The Clay Shaw trial testimony of Abraham Zapruder, resumed



ABRAHAM ZAPRUDER, recalled to the stand, having previously been sworn testified further on his oath as follows:

THE COURT: Your previous oath is still binding, Mr. Zapruder.

Q: Mr. Zapruder, will you tell me again where your business is located?

A: 501 Elm Street.

Q: In what building is that?

A: The Dal-Tex Building.

Q: On November 22, 1963, did you have an occasion to be in the area of Dallas, Texas, known as Dealey Plaza?

MR. WILLIAM WEGMANN: This is repetitious.

MR. OSER: I am getting back to where we were.

THE WITNESS: I don't understand the question. Will you repeat it?

THE COURT: I will allow the question.

Q: On the date of November 22, 1963, did you have an occasion to be in that area of Dallas known as Dealey Plaza?

A: I imagine you mean at the place where I was taking pictures.

Q: Yes.

A: Yes, I came down to take pictures of the President and whatever it was.

Q: From what area or location did you view the motorcade? Where were you?

A: I was on the abutment. Do you mean geographically, whether it is east, west, north or south? Is that what you want to know?

Q: Yes, sir. Where were you?

A: I will have to figure it out.

Q: Where were you standing?

A: When I took the pictures?

Q: Yes, sir.

A: On a concrete abutment.

Q: I ask you to step down in front of Exhibit S-34 for the purpose of identification, and point out to the Court whether you can location your position where you were standing when you took some movie films on November 22, 1963, if you would, please?

A: Right here.

Q: Would you put an X there please?

THE COURT: May I make a suggestion; we are going to have too many X's. Would you put a Z for Zapruder.

Q: I direct your attention to Exhibit S-36 for purpose of identification, which I am now pointing to -- I am sorry, S-35. Could you locate the position on this exhibit where you were on November 22, 1963, taking motion pictures?

A: Over here.

Q: Mr. Zapruder, would you please place this pin with your name thereon at the location?

A: (The witness complies.)

Q: Now, Mr. Zapruder, I direct your attention to State Exhibit S-36 for identification, and ask if you can locate on this markup the location you were on November 22, 1963?

A: Is this the Dal-Tex Building?

THE COURT: Unless the Jury can hear you it is no good your giving evidence.

THE WITNESS: I asked if this was the Dal-Tex Building.

THE COURT: I can't hear a word you are saying.

THE WITNESS: I asked if this was the Dal-Tex Building.

THE COURT: If you don't know, who would know it?

THE WITNESS: Give me some time.

THE COURT: You can take all the time you need.

Q: I give you a small emblem. Would you place that in the location where you were when you took the photographs?

A: (The witness complied.)

Q: Thank you. Have your seat back, please, on the stand. Mr. Zapruder, as you were standing in this location that you have pointed out taking your motion pictures what, if anything, did you see as you took this film? Would you please describe it for the Jury?

A: I don't understand the question.

Q: What did you see as you took your films in Dealey Plaza that day? Explain to the Jury.

A: I saw the approaching motorcade of the President coming from Houston Street, turning left on Elm Street and coming down towards the underpass. As they were approaching where I was standing I heard a shot and noticed where the President leaned towards Jackie. Then I heard another shot which hit him right in the head, over here, and his head practically opened up and a lot of blood and many more things came out.

Q: At the time, Mr. Zapruder, you heard the first shot were you able to see what reactions, if any, President Kennedy made at the time you heard this first shot? What did he do, sir, as you saw it?

A: As I said, he grabbed himself with his hand towards his chest or throat and leaned towards Jackie.

Q: At the time you heard the second shot, would you describe the reactions of President Kennedy as you saw them?

A: He leaned about the same way in falling towards Jacqueline, forward, down towards the bottom of the car.

Q: What happened at the time of the second shot in regard to President Kennedy?

A: What happened -- I don't understand.

Q: As you saw it, what happened at the time the second shot went off in regard to President Kennedy? What did you see?

A: I thought I just described what I saw. You mean where it hit him?

Q: Yes.

A: I saw the head practically open up and blood and many more things, whatever it was, brains, just came out of his head.

Q: At the time when you heard these two shots, who was standing with you, if anybody?

A: One of my secretaries was right behind me.

Q: After the car passed under the underpass, what did you do?

A: I got off the abutment and walked towards my office. I was screaming "They shot him, they shot him." People asked me what happened, they probably didn't see what happened, they heard a shot but didn't see actually what happened. I kept saying, "They killed him, they killed him," and went to my office.

Q: When you got to your office what, if anything, did you do with regard to your movie camera and films?

A: I had my secretary call either the police or the FBI, I don't remember which. She called somebody. The Secret Service.

Q: After this did you do anything in regard to your film? Did you go anywhere with your film?

A: Yes, sir, a patrol car came and took me down to a station where they were trying to develop films, but they hadn't got the facilities to develop colored film. We called the Eastman Kodak people and made arrangements for them to develop the film. We went to the Eastman people.

Q: After going to the Eastman people did you go anywhere else with your film?

A: Yes. They advised me not to cut the film. This was 8 millimeter of the old type that was actually a 16 millimeter film, it was cut after it was developed, and they advised me to go to another -- I think it was Jamieson film, or something like that, to have them developed there into a 16, and they were to somehow process it and split 8 millimeter, and that's what I did.

Q: As a result of going with your film to these various locations, Mr. Zapruder, did you have in your possession a developed roll of film, and if so, how many of them?

A: The first time the Jamieson people developed the original 16 millimeter, then copies were made at Eastman. I had three copies plus the original.

Q: What, if anything, did you do with the three copies and one original?

A: One copy was given to the Dallas Secret Service, and one they asked me to bring over to somewhere on Akard Street, I believe it was the FBI or Secret Service, to give them a copy to be sent to Washington. I think it was sent to Washington the same night by Army plane. One copy was given to Life Magazine.

Q: During the time your film was being processed, were you present, sir?

A: Yes, sir, I was.

Q: On that particular day did you have occasion to view what your film showed?

A: Yes, the same evening I saw this film.

Q: Mr. Zapruder, do you have in your possession at this present time a copy of this film?

A: Yes, I do.

Q: May I have it, sir?

A: Yes.

MR. OSER: If the Court please, the State will mark the envelope containing a roll of film as S-37 for purposes of identification.

THE COURT: And for purposes of identification only?

MR. OSER: Yes, sir.

Q: The contents of this package, the roll of film, have you had occasion to view the contents of this film?

A: Yes, sir.

Q: What is contained on this roll of film, is that the same as you saw it from the developed original on November 22, 1963?

A: Yes, sir.

Q: Mr. Zapruder, what is depicted on this exhibit I have marked as S-37, the roll of film, as you saw it?

MR. DYMOND: I object. We object to his testifying as to what is depicted on it. If the film is admissible the film itself is best evidence.

THE COURT: I sustain the objection.

MR. OSER: At this time we offer into evidence that which we previously marked for identification as S-37, the film testified to by Mr. Zapruder.

MR. DYMOND: At this time we would like to traverse on the offer.

THE COURT: You may traverse.

Q: You say you were present when the copies of your film were made?

A: Yes, sir.

Q: Were you actually present in the room in which these copies were being made?

A: Yes, sir, I was in the processing room watching them actually process the film.

Q: Is the copy you have here today identical to the original or are there any plates missing out of this copy?

A: That would be hard for me to tell, sir.

THE COURT: I cannot hear the witness. What is it?

THE WITNESS: That would be hard for me to say. He asked me if there are any frames missing.

THE COURT: What is your answer?

THE WITNESS: I couldn't say.

Q: So you don't know whether it is a complete copy of the film you took on the 22nd of November?

A: Not if there are one or two frames missing, I couldn't tell you.

Q: Mr. Zapruder, when these copies were made, do I understand you ended up with an original and two copies of the film?

A: Yes, sir.

Q: You gave one copy to the Dallas Police Intelligence Section, is that correct?

A: Yes, sir.

Q: One copy to the FBI?

A: Correct.

Q: And one copy to Life Magazine?

A: Yes, sir.

Q: Where did you get this copy you have produced here in open court today, if you disposed of all the copies?

A: I got them from Mr. Oser's office.

Q: In other words, this film has not been in your possession up until now, is that correct?

A: No. It was given to me in his office.

MR. DYMOND: That is all we have on traverse, Your Honor, and we submit the proper foundation has not been laid for the introduction of this film in evidence.

THE COURT: Take the Jury out, Sheriff.

(WHEREUPON, the Jury retired from the courtroom.)

THE COURT: The objection is well taken for this reason: Mr. Zapruder did not bring this film with him, and I would suggest before I make a final ruling that you roll the film for the benefit of Mr. Zapruder only so that he can see what is depicted on that day. You could then renew your offer and I will rule on it.

MR. OSER: All right, Your Honor.

THE COURT: Is it necessary for us to black out and cut the lights out in the room?

MR. OSER: I think so, Your Honor.

THE COURT: Very well. Sheriff, will you throw those switches. Mr. Zapruder, when this equipment is properly rigged up and they play this film, don't say anything while they are playing the film. You will be asked questions after the film is played.

(WHEREUPON, the film was shown.)

THE COURT: Before we bring the Jury in, I think the State has to ask a question of this witness.

MR. DYMOND: There is one question I would like to ask also, Judge.

THE COURT: Let Mr. Oser ask his question first.

Q: Mr. Zapruder, from having seen the film just projected on the screen, can you tell us whether or not this represents what you saw on November 22, 1963, after your original film was developed in Dallas, Texas?

A: I would say they do.

THE COURT: I didn't hear you again.

THE WITNESS: I would say that they do. Yes, they do.

Q: Mr. Zapruder, are you able to testify that this film that you have just seen run is a complete copy of the pictures taken by you on that day, no frames being missing?

A: By complete, what do you mean? If there are any frames removed or so?

Q: Any frames removed or damaged or for any reason not shown in this film?

A: I couldn't tell you.

Q: So you couldn't tell whether any part has been skipped, is that correct?

A: I could not.

THE COURT: Bring the Jury back.

(WHEREUPON, the Jury returned to the courtroom.)

THE COURT: All right, Mr. Oser, you may proceed.

Q: Mr. Zapruder, from having seen what was projected on this film, can you tell the Court whether or not it appears to be the same as you viewed your original film on November 22, 1963 in Dallas, Texas?

A: Yes, it does.

MR. OSER: I tender the witness on traverse.

Q: This will sound repetitious, but it is because the Jury has now come in. Having viewed this film, sir, are you in a position to say whether the film you have just seen is a complete copy of what you took without any frames having been deleted or taken out or skipped?

A: I couldn't tell if any frames were removed. Seen as a whole it shows that I have seen. Seeing you have 18 frames a second you can take out one or two and I couldn't tell.

Q: Weren't some frames damaged by the people at Life Magazine to the point where copies couldn't be made of them?

MR. OSER: Objection.

THE COURT: I will permit the question on traverse.

THE WITNESS: I don't know, I couldn't verify that.

THE COURT: Is the matter submitted?

MR. OSER: We submit it, Your Honor.

THE COURT: I rule the film may be shown to the Jury.

MR. DYMOND: To which ruling Counsel reserves a bill of exception firstly because the film is irrelevant, secondly it has not been established this is the complete film, and further, it has not been in the possession or under the control of this witness from the time of its inception until the present time, making all this witness' testimony, the film which has been marked for identification as State-37, and the entire record up to now part of the bill.

THE COURT: The Court's ruling was made after the Jury had retired and the witness was given an opportunity to see the film, since it was not in his continuous possession. You may proceed.

MR. OSER: At this time the State requests permission to play the film.

THE COURT: Permission granted. Gentlemen of the Jury, please pay close attention to what you are about to see.

(WHEREUPON, the film was then shown again.)

THE COURT: If it is requested by the Jury we will rerun this film.

MR. OSER: If the Court please, I would like the record to reflect that I am now turning over the exhibit to the Clerk of the Court, that is S-37.

THE COURT: You mean the Minute Clerk. I have already ruled on the fact it may be shown to the Jury. Is there any objection to its admission?

MR. DYMOND: I have already objected earlier.

THE COURT: It may be admitted.

(WHEREUPON, the exhibit having been previously identified as "S-37" was received in evidence.)

THE COURT: The witness may be excused.

(WHEREUPON, the witness was excused.)

THE COURT: We will take a five-minute recess.

(WHEREUPON, a short recess was taken.)

THE COURT: Gentlemen, before we proceed any further, I have been advised that the Jury would like to have the film replayed. I will order the Minute Clerk, who has possession of Exhibit S-37, to turn it back over to Mr. Oser. Let that show in the record.

(WHEREUPON, the film was then shown again.)

THE COURT: I have been advised that a reporter had the gall to ask if he could take a picture of this film while it was being shown in court. Don't they realize all rights are served on this picture?

MR. OSER: That is why I turned it over to the Court.

THE COURT: I don't want anybody surreptitiously trying to take pictures of this film. Let the film be shown again frame by frame.

(WHEREUPON, the film was then shown again, frame by frame.)

A MEMBER OF THE JURY: Begging your pardon, but I would appreciate it if we could see the last half of this film one more time at normal speed.

THE COURT: Very well, rewind it.

(WHEREUPON, the last half of the film was then played again.)

THE COURT: Was that the part you wanted?

A MEMBER OF THE JURY: Yes, sir, thank you, sir.

THE COURT: Gentlemen, I understand from the State they have a witness who wants to be heard this afternoon. It is 29 minutes after 5:00. Is your witness planning to leave the state this evening?

MR. ALCOCK: Yes, sir.

THE COURT: How long will he be?

MR. ALCOCK: Direct Examination will take no more than 10, 15 minutes.

MR. OSER: May the record reflect I am returning the film to the Minute Clerk.


I, the undersigned, Clifford Jefferson, do hereby certify:

That the above and foregoing (96 pages of typewritten matter) is a true and correct transcription of the stenographic notes of the proceedings had herein, the same having been taken down by Clifford Jefferson and transcribed under his supervision, on the date and day hereinbefore noted, in the Criminal District Court for the Parish of Orleans, State of Louisiana, in the matter of the State of Louisiana vs. Clay L. Shaw, 198-059 1426 (30) Section "C" on the 13th day of February, 1969, before the Honorable Edward A. Haggerty, Jr., Judge, Section "C", being an excerpt of the testimony of certain witnesses as shown in the index hereof.

New Orleans, Louisiana, this 23rd day of May, 1969.

/S/ Clifford Jefferson


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