An Attempt to Bribe Witness Alvin Beauboeuf?
Getting Testimony with Threats and Money
I offer several examples as representative of the American press treatment of our case against Clay Shaw.
In Newsweek's May 15, 1967, issue under the heading "The JFK 'Conspiracy,'" Hugh Aynesworth wrote:
In fact, the tape not only existed, at the time the Garrison office admitted the attempt to get testimony from Beauboeuf with the offer of money and a job. They simply claimed they were trying to get him to open up and tell the truth. Paying informants, they said, is standard police practice.Jim Garrison is right. There has been a conspiracy in New Orleans-but it is a plot of Garrison's own making. It is a scheme to concoct a fantastic "solution" to the death of John F. Kennedy, and to make it stick; in this case, the district attorney and his staff have been indirect parties to the death of one man and have humiliated, harassed and financially gutted several others.Aynesworth, who seemed a gentle and fair enough man when he interviewed me for several hours in my home, never did get around to revealing whose life our office had shortened. As for the $3,000 bribe, by the time I came across Aynesworth's revelation, the witness our office had supposedly offered it to, Alvin Babeouf [sic], had admitted to us that it never happened. Aynesworth, of course, never explained what he did with the "evidence" allegedly in his possession. And the so-called bribery tape recording had not, in fact, ever existed. (On the Trail of the Assassins, pp. 287-288)
Indeed, Garrison's tactics have been even more questionable than his case. I have evidence that one of the strapping D. A.'s investigators offered an unwilling "witness" $3,000 and a job with an airline-if only he would "fill in the facts" of the alleged meeting to plot the death of the President. I also know that when the D.A.'s office learned that this entire bribery attempt had been tape-recorded, two of Garrison's men returned to the "witness" and, he says, threatened him with physical harm.
But that's not the story Garrison told in On the Trail of the Assassins. He lied about the entire episode.
The following is from Milton E. Brener's The Garrison Case, pp. 163-169.
ANDREWS AND MARTENS WERE charged with perjury. Alvin Beauboeuf was not charged with any offense, nor was he ever served with a subpoena. His ordeal was more subtle, but undoubtedly no less painful. He was repeatedly summoned to the D.A.'s office and visited at his home by D.A. investigators. Interviewing Beauboeuf was the special project of two investigators, Lynn Loisel and Louis Ivon, who had been with Garrison since his induction into office. The episode beginning on March 9th 1967, has been among the most controversial and complex of the entire investigation.While Garrison denied, in On the Trail of the Assassins, that any such conversation happened and was tape recorded, in New Orleans in 1967 the Garrison office admitted that it did, as the following article from the New Orleans Times-Picayune, June 15, 1967, shows.
In early 1967 Beauboeuf resided with his wife in Arabi, Louisiana, in St. Bernard Parish, just south of New Orleans proper. He was employed as a filling station attendant. Visits to Beauboeuf's home by the two investigators and his visits to the D.A.'s office increased considerably following Ferrie's death. Finally, the two told Beauboeuf that he "had to know something about the assassination." Beauboeuf replied that he knew nothing.
About 10:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 9th, 1967, five days before the start of the Shaw preliminary hearing, Loisel and Ivon again appeared at Beauboeuf's home. After a few routine questions, including a request that he identify a photograph he had already identified numerous times, they asked Beauboeuf to step outside. Loisel took over the conversation.
"You know, Al, my boss has got unlimited money and we know you know something so we're in a position to do something for you, perhaps pay you $5,000-$10,000-$15,000 and a guaranteed job with an airline," was Loisel's opening pitch. According to Beauboeuf, when Loisel said "airline" be did not hear much more. Beauboeuf has always been fascinated by anything connected with planes or flying. He does recall that Loisel specified that be wanted the truth. Beauboeuf said that he would do anything he could to help.
Replied Loisel: "Al, we want you to fill in the missing links in the story." According to Beauboeuf, he assumed that Loisel was talking about Ferrie's personal life and the people he had met, and Beauboeuf replied that he would. Beauboeuf told the investigators that he would like to talk to his wife about it and to his attorney. Loisel assured him that "a positive contract or any other form of writing you want to put it in will be all right." Continued Loisel: "We'll guarantee that you will be the hero, not the villain, and if your attorney wants to draw up any type of papers, he is perfectly welcome to do so." The attorney was to contact Loisel the following day and set up an appointment for himself and his client, Beauboeuf, to meet the investigators in the D.A.'s office.
The next morning Beauboeuf called his attorney, Hugh Exnicious, whose office is in Jefferson Parish, and described to him the meeting that had occurred the previous night. On his attorney's advice, Beauboeuf went to his office and they discussed the conversation further. Exnicious suspected an attempt to buy false information. He called Loisel at the D.A.'s office and asked that the two investigators meet in his, Exnicious's, office because of the "Roman circus" that was taking place at Tulane and Broad. Loisel first refused, but after discussing the matter with Garrison called back and advised that he would be right out. In the early afternoon of March ioth, as Exnicious and Beauboeuf waited for Loisel to arrive, Exnicious placed a tape recorder behind the curtain in his office which could be activated by a switch under his desk.
Loisel arrived about 2:30 p.m. Exnicious got up from behind his desk and introduced himself to Loisel. "I thought you were coming with your partner," he said as he walked to his seat behind the desk. He then clicked on the recording machine as he continued speaking: "What's his name?"
Ivon?" said Loisel.
"Ivon. He didn't come out with you?" asked the attorney.
"No. We've got too much to do. Now, let me bring you up to what Al and I were talking about last night. I told him we had liberal expense money and I said the boss is in a position to put him in a job, you know, possibly of his choosing, of Al's choosing. Also, that there would be . . . we would make a hero out of him instead of a villain, you understand. Everything would be to your satisfaction. There's no . . . I mean, we can . . . we can change the story around, you know, enough to positively beyond a shadow of a doubt, you know . . . eliminate him, you know, into any type of conspiracy or what have you."
Exnicious nodded in approval and murmured agreement from time to time as the uninhibited investigator continued: "The only thing we want is the truth, you know, no . . . no deviations on his part, you know. We want to present the truth. We want the facts and the facts of the assassination. That's what we want." Exnicious again nodded his agreement.
"And for this," continued Loisel, "the release, you know, the thing will be typed up in such a way that Al, you know, will be free and clear."
"Now, in other words," said Exnicious, "what you want him to do, he will come up and give you such evidence that you will be able to couch him in terms of being a hero?"
"That's correct," Loisel affirmed.
"And you'll also . . . you have an unlimited expense account, you said, and you're willing to help him along?"
I would venture to say . . . well, I'm, you know, fairly certain we could put $3,000 on him just like that, you know," replied Loisel as he snapped his fingers. Again Exnicious indicated understanding and agreement.
Continued Loisel: "I'm sure we would help him financially and I'm sure we . . . real quick we could get him a job."
Exnicious was assured by Loisel that the D.A.'s Office was not at all interested in Ferrie's personal life or "the homosexual thing."
". . . Now, about the job, what do you mean by that?"
"Al said he'd like a job with an airline and I feel like the job can be had, you know."
"Well, now, these are tough things to come by. What makes you feel that you would be in a position . . ." Exnicious wanted to furnish all of the rope that he could.
"Well, let's say that . . . well, his connections. For instance, he was talking about a small operation such as Space Air Freight. I know with one phone call he could go out to the Space Air Freight and write his own ticket, you know. That's just Space Air Freight. That's not Eastern or something else. But I feel like we have people who are stepping stones to the larger airlines and so forth." Added Loisel: "They're politically motivated, too, you know, like anything else."
Exnicious meant to make a complete case. He was leaving nothing to chance. "Well, now, Lynn, let me ask you this: You're speaking about the District Attorney, Jim Garrison, and his ability to place Al in a responsible pilot's position with an airline?"
"That's correct, according to Al's own ability." Loisel explained that Beauboeuf would have to advance through the ranks. The first year or two he might "stay in a room in the back with the charts, or something, I don't know." Then, according to Loisel, he "advances a little further, then he's a copilot, then be's a pilot."
"Now, let me ask you this, Lynn: Is this something that you have thought up yourself or that Garrison . . . He knows about the situation?"
"That's right," said Loisel. He apparently did not share Garrison's suspicious nature about electronic bugs.
"And he's agreed that if we could in some way assist you, that you will be able to give him these three things?"
"Well, now, supposing you tell me . . . I don't want to lead you down any pathway . . ."
"No, no. Look . . ." Loisel did not feel at all that he was being led down any pathway.
". . . What you think that Al has that he could help you with?"
"We bad a man sitting . . . well, first off, I feel . . . Well, we feel that Al is as close to Dave as anybody could have been," explained Garrison's investigator. "All right. Now, we know this is a rough . . . I'm drawing you a rough sketch. We have a man who has come forth recently, told us he was sitting in a room with Ferrie, Clay Shaw, two Cubans, and Oswald."
It was getting interesting. "Oswald was in it?" asked Beauboeuf's attorney.
"Oswald was in it," assured the investigator.
"Where was this meeting, in his home, Ferrie's home?"
"If I'm not . . . if I'm . . . correct me if I'm wrong. I believe it was."
"Uh hub, I don't know," said Exnicious, apparently wondering how be could correct Loisel.
"All right. I'm not going to . . . I'm not going to go into . . . you know . . . " stuttered Loisel.
"Yes, I understand. I don't want you to," said the sympathetic attorney.
"But anyhow, the assess . . . Ferrie said, 'The best way in which the assassination can be done is to get the man . . . to get the President in cross fire,'" continued Loisel as Exnicious nodded to indicate his continuing interest. "And went on to discuss that. And then Clay Shaw and Ferrie . . . I believe it was Clay Shaw and Ferrie, or maybe it was Clay Shaw and Oswald, having a little heated argument. Clay Shaw wanted some of his methods used or his thoughts, you know, used, but anyhow, that's what we have in mind, along that line."
If Al did not know anything about the conspiracy prior to this day, he should know something now.
Exnicious wanted some elucidation as to what it was that Beauboeuf was supposed to know: "Was Al supposed to have been at that meeting?"
"No, Al wasn't at the meeting," explained Loisel patiently.
"Well, how is Al supposed to be able to help you with that meeting?"
A fair question.
"Well, Al is in . . . Al, being as close to Ferrie . . ."
"Yes," nodded Exnicious, apparently feeling that be was getting a firm bite indeed.
". . . has to know the whole thing from beginning to end. He has to know it," Loisel was emphatic. Garrison's brand of logic was contagious.
"I see. And you're convinced from all the evidence that Al could not be as close as he was to Dave without knowing something in some way?"
"That's right," agreed Loisel.
"Now, let me ask you this, Lynn," said the attorney. "You don't mind my calling you that, do you, Mr. Loisel?"
"No, positively not," Loisel assured him.
"Let me ask you this: Do you think that . . . that . . . of course, if . . . if my client, Beauboeuf, if he knew about this and didn't tell you, be's committing a crime, be's an accessory after the fact, isn't he?"
"No, he's not. I tell you how we go about that. Well, Dave Ferrie, bless his poor soul, is gone. Al was scared of Dave. Al has a family, you know. When Al first met Dave, he was a single man. Al has a family now. Al was threatened by Dave, you know, to . . . never to divulge this. Al or his family would be taken care of."
Exnicious nodded understandingly. "I see."
"You understand, now that poor Dave is gone Al has voluntarily come forward and told of his knowledge. I mean, there's 99,000 ways we could skin that cat, you know. I mean, it's something, you know . . . that's his patriotic duty. He's . . . now he's placing his family, you know, the safety of his family at the hands . . . at the mercy of the District Attorney's Office because he must clear his conscience and as an upstanding young American."
Exnicious was now ready to go to the heart of the matter.
"All right," said the attorney. "Now, let me ask you this, Lynn: Supposing Al in his own consciousness does not know anything and you run him through . . . you said something about hypnosis, you would be willing to take him through any truth serum and polygraph and so forth and so on. I read his statement. There's nothing in his statement that indicates that Al consciously knows or willingly told anything about the conspiracy of Dave Ferrie's or certainly didn't even know Clay Shaw. Now, bow can that be changed?"
"When was the statement made?" interrupted Loisel.
It was agreed that the statement was made in late 1966. "Ferrie was living, wasn't he?" continued the investigator.
"Yeah . . . oh, I see," said Exnicious, as though ashamed of his naivete.
"He had no choice. He was scared, you know, I mean he . . . married man., father-in-law, you know, wife and kids, and this and that and everything else. He's scared."
"Well, have you any real . . . let me ask you this: Besides your personal opinion, have you anything really on Al Beauboeuf that be knows anything we might clear up?" asked Exnicious.
"Umm, no. Really, the only thing we're doing or have been trying to do is to have Al tell us."
"Well, he's already been up there the one time. Now, what more do you want now?"
"We don't believe him," said Loisel, "let's put it that way."
As to whether or not Beauboeuf would have been guilty of being an accessory, Loisel acknowledged that technically that might be true, but that "we have no choice, you know. I mean, we are seeking the information."
The two men then talked at some length about the merits of Garrison's case against Shaw. Exnicious was not impressed and there was little Loisel bad to offer that seemed impressive. Finally, Exnicious again turned to Loisel with the crucial question.
"Yeah. Lynn, let me ask you this: Supposing we agree to this and it's all drawn down and after you run Al Beauboeuf through the three deals, it comes out he knows nothing about the whole thing, what . . . what then? Will you still give him the money and still give him the position?"
Loisel was quite specific: "No. That's not the deal."
"What is the deal?" asked Exnicious.
"The deal is that Al fills in the missing links."
"Well, supposing he doesn't know what . . . who are the other assassins?"
"Well, he can't fill in the missing links if . . . if he doesn't know. And that is what the deal is predicated on."
"That he knows?" asked Exnicious.
Both men laughed. "Oh, yeah," said Loisel.
"Oh, boy," said Exnicious, still laughing, "you better let me get to talk to him some more in order to find out if we can . . . He told me, and I'll be frank with you, that he knows nothing at all about the assassination, same thing be told you and told the D.A.'s Office early in November, and now this is going to have to change his story. If he does, in fact, feel that he knows something about it, perhaps he will then say all right."
Loisel again assured that there would be no embarrassment to Beauboeuf and that they were not at all interested in Ferrie's personal life. What they wanted, explained Loisel was "the places, the times, you know, and what have you." If after talking to Beauboeuf it appeared to Exnicious that Beauboeuf did have the information, then he, Loisel, was going to ask a few questions just to satisfy his own curiosity, questions that "only a man in his [Beauboeuf's] position could know." Loisel would have to know the answers, of course, before "the deal is clinched." If Loisel satisfied himself that Beauboeuf knew what he was talking about, then they would go right into the boss's office and "the man himself" would sit down.
"You're talking about Garrison?" asked Exnicious.
Loisel assured that he was and, further, that any type of contract would be agreeable. Loisel chortled a bit as he thought of the reaction of the "Federal Government" when "this thing is broken."
Loisel was asked to step outside for a few minutes while Exnicious spoke privately to his client, Beauboeuf. Beauboeuf reiterated to his lawyer that he knew nothing at all about any assassination plot.
"You realize that if we turn him down, they're going to subpoena you?" advised Exnicious.
"I didn't think they thought so screwed-up," said Beauboeuf.
So the issue was not whether the conversation had occurred and been tape recorded, the issue was whether the offer of a job and money constituted misconduct on the part of the Garrison prosecution. In his book, Garrison didn't bother arguing that his investigators had acted properly, he simply lied about the incident having happened.PAIR CLEARED IN BRIBE PROBE
Police Find No Violation in Beauboeuf Case
By ROBERT USSERY
Two police officers accused of attempting to bribe assassination probe figure Alvin R. Beauboeuf did not violate the police code of conduct or state law when they offered him money and a job for information on behalf of District Attorney Jim Garrison, a police department Investigation has concluded.
Acting Supt. of Police Presly J. Trosclair Jr. announced at a press conference Wednesday afternoon that an intensive investigation concluded that the two, Lynn Loisel and Louis Ivon, "have not violated any rules of the code of conduct of the department of police." Both men are detailed to the district attorney's office as investigators.
Burton Klein, an attorney for the 21-year-old Beauboeuf, lodged a complaint with the police department last month claiming that the two officers attempted to bribe his client and threatened him.
Trosclair said that after questioning as many persons as possible including Beauboeuf's wife, the department could find no other evidence of Intimidation attempts.
One reporter asked Trosclair if the police concluded that the men are innocent of the bribery accusation in the eyes of the law.
The acting superintendent first noted that the officers had acknowledged offering money and a job with an airline to Beauboeuf.
He then noted that Federal, state and city authorities reward informants financially, and added, "We do not interpret it as a violation."
Trosclair also said be listened to a tape recording in the Metairie law offices of attorney Hugh B. Exnicios in which the officers discussed the matter with Beauboeuf.
Exnicios reportedly had such a recording which was the basis for a national magazine article blasting Garrison tactics.
Trosclair said that conversations on the tape showed that the officers offered to formalize the arangement for information in a contract.
"Does it stand to reason that if anyone was going to do anything illegal they would sign a contract?" Trosclair asked.
Klein challenged Trosclair to play the recording in public and let the public decide whether a felony was committed.
The attorney said it is "a sad commentary on modern day law enforcement officials when absolutely conclusive evidence of felonies is pushed aside because of the power of a district attorney and the fear it places in public officials. It has now engulfed the police department.
"There is no doubt in my mind that more than one felony was committed by Garrison's staff . . . The action of Chief Trosclair acting under authority of the superintendent of police is a discredit to every man who wears a badge."