JFK ASSASSINATION ARGUMENTS
DAVID VON PEIN SAID:
I offer up the following text excerpts from the 1969 Clay Shaw trial
which I think are quite interesting:
IRVIN DYMOND (DEFENSE LAWYER FOR CLAY SHAW) -- "Now, in all of these
five, six, seven or eight times that you saw Dave Ferrie after the
assassination, was there ever any discussion of the assassination of
PERRY RUSSO -- "No. The times that we met were for very short periods,
and he was a broken person in '64 and '65, I thought. When we met I
was generally on the run most of the time because Charlton Lyons, this
thing was coming up, of course that was I think in March, and then
they had the national elections and all that kind of stuff, Goldwater
election in '64, and also this other thing I was involved in during
the summer months, in '64 it was baseball, the baseball team, again in
'65, and '63 and '64 was my graduating year, and whenever he came over
it would not be more than three or four or five minutes at the most,
maybe a little bit longer."
MR. DYMOND -- "And to the best of your recollection, the assassination
was never discussed. Is that correct?"
MR. RUSSO -- "No."
MR. DYMOND -- "Did he ever ask you, "For goodness sake, keep quiet
about what you heard up on Louisiana Avenue Parkway"?"
JAMES ALCOCK (PROSECUTING ATTORNEY) -- "Objection, Your Honor, Mr.
Dymond knows that is hearsay."
JUDGE EDWARD A. HAGGERTY JR. -- "Sustained."
MR. DYMOND -- "I don't think that is hearsay on Your Honor's previous
ruling on a point of similarity yesterday."
JUDGE HAGGERTY -- "The acts and declarations of each co-conspirator, a
conspiracy, if one did actually exist, it was at an end after the
commission of the intended crime."
MR. DYMOND -- "To which ruling, if the Court please, Counsel for the
Defense reserves a bill of exception, making the question, the
objection, the ruling of the Court a part of the bill. Now, if the
Court please, in order for me to perfect this bill, I am going to have
to get an answer from the witness, which of course would have to be
done out of the presence of the Jury."
MR. ALCOCK -- "There is no provision in the law for such a procedure."
MR. DYMOND -- "Unless we do that, the Supreme Court has no way of
knowing in the event of appeal what testimony we were deprived of."
MR. ALCOCK -- "The question is quite obvious, what did this man say in
1964, and the objection is to hearsay, the Court has sustained it, and
what he is going to say is totally immaterial. The Court can
determine, I am sure, the Supreme Court can determine whether or not
as a matter of law that was hearsay, whatever the response was."
MR. DYMOND -- "If the Court please, as you well know, whether it is
hearsay or not would be completely immaterial to an appellate court
unless the appellate court found it was harmful, prejudicial, to keep
that out of evidence."
JUDGE HAGGERTY -- "You are asking to have the Jury go upstairs so you
can perfect your bill?"
MR. DYMOND -- "They can go back in the anteroom, I can get this in a
matter of 30 seconds."
JUDGE HAGGERTY -- "Let me make one statement for the record so that
the record will show what happened. The Court sustained an objection
by the State on the grounds that the evidence sought to be elicited
was hearsay, primarily because the conspiracy, if one actually
existed, it was at an end after the commission of the intended crime;
however, Defense Counsel requested the Court to remove the Jury so he
could ask certain questions of the witness to perfect his bill of
exception, and that is the status of the case as of this moment."
MR. DYMOND -- "I might say out of the presence of the Jury, and I
would like to refer Your Honor to the Enganic [sp?] case with which
you are familiar."
JUDGE HAGGERTY -- "I prosecuted the case."
MR. DYMOND -- "Co-conspirators were held for the actions of co-
conspirators after the actual commission of the crime."
JUDGE HAGGERTY -- "The Code states specifically they are liable for
the actions up until the time the conspiracy comes to a conclusion."
MR. DYMOND -- "Right up until the time of arrest, Your Honor."
MR. ALCOCK -- "Referring to the Code, Article 844 of the Louisiana
Code of Criminal Procedure, I think that article is quite clear in
where it states in Paragraph B, a form of bill of exception shall
contain only the evidence necessary to form the basis for the bill,
and the only evidence necessary to form the basis for this bill is the
propounded questioning, my objection, and the Court's ruling. There is
no provision in this law to have counsel have this question answered
for the benefit of an appellate court, should it be necessary. If that
is the case, Your Honor, any time Defense Counsel wanted to reserve a
bill, knowing the testimony would not be proper, although the Jury
might be removed, he could still get in what he wanted to get into the
MR. DYMOND -- "It's on the basis of that very article that we contend
we do have a right to do this, this is testimony that is necessary to
make up the bill of exception."
JUDGE HAGGERTY -- "I will permit you to proceed in this matter for
this reason: You feel that the answer to be sought from the witness
may have a great bearing on your bill to be considered by the Court. I
will permit you to proceed."
[Jury is removed from courtroom.]
MR. DYMOND (TO WITNESS) -- "At any of these meetings, wherein you saw
David Ferrie and spoke with him, after the assassination of President
Kennedy, did he ever caution you to keep quiet about what you had
heard on Louisiana Avenue Parkway?"
MR. RUSSO -- "No."
MR. DYMOND -- "That's all."
JUDGE HAGGERTY -- "Bring the Jury back in."
PORTIONS OF DEFENSE LAWYER IRVIN DYMOND'S CLOSING ARGUMENTS TO THE
JURY AT THE CLAY SHAW TRIAL (FEBRUARY 28, 1969):
"Now, gentlemen, I am launching into what you would consider a
tirade in defense of the Warren Report, and, as you know, we have been
very limited in the evidence that we have presented along those lines,
but once again before I launch into what evidence we did have in that
connection, let me say that I know that you are not lawyers, but I
also know that you don't have to be lawyers to distinguish between a
contest over the validity of the Warren Report and a contest over the
question of whether this Defendant, Clay Shaw, sat in an apartment at
3330 Louisiana Avenue Parkway with Lee Harvey Oswald and David Ferrie
and planned the killing of the President of the United States,
conspired to kill him.
"Gentlemen, please bear in mind that that is the question that
you are here to pass on. There may be some among you who violently
disapprove of the Warren Report. To these I want to accentuate this
statement: that is, that a verdict of acquittal of Clay Shaw does not
constitute your stamp of approval on the report issued by the Warren
Commission. I say that not apologetically, gentlemen, but I say it out
of practicality, recognizing the possibility that there may be among
you those who feel that way.
"As you will remember, the first witness that we put on in
connection with the Warren Report was Mr. [Robert A.] Frazier, the FBI
"Gentlemen, I was somewhat taken aback when the State actually
had the temerity to come before you in a closing argument and question
the fact that this man was an expert. The reason that it shocked me,
gentlemen, was that upon an examination of the State's opening
argument, what do you see but a statement to the effect that not the
Defense but that the State will offer the testimony of Special Agent
Robert A. Frazier of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, an expert in
the field of ballistics.
"Gentlemen, we didn't get Mr. Frazier down here, the State
subpoenaed Mr. Frazier, got him down here and obviously didn't like
what they heard, so we decided to use him.
"Mr. Frazier told you how the scene was re-enacted, Mr. Frazier
told you that he was in the sixth floor window of the Book Depository
and a complete presidential parade was re-enacted there, and that as a
result of this examination it was his opinion as an expert in the
field of ballistics that the President was hit in the back with one
shot from the School Book Depository window, and in the back of the
head with another shot from the window.
"Now, just what the State's position is in regard to Mr.
Frazier, I don't know. Do you they contend that he isn't an expert? I
hardly see how they could have subpoenaed him as an expert themselves.
Do they contend that he is just flat lying? Possibly they will come
before you and say that. They may well do that if they see fit to come
before you and allege that giant, impossible, fraudulent scheme that I
"We brought before you Mr. Lloyd C. Cobb. Gentlemen, I can
unhesitatingly say that no one who knows Mr. Cobb would argue with the
fact that he is one of the leading citizens of New Orleans, a man who
would not dream of getting on that witness stand and lying, perjuring
himself for anybody or anything.
"Mr. Cobb testified to you that during this same period when
this Defendant was supposed to be running around the countryside up to
Clinton, Louisiana, running up there with David Ferrie and Lee Harvey
Oswald, who-have-you, that Mr. Cobb and this Defendant, Clay Shaw,
were engaged in perhaps the three or four busiest months in the lives
of either one of them.
"Now, gentlemen, this was not something that Mr. Cobb had to
call on his memory for in order to determine the dates. He has his
leases, he knew when they were negotiating these leases, he knew when
his deadline was, and I am sure that when you heard the testimony of
Mr. Cobb that he knew where Clay Shaw was during every working day --
and this had to be a working day up in Clinton, the barbershops were
open, the Voter Registration Office was open -- that you knew that it
was absolutely ridiculous to believe that this man would be running up
to Clinton for any purpose, or that he could have done it and not have
been missed by Mr. Cobb. ....
"There is no way in the world that this Defendant could have
been in Clinton, Louisiana, when the State claims that he was there,
unless Lloyd Cobb is lying, Goldie Moore is lying, and Clay Shaw is
lying. Now, if you can conclude that on the basis of the type of
identification that we had from Clinton, more power to you. I don't
see how you can.
"We go on, gentlemen, from the Clinton episode to this deal with
Vernon Bundy on the Lakefront. Now, gentlemen, Mr. Alcock said that he
would not apologize to you for having put Bundy on the witness stand.
Well, let me say that now I as an officer of the Court will apologize
to you for your having been subjected to him. And I mean that.
"Gentlemen, this fantastic story that this convicted thief, this
admitted liar, this inveterate and veteran narcotics addict, told on
this witness stand is worthy of Alice in Wonderland.
"Let's look at it. Let's consider something that Mr. Alcock --
something else that he said in his opening argument. He told you that
when Bundy was sitting out on that seawall that he had only two things
in mind: shooting those narcotics and avoiding arrest, and that is why
he was able to look right at Mr. Shaw and be sure of his
"Gentlemen, Mr. Alcock is right. Narcotics addicts are very
properly in fear of arrest when they are fooling with narcotics, and
it is absolutely beyond the belief of any reasonable man that Vernon
Bundy, this man who has been taking junk since he was 13 year old, by
his own testimony, that Vernon Bundy, who was living in a 25-room
house, would leave the security and safety of his own home, the
security and safety of his own bathroom where he could flush the
toilet, flush the dope down the toilet if the police came, and where
the police probably wouldn't come anyway, and carry this dope out to a
public place out on the seawall at the Lakefront to shoot dope.
"Gentlemen, that is absolutely fantastic, it is absolutely
"Now let's get on to the other completely unbelievable point in
Bundy's testimony. Bundy, if you will recall, under cross-examination
by me admitted that there was at least a mile of vacant seawall in
each direction from where he was shooting this dope.
"Now, with two miles of vacant seawall there, gentlemen, Bundy
tells you that this Defendant picked the very spot where he, Bundy, is
sitting to meet with Lee Harvey Oswald to turn over money to Oswald.
The implication is that at that time they were probably planning to
kill the President. Gentlemen, what is the matter with some spot in
one direction or the other? That doesn't make sense.
"Gentlemen, this is another one, another one in the parade of
unfit witnesses that the State has trotted out before you and on the
basis of whose testimony they are asking you to return a verdict of
conviction. You can just stand them in line. [Charles] Spiesel was
there first, and Bundy can now take his place right alongside of him,
but for a different reason.
"Now, gentlemen, I won't go at length into the Spiesel
testimony. Frankly, I wouldn't insult your intelligence by doing so.
Suffice it to say that we can add just one more little impossibility
to this story, and that is, here we have Spiesel in a group of
complete strangers, people who have never seen him before, and they
are going to plan to kill the President right in front of him. That
makes a great deal of sense, too.
"Gentlemen, next we come to...the trip to the West Coast by Clay
Shaw. The State would have you believe that this was planned far in
advance, that Mr. Shaw was going to go out to the West Coast so as to
have an alibi. ....
"Now, the absolutely ridiculous part about this contention that
this perfectly legitimate speaking trip was actually, as the State
would claim, an overt act in a conspiracy, is this: If you are here in
New Orleans, why are you going to go out to the West Coast to get an
alibi for a crime that is being committed in Dallas?
"Once again, gentlemen, it doesn't add up. No earthly reason.
"Perry Raymond Russo to Officer [Edward] O'Donnell said, "Do you
really want to know the truth?" O'Donnell said yes. Russo said, "I
don't know whether Shaw was there or not." He said, "If I really had
to give a yes or no, I would have to say no."
"Gentlemen, that is Perry Raymond Russo, that is the man who
takes this witness stand and says one thing, goes elsewhere and says
another thing, takes the witness stand in another courtroom and says
something else, a man whose veracity, whose credibility, has been
shattered beyond repair, beyond question, and that is the man whom Mr.
Alcock says is the backbone of the State's case, their case sinks or
swims, stands or falls on the testimony of Perry Raymond Russo. ....
"Perry Raymond Russo came down here from Baton Rouge wanting a
little publicity. He gets down here and he is hypnotized three or four
times, given Sodium Pentathol. Somehow or another they get a story out
of him, and he has tried to stick to it and hasn't even done a good
job at that.
"Gentlemen, don't let the horror of this awful deed that was
committed in Dallas cause you to convict an innocent man just to try
to balance the scales. Just remember that it would not be at all
beyond the realm of possibility for you or me to be sitting right in
that chair called upon to prove where you were in 1963, called upon to
prove that you didn't know somebody. That is not easy, gentlemen, not
when you have liars like Perry Raymond Russo testifying, not when a
dope fiend gets up there, a person that everybody knows is always
trying to curry favor with law enforcement agencies in case he happens
to get caught. He is willing to get up there and testify against you
to help himself.
"Gentlemen, just remember...that the Indictment in this case
charges Clay Shaw with having agreed up there on Louisiana Avenue to
kill President Kennedy; that the only testimony on that is Perry
Raymond Russo's, a liar. .... I submit to you, gentlemen, that the
State's case is a total flop.
"Gentlemen, I implore you not to make a mistake. This man [Clay
Shaw] is as innocent as any one of you fourteen men sitting here on
this Jury. To find him guilty you have got to believe an admitted
liar, and I don't think you can do that. I am confident you can't. I
ask you to vote your conscience, follow the law, and don't make a
mistake. Thank you."
David Von Pein
September 28, 2009
Posted By: David Von Pein
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