The Clay Shaw trial testimony of James Hardiman





1426 (30)

WEDNESDAY, February 12 and THURSDAY, February 13, 1969.


JAMES HARDIMAN, after first being duly sworn by The Minute Clerk, was examined and testified as follows as a witness for the State:

Q: Mr. Hardiman, by whom are you employed?

A: I can't hear.

Q: By whom are you employed?

A: U.S. Post Office.

Q: How long have you been employed by them?

A: 21 years.

Q: And what are your duties in connection with your employment with the United States Post Office?

A: Letter carrier.

Q: How long have you been a letter carrier?

A: 21 years.

Q: What particular part of the City do you deliver mail in?

A: Right now it is called Lower French Quarter which is right off Esplanade, bounded by Esplande, Elysian Fields, Burgundy, right to a point by the fire house and at one time the route used to go down to St. Claude.

Q: Have you been delivering mail in that area the entire 21 years?

A: No.

Q: Approximately how long have you been delivering mail in that area?

A: 15 years.

Q: Does that area include the address 1414 Chartres Street?

A: Yes.

Q: Approximately how long have you been delivering mail to 1414 Chartres?

A: 15 years. I do not believe that 1414 Chartres when it was in existence when I first took the route, I think that address came in existence after a while I was working on the route.

Q: Could you approximate when?

A: I can't so well give you an exact time that the house at 1418 Chartres where the house was built they sold the old, they had slave quarters on the side and the gentleman sold the other section of the house when that was built and that was when 1414 Chartres came in existence.

Q: Do you know who resides at 1414 Chartres Street?

A: Mr. Jeff Biddison.

Q: How long have you been delivering mail to Jeff Biddison?

A: As long as the address is in existence.

Q: Mr. Hardiman, referring you to the year 1966, I ask you whether or not you had occasion to deliver letters to 1414 Chartres Street that were addressed to Clay Shaw at the address 1313 Dauphine?

A: The mail addressed to Clay Shaw addressed to 1313 Dauphine was forwarded by another carrier to me to be delivered to 1414 Chartres Street.

Q: Could you approximate during this period of time how many letter addressed to Clay Shaw at 1313 Dauphine were delivered to 1414 Chartres?

A: No, I can't because some days a fellow may tie a couple of them together and put them in a, what we call a "direct" or maybe it'd be just one letter or so. I had quite a few delivered but the exact number, it'd be hard for me to determine but it was a sum of letters.

Q: During the time of this change of address when you were delivering mail addressed to Clay Shaw at 1313 Dauphine to 1414 Chartres did you have occasion to deliver letters addressed a Clem Bertrand?

MR. DYMOND: I object as leading, Your Honor.

THE COURT: Rephrase the question.

Q: Did you deliver any other letters to 1414 Chartres Street other than those of Mr. Biddison and the Defendant, Clay Shaw, during this period of time?

A: Yes, I have delivered quite a few names there to Mr. Biddison's address.

Q: During this period of time of this change of address when you were delivering letters addressed to Clay Shaw at 1313 Dauphine to 1414 Chartres Street, did you have occasion to deliver mail of anyone else to that address during that time?

A: If you could just phrase that where I could answer you direct to things of this case but things not direct and names, that I am not allowed to give out but if you can make a statement, Your Honor, to it I am -- will try to answer.

THE COURT: I think your answer is very plain.

THE WITNESS: I can give him the name he seeks, the name we delivered mail addressed to Clem Bertrand to that address but other names I wouldn't be able to tell you 'cause that is Post Office affairs and Post Office affairs we are not allowed to disclose. Far as Clay Shaw, Clem Bertrand, I have had occasion to deliver mail addressed to Clem Bertrand.

Q: Where?

A: To 1414 Chartres Street.

Q: Approximately Mr. Hardiman, how many letters addressed to Clem Bertrand were delivered to 1414 Chartres?

A: Give you an exact number --

Q: I don't want an exact number.

A: It'd be a little difficult 'cause I handle enough to them that when this name broke out in the news media I was able to recall and if it was one letter maybe I wouldn't have overlooked it but I handled enough when the name came out it come back to me that that name I handled mail for it so it had to be a few letters or several letters.

Q: These letters addressed to Clem Bertrand that you delivered to that address, did you ever know or recall noting a return address on these letters?

A: In working we hardly paid any attention to return addresses until it becomes delivery addresses, we works with the addresses we see in front of us and when we deliver that mail we don't pay attention to the return but if the mail is give back that is when the return address becomes a factor.

Q: Mr. Hardiman --

A: But they had something up there.

Q: Mr. Hardiman, were any of the Clem Bertrand letters that you delivered at 1414 Chartres Street ever returned to you?

A: I have never recalled getting any of them back.

Q: Can you recall, Mr. Hardiman, and only if you can recall this, were these Clem Bertrand letters addressed in script or typewritten?

A: Nice handwriting, handwriting, very clear and no difficulty in distinguishing it at all.

Q: Do you recall whether or not the envelopes were business envelopes or personal size?

A: They were more personal size.

Q: Can you recall, Mr. Hardiman, whether or not any of these letters were foreign mail?

A: Well, I can't so well tell you. They all looked like they were local 'cause I think all the stamps were in the United States.

Q: You mean local, City of New Orleans?

A: No, within the U.S., mailed within the U.S. Foreign mail, we refer to it as mail "out the country."

Q: Are you presently delivering any letters addressed to Clay Shaw at 1313 Dauphine?

A: That is not my section.

Q: I say are you presently delivering any letters addressed to Clay Shaw at 1313 Dauphine to 1414 Chartres?

A: No.

Q: Have you had occasion during the long period of time you have been delivering mail to 1414 Chartres to other than this period of time deliver any letters addressed to Clay Shaw which were addressed to 1313 Dauphine to 1414 Chartres?

A: The mail wouldn't be delivered to -- since all they do is forward the mail and the mail would go back to the address that was alive.

Q: Perhaps I didn't make myself clear; other than this time you were delivering Clem Bertrand letters to 1414 Chartres, and Clay Shaw letters to 1414 Chartres, was there any other time during the 15 years that you were also delivering Clay Shaw letters to 1414 Chartres?

A: The only time I remember Clay Shaw coming through is when it was forwarded to me by this other carrier and I asked him to verify it when I first got it and he said "Yes, it is a good address," for me to deliver it, "it was a good forwarding address," and that was the only time until the order came through for it not to be delivered anymore.

Q: Do you know as a matter of your own knowledge what kind of automobile Jeff Biddison owned?

A: I have seen him in different cars, but I don't know all the cars 'cause I don't pay attention to makes of cars of the cars in the street.

Q: During this period of time do you recall ever seeing him in an automobile at his residence?

A: Yes, I have seen automobiles in his driveway but far as paying attention to the car and that, it didn't strike me to pay any attention to it.

Q: Mr. Hardiman, I'm going to show you what I have previously marked for purposes of identification as State-27, 28, and 29 and ask you if you recognize these type forms?

A: This is a form out of one of our removal books, a 1364. This page is, I don't know out of whose books it is 'cause we have different routes but this page is not out of mine, 'cause the address is here, none of the removal addresses, none of them correspond with any addresses on my route so it wouldn't be mine but this come out of another carrier's.

This is a copy of a form to change, a change order on a change of address form. This is what we use among us when -- When a patron signs a change of address and gives us a forwarding address, then the man that had it last when he gets another change, he sends him a card to change him which is instead of having the mail go around, we just send it through.

Q: These are not your files?

A: Sir, this form here, this form, this and this is the reverse side of that. This is a page out of a carrier's removal book but not out of mine.

Q: Did you deliver mail to 1313 Dauphine Street?

A: No, never.

MR. ALCOCK: Thank you, that's all.

MR. DYMOND: Your Honor, I assume we are going after 5:30?

THE COURT: Well, it is about 22 minutes after the hour roughly and there's only 8 minutes so if it is going to be a prolonged examination with the possibility of re-direct and re-cross, I prefer that we stop this now for the day.

Again, gentlemen, under the law of Louisiana I must admonish you not to discuss this case amongst yourselves or any other people.

MR. ALCOCK: Prior to adjourning for the day, Your Honor, let me at this time offer to introduce and file in evidence, having marked some State-27, 28 and 29 --

MR. DYMOND: We object in view of the fact this gentleman testified it was not a photostat of the sheet he himself used.

THE COURT: I think he used another witness.

MR. ALCOCK: Certainly another witness identified them that he made them out. He didn't have 1313 Dauphine Street personally and it is not his sheet.

THE COURT: With that explanation do you have any objection?

MR. DYMOND: We do on the ground it has not been connected with this Defendant at all.

THE COURT: The objection is overruled and I will permit it in evidence.

MR. DYMOND: To which ruling I reserve a Bill of Exception making the exhibit State-27, 28, and 29 parts of the bill together with the testimony of this witness and all the testimony to date and the Defense's objection and the Court's ruling.

THE COURT: Mr. Hardiman, you are going to be excused and to return on your own, sir, but I do not wish you to be interviewed or spoken to by anyone, and particularly newspaper reporters. You are still under oath and you have to return tomorrow morning at 9:00 o'clock and since you were called by the State, you are what we call a State's witness, if they wish to speak to you it'll be all right but otherwise don't let anyone speak to you as to what you should testify to or what you have testified to. In other words, don't let anybody try to harass you by trying to ask you questions.

... At the hour of 5:27 o'clock p.m. The Court recessed for the day ...

. . . Pursuant to the adjournment, the proceedings herein were resumed at 9:05 o'clock a.m. on Thursday, February 13, 1969, appearances being the same as heretofore noted in the record . . . .

THE COURT: Make a note that the jury is present and Counsel for the Defense and for the State are present.

Are you ready to proceed, gentlemen?

MR. DYMOND: We are ready.

MR. ALCOCK: The State is ready.

THE COURT: All right. I believe the status of the matter is that Mr. Hardiman has been tendered for cross-examination.

MR. DYMOND: Right.

THE COURT: You may proceed.

Mr. Hardiman, you are reminded that the oath taken yesterday is still binding.

THE WITNESS: Yes, sir.

JAMES HARDIMAN, having been sworn and having testified previously, resumed the stand and was examined and testified as follows:

Q: Mr. Hardiman, you have mentioned certain letters that you say you delivered to 1414 Chartres Street?

A: (The witness nodded affirmatively.)

Q: Approximately how many of these letters were there, sir?

A: Which letters are you speaking of?

Q: The letters that you say were addressed to Clem Bertrand?

A: Well, I had enough of them to have found that when the name came in the newspaper it came back to me that I found some. Now, as far as worrying about or counting mail or how many pieces of mail I counted, I couldn't do nothing like that, but I handled quite a few of them so that when the name became in the paper or news media, it was easy for me to recognize, I have delivered the mail, I have seen it.

Q: Could you tell us about how many of them you handled?

A: Oh, approximately -- it is pretty hard -- could have been a few, could have been several, so let's strike an intermedium in between somewhere, along through about -- I know I had several, and if I can speak and tell you why that mail kind of come to memory a little bit more, it is all right. One particular thing about that particular mail, it was in a brown envelope, looked like wood, and that is what drawn my attention to the letter just a little bit more, 'cause it was a wood-grain type of paper.

Q: Now, didn't you say yesterday these envelopes were in little bundles?

A: I said sometimes mail that was addressed to a Mr. Clay Shaw forwarded to me from another carrier, sometimes put them together, but the Clem Bertrand mail just came individual, just addressed.

Q: I see.

A: But sometimes -- well, we do that when we get maybe three or four pieces of mail together, put a rubberband around it and pass it to another carrier, long as it is in the station.

Q: Would you say there ware as many as 15 or 20 of these Clem Bertrand letters? A: No, it was not that many.

MR. ALCOCK: Object, Your Honor.

Q: Would you say as many as 10?

MR. ALCOCK: Objection, Your Honor.

THE COURT: Sustain the objection. I believe the witness has given you as good an answer as he can. I suggest you go to another field.

MR. DYMOND: If the Court please, I have a right to test the credibility --

THE COURT: You can't ask him 50 times and hope he finally comes up to a --

MR. DYMOND: If the Court please, I ask you to search the record and find one other time when I have asked him if there were as many as 10.

THE COURT: All right, you may proceed.

Q: Were there as many as 10 of these letters?

A: That is a hard thing to say. We don't count no mail we deliver. I do not go along, none of the carriers will be counting mail, how many for this person, we just deliver it, but I had to handle enough of them to remember, because if I would have handled just maybe one letter I might not have ever paid attention to the name again.


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