Not surprisingly, Jim Garrison received a lot of letters, tips, and phone calls once his JFK investigation went public. Many people in prison wrote him letters, no doubt hoping that he would help get them out or get their sentences reduced. Today, I am posting memos about two prisoners - Edward Whalen and Edward Girnus. I am focusing on these two prisoners because Garrison listed them in his memo to the HSCA as leads that should be followed-up.
Edward Whalen wrote Garrison on August 31, 1967. He had information about Clay Shaw, David Ferrie, Dante Marachini, and Perry Russo. He claimed that he met many of the principals at the Absinthe House in New Orleans during Mardi Gras in 1965. He said there was "grave concern over you at that time and there were discussions of the necessity of your physical elimination."
Garrison sent James Alcock to interview him, and here is his memo:
You can decide for yourself if Whalen's story is credible. If Garrison believed it in 1967, he could have charged Clay Shaw with attempted murder. He didn't - I wonder why.
Garrison had to know there was nothing there. Whalen was 43 in 1967 and had already spent most of his adult life in prison. He was also in and out of mental institutions, and he told doctors that "people were putting things in his food, and that the court, defense and prosecution attorneys and Senator John Tower of Texas were all conspiring against him."
Whalen wasn't going to give up. He sent another letter to Garrison:
And, wouldn't you know, Whalen only told him a "portion of that information vital to your investigation." Why, even Sirhan Sirhan was on the payroll of the CIA. Why not come on back?
The other prisoner was Edward Girnus. A prisoner wrote a letter to Garrison's office:
Garrison's staff send Edward Girnus a letter:
James Alcock then went to Atlanta to interview Girnus:
Girnus sent Garrison an FAA flight plan that was supposedly submitted by David Ferrie with Hidell [Oswald's alias] as a passenger.
Garrison should have realized that the flight plan was bogus. Lee Harvey Oswald was in Dallas on the date in question. Girnus' rap sheet included several forgery offenses, and you'd think that that would have alerted Garrison. Nope, he still told the HSCA that the document "looked quite credible, and that it made sense in some way."
Here is Girnus' rap sheet:
Final Update to this story: Edward Girnus made it into Joan Mellen's book, A Farewell To Justice. She clearly thought his story had credibility. Oh, and Edward Whalen made her book, too. She claimed that Garrison didn't call these two witnesses because he didn't want "to call any witnesses who had been in trouble with the law.' Nothing about their credibility.