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  • Writer's pictureFred Litwin

James DiEugenio's Fanciful Tale about Hugh Aynesworth

It didn't take long for James DiEugenio to trash Hugh Aynesworth. But he tells this story about the Clinton/Jackson witnesses.

For in his attempt to directly obstruct Garrison’s legal proceedings against Clay Shaw, the reporter actually did what he (falsely) accused Garrison of doing: he attempted to bribe a witness. As many know, Shaw, Oswald and David Ferrie had gone to the Clinton/Jackson area--about 120 miles northeast of New Orleans-- in the early autumn of 1963. Many witnesses saw the trio, with Oswald in a voter registration line and Shaw and Ferrie sitting in a Cadillac (Garrison actually had a picture of the car, see Joan Mellen, A Farewell to Justice, p. 223).

Sheriff John Manchester was one of the most important witnesses to this strange but fascinating episode. And Aynesworth understood how important he was. Hugh had essentially moved to New Orleans by 1967 and was working with Shaw’s lawyers. He had plants inside of Garrison’s office, e.g. William Gurvich. And they had supplied him with memoranda on which Garrison was working. (See Destiny Betrayed, by James DiEugenio, Second Edition, pp.252-54) One of these concerned Manchester’s testimony, in which he identified Shaw as the driver of the car. Aynesworth drove to the Clinton area with it and told Manchester something quite interesting and revelatory about himself and who he was working with in tandem. Hugh told the sheriff that if he failed to show up at Shaw’s trial he could get him a job as a CIA handler in Mexico for 38,000 dollars per year, over $300,000 today. Obviously, if he was not working with the Agency, how could Aynesworth extend such an offer?

I rather liked Manchester’s incorruptible reply: “I advise you to leave the area. Otherwise I’ll cut you a new asshole.” (ibid, p. 255)

Hugh Aynesworth did go to Clinton. He went with William Gurvich and Kent Biffle. He wrote a long letter to James Kirkwood about his trip. And he did meet John Manchester. But does anybody believe that Manchester, a member of the KKK, could be enticed to leave the United States and to live in Mexico?

Here is an excerpt from Aynesworth's letter to Kirkwood: (page 221 - 222 of American Grotesque)

So, where does James DiEugenio get his story?

His source is page 235 of Joan Mellen's book, A Farewell to Justice. Here is what she writes:

When Manchester reported the incident to Jim Garrison, Aynesworth denied that it had happened. Manchester submitted to both a polygraph and an interview under sodium pentothal. He had been telling the truth. Garrison then subpoenaed Aynesworth before the Orleans Parish grand jury. “It has been determined that the CIA is his true employer,” Garrison concluded about Aynesworth. The charge reads: “Hugh Aynesworth tried in February of 1968 to bribe a Louisiana police officer, Clinton City Marshal John Manchester, to keep Mr. Manchester from testifying about the covert activities of Lee Harvey Oswald, Jack Ruby, and Clay Shaw at a civil rights function there in 1963.” Even when he was offered immunity, Aynesworth would not appear to answer the charges.

Where are the results of the polygraph test of Manchester? Where is the memo about the use of sodium pentothal? Where is this supposed subpoena of Aynesworth? Is there any underlying documentation to support her story?

So, where does she get this story from? Here is her footnote: (page 475 in the Kindle edition)

Aynesworth and Manchester: See In Re: Grand Jury Investigation of Conspiracy to Murder John F. Kennedy, State of Louisiana, Parish of Orleans, Criminal District Court, Request for Attendance of Out-of- State Witness, To the Honorable Matthew S. Braniff, Judge of section ‘B” of the Criminal District Court for the Parish of Orleans, State of Louisiana, signed by Assistant District Attorney Richard Burnes, NARA.

I am not sure what document this footnote refers to. I have gone through every archive that has primary Garrison material and I have not seen any evidence to support this story about Aynesworth and Manchester.

So, I challenge James DiEugenio to produce some documents to back up these allegations.

By the way, I once asked Hugh Aynesworth about this allegation. He had never heard of such a thing. And Jim Garrison does not include this story in his book, On the Trail of the Assassins.

Previous Relevant Blog Posts

A summary of the story and links to my 19-part series on Clinton/Jackson

Previous Relevant Links on James DiEugenio:

James DiEugenio attacks another article about Oliver Stone.

James DiEugenio is unaware that an HSCA report on Oswald and the CIA was actually published.

Dan Hardway rebuts James DiEugenio.

Why does James DiEugenio write for one of the major agents of Russian disinformation?

Mr. DiEugenio thinks that I libeled him, but his accusations are all over the map.

Was Lee Harvey Oswald at an anti-Castro training camp in the summer of 1963?

Was David Ferrie at an anti-Castro training camp in the summer of 1963?

James DiEugenio accepts a phony story as fact.

Bill Boxley was not a CIA plant.

Clay Shaw was not Clay Bertrand.

A response to James DiEugenio about my writings.

Prouty couldn't back up any of his allegations when he was interviewed by the ARRB. You wouldn't believe the lame excuse offered up by DiEugenio.

Why does Oliver Stone support so many dictators?

DiEugenio has no understanding of Permindex/CMC

DiEugenio gets it all wrong on the Mannlicher-Carcano

The conclusion on the Mannlicher-Carcano

Over the past ten months, I have debunked every witness cited by DiEugenio regarding Clay Shaw and David Ferrie.


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