Did Clay Shaw (portrayed in JFK by Tommy Lee Jones) lie under oath?
But is even the allegation of perjury true?
Jim Garrison charged Clay Shaw with two counts of perjury, one for denying an association with Lee Harvey Oswald, and one for denying an association with Garrison suspect David William Ferrie. Since then, some have also accused Shaw of perjuring himself when he denied having worked for the Central Intelligence Agency. We will examine these charges one by one.
Did Clay Shaw perjure himself when he denied knowing Lee Harvey Oswald?
No; there is no credible evidence that Clay Shaw knew Oswald.
The most enduring theory linking the two men is that Shaw used the alias "Clay Bertrand," and it was to him that New Orleans attorney Dean Andrews was referring when he mentioned that name to the Warren Commission. Click here for a thorough discussion of this allegation.
Two individuals testified at trial that they had seen Clay Shaw and Lee Harvey Oswald in each other's company, and had overheard the two men speaking with one another. One was Perry Raymond Russo, whose story is discussed in detail in The JFK 100: Who was "Willie O'Keefe"?
The other was 30-year-old Vernon B. Bundy, Jr., a convicted felon and lifelong heroin addict facing a five-year sentence for parole violation at the time he came forward. At Clay Shaw's preliminary hearing, Bundy stated under oath that he was in prison voluntarily.(1) Following the hearing, the charges against him were quietly dropped and Bundy was released from jail.(2)
Bundy testified that one morning in June 1963, while preparing to shoot up in a relatively secluded area off the beach at Lake Pontchartrain, he saw a black limousine pull up, from which a man he identified as Clay Shaw emerged. A "man with a towel" approached from the direction of the beach, and this man Bundy identified as Lee Harvey Oswald. According to Bundy, Shaw handed Oswald what appeared to be money, the two men spoke for five or ten minutes, then both departed. Bundy claimed that Oswald left behind several yellow leaflets that read "Help Cuba" or "Free Cuba," and that the other man had a slight limp, as did Shaw -- the result of an injury received during World War II.(3)
On the witness stand, Shaw denied knowing Lee Oswald, denied ever having seen Vernon Bundy prior to Bundy's testimony at the preliminary hearing of March 1967, denied ever having given money to Oswald, and denied ever meeting anyone by the sea wall at Lake Pontchartrain, as Bundy described.(4)
On its face, Bundy's story defies logic. He testified that he continued his preparations to shoot up despite his concern that the man he identified as Clay Shaw was a narcotics officer,(5) and despite the fact that the man he described kept looking over at him.(6) In Bundy's original statement to the DA's office, recently unearthed from Garrison's files, the man he later identified as Oswald was named "Pete" and appeared to longtime heroin addict Bundy to be "a real junkie." The Cuba fliers are absent from this statement,(7) and Bundy did not mention the "limp" until after surreptitiously observing Clay Shaw in the presence of Garrison's men.(8)
Prior to his preliminary hearing testimony, Vernon Bundy failed a polygraph examination ordered by Garrison.(9) Over the strenuous objections of several of his staff members, the DA insisted upon using Bundy as a witness anyway. "We didn't tell him what to say," Garrison declared. "Let the jury decide whether or not he's telling the truth."(10)
The evidence that most credibly seemed to link Shaw to Oswald was the testimony heard from four residents of Clinton, Louisiana, three of whom recalled Oswald and Shaw in connection with a black Cadillac that had appeared at a Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) voter registration drive in the late summer or early fall of 1963. One witness, Corrie Collins, positively identified a third man, Garrison suspect David Ferrie, as having been a passenger in the Cadillac. All four identified Clay Shaw as the driver. One witness even testified that he spoke to the man behind the wheel, who "said he was a representative of the International Trade Mart in New Orleans."
Clay Shaw testified that he did not know Oswald, did not know Ferrie, had never driven a black Cadillac in 1963, and had never visited Clinton, Louisiana, in his life.(11) Shaw's workload during the period of July 8 through October 8, 1963, was "extremely heavy," due to planning for a new Trade Mart building at the head of Canal Street, for which Shaw bore much of the responsibility.(12) Trade Mart employee Jesse Core would characterize the complex as "a monument to Clay Shaw, since he . . . built it practically with his own hands."(13)
To get the project completed on time, Shaw often worked Monday through Saturday during this period,(14) which was slightly problematic for the prosecution, as the Registrar's Office in Clinton was only open on Thursday, Friday, and a half-day Saturday.(15) (The alleged visit could not have occurred as described on a Saturday in any case, since eyewitness Henry Earl Palmer maintained that the black Cadillac arrived at the CORE drive before 10:30 AM and stayed until approximately 3:40 PM that day.)(16) There was not a single workday during this extremely busy period when Shaw's boss, Lloyd Cobb, and personal secretary, Naomi Goldie Moore, did not have contact with Shaw.(17)
Author Patricia Lambert has unexpectedly discovered evidence that demolishes the Clinton witnesses' story. Lambert tracked down onetime Garrison investigator Anne Hundley Dischler, who had never been interviewed previously, and whose name seems to have been intentionally obscured by Garrison's office.(18) Dischler still had the three stenographic pads of field notes she had accumulated during her brief tenure on the Clinton investigation in 1967. Her notes reveal the Clinton story to be a fabrication.
At trial, eyewitness Corrie Collins was the only person to positively identify all three men at the CORE voter registration drive: Lee Harvey Oswald, David Ferrie, and Clay Shaw. Incredibly, his earliest statement to the DA's office tells of a black Cadillac pulling up, and, not Lee Oswald, but a local man named Estus Morgan getting out of the car, along with a companion dressed all in white. Anne Dischler identified the man in white as an East State Louisiana Hospital employee named Winslow Foster, a friend of Morgan's whose job required him to wear white. Dischler was about to interview Foster and close the case when Garrison suddenly dismissed her, and Foster's named disappeared from the record.(19)
Over the next year and a half, under the guidance of Assistant DA Andrew Sciambra (the assistant responsible for developing the fraudulent testimony of Perry Russo), Collins's story would undergo a remarkable transformation. Where in 1967, the tale of the black Cadillac concerned Estus Morgan, Winslow Foster, and an unidentified driver; by January 31, 1968, it concerned only a single man getting out of the Cadillac: Lee Harvey Oswald. At this time, Collins said photographs of David Ferrie and Clay Shaw looked only vaguely familiar;(20) a year later, Collins positively identified Ferrie and Shaw as occupants of the Cadillac.
In retrospect, it's clear that the men who gave the earliest statements naming Clay Shaw as the Cadillac's driver, Clinton residents Henry Earl Palmer and John Manchester, had participated in fabricating the story, and their motive for doing so seems clear enough as well. Both men were members of the Louisiana Ku Klux Klan. Palmer, the original informant, held the title of "Exalted Cyclops."(21)
Once it had been established with Jim Garrison's assistance that the notorious Communist Lee Harvey Oswald had been seen at a CORE voter registration drive in Clinton, Exalted Cyclops Palmer played his next hand. In a memorandum of January 22, 1968, Andrew Sciambra writes, "Mr. Palmer informed me that John Manchester has recently told him that right around the time the black Cadillac was in Clinton, he remembers seeing a boy who fit Oswald's description coming out of a CORE meeting in Clinton . . ."(22)
Recall how quickly the Fair Play for Cuba Committee folded, in only a matter of weeks, once it had been linked with the alleged assassin of John F. Kennedy. It is not difficult to imagine these ultra-racists trumping up a similar story about Oswald and their arch-nemesis, the Congress of Racial Equality. Had there been any truth to the story, they would have come forward with it immediately following the assassination.
The Louisiana Klan also had no love for Clay Shaw. The prominent New Orleans liberal was a close friend of philanthropists Edgar and Edith Stern, who contributed generously to liberal causes and were vocal in their support of the civil rights movement. The Sterns were reputed to be ardent supporters of the Anti-Defamation League, a group hated and feared by the radical right both then and now.
As for the claim that Shaw had identified himself to John Manchester as a representative of the International Trade Mart, Manchester initially said he wasn't sure that this had occurred at all.(23) Had Shaw been on some kind of secret and presumably sinister mission with the man later accused of assassinating John F. Kennedy, why would he identify himself in the first place?
Did Clay Shaw perjure himself when he denied knowing David Ferrie?
No; there is no credible evidence that Shaw knew Ferrie.
The strongest evidence of a Ferrie-Shaw association always seemed to be the testimony of the Clinton witnesses, and even those who believe Oswald and Ferrie appeared in Clinton together tend to doubt the identification of Clay Shaw.(24)
The only other seemingly credible evidence of such a relationship consists of two 1949 photographs from a benefit party for New Orleans radio station WDSU, alleged to depict Clay Shaw and David Ferrie side by side. In the more famous of the two, "Ferrie" has been positively identified as WDSU broadcaster Robert Brannon, who died in 1962.(25) He does indeed bear a striking resemblance to Ferrie, but not the Ferrie of 1949, who did not yet visibly suffer from alopecia, the disease that later caused the loss of his hair. The "Ferrie" figure in the second photograph has been identified as dentist J. Mofield Roberts, and does not bear any particular resemblance to Ferrie.(26) (In 1949, Ferrie had not yet moved to New Orleans.)(27)
The only other evidence of a Ferrie-Shaw relationship put forward at trial was the testimony of Nicholas and Matilda Tadin, who testified that they had seen Shaw and Ferrie together at New Orleans's Lakefront Airport sometime during the summer of 1964. Nicholas Tadin testified that he had asked Ferrie, "Dave, what you got, a new student here?" Ferrie allegedly responded, "No, it is a friend of mine, Mr. Clay Shaw. He is in charge of the International Trade Mart."(28)
The jury found the Tadins unconvincing witnesses, partly because they had waited until the final day of the trial to come forward. (They were unknown to the NODA until that very morning, literally just hours before they testified.(29) The DA's men were visibly grateful for the unexpected assistance.)(30) It also was difficult for some to accept that two men who had supposedly conspired to assassinate the President of the United States would be palling around in public at the bustling Lakefront Airport some months later.
It may be relevant that Nicholas Tadin is reported to have nursed a longstanding grudge against Shaw's lead defense attorney, F. Irvin Dymond. As Dymond recounted to the FBI a few days after the conclusion of the trial:
Mr. Dymond stated that several years ago he represented a woman in a legal matter who owned an establishment in the French Quarter of New Orleans. He advised that one evening he was in this establishment and he said he was "a little bit loaded." A musician employed in the establishment got into an argument with the female owner and started to abuse her. He invited this musician to "step outside" and subsequently this musician had made a complaint against Dymond to Tadin, who was the business agent for a local musicians' union.At one point during his ordeal with Garrison, Clay Shaw confided to a close friend, Gail Baumgartner, that he wished he had met Ferrie. Judging from all he had heard about the man, Shaw said "he probably would have found [Ferrie] fascinating."(32)
Tadin then publicly accused Dymond of intimidating and harassing a member of the musicians' union.
Mr. Dymond said he had received information that two days prior to Tadin's testimony at the trial, Tadin had been going around the French Quarter in New Orleans telling people how he hated Dymond and he was going to "get him."(31)
Did Clay Shaw perjure himself when he denied having worked for the CIA?
No; Clay Shaw never worked for the CIA in any capacity.
The claim that Shaw perjured himself is based on Shaw's onetime status as a contact for the CIA's Domestic Contact Service, from December 1948 to May 1956.(33) During that time, Shaw was one of literally thousands of US citizens debriefed each year about their travels and contacts abroad.(34) Given the Trade Mart's goals and activities, it would have been unusual had the CIA not sought information from some of its employees. (The wholly innocuous information Shaw provided DCS is now available for inspection at the National Archives.)(35)
Contacts are neither contract agents nor employees of the CIA; they have no more status with that agency than an eyewitness to a crime has with the local police department.(36) As a rule, contacts are not paid,(37) as indeed, Shaw was not.(38) More relevantly, "contact" status can certainly not be related to the notorious exploits of the CIA's Covert Action arm, which conspiracy theorists have endeavored for decades to link to the Kennedy assassination.
Meanwhile, spurious interpretations of recently released CIA documents have misguidedly fueled speculation that Clay Shaw was a CIA agent.
Garrison advocate William Davy claims that Clay Shaw was a "covert operative of the CIA," based on Davy's contention that Shaw possessed a "covert security number" for a CIA project called QK/ENCHANT.(39)
This is false. The source for the claim is a recent CIA release that summarizes Clay Shaw's contacts with the CIA between 1948 and 1956, then later states, "A memorandum marked only for file, 16 March 1967, signed Marguerite D. Stevens, says that J. Monroe Sullivan [Director of the San Francisco Trade Mart and acquaintance of Shaw's], #280207, was granted a covert security approval on 10 December 1962 so that he could be used in Project QKENCHANT. Shaw has #402897-A."(40)
A covert security approval signifies clearance to use a subject as an unwitting source of intelligence, which jibes with Sullivan's recent affirmation to Patricia Lambert that he never worked for the CIA or knew anything about a Project QK/ENCHANT.(41) Davy identifies the number 402897-A as an indication that Shaw was a part of this mysterious project. However, 402897-A is only a general identification number of the sort that any contact would receive; Shaw's CIA file identifies its subject right up front as "Clay Shaw, 402897-A."(42) (The information on Sullivan is cross-referenced to Shaw's file due to the relationship between the two men. Neither QK/ENCHANT nor any other CIA operation is cited in reference to Shaw himself.)(43)
In other words, it was J. Monroe Sullivan, not Clay Shaw, who was tenuously "connected" to the CIA.
What is QK/ENCHANT, anyway? CIA Information and Privacy coordinator John Wright has informed William Davy that information on QK/ENCHANT is still classified. "Yet," Davy writes, "an admitted ex-CIA employee has broadcast on a popular computer Bulletin Board System that QK/ENCHANT involved routine debriefing of people in the trade industry. Either this person has violated his/her secrecy agreement by revealing classified information or is deliberately spreading false information. Time will tell."(44)
An even more far-fetched claim comes from Garrison advocate Martin Shackelford, who writes, "Another recently released document connects Shaw to the top secret [CIA] project ZR/CLIFF, which was run out of William Harvey's super-secret Staff D along with the ZR/RIFLE assassination program."(45)
This too is false. Shackelford's source is a report that a freelance pilot named Leslie Norman Bradley was once considered for a CIA operation called ZR/CLIFF, "but for unknown reasons the offer of employment was withdrawn."(46)
What does this have to do with Clay Shaw? A Houston man named Sam Kouffroth told the FBI that he had once asked Bradley "how he had been making a living since being released from the Cuban prison and he [Bradley] replied that it was pretty rough but that Clay Shaw of the International House was 'helping us.'"(47)
It was Leslie Norman Bradley, not Clay Shaw, who was tenuously "connected" to the CIA.
The most outlandish claim, but an enduring one, is that Clay Shaw had an "extensive international role as an employee of the CIA . . . trying to bring Fascism back to Italy," as Jim Garrison describes it.(48) This is pure fiction.
On March 4, 1967, three days after Shaw's arrest in New Orleans, Paese Sera, a crypto-Communist, Italian tabloid,(49) charged that a defunct corporation, Centro Mondiale Commerciale (World Trade Center) -- whose Board of Directors included Clay Shaw -- was a CIA front, masking illegal anti-Communist operations in Italy. In the three decades since the claim was published, no one has advanced a shred of proof for this; certainly not Paese Sera, which simultaneously alleged financial links between CMC's parent corporation, PERMINDEX (Permanent Industrial Exhibitions) and the OAS, the illegal French paramilitary organization responsible for assassination attempts against President Charles De Gaulle.
Rome's mainstream newspaper, Corriere della Sera, denounced the Paese Sera charges as "ridiculous." It also reported that Shaw had been nominated as a member of the company's board of directors, but had never formally accepted the appointment, nor did he ever travel to Rome to meet with representatives of the organization, contrary to claims published in Paese Sera.
Shaw spoke about his association with the Centro Mondiale Commerciale in an interview with Penthouse:
Back in 1959 or 1960, a young Italian came to see me in New Orleans and told me about a world trade center that was being planned in Rome. The idea was to have one place where buyers coming into the Common Market area would find all the Common Market countries represented in one center. He wanted my advice and asked me to serve on the board of directors. I had no objection if it was a legitimate project. I investigated it and found that the head of it was a man named [Ferenc] Nagy, who had been the last non-Communist premier of Hungary. Some of the other people involved were Italian senators, journalists, lawyers, and other responsible people. It was agreed that we would have an exhibit at their center, and they would have one at the mart here in New Orleans, and we would exchange information and so on. I didn't mind being on their board, although there was no money involved, but I would have to go to Rome annually to the board meetings and my way would be paid, so why not?
Then they ran into difficulties, but they finally got the center opened. It turned out to be either badly planned or badly organized and it closed very shortly, and that was the last I ever heard of it. I never heard that it was a CIA operation and I don't know that it was. I'll say this -- it was a highly unsuccessful operation, which is not customary with the CIA. Other than what I've told you, I know nothing more about the Centro Mondiale Commerciale. I have never had any connection with the CIA.
Perhaps if Paese Sera had a sterling reputation for integrity and accuracy, their unsubstantiated allegations could be taken seriously. But the six-volume Laterza-Bari History of the Italian Press notes that Il Paese Sera was characterized by its sensationalistic style and a certain tendency towards "imaginative" stories with "made-up," "synthetical" details.(50) "In American terms," author Max Holland has noted, "Paese Sera was a heavily politicized version of the National Enquirer."(51)
Steve Dorril, writing in the British intelligence journal, Lobster, demonstrates that Paese Sera's reporting on the Shaw affair leaves a great deal to be desired. For example, a March 18, 1967, article "announced that Shaw had organized Kennedy's visit to Dallas and had proposed the luncheon at the Trade Mart. Both assertions were untrue."(52) Dorril is being kind; these are fictions no high school newspaper would have allowed to see print.
More telling, though, is another observation of Dorril's: Were the charges of CIA involvement with CMC utterly without foundation, it would not be the first time the extremely anti-American newspaper printed false, arguably malicious information about the CIA. For example, on April 22, 1961, when a group of French generals tried to illegally oust President Charles De Gaulle, Paese Sera published unsubstantiated claims that the CIA had participated in the plot.(53)
In an internal CIA memorandum from 1967, declassified a decade later, we get a glimpse of the CIA's private reaction to the charges concerning its alleged involvement with Centro Mondiale Commerciale. Commenting on a number of assertions that Pravda had picked up from Paese Sera, including claims that the "CIA made use of the services of Clay Shaw for [the] CIA's own interests in Italy," "that the Center was a cover for financing anti-Communist activity," and that the "CIA gave directives to Shaw," the memorandum states, "It appears that all of the Pravda charges are untrue. . . . So far as is known, Shaw was never asked to use his relationship with the World Trade Center for clandestine purposes and, in fact, he has not been in Italy."(54)
Even if Shaw had worked for the CIA, notes Patricia Lambert, "he would have assisted that agency out of the same patriotic feelings most Americans share. Garrison never allowed for that possibility."(56)
As Jim Garrison himself pointed out in his oft-quoted Playboy interview of October 1967, "The very repetition of a charge lends it a certain credibility, since people have a tendency to believe that where there's smoke, there's fire . . ." One thing is certain: If there exists even a single shred of evidence implicating Clay L. Shaw in a conspiracy to assassinate President John F. Kennedy, Jim Garrison failed to unearth it during his investigation, and his advocates have failed to turn it up in the decades since. No concocted allegations of perjury can change that.
You may wish to see . . .
The JFK 100: Who Was Clay Shaw?
The JFK 100: Was There a "Clay Bertrand"?
The JFK 100: Clay Shaw Admits an Alias
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1. Transcript, Preliminary Hearing of Arrestee Clay Shaw, March 17, 1967, Testimony of Vernon Bundy. As Bundy was a surprise witness, the defense was unprepared to debunk Bundy's assertion at that time.
2. William Gurvich, letter to Edward Wegmann, May 15, 1973, including Bundy's record of arrests.
3. Patricia Lambert, False Witness (New York: M. Evans and Co., 1998), pp. 99-101; James Kirkwood, American Grotesque (New York: Harper Perennial, 1970), pp. 224-29.
4. Transcript, State of Louisiana v. Clay Shaw, hereafter Shaw, February 27, 1969, (2047) p. 19.
5. Kirkwood, p. 224.
6. Kirkwood, p. 225.
7. Gerald Posner, Case Closed (New York: Random House, 1993), p. 441; Lambert, p. 101 fn.
8. Bill Davy, "Case Distorted: Posner, Connick, and the New York Times," Probe, March-April, 1996, Vol. 3, No. 3.
9. "The JFK Conspiracy: The Case for Jim Garrison," NBC News, broadcast June 19, 1967; Posner, p. 441; Lambert, pp. 100-01, 116.
10. Lambert, pp. 100, 116, 202.
11. Shaw, February 27, 1969, (2047) pp. 4-9, 19.
12. Shaw, February 27, 1969, (2047) p. 11.
13. Jesse Core, interview with Stephen Tyler, documentary film, He Must Have Something, 1992.
14. Shaw, February 27, 1969, (2047) p. 13.
15. William Davy, Let Justice Be Done (Reston, Va.: Jordan, 1999), p. 300 fn. 29.
16. Shaw, February 6, (2008) pp. 86, 102; Andrew Sciambra, Memorandum to Jim Garrison, June 1, 1967, re: Henry Earl Palmer statement to NODA, May 29, 1967.
17. Shaw, February 21, 1969 (2032), pp. 5-14, 47-49; February 27, 1969 (2047), p. 11. Shaw took only one day off during this period, Wednesday, September 25, 1963, which he spent in Hammond, Louisiana, ninety miles from Clinton. (Shaw, February 21,  pp. 13, 49; February 27, 1969,  p. 11.) The Registrar's Office was closed that day.
18. Dischler is not mentioned in either of Garrison's books on the assassination, and her name was never given to the House Select Committee on Assassinations, which took a great interest in the Clinton witnesses and ultimately endorsed their credibility. In On the Trail of the Assassins, Garrison claims that Andrew Sciambra and Lt. Francis Frugé were the first Clinton investigators. (Jim Garrison, On the Trail of the Assassins [New York: Warner Books, 1992], p. 123.) They were not; Frugé and Dischler were. (Lambert, pp. 188-89.)
19. Lambert, pp. 193-95.
20. Andrew J. Sciambra, January 31, 1968, Memorandum to Jim Garrison.
21. Lambert, p. 186.
22. Andrew Sciambra, January 22, 1968, Memorandum to Jim Garrison.
23. Andrew J. Sciambra, undated 1967 affidavit. The story would undergo two major changes in later years. In 1978, Manchester would claim for the first time that he had been shown a driver's license with Shaw's name on it. Later, Jim Garrison would claim that Manchester had taken down the black Cadillac's license plate number and traced it to the Trade Mart, something the prosecution explicitly stated in 1969 never happened. The Trade Mart, in fact, did not own any automobiles. (Shaw, February 27, 1969, , p. 66.)
24. See for example Anthony Summers, Conspiracy (New York: Paragon House, 1989), p. 306; Harrison E. Livingstone, High Treason 2 (New York: Carroll and Graf, 1992), p. 517; G. Robert Blakey and Richard N. Billings, Fatal Hour (New York: Berkley, 1992), p. 194.
25. Lambert, pp. 219, 328 fn. 18.
26. David Blackburst, Newsgroup post of December 18, 1996. After Shaw's death, Jim Garrison was known to express regret that he did not have these photographs for the trial. But he did have them; in fact, he'd been questioning people about them as early as March 1967. (Lambert, p. 328 fn. 18.) They were published in the May 12, 1967, issue of The Councilor, a local ultra-conservative newspaper, and both the DA's office and Shaw's attorneys investigated them. More recently, a video documentary made the ludicrous claim that another figure in the Shaw-Brannon photograph is none other than Lee Harvey Oswald. The facial features of the purported "Oswald" figure are largely washed out in the copy of the photo displayed in this program. In better copies, "Oswald" turns out to be Winn Pearce, the party's host, who bears little resemblance to Oswald. In 1949, when the photo was taken, Lee Harvey Oswald was ten years old.
27. David Blackburst, Newsgroup post of December 18, 1996. Ferrie began the year in Cleveland, then moved to Miami. In 1951, he was transferred to New Orleans by his employer, Eastern Airlines. (HSCA Vol. X, paragraph 409, endnote 60.)
28. Shaw, February 27, 1969, (2046) p. 10; (2044) p. 5.
29. Shaw, February 27, 1969, (2046) pp. 16-17; (2044) pp. 12-13.
30. Kirkwood, pp. 412, 417-18.
31. FBI# 44-41824-2 RIF #124-10089-10001; thanks to Jerry P. Shinley.
Jim Garrison and his advocates would later resurrect the stories of numerous self-proclaimed witnesses who had not been credible enough to produce at trial. One such witness is Raymond Broshears, who claimed to have once roomed with David Ferrie, and purported to have met Clay Shaw through Ferrie at Dixie's bar in the French Quarter, and subsequently in several other public places, sometimes with large amounts of money changing hands. (Garrison, p. 139.)
Broshears's credibility is an open question. He told researcher Dick Russell that he had briefly known Lee Harvey Oswald and Perry Russo's "Leon Oswald," that they were probably two separate individuals, and that he had sex with look-alike "Leon" on the occasion of their sole meeting. "He looked a lot like [Oswald]," Broshears said, "but it's highly unlikely to me this was the same Lee Oswald." (Dick Russell, The Man Who Knew Too Much [New York: Carroll and Graf, 1994], p. 576.) Broshears was not called to testify at the Shaw trial, despite his claim that Ferrie confessed his role in the assassination to him, and implicated Shaw as well. (Garrison, p. 139; Russell, pp. 575-77.)
Researcher David Blackburst notes:
1. Broshears claims to have been Ferrie's roommate for a long period, during which Ferrie actually had another roommate, who does not recall ever meeting Broshears.After Jim Garrison targeted a West Coast ultraconservative, Edgar Eugene Bradley, as a conspiracy suspect (based on a tip received in the mail), Raymond Broshears popped up to offer false information on Bradley, and claimed that Ferrie had mentioned Bradley at one time.
2. None of Ferrie's acknowledged friends ever remembers meeting or hearing about Broshears.
3. The things Ferrie allegedly told Broshears are completely the opposite of what he told his friends, and opposite of what he said in all statements to law enforcement officers.
Feeling some doubt about the accuracy of Broshears statements, I phoned him several years ago and spoke with him for nearly an hour. He claimed things that I knew to be untrue (such as that Ferrie was a non-smoker), he failed to recognize the names of Ferrie's closest friends, he knew nothing at all about Ferrie's employers during those years, and he showed complete unfamiliarity with the layout of Ferrie's apartment, and with the city of New Orleans. I came away with the feeling that Broshears story was almost certainly untrue. (David Blackburst, Newsgroup post of December 21, 1998.)
For all his tall tales of the Big Easy, however, Broshears had a much more colorful history on the West Coast. The Gay and Lesbian Historical Society of Northern California writes:
Little is known about Broshears before he was ordained as a minister in the Universal Life Church (1967) and the Orthodox Episcopal Catholic Church (circa 1968). By the early 1970s he was living in San Francisco, where he founded a local version of the Gay Activists Alliance. In 1972, he was instrumental in organizing the first San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade. During this event, he managed to alienate most of the lesbians present -- while keeping his own profile in front of the cameras all day. Full of contradictions, "Reverend Ray" (as he preferred to be called) helped many people and causes over time. He also attacked anyone who disagreed with him, using his newspaper, Gay Crusader, to spread rumors about people he considered his enemies. The newspaper also featured photos and profiles of his latest young protégés, and promoted various conspiracy theories. (Gay and Lesbian Historical Society of Northern California.)
Another article from the gay press refers to the Reverend Ray Broshears as "unstable," while a third calls him a "publicity hound."
One San Francisco resident who participated in and helped in the planning of numerous gay pride events alongside Rev. Broshears reports mixed emotions about him. For example, Broshears "did a lot of work for the downtrodden by organizing a soup kitchen, as well as a gossip rag called the Crusader, which revealed some of the more unsavory things about the people who run this city." On the other hand, "What I saw was a hateful, vindictive man . . . and some people thought he was crazy." "Ray was definitely one for getting headlines."
"Broshears was an enigmatic man," another gay activist told me. "He used his newspaper to champion many local politicians and gay leaders, before turning around and attacking them. Most people here during the 1970s came to dislike and distrust him."
David Logan was another young man who supposedly met Shaw through Ferrie. (Garrison, p. 138.) Not only was Logan passed over when the trial rolled around, but Logan's NODA statement was so lacking in credibility that for years, the DA pretended that it had been stolen from his files. (Garrison, p. 377 fn.; Lambert, p. 281.) After Garrison's death, a copy was found among his personal papers and donated to the National Archives. It states that Logan saw Shaw and Ferrie at a party -- but not together.
Jules Ricco Kimble was yet another witness who failed to make the grade. Kimble's October 10, 1967, statement to the NODA's office includes the claims that Kimble was introduced to Shaw in a French Quarter bistro by David Ferrie, he associated numerous times with Ferrie and Shaw, had "contact with CIA agents," and was an accessory to an alleged burglary of papers from Ferrie's home shortly after Ferrie's death.
Kimble had a long history of deceptive and pathological behavior, including arrests for everything from check forgery to impersonating a doctor to aggravated assault and impersonating a state police officer, and is currently serving a double life sentence for murder in an Oklahoma facility.
The truth about Garrison's Kimble story begins to emerge in a passage from a 1967 CIA internal memorandum partially declassified in February 1989, concerning a call received by the CIA's Domestic Contact Service in New Orleans:
On 4 August 1967 the DCS office received a telephone call from a man who identified himself as Jules R. KIMBLE of 7003 Vicksburg St., New Orleans. He said that "Garrison was trying to connect him with CIA" but that he did not know why. He added that GARRISON "accused him of having taken some papers from the residence of David Ferrie on the day after Ferrie's death" and added that he would appear on WDSU-TV, New Orleans, the same day. All Headquarters checks on KIMBLE were negative.
The DCS office was so baffled by Kimble's call that the memorandum speculates it could have been a provocation "initiated by Garrison."
By the time of the Shaw trial, Kimble was claiming to be James Earl Ray's infamous alleged conspirator in the Martin Luther King, Jr., assassination, "Raoul." The House Select Committee on Assassinations did a thorough investigation of Kimble, and found that he was not in Canada at the time he and James Earl Ray supposedly had been there together.
Another story originating with Kimble concerned an alleged flight that Shaw and Ferrie made to Cuba, with Shaw purportedly acting on behalf of a company called Freeport Sulphur. "Despite the fact that the original source of this information was Jules Ricco Kimble, a man with a record," an undated NODA memo reads, "this lead keeps growing stronger." (Lisa Pease, "David Atlee Phillips, Clay Shaw and Freeport Sulphur," Probe, Vol. 3, No. 3, March-April, 1996.) It didn't grow strong enough to warrant a mention at Clay Shaw's trial, however, or in either of Garrison's books on the case.
A March 5, 1967, FBI teletype states that confidential informant No. 1213-S, advised that an "Aura Lee (Last Name Unknown)," supposedly "Clay Shaw's former secretary" at the International Trade Mart, and currently employed by the Heart Fund at Ochsner Clinic, stated in front of a "Dr. Charles B. Moore and others" that she had seen David Ferrie enter Clay Shaw's office at the International Trade Mart building on a number of occasions, and she believed Ferrie had privileged entry into Shaw's office. (Davy, p. 105.) "Aura Lee," a onetime Trade Mart receptionist, has been identified to researcher Don Carpenter by longtime Trade Mart employee Jesse Core. She has refused to speak to Carpenter and this author.
The description of Ferrie in the "Aura Lee" statement is very similar to that of a man described by onetime Trade Mart secretary Josephine Hug. Based on a newspaper photograph of Ferrie, Mrs. Hug told friends that she had seen a man resembling Ferrie enter Clay Shaw's office on numerous occasions. When she was shown other photographs of Ferrie by the DA's office, she immediately realized the man was not Ferrie.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Goldie Naomi Moore was Clay Shaw's personal secretary for nineteen years, from February 6, 1946 -- only a few days after Shaw began work at the Trade Mart -- until Shaw's 1965 retirement. (Shaw, February 21, 1969, pp. 34-35.) She never saw David Ferrie, either alone or with Shaw. She also testified that she that she had never seen Lee Harvey Oswald, either alone or with Shaw, and that she had never known Shaw to use an alias. She had never heard the names "Clay" or "Clem Bertrand" until the Garrison investigation publicized them. (Ibid., pp. 50-56.)
Carroll S. Thomas, owner of Thomas Funeral Homes, Inc. in Hammond, Louisiana, was being interviewed in connection with another matter on March 15, 1967, when he volunteered that he was a close personal friend of Clay Shaw, that he had buried Shaw's father, and that he had met David Ferrie through Shaw. Thomas described Shaw as politically conservative, something no close friend of the New Orleans liberal would do. (Davy, pp. 194-95.) One speculates that Thomas might have met the same individual mistaken for Ferrie by Josephine Hug. Many of Clay Shaw's closest friends have been interviewed over the years; none of them ever met David Ferrie.
The granddaddy of all alleged Shaw-Ferrie witnesses has to be Edward Whalen. According to Whalen, Clay Shaw and David Ferrie personally tried to hire him to assassinate Jim Garrison -- with Perry Raymond Russo as an eyewitness. (Garrison, pp. 141-45.) Of this dramatic revelation, Garrison writes philosophically, "I was surprised to learn that I had become a target for removal. But looking back on our investigation . . . I found it easy to put myself in the place of Shaw and Ferrie." (Garrison, p. 145.) Needless to say, Edward Whalen was not called to testify against Clay Shaw, nor was Shaw charged with conspiring to murder the DA. It was Assistant DA James Alcock who had interviewed Whalen, and when Patricia Lambert asked Alcock about Whalen in 1994, "Alcock didn't even recall the name. To jog his memory, I had to remind him of the murder plot. At that point, his eyes wandered and he had nothing to say." (Lambert, p. 205.)
A newly unearthed statement from the DA's files, dated after the conclusion of the Shaw trial, has Mrs. June A. Rolfe claiming to have seen Clay Shaw motoring around the French Quarter with Ferrie and some unknown young men. Mrs. Rolfe is well known to students of the case as an ardent Garrison advocate. While journalist James Kirkwood was in town covering the Shaw trial, he spent a fair amount of time with her and her husband, Dick. Dick Rolfe himself was fairly close to Garrison, (Kirkwood, pp. 493-94, 496) making it even more unusual that Mrs. Rolfe's story had never come up before. She certainly made no attempt to conceal her strong pro-Garrison feelings, which were based in part on a personal dispute the couple had had with Clay Shaw. (Kirkwood, pp. 117-18.) She took the opportunity to point out to Kirkwood the importance of witnesses like the Clinton folks and the Tadins, who purportedly linked Shaw to David Ferrie. (Kirkwood, pp. 217-18, 417, 424.) But she never mentioned to Kirkwood that she herself had seen Shaw and Ferrie together, not even on the occasions she saw Kirkwood following Shaw's acquittal. (Kirkwood, pp. 472, 493-94.)
In 1991, former NODA chief investigator Lou Ivon began to claim that Ferrie himself had admitted to knowing Clay Shaw. (Ivon also claims Ferrie admitted to knowing Oswald and to having been employed by the CIA.) (Oliver Stone and Zachary Sklar, JFK: The Book of the Film [New York: Applause, 1992], p. 88.) Ivon never seems to have mentioned this rather startling "confession" before -- not even to his boss, the DA -- and no contemporaneous documentation supports it. Only one day prior to that of this alleged admission, Ferrie was questioned by Assistant DA Andrew Sciambra in Ivon's presence. Sciambra asked Ferrie "if he would like to tell me some more about his [recent trip to Hammond, Louisiana, and Ferrie] smiled and said "Go to hell." I then asked him if he stayed with Clay Shaw [whose mother lived in Hammond]. He said, 'Who's Clay Shaw?' I said 'All right, if that doesn't ring a bell, how about Clay Bertrand?' He said, 'Who's Clay Bertrand?' I said 'Clay Bertrand and Clay Shaw are the same person.' He asked 'Who said that?' I said 'Dean Andrews told us.' [Sic: Dean Andrews said no such thing.--DR] He said, "Dean Andrews might tell you guys anything. You know how Dean Andrews is.'"
The last person to see Ferrie alive was reporter George Lardner, Jr. Though the NODA had not yet publicly linked Shaw to Ferrie, the ex-pilot was adamantly denying any connection to Oswald or the assassination. (George Lardner, Jr., "On the Set: Dallas in Wonderland," The Washington Post, May 19, 1991, reprinted in Stone and Sklar, pp. 192-93; Lambert, pp. 63-64.)
32. John Mitzel, "Clay Shaw, the Quean Network & That Kennedy Killing," Fag Rag, No. 13, Summer 1975.
33. CIA Memorandum, June 20, 1967, "Memorandum No. 4: Garrison and the Kennedy Assassination"; Record No. 180-10143-10220, Agency File Number 29-04-01, CIA Segregated Collection.
34. "For more than ten years the Contact Division of the CIA's Office of Operations, with its network of field offices throughout the country, has been tapping this vast potential of information on behalf of the intelligence community. Since 1948 over forty thousand individuals and companies have supplied information ranging into every field of intelligence. Through this collection operation the community has at its disposal the expert analysis and commentary of the most knowledgeable people in the academic, scientific, professional and industrial fields." (Anthony F. Czajkowski, "Techniques of Domestic Intelligence Collection," Studies in Intelligence, Vol. 2, No. 1, Winter 1959; reprinted in H. Bradford Westerfield, editor, Inside CIA's Private World: Declassified Articles from the Agency's Internal Journal, 1955-1992 [New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1995]; thanks to Jerry Shinley.) Some sources place the figure much higher, at 25,000 annually during the Cold War. (See for example Final Report of the Subcommittee on the Assassination of John F. Kennedy of the Select Committee on Assassinations, House of Representatives, p. 218; G. Robert Blakey and Richard N. Billings, Fatal Hour [New York: Berkley, 1992], p. xvii; Gerald Posner, Case Closed [New York: Random House, 1993], p. 86 fn.; Edward Jay Epstein, The Assassination Chronicles [New York: Carroll and Graf, 1992], p. 565.) DCS was later renamed the Domestic Collection Division, and is now called the National Resources Division.
35. Lambert, p. 204. Lambert writes, "Shaw's contacts with the CIA's Domestic Contact Service were summarized in a memorandum released by that agency in 1992; some of the reports based on Shaw's information were released in 1994. Shaw was first contacted by the CIA's New Orleans office in December 1948; between 1949 and May 25, 1956 (when Shaw ceased to be a contact), he was contacted a total of thirty-six times. Eight reports were written based on Shaw's information. Six of those were "on hand" and described in the 1992 memorandum. Three concerned a trip Shaw made in March through May, 1949, to the West Indies, Central America, and Northern South America; and a fourth concerned a 1951 trip to Central and South America and the Caribbean area. The fifth report advised that Shaw had leased to the "CSR government" space for merchandise display in New Orleans for one year beginning in April 1949. The sixth, in March 1952, concerned a letter to the public relations director of the International Trade Mart from a trade consultant to the Bonn Government (CIA document, "Subject: Clay L. Shaw [201-813493]," "Enclosure 21"; "Approved for release 1992 CIA Historical Review Program"; Lambert, p. 325 fn.). Two of Shaw's DCS reports were deemed by the Assassination Records Review Board to contain material still legitimately considered sensitive, and for the time being, summaries of their content have been made available.
36. "The DCS's primary function has traditionally been to collect intelligence from Americans without resorting to covert methods [i.e., espionage]. . . . The DCS's normal operating technique is to establish relationships with businessmen, scholars, tourists, and other travelers who have made trips abroad, usually to Eastern Europe or China. These people are asked to provide information voluntarily about what they have seen or heard on their journeys. Most often they are contacted by the agency after they have returned home, but occasionally, if the CIA hears that a particular person plans to visit, say, a remote part of the Soviet Union, the DCS will get in touch in advance and ask the traveler to seek out information on certain targets" (Victor Marchetti and John Marks, The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence [New York: Dell, 1989], p. 199.)
37. CIA Director William Colby once explained that the CIA "can collect foreign intelligence in the United States, including the requesting [sic] American citizens to share with their Government certain information they may know about foreign situations, and we have a service that does this, and I am happy to say a very large number of American citizens have given us some information. We do not pay for that information. We can protect their proprietary interest and even protect their names if necessary, if they would rather not be exposed as the source of that information" (Marchetti and Marks, pp. 198-99.)
38. An internal CIA report states flatly, "We have never remunerated [Shaw]" (HSCA notes on Clay Shaw's CIA file, referring to "2/10/69--TWX #0002 to contacts/Washington, 10/13/67" [Record No. 180-10143-10221, CIA Segregated Collection, Box 19]; Lambert, p. 325 fn. 14).
39. William Davy, Let Justice Be Done (Reston, Va.: Jordan, 1999), p. 195.
40. Davy, p. 195.
41. Lambert, p. 204 fn.
42. Record No. 180-10143-10220, Agency File Number 29-04-01, CIA Segregated Collection.
43. Record No. 180-10143-10220, Agency File Number 29-04-01, CIA Segregated Collection.
44. Davy, p. 314 fn. 19.
45. Fair Play, No. 25, Nov-Dec., 1998.
46. Davy, p. 88.
47. Davy, pp. 88-89.
48. Garrison, p. 100.
49. History of the Italian Press, Vol. 5, p. 241; John McAdams, Newsgroup post of July 9, 1999.
50. History of the Italian Press, Vol. 5, p. 241; John McAdams, Newsgroup post of July 9, 1999.
51. Max Holland, "The Demon in Jim Garrison," Wilson Quarterly, Spring 2001, p. 13.
52. Steve Dorril, "PERMINDEX: The International Trade in Disinformation, Lobster, No. 3, 1983.
53. Steve Dorril, "PERMINDEX: The International Trade in Disinformation, Lobster, No. 3, 1983.
54. CIA Memorandum No. 2, "Garrison and the Kennedy Assassination," May 8. 1967, Enclosure 21, Doc. No. 1430-492-Y, p. 4. New evidence from Soviet defector Visili Mitrokhin suggests that the Paese Sera stories about Clay Shaw may have been planted at the request of the KGB. The Italian paper had been utilized for this purpose previously. (See Max Holland, "The Demon in Jim Garrison," Wilson Quarterly, Spring 2001.)
55. Harrison Livingstone, High Treason 2 (New York: Carroll & Graf, 1992), p. 509.
56. Lambert, p. 204.
The JFK 100: Who Was Clay Shaw?
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