Closing arguments by James Alcock
. . . . Pursuant to the recess, the proceedings herein were resumed at 2:55 o'clock p.m., appearances being the same as heretofore noted in the record. . . .
THE COURT: I remember, Mr. Dymond, you said you had a motion out of the presence of the Jury. I would like to make one statement. During the recess, when we recessed from five after twelve until just a few moments ago -- what the judge includes in his charge and in his instructions to the Jury -- various facets of the case develop, so the judge does not know until the case is finally submitted what he shall include in his charge, and that is what I have been doing since five after twelve, I have dictated it and it is being typed up now. For the record, I asked Mr. Garrison just before we recessed, is that the State's case, and I understand Mr. Alcock stated that the State has no further rebuttal witnesses.
MR. ALCOCK: That is correct, Your Honor.
THE COURT: Mr. Dymond, do you wish to make a motion?
MR. DYMOND: If the Court please, at this time we would like to file our second motion for a directed verdict.
THE COURT: Very well. Let me see it.
MR. DYMOND: Rather than reiterate what I stated before in connection with our other motion, Your Honor, I would merely like to put forward --
THE COURT: What?
MR. DYMOND: I would like to submit to Your Honor those same arguments, as I am sure you will remember, together with the fact that according to the unrefuted testimony of Dean Andrews, it has been shown that the name "Clay Bertrand" had a completely fictitious origin, consequently rendering the case itself a fictitious one. We will submit it on that.
THE COURT: Your motion for a directed verdict is denied.
MR. DYMOND: To which ruling Counsel reserves a bill of exception, making the motion for a directed verdict, the entire record and testimony together with the ruling of the Court parts of the bill.
THE COURT: Bring the Jury in.
(Jury returns to the box.)
THE COURT: Are the State and the Defense ready to proceed?
MR. ALCOCK: Yes, Your Honor.
MR. DYMOND: We are ready.
THE COURT: You may proceed.
MR. ALCOCK: May it please the Court and Gentlemen of the Jury: Gentlemen, let me being by thanking you on behalf of the State of Louisiana and the District Attorney's office, first of all for serving on this Jury. I realize that it has been a personal sacrifice and certainly a sacrifice on the part of your employers as well as on the part of your families, and we do appreciate it and I am sure the City of New Orleans appreciates it. Let me also thank you gentlemen at the outset for your kind attention. This has been a long tedious trial, oftentimes there have been some rather technical points gone into. There have been experts that have testified in this case, and I realize as a layman -- and I am a layman also -- that sometimes this testimony became a little tedious and sometimes a little difficult to understand and sometimes a little difficult to follow, but I certainly do appreciate the attention that you have given to these witnesses.
Gentlemen, this is what is known as the State's Opening Closing Argument. I will attempt during the course of this argument to try to piece together for you the various bits and pieces of evidence as it unfolded from the witness stand. We have here parts of a puzzle, if you will, and I am going to attempt in this argument to bring these pieces of the puzzle together and to give you a clear image of just what the case is about. Naturally, during this argument I am going to highlight those things which I think most favorable to the State of Louisiana and to the prosecution in this case. Mr. Dymond and whoever else might argue for the Defense, in their argument will highlight those that they figure most favorable to the Defendant.
Now, Mr. Dymond will have a rebuttal argument, the State will have its rebuttal argument. It may seem on the surface somewhat unfair that the State is given two arguments as opposed to one for the Defense attorney, but I submit to you that the State carries a heavy burden, and that is proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Therefore, the Legislature of this State and most states throughout the United States accord to the prosecution two arguments. Therefore, you will hear from the State twice. And then after Mr. Dymond and Mr. Wegmann, if Mr. Wegmann should argue, you will hear again from the State of Louisiana.
Gentlemen, at the outset of this trial the State made what is known as an opening statement, and in that opening statement, which is not -- and I remind you again, is not -- evidence in this case, the State outlined in thumbnail fashion, schematic fashion, blueprint fashion, what it intended to prove during the course of the trial. The State was required by the law of Louisiana to make this opening statement; Defense Counsel was not required to make an opening statement. However, in this case, as is sometimes the situation, Defense Counsel chose to make an opening statement, and in his opening statement, gentlemen, he made certain promises to each and every one of you.
One promise that comes to my mind most readily and most clearly is this: that his client, Clay Shaw, not only did not conspire with David W. Ferrie or Lee Harvey Oswald, but did not know either David W. Ferrie or Lee Harvey Oswald, and further, gentlemen, never laid his eyes on either one or both of these men. Gentlemen, I submit to you that within four hours of the beginning of this trial that promise was broken. That promise, gentlemen, lay shattered, broken, and forever irretrievable in the dust of Clinton, Louisiana. With that promise being broken, gentlemen, the Defendant before the Bar, that man right there (indicating), was a proven liar unworthy of your belief, and the Judge will charge you that if any witness, either for the State or for the Defense, lies on any material issue, you may disregard his entire testimony. And there can be no more material issue in this case than whether or not the Defendant, who is charged with having conspired with two men, did in fact know those two men and was in fact in association with those two men. So I submit to you gentlemen, within four hours the promise was broken and the Defendant was proven a liar.
Now, gentlemen, the State opened its case in Clinton, Louisiana. We heard from some six or seven witnesses from Clinton, Louisiana. These people are not involved in this case directly. These people, gentlemen, had nothing to gain by coming to the City of New Orleans and testifying, perhaps an environment strange to them. I doubt if any of them had ever testified in any criminal prosecution before, and certainly not in a criminal prosecution of this significance or notoriety, not in a criminal prosecurtion in a courtroom filled with reporters from all over the world. Gentlemen, by this testimony from these people who had nothing to gain, the State proved certain important and crucial elements of its case. The first man to take the stand was Mr. [Edwin] Lea McGehee, the barbert from Jackson, Louisiana. He testified that Lee Harvey Oswald entered his barbershop and received a haircut from him in late August or early September, 1963. Now, there was nothing great or significant about this gentleman except the fact that his testimony also adduced these facts: Lee Harvey Oswald was interested in gaining employment in the East Louisiana State Hospital at Jackson, Louisiana; Mr. McGehee directed Lee Harvey Oswald to Reeves Morgan, who was then the State Legislator for East Feliciana Parish. Lee Harvey Oswald arrived, gentlemen, or at least Mr. McGehee deduced he arrived in an old battered automobile and there was a young lady in the automobile. Now I want to at this time make it abundantly clear that the State does not claim that it identified that woman at all. The State is certainly not coming before this Jury and saying that it was Marina Oswald, now Marina Oswald Porter, that drove him. I wish we could have identified her, I wish we could have brought her into the courtroom and presented her to you. But nevertheless he did appear on that occasion. And Mr. McGehee did something else, he mentioned the name of Henry Earl Palmer, and not the necessity but the fact that it would serve Oswald well if he should register to vote in the area, since he was sending him to the State Legislator, and he mentioned Clinton, Louisiana.
Now, after this, gentlemen, and I submit as a direct result of this, Lee Harvey Oswald went to the home of Reeves Morgan, again in the City of Jackson, Louisiana, or, as he put it, somewhere close by the city or on the outskirts of the city. He went into Mr. Morgan's home and at first introduced himself as Oswald. You recall Mr. Reeves Morgan saying that he mentioned the name of Oswald Chance, an acquaintance of his, asking Lee Harvey Oswald if perhaps he was related to Oswald Chance because of the similarity of the name Oswald. He also mentioned the possibility of Lee Harvey Oswald registering to vote, and the place to register to vote, gentlemen, was Clinton, Louisiana. On the way out of the door, he had more than just the name Oswald, because Lee Oswald told him his name was Lee Oswald and he was from New Orleans, Louisiana.
After the assassination when Mr. Morgan saw Lee Harvey Oswald on television, he had a conversation with Mr. McGehee. Mr. McGehee confirmed the fact that the man he sent to his home was the same man he, Mr. McGehee, had seen on television -- Lee Harvey Oswald. Mr. Morgan went one step further. Mr. Morgan went one step further. Mr. Morgan called the Federal Bureau of Investigation and told them of the presence of Lee Harvey Oswald and got the response, "We know he was in the area."
Gentlemen, I submit with just these two witnesses the State has proven beyond any doubt that Lee Harvey Oswald was in fact in the Jackson-Clinton area in late August, early September, 1963. Now, gentlemen, there was at that time in the City of Clinton certainly an unfortunate confrontation. The situation was not normal. People unfortunately were suspicious of their neighbors and even more suspicious of any strangers that might have been in the town of Clinton in late August or early September, 1963. There was a voter registration drive going on. The lines had been drawn, CORE workers on one side, perhaps the Registrar on the other side, some people attempting to get people to register to vote, others perhaps on occasion attempting to prevent these people from voting. Gentlemen, we are not talking about a normal time in a small country town in the State of Louisiana, we are talking about a critical time, a time of tension, a time where everyone of necessity, everyone by nature becomes much much more observant of the things around him than he or she might be on other occasions. One day, gentlemen, in that time period a black Cadillac pulled up just close to the Registrar's office in the City of Clinton. There were many people present. One of the persons present, gentlemen, was Mr. John Manchester, Town Marshal of Clinton, Louisiana. Now certainly, gentlemen, if there was anyone who was keenly aware of the explosive or possibly explosive situation at the time, it was Mr. Manchester. And unfortunately sometimes these confrontations do explode, sometimes from persons not native to the area but from outside agitators for either side coming in and taking advantage of a tense situation and exploding it. So he was keenly aware, as the only local law enforcement agent in Clinton, Louisiana, at the time. He by his nature and certainly by his duty during that time was observant of any and all strangers that came into town. By his nature and duty he was equally observant of all strange automobiles that came into town. On this morning, gentlemen -- perhaps it was toward noon, I don't recall the specific time but certainly let me say at this time it is your memory of the facts that is important, it is not my appreciation of the facts or Mr. Dymond's appreciation of the facts, it is your appreciation of the facts -- he went up to this black Cadillac car for a specific reason. He wanted to get a 1028 on it as they call it, he wanted to get some form of identification. Where were they from? Were they possible troublemakers? Could they in any way inflame an already tense situation? He was keenly aware of this, gentlemen, and he went to this car and inquired of the man behind the wheel where he was from. "We are from the International Trade Mart in the City of New Orleans." Now I wonder how many people in the City of Clinton, Louisiana, up until that point had ever heard of the International Trade Mart in the City of New Orleans. Mr. Manchester said that this was the first time he had ever heard of it. But he went further, gentlemen, and he positively and unequivocally and under oath identified that man there (indicating) as the driver of that automobile, the man who said he was from the International Trade Mart in the City of New Orleans.
Have you ever, gentlemen, thought of the probabilities of approaching a man in a strange town and having him say he is from the International Trade Mart in the City of New Orleans unless he is or unless he is in some way connected with the International Trade Mart? And we all know that in the summer of 1963 he was connected with the International Trade Mart in the City of New Orleans. John Manchester positively identified the man, the Defendant before the Bar, as the man in the car. And again, gentlemen, the State -- and I want to make this abundantly clear at this time -- the State is not wedded to the proposition, the State is not bound by the proposition, and the State is not asking you definitely to believe that that black Cadillac on that day belonged to Jeff Biddison, a long-time friend of the Defendant, but it certainly is a curious coincidence that the Defendant knows Jeff Biddison, has used Jeff Biddison's car, and it was a black Cadillac, 1960 or '61, and, as the witnesses said, a brand new or apparently new automobile, shiny automobile. But the State is not saying necessarily that that was Jeff Biddison's automobile, because the State -- unfortunately no one on that occasion got the license number of that car so we could check it down and tell you positively and stand behind it as to the owner of that automobile.
Henry Earl Palmer testified, gentlemen -- and this is the man that Oswald was referred to by the barber, Mr. McGehee -- he testified that he arrived at his office and it was his duty to register those attempting to register during this drive. Most of the registrants in line were Negroes. However, there were two white men, or white boys as he called them, in that line. One of these white boys in that line was Lee Harvey Oswald. Mr. Palmer told you of going back and forth getting coffee, told you of seeing these two men in that line, one of whom he positively identified as Lee Harvey Oswald. Mr. Palmer also told you that he told some law enforcement officer to get a 1028 or an identification on the black Cadillac.
And Manchester told you that when he assured Palmer that the people in the black Cadillac, the two men in the black Cadillac, were not troublemakers, they were from the International Trade Mart, he made a little joke up to the effect that, "They are no trouble, Henry Earl, they must be here to sell bananas." And this was testified to by Henry Earl Palmer, who also saw that black Cadillac, who also said that the Defendant before the Bar fit the general physical characteristics of the man behind the wheel of that Cadillac, the man who John Manchester positively identified under oath on that stand, and he also said, gentlemen, that the other man in the automobile had bushy eyebrows and when Mr. Sciambra showed him a picture of David Ferrie, he said he looked similar. I am not trying to fool this Jury at all. He did not positively identify David Ferrie, nor did he positively identify the Defendant, but he said the man had the same general characteristics of the Defendant.
You recall that when Mr. Palmer first came the black automobile was not there. You recall though that throughout the day as he made his trips the automobile was there the entire time until he left his office at 5:45 p.m. You will recall further that when he left his office Oswald had already been to him, Oswald had firmly identified himself as Lee Harvey Oswald attempting to register to vote. And here is further corroboration of both Lee McGehee and Mr. Morgan, because Oswald was curious about the necessity of registering to vote to get the job at the East Louisiana State Hospital, and he was assured that that was not necessary. He was turned down on his voting registration because he could not show sufficient residence in the Parish of East Feliciana. Gentlemen, there again can be no doubt at all that Lee Harvey Oswald was in the barbershop, in Reeves Morgan's house, and he was in that voter registration line and he attempted to vote in Clinton, Louisiana, in late August or early September.
Now, gentlemen, that was essentially what you heard, and again from one side of the confrontation. The lines had been drawn. But there were also CORE workers who were attempting to have their people register, and I submit to you that they were just as conscious, maybe more so conscious than John Manchester as to strangers in town, as to strange automobiles in the town, because they also were aware of the fact of a possible conflagration, a possible explosion of a tense situation.
Corrie Collins took the stand in this court room under oath and positively told this Jury some very important things, and I submit he had no reason to lie to this Jury. He saw that black Cadillac pull up with three individuals in it, two in the front seat, one in the back seat, and Corrie Collins positively said the man in the back seat got out of that automobile, went in the voter registration line and stood in that line to vote, and that individual positively was Lee Harvey Oswald, the man named as a co-conspirator with the Defendant. But he said even more than that. He corroborates the fact that John Manchester was then in that area, he corroborates the fact that John Manchester went to the window of that automobile and spoke to the driver of the automobile, and this is exactly what Mr. Manchester said, and that is when the Defendant told him they were from the International Trade Mart. Corrie Collins went further. Corrie Collins was in a position to better see the individuals in the automobile, and under oath and in a strange court room and in a strange city he positively and unequivocally and without any hesitation whatsoever pointed out the Defendant before the Bar as the man who drove that automobile, and he identified a picture of David Ferrie as the man in that automobile. And he was conscious, gentlemen, of who was in the City of Clinton, what they were doing there, and what their reason was for being there. He made a statement, gentlemen, that I think we can all remember. There were, because of the voter registration drive, many Federal people apparently present, FBI, perhaps the Justice Department, and, frankly, he and Mr. Dunn, who testified after him, thought that perhaps the parties in the automobile were from the Justice Department or the Federal Bureau of Investigation. When he saw John Manchester go to the car and inquire of the driver or speak with the driver, he made the statement, "They must be trading with the enemy." Because, gentlemen, at that time perhaps, and unfortunately so, at that time Mr. Manchester was probably the enemy to Corrie Collins and to William Dunn.
Mr. Dunn took the stand, gentlemen, and he corroborates the other witnesses in this case concerning the incident in Clinton, Louisiana. He was with or certainly saw Corrie Collins. He recalled the statement of Corrie Collins to the effect that they must be trading with the enemy. Gentlemen, this man had no reason to come into this courtroom and lie to you or to this Court. This man was concerned like the rest at that time because of the tense situation, and he positively identified the Defendant before the Bar as the driver of that automobile, the same automobile, gentlemen, that Lee Harvey Oswald left to get in the voter registration line and to wait for his turn to talk to Mr. Palmer, and Mr. Palmer confirmed the fact that Lee Harvey Oswald did in fact talk to him.
And as further corroboration, gentlemen -- and I hope not to be too long, I don't want to go down and list witness by witness by witness and give you a recapitulation or summary of everything they said, because you outnumber me, you heard twelve times as much as I did, and certainly it is what you heard, and it is your appreciation of the testimony, and it is the weight that you want to give to the witnesses on the wit- ness stand that counts, not what I say.
Mrs. Dedon confirmed the fact that Lee Harvey Oswald did eventually go to the East Louisiana State Hospital and ask her for directions to the Administration Building, and the Administration Building was where the Personal Office was where a man would attempt to seek employment at the East Louisiana State Hospital. Mrs. Kemp testified that she saw Lee Harvey Oswald's application in the files of the East Louisiana State Hospital. And there is something -- there is something curious about this, and it is another coincidence perhaps. She said that the file card had "Harvey Lee Oswald." Gentlemen, there is only one person in this courtroom during this trial who ever admitted to calling Lee Harvey Oswald "Harvey Lee Oswald," and that was the Defendant before the Bar when he gave his interview the night after he was arrested. Now, what has the State shown by the presentation of these witnesses from Clinton, Louisiana? I think it has demonstrated, I think it did demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt at that juncture the Defendant was a liar totally unworthy of your belief, that in fact he did know Lee Harvey Oswald, that in fact he did know David W. Ferrie.
Gentlemen, after the evidence from Clinton, Louisiana, the State put on the stand certain police officers who had arrested Lee Oswald, certain evidence as to the distribution of Fair Play for Cuba Committee Leaflets. You saw these leaflets. Marina Oswald testified that she put the stamp on the leaflet, "A. J. HIDELL." You have seen the leaflets. the interesting one and the significant one, gentlemen, was June 16, 1963. Officer Gaillot said that he asked Lee Harvey Oswald, who was passing the leaflets out, to leave the Dumaine Street wharf. But what is critical here, gentlemen, is the fact that he seized some leaflets and they were identical to the ones taken from him on Canal Street, the one identified by Marina Oswald on June 16, 1963. And they were significant for this reason: because the latter part of June, 1963, a State witness by the name of Vernon Bundy saw the Defendant and Lee Harvey Oswald on the Lakefront in this city, and, if you will recall, he said that he wrapped up his nar- cotics outfit in leaflets that said "FREE CUBA" or something of that nature. I showed him the leaflet taken from Lee Harvey Oswald earlier that same month, one of the leaflets taken from him earlier that same month, and he said it appeared to be the same.
Now let's consider the testimony of Vernon Bundy. Gentlemen, I want to make one thing abundantly clear. I do not apologize for Vernon Bundy or any witness that the State of Louisiana put on during this case. You take your witness, gentlemen, as you find them. It would be fine if we had a lot of bank presidents come before you and tell you how they overheard the Defendant conspire to kill the President of the United States, but you are not going to find too many bank presidents associating with Lee Harvey Oswald and David Ferrie and those of his stripe.
Vernon Bundy took that stand, gentlemen, and we elicited from him at the outset that he was on the Methadone program designed to help addicts rid themselves of the habit of drug addition. This man told Defense Counsel and the State from the witness stand that he had been shooting narcotics for a long, long, long time. And he took this witness stand, gentlemen, and he said that he had gone to the Lakefront of this city, and that when he was on the seawall preparing his narcotics for injection, a black car pulled up behind him.
Now, gentlemen, perhaps it is difficult -- I know it is difficult for me, and I know it must be difficult for you -- to put yourselves in the frame of mind of Vernon Bundy or any drug addict on the Seawall. He is concerned with only one thing, and that is shooting the narcotics, protecting the narcotics and not letting the police sneak up on him and arrest him before he could dispose of the narcotics. The moment that car pulled up, gentlemen, you can be assured, and you were assured by Vernon Bundy, that his attention was riveted on that automobile as it was on the occupants of that car, who left the car and walked along the seawall. And his attention was riveted for a good, good reason, and he told you that reason: he did not want this man to run up on him all of a sudden before he could jettison or throw his narcotics out into Pontchartrain Lake, because without the evidence the man could not be charged with possession of narcotics. And he riveted his attention to that man. He saw another man walk from the other end of the seawall or from the other direction. They met, and he in this courtroom and under oath positively identified the Defendant as the man that got out of the black Cadillac. Coincidentally, the Defendant was seen in a black Cadillac in Clinton in late August, early September, 1963. He saw him get out of that black Cadillac, approach the other man whom he positively identified as Lee Harvey Oswald. He appeared to give him a roll of money. The State did not prove, and I am not attempting to tell you here that it was definitely and positively and beyond any possible doubt a roll of money. He appeared to give him a roll of money, that is, the Defendant gave Oswald what appeared to be a roll of money, and when Oswald put this item, which appeared to be a roll of money, in his pocket, he dislodged some of these leaflets, the same leaflets that hte had been distributing on the Dumaine Street wharf earlier that month, maybe a week or a week and a half before this incident.
And let us recall, gentlemen, that Vernon Bundy was seated on the top wall, or the top step rather, of the seawall. His position was down, and there is something that he noticed, something that frankly might have frightened him, as he said, somewhat. It was the strange gait or apparent limp of this man whom he identified as the Defendant before the Bar. Vernon Bundy graphically demonstrated to this Court and to this Jury while he was on that witness stand when he made that Defendant walk back to that door and then walk forward. Is there anyone in this courtroom or anyone on this Jury that did not notice the peculiar gait of the Defendant? The Defendant himself on the witness stand admitted that he had the affliction in 1963 as a result of a dislodged disc in his back. This was but further corroboration of the testimony of Vernon Bundy in this case. Again, gentlemen, when the Defendant makes the statement under oath that he did not know Lee Harvey Oswald, he is proven a liar and unworthy of your belief.
Gentlemen, again the State apologizes for none of its witnesses in this case, and I don't apologize at all for Mr. Charles Spiesel. Mr. Spiesel took this witness stand under oath and testified that one night he was in Lafayette in Exile, and he saw a man whom he thought he served in the military of the United States with. He asked this man about the ferry service, and perhaps there was a breakdown in communications, because he thought the man said something about ferry, but what he was saying was his name, "Ferrie" -- F-e-r-r-i-e rather than f-e-r-r-y. He went back to the bar, gentlemen.
Subsequent to this, this many David Ferrie, whom he positively identified, a young male and two women asked him to go to a party in the French Quarter. He testified that David Ferrie's eyebrows were not as thick or as heavy as they appeared in the picture. You heard Perry Russo testify that oftentimes David Ferrie's eyebrows were not as thick as they appeared in that picture. You heard him also testify that there were occasions when David Ferrie's hair was not as mussed up or as unsightly looking as it was on some occasions. They went to an apartment, gentlemen, as he recalled it at the intersection of Dauphine and Esplanade Avenue in the City of New Orleans. They walked up, as he recalled it, two flights of stairs and went inside. There was a man who appeared to be the apparent host, and Mr. Spiesel positively identified that man as the Defendant before the Bar. And he said here something else very interesting: It was not the Defen- dant's apartment but rather two people he knew, I think he said teachers, I am not sure, from North Carolina. The Defendant took the stand and said that he knew many, many people in North Carolina. What are the odds, gentlemen, of Mr. Spiesel going to this party and having the host tell him that the apartment really belonged to two people from North Carolina? Fifty-to-one, since there are fifty states. During the course of the evening when the two girls left with the young man that was with David Ferrie when they first approached Mr. Spiesel in the bar, the conversation turned to President John F. Kennedy, and the sentiment was hostile and certainly anti-Kennedy. The suggestion was made that he ought to be killed. Was it made in jest? We don't know. At first, frankly, Mr. Spiesel did not take this conversation seriously. However, he did later on become somewhat alarmed. The consensus of those at the table was that the President should be shot with a high-powered rifle from some distance away. He posed the possibility of the man doing the shooting getting capture or killed before he could escape from the scene of the shooting. It is at this point apparently that the Defendant injected himself into the conversation, although I assume he must have been part of the consensus spoken about by Mr. Spiesel earlier, and he inquired of David Ferrie of the possibility of flying this man to safety after the shooting of the President.
And again, that is something that is curious and significant, because, if you will recall the testimony of Perry Russo, the principal portion of the conversation entered into by the Defendant was that which concerned exit or availability of escape, and this is the same portion of the conversation at this party in which he injected himself at that time.
Why does he remember the Defendant Clay Shaw and David W. Ferrie and no one else at the party? First of all, I submit, gentlemen, you have been here a long time, but if you had only been in here one day, one hour, or for ten minutes, and seen the Defendant before the Bar, he is not the type of person that you would readily forget. Because of physical statute, because of his hair and his general appearance and demeanor, Clay Shaw, gentlemen, is not easily forgotten once you had see him, and he was not forgotten by the witnesses who positively put him in the presence of Ferrie and Oswald.
And there is another reason why Charles Spiesel remembered the Defendant before the Bar. You will recall he was looking for some work in the City of New Orleans. You will recall that David Ferrie volunteered to help him in this regard, volunteered to speak to this man who had a lot of pull, power or ability to help someone seeking a job, and that man was Clay Shaw, the Defendant before the Bar. You will recall that he attempted to contact the Defendant before the Bar, Clay Shaw, by telephone, but was unsuccessful. Although he never saw the Defendant again after he left the party until he came into this court room, he did, however, see David Ferrie. There were the reasons that Mr. Spiesel remembered the Defendant, his friends from North Carolina, and he remembered David W. Ferrie at that party.
We went with Mr. Spiesel, gentlemen, down to the French Quarter of this city in an attempt to locate that apartment. Gentlemen, the probabilities are almost astronomical that this man could pick out an apartment house, not living in the City of New Orleans that was -- that the apartment house next to it was identical. He picked out 906 Esplanade as one of the possible apartment houses. The very next apartment, 908 Esplanade, which is identical in appearance on the outside, was owned at that time, by the testimony of the Defendant, by the Defendant Clay Shaw. The probabilities, gentlemen, of that ever happening again are almost uncalculable.
Who is Charles Spesel? I know Mr. Dymond will spend much time on Mr. Spiesel. I would just like to call to your attention certain basic facts. Gentlemen, we are dealing here with truth, and this man was never convicted of anything in his life. This man holds a responsible job in the City of New York. This man's employer knew of the suit he had filed against the City of New York and other defendants. This man's employer knew he was coming to the City of New Orleans to testify in this case. This man permitted Charles Spiesel to leave his work and to plead his case in the Federal Court. Charles Spiesel prepares corporate and personal income tax returns. Charles Spiesel has a very responsible job. Charles Spiesel has dealt in the formulation of spin-off corporations, and this is exceedingly complex work. He told you how down here in New Orleans he formed a system for certain jukebox companies while he was down here. He told you how he was in the militray service of the United States and graduated with an honorable discharge, and of his college background. And most importantly, gentlemen, he told you he had never been convicted of anything. And I submit, gentlemen, that Charles Spiesel told you the truth in this courtroom. The coincidence of North Carolina, the coincedence of picking out the same exterior appearance of an apartment next door to an apartment owned by the defendant, are too much to overcome.
Gentlemen, sometime toward the middle of September, 1963, Perry Russo went to the apartment of David Ferrie. Now, for some time, at least for the summer of 1963 and into the early fall of 1963. David Ferrie had become obsessed with the assassination of President Kennedy during that time period. He went to his apartment house one day and he saw a stranger in that apartment house on the porch, sitting, as he recalled it, in the dark cleaning a rifle. This man had what appeared to be at least a two or three-day growth of beard. He was introduced to this man as Leon Oswald. He positively identified this man as Lee Harvey Oswald, but it is interesting to note that the first time he saw Lee Harvey Oswald he was doing something which apparently had become a habit with him, as testified by his wife or former wife, and that was to sit on the porch or in a dark room and clean and stroke his rifle. Marina Oswald Porter saw him do it many times at 4907 Magazine Street in this city, and this is exactly what Lee Harvey Oswald was doing when Perry Russo first met him.
There is something else. Perry Russo and Lee Harvey Oswald apparently did not get along. To Perry Russo, Lee Harvey Oswald was an introverted person, a person that liked to be left alone, did not like to be part of a group or socialize or talk too much, he liked to sit and read. Again, gentlemen, this is corroborated completely by witnesses of the Defense. We have the testimony of his own wife who said he was not a talkative person, did not like to join but liked to sit on the porch and read. We have the testimony of Ruth Paine, another Defense witness, who said the very same thing.
After this initial encounter, gentlemen, Perry Russo one night went to the apartment of David W. Ferrie in this city, 3330 Louisiana Avenue Parkway, and there was a gathering there. Some may call it a party, some may call it a meeting, some may just call it some people getting together and talking. You can put what label you choose on it. During the course of this get-together or meeting or gathering, David Ferrie paced nervously back and forth with clippings about President John F. Kennedy, and he railed and he raved against the then President of the United States. When this party broke up, gentlemen, when this party was reduced in size to four people, David W. Ferrie, the Defendant before the Bar using the name Clem Bertrand, Leon Oswald or Lee Harvey Oswald, and intermittently Perry Raymond Russo, who said himself the discussion, gentlemen, got much more serious. We hear such things as triangulation of crossfire. We saw David Ferrie or heard that David Ferrie used this symbol (demonstrating) for triangulation of cross-fire. We heard such things as a discussion of the necessity of using three but at least two people in the shooting of the President of the United States We also heard that one of these persons would have to be a patsy or a scapegoat or be sacrificed so the others could get away. Again during the course of this meeting, during the course of this discussion, the Defendant spoke up, again and again he spoke up as he had done in June of that same summer, about availability of exit and about escape and about the possibility of the man doing the shooting getting killed. It was discussed that perhaps direct flight to Cuba might be possible, it was discussed that this might not be feasible or possible or safe and that maybe a flight to Mexico and then on to Brazil where extradition could not be had (would be necessary). It was decided, gentlemen, during the course of that meeting that some of the participants in this conspiracy would not be at the scene of the shooting, some of the participants in this conspiracy would make themselves obvious at other locations so as to make an alibi more believable, so as to form an alibi for themselves. The Defendant was going to the West Coast.
If you will recall, gentlemen, the testimony of the Defendant on this witness stand, he knew by mid-September when this meeting allegedly took place that he was going to the West Coast of the United States. David W. Ferrie was going somewhere to establish an alibi. David W. Ferrie ended up in Houston, Texas, and you heard Mr. Rolland testify about the bizarre activity of David W. Ferrie in that ice rink. I submit that you gentlemen use your own experience, apply your own common sense. Would you if you went to this skating rink repeatedly, as many as five times, go up to the manager of that skating rink and keep introducing yourself or interjecting your ame inthe conversation? I submit you wouldn't unless you had a purpose, and he had a purpose, and that purpose was to let everyone know that I am David Ferrie and here I am in Houston, Texas. And the Defendant in fact did end up on the West Coast, and Lee Harvey Oswald did in fact end up in Dealey Plaza in the Texas School Book Depository, and he did in fact take a gun with him to the Texas School Book Depository as the State alleged, and the State frankly had to prove it circumstantially.
This conversation was characterized during Russo's testimony by himself -- and I don't deny it, I don't deny the State's own witness characterized it as a "bull session," characterized it as never having referred to any of the participants as "conspirators." But, gentlemen, his characterization, my characterization is not important, it is your characterization that counts. And when you do consider that point, I fervently ask you to consider the fact that David Ferrie did end up in public making himself known, that the Defendant before the Bar did end up on the West Coast of the United States, and how in the world is Perry Russo going to know that the Defendant was going to the West Coast of the United States? How in the world could he know this? How in the world could he dream this up? And that one of the participants in this conversation, in this conspiratorial meeting, ended up in the Texas School Book Depository in Dallas, Texas, and did in fact take a gun into that Depository on that morning. That certainly, gentlemen, throws an entirely different light on this conversation. This conversation was not -- did not take place in a vacuum, but everything said in this conversation was actually carried out by all of the participants of that conversation.
The State showed you in the testimony of Mr. Frazier that Lee Harvey Oswald did in fact take a package with him into the Texas School Book Depository on the morning of November 22, 1963. Breaking a ritual that he had with Mr. Frazier of returning on weekends, he returned home the night before the President was assassinated, and he carried a package approximately two feet or over long. He told you that he had broken down his own rifle in the military service, and it broke down to as low as twenty inches. He identified a package taken by Lee Oswald into the Depository on that fateful morning. Lee Oswald told him that it was curtain rods. Lee Oswald is not our witness, Lee Oswald is a named conspirator with the Defendant. Now let's see what the Defense's own witnesses had to say about these curtain rods. Mrs. Paine categorically testified that she heard no mention of curtain rods that morning, but she did testify to the fact that she went to the garage and found strangely that the garage light was left on, and there was Lee Harvey Oswald where Lee Oswald had kept his gun.
Marina Oswald testified, and, as I recall the testimony of Mr. Frazier, Lee Oswald said his wife, Marina, got him curtain rods to take to the Texas School Book Depository, to his apartment in Oak Cliff, and his wife categorically testified that she did not bring him any curtain rods ever for his apartment in Oak Cliff, that he never asked her for curtain rods, that she never saw curtain rods in anyone's possession least of all the possession of her husband, Lee Oswald.
I submit to you, gentlemen, that when he rode to work that morning he took the gun from the garage, and when the police came there the following day they were unable to find it in the package it was in or the wrapping it was in because he had taken it that morning. Marina Oswald also testified that she did in fact see him go to that garage on numerous occasions that night.
So, gentlemen, this conversation taken by itself, and frankly and honestly styled or categorized or classified by a State witness as perhaps a "bull session," certainly turned out to be more than any bull session.
Gentlemen, Perry Russo saw Leon Oswald or Lee Oswald once or twice more in the apartment of David Ferrie, and the last time he saw Lee Oswald in that apartment Lee Oswald was going somewhere, apparently making a trip, and he said he was going to Houston, Texas.
Now I want you to recall the testimony of the Defense's own witness, Ruth Paine, who testified that when she spoke to Lee Oswald just before taking his wife and baby back to Irving, Texas, he told her he was going to look for work in Houston or Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as Perry Russo corroborated. What are the probabilities of that coming about unless it really happened, one witness living in New Orleans, one living in Irving, Texas today, and she said Houston, Texas, and Perry Russo said he said he was going to Houston, Texas.
Perry Russo, gentlemen, said that he had seen the Defendant on the Nashville Street wharf when President John F. Kennedy spoke there in 1962. He recalled the Defendant specifically, because the Defendant apparently was not looking at all times at the President of the United States, who was making a speech, and that he was positioned somewhat back towards the end of the crowd, and this is where Perry Russo saw him first. The Defendant took the stand and admitted he was at the Nashville Street wharf. When did Perry Russo make this statement that he was on the Nashville Street wharf? Perry Russo made this statement on the very first contact by Mr. Andrew Sciambra of our office, February, 1967. How on earth did Perry Russo know that the Defendant, Clay Shaw, was on the Nashville Street wharf unless as a matter of fact he saw him on the Nashville Street wharf? How did he know that the Defendant was standing in the rear of the crowd unless he had seen him in the rear of the crowd, and how did he know that he was not always looking at the President but appeared to be looking at others, unless he saw that?
Now, Mr. Dymond's argument will be the Defendant admitted all this. Gentlemen, the Defendant sat here and heard the testimony of Perry Russo. Is it logical to you that the Defendant would admit this knowing that this corroborated 100 percent the testimony of Perry Russo? And at first blush when you think of it, it sounds like a fairly good argument, but I want to remind you gentlemen that he well knew that the State had rebuttal witnesses, that the State had a right to rebut the case of the Defense, and he didn't want to get caught flatfooted in an obvious lie, because they didn't know who we had for rebuttal witnesses. He also well knew that there were probably many cameramen in and around the Nashville Street wharf on that occasion, and should the Defendant lie, he would be caught in a picture lying. Gentlemen, ask yourselves, how could Perry Raymond Russo know in 1967 that he was on the Nashville Street wharf when the President spoke there unless he saw him?
He also saw the Defendant at David Ferrie's gas station out on the highway, and he testified to this. Mr. Dymond will say that the State's case rises or falls upon the testimony of Perry Raymond Russo, and essentially I agree, but where is Perry Russo corroborated? He is corroborated by the fact that David Ferrie and Lee Harvey Oswald and the Defendant were acquainted, were seen with each other and knew each other, contrary to what he says and contrary to what he said in his opening statement. He is corroborated by the fact that in fact he was on the Nashville Street wharf. He is corroborated by the fact that their own witness -- that their own witness -- said that he was going to Houston, Texas, and in fact that is exactly what Lee Oswald had told him, they were going to Houston, Texas, or he was going to Houston, Texas.
He is corroborated by more than that. Remember, gentlemen, that during the course of this meeting, during the course of this conspiratorial meeting, the Defendant used the name Clem Bertrand, C-l-e-m Clem Bertrand. Gentlemen, Mr. James Hardiman, a postman of long service in this city, took that witness stand and under oath positively testified that when he was delivering letters addressed to Clay Shaw at 1313 Dauphine Street, at 1414 Chartres Street from 1313 Dauphine Street, at that very time he delivered at least five, or enough to call his attention to the fact that he had delivered letters to Clem Bertrand, the same name used by the Defendant in this conspiratorial meeting.
And, you know, it is a strange thing, and perhaps it is just another coincidence, but, gentlemen, these coincidences just can't keep piling up without painting a true picture. Who lives at 1414 Chartres Street? Jeff Biddison. How long has he known the Defendant, Clay Shaw? Twenty-three or twenty-six years, I can't recall. Now, was there any evidence presented that Mr. Hardiman knew that the residents of 1414 Chartres Street even knew the Defendant before the Bar? Why would he pick that address and come into this Court and say he had delivered letters to Clem Bertrand to that address unless in fact he had done it? 1414 Chartres Street meant nothing to Mr. Hardiman other than the fact that that was the address that he delivered letters to Jeff Biddison, but he did not know, gentlemen, of the relationship or the association of Jeff Biddison and the Defendant before the Bar. He testified that the letters were addressed directly, that is, to 1414 Chartres Street, and -- I don't want to confuse the Jury -- that the letters were first addressed to 1313 and then forwarded to 1414, because that is not the way I recall the testimony. They were addressed directly to 1414, but these letters only arrived -- these letters were only delivered to that address at the same time that this man was delivering mail addressed to Clay Shaw at 1313 and forwarded to 1414.
And what fantastic explanation does the Defendant give to this under oath and expect you to believe it? He is trapped. He cannot deny that there was a cancellation of a change of address on September 21, 1963, because it is right there in the record. 1966, I am sorry. Which again is an interesting date, because, gentlemen, this is before the investigation of the District Attorney's office even became public. In fact, it is before the District Attorney started his investigation. The Defendant said -- and this is the most curious statement I have ever heard in my life -- he said he did not execute a change of address for the delivery of mail from 1313 to 1414 Chartres Street. He was sure on this point. Yet he executes a cancellation of something that doesn't exist, and the only reason he admitted doing that was because it was right there in black and white in that record, and I submit to you, gentlemen, that that mail was in fact delivered during that time, and you will also recall that the Defendant actually took up residence at that location for a week or two before he could get back into his 1313 address. Is this just another coincidence? How common is the name Clay Bertrand? Is this just another coincidence, gentlemen, along with the many other coincidences, or does this begin to give is a picture?
Gentlemen, Mrs. Jessie Parker took this witness stand, and you will recall that she was a hostess at the VIP Room, the Eastern Airlines VIP Room at Moisant International Airport. She testified that on December 14, 1966 -- again, before any mention in the public media of the investigation by the District Attorney's office -- the Defendant, whom she positively identified, came into that room with another man and signed the VIP book "Clay Bertrand." The Defendant took the stand and positively denied this act, positively denied the use of any alias in his life with the exception of the use of a name for writing a play. She remembered the Defendant, among other things, because of his pretty hair, as she put it. The Defendant, gentlemen, signed the book, for what reason we don't know. I think it is reasonable to assume that perhaps he might have been signing it for someone to come later on as a message. I don't know why he signed the book, but I believe Mrs. Parker that he did sign that book "Clay Bertrand," and when he signed it, he looked over at her and kept looking at her, and he wasn't seated but standing at this time when he signed that book. He was not signing his own name but signing a fictitious (name) or alias. Does it seem logical to you that he would use his normal handwriting on this occasion? Does it seem logical to you that he might not try to disguise his normal handwriting on this occasion?
You have heard from two experts who have conflicting opinions as to whether or not that signature "Clay Bertrand" was made by the Defendant before the Bar, but we have a woman, gentlemen, who saw him make it and who took a lie detector test on that very point. The Defense put on an expert who examined photographs of the questioned signature, admitting frankly that this was not the best procedure to follow, but there is something else about the expert of the Defendant that should be taken into consideration. Can there be any doubt in the mind of any juror here that this man, Mr. Appel, on that witness stand did not say that he had a fixed opinion about this case before he rendered his judgment or decision on that handwriting specimen? He had a fixed opinion. He was coming down, as he put it, for the cause of justice.
"Do you know anything about the case?"
"Well, what are you talking about 'justice'?"
"Well, I was coming down here because of justice, I didn't want an injustice done."
You know that this man had a fixed opinion when he rendered his decision on that point.
The State's expert frankly admitted she intended and hoped to get paid. The State's expert did not have a fixed opinion in this case. The State's expert did not have time to give you a blow-up of the questioned signature next to the true exemplar or sample signature, but I found it entirely crious that the expert for the Defense blew up but one, one sample out of thirteen, D-30 through D-34, for you gentlemen to view. You had an opportunity, at the request of the State, to view D-30 through D-43. You had an opportunity to view Mr. Appel on the stand, and you had an opportunity to view Mrs. McCarthy on the stand. I submit, gentlemen, that Jessie Parker was telling the truth when she testified that the Defendant signed the VIP book.
I see I am going much longer than I had anticipated. Gentlemen, yesterday on rebuttal you heard from Mr. and Mrs. Tadin. They testified that they in fact saw the Defendant and David Ferrie at the airport, and they knew David Ferrie because they were concerned about him being with their son, who was deaf. Mr. Tadin also, since he works in the French Quarter as many as six nights a week, also had seen and knew the Defendant before the Bar, and as soon as he saw him with David Ferrie, he commented to his wife exactly who he was, and his wife took the stand, gentlemen, and said that they were in fact together. Mr. Dymond brought out that the first time they came to us was yesterday. I was somewhat disappointed that they hadn't come to us sooner, but I don't think, gentlemen, that they were lying, and it is up to you to weigh their credibility. Mr. Tadin made one of the truest statements made throughout this trial. Using a cross-examining trick, Mr. Dymond asked Mr. Tadin, "Do you ever lie?" If Mr. Tadin had answered, "Never", I doubt if many of you gentlemen would have believed him, but he answered modestly that yes, yes, he lied, that most people lied, but that he was telling the truth, and that he knew he was under oath and he was telling the truth, and as he told the truth this man was proven a liar again and again and unworthy of your belief.
Mrs. Jessie Garner took the stand for the Defense, the landlady of Lee Harvey Oswald, and there crept into the record a very curious thing. David W. Ferrie was over at the apartment of Lee Harvey Oswald one night shortly after the assassination. She couldn't recall whether it was the night of the assassination or shortly after the assassination, and I submit it was shortly after the assassination. How did David Ferrie know where Lee Harvey Oswald lived in the City of New Orleans? You would have a different proposition if David Ferrie were a Dallas resident and after the announcement on television and so forth he went to the home of Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas, but how did he know where he lived here in New Orleans four months before? And Mrs. Garner, again a Defense witness, a woman that they vouch for, said that Lee Harvey Oswald's apartment was filthy, that the sink was torn up and the toilet was torn up and it was generally filthy, and that the mattress was filthy, and yet they want you to believe that this man literally carried a Norelco shaving outfit along with him, never had a beard, despite the fact that Marina Oswald herself testified that there were days that Lee Harvey Oswald did not shave. Marina Oswald, frankly, gentlemen, could not recount to you the movements of Lee Harvey Oswald -- and for good reason. How much did Lee Harvey Oswald confide in his wife? Before coming here to the City of New Orleans she didn't even know where he was employed, had no telephone number to contact him. Coming to the City of New Orleans, gentlemen, she knew one language, and that was Russian; she was pregnant, expecting a baby. Lee Oswald had told her never to go into his belongings, and she abided by that. Gentlemen, she attempted one day pathetically to find her husband by going to the coffee company where she thought he might have worked, and it was the wrong one. And you know why it was the wrong one, because Lee Oswald never told her where he worked, he never gave her a phone number, he never talked about anybody he met at work, he never told her about the post office box, he never told her where it was located. She did not have a key to the post office box. Frankly, gentlemen, she didn't know what Lee Harvey Oswald was doing. And there is one other point I would like to bring out in connection with her testimony. She on the witness stand said the farthest back she would put the firing of Lee Harvey Oswald would have been approximately one month before they left the City of New Orleans, and they left the City of New Orleans on September 23. That would have made it August 23, 1963. Lee Harvey Oswald was fired from the Reily Coffee Company July 19, 1963. This is how much Marina Oswald knew about the activities of Lee Harvey Oswald.
Gentlemen, I haven't gone into all of the testimony of all of the Defense witnesses. Presumably, Mr. Dymond will highlight their testimony, and I will be back in front of you again for I hope a period not this long, to rebut his arguments about what their witnesses said. So I at this time will not go into the testimony of many of the Defense witnesses. I think that the State generally has proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt, and has proven him an absolute liar and unworthy of your belief, and absolutely guilty in this case, and I will ask this Jury, after serious deliberation for both sides, to return a just verdict, and I feel that verdict will be guilty as charged.
Thank you very much.
THE COURT: We will take a recess. Take the Jury upstairs. We will take a five- minute recess.
(Whereupon, a brief recess was taken.)