Jerry P. Shinley Archive:
NOTP Coverage of Habighorst 07-08/68



Subject: NOTP Coverage of Habighorst 07-08/68
Date: 1/24/99 6:21 PM Eastern Standard Time
Message-id: <78g9sm$f99$>

       Citations from the New Orleans Times-Picayune:
July 27, 1968 S4-P22
Admission by Shaw is Denied
Lawyer Says He Didn't Say He Used Alias
       One of Clay Shaw's lawyers branded as "an absolute lie" a televised report that Shaw had previously told a New Orleans policeman that he had used the alias of Clay Bertrand.
       In a statement, Edward F. Wegmann said:
       "The story is an absolute lie and a falsehood. Mr. Shaw stands on the statement made by him at a press conference on March 2, 1967, at which time he said that he had never used any alias nor had he ever user the alias Clay Bertrand or Clem Bertrand.
       "Appropriate action will be taken at the earliest possible date against the people who are responsible for the falsehood."
       Wegmann's attack was leveled at Ptn. Aloysius Habighorst who said Friday [July 26] that Shaw told him on March 1, 1967, that he had used the alias identity. On that date, Ptn. Habighorst was reportedly guarding [sic] Shaw who was in police custody at Central Lockup.
       Ptn. Habighorst, who was not working Friday night, could not be reached for comment.
       The name Clem Bertrand is an important link in the Kennedy assassination investigation, according to District Attorney Jim Garrison.
       Asked if by planning to take "appropriate action ... against the people responsible for this falsehood" Wegmann meant he was considering a suit for libel against Ptn. Habighorst and the television station, he said, "I will not elaborate on my statement."
July 28, 1968 S1-P8
Police Will Probe Case of Alleged Bertrand Use
Officer's Statement Brings Giarrusso Action
       Police Supt. Joseph I. Giarrusso said Saturday [July 27] that he has written an inter-office directive asking for an investigation surrounding the revelation by Ptn. Aloysius Habighorst that Clay Shaw once allegedly admitted he used the alias "Clay Bertrand."
       In the memorandum, Giarrusso asked Assistant Chief William P. Stevens to investigate these points:
       -If Ptn. Habighorst gave information to the district attorney's office, as he claimed in two television interviews Friday, why didn't the police department receive a copy of the statement?
       -If Ptn. Habighorst made three copies of the report, as he noted on television, under what authority was he allowed to keep one for his personal file?
       Giarrusso emphasized that the police department has no objections to statements being given to the district attorney's office by policemen, but he feels the department is entitled to have a copy of the statement.
       Supt. Giarrusso, contacted Saturday afternoon, said he was having the arrest card brought to his office so that he can see what it contains. Asked if a Times-Picayune reported can come to see it, Giarrusso said, "Anything that is evidence I am not empowered to release and I assume this will be used as evidence."
       Asked if Habighorst can possibly be arrested himself for violations regarding the incident, Supt. Giarrusso answered, "I don't know what the investigation will disclose. We will make the details of it public. We will take whatever appropriate action is called for."
       Shaw was arrested March 1, 1967, and was booked with conspiracy to murder the late President John F. Kennedy. Habighorst told TV newsmen it was while Shaw was being booked, that he, handling the booking, asked whether Shaw ever used an alias. Habighorst showed on TV what he alleged to be his personal copy of the arrest record with the name "Clay Bertrand" on it.
       Exhaustive checks of police records by newsmen not long after Shaw was booked failed to reveal any mention of the name "Clay Bertrand."
One of Shaw's attorneys, Edward F. Wegmann, immediately issued a statement calling Habighorst's claim "an absolute lie."
July 30, 1968 S1-P1
Records Allegedly Linking Shaw, Bertrand Released
Consist of Book-Sheet, Fingerprint Card
The New Orleans Police Department released Monday [July 29] the documents in which Dist. Atty. Jim Garrison claims Clay L. Shaw used the alias Clay Bertrand.
       The NOPD records consist of a Central Lockup "booking sheet" and a Bureau of Identification fingerprint card.
       Police Supt. Joseph I. Giarrusso said both record were compiled when Shaw was booked the night of March 1, 1967, with conspiring to murder President John F. Kennedy.
       Former [sic; incorrect!] policeman Aloysius J. Habighorst, who revealed the contents of the documents last week, helped compile the B of I card the night of Shaw's arrest.
       This card is signed by Shaw, and his signature also appears on the card Habighorst turned over to Garrison.
       The Central Lockup booking sheet also carries the "Clay Bertrand" alias, but the only signatures on it are those of the desk sergeant and doorman. Giarrusso said the arrestee does not sign the booking sheet.
       The fingerprint cards, he added, are identification papers and require the arrestee's signature.
       He said during the booking of arrestees, three fingerprint cards are made, one for the B of I, one for the state police and one for the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
       Giarrusso said both the state and the federal agencies have their copies of the fingerprint cards and therefore he has to assume that Habighorst made more than the usual number of three fingerprint cards the night of March 1.
       The fingerprint card Habighorst gave to Garrison is on the FBI form and carries his signature, that of Ptn. James Millet, who also helped compile the cards, and Shaw's.
       This card, as well as the two NOPD records, carries the Clay Bertrand alias.
       Also released Monday by Asst. Dist. Atty James L. Alcock was a copy of a signed statement given by Habighorst on Jan 23, 1968.
       In addition to stating that Shaw admitted to the accuracy of the information on the cards, Habighorst stated that he and Millet compiled only three ID cards, all of which Shaw signed.
       Because of the wording of the statement, it is unclear whether Shaw signed his name to the cards before or after they were completed.
       A police information officer said the directions in the Manual of Procedure "indicate" by the order in which the words appear, that all cards should be typed first and then signed by the arrested. He said this is "indicated" twice on page 227 of section 9 in the manual, and this is the procedure that has been followed by officers.
       Giarrusso said the police records were locked up by Garrison as evidence after Shaw was booked and apparently no one who handled Shaw's booking remembered the alias and signature on the ID cards until Habighorst release the "extra" he had.
       He said he won't have a clear idea of what happened that night and how the extra cards were made until an investigation into the matter is completed.
       However, Garrison charged Monday that one of Shaw's attorneys, Edward F. Wegmann is making a big issue of the ID cards, "so I'll have to answer him."
Aug 6, 1968 S1-P10
No Misconduct in Card Display
Giarrusso Reports on Shaw Print Issue
       Police Supt. Joseph I. Giarrusso said Monday he can find no evidence of misconduct on the part of Ptn. Aloysius Habighorst regarding his possession and display of a fingerprint card of Clay L. Shaw.
       Giarrusso said the investigation into the conduct of the patrolman has revealed that the public knowledge of the incident was precipitated by one of the local television reporters and was not initiated by Habighorst, the local police department or the district attorney's office.
       In a statement, Giarrusso said, "The report revealed that Officer Habighorst had cleared his appearance on television through James Alcock of the district attorney's office as well as through the police department.
       "My initial inquiry into this matter was my concern for one of the three official cards (police department, state police and FBI) that are taken routinely when a set of fingerprints are taken from anyone arrested."
       Giarrusso said that the investigation further revealed that five copies of the department's fingerprint form were made on Shaw, following his arrest on March 1, 1967, instead of the regular copies.
       "In this particular instance, two sets of the prints that were taken were not ideal for classification and identification, and a copy was retained by ex-officer James Millet and Officer Habighorst as reference material. The retention of a copy of a report in a pending criminal matter by one of the officers involved in a case is not an unusual circumstance. This is done many times in order that an officer familiarize himself with the facts prior to the time he must testify in court."
[end of articles]
       Some questions:


Why did Garrison's office clear the release of trial evidence to the press before the trial?
Couldn't they have released it without a creating a needless controversy with Giarrusso?
Is there any record of what James Millet said happened during Shaw's booking?

Jerry Shinley

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