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  • Writer's pictureFred Litwin

Dick Russell's Second Smoking Gun on the Richard Case Nagell Story

Updated: Jan 11, 2023

The second edition has another s0-called 'smoking gun': (page xvii)

"We begin with the story of a mysterious ID card.
It was 1976. Richard Case Nagell had provided written authorization granting my access to files about him being maintained by his then-attorney, Bernard Fensterwald, Jr., in Washington D.C. Poring through a thick sheaf of correspondence and other documents in the lawyer's office, I came across a poor photocopy of a "Uniformed Services Identification and Privileges Card." It bore the picture and apparent signature of Lee Harvey Oswald. Although it appeared in the Nagell file, no other notation accompanied it."

Here is the picture from his book of the photocopy of the card: (from the photo section after page 252)

Somebody enhanced the '62' on the card on the date line. The photograph and the signature are different from the known Oswald card (shown below). The picture on the known card is believed to be from Minsk (too late for the real card) - Warren Commission Volume XXVI, page 346. Folsom Exhibit 1 in Warren Commission Volume XIX, page 665 contains details of the card (number, expiry, etc).

Here is the known Oswald card:

An alternative explanation is that the card found in Fensterwald's files was the real card from 1959, and that Oswald 'updated' it after its 1962 expiration with a crude date stamp, a new (post-Marines) photo, and a new signature.

The card in Fensterwald's files, if not an original Oswald card, would have been fairly easy for someone to make.

Fensterwald did not know how the photocopy ended up in his files and could not remember when it was received in his office. Russell showed it to Mary Ferrell who determined the card was a "replica of the 'Uniformed Services Privilege Card' issued to Oswald on September 11, 1959." Ferrell noted that the only place she had seen Oswald's card was in Judy Bonner's book Investigation of a Homicide, which was published in 1969.

However, Jack White noted that two other books had the card - The Oswald File by Michael Eddowes (1977), and Jesse Curry's book JFK Assassination File (1969). Here is a photo of the card from Eddowes book:

The photocopy that Russell found had a different picture than on Oswald's card and did not have a circular stamp noting October 1963.

Russell then makes an unwarranted leap of faith: (page xviii)

"Published in the photo section of this book, for the first time, is a reproduction of the Oswald ID card that originated with Richard Nagell. As we shall see, Nagell was in jail after September 20, 1963 -- which means that he must have had this Oswald ID card in his possession before that time, two months and two days before the assassination."

The logic escapes me. All we know is that a "poor photocopy" was found by Dick Russell in Bernard Fensterwald's office in 1976. There is absolutely no chain of custody. We can't even be sure that it came from Nagell. He never mentioned the card. Surely it must have been fairly easy for someone to make.

James DiEugenio, in his book Destiny Betrayed, is far more definitive: (page 94)

"This is shocking because, as Nagell's biographer notes, at the time he was arrested in El Paso in September of 1963, Richard Case Nagell had in his personal effects a near duplicate of Oswald's Uniformed Services Identification and Privileges Card."

There is no evidence that any such card was in Nagell's personal effects when he was arrested. Here is a list of his personal effects:

Here is another more complete listing from Nagell's Secret Service file:

Here is another list: (at page 188)

It is quite comical to see conspiracy theorists like James DiEugenio believe that a poor photocopy, found in 1976, is proof that Nagell possessed the card when he was arrested in 1963. After all, he continually claims that the chain of evidence for a variety of evidence in the JFK assassination is faulty. In this case, there is no chain of evidence at all.

For a true believer, that is no problem at all.

Richard Case Nagell Blog Posts

The Importance of Richard Case Nagell to Some Conspiracy Theorists

Jim Garrison and a few conspiracy theorists think Nagell is a very important witness. But is he really?

Genesis of the Richard Case Nagell story

David Kroman met Richard Case Nagell at the Springfield Medical Center for Federal Prisoners. Stephen Jaffe, a Garrison volunteer, wrote a memo, relating Nagell's story through the eyes and ears of David Kroman.

Nagell was convicted of armed robbery and was sentenced to ten years, but his conviction was overturned because of startling new evidence.

Richard Case Nagell and the JFK Assassination

There is no credible evidence that Nagell had any foreknowledge of either Lee Harvey Oswald or the JFK assassination.

Nagell claims he met Oswald in Japan, Texas, Mexico City, and New Orleans. There is no credible evidence that he ever met Oswald.

Nagell went to Cuba and met with Fidel Castro and even played ping-pong with the man.

Insane Conspiracy Theories about Richard Case Nagell

Richard Case Nagell said that he knew the two Oswalds - Lee Harvey and Leon. Some conspiracy theorists believe this madness.

Combine one part crazy and one part ridiculous and what do you come up with? An early attempt at a unified conspiracy theory of the JFK assassination.

Two Smoking Guns of the Richard Case Nagell Story

Nagell sent conspiracy theorist Dick Russell one page of a military intelligence file which seemed to indicate that he was monitoring Oswald and his wife on behalf of the CIA. But does the whole document really show that?

Did Richard Case Nagell had an Oswald Military ID in his possession when he was arrested in September 1963?

Richard Case Nagell and Jim Garrison

Richard Case Nagell believes that he wasn't called to testify at Clay Shaw's trial because his testimony would have blown up Jim Garrison's case.

At a conference in September 1968, Garrison and his investigators discuss his face-to-face meeting with Nagell in New York City.

William Martin, an Assistant District Attorney working for Jim Garrison, tried to retrieve a tape that Nagell said contained the voices of three JFK assassination conspirators.

Richard Popkin, author of "The Second Oswald," writes Jim Garrison about Richard Case Nagell. Garrison staffer Tom Bethell thought the Nagell lead was useless.

Richard Case Nagell's Mental Health

Nagell won a full disability pension in 1982 and the 60+ page court case provides complete details on his mental problems.

Richard Case Nagell told a psychiatrist why he shot up the bank in El Paso in 1963.

The FBI spoke to Nagell's ex-wife, his mother, his sister, and one of his friends. They all agreed that Nagell had significant mental health problems.

Nagell visited the American consulates in Zurich and Barcelona in 1969. He was a deeply disturbed man.

Richard Case Nagell's Evidence

None of the so-called evidence that Nagell promised would materialize on his death has shown up. Did this evidence ever exist?


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