(Moments before the tragedy, the President, Mrs. Kennedy, and Texas first lady Nellie Connolly are all smiles. Governor John Connally looks surprisingly somber as the motorcade makes its’ way towards Dealey Plaza. November 22, 1963)
15 BOXES OF FILES MAY PROVIDE NEW CLUES FOR RESEARCHERS
In a peculiar President’s Day present to historians, The Dallas County District Attorney’s Office has announced the discovery of a trove of documents relating to the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
Locked away in a man-size safe for 44 years, these rare documents and artifacts (which reportedly include Jack Ruby’s gun holster and the clothing Oswald wore when he was shot) were kept secret from the public for decades — although their existence was certainly no secret to every Dallas County D.A. since 1963.
Among the documents is an alleged transcript of a conversation between Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby, planning the assassination together on behalf of the Mafia. This document has aroused the greatest amount of interest but has also been described as “highly suspect” and immediately dismissed as either a fake or a possible movie script.
Dallas District Attorney Craig Watkins explained at a news conference today that the documents were “found” in a safe about a year ago — soon after he took office — and that his staff have been examining and cataloging them ever since. Previous DA’s had decided not to reveal the information, but Watkins said his administration is devoted to openness and felt it was “too important to keep secret.”
“It will open up the debate as to whether there was a conspiracy to assassinate the president,” Watkins stated.
(Watkins, elected in 2006, is the first African-American D.A. in Dallas history.)
Ruby, the owner of a Dallas burlesque club, shot Oswald while he was in police custody two days after the November 22, 1963 assassination. The transcript has Oswald telling Ruby, “the [Mafia] boys in Chicago want to get rid of the Attorney General [Robert Kennedy]. … There is a way to get rid of him without killing him. … I can shoot his brother.”
Gary Mack, curator of the 6th Floor Museum in Dealey Plaza has pointed out that Oswald is known to have been elsewhere on October 4, the alleged date of the alleged conversation.
The transcript resembles one published in a report by the Warren Commission, which investigated Kennedy’s assassination and determined that Oswald was the lone gunman. The FBI determined that conversation – again between Oswald and Ruby, but this time about killing the governor – was definitely fake.
Mr. Mack suggested that the transcript in the Warren Commission report was probably used as a model for the one found in the district attorney’s safe.
The conversation published in the commission report was a fake account of a conversation between Ruby and Oswald on the same night at the Carousel Club. A now-deceased Dallas attorney “re-created” the conversation after Kennedy’s assassination for authorities after he claimed he recognized Oswald in a newspaper photo as the man he saw talking to Ruby that night.
“The fact that it’s sitting in Henry Wade’s file, and he didn’t do anything, indicates he thought it wasn’t worth anything,” Mr. Mack said of the newly found transcript. “He probably kept it because it was funny. It’s hilarious. It’s like a bad B movie.”
IS THE TRANSCRIPT BOGUS OR EVIDENCE WITHHELD FROM TRIAL?
William J. Alexander, the only surviving prosecutor from Ruby’s trial for killing Oswald in the days after Kennedy’s assassination, told the district attorney’s office he’d never seen the Ruby-Oswald transcript. But it’s labeled with a sticker that says, “Plaintiff’s Exhibit 27.” Typically, exhibits for criminal trials are marked as state’s exhibits or defense exhibits.
The DA’s office said Mr. Alexander, who rarely talks about the Ruby trial, declined to be interviewed.
While the two-page transcript is most likely fake, District Attorney Watkins says he’s never believed Oswald acted alone.
“You know me: I’m always a conspiracy theorist,” Mr. Watkins said. “It was too simple of an explanation. I don’t see that.”
COUNTDOWN IN DALLAS
The safe also contained a 1967 million-dollar contract with the then-district attorney Henry Wade for a movie about the assassination, and the DA’s assistant has suggested that the Ruby/Oswald “transcript” was part of a proposed movie script.
The film, tentatively titled Countdown In Dallas, never went into production. But the timing of the film’s making is certainly curious.
By 1967, a large segment of the American public had openly expressed disdain for the conclusions of the Warren Commission. Several books suggesting a conspiracy were already on the shelves, and most importantly – New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison was at that very moment bringing murder charges against Clay Shaw for the murder of President Kennedy, the only such court case in history.
As all this concurrent activity was brewing, the need for a big-budget Hollywood film to refute the charges of conspiracy seems more than plausible; something to placate the general public and put their concerns to rest once and for all.
While many suspected that Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby knew one another, the “transcript” of thier alleged October 4 conversation would have been quite helpful in pursuading the people that although there was some advance conspiratorial planning between the two men, Oswald ultimately was the lone assassin.
The suspect transcript/movie script notwithstanding, perhaps the real hidden treasure within these 15 newly-released boxes is yet to be found. Once the documents are fully opened to researchers (which Dallas officials tell us will be soon), it will be fascinating to see what, if any, previously undiscovered evidence in the case may come to light.
We’ll keep you posted.