Inside the Garrison JFK Assassination investigation.

Part 5 of 9

Wednesday, January 31, 1968

Garrison on Johnny Carson show tonight. Watched it at Matt & Janine's.

Thursday, Feb 1, 1968

Charlie Ward's comment on Garrison's appearance on TV: "He makes a good appearance of course, and he's photogenic, but what he said was a disaster."

Friday, Feb 2, 1968

Huge volume of mail beginning to descend on office in response to Garrison's appearance on the ‘Tonight' show. Nearly all of it looks favorable.

Saturday, Feb 3, 1968

Thought For the Day: Why the fraternization between the judges and the DA's office? I don't see why a judge, once elected, (for a much longer term than the district attorney) should be in any way dependent upon the DA for his political survival. In any event, this fraternization is no doubt one of the worst aspects of the so-called system of justice here. I recall Judge Haggerty at the DA's office party: smiling, talking to everyone, shaking hands with anyone he didn't know and introducing himself. He reminded me more of a politician at election time than a judge at a party. I went with a French girl I had met recently, and when I told her he was the judge who was going to try the Shaw case I think she thought I was kidding her.

Monday, Feb 5, 1968

Ivon told me when I came in that Gary Sanders is to be put on the payroll @ $400 a month. Lorraine Schuler on the vast amount of mail now arriving in the office: "All my education and training on this garbage. That isn't one tenth of it," dumping a great pile on my desk. There is no adverse mail re the Carson show. All favorable to Garrison.

Mort Sahl came in waving newspaper with Herman Deutsch favorable comment on the Carson show. No doubt about it, Sahl sees the investigation purely as a publicity struggle, and not at all in terms of the facts or truth -- exactly contrary to what you would suppose. Mark Lane is the same. This would be OK if we were running, say, a TV station.

Alcock said he got a call from the California Attorney General regarding the extradition papers on Bradley. "Looks like you've got some pretty good papers," the AG said.

"Holy Mackerel!" said Alcock, "that guy ought to go back to law school. I think they're going to extradite him!"

Gungho Gary Sanders accused me of being "bad for morale" and "working against the office" when I said that I did not believe that Craig saw Oswald, and that it did not fit with other facts. I told him you cannot go into a courtroom with nothing but morale.

Tuesday, Feb 6, 1968

Motion filed by defense for Change of Venue today. Hearing for this March 5th. Alcock says trial won't be till April at least. "Good in some ways, not in others," he says.

Garrison not in office today. Called me regarding my memo on Oswald in Mexico. He still believes Oswald never went there, apparently. Strange letter from Gene Wilson on Downtown Lincoln-Mercury stationery. He possibly puts Shaw in Dallas in Dec. 1963.

Replying to letters re ‘Tonight' Show. Just about all favorable to Garrison. An interesting point re "limits of the investigation" raised by Garrison's statement on the program that only 5 are working on the case, (which has prompted many offers of assistance. We are now limited not by manpower shortage but by physical (office size) and financial considerations.

Fourteen letters to high school/college students writing term papers and wanting information. I note they nearly all type their letters neatly, double spaced. Their overall grasp of the facts in the case tends to be poor, however. Thought: the most interesting thing about the investigation now is not the substance of it, but the public reaction to it.

Wed Feb 7, 1968

Today had row with Gary Sanders and Jody Duek. She has ensconced herself in my tiny office without so much as consulting me, and now practically gives me orders. The less said about her the better.

Garrison not in office Monday through Wednesday. Ivon says he is still smarting from the opposition he got from the rest of the DA's staff after the Salandria talk.

Thursday, Feb 8, 1968

Today Marina Oswald Porter and Kerry Thornley were before the grand jury. I spoke to Marina briefly in Alcock's office before she went up to the GJ room. Here husband Kenneth Porter was with her. Marina seemed scared, timid, unwilling, unco-operative, answering in quiet monosyllables. She seems intelligent though. We did not discuss the case at all, just pleasantries. Alcock remarked to her that he had been to the same high school in Fort Worth as Oswald's brother Robert. Garrison came in and shook hands, reassured her and told her not to worry about anything. Garrison is basically not interested in Marina, but appears to be considering indicting Thornley.

In his office after the grand jury session was completed, Garrison remarked that it had been "a good day". Sciambra and others were laughing at some of the questions some members of the jury had asked. The first question the grand jury foreman asked Marina was: "Is this your first visit to New Orleans?" They also asked her some questions about what Oswald talked about at night. She said he hardly said anything. "Not even pillow talk?" she was asked.

Marina made one remark that pleased Garrison. She said the Secret Service had told her to beware of Ruth Paine "because she was a member of the CIA." However, Alcock told me later that by the way she answered -- "that organization you join..." it was evident she meant something other than the CIA, namely the ACLU. As far as the substance of our case was concerned, Alcock said that she contributed nothing of value, and could only be a defense witness when it came to the trial. Oswald did not stay away at night, neither he nor she drove a car, she had never been to Clinton, not had he, as far as she knew.

Alcock pointed out why Garrison had been reluctant to call Marina before the grand jury: because her testimony would undoubtedly be in opposition to any conspiracy theory involving Oswald. It would be hard for the Grand Jury to believe that there had been a conspiracy after talking to her, and Garrison did not want to run the risk of exposing the GJ to this point of view. That was why he was pleased by her comment about Ruth Paine -- it suggested that events may in fact have been as Garrison had portrayed them.

(1969: I never saw a transcript of Marina Oswald's testimony. Of course, Grand Jury testimony is technically secret, but the fact that Garrison largely conducted his investigation in the secrecy of the Grand Jury raises some questions about the validity of his criticisms of the Warren Commission. This would be analogous to the Warren Commission having heard testimony in closed session. It seems that Marina's testimony before the Warren Commission will go down to posterity -- albeit under a great deal of criticism -- but her testimony before the "Garrison Commission" will not even see the light of day. It will be analogous to one of the Commission's classified documents, which Garrison got so much mileage out of. As far as I know, nobody has ever raised this criticism of Garrison. When is he going to publish his 26 volumes?)

Friday, Feb 9, 1968

Garrison in the office today, in one of his talkative, performing moods. He kept calling me, and others, into his office on pretexts. He is also considering charging Kerry Thornley, who was also in the office today. Alcock said "He'd better not," (charge Thornley) as there was no evidence against him, with which I agree. But Garrison is hynotised by the fact that Thornley (a) admits having met Clay Shaw. (b) showed the ms of his (first) book to Martin McCauliffe, professor at LSU who helped found Friends of Democratic Cuba–an anti-Castro outfit including Sergio Arcacha Smith, "who was involved with Oswald," according to Garrison. (c) Picked up unemployment checks at Julia St., near Camp St. (d) met Guy Banister. (e) Moved to Arlington, Va. soon after the assassination. (f) Lived at one point on Dauphine St, a couple of blocks from Clay Shaw, and one or two other points.

Thornley consistently denies having met Oswald in New Orleans in the summer of 1963. I spoke to Kerry Thornley briefly in my office late in the afternoon. He looked as though he had been in tears. He said, "Where have I met you before?" I did no recognize him from anywhere, but I knew that an English friend of mine, Warwick Reynolds, had been here in ‘62 and ‘63 and had at one point shared an apartment with Thornley on Barracks St. I had been here on and off during that period too (on vacation from school I was teaching at in Virginia,) and I told Thornley I might have met him with Warwick Reynolds. He immediately recalled Warwick, and thought it probable that that was how he recognised me. He said the publishers had printed 81,000 copies of his book, but had only sold 17,000 of them. Apparently they haven't even been trying to sell them lately, although we both agree this would be a good time. He gave us his only copy.

Garrison in rare form today. "Sooner or later, because people are lazy, you catch them out on propinquity," he said while thumbing through the city directory. What a classic remark! (Little or no attention has been given to Garrison's "Propinquity Factor" theories. However, on Feb 10 and April 7, 1967 he wrote "Part I" and "Part II" of a memorandum entitled "Time and Propinquity: Factors in Phase One" which, if the Garrison investigation is to have any historic value, will certainly be valuable documents. They are predicated on the supposition that if people live anywhere near one another, they are therefore to be suspected of being associated in some way. I need hardly say that nobody in the office takes "the propinquity factor" seriously except for Garrison himself.)

Another Garrison comment today: "I don't mind that the Government turned out to be involved, it makes the fight all the more fun!" He then started to talk about "the need to move more audaciously," as he put it. Everyone in the office starts to wince when he talks like this. Garrison started to talk very amusingly about Communists. "They're like unicorns. Nobody has ever seen one! J. Edgar Hoover might just as well start talking about unicorns. ‘They're out there in the woods, more unicorns than ever, we're being surrounded by them. Mr. President, we need 200 extra agents this year and a million dollar increase in our budget to control the increasing unicorn menace in this country.'" After a good performance like this–and on such occasions Garrison can be astonishingly good, brilliant one might say, he plays his part well. Does not harp on his joke, and pretends not to notice that everyone is rolling about laughing. On this occasion he just made some remark to the effect that America had gone insane worrying about Communists all the time, and then changed the subject.

He started talking about CIA "involvement", referring to his suspects as "players" – meaning Novel, Thornley, etc. Garrison said: "They get three one hundred dollar bills in the mail every week, with orders not to pay income tax. If there's ever a question raised, there's a phone call and that's the end of it."

When he picked up the phone at one point, part of the receiver fell off so he just threw it into the waste paper basket. He also came round and smashed up a chair in his office which was beginning to break. I told him about the Wall St. Journal story, (‘DA on the Griddle') but it did not seem to bother him very much. He started to talk about how the CIA controls Life magazine "in sensitive areas."

Garrison observed that one day he would probably be on the cover of Time, with a group of other people under the caption "The Arrogance of Dissent". He suggested that the others would be Rap Brown, Martin Luther King, Stokeley Charmichael and Dr. Spock. He said "the arrogance of dissent" was a phrase which had been used by a Senator recently and quoted with approval in magazines.

Mort Sahl in office, and I have good rapport with him. He told me he had had [a] run in with Jody Duek too–she telling him what to do etc. He's leaving Monday for TV show (his) in Los Angeles, with GM sponsorship. Mort is unbalanced on assassination, does not have it in proportion, and is weak, to say the least, on the facts (which do not really interest him). I like him though, he's sensitive, observant, and quick. He talked very well about the "cocktail party buffs" in Los Angeles congregating round Maggie Field, associating with show biz people etc.

Saturday, Feb 10, 1968

Went to the office in the afternoon, and Garrison was there with Dick Burnes and Louis Ivon. Garrison is planning to subpoena Allen Dulles and Gordon Novel simultaneously, with pictures in the paper of both of them smoking pipes. Question of relevance regarding Dulles raised. He left CIA long before the assassination. However it was determined that he was in CIA at the time of the Houma bunker burglary, (he left about a month after it.)

Garrison starting talking about "getting our napalm on them,"(those he is fighting and accusing.) He made motions with his hands and arms as though trying to cast something away from him. "They can't get it off them," he said, laughing.

Regarding President Johnson, Garrison said: "I'm probably only a cloud on the horizon for him at the moment, but if I keep on getting access to national microphones like this, I'm going to become a real thorn in his side."

I asked him what he had been about to say on the ‘Tonight' Show about Robert Kennedy -- the subject was changed before he got around to it. He said it would have been to the effect that John Kennedy had been our President, and what RFK has to say about it is irrelevant, especially as he says he has not read the Report. Garrison concedes that RFK is probably not as opposed to him as he has said in public statements. He agrees that RFK probably couldn't become overtly involved in the case, even if he wanted to.

Sunday Feb 11, 1968

Went to the office in the afternoon. Garrison interviewed on film by Willem Oltmans for Dutch TV. Garrison made his usual speech about the CIA and FBI etc., and Oltmans accepted it uncritically. Oltmans has spent some time with George DeMohrenschildt and is trying to get Garrison and DeM. together. Garrison seems to be convinced that DeM. is involved in some way, and refers to him as the "project manager". However he refuses to meet him. Garrison received a friendly letter from DeM. offering to meet him either in Dallas or New Orleans, I believe. Both Billings and myself urged Garrison to see him, but he has consistently refused. I think G. is afraid that if he meets DeM. in the flesh, he will become persuaded that he is not involved, and thereby lose a suspect.

Garrison said that during the ‘Tonight' Show, he turned to Carson during one of the commercial breaks and said: "I'll sing and dance for you if you like." Carson, not at all amused, didn't take it as a joke and said: "You're not going to do any singing on this show."

Ivon more communicative than usual today. He said that three weeks ago Governor McKeithen gave $5,000 to Garrison for the investigation. He was sort of talked into it by Willard Robertson, Rault and Garrison. Ivon said that Willard Robertson has practically underwritten the investigation, and has personally donated $25,000 or $30,000 of his own money to "Truth or Consequences". However, Ivon does not think Robertson intends to give any more, or is unlikely to.

Ivon, like Alcock, is afraid Reagan is going to extradite Bradley. "I hope he doesn't," was Ivon's terse comment. Trouble is, Bradley's return would make the investigation open-ended, and it might be another year before Bradley's trial would come up.

Ivon talked about the power of the D.A., especially to subpoena people before the grand jury. "It's a lot of power he's got," Ivon said. "If all the D.A.'s in the country were like Garrison, things would be in chaos." Ivon is in a state of consternation, as he has been for some time, about Garrison's evidently self-destructive path. "I can't see why he would want to lay his whole career on the line like that," he said. Ivon expressed the fear that Garrison would ultimately become identified in people's minds with nuts like George Lincoln Rockwell. I told him Senator Joe McCarthy was a better analogy, except that Garrison is in far more exposed position than McCarthy, because Garrison has a trial pending, at which he will be expected to produce his evidence, whereas McCarthy did not have that threat. Garrison these days confidently asserts that the trial is not going to take place, because the Government will block it or Shaw will be killed. But no-one in the office shares this view, which is little more than whistling in the dark. That's the difference between Alcock and Garrison; Garrison will say in a loud, confident voice, "The trial will never take place," and really sound as though he believes it. Alcock will say, "Man, I hope he's right, but frankly, I see no reason to suppose there won't be a trial."

Today Garrison has decided to renew interest in Emilio Santana, for no apparent reason. He walked around in the afternoon carrying an 8 x 11 picture of Santana, showing it to people. Ivon told Garrison: "I wish you wouldn't," (get interested in Santana again,) "We really questioned him thoroughly for three days and couldn't get anything out of him" (Ivon's polite way of telling Garrison that he doesn't believe the man is involved.) When Ivon says something like this to Garrison, Garrison will pretend to take no notice of, or ignore what Ivon says. But it probably has its effect. In a day or two, in most cases, Garrison will have dropped the matter.

Garrison gave a copy of Santana's picture to Willem Oltmans, who is going to show it to this Dutch magician-type guy who solves crimes etc. by handling the photograph and telling you things about the person -- where he is etc. Apparently he has on occasion been of value to the police. But it is just wasting time to show him Santana's picture.

Ivon said that in the very early days of the investigation, the few who were then working on the case would stay up "in the old grand jury room" till 2 or 3 in the morning, going through files and photographs." They were especially trying to find the unidentified man in the WDSU picture, handing out leaflets with Oswald. They looked through thousands of mug shots, in hope he had an arrest record. No luck though.

Ivon said that Garrison does not react well to criticism in the press, citing the recent Wall St Journal attack. Ivon said that Garrison should expect these attacks, but he says they always seem to come as an unpleasant surprise to him.

Schweggman, "biggest money man in the state," according to Ivon, had an ad in the paper today, expressing support for Garrison.

Monday, Feb 12, 1968

Nothing much happened today. Garrison did not come in. (Garrison's attendance record at the office is rather peculiar. He is nearly always there on Saturday and Sunday, but during th week he will stay away if at all possible. He spends a great deal of time napping at the NOAC. I have also heard he takes Sauna baths there.) I attended part of a trial in section F in the afternoon. A narcotics case with the defendant Perry (or Terry?) Baker. Despite the fact that when the narcotics informer was asked to point out the defendant, he pointed to the law clerk siting next to the assistant DA, Baker was found guilty by the preponderantly blue collar, red-neck, jury, and sentenced to 7 years, I believe. Horrifying. I can't help feeling that Baker made a bad tactical error when he had a bunch of attractive girls from Newcomb in the courtroom, rooting for him. Also his lawyer made a mistake when in his closing argument, he started talking about a "new morality." Hardly likely to appeal to that jury.

Answered more letters re Carson show. Many letters are from law students, all over the country, wanting to work here in the summer. I note they all assume the investigation will still be going on then. Letters from high school and college students writing term papers and wanting information. Evidently the 'Tonight' show was a huge success for Garrison, the biggest yet in the publicity struggle. Most people who write take the position: "I seen through it. NBC is trying to discredit you again, Jim, but they didn't fool me."

Next: Part Six

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