Perry Raymond Russo was a witness who was quite willing to give Garrison's investigators the testimony they wanted.

Perry Raymond Russo:

First Hypnosis Session (Annotated)


The following is taken from a transcript originally in the files of the Orleans Parish District Attorney — Jim Garrison's office. It is transcribed exactly, with only the correction of minor errors of spelling and punctuation.

To understand the reality of Perry Russo's testimony, one needs to see the progression of statements that led up to this. First were Russo's interviews with the press in Baton Rouge, where he lived. Then there is the interview he did with Andrew (Moo-Moo) Sciambra, a staffer from Garrison's office, in Baton Rouge. Finally, there is the statement he made in Mercy Hospital under the influence of "truth serum."

In the transcript, "Dr. F" is Dr. Esmond Fatter, who is administering the hypnosis. "PR" is Perry Russo, and "AS." is Andrew Sciambra.


Dr. F Perry, I am going to ask you a date, as you see that date on the television screen, lift your right index finger -- all right, I wonder what date you see?  
PR September 16.  
Dr. F I wonder what year, Perry?  
PR No year.  
Dr. F Look at the television, and a picture will come on and when the picture becomes very vivid to you and the program begins, lift your right index finger and if you care to, you can tell me about that picture.  
PR I see Dave Ferrie just sitting around, just talking and he asked me if I wanted a cup of coffee or a glass of water or a Coke. I wanted water from the kitchen and ice box.  
Dr. F Continue looking at that television program and tell me more about it.  
PR Dave and I were sitting and he was on the big sofa and I was on the small sofa and he has on a white shirt and baggy pants. He asked me if I had registered in school.  
Dr. F Perry, look around that room, I wonder, is there a calendar on the wall?  
PR Yes.  
Dr. F And what month is on the calendar?  
PR September.  
Dr. F And what year, Perry?  
PR 1963.  
Dr. F Continue looking at the television and tell me everything you see.  
PR Dave took me home and he said he would pick me up tomorrow and I told him that I had to go to school. I was sitting in the car, and he said he would pick me up tomorrow. He said he would come over at 2 and I told him I had to go to school I am not in school.  
Dr. F Continue looking at that television picture and notice the news cast - - - the president, President Kennedy is coming to New Orleans and as you look describe it to us.  
PR I am at school and it is late. I was going to see President Kennedy and I remember I ran up a long ramp, an elevated incline, and I am with AL SAIZON, and we are just waiting and Kennedy hasn't arrived. I figured we were late and we just stood and waited, and he drove up on the ramp with sirens and started his speech.  
Dr. F Who is that white haired gentleman that is over there looking at President Kennedy? Fatter is attempting to elicit an account of a figure that Russo has identified from a picture as Clay Shaw in the Baton Rouge interview with Sciambra.
PR He is either with the New Orleans Police Department or government because my friend remarked about it. He said that he was the only one not looking at the president - he was looking at us. Then AL went over to the exit. Kennedy was getting ready to finish. Al went to the exit which is like an airplane hanger and I stayed because I was interested in Kennedy. He talked a while to the boy and this boy left and the Secret Service man went and talked to these other two men. All the Secret Service men had on loud coats. Russo fails to describe the "Shaw" figure from the Baton Rouge interview, who was a homosexual and was leering at young boys.
Dr. F How about this white haired gentleman? Fatter presses him again, having failed to get the desired answer the first time.
PR That was him.  
Dr. F Do you know his name?  
PR No. Russo does not know the name of the "white haired gentleman."
Dr. F We are looking at the television screen again and when it is clear again your finger will lift up. Study the picture and you are in an automobile driving into a service station. Tell me about that program on the television. Fatter is trying to elicit another scene from the Baton Rouge interview, one that places Shaw and Ferrie together at a gas station.
PR I had trouble with my car because it wouldn't start at a red light and I didn't have any money except $4 or $5 and I just drove in and an old friend of mine came up and he said, "you remember me?" and I said yes. These boys fixed the tire, took the battery out, charged the battery, and I had to pay $2.50 and I left.  
Dr. F Tell me about the white haired man sitting in that automobile over there. Fatter continues to press for an account involving the "white haired gentleman."
PR He is sitting with Dave and they are just talking and I interrupted their conversation and he thought it was rude and he left. He was sitting next to Dave and I yelled to Dave about getting his boys to hustle, I had to go because he was very ill at ease because Dave and I were suspicious of each other.  
Dr. F About what, Perry?  
PR He told me he was going to kill me.  
Dr. F Why, Perry?  
PR Because I broke up he and AL.  
Dr. F Isn't there a calendar in the service station some where, Perry?  
PR No.  
Dr. F I wonder what is the day - -  
PR 1964.  
Dr. F What is the month, Perry.  
PR March.  
Dr. F And I wonder what day it is in March?  
PR I don't know.  
Dr. F Take a look at the white haired man again in the automobile and when you see him, lift your finger up - - - did you ever see that man before?  
PR Yes - he was a friend of Dave's.  
Dr. F Where did you see him before?  
PR At the Nashville Wharf. Russo fails to mention seeing the "white haired man" at any "assassination party"
Dr. F This television screen is going to jump over again, and when it does, lift your finger. Look at the picture now because on the screen you are in your apartment on Elysian Fields Street and somebody is going to come in with two jungle instructors.  
PR It is Dave - It is about 1 o'clock and I laughed when I saw him because the guys were some more of his friends and Landry told me about his friends. They were very dirty.  
Dr. F And I wonder, Perry, what color was their hair -  
PR Black hair.  
Dr. F Both had black hair.  
PR Black hair.  
Dr. F What color were their trousers, Perry?  
PR Green - green shirt.  
Dr. F Were both dressed in green?  
PR Yes. Two other people were there - Al's friend from the CAP and another boy, I never saw him before. I saw this friend in Kenner at a CAP meeting.  
Dr. F Tell me more about it, Perry.  
PR Well, Dave asked me how I was doing and talked for awhile and I got introduced.  
Dr. F I wonder, Perry, how he introduced you?  
PR As his friend.  
Dr. F And by what name did he introduce you?  
PR Perry.  
Dr. F And how did he introduce the others?  
PR Manuel.  
Dr. F And I wonder - - how about the other one.  
PR He introduced the others to me - - the boy from the CAP was Tommy.  
Dr. F This was Tommy who, Perry?  
PR Just Tommy.  
Dr. F And this was Tommy who, Perry? Fatter presses in spite of having been told that Russo doesn't know the man's last name.
PR I was never told. Just Tommy. These guys spoke Spanish and the two boys were about my age and we just talked and talked.  
Dr. F Did you hear somebody mention JULIANA?  
PR I thought I did - oh, I think MANUEL called the other guy JULUANA, Julie - Spanish - Julie - Jules - They talked in Spanish and Ferrie talked in Spanish.  
Dr. F They were very impolite, don't you think, to talk in Spanish in front of you?  
PR I figured that was all they could speak.  
Dr. F Continue to go deeper and deeper to sleep. You are comfortable and blank - - - - Look at the television screen again, picture and visualize and your finger will lift again when it is clear. That is right. A picture is going to come on and you are in Ferrie's Apartment on Louisiana Avenue Parkway. Would you look at that picture and tell us the story that you see?  
PR He introduced me to his roommate who was a kook!  
Dr. F And, Perry, I wonder what his roommate looked like. Describe him for me.  
PR Looked like he would be about as tall as I and he had sandy brown hair, dirty white shirt and dirty, dirty, dirty, dirty - - Lee Oswald had high standards of personal hygiene, and was never described as "dirty."
Dr. F And Perry, his name was - -  
PR Leon.  
Dr. F His last name?  
PR Oswald. Ferrie's close friends — Al Beauboeuf and Layten Martens — insisted that Ferrie didn't have a roommate in September 1963, and that they had never seen Lee Oswald at Ferrie's apartment
Dr. F That is right, continue looking at the picture. Who else is in the apartment.  
PR Nobody, just me and him.  
Dr. F Just you and - - Ferrie?  
PR And Oswald.  
Dr. F That's right, Perry, keep looking at the picture and tell me what happens.  
PR He introduced me and we talked and Ferrie came in and served coffee and I didn't take any, and the roommate was sitting on the piano. It was closed and he just sat and Ferrie and Leon didn't seem to get along that night.  
Dr. F They had differences of opinion?  
PR Yes.  
Dr. F What about, Perry?  
PR Dave never stated but I got the idea it was about a boy Dave was sleeping with and Leon made some remarks about it and Leon objected to the boy being there.  
Dr. F That's right, continue to go deeper and deeper - Now, picture that television screen again, Perry, and it is a picture of Ferrie's apartment and there are several people in there and there is a white haired man. Tell me about it. Fatter, and not Russo, first places the "white haired man" at the gathering
PR We are having a party and I came in and everybody is drinking beer. There are about ten of us and I am there, the roommate, Dave, some young boys and some other friends of Dave's and I was with Sandra.  
Dr. F And what month is it?  
PR September, September 16.  
Dr. F And what year, Perry?  
PR 1963.  
Dr. F Tell me more about that picture.  
PR Well, there is a record player in the middle of the room and it is playing sounds, not music - Spanish and a guy is making a speech and everybody laughed.  
Dr. F And what did he say?  
PR He was speaking Spanish, sorta like Hitler. He got real excited.  
Dr. F And how about the white haired man  
PR That is a friend of Dave's.  
Dr. F His name?  
PR CLEM BERTRAND. "Clem" rather than "Clay."
Dr. F Had you seen him before?  
PR Yes, I saw him at the Nashville Street Wharf. Earlier in the interview, Russo said he didn't know the name of the man at the Nashville Street Wharf (see above)
Dr. F I wonder where else - -  
PR Nowhere. Russo fails to place "Bertrand" at the gas station with Ferrie.
Dr. F Is that the same white haired gentleman in the service station?  
PR I don't remember the service station. Elements of Russo's story seem to disappear and reappear
Dr. F I wonder who that is sitting on the sofa with the rifle?  
PR Leon.  
Dr. F What is he doing with the rifle, Perry?  
PR He always had a rifle, he liked guns and many times he would have a rifle.  
Dr. F This particular rifle - describe it for me, Perry.  
PR He is not on the sofa - on the half sofa.  
Dr. F Tell me about the rifle - look at it - describe it for me, Perry.  
PR Long, and has wooden or plastic stock, it looks brown and it has a sight for hunting.  
Dr. F What kind of sight?  
PR Barrel type - about 8 inches long.  
Dr. F Take a look at the gun again? Does it have a lever underneath that you put the bullets in?  
PR I have a .22 and it is the same type. He offered to show it to me but I didn't care to look at it. Same as my .22, you have to pull the bolt back and the cartridges have to be entered from below.  
Dr. F Continue looking at the television program and Clay, the white haired man is going to come into the room. You are at Ferrie's apartment and there are many people. Who did he introduce Clay to? Russo has not said anything about a "Clay," only "Clem." Fatter is molding his testimony here.
PR He introduced me - me to everybody.  
Dr. F How did he introduce you and exactly what did he say?  
PR Well, when I walked in everybody was excited for maybe 30 seconds or a minute then the merriment resumed. There were no girls. Record was playing - just voices. Everybody in the house was laughing and Dave said this is my friend Perry who lives on Elysian Fields, and he introduced me to everybody. Note here that Russo says "There were no girls."
Dr. F Make believe you are Ferrie introducing Perry around.  
PR I am Perry Russo - - - I am Perry Russo - - - I am Perry Russo - - - I am Perry Russo - - -  
Dr. F Where is Juliana staying?  
PR He is in the back.  
Dr. F And I wonder, Perry, where is Manuel?  
PR Just sitting, not standing, everybody is getting up and moving.  
Dr. F What names did Ferrie use for the other people he introduced you to?  
PR I was shocked by the people and I don't speak Spanish. There were a couple of boys that looked American to me and we shook hands with two or three and there is Joe and Harry  
Dr. F Tell me where was Bertrand?  
PR Sitting on the semi-sofa.  
Dr. F I wonder, is this the white haired man?  
PR Yes.  
Dr. F Could you count the Cubans that are in the room for me, Perry.  
PR Four.  
Dr. F I wonder - - are they pro-Castro?  
PR I don't know, I didn't talk to them.  
Dr. F Anti-Castro?  
PR I didn't talk to them. - - - - - - they are in green fatigues, one in khaki pants and he is short and strong and hefty and has on a T-shirt - - - - one maybe 22 or 25 and he is dressed in dungarees and checked yellow and red and blue lots of colors in his shirt and there are two other men.  
Dr. F Point to where Joe is sitting for me, Perry.  
PR (No response)  
Dr. F Julian?  
PR They are up and down and everybody is moving and Manuel is there.  
Dr. F Yes, Perry, and what about the other two Cubans?  
PR Only four - Julian, Manuel and two others - everybody went to the kitchen. I drank a Coke and the record was taken off and we sat around talking and these guys spoke Spanish.  
Dr. F Look over there, Perry, tell me what Leon is doing.  
PR He is sitting beside the piano - just sitting. He does the same thing. I don't like him because he doesn't like me. He told Dave the first time I saw him in front of me - why did he have to bring every little prick off the street in the house and I told Dave I wanted to go home.  
Dr. F Let your mind go completely bank, Perry - - - see that television screen again, it is very vivid -- now notice the picture on the screen - there will be Bertrand, Ferrie and Oswald and they are going to discuss a very important matter and there is another man and girl there and they are talking about assassinating somebody. Look at it and describe it to me. At Mercy Hospital, Russo has described an "assassination party" with Ferrie (and no one else) talking about killing Kennedy. Here Fatter directs Russo to recount how they "are talking about assassinating somebody."

In spite of Russo's earlier statement that "there were no girls," Fatter directs him to describe a scene with "a girl" present.

PR We are sitting around on the sofas and I came in late. Dave offered me a drink and I said no I didn't want anything, and I sat down and played like I belonged. I didn't know what was going on. Dave went and got drinks for everybody - all the drinks were coffee and they resumed the conversation and I was just sitting. They planned to assassinate President Kennedy.  
Dr. F Tell us exactly what everybody said, Perry.  
PR Dave paced the floor back and forth and he talked and talked and told them if they were to get the President they would fly to Mexico or Cuba to Brazil and Clem said they could not go to Mexico and Brazil - it involved too much gas expense and the cooperation of Mexican authorities and that wouldn't be possible. Leon snapped at Bertrand and said leave him along. I guess Ferrie and Leon had made up and Leon said leave him alone because he is right because if he said we go, we can do it. It doesn't make any difference, Japan or Mexico.  
Dr. F I wonder what they said about Dallas, Perry?  
PR Nothing about Dallas. Ferrie had a bunch of newspaper clippings about one inch thick all of them about Kennedy - Kennedy's picture or Kennedy's name in the headline. Had rubber bands and clips on them and carried them around with him.  
Dr. F I wonder if Ferrie ever told you that he was going to assassinate the president in Dallas?  
PR He never told me that, he told me he was going to assassinate the president and I laughed at him, but I never laughed in front of his friends.  
Dr. F Is Clay Bertrand the same person that you saw in the District Attorney's Office and the same person you went to sell insurance to yesterday, Perry? Fatter now refers to "Clay Bertrand," rather than the "Clem Bertrand" Russo mentioned.

Russo has been primed to identify Shaw by being taken to Shaw's house and by being shown Shaw through a two-way mirror in Garrison's office.

PR Dave never took me to his house.  
Dr. F You went to his house yesterday to sell insurance with somebody from the District Attorney's Office, Perry. Is that the same man that was in with Ferrie and Oswald and the same man that was at the wharf?  
PR I don't understand - Dave never showed me any places like that. Fatter has blundered, since in Russo's mind it is 1963.
Dr. F Now go to sleep, Perry - - - - - - - - - - - And, now, Perry, I want you to see that television screen again and when you visualize it and it is clear you will see the face of a white haired man. You met him yesterday when you went to his apartment. This is yesterday, the last day of February. You picture him in your mind. Have you seen him before? Have you seen him on several occasions and what were these occasions, Perry? Fatter virtually directs Russo to identify Shaw and place him in the company of Ferrie at the "assassination party."
PR He was Dave's friend and I saw him at Dave's house.  
Dr. F Where else did you see him, Perry?  
PR I saw him later at Dave's and Al's service station. Russo now reverses himself and puts "Bertrand" at the gas station with Ferrie.
Dr. F Where else, Perry?  
PR I saw him at the Nashville Street Wharf.  
Dr. F What is his name, Perry?  
PR CLAY BERTRAND. Now Russo names "Bertrand" as the man at the Nashville Street Wharf during Kennedy's visit. He also takes Fatter's direction and starts using "Clay" as his first name.
Dr. F Perry, see the television screen again - - a picture is going to flip up and this is the last time you saw Oswald and Ferrie together - - - describe the scene to me.  
PR I came over to Dave's house and we just talked about the usual stuff and the roommate had to leave. He brought out two bags all beat up. The suitcases were like a canvas bag with extra pouches and real heavy canvas and he has a little, smaller bag and he is just leaving. I guess Dave is kicking him out.  
Dr. F And Dave, I wonder, where is he going?  
PR Houston.  
Dr. F Look up at the top of the television screen and you will see the date that film came on - what date?  
PR October 7, 1963.  
Dr. F Is this the same roommate that is called Lee Oswald?  
PR Leon. This time, Russo resists an attempt to "correct" his testimony.
Dr. F Perry, I imagine you know Leon Oswald, was he married?  
PR Yes.  
Dr. F What was his wife's name?  
PR Margaret. Oswald's real wife was named Marina, but his mother was named Marguerite.
AS. Perry, I am very interested in finding out everything I possible cane about Ferrie's roommate, the one who was named Leon Oswald. I want you to get a good picture in your mind of the first time you saw Leon Oswald in Ferrie's apartment. Tell us about that.  
PR He was sitting and I came in with Dave and he was seated and he just looked up.  
AS. Did he have a beard?  
PR Lots of whiskers - not a beard. I thought he may have pasted it on. Lee Oswald was always clean shaven.
AS. Are you sure about that?  
PR No, I never asked Ferrie.  
AS. What is the date you first saw Leon Oswald?  
PR September 13.  
AS. Who else is in the apartment besides Ferrie and Oswald and yourself.  
PR That's all.  
AS. Can you tell me the very next time you saw Oswald in the apartment?  
PR Three days later.  
AS. September 16?  
PR Yes.  
AS. Who was in the apartment then?  
PR A gang of Dave's friends.  
AS. Was Manuel there?  
PR Yes.  
AS. Was Julian there? The other Cuban?  
PR I don't know.  
AS. Do you remember the two Cubans Ferrie brought to your apartment on Elysian Fields.  
PR Yes.  
AS. Now, Perry, tell me the names of the two Cubans there at this time at Ferrie's apartment on September 16. Are they the two Ferrie brought to your apartment on Elysian Fields Avenue?  
PR I am not sure.  
Dr. F Picture the television screen again, Perry, and lift an index finger up on your right hand when the picture is clear. All right, and now you see a serial picture and there is a date and there will be a serial picture of each time you have seen Leon Oswald and the date is in the upper right hand corner.  
PR September 13 - - -  
Dr. F Another picture flips -  
PR September 16 at Dave's.  
Dr. F Picture flips again.  
PR October 7 at Dave's. Lee Oswald left New Orleans on September 25th, never to return.
Dr. F Continue - the picture flips again.  
PR (No response)  
Dr. F Continue to go deeper and relax with each breath. You were telling me about Oswald leaving to go to Houston. I wonder, Perry, who is Oswald going to visit in Houston? Russo has not said that Oswald is going to Houston, only that Dave is.
PR I don't know. It may be his wife but I had never seen her and I don't know where she was but I know the guy was married and I figured Dave was kicking him out.  
Dr. F I wonder, Perry, who is Brett Wall? Reference is to Breck Wall. It's unclear whether Fatter misprounced the name, or the transcriptionist misheard the name. Wall was in fact a business associate of Jack Ruby's, suspected by Garrison, but it's extremely unlikely he ever knew Oswald or Ferrie.
PR A friend of Leon, he was supposed to help Leon.  
Dr. F How, Perry?  
PR He didn't say, Dave asked him about it.  
Dr. F And I wonder - - who is Jack Ruby?  
PR I don't know. It's odd that Russo cannot simply answer from news accounts.
Dr. F I wonder if Brett Wall knew Jack Ruby?  
PR I don't know.  
Dr. F And I wonder if Ferrie knew Brett Wall.  
PR I guess so, it sounded like a mutual acquaintance. Ferrie asked Leon if he would be there.  
Dr. F I wonder if Ferrie asked Leon if he would be at Brett Wall's place in Houston?  
PR He just asked Leon if Brett Wall would be there. He said he supposed so.  
Dr. F I wonder where Oswald was going to be in Houston, Perry? Fatter is intent on putting Oswald in Houston.
PR He didn't say.  
Dr. F And I wonder who Larry Rost is?  
PR (No response)  
Dr. F I wonder what is the Winterland Skating Rink in Houston?  
PR I know one in New Orleans on St. Claude Street.  
Dr. F I wonder, Perry, where Leon was supposed to meet Brett Wall? Russo hasn't said anything about "Leon" meeting "Brett Wall."
PR Dave didn't say.  
Dr. F I wonder if it was just in Houston or some other place.  
PR I don't know.  
Dr. F I wonder what mutual friends Ferrie and Leon had - they were both friends with - I wonder if they had any other friends, Ferrie and Leon, like Brett Wall?  
PR Manuel.  
Dr. F In what way, Perry?  
PR I heard both of them talk about them.  
Dr. F Did you hear both of them talk about Julian?  
PR No.  
Dr. F I wonder what they said about Manuel?  
PR Just general conversation. Dave referred to him and later on Leon referred to him.  
Dr. F Could they trust Manuel?  
PR I don't know, they didn't say.  
Dr. F I wonder what role Manuel could have played in the President's assassination.  
PR They don't put people in rolls.  
Dr. F I wonder if Manuel was supposed to help in killing the president.  
PR Yes.  
Dr. F How, Perry?  
PR He was to be the diversionary. Names were discussed as to who could do this and who could do that. They asked questions about who could be put in that spot.  
Dr. F I wonder, Perry, if they ever talked about anyone shooting a gun from the school window or grassy knoll.  
PR No.  
Dr. F I wonder what they talked about as to how they were going to assassinate the president?  
PR Dave said some one had gone up to President Eisenhower some time ago and were able to touch him and this just goes to show you could do the job. He said there would be a cross fire with a mob in between and if everybody was looking at the guy who is the diversionary and made the diversionary shot, the other guy could make the good shot. One would make the diversionary shot and the other would do the job.  
Dr. F Who was going to be used for the diversionary shot and who for the actual shot?  
PR They never said.  


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