top of page
  • Writer's pictureFred Litwin

Jim Garrison's Ridiculous Interview with the Boston Phoenix

There's no shortage of crazy material in this interview.

  • Whereabouts of Shaw and Ferrie on November 22nd.

Q: But I think that the charge against you, more specifically, was that you failed to show any real link between Clay Shaw and the Kennedy assassination.

A: We showed his connection with Lee Harvey Oswald and we had him in specific conversation about the assassination, even up to such details as where he would spend the day when it was going to happen. Ferrie said that he would go to a university -- he had one in mind -- and sure enough that's where he ended up. Shaw said that he would made arrangements to make a speech -- and sure enough, he did schedule a speech at the World Trade Center, I think that's the approximate name, in San Francisco, for noon on the 22nd of November. So I contacted the Center in the course of this case and asked them how the date had been selected. They informed me that a friend of Shaw's wrote them and said that Shaw (managing director of the Trade Mart in New Orleans) was going to be in the vicinity about that time and would be happy to speak to businessmen if they would set it up. I asked them if they would send me a copy of the letter and, to my surprise, they did. And the letter's got a beautiful phrase in it. It says, "My friend Clay Shaw will be in San Francisco between Nov. 21 and Nov. 23rd." Have you ever heard anybody describe a date like that? In other words, he can't say Nov. 22. You speak about a Freudian problem, a block ... it merely confirmed what we had been able to develop earlier.

I never understood why two people who live in New Orleans need to go out of town or to a University to establish an alibi. Garrison gets his facts wrong about Ferrie, who was in New Orleans on Friday, November 22, 1963. He spent most of the day in a courtroom. In the early evening, he drove to Houston and Galveston and didn't come back until the 24th. Upon arrival at his apartment, Ferrie could see there was a commotion and he drove out to Southeastern Louisiana College to visit his friend Thomas Compton. arriving at about 5 AM. Is that supposed to be some sort of alibi?

Here are the letters about Clay Shaw's trip that Garrison refers to:

Does this sound suspicious to you?

  • Garrison pats himself on the back for protecting Clay Shaw's rights.

A: These people who make these criticisms of me simply don't have the facts; they don't know what they're talking about. A person criticizing me (Garrison asked us not to mention names when he discussed his disagreement with other Commission critics) has got some incredible smears in one of his New Times articles. He said that all I seemed to have developed down there was the fact that Shaw was a homosexual. This is the same guy who admits later on (in a recent book on the Kennedy assassination) that a lot developed out of the Shaw trial. As a matter of fact, my instructions to my staff, in keeping with the policy of our office, was that no evidence of any kind would be introduced in front of a jury that indicated that Clay Shaw was a homosexual. I thought that was his own business and had nothing to do with the case. And I didn't want a conviction if we had to prejudice it. I could have probably gotten one if I had wanted to, but I wouldn't let anything in like that and I never did. I don't expect a parade to be held in my honor, because that should be the normal procedure for a district attorney to protect the rights of a defendant.

This is standard operating procedure for Garrison - to feign indignation about the issue of homosexuality. In this case, the interviewer did not even bring it up.

Of course, Jim Garrison told several journalists (Hugh Aynesworth, James Phelan, Merriman Smith, Lawrence Schiller, and Max Lerner) that there was a homosexual conspiracy. Garrison also told Jerome Footlick that Oswald and Ruby were "co-operating homosexuals."

Well, who was the at the heart of that conspiracy? Clay Shaw aka Clay Bertrand.

And, while Garrison didn't directly bring up homosexuality in the Shaw trial, does he really believe the jurors did not know that Shaw was gay? Homosexuality was brought up several times in the trial -- notably in the reading of Andrew Sciambra's memorandum on Perry Russo.

But there may have been a reason why Garrison avoided the topic directly. Here is an excerpt from an interview of Irvin Dymond, one of Shaw's attorneys, by author James Kirkwood:

Dymond: I had a little secret weapon.

Kirkwood: Well, what about—what was the secret weapon? Can you tell me?

Dymond: I don’t want to put it on tape.


Dymond: And I let them know that we were prepared to use that.

We'll never know exactly what information Dymond possessed.

Cover of New Times, April 18, 1975, with story by Robert Sam Anson

Here is what Anson wrote about Garrison:

  • Garrison was also more than just a little paranoid:

Q: But many of your strongest detractors are Commission critics. Are you saying that these people might possibly be part of a CIA-inspired discreditation operation?

A: Oh, no. I don't think there's any serious origin there. I'm not paranoid. I've spent too much time dancing with the agency. I think a lot of it, though, is too orchestrated, too steady and too strong. It's fed the free-lance investigators, and then they write a story. That's all. But again, I've been through so many battles with these people (CIA), why give in now, especially after I've accomplished a major gain. To hell with 'em.

I've got to be extra careful. I know them (CIA) well enough to know that ... well, I don't think I have the problem to the extent that I had when I was DA when they created a series of problems I won't go into because it takes too long to explain. But when I go to my hotel tonight, I'll stay there, just to keep things simple. Because, after all, I'm still the only one pounding away at the CIA's involvement. Now, maybe if a few other people would join me, I'll feel a little more freedom to go out on my own when I'm away from home.

Q: You don't go out at night when you're on the road?

A: Well, I do from time to time, but I kinda minimize it; because I know how they operate.

Q: You believe there's a possibility that the CIA might still find it necessary to kill you?

A: Not probably, but possible. Once I [...] probable (sic).

  • Was Jim Garrison Jealous of Clay Shaw?

Q: How do you deal with Commission critics who still label your investigation in New Orleans a hoax?

A: Well, if that's the case, I think I deserve some kind of prize, because if that was a political hoax ... keep in mind that it was nine years ago this February that I said that an element of the CIA was involved in Jack Kennedy's murder. Now within the last 24 months, Victor Marchetti, the former right-hand man of (CIA) director Richard Helms, has announced in the most specific of terms that Clay Shaw was a former (CIA) agent. So, that right there would seem to answer the question. What a longshot that charge is, that I have a hoax, that I'm craving conspiracy. So I seek this man here (Clay Shaw), this poor fellow (sarcastically) -- he was a member of the establishment! He had been patting wealthy ladies' behinds for years, he was on the cocktail circuit, invited to places I never was! I wasn't the establishment's man, he was. When I grabbed him, I knew I'd start hearing everybody screaming. If I was going to hoax, I'd pick some raggedy-ass guy and they'd say 'Fine, Hooray,' You know, some poor fellow with no money. Then everything would be hunky-dory.

"There are any number of theories as to why Garrison singled Clay out, but I don't pretend to know what goes on in the mind of someone who I think needs psychiatric help. You have to remember this was the '60s, and things were not as open as they are now in regard to sexual preference. It was widely known that Clay was homosexual. He didn't flaunt it; he was very discreet in his personal life. At the same time, he led a very active social life. Some people felt that Garrison was actually jealous of Clay's success and the fact that he lived as a homosexual without any repercussions."


Recent Posts

See All


Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page