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List of people involved in the trial of Clay Shaw: Wikis


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New Orleans businessman, Clay Shaw, was tried for the assassination of John F. Kennedy from January 29, 1969 to March 1, 1969. The following people were major witnesses or participants in the trial.

This article is part of the
Jim Garrison Investigation
of the
JFK Assassination series.
Jim Garrison
John F. Kennedy
Clay Shaw
David Ferrie
Perry Russo
Guy Banister
George de Mohrenschildt
Dean Andrews Jr.
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)


Jim Garrison

District Attorney of New Orleans. He is the only person to bring a trial for the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

Clay Shaw

A successful businessman, playwright, pioneer of restoration in New Orleans' French Quarter, and director of the International Trade Mart in New Orleans.

Perry Russo

Perry Raymond Russo (14 May 1941, New Orleans, Louisiana – 16 August 1995, New Orleans)[1][2] was the key witness for the prosecution in the trial of Clay Shaw in New Orleans in 1969. He claimed that in September 1963 he witnessed businessman and civic leader Shaw conspiring with Lee Harvey Oswald and David Ferrie to assassinate U.S. President John F. Kennedy.

Russo was an insurance salesman from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Following the untimely death of Garrison suspect David Ferrie on February 22, 1967, 25-year-old Baton Rouge insurance sales trainee Perry Raymond Russo sent a letter to the DA's office, saying that he had known Ferrie and would help the investigation in any way he could. [3] He told reporter Bill Bankston, that Ferrie had told him about a month before the assassination: "We will get him, and it won't be long," and on another occasion, "You know we can get Kennedy if we want him."

When he was interviewed by the Orleans Parish Grand Jury on March 22, 1967, Russo described a roommate of Ferrie's in New Orleans as being named Leon Oswald and that he looked like "He had a polo white shirt, was some kind of dirty knit shirt, but it was white, and it was dirty, and he [Leon Oswald] had a full week's growth of beard or maybe 5 days,....and he had whiskers and his hair was all messed up and he was real dirty. And he had a real nasty attitude." When Russo was shown a picture of Oswald, he said "That is the same guy."[4]

David Ferrie

Garrison's initial suspect in the murder of Kennedy. However, he died before Garrison could indict him.

Jack Martin

Jack S. Martin was an American private investigator living in New Orleans, Louisiana. He worked with Guy Bannister at Bannister's private investigation office. He was the one who implicated Ferrie to Garrison about the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

Jack S. Martin was born Edward Stewart Suggs on July 1, 1915, in Phoenix, Arizona. Suggs had a long rap sheet for charges ranging from performing illegal abortions, illegally impersonating police officers, and disturbing the peace.

Guy Banister

William Guy Banister (March 7, 1900–June 6, 1964) was a career member of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and a private investigator. He was an avid anti-communist -- member of the Minutemen, the John Birch Society, Louisiana Committee on Un-American Activities and publisher of the Louisiana Intelligence Digest.

Based on information gained from Jack Martin, Garrison believed that Banister was heavily involved in anti-Castro Cuban activities, and was involved in Operation Mongoose. Garrison also believed that Banister was running a training camp for Cuban exiles. None of these accusations by Garrison has been independently corroborated.

Dean Andrews

Dean Andrews, Jr., was a New Orleans attorney who was both a friend of Jim Garrison and acquaintance of Lee Harvey Oswald.[5] Oswald had visited Andrews' office on approximately three occasions in June and July 1963, seeking legal advice from Andrews relative to his citizenship status, his wife's status and his undesirable discharge from the Marine Corps.[6]

On November 25, 1963 (the day after Oswald's murder by Jack Ruby) Andrews informed the FBI that two days earlier he had, while in a local hospital under sedation, received a telephone call from a man named Clay Bertrand who inquired if he would be willing to defend Oswald in the murder and assassination case. Andrews would later claim that a check of his office files had failed to disclose any record of Bertrand, but described him as a "swinging cat" who occasionally guaranteed fees for some of Andrews' homosexual clients.[7] Andrews subsequently repeated his claims regarding the phone call in an appearance before the Warren Commission in July, 1964.

Neither the FBI nor the New Orleans Police Department were able to locate a "Clay Bertrand" in New Orleans.[8] According to the FBI, Andrews admitted that Bertrand was a "figment of his imagination". However, Andrews would later deny the FBI report, claiming that he had never suggested that Bertrand might not be real. Later Andrews would claim that "Bertrand" was a cover for his friend Eugene Davis. In later years, Andrews continued to maintain that he had in fact received the phone call asking him to defend Oswald, but claimed that he was afraid to reveal the caller's true identity.[9]

Eugene Davis

When Dean Andrews refused to name Clay Shaw as "Clay Bertrand" to the Orleans Parish Grand Jury, Garrison indicted, and convicted, Andrews of perjury. Andrews then said that he had used the phony "Bertrand" name as a cover for his friend and client, Eugene Davis, operator of a gay bar in the French Quarter.[10] Davis did not know Oswald, Andrews explained, but a phone conversation with him had given him the idea to represent the accused assassin.[11] Eugene Davis later denied being "Clay Bertrand."

Aloysius Habighorst

Habighorst testified that when he booked Clay Shaw, he asked Shaw if he used any aliases, and Shaw responded, "Clay Bertrand." However, Captain Louis Curole had assigned Sgt. Jonas Butzman to guard Shaw during the procedure, and Sgt. Butzman testified that Habighorst had not questioned Shaw, and that the name "Clay Bertrand" had not been spoken by either man. Habighorst also stated that he had allowed Shaw to have his lawyer present for the procedure, a claim contradicted by several eyewitnesses.[12]

Edward O'Donnell

O'Donnell claimed that Perry Russo told him that Russo's testimony against Clay Shaw was false.[13]

There is a copy of Russo's admission that he did not hear Clay Shaw plot to kill the president in Patrica Lambert's "False Witness."

Andrew Sciambra

Assistant D.A. Andrew "Moo Moo" Sciambra helped develop the testimony of a number of Garrison's witnesses, including Perry Russo.

Judge Edward Haggerty

Judge Haggerty presided over the trial of Clay Shaw.

F. Irvin Dymond

Dymond was the lead defense counsel representing Clay Shaw.

Alvin Oser

Oser was one of the chief prosecutors in the trial of Clay Shaw.

James Phelan

Jim Phelan came to New Orleans, at the request of Garrison, to cover the investigation and trial. He was the first to report major discrepancies in Perry Russo's story. He called Jim Garrison at home, and when he met with the DA he pointed out that Russo's original testimony made no mention of the "plot party."

Andrew Sciambra, the man responsible for questioning Russo, said that "he must have left that detail out." When Sciambra could not produce notes from the original conversation, saying he burned them, Phelan went public with the story.

Vernon Bundy

Bundy testified that he saw Clay Shaw meet with Lee Oswald by the seawall at Lake Pontchartrain in 1963. When Bundy failed a polygraph examination, assistant DAs James Alcock and Charles Ward tried in vain to convince Garrison not to use Bundy as a witness. In exchange for Bundy's gracious assistance, Garrison quietly sprung Bundy from prison. [14]

Alvin Beauboeuf

Al Beauboeuf was one of two men who accompanied Dave Ferrie on his legendary drive to Houston. Beauboeuf was offered $3,000 and a position with an airline by Garrison investigator Lynn Loisel if he would "fill in the missing links" of Perry Russo's story. Attorney Hugh Exnicios surreptitiously tape-recorded the offer.

Sergio Arcacha Smith

Sergio Arcach Smith is a Cuban exile and, in the early 1960s, was head of the New Orleans chapter of the CIA-backed Cuban Revolutionary Council, an anti-Castro group.[15] The forerunner of the Cuban Revolutionary Council was a group called the Cuban Democratic Revolutionary Front, known in Spanish as the Frente Revolucionario Democrático (FRD).[16][17] Arcacha Smith had served under Castro's predecessor, the military ruler, Fulgencio Batista.[18] Garrison believed that Smith could link Ferrie, Shaw and Oswald together at the Trial of Clay Shaw in New Orleans, Louisiana. Texas Governor John Connally, refused to extradite Arcacha Smith to Louisiana for the trial. Jim Garrison continued his prosecution without Arcacha Smith's testimony.[19]


  1. ^ Social Security Death Index.
  2. ^ Transcript of Russo’s testimony at Clay Shaw's trial on February 10, 1969, HSCA Record 180-10097-10190, p. 10.
  3. ^ Patricia Lambert, False Witness (New York: M. Evans and Co., 1998), p. 304 fn. 4
  4. ^ Jim Garrison,. [
  5. ^ Garrison, Jim, On the Trail of the Assassins, Sheridan Square Press, 1988. ISBN 0-941781-02-X.
  6. ^ Warren Commission Exhibit No. 3094 and Warren Commission Hearings Vol. XXVI, pp. 704-06.
  7. ^ Garrison, p.79
  8. ^ Who was Dean Andrews? Oliver Stone's JFK: The JFK 100: JFK assassination investigation: Jim Garrison New Orleans investigation of the John F. Kennedy assassination
  9. ^ Summers, Anthony. Not in Your Lifetime. Warner Books 1998. P.241. ISBN 0751518409.
  10. ^ Lambert, pp. 116, 312 fn. 24.
  11. ^ Lambert, pp. 120-21
  12. ^ Clay Shaw admits an alias: Oliver Stone's JFK: The JFK 100: JFK assassination investigation: Jim Garrison New Orleans investigation of the John F. Kennedy assassination
  13. ^ Russo recantation
  14. ^ Kirkwood, James. American Grotesque. pp. 174-175
  15. ^ Cuban Revolutionary Council (CRC): New Orleans Chapter, House Select Committee on Assassinations - Appendix to Hearings, Volume 10, 5, p. 61.
  16. ^ Jerry P. Shinley Archive: Sergio Arcacha Smith and the FRD (Cuban Democratic Revolutionary Front): JFK assassination investigation: Jim Garrison New Orleans investigation of the John F. Kennedy assassination
  17. ^ Cuban Revolutionary Council: A Concise History, House Select Committee on Assassinations - Appendix to Hearings, Volume 10, 4, p. 57.
  18. ^ Summers, Anthony. Not in Your Lifetime, (New York: Marlowe & Company, 1998), p. 231. ISBN 1-56924-739-0
  19. ^ Marrs, Jim. Crossfire: The Plot that Killed Kennedy, (New York: Carroll & Graf, 1989), p. 507-8. ISBN 0-88184-648-1


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