Exclusive: Andrew Sciambra Phones Kerry Thornley
In January 1968, Jim Garrison issued a subpoena to Kerry Thornley to get him to testify before the New Orleans grand jury. Here is a press release about the subpoena:
Note that the press release has the wrong date - it should be 1968 not 1967.
On January 22, 1968, Andrew Sciambra phoned Kerry Thornley. Here is a tape of that phone call:
Here is a transcript of the phone call in Word:
Here is a transcript of the phone call in PDF format:
In the press release Garrison discusses Thornley's testimony before the Warren Commission:
Ordinarily, one would think that Oswald's associations and activities in those final weeks in New Orleans in 1963 were of some relevance to President Kennedy's murder, however a review of the 33 pages of questioning of Kerry Thornley by Committee lawyer Albert Jenner (Volume XI, page 82 and following) suggests that this is too mundane a consideration for either the Commission or its witness. The frequent and unquestionable association of Kerry Thornley and Lee Oswald in New Orleans in September 1963 is not even touched upon.
Thornley noticed that paragraph and got in a zinger. Here is an excerpt from the transcript: (2:30)
Kerry Thornley: Well, the only thing I object to really... I'll tell you something. I saw that certificate for the first time today when I went down to court.
Andrew Sciambra: Yeah.
Kerry Thornley: That thing... I can understand maybe from talking with Barbara Reid, that you got the idea that I had been seen with Oswald, and that that had, as it was said in the certificate, that had been established. But there was no excuse for saying that I had not been questioned on that in my Warren Commission testimony. Because it's on the record that I was questioned as to whether I saw Oswald in New Orleans. I told them, "Definitely not." It just irks me a little, because Mr. Garrison, in one of his speeches not too long ago, was talking about "How a government that could get away with lying could get away with murder." And, I just wonder, you know.
Thornley was right. He was asked about whether he had seen Oswald in his Warren Commission testimony:
Perhaps Garrison realized that when he issued his press release for he added this paragraph:
There is one page among the 33 in which Mr. Jenner nearly slips and ruins the warm rapport which he has obtained with his witness by asking whether he has seen or talked with Oswald subsequent to their time in the Marines together. However, this is handled with aplomb by Thornley who answers that he never saw Oswald after their duty together in the Marines. Mr. Jenner seems satisfied, if not downright relieved, by this response and he is tactful enough not to bring up the matter again. Consequently, a friendly relationship between attorney and witness is maintained, leaving them free to enter interesting areas of cultural badinage and maintaining undisturbed the official fiction that the assassination really was a closed issue and did not need much looking into after all.
Sciambra called Thornley the next day to fix a date for his testimony before the grand jury. Thornley is now concerned about what might be in store for him: (8:21)
Kerry Thornley: Right. Exactly. Let's see if there was anything else on my mind that I wanted to bring up today. I guess not. I'm sorry, I'd like to come down there and get it all over with as much as you would. But gee, I'll tell you, that certificate is frightening. Because either somebody has to be lying along the line. Or there's somebody that I don't remember as having looked particularly like Oswald that I was with. Or there's somebody that looked pretty much like me, one of the two.
Thornley testified before the grand jury on February 8, 1968. He was ultimately charged with perjury. That case never came to trial and the D.A.'s office ultimately dropped the charges.
Previous Relevant Blog Posts on Kerry Thornley
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Did Kerry Thornley Lie About Oswald's Height?
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