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  • Writer's pictureFred Litwin

Did David Ferrie Speak to Clay Shaw on the Telephone from Guy Banister's Office?

Updated: Oct 11, 2021

There are some people who love to tell stories, and there are some people who love to believe stories. A conspiracy theorist was anxious for a good story, and Joseph Newbrough, an investigator for Guy Banister in the early 1960s, obliged.

We start with a tantalizing excerpt from James DiEugenio's book, Destiny Betrayed: (page 209)

"Another witness who clearly connected Shaw and Banister was Joe Newbrough. Newbrough was one of the men in the office who Banister would use to do any of the private eye work that popped in. He told author William Davy that he recalled an instance with Ferrie being in Banister's office. Banister then called out to Newbrough and asked him to get Clay Shaw on the phone for him. So he called the Trade Mart and got through to Shaw. When he did, Banister told him to give the phone to Ferrie."

Davy interviewed Newbrough in 1995. Might Newbrough have been weaving a story for Davy? He never mentioned this story before - and Newbrough was interviewed by Garrison's investigators, by the HSCA, and by PBS Frontline for their documentary on Lee Harvey Oswald. Newbrough only told that story to Davy.

Here is Newbrough's December 1966 statement to Jim Garrison:

Garrison writes on the top of page one that Newbrough should be interviewed again for more information. Here is his notation on the top right:

His notation reads: "Get more info re automotive heavy equipment Newbrough was photographing for shipment to Cuba .... When? (confirmed by Oster).. - Any Cubans at all around."

Some comments about this memo:

  1. It was written in the very early part of Garrison's investigation. There is no mention of Clay Shaw. I'm not even sure they asked.

  2. He never met Lee Harvey Oswald and he didn't believe that Ferrie had either. So, clearly he never saw Oswald in Banister's office.

  3. He says he has no faith in anything Jack Martin says.

  4. You gotta love his stories on how David Ferrie lost his hair (he suffered from alopecia).

I don't know if Garrison's investigators spoke to Joseph Newbrough again, but, if they did, I doubt he had much to say. Had he told them about any phone call between Shaw and Ferrie, it would have been mentioned in a memo somewhere, and they certainly would have wanted Newbrough to testify at Shaw's trial. But, he disappears from the investigation. He's not even mentioned in Garrison's book, On The Trail of The Assassins.

The House Select Committee also talked to Joseph Newbrough. Here is their outside contact report from March, 1978:

Some comments:

  1. He couldn't remember the name of the bank where he had put "photographs and some negatives" in a safety deposit box. He wasn't even sure what city the bank was in.

  2. He said he "believed 'Oswald' was an agent for C.I.A. and was acting under orders." This is just his belief.

  3. He said that Jim Garrison was an "egotistical maniac."

Newbrough was next interviewed in April. 1978:

Some comments:

  1. Once again, Newbrough said he never saw Oswald. He believed that Banister had a file on Oswald, but he never saw it.

  2. He corroborates the police report that Banister pistol-whipped Jack Martin over phone calls. Please check this blog post for more on that incident.

  3. He says he doesn't know how Jack Martin knew about Ferrie being in Texas on the day of the assassination; but Ferrie left for Texas on the evening of November 22, 1963. Martin found out about the trip from Hardy Davis who had heard it from G. Wray Gill.

In September 1978, Newbrough called the HSCA with some additional information:

Now this is interesting because Newbrough confirmed that the entrance to 544 Camp Street did not lead to Guy Banister's office at 531 Lafayette.

Mr. Oster regarded Joseph Newbrough as a "mental case."

And yet, a story from Newbrough, that he told to no one else, was good enough for DiEugenio and Davy.

But wait, there's more! Joan Mellen, author of A Farewell to Justice, writes that Joseph Newbrough was a CIA agent (see pages xxiii, 35, and 68). Her source is an HSCA outside contact report with Jack Martin. Here is that contact report in full:

There you have it - on page six - Jack Martin says that Joseph Newbrough, and others, were CIA agents. And that is enough proof for Joan Mellen.

Here is a video of Joseph Newbrough:

By the way, James DiEugenio and Joan Mellen do not mention in their respective books that Joseph Newbrough was always clear that he never saw Lee Harvey Oswald in Banister's office.

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