I saw Lane later in the afternoon, and we more or less agreed to stop the feud. I told him, however, what it was that concerned me more than anything: some of the files, which I was supposed to be in charge of, were something of an embarrassment to me. The Ferrie file contains no evidence that Ferrie knew Oswald, which is the relationship which the investigation was originally predicated on. The Ferrie file is, in fact, simply a report on a negative investigation. Under the circumstances then, it was somewhat embarrassing to have outsiders like Gary Sanders coming round reading the file. Lane reacted as though he appreciated my problem and then said: "Well, in future, if anyone looks at the Ferrie file, just tell them that the important material from it has been put into a confidential file somewhere." By saying this, of course, Mark Lane was acknowledging the lack of basis for the investigation.
In late afternoon Harold Weisberg arrived, and I went out to see him with Loisel, Ivon and Eckert at the Fountainbleau. We spent the afternoon bugging the next door room to Harold's, for the purpose of deciding once and for all whether people really are going through the baggage of our guests, as Harold Weisberg has claimed in the past, as also did Steve Jaffe.
In the evening met Layton Martens at the "Seven Seas". He seems like quite a nice guy, just majored in cello at USL and wants to leave state to join an orchestra in New York, but is not allowed to leave because of his perjury indictment. He does not know, he says, the basis for the indictment.
Saturday Evening Post advance copy (with article by Tink Thompson) arrived and caused a pleasant surprise in the office. "Boy, that's beautiful," said Lorraine Schuler, looking at the diagram showing crossfire possibility, "it makes Russo look a little bit better." Alcock commented: "Garrison will come out of this smelling like a rose. That guy has more luck than anyone I know. And I'll tell you something else about him: he's not afraid of anyone."
Gary Sanders had brought with him a copy of the complete Texas AG report on the assassination, consisting of about 20 bound volumes of reports etc. Much of it–in fact the majority–is duplicated in the 26 volumes. However, I sent Sylvia Meagher some of the new material for her appraisal. She received it and called up mystified. Agreed to look through it, but this did not commit her in any way to support of Garrison, she stressed.
Epstein, I sense, is trying to push me for details of the case he badly needs, via an ms. He hopes I'm going to submit to his publishers. He writes me friendly letters, and calls up quite frequently.
Garrison said he only saw Novel three times, the first being when he was approached by Novel with the offer to be some kind of de-bugging officer for the office. He was introduced to Garrison by Willard Robertson. Subsequently Garrison discovered, he said, that Novel had sold a photograph to NBC ( of a truck or something) and then had no further dealings with him. Novel also volunteered information about the Houma burglary, and his knowledge of Ferrie and Arcacha. Novel was due to appear before the grand jury, but fled to Ohio before he did so.
Garrison admitted to the lawyer -- in response to questioning -- that Novel had no connection, as far as he knew, with the assassination. That the office never was too concerned about him or interested in him, thus accounting for the paucity of information about him in the files.
The lawyer told Garrison that, in his view, there was enough discreditable material in Novel's background to make it unlikely that Novel could ever win his suit against Playboy and Garrison.
On Saturday, Garrison made statement to channel 12 TV about Warren, Johnson etc., affirming that they knowingly covered up an assassination plot.
If Shaw is guilty of conspiracy, then Oswald must be either an actual assassin or have concurred in his own frame-up, by allowing his rifle to be taken into the TSBD etc. Moreover, the argument that Oswald should have (a) discussed assassinating the President with Shaw and Ferrie, and (b) be innocent, when he was in the building from which the shots were fired, when his gun was also in the building, and when the bullet fragments ballistically matched to that gun were found in the car of the dead President, lacks plausibility to say the least.
In fact, nobody seems to have remarked on the fact that Russo's testimony, if it is true, actually increases the likelihood that Oswald was an assassin, since, in addition to the prior evidence against him, he is now involved in a prior discussion about the assassination.
The only way to make Shaw's guilt compatible with Oswald's innocence is to shirt the overt act to Ferrie, since in that event Oswald could have been unknowingly framed, and the Shaw-Ferrie-Oswald conspiracy could still have come to fruition without Oswald knowing anything about it. However, none of Ferrie's actions seem as though they can be interpreted as an overt act, not even his trip to Texas (which did not start until after the assassination), and therefore the burden seems to fall back on Oswald.
One of the co-conspirators named with Bradley in the original Bill of Information was Jack Lawrence, a car salesman at Downtown Lincoln Mercury during the assassination. His name was later withdrawn, however, and no co-conspirators were actually specified. I had planned to travel to Washington on Dec 21 anyway, and so when I left I suggested to Louis Ivon that while I was there I check through the National Archives for any mention of Edgar Eugene Bradley, and also try to get to see Jack Lawrence, who was last heard of in Charleston, West Virginia. Garrison apparently remained convinced that Lawrence was "involved", and Ivon agreed it would be a good idea to get more information on him in an effort to forestall Garrison from again acting rashly.
I went to the Archives while in Washington, and requested any information they may have on Bradley from their name index file, but Marion Johnson told me they had nothing. Knowing that they sometimes have reports on people which do not get listed in the name index, I then requested to see all commission Documents originating in California, ie. FBI reports with office of origin San Francisco, Los Angeles, etc. I also checked through the El Paso files. However there was no mention of Bradley anywhere. (I did find some FBI reports on Richard Case Nagell, however, which strongly suggest that he had nothing whatsoever to do with the assassination.)
I also traveled to Charleston, West Virginia, with Lady Jean Campbell (daughter of Lord Beaverbrook and ex-husband of Norman Mailer), a correspondent for the London Evening Standard now living in New York. She had been introduced to me by Jones Harris. We visited Jack Lawrence in his house in Charleston, to cut a long story short. He persuaded both of us that he had absolutely nothing to do with the assassination.
Sahl looks rather weary and under the weather, haggard, lined face, from what I remember of him in Washington last May.
Salandria started off by telling us that we were in much better shape now than on the occasion of his earlier visit, in July. I had accompanied him around at that time, and I recall he was shown the Shaw file. He looked through it, and was rather rueful about it to me. He admitted to me that there wasn't much there. Now, however, it was a different story, or so he seemed to think. He could tell by the expressions on our faces. The case against Shaw was now looking much more solid, he told us, and we were beginning to work as a team.
He then started to urge us that the only trouble was we weren't going far enough, and he then started to work himself up into a harangue about Michael and Ruth Paine. "They're agents," he said, "I know they're agents. I've got the proof." He went on at some length about how he had met the Paines, and he produced some quasi-evidence suggesting they were agents etc. Then he told us to go ahead and charge the Paines -- "You've got all the evidence you need." He exhorted us to charge some others too, Marina Oswald, and Allan Dulles. Don't worry about anything, just go ahead and charge them, "the evidence is THERE!"
Garrison sat next to Salandria through all this, calmly smoking his pipe. Salandria was getting really worked up by this time, and was actually shouting at us. Someone asked him to tell us some of the evidence, and then he pulled out a few card indexes -- seemingly a little annoyed at being distracted by such trivia -- and then started off on his stuff about troop increases in Vietnam, the radio message to Airforce One, the same stuff he had shown me earlier on when he was working on the manuscript on WHY Kennedy was killed with his friend Tom Katen.
When he finished he was fairly attacked by several members of the staff, notably Jim Alcock and Charlie Ward. He was told that he just didn't have sufficient evidence to warrant any of his conclusions, that he didn't seem to realize that we, as a DA's office must be concerned with the law and other such niceties, etc. Garrison began to get upset at these attacks, and came to Salandria's defense. Salandria even tried to tell us that Oswald was innocent, and I pointed out to him that if you believe Russo, you have just about got to believe that Oswald is guilty. I pointed out that the evidence adduced by our investigation made it more, and not less likely, that Oswald was involved. I remember Garrison gave me a look as though to say -- 'What on earth is he talking about, he still doesn't understand,' but I knew the whole office, apart from Garrison, was solidly behind me.
Garrison was beginning to smart by this time, and he ended the meeting with an attempt to wrest back the initiative. He gave us a lecture about all having to pull together, that we couldn't afford to work against one another, etc. However, it was obvious that his major objective had not been accomplished. Evidently he had been trying to use Salandria to persuade us of a course of action which he wanted to take himself but knew that we would not endorse. Therefore he was hoping that we might accept it if it came from someone else, namely Salandria. But the ruse had not worked. It was evident that everyone there, with the possible exception of Sciambra -- who does not stick his neck out at all when he sees it means going against what Garrison wants -- thought that Salandria was something of a nut.
Next: Part Five