The Clay Shaw preliminary hearing testimony of Perry Raymond Russo (continued)

(Court in session.)
PERRY RAYMOND RUSSO, after being recalled, and after having previously been sworn by the Minute Clerk, testified as follows:
Q. Russo, in your testimony before the recess, you stated that Dave Ferrie was spectacular; would you please tell us what you meant by that?
A. Well, when he talked to everyone or when he talked to me, he made great claims of things he had done in the past or was doing now, and he was just now -- I would argue with him in certain instances, and I would say, well, I have read something before, and I said, well, that does not go to what I read, and he would cite me chapter in verse [sic] of a book, and he would say to go down to the library and look up the 1947 edition of Rositor's manual on something; well, I got to the point where I did not challenge him on anything. Everything that I knew he knew too, I felt, and he seemed to be extremely smart, and things he did was spectacular nature [sic]. He could either talk a big game or play a big game.
Q. This is the characteristic when you referred that he was spectacular, is that right?
A. Either in word or fact.
Q. I show you a photograph which has been marked for identification by the State as Exhibit S-1, and I ask you whether you recognize this photograph, and if so, who is it?
A. Yes, sir, this is Leon Oswald.
Q. Is that the man to whom you referred in your testimony?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. I now show you another photograph marked for identification as State-10, and I ask you identify that photograph? [sic]
A. That is Dave Ferrie.
Q. The same Dave Ferrie to whom you have referred in your testimony, is that right?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. I now show you a reproduction of a photograph marked for identification as State-2, and I ask you whether you are to identify that photograph?
A. This photograph I can identify.
Q. Is that the one appearing on the left?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. As what would you identify that photograph?
A. It was the same photograph I was shown earlier by Mr. Garrison.
Q. Do you recognize the parties in that photograph?
A. I recognize one person.
Q. As whom?
A. The middle man as Leon Oswald.
Q. Is that the same Oswald you have testified you knew here in New Orleans?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Referring to the photograph on the right-hand side of this reproduction, I ask you whether you are able to identify the name of the parties in that photograph?
A. It looks to me as the same, the same people in the left photograph.
Q. It does?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Which one would you say in the right-hand photograph is Leon Oswald?
A. In this photograph?
Q. The right-hand photograph, yes?
A. At the time of the assassination, this is a picture I saw -- as Leon Oswald?
Q. Yes, sir.
A. I would not identify any of them as Leon Oswald.
Q. What would you identify any of them as if you are able to identify any of them?
A. I have seen that picture before. Detectives and this is Lee Harvey Oswald, and I am not sure, but I think this is Jack Ruby, and I don't know who the man is behind him.
Q. Now, the man whom you have identified in the center of the right-hand photograph as Lee Harvey Oswald, would you identify him as the same Oswald to whom you had referred in your testimony?
A. Not from the right photograph, no.
Q. You would not?
A. No, sir.
Q. You mean you could not recognize him from that?
A. Well, that is a photograph I saw in New Orleans and I think the one on television, I am not sure, but there are similarities, yes, sir, but I will not go out on the limb, no, sir.
Q. What do you mean, you are not going to go out on a limb; what do you mean by that expression?
A. Well, at that time I had a lot of other things on my mind. One of them was school. It was my senior year, and my mother had died the same year, and school was at that time, it was my last year and I had certain hours I had to get in. Otherwise, I would not be able to graduate. There had been some involvement with the estate earlier during the year, and that left me with a cold hand in any involvement in anything, and then later on during the year when this happened, of course, I was shocked by President Kennedy's death, and I thought about it and I said maybe, maybe not. In other words, I was involved at home, and at that time --
He wants to know what do you mean, by what do you interpret, what your interpretation of the expression, going out on a limb, what does that mean?
Excuse me; I misunderstood the question. I am not going out on a limb. All I mean is that at that time, from that picture, the one I saw in the newspaper, I said that could and could not be, and I was just not willing to say it was the same man.
Q. When was the first time after the assassination of President Kennedy that you first saw a picture of the man alleged to have assassinated President Kennedy?
A. I don't recall.
Q. You are aware of the fact that a picture of such a man appeared on television regularly right after the assassination, are you not?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Would you say that you, in the normal course of events, watched television after such a national tragedy as that?
A. I am sure I did. Yes, sir.
Q. Therefore, you would not deny that very shortly after President Kennedy was assassinated that you saw on television a picture of the alleged assassin, would you?
A. No, sir.
Q. Did you recognize him?
A. The alleged assassin and the man I know, is that what you are referring to?
Q. Did you recognize the alleged assassin as the man whom you had known?
A. I gave it thought and said it was possibly the man, and I said I am not sure at that time, and then I got involved with other things.
Q. It looked very much like him, didn't it?
A. From the first photograph it didn't. The photograph that you showed me on the right-hand side?
Q. I am talking about on television after the assassination; didn't the television pictures look like him?
A. That is the first photograph I saw of Oswald was that one [sic].
Q. Mr. Witness, I am talking about photographs now; I am asking you whether, upon seeing on television subsequent to the assassination, the picture of the alleged assassin, did you recognize that alleged assassin as the same Oswald whom you say you knew here in New Orleans?
A. To myself I said I was not definite. It was probably the same man, it might not have been. They had different names.
Q. But they both had the same last name, didn't they?
A. They had different names to me.
Q. Did they or did they not both have the same last name?
A. Both had the name Oswald, yes.
Q. And it is your testimony now that you could not recognize any of the pictures of Oswald that you saw on television as being the same man whom you knew as Oswald in New Orleans?
A. It is my testimony that I saw the pictures which you are saying, or at least one of them at that time, and I obviously probably looked at television. I am sure I did. To what pictures I saw on there, I don't know. It crossed my mind they were one and the same, and I thought about it and I gave it some serious thought. Then Oswald was shot, and at that time when he was shot, everybody on television said Oswald was the only man. They found the gun, the FBI was on television, or that was my recollection what was on television and radio and stuff, and they said Oswald had done it, the only man to do it, and so, I said, all right with me.
Q. By what first name did you know the Oswald that you knew here in New Orleans?
A. Leon.
Q. What was the first name of the man who was put on television as the assassin of President Kennedy?
A. Lee Harvey.
Q. Did the similarities between the name Leon and Lee strike you or interest you?
A. The names didn't, no. The Oswald name did, of course, and the first name didn't. I was trying to put it together and say yes or no to myself at the time, which I never did do it because he was dead.
Q. Even putting them together, you could not say that you recognized on TV as Lee Harvey Oswald the same man you had known as Leon Oswald here in New Orleans, is that right?
A. Definitely, no. At that time I didn't. Then he died, he was shot, and I just let it pass from my mind. I may have made remarks to that effect, that I think I knew that guy, something to that effect, to friends that were always around the house.
Q. Mr. Russo, you heard the tape played in the Courtroom a few minutes ago?
A. Yes.
Q. And you were standing here in Court and heard the playback of the tape of a television interview between you and Jim Kemp in Baton Rouge on February 24th, 1967, did you not hear it?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. And did you listen carefully to it?
A. Well, I read along on the lady's pad, of the, you know, of the conversation, and I followed along.
Q. Do you deny or not deny it is a true and faithful transcript of what you said on that occasion?
A. Upon close examination I would accept it.
Q. I am reading to you from page two of this transcript:
"Question, did you ever hear Ferrie make any threatening remarks about President Kennedy?
"Answer, well, during the -- '63, that was an extensive period of time that I knew him, in '62 and '63. Ferrie was obsessed more or less with the idea of Kennedy and what he was doing to Cuba or to Castro, and what Dave Ferrie was -- actually, at any instance coming over to the house. For one thing, I lived on Elysian Fields in New Orleans, and he would come over at night, you know, uncalled, anything like that, as was his habit. And we would talk, and generally speaking, I was a Republican. I was against Kennedy in general, you know, for policies. And that was the opening door and he could elaborate on the issue, and quite frequently, and this is especially during the summer, he talked in general terms, not specifically about Kennedy, about how easy it would be to assassinate a president of the United States because of the fact he was in public view so much and unprotected more or less and there was so many people and the availability of exit and the fact that he could drive a plane to get out of the country, and he used to just posingly, jokingly pose the question that, you know, he and I could do it; you know, just in a joking way, he said it could be done. And that was all of the conversation during the summer."
Now, Mr. Russo, do you deny you said that to Mr. Kemp in Baton Rouge?
A. The essence is about right. Not word for word, I don't know.
Q. Do you deny that is in essence what you told Mr. Kemp in Baton Rouge?
A. I accept it for what it is worth, yes.
Q. Will you tell us why in that interview you said that this was done in a joking way by Ferrie, rather than relating the same story which you have related here in the Courtroom to the effect that there was an actual plot or scheme or conspiracy for the assassination of Kennedy in which Ferrie took place?
A. I understand the reference is being made to summer months as the time by the statement I made there?
Q. That is your reference?
A. You called -- is that during the summer months period?
Q. That is right.
A. Ferrie did jokingly say he could assassinate or we would assassinate or a set of people could theoretically, it could be done very well. I don't make any claims to this minute that there was anything very serious during the summer months except those theoretical discussions which I view them as.
During the month of September, that is another story, a different story altogether. Later on, perhaps during summer, it was during this period of time that things took on a little but different respect.
Q. You don't consider September a summer month?
A. No, sir. The summer months are for baseball.
Let's take a five-minute recess now.
(Recess.) (Court in session.)
Before we begin, the State moves for an instanta subpoena.
Any objections?
No objections.
All right.
PERRY RAYMOND RUSSO, after being recalled to the witness stand, and having been duly sworn previously, testified as follows:
Q. Russo, is my understanding of your answer correct, that the reason that you only mentioned what you termed a joking threat to assassinate the President, was that that was all that had happened during the summer months?
A. Well, there were other factors. I considered it a joke. That is a subjective interpretation of it.
Q. You thought it was a joke when you gave the interview?
A. I thought what was a joke, the interview?
Q. The threat to assassinate President Kennedy?
A. I said in the interview and I will stand by that, that he had the capacity to do it, and I just -- you could not take Dave seriously, and then again you did not know what to challenge him on.
Q. What I want to know is this: When you were asked did you ever hear Ferrie make any threatening remarks about President Kennedy, why did you merely relate a situation which you described as a joking situation?
A. Well, they would have to back up to actually when I first made a remark about this, if this is the 24th.
Q. Yes.
A. On the 22nd, I wrote a letter to the District Attorney's office, saying that I didn't know if I had any information that was of any need to you all, but if you all wanted it, you could have it.
Q. Saying what?
A. In other words, I wrote the District Attorney's office two days before that, at night, I wrote it, because I had seen Dave Ferrie's picture on television, and I wrote the District Attorney's office and told them that I had some information. I said it might be valuable or it might not, and I would be coming down to New Orleans that weekend, and the next day I mailed the letter, which they could have gotten Friday [February 24]. I think I said that in the interview. And then Friday I changed my mind about going to New Orleans, and I called the Baton Rouge Detective Bureau and asked them if they would take a statement, I had just some information that I thought was pertinent. So, he said, well, do you have any idea of going to New Orleans. I said I had changed my plans. He said you can make a statement now or you can send it down to New Orleans, if you make it with us, we will forward it to the District Attorney. So, he wasn't interested is what it amounted to. So I went back here, and then I figured if I wasn't going to New Orleans because LSU was playing baseball and I wanted to watch them, and were supposed to play on Sunday, a little practice, then to say it to someone, I could write it down because I had no intention of writing all this information down and sending it, and so, I talked to someone from the State Times and he wrote it down, and then the television people from Channel 9 and Channel 2 came over, and there were other people that came over which I never did meet, some Channel 6 people and Channel 4, and they all came over and began -- I was having a party that night and they began, you know, holding interviews and talks and everything.
Q. Now, I want to know why in response to the question as to whether you had ever heard Ferrie make any threatening remarks about President Kennedy, you merely related what you termed to be a joking threat?
A. Because at that time at night when they asked me what he had said, I said I did not know how to interpret his remarks. I don't know how to interpret his remarks.
Q. Now, you say you wrote the District Attorney and told them you might have information that might or might not be valuable, is that right?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Do you have a copy of that letter?
A. No, sir.
Q. Let me ask you this: If you actually had information of a meeting at which the assassination of President Kennedy was planned and plotted, what made you think that that might not be valuable or interesting to the District Attorney for the Parish of Orleans?
A. Because everyone else except Mr. Garrison was saying that Mr. Oswald acted alone.
Q. But you knew Mr. Garrison was investigating that death, didn't you?
A. When I saw Ferrie's picture and read something in the paper before, or the State Times -- I mean, the New Orleans States, I think, found out he was investigating.
Q. That was before you wrote the letter to Mr. Garrison, wasn't it?
A. Sir?
Q. You knew before you wrote the letter to Mr. Garrison that he was investigating that assassination, didn't you?
A. No, sir. I saw it in the paper, and then when Dave Ferrie died, I just wrote a letter.
Q. You saw what in the paper?
A. That either it was at the same time or a couple of days before. To my recollection it was a couple of days before, but I am not sure of that. It said that Mr. Garrison had been investigating since November of 1966.
Q. When did you write that letter to Mr. Garrison?
A. I wrote it on the 22nd at night.
Q. The 22nd of what?
A. Of February.
Q. You are talking about 1967?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. That would be two days before your interview on television?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. It is your testimony now that at the time that you wrote that letter you did not know that Mr. Garrison was investigating the assassination of President Kennedy?
A. Yes, sir, I knew that.
Q. Well, then, what made you think, if you knew he was investigating the assassination, that testimony, valid testimony, that there was a meeting, a scheme, a conspiracy to assassinate the President, might not be valuable or interesting to him?
A. Because I never pushed myself on anybody, and I don't know from the Warren Report -- everybody off the street, everybody had something to say, and I did not consider, you know, what I had to say, any more important, to take precedent over anybody else, because I just didn't. I didn't know.
Q. You did not think your testimony would be valuable to them?
A. No, I never did think about it.
Q. You knew what they were investigating, didn't you?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. And you claim you were present at a meeting where that assassination was planned, and you say you did not know whether your testimony would be valuable to the Warren Commission?
A. Now, they did not say anything about Dallas or anything like that.
Q. Who did not say anything about Dallas?
A. Mr. Bertrand, Oswald, Ferrie, they did not say anything at all about Dallas, and there is another point -- Oswald was a little slightly different than those pictures, and I did not -- did not seem to me, it was, was I there. You know, that was the question.
Q. At this meeting where this conspiracy was had, where did they plan to commit the assassination?
A. No one said.
Q. Merely because it happened in Dallas and they not mentioned Dallas, you thought that the Warren Commission would not be interested in knowing that such a meeting had taken place, is that what you are telling us?
A. I really did not think one way or another about that. The Warren Commission was supposed to be people that knew what they were doing, and I let them investigate.
Q. And you did not think it was your duty, as an American, to volunteer your testimony to that Warren Commission?
A. No, because I had at that time, right after the assassination, I had an involvement with school, which was more pressing to me. If they wanted me, ask me anything, they could,
Q. In your opinion, your little personal involvements were so important as to keep you from volunteering to give vital testimony to a commission like the Warren Commission?
A. I had other things that were on my mind at the time. One of them was getting out of school, and I was sure that the FBI knew what it was doing. I have had the highest respect for them and I do now. I had just equated them with the Warren Commission, although that is not correct.
Q. You were familiar with the conclusion that the Warren Commission reached at the time it was reached?
A. I heard other people remark about it. I never read it.
Q. You were generally familiar with it from the newspapers, were you not?
A. Yes.
Q. Were you convinced it was an erroneous conclusion?
A. Not really. I just didn't know. You see, first of all, may I say this, why there is such an area here; Oswald was not the same man exactly as in the pictures, but he was and he wasn't; you see, that was where we run into a problem as to why I did or did not say something. The picture you showed me, I looked at it in the newspaper or on television or whatever, and there was, look at it, say, yes, and I would say no. They both had the same last name, but they both did not look alike exactly, and that was where I ran into the problem, whether it was important or whether it wasn't. I had heard many remarks, if I had a gun, I would shoot the President, because of integration and all of that.
Q. Russo, what is your position now; do you say there is some doubt that this individual represented in State Exhibit 1 is the same Oswald you knew?
A. The Oswald that I knew was the same face, except he had maybe three or four days' growth of whiskers for a period, not really a beard, his hair was messed up, he was dirty, like a beatnik.
Q. You used to wear a beard yourself, didn't you?
A. At one time, yes, sir.
Q. Now, you are going to tell us that you had a little doubt whether the two Oswalds were the same, and therefore you decided to stay away from the Warren Commission?
A. Right after the assassination, that is right. I did not definitely say it was the same man or it wasn't, and whether or not I could contribute anything, I said, I didn't know.
Q. You did not think it was worthwhile finding out whether you could contribute anything?
A. Well, I thought every screwball in the State was calling up someone, and I didn't want to get in that class.
Q. Or could it have been that you hated President Kennedy so much that you did not want to cooperate, even if you could have?
A. No. That doesn't really focus on the point. I had admiration for President Kennedy in two areas. In other areas I felt he did not measure up.
Q. You say that these joking threats, as you termed them, took place in September, is that right?
I object, because Mr. Dymond is purposely misstating what was testified to before.
Sustained. The question is misleading.
Q. You say that these joking threats took place in the summer of 1963?
A. Yes. I interpreted them as joking, and mostly during the summer, yes.
Q. As a matter of fact, you interpreted them as joking as late as February 24th, 1967, is that right?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. I think you also testified that at a later date, Ferrie made another threat or uttered words that could be construed as a threat to assassinate President Kennedy?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. About when was that?
A. Around the beginning of school, about September.
Q. What part of September?
A. Well, I saw him on several occasions during the month. I know he made a remark to that effect, to the same effect, at that party.
Q. I am asking you what part of September, the late part or the early part, did he make the next threat to assassinate President Kennedy, the threat in your words, "We will get him and it won't be very long"?
A. He made it at the meeting which was in the middle of the month, sometime around then. I am not exactly sure.
Q. I am going to read to you your answer on page three of the transcript, which has been marked for identification, D-21: "Question, 'Did he ever make any more specific threat, like get him?'"
"Answer, 'Well, right. Now, in late September or during October, the month right prior to the Kennedy assassination in November, Dave Ferrie had occasion to come over to the house on several instances and I went to his place, and just passing, and he made specific references that, in talking about Kennedy, he said, we will get him and it won't be very long. Now, the last time I can remember him saying that was sometime in October, but he was obsessed with that idea.'"
Now, do you recognize that as your language?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. With reference to this last threat that you have told about, was the man whom you knew as Oswald present when that was made?
A. Sometimes, sometimes he wasn't.
Q. I am talking about the one at the end of September or October, as you stated, in the month before the Kennedy assassination?
A. I don't really recall.
Q. When would you say was the last time before the assassination that you saw Oswald?
A. Somewhere around the beginning of October, maybe late September, beginning of October.
Q. The beginning of October?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. You are sure about that?
A. I am putting it in contact with other things, yes.
Q. What other things are you putting it in contact with in order to make yourself positive of that fact?
A. Well, we went to many football games during that period, and it was during that area of time when school had just started, and so, I know it was not far into school. It could not be any later, much later than that, not to the 15th of October, because that would be too late, because when school started I stayed home a lot.
Q. It could not possibly have been after October 15th, is that correct?
A. I don't say it was even near October 15th. I have the impression it was around the beginning of the month.
Q. The beginning of October?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Where did you see Oswald around the beginning of October?
A. The only place was at Ferrie's apartment.
Q. That would not be just in September; you are sure you saw him in October?
A. I am almost sure, yes, sir.
Q. Are you aware of the fact that it is documented that Oswald left New Orleans September 25th and went to Houston and Mexico, and did not return here, never did return here before the assassination?
I object. It assumes a fact that has not been proven.
Objection is sustained.
If the Court please, at this time --
Are you going to introduce the Warren Report?
That is correct.
You are not serious, are you? Motion denied. Let's go on to something else. Motion denied.
Will you listen to law, Your Honor, please?
You are hollering about hearsay evidence yesterday.
Submit the memorandum. We will read it.
Do you want me to read it in Court?
No. We can read it ourselves. You are saying you can put that whole Warren Report in evidence? Is that what you are trying to tell us?
That is what the law says.
Well, I tell you you are wrong. You are overruled.
With the Judges conferring? I mean, without . . .
I say you are wrong. Motion is denied.
If the Court please, we were told that all three Judges would confer and --
We told you we are not answering you. The motion is overruled, let's go.
Well, I will put it in my bill. At this time the defense would like to object to the ruling of the Court, overruling the motion by the defense to introduce into evidence an official copy of the Report of the Warren Commission, being a production of the United States Government Printing Office in Washington, DC.
Does that give it authenticity?
Citing as authority for our bill of exceptions, the text of Louisiana revised statute 13:3713, which is as follows: The official records and other documents being enactments or regulations or decisions, or rulings, or proceedings, or reports, or other official acts, the Congress or any Federal exclusive department or division therein, or of any Federal Court or commission or border agency or public institution, may put evidence by the Federal registrar or by a printed book or pamphlet or periodical purporting to be published by the United States Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, which shall be received in Courts and proceedings in this State, by all officers of this State as prima facie evidence of the records, documents, enactments, regulations, decisions, rulings, proceedings, reports, or other official acts to the departments, subdivisions, courts, commissions, boards, agencies or public institutions, shall --
Hold on a minute, Mr. Dymond. You are attempting to introduce the entire Report?
The entire Warren Report, yes, sir.
We have ruled. As far as I am concerned, we have ruled. If Judge O'Hara wants to make a minority ruling, it is all right with me.
Did you offer it?
We have it here to offer. Before we have a chance to offer --
I am asking you.
Yes, we are offering it and marking same for identification, D-22.
The ruling has been made by the Court already, and he is to reserve his bill of exceptions. That is the status of the proceedings as it now stands, as I understand it.
That is my impression of it. Reserve your bill of exceptions.
The State is ready to proceed.
The objection of the State is sustained.
I would like to reserve this bill, based upon our objection and contentions, that if introduction in evidence is authorized by the provisions of RS 13:3713, and we would like to make parts of the bill the Warren Report, the motion of the defense to introduce same in evidence, and the reasons as given by counsel for the defendant that it is admissible in evidence, and the ruling of the Court.
All right, proceed.
Q. You still say it was in October that you heard this second threat from Ferrie?
A. I heard, yes, sir.
Q. And that Oswald was present, is that right?
A. At one of the times, yes.
Q. In October, is that right?
A. I would say in October, yes, sir.
Q. When you heard Ferrie say, "We will get him and it won't be very long," did you take him seriously at that time or not?
A. I never either took Ferrie seriously, I don't guess, or not seriously. It was something you could not challenge him on anything [sic]. I don't think I even thought about it at that time.
Q. At what time?
A. When he made these remarks.
Q. But you remember the remarks, right?
A. Oh, yes, sir.
Q. And you don't know whether you took him seriously or not?
A. No. I listened to him and that was all.
Q. Now, having heard Ferrie say that we will get the President and it won't be long, sometime around the beginning of October, and then when President Kennedy was assassinated in November, having heard such a direct threat as that, you did not feel it was your duty to go forth and give the statement?
A. Well, for two reasons I didn't. One is that Dave Ferrie was never implicated, as far as I knew, and second, is that I had heard so many remarks like that from other people, about integration, if I had a gun I would shoot the President.
Q. Who else have you heard remarks like that by?
A. People on the street, older people on the street.
Q. As a matter of fact, didn't you wait until Ferrie was dead so that there wouldn't be a witness to contradict your statement as to such a meeting as that?
I object. It is argumentative.
Again, I had read the name David W. Ferrie. I never knew his middle name was W. When the news first broke in the States-Item, and it was in the Baton Rouge papers, and they said David W. Ferrie was being investigated, and I said no, it cannot be the same man I know. And then two days later or five days later he dropped dead, and then I wrote a letter, the same night or the next night, whenever it was.
Q. Russo, when you saw the news of Ferrie's investigation in the paper, didn't you see an address with it?
A. No, sir. I heard it. I never read it.
Q. Heard what?
A. His name on television. I might have seen it in the paper. I cannot recall which.
Q. Are you telling me the address did not appear in the paper or not [sic]?
A. It may have. I don't really recall. Perhaps it did.
Q. Did you read an article pertaining to the investigation of Ferrie?
A. I am not sure if I read it or heard it on TV. I am not sure of that.
Q. Have you ever known anybody else named David Ferrie?
A. No, sir. I knew him as Dave Ferrie.
Q. You know Dave is short for David?
A. Right. I took it for David.
Q. You saw Dave Ferrie was being investigated in connection with the assassination of President Kennedy, you had heard this same Dave Ferrie say that we will get him and it won't be very long, and you did not think it was the same man being investigated, is that right?
A. If it was, which again, possibly it was, all I did was think about it, and I was going to write a letter. I thought, could it be the same man, maybe it is and maybe it is not. I did not expect Dave to die and I did not know David Ferrie, David W., that is the way I remember it, a David W., if that is his middle name.
Q. As a matter of fact, didn't you seize upon the death of Ferrie as an opportune moment to come forth and get yourself a little publicity in this thing?
A. I saw his picture on television. That is what made me write the letter. The same eyebrows and the hair. That reminded me.
Q. On the 24th of February, 1967, you knew who Lee Harvey Oswald was?
A. Lee Harvey, yes, sir.
Q. Who assassinated President Kennedy?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. When you were asked in the television interview which took place on February 24th, 1967, did he ever mention Lee Harvey Oswald's name, and you said, no, didn't you, referring to Ferrie's mention?
I object. He is not letting the witness answer the question. He is answering the question for him.
I will read you the question: "Question, 'Did he ever mention Lee Harvey Oswald's name?' Answer, 'No.' Question, 'No conversation at all about --' Answer, 'No. I had never heard of Oswald until the television of the assassination.'"
Q. Now, why did you say that, if you knew Oswald was in New Orleans; was it because of the difference in names or what other reason?
A. I knew Leon Oswald, who was slightly whiskered, had whiskers, he was dirty, his hair was ruffled up, and I did not, myself, honestly, know a Lee Harvey Oswald. A man from the District Attorney's office came up Saturday, and after some discussion, he asked me to look at some pictures, and he showed me a picture which I looked at. I said, oh, that is his roommate, and then I looked at it again and said no, that is Oswald, isn't it. He said, why do you say it was his roommate. I said it is his roommate except his roommate had, like whiskers, some whiskers, and they said, would you be willing to look at some photographs if we put a beard on him. And I looked at, at photographs, you know, and they had, first, a man get up and draw, one of the policemen or members of his staff, put light whiskers, and I told them there were spots on its where it was not fully grown, and when I saw the picture and they changed it, it must have been ten or fifteen times, and finally I said that is his roommate, that was the guy I saw up there.
Q. Russo, could you estimate the number of times you saw the picture of Lee Harvey Oswald on television, in newspapers, in magazines, in all forms of publications after the assassination?
A. No, sir.
Q. Do you think I would be exaggerating if I said one hundred?
A. No, sir. No, sir.
Q. And are you testifying now that you knew Oswald, Leon Oswald, here in New Orleans, that you have identified a picture of Lee Harvey Oswald as the same man, and that after seeing the picture of Lee Harvey Oswald, roughly one hundred times, you still did not know it was the same man, that it was the man that you knew here in New Orleans?
A. Then I had written the District Attorney's office, and they were in the process of contacting me. Of course, I told Kemp they would contact me Monday or Tuesday. I was just guessing that because he asked me if anyone had, and I said, no, they would probably contact me Monday or Tuesday, and I wanted to make absolutely sure because ever since that newspaper thing that I said, the people just bombed the place. They came all over and they would not let me alone. We were having a party and I did not get back until 10:30. And so, I wanted to make absolutely sure, and so that picture of Oswald that I had in my mind, you know, Lee Harvey Oswald, had it in my mind, was not identical, and if I was going to point the accusing finger, I did not want to be wrong about it.
Q. What finally succeeded in making you positively sure that Lee Harvey Oswald and Leon Oswald was one and the same person?
A. I am sure I know who the roommate was. I am able to recognize him as the same man. Now, Lee Harvey Oswald I never knew, but an officer or a member of the District Attorney's staff sat with me for six hours and we tried beard after beard after beard. I said it was not a beard, just a few whiskers, and patches of hair, and his face was fuller, and he was, facial-wise, he was fuller, but he was dirty here and his hair was messed up and it was just the exact reverse of Lee Harvey Oswald, the pictures I saw of him. It was sunken face and clean looks. It wasn't dirty, so I am not willing to say at that time until I had talked to somebody that would be able to show me -- well, to at least show me. I did not know they would show me pictures, but they did.
Q. Are you now sure that the man whom you knew as Leon Oswald is the same as Lee Oswald?
A. I am absolutely sure of it.
Q. What I want to find out now is what finally made you absolutely sure?
A. Because of the picture shown to me in Baton Rouge. A man from the District Attorney's office sat down and he talked.
Q. Shown to you by whom?
A. By a member of the District Attorney's staff.
Q. Is that this picture marked for identification as S-1?
A. That may have been shown, but that was not the one I identified.
Q. Would that have been sufficient to make you absolutely sure?
A. No.
Q. Were you shown a better picture than that?
A. I was shown a bigger picture.
Q. This picture would not be enough to make you sure, is that right?
A. After we took the other picture, I am sure it was the same, except the man I knew had whiskers and this one, he doesn't.
Q. I think you said the man you knew was unshaven, had several days' growth of whiskers, isn't that right?
A. Yes.
Q. In other words, he did not have a lengthy beard?
A. No, just whiskers.
Q. Would you expect to fail to recognize someone, somebody if he went four or five days without shaving?
A. I had only seen this man only once before and that was in the apartment. If one of my friends did not shave, I would still recognize him.
Q. You had only seen this man once before?
A. Yes.
Q. Once before what?
A. Well, you are talking about when they allegedly plotted?
Q. How many times did you see Leon Oswald before you were shown pictures of him and asked to match the pictures of Lee Harvey Oswald with the Leon Oswald you knew; how many times had you seen him?
A. Three or four times up at Dave's place.
Q. And you say the absence of three or four days' growth of whiskers, you say, would make you unable to identify him?
A. I do not know if it was three or four days. It just wasn't a beard. They drew a composite photograph and they had it on these things -- it has been corroborated, so to speak.
Q. You say they drew a composite photograph?
A. In other words, they had it -- it is not a beard, not as beard, it is something in between a beard and just whiskers.
Q. Are you telling us that a photograph was taken and they altered and showed it to you, and it was that altered photograph that caused you to be positive?
A. No, sir. The first time they showed me the photograph the man up there said, would you mind looking at these photographs, and there was a bunch of them, and you know, he just put one in front of me and said, do you know this guy, and I said, no, yes, or whatever were the circumstances, and he puts the picture of -- at that time I said it was his roommate, and he brings the picture of his roommate, puts the picture in front of me, and I said that I know him. He wanted to know who that was, and I said that is the roommate, and then I looked at it again and then recognized the eyes or something, and I said, no, it is not. I said that is Oswald, I don't think that is the roommate, I said. He asked me what the difference was and I said, well, this guy's clean, the picture they showed me was very clean. They had a white shirt on and they just put whiskers on.
Q. Who put the whiskers on?
A. One of the artists of the District Attorney's staff.
Q. Do you know which one?
A. I can point him out.
Q. Do you see the man in Court at this time?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Will you point him out?
A. Yes, sir.
Let the record show that the witness has indicated Detective Charles Jonau.

Q. What were these whiskers put on with, pen and ink, or what?
A. It was pencil, and they started in pencil. At first they asked me to do it in Baton Rouge if I could, but all I did was draw straight lines, and that did not fit. I said that was not him. So, they had somebody that knew something about art or something, Mr. Jonau.
To facilitate Mr. Dymond, I have a picture here, if he would like to view it.
Thank you.
At this time we will adjourn until tomorrow morning at ten o'clock.
(Court adjourned.)