

THE COURT: Don't tell me what you wanted to do, Mr. Dymond, let's find what the record says.

MR. DYMOND: The record doesn't show that because I wasn't permitted to question.

THE COURT: I may say something that is reversible before the jury. Take the jury to my chambers, please.

(Whereupon, the jury retired.)

THE COURT: Number One, I am not going to stop either side from being given an opportunity to be fully heard on this point, and apparently it is very critical. As I understand the legal situation -- if I am wrong, I will correct myself, I am human like everybody else, but I don't think I am wrong. Now, here is what I would like to say to you then. I will be glad to hear you all evening.

MR. DYMOND: All right.

THE COURT: The question, as I understand it, was put to the witness. He answered it partially and was continuing to give you an explanation of why he suddenly got involved this morning, when you cut in and tried to interrupt him, and that is when Mr. Alcock -- you both were talking at the same time -- Mr. Alcock took the position that under the law a witness can answer a question and can always give an explanation of the answer when a question is put to him. Now, that is the way I understand it. If you wish to --

MR. DYMOND: Your Honor, I have no argument --

THE COURT: If you wish to correct me, go to the record and correct me. Don't tell me what you intended to do.

MR. DYMOND: The jury is out of here.

THE COURT: That is why I am talking like I am. I wouldn't talk like this in front of the jury.

MR. DYMOND: The question I wanted to propound to this witness was: Why did you want to get involved this morning if you didn't want to get involved back in 1967?

THE COURT: That is what he was about to answer you.

MR. DYMOND: No. I got as far as saying why did you want to get involved this morning, and he started answering before I had put in the rest of the question.

MR. ALCOCK: Your Honor, this seems to be much ado about little. Perhaps I will just let him repropound the question as he wants to.

THE COURT: Bring the jury back, but first let me explain to Mr. Tadin -- I know Nick a long time, we went to school together. Look, whenever they put a question to you, and you can, say yes or no, and if you want to make an explanation, put up your hand and say I wish to give an explanation. Will that satisfy everybody?

(Jury returned.)

Q: Mr. Tadin, if you didn't want to get involved back in 1967, why didn't you mind getting involved this morning?

A: Last night I was sitting down on the sofa watching the news, listening.

THE COURT: Speak louder.

A: (Continuing) -- sitting at my house watching the television, and I heard this news, and I said, "Hell!"

THE COURT: I can't hear you myself.

[page missing from transcript -- according to journalist James Kirkwood's American Grotesque, Tadin's response was, "Hell, that's not true and I'm going to tell it." According to Kirkwood, Dymond then asked Tadin if he ever lied (Kirkwood, 1992 ed., 417). The transcript continues . . .]

Q: Yes.

A: Yes. I think we all do.

Q: Do you lie often or no?

A: Yes, sir, but not in this case.

Q: I see. This is the time that you are telling the truth? Right?

A: Right.

MR. DYMOND: That is all.

Q: Have you ever lied under oath as you are now, Mr. Tadin?

A: No, sir.

MR. ALCOCK: No further questions.

THE COURT: Is Mr. Tadin excused from the obligations of the subpoena?

MR. ALCOCK: Yes, Your Honor.

THE COURT: You may stand down.

Before you call your next witness, I am going to take a five-minute intermission. Take the jury upstairs, please.

(Whereupon, a recess was taken.)


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