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Jim Garrison


In office
1961 – 1973
Preceded by Richard Dowling
Succeeded by Harry Connick, Sr.
Constituency New Orleans, Louisiana

Born November 20, 1921(1921-11-20)
Died October 21, 1992 (aged 70)
Nationality American
Political party Democratic Party
Alma mater law degree from Tulane University in 1949
This article is part of the
Jim Garrison Investigation
of the
JFK Assassination series.
People
Jim Garrison
John F. Kennedy
Clay Shaw
David Ferrie
Perry Russo
Guy Banister
George de Mohrenschildt
Dean Andrews Jr.
Groups
Fair Play for Cuba Committee
Cuban Democratic Revolutionary Front
Related articles
Trial of Clay Shaw
People involved in the trial of Clay Shaw
JFK (film)

Earling Carothers "Jim" Garrison (November 20, 1921 – October 21, 1992) — who changed his first name to Jim in the early 1960s — was the District Attorney of Orleans Parish, Louisiana from 1962 to 1973. A member of the Democratic Party, he is best known for his investigations into the assassination of President John F. Kennedy (JFK).

Garrison remains a controversial figure. Opinions differ as to whether he uncovered a conspiracy behind the John F. Kennedy assassination but was blocked from successful prosecution by a federal government cover up, whether he bungled his chance to uncover a conspiracy, or whether the entire case was an unproductive waste of resources.

Contents

Early life and career

Earling Carothers Garrison was born in Denison, Iowa.[1][2][3] His family moved to New Orleans in his childhood, where he was reared by his divorced mother. He served in the U.S. National Guard in World War II, then got a law degree from Tulane University Law School in 1949. He worked for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for two years and then returned to active duty with the National Guard. After fifteen months, he was relieved from duty. One Army doctor concluded he had a "severe and disabling psychoneurosis" which "interfered with his social and professional adjustment to a marked degree. He is considered totally incapacitated from the standpoint of military duty and moderately incapacitated in civilian adaptability."[4] As it turned out, Garrison was suffering from anxiety and exhaustion that was likely due to the fact that, during World War II, he had flown 35 dangerous reconnaissance missions over France and Germany. He had also witnessed the horrors of totalitarianism first-hand when his unit entered the Dachau concentration camp one day after its liberation. Although one doctor did recommend that Garrison be discharged from service and collect 10% permanent disability, Garrison would not hear of it. Instead he applied for the National Guard where his record was reviewed by the army surgeon general who “found him to be physically qualified for federal recognition in the national army.”[5]

District Attorney

Garrison worked for New Orleans law firm Deutsch, Kerrigan & Stiles from 1954 to 1958, when he became an assistant district attorney. Garrison became a flamboyant, colorful, well-known figure in New Orleans, but was initially unsuccessful in his run for public office, losing a 1959 election for criminal court judge. In 1961 he ran for district attorney, winning against incumbent Richard Dowling by 6,000 votes in a five-man Democratic primary. Despite lack of major political backing, his performance in a televised debate and last minute television commercials are credited with his victory.

Once in office, Garrison cracked down on prostitution and the abuses of Bourbon Street bars and strip joints. He indicted Dowling and one of his assistants with criminal malfeasance, but the charges were dismissed for lack of evidence. Garrison did not appeal. Garrison received national attention for a series of vice raids in the French Quarter, staged sometimes on a nightly basis. Newspaper headlines in 1962 praised Garrison's efforts, "Quarter Crime Emergency Declared by Police, DA. — Garrison Back, Vows Vice Drive to Continue — 14 Arrested, 12 more nabbed in Vice Raids." Garrison's critics often point out that many of the arrests made by his office did not result in convictions, implying that he was in the habit of making arrests without evidence. However, assistant DA William Alford has said that charges would more often than not be reduced or dropped if a relative of someone charged gained Garrison’s ear. He had, said Alford, “a heart of gold.”[6]

After a conflict with local criminal judges over his budget, he accused them of racketeering and conspiring against him. The eight judges charged him with misdemeanor criminal defamation, and Garrison was convicted in January 1963. (In 1965 the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the conviction and struck down the state statute as unconstitutional.) At the same time, Garrison indicted Judge Bernard Cocke with criminal malfeasance and, in two trials prosecuted by Garrison himself, Cocke was acquitted.

Garrison charged nine policemen with brutality, but dropped the charges two weeks later. At a press conference he accused the state parole board of accepting bribes, but could obtain no indictments. He accused the state legislature of the same, but held no investigation. He was unanimously censured by the legislature.

In 1965, running for reelection against Judge Malcolm O'Hara, Garrison won with 60 percent of the vote.

Kennedy assassination investigation

New Orleans D.A. Jim Garrison began an investigation into the assassination of President Kennedy in the fall of 1966, after receiving several tips from Jack Martin that a man named David Ferrie may have been involved in the assassination. The end result of Garrison's investigation was the arrest and trial of New Orleans businessman Clay Shaw in 1969.

Garrison's key witness against Clay Shaw was Perry Russo, a twenty-five year old insurance salesman from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. During the trial, Russo testified that he had attended an "assassination party" at David Ferrie's apartment, where Shaw, Ferrie, and Lee Harvey Oswald had discussed killing President Kennedy. Russo’s version of events has been questioned by some historians and researchers, such as Patricia Lambert, once it became known that part of his testimony was induced by hypnotism, and by the drug Sodium Pentothal (sometimes called "truth serum").[7] Indeed, the early version of Russo's testimony, as told in the DA memo, before he was subjected to Sodium Pentothal and hypnosis, fails to mention an "assassination party" and says that Russo met Clay Shaw on two occasions, neither of which occurred at the "party."[8][9] However in Jim Garrison's book On the Trail of the Assassins, he says Russo had already told of the party at David Ferrie's before any "truth serum" was admitted. The jury didn't see enough evidence to convict Shaw. A verdict of not guilty was given.

Garrison was able to subpoena the Zapruder film from Life magazine and show it to the public for the first time. Until the trial, the film had rarely been seen, and bootleg copies made by assassination investigators working with Garrison led to the film's wider distribution.

Later career

In 1973, Garrison was tried for accepting bribes to protect illegal pinball machine operations. Pershing Gervais, Garrison's former chief investigator, testified that Garrison had received approximately $3,000 every two months for nine years from the dealers. Garrison acting as his own defense attorney, called the allegations baseless, alleging they were concocted as part U.S. government sought to destroy him because of his efforts to implicate the CIA in the Kennedy assassination. The jury found Garrison not guilty. Some sources say that Gervais admitted to concocting the charges.[10]

In the same year, Garrison was defeated for reelection as district attorney by Harry Connick, Sr.. On April 15, 1978, Garrison won a special election over a Republican candidate, Thomas F. Jordan, for a state Circuit Court of Appeals judgeship, a position that he held until his death.[11]

In 1987, Garrison appeared as himself in the film The Big Easy.

After the Shaw trial, Garrison wrote three books on the Kennedy assassination, A Heritage of Stone (1970), The Star Spangled Contract, and the best-seller, On The Trail of The Assassins (1988). His investigation again received widespread attention through Oliver Stone's 1991 film, JFK, which was largely based on Garrison's book On the Trail of the Assassins as well as Jim Marrs' Crossfire: The Plot That Killed Kennedy. Kevin Costner played a fictionalized version of Garrison in the movie. Garrison himself had a small on-screen role in the film, playing United States Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren.

Garrison was also the subject of the song "Keep A Workin' Big Jim" by the white supremacist singer Johnny Rebel.

Legacy

Garrison was later viewed as an embarrassment by writer Gerald Posner, who believes Oswald acted alone.[12] However, several researchers, including Jim DiEugenio[13][14], William Davy[15][16], and Joan Mellen[17] have defended Garrison.

According to a number of critics, Garrison was cruel and mistreated witnesses in his attempt to prove an assassination conspiracy. Witnesses, including Perry Raymond Russo later claimed to have been bribed and threatened with perjury and contempt of court charges by Garrison in order to make his case against Shaw.[18] However, in seeming contradiction to this, Perry Russo, in an interview with public radio station reporters Will Robinson and Marilyn Colman, had this to say: "...[NBC News reporter] Walter Sheridan tells me and threatens me that he's gonna take Garrison out and take me with him."[19]

Further reading

  • William Hardy Davis, Aiming for the Jugular in New Orleans (Ashley Books, June 1976)
  • James DeEugenio, The Assassinations (Los Angeles: Feral House, 2003) ISBN 0-922915-82-2
  • James DeEugenio Destiny Betrayed: JFK, Cuba, and the Garrison Case (New York: Sheridan Square Press, 1992) ISBN 1-879823-00-4
  • William Davy, Let Justice Be Done: New Light On The Jim Garrison Investigation (Jordan Pub, 1999) ISBN 0-9669716-0-4
  • Edward Jay Epstein, Counterplot (Viking Press, New York: 1969)
  • Paris Flamonde, The Kennedy Conspiracy
  • Paris Flamonde, The Assassinastion of America (2007)
  • Jim Garrison, A Heritage of Stone (Putnam Publishing Group, 1970) ISBN 0-399-10398-8
  • Jim Garrison, On the Trail of the Assassins (New York: Sheridan Square Press, 1988) ISBN 0-446-36277-8
  • James Kirkwood, American Grotesque: An Account of the Clay Shaw-Jim Garrison-Kennedy Assassination Trial in New Orleans
  • Patricia Lambert, False Witness: The Real Story of Jim Garrison's Investigation and Oliver Stone's Film JFK. ISBN 0-87131-920-9
  • Jim Marrs, Crossfire: The Plot that Killed Kennedy (New York: Carroll & Graf, 1989) ISBN 0-88184-648-1
  • Joan Mellen, A Farewell To Justice: Jim Garrison, JFK's Assassination, And The Case That Should Have Changed History (Washington, D.C.: Potomac Books, Inc., 2005) ISBN 1-57488-973-7
  • Nomenclature of an Assassination Cabal AKA "The Torbit Document" republished as NASA, Nazis & JFK: The Torbitt Document & the Kennedy Assassination, AUP, US, 1996 paperback, ISBN 0-932813-39-9
  • Gerald Posner, Case Closed: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Assassination of JFK (New York: Random House Publishers, 1993)
  • Oliver Stone (February 2000). JFK: The Book of the Film. Applause Books. ISBN 1557831270.  
  • Anthony Summers, Not in Your Lifetime (New York: Marlowe & Company, 1998) ISBN 1-56924-739-0
  • Mitchell Warriner,The Consequence of Truth: A Study Into the Jim Garrison Investigation & The Trial of Clay Shaw (Upcoming book due out in March 2010)
  • Harold Weisberg, Oswald in New Orleans: Case for Conspiracy with the C.I.A. (New York: Canyon Books, 1967)
  • Christine Wiltz, The Last Madam p. 145-150 ISBN 0-571-19954-2
  • Other reference books are:
  • Brothers, by David Talbot;
  • Blood, Money and Power - How LBJ killed JFK, by Barr McClellan (one of LBJ's attorneys);
  • Best Evidence, by David Lifton;
  • Rush To Judgment, by Mark Lane;
  • The Taking of America, 1 2 3, by Richard E. Sprague
  • Wilkes, Donald E., Jr. "Destiny Betrayed: The CIA, Oswald, and the JFK Assassination." Flagpole Magazine, p. 8 (December 7, 2005)

References

  1. ^ "Jim Garrison", Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2003.
  2. ^ "Jim Garrison", The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives, Volume 3: 1991-1993. Charles Scribner's Sons, 2001.
  3. ^ "Jim Garrison", Newsmakers 1993, Issue 4. Gale Research, 1993.
  4. ^ Associated Press, "Garrison Record Shows Disability", December 29, 1967. Warren Rogers, "The Persecution of Clay Shaw", Look, August 26, 1969, page 54.
  5. ^ Davy, William. Let Justice Be Done: New Light on the Jim Garrison Investigation, p. 82. ISBN 0-96697-160-4
  6. ^ Mellen, Joan. A Farewell To Justice: Jim Garrison, JFK’s Assassination, and the Case that Should Have Changed History, p. 11. ISBN 1-57488-973-7
  7. ^ "Perry Raymond Russo's Hypnosis: Making Testimony More Objective?". mcadams. 2007. http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/hypnosis.htm. Retrieved 2007-12-18.  
  8. ^ The Sciambra Memo
  9. ^ Perry Raymond Russo: Way Too Willing Witness
  10. ^ http://karws.gso.uri.edu/JFK/the_critics/Whitmey/Gervais.html
  11. ^ http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1282/is_v38/ai_4328771/pg_7?tag=artBody;col1
  12. ^ Garrison and JFK Conspiracy Writers
  13. ^ http://karws.gso.uri.edu/jfk/The_critics/DiEugenio/DiEugenio.html
  14. ^ http://jfkfiles.blogspot.com/2008/09/who-is-jim-dieugenio.html
  15. ^ http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/davy.htm
  16. ^ http://www.ctka.net/pr396-davy.html
  17. ^ http://www.joanmellen.net/][http://www.potomacbooksinc.com/Books/BookDetail.aspx?productID=123583
  18. ^ Gerald Posner, Case Closed, p. 441.
  19. ^ The Lighthouse Report, "The Last Testament of Perry Raymond Russo", Will Robinson, 10 October 1992.

External links

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Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Earling Carothers "Jim" Garrison (November 20, 1921October 21, 1992) — who changed his first name to Jim in the early 1960s — was the Democratic District Attorney of Orleans Parish, Louisiana from 1962 to 1973. He is best known for his investigations into the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Garrison remains a controversial figure. Opinions differ as to whether he uncovered a conspiracy behind the John F. Kennedy assassination but was blocked from successful prosecution by federal government cover up, or that he had fallen prey to conspiracy theory.

Quotes

  • "Huey Long once said, 'Fascism will come to America in the name of anti-fascism.' I'm afraid, based on my own experience, that fascism will come to America in the name of national security." - Jim Garrison [Playboy interview, October 1967.
  • "This is not the first time I've charged a person before I've made the case." - Jim Garrison [James Phelan, Scandals, Scamps, and Scoundrels (New York: Random House, 1982), p. 155.]
  • "I was burned so many times that I stopped giving interviews. In other words, if my words ended up in print, they were twisted in an indescribable fashion." - Jim Garrison [JFK Assassination -- The Jim Garrison Files]
  • "Before we introduced the testimony of our witnesses, we made them undergo independent verifying tests, including polygraph examination, truth serum and hypnosis. We thought this would be hailed as an unprecedented step in jurisprudence; instead, the press turned around and hinted that we had drugged our witnesses or given them posthypnotic suggestions to testify falsely." - Jim Garrison [Playboy interview, October 1967.]
  • "...Witnesses in this case do have a habit of dying at the most inconvenient times. I understand a London insurance firm has prepared an actuarial chart on the likelihood of 20 of the people involved in this case dying within three years of the assassination -- and found the odds 30 trillion to one. But I'm sure NBC will shortly discover that one of my investigators bribed the computer." - Jim Garrison [Playboy interview, October 1967.]
  • "To show you how cosmically irrelevant the Warren Report is for the most part ... one of the exhibits is classified in the front as, 'A Study of the Teeth of Jack Ruby's Mother.' Even if Jack Ruby had intended to bite Oswald to death, that still would not have been relevant." - Jim Garrison, [Gil Jesus, The Garrison Investigation, video interview.]
  • "One of the stated objectives [of the Warren Commission] was to calm the fears of the people about a conspiracy. But in our country, the government has no right to calm our fears, any more than it has, for example, the right to excite our fears about Red China, or about fluoridation, or about birth control, or about anything. There's no room in America for thought control of any kind, no matter how benevolent the objective. Personally, I don't want to be calm about the assassination of John F. Kennedy. I don't want to be calm about a president of my country being shot down in the streets." - Jim Garrison, [part of Garrison's response to a NBC News White Paper, 15 July 1967]
  • "In retrospect, the reason for the assassination is hardly a mystery. It is now abundantly clear ... why the C.I.A.'s covert operations element wanted John Kennedy out of the Oval Office and Lyndon Johnson in it. The new President elevated by rifle fire to control of our foreign policy had been one of the most enthusiastic American cold warriors.... Johnson had originally risen to power on the crest of the fulminating anti-communist crusade which marked American politics after World War II. Shortly after the end of that war, he declaimed that atomic power had become 'ours to use, either to Christianize the world or pulverize it' -- a Christian benediction if ever there was one. Johnson's demonstrated enthusiasm for American military intervention abroad ... earned him the sobriquet 'the senator from the Pentagon....'" - Jim Garrison, [On the Trail of the Assassins (New York: Sheridan Square Press, 1988)]

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