Richard Case Nagell's Nonexistent Evidence
Updated: Oct 11, 2021
Missing or nonexistent evidence? Here is a handy chart from the ARRB on "Possible JFK Records" that Richard Case Nagell might have in his possession. They are putting it charitably - I don't believe any of these so-called records ever existed.
Let's go through each one of these supposed pieces of evidence.
Polaroid picture of Oswald and Nagell
William Turner mentioned the Polaroid photograph in an article for the LA Free Press in the July 25 - 31, 1975 issue:
Nagell then wrote a letter to the LA Free Press:
Nagell then wrote Dick Russell in 1976:
"At this point, Nagell met with Oswald again. He arranged for a vendor in New Orleans' Jackson Square to take a photograph of the two of them secretly. That "faded Polaroid pic," Nagell wrote me in 1976, still existed "amongst my belongings in another country." (page 441 in the first edition of Dick Russell's The Man Who Knew Too Much)
Russell also notes that: (page 58)
"In a bank vault in Switzerland, Nagell says there is a "faded Polaroid pic" of himself and Oswald, which Nagell arranged to be taken by a street vendor in New Orleans' Jackson Square in September 1963."
2. The audiotape of Oswald and Cuban co-conspirators
A previous blog post examined the efforts of Assistant District Attorney William Martin to retrieve the supposed tape from a friend of Richard Nagell. When Martin arrived at the home of Frederick John, the friend of Nagell, he was told that the tape had been "the subject of a burglary sometime in 1964."
In the second edition of his book, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Russell writes: (page 275)
"As for the tape, Nagell indicated to me that as of the late 1970s, anyway, it remained in safekeeping. I have tried in vain to located Nagell's friend Frederick H. John."
3. Letters sent by Richard Case Nagell
Richard Case Nagell claimed that he wrote a registered letter to J. Edgar Hoover in September 1963 warning him of an impending conspiracy to kill JFK. Dick Russell writes: (page 442 in the first edition of his book)
"Nagell has never revealed the full contents of this letter (see Chapter One for the contents of his 1976 affidavit concerning as much as he has put on record). He did say it included telling the FBI that he "had received instructions to take care of Lee Oswald, that is, to kill him, in September of 1963." The letter was composed in a style "done to persuade the reader that its sender was familiar with CIA procedure, that it was not a crank letter." By using the alias "Joseph Kramer," the pseudonym of a known Soviet agent, Nagell also seemed to have been informing the FBI that Soviet intelligences was simultaneously aware of such information."
In 1976, Nagell wrote a letter to U.S. Representative Don Edwards who was the chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Civil and Constitutional Rights. They were looking into the destruction of a note that Lee Harvey Oswald had left for FBI agent James Hosty in 1963. Nagell wanted Edwards to look into possible destruction of his supposed letter to Hoover.
Edwards then replied:
Nagell then replied on November 21, 1975:
Here is Richard Case Nagell's affidavit from 1975:
In April 1976, Dick Russell called Congressman Edwards and asked him if the committee was following up on the information provided by Richard Nagell. Edwards didn't remember the Nagell information but telephoned back and said that they had received a letter from Nagell in October 1975. Russell asked about the second letter from November and the affidavit that Nagell had sent. Edwards didn't remember and promised to get back to Russell. He never did. Russell then told Nagell of what had happened and Nagell wrote back with this letter with an edited copy to the FBI:
The salient paragraph is on the first page:
"I have the receipts for almost every letter that I've ever sent by registered mail ... just as I have duplicates of the letters themselves. You can bet on it. And Kelley, Edwards and all the other liars, cheats and double-crossers had better think about that. The fact that I've never revealed the exact date that my September 1963 letter to Hoover was mailed, or the fact that I've never divulged the full contents of that letter, indicates absolutely zilch. The only remaining thing that I have to say on the subject at this point in time is that my 11/21/75 affidavit, and my stated willingness to undergo a polygraph examination, was the last good-faith gesture that I shall ever make to a representative or official of the United States government. (A xerox copy of my affidavit was also sent to Kelley; I neve received a response). Fuck 'em all."
It's interesting that Nagell did not send a copy of the receipt or a duplicate of the letter to Edwards. In fact, Nagell never sent copies to Dick Russell, either.
I don't believe Nagell sent any such letter, which is why the letter, the receipt, and a copy
of the letter has never turned up. But there is also direct evidence from Richard Nagell that he might not have sent such a letter. In January 1967 Nagell sent a letter to Senator Richard Russell, who had served on the Warren Commission. He received a perfunctory reply. Check his reply to Russell:
"One purpose in communicating with you at this time is to advise that I am no longer certain the letter I dispatched to the Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation, in September 1963 was sent via postal registry, or, for that matter, even mailed."
What an astounding admission, no?
On October 31, 1995, the ARRB sent a letter to Richard Nagell:
Unfortunately, as you can see from the notation, Nagell was found dead in his apartment on November 1, 1995. In the first edition of his book, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Dick Russell claims that "In the event of his demise, Nagell made arrangements for this [the Polaroid photograph] and more to surface."
Perhaps all of this so-called evidence would be found. The ARRB started making arrangements to find out:
On November 7, Tom Samoluk of the ARRB flew to Los Angeles:
Samoluk went back later that month to have a look at Nagell's footlockers:
It's been over twenty-five years since the ARRB searched Nagell's footlockers, nothing has turned up.
And nothing ever will.
Nagell's evidence never existed in the first place.
Richard Case Nagell Blog Posts
The Importance of Richard Case Nagell to Some Conspiracy Theorists
Jim Garrison and a few conspiracy theorists think Nagell is a very important witness. But is he really?
Genesis of the Richard Case Nagell story
David Kroman met Richard Case Nagell at the Springfield Medical Center for Federal Prisoners. Stephen Jaffe, a Garrison volunteer, wrote a memo, relating Nagell's story through the eyes and ears of David Kroman.
Nagell was convicted of armed robbery and was sentenced to ten years, but his conviction was overturned because of startling new evidence.
Richard Case Nagell and the JFK Assassination
There is no credible evidence that Nagell had any foreknowledge of either Lee Harvey Oswald or the JFK assassination.
Nagell claims he met Oswald in Japan, Texas, Mexico City, and New Orleans. There is no credible evidence that he ever met Oswald.
Nagell went to Cuba and met with Fidel Castro and even played ping-pong with the man.
Insane Conspiracy Theories about Richard Case Nagell
Richard Case Nagell said that he knew the two Oswalds - Lee Harvey and Leon. Some conspiracy theorists believe this madness.
Combine one part crazy and one part ridiculous and what do you come up with? An early attempt at a unified conspiracy theory of the JFK assassination.
Two Smoking Guns of the Richard Case Nagell Story
Nagell sent conspiracy theorist Dick Russell one page of a military intelligence file which seemed to indicate that he was monitoring Oswald and his wife on behalf of the CIA. But does the whole document really show that?
Did Richard Case Nagell had an Oswald Military ID in his possession when he was arrested in September 1963?
Richard Case Nagell and Jim Garrison
Richard Case Nagell believes that he wasn't called to testify at Clay Shaw's trial because his testimony would have blown up Jim Garrison's case.
At a conference in September 1968, Garrison and his investigators discuss his face-to-face meeting with Nagell in New York City.
William Martin, an Assistant District Attorney working for Jim Garrison, tried to retrieve a tape that Nagell said contained the voices of three JFK assassination conspirators.
Richard Popkin, author of "The Second Oswald," writes Jim Garrison about Richard Case Nagell. Garrison staffer Tom Bethell thought the Nagell lead was useless.
Richard Case Nagell's Mental Health
Nagell won a full disability pension in 1982 and the 60+ page court case provides complete details on his mental problems.
Richard Case Nagell told a psychiatrist why he shot up the bank in El Paso in 1963.
The FBI spoke to Nagell's ex-wife, his mother, his sister, and one of his friends. They all agreed that Nagell had significant mental health problems.
Nagell visited the American consulates in Zurich and Barcelona in 1969. He was a deeply disturbed man.
Richard Case Nagell's Evidence
None of the so-called evidence that Nagell promised would materialize on his death has shown up. Did this evidence ever exist?