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  • Writer's pictureFred Litwin

Assume Nothing

Encounters with Assassins, Spies, Presidents, and Would-Be Masters of the Universe

Edward Jay Epstein, author of Inquest and Counterplot, has a new book which chronicles the main stories he has written about throughout his life. Part memoir, part autobiography, Assume Nothing has a 118-page section on the JFK assassination.

Here is a short excerpt from his chapter, The Jolly Green Giant: (pages 94 -95)

I met Garrison that evening for dinner. He told me he had made progress since the arrest, and release on bail, of Shaw. "I can now prove that Oswald, David Ferrie, and Clay Shaw met at Ferrie's apartment in 1963," Garrison said. "During the meeting, they planned out the assassination."

I asked how Garrison could establish such a meeting took place since two of the alleged participants, Oswald and Ferrie, were dead, and the third, Shaw, categorically denied ever meeting Oswald.

Garrison said there was another witness named Perry Russo, who happened to be in Ferrie's apartment at the time and had overheard the conversation. Unfortunately, Garrison said, Russo had repressed his memory of the assassination meeting when he was initially questioned by Sciambra, so no mention of it was made in Sciambra's memorandum of the interrogation. Garrison then told me he had "reconstituted Russo's memory" by using both sodium pentothal injections and hypnosis. As a result, Russo was able to recall Oswald, Ferrie, and Shaw at the assassination meeting. The problem for Garrison was that the Sciambra memo could be used to discredit Russo's reconstituted memories in court. Therefore, Garrison said, he needed a witness to connect Oswald to Shaw. This made Dean Andrews, in Garrison's view, a key witness, since he might be able to identify Shaw as the Clay Bertrand who had sent Oswald to him.

"Will he?" I asked.

"He will when we press him." Garrison squeezed a lemon over his oysters as if demonstrating his ability to squeeze a witness.

I met Dean Andrews the next day at the Marlboro Club at 4:00 p.m. He was in his late 40s. A plump man with a boyish face, he wore a badly crumpled suit, a loud tie, and round dark glasses. After waving me over with exaggerated hand gestures, he told me he had served as an assistant DA in Jefferson Parish and knew "how the game is played." Andrews had a colorful way of describing people. He called Garrison "a thousand-pound canary."

"Is Clay Shaw the person you called Clay Bertrand?" I asked.

"Absolutely not," he answered. "Shaw is just an unfortunate who was grabbed out of the sky by the jolly green giant, and his wizards and practitioners of voodoo labeled him Clay Bertrand, and bang, he's been tagged 'it' ever since."


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