Did Valentine Ashworth Meet the Second Oswald?
In late July, 1967 Garrison's office received this letter:
To me, this all sounds ridiculous. Oswald in Ohio? Mr. Ashworth claimed he knew Oswald before he went to Russia? That sounds odd, no? Ashworth roomed with Oswald in a hotel in Ohio? He wants to be deported? None or this rings true to me - or should I say alarm bells are ringing.
Of course, Garrison had his staff follow up. Here is the resulting memo:
Now, it turns out that Mr. Ashworth is yet another prisoner, no doubt wanting Garrison to have him released. His identifications seem rather suspect. He offers no specifics. Yet, it is recommended that he be called to the Grand Jury, where his memory just might improve! You can see Garrison's notation on the side: "note: Possibility that the second Oswald is here involved."
I don't believe that Garrison had this lead followed-up. But the story doesn't end here.
On September 27, 1967 Ashworth wrote the Department of Justice:
The Department of Justice replied to Ashworth:
And, the Department of Justice wrote the CIA:
Shortly thereafter, the Department of Justice must have found Ashworth's earlier letter to Ramsey Clark, the attorney general. Here it is:
Clearly, Mr. Ashworth felt he was getting nowhere with Garrison, and so wrote Ramsey Clark looking for help in his 'deportation.'
At about the same time, the inmate sharing a cell with Ashworth wrote to the FBI.
What is interesting is that Chief Deputy Sheriff Albert Manuel talked to Garrison's Assistant District Attorney about Ashworth's mental instability. That didn't seem to make it into the Garrison memo.
In addition, the New Orleans CIA office wanted to know if it should pursue Ashworth.
On November 21, 1967 the Department of Justice wrote to Richard Helms, Director of the CIA.
And, here is Helms' reply.
In early January 1968, the CIA issued an internal memo, "Memo #8 - Garrison and the Kennedy Assassination," in which they detail the relationships between Garrison's witnesses and the CIA. Here is their entry on Ashworth:
Perhaps the 201 number after Ashworth's name indicates there is a CIA file on him - no doubt related to his letter to the Cuban Ambassador in Mexico City.
Lest you think all of this means little, Mr. Ashworth has now found his way into conspiracy books. Joan Mellen, in her book A Farewell to Justice, claims that Ashworth is a witness who helps prove that Clay Shaw was Clay Bertrand (page 121).
And, Mr. Ashworth makes an appearance in James DiEugenio's book, The Assassinations: