• Fred Litwin

James Phelan's Challenge to Jim Garrison

One of the first reporters that Garrison talked to about his case was James Phelan, who had written a laudatory article on him in the June 1963 issue of the Saturday Evening Post.

Garrison invited Phelan to Las Vegas and he explained what his investigation had found. He gave Phelan two memos on Perry Russo and Phelan had them photocopied at one of the hotels. He noticed that in a memo written by Andrew Sciambra there was no mention of any party at which there was a discussion of the assassination, and that Russo initially said he had only met Shaw twice - once when Kennedy visited New Orleans and another time at a gas station. He did not mention any Clay Bertrand.

Phelan confronted Garrison, and Garrison quickly brought Andrew Sciambra to explain. He lamely said the information was in his notes, and that he forgot to add it to his memo. Those notes then disappeared.

Phelan then wrote about it all in the May 6, 1967 edition of the Saturday Evening Post.

Russo then called Phelan and confirmed that he had not mentioned Shaw being at any party when first questioned by Sciambra.

Here is a letter that Phelan then wrote Garrison:

Phelan then wrote a second letter:

Finally, Jim Garrison replied. Unfortunately, the last page of this letter is missing.

What a letter! Garrison says that "Every individual in this case including Ferrie, Ruby, Oswald and Shaw, were involved with the CIA. We have established as hard fact that these men whom I have just named knew each other well."

Ok, sure.

But wait, there's more!

"In conjunction with this, it is my opinion that we have enough evidence of the connection with Ruby and the plan to kill the President so that we have a genuine question of which witnesses to present at the trial without making it last unnecessarily long."

Of course, Ruby was not brought up at the trial.

Needless to say, the confrontation between Phelan, Russo and Garrison, never took place.

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