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Thursday, January 22, 2015

John Seigenthaler's FBI File Released

The FBI has notified me, in response to my Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, that it has now released John Seigenthaler's FBI file on its website. I have a separate request in, and have appealed the adequacy of the FBI's search.

I became interested in John Seigenthaler's file as a result of my research into the life of Clay Shaw, which culminated in a major biography of Shaw, entitled Man of a Million Fragments: The True Story of Clay Shaw, published in 2013 as an e-book and last year in a print edition.

The book detailed John Seigenthaler's involvement behind the scenes in an effort to obtain internal documents from New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison's investigation in 1967 into the assassination of President Kennedy. An insider in Garrison's investigation, William Gurvich gave the documents to longtime Bobby Kennedy aide Walter Sheridan, who then got them in one fashion or another to Seigenthaler and the Tennessean newspaper for its reporting.

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Monday, January 19, 2015

Court Activity Related to Clay Shaw Prosecution and Civil Suit

The prosecution of Clay Shaw, and his later civil suit against New Orleans Jim Garrison and others, generated quite a bit of court activity during the period from March 1967 through May 1978. As I detail in my biography of Clay Shaw, Man of a Million Fragments: The True Story of Clay Shaw, Shaw's attorneys, led by Irvin Dymond and Edward Wegmann, first attempted to avoid prosecution for Clay Shaw altogether. They raised objections over the vagueness of the charges, the venue where the case would be tried, the selection of the jury and the pool from which it would be selected, and other things. Once those moves had been heard through the Louisiana state court system, they moved to Federal District Court in an attempt to prove that Clay Shaw's civil rights were being violated. Those issues were litigated up through the appellate courts until the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear Shaw's appeal.

After the case was tried, and Shaw found not guilty, Shaw was charged with perjury for his testimony during the trial. Almost two years later, Shaw attorneys, after litigating the new charges through the state court system, returned to Federal Court in a new attempt to show that Shaw's civil right had been violated. This time, a Federal district judge ruled that the continuing prosecution was essentially in bad faith, and otder that the prosecution not continue. His ruling was then litigated up the Federal court system until the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear it, and the dkistrict judge's ruling stood.

Meanwhile, Clay Shaw's civil suit against Jim Garrison for wrongful prosecution, begun in 1970, continued up through the Federal courts. Key issues had to be decided: could the suit against District Attorney Jim Garrison even proceed? Could the suit continue after Shaw's death?

A full discussion of these complex issues and decisions, many of which are still relevant today, are contained in the bio.

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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Clay Shaw and Andre Shaw

In Man of a Million Fragments: The True Story of Clay Shaw, my biography of Clay Shaw, I answered many questions that had never been answered, and clarified many things that had never been clarified satisfactorily. However, there were still some things left hanging.

One had to do with a man named Andre Shaw. On March 1, 1967, the night Clay Shaw was arrested, Andre Shaw, then living in El Paso, Texas, called the FBI office in El Paso and told the agent in charge that if the FBI wanted to learn more about Shaw, it could contact Mario Bermudez, a longtime Shaw friend in New Orleans who traveled widely in Latin America and Europe. Andre Shaw called back later and clarified that he was not related to Clay Shaw.

About a month later, Andre Shaw sent a telegram to Clay Shaw saying simply, "Call me." and giving an El Paso telephone number. He also wrote Clay Shaw after his acquittal in 1969 offering congratulations.

From my own research, this Andre Shaw was born as Donald Ray Shaw, changed his name to Andre around 1940, and died in 1976, possibly in the Washington, DC area. He knew several foreign languages (his mother was French) and after serving in military intelligence in Worls War II, he applied for employment with the CIA in 1949, and seemingly was hired for a three-moth probationary period.

Andre Shaw married a woman named Cletia Ann Ray in the 1940s, and the two ived in Washington, DC, and supposedly had a child together. By the 1960s, however, he seemed to be single. He was questioned by the FBI on at least two occasions, one hjaving to do with a kidnapped child around 1960.

If anyone knows more about this Andre Shaw, Cletia Ann Ray Shaw, or their child, who may be living today, please let me know.

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Saturday, January 10, 2015

What Happened Between Jim Garrison And Clay Shaw At That Dinner At Brennan's Restaurant?

Sometime shortly before or after (accounts differ) the arrest of Clay Shaw on March 1, 1967, Clay Shaw was dining with several men at Brennan's  restaurant in New Orleans. Nearby was Jim Garrison, District Attorney of New Orleans, seated with his wife and another couple. According to legend, Jim Garrison and his wife got into a verbal spat and through their drinks on each other, or at least Jim Garrison threw his drink onto his wife.

As I related in my biography of Clay Shaw, Man of a Million Fragments: The True Story of Clay Shaw, there are at least several versions of what happened next. Some accounts have Clay Shaw's table, along with anyone nearby, becoming aware of the incident, but without any interaction between the two tables (which supposedly were not actually next to each other). Other accounts have Clay Shaw getting up from his table and approaching Garrison's table, then verbally lashing Jim Garrison for abusing his wife. Still other accounts have Jim Garrison saying something to the effect of: "I'm going to get that SOB!" Still other accounts have two incidents, one the drink-throwing incident between Jim Garrison and his wife, and the other having Jim Garrison's verbal threat to get Shaw.

Over the years, some have attributed Jim Garrison's long attempts to prosecute Clay Shaw to this incident. I have my own opinion, but will we ever know the full truth?

I have spoken to at least one person who claims to have been present at the incident. Are there any others out there?

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Friday, January 9, 2015

Why Did Jim Garrison Prosecute Clay Shaw?

Why did Jim Garrison prosecute Clay Shaw? It has been a much-debated topic since 1967, shortly after Clay Shaw was arrested. I go into great detail about the prosecution, from beginning to end, in my biography of Clay Shaw, Man of a Million Fragments: The True Story of Clay Shaw. There are no exact answers, only approximations, and individuals will reach individual conclusions, based upon the accumulated facts presented.

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