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  • Writer's pictureFred Litwin

William Gurvich's Interview with the HSCA

Updated: May 19, 2023


New Orleans States-Item, June 26, 1967


William Gurvich, who served as an investigator for Jim Garrison during the early part of his JFK probe, quit in late June 1967. Here is an article from the New York Times about his resignation:

Money quote:

He said Mr. Garrison has "no case" against Mr. Shaw and that he would support this assertion with "specifics" if he was allowed to appear before the grand jury.
He also said he would welcome an opportunity to appear before a Federal grand jury to give evidence that Mr. Garrison had "violated the civil rights of several people -- including Mr. Shaw."
He declined to elaborate on his charges in tonight's interview except to assert that Mr. Garrison has failed to prove "even basic charges" against Mr. Shaw.

The next day, the New York Times ran another article with more stories from Gurvich:

Money quote:

In a program prepared by the Columbia Broadcasting System, Mr. Gurvich said tonight that he had visited Senator Robert F. Kennedy, New York Democrat, earlier this month "to tell him we could shed no light on the death of his brother and not to be hoping for such."
"After I told him that," Mr. Gurvich added, "he appeared to be rather disgusted to think that someone was exploiting his brother's death and by bringing it up over and over again and by doing what has been done in this [Mr. Garrison's] investigation."

Gurvich was interviewed by the HSCA in 1978. Here is a summary of the interview; note that they spelled his name wrong:


SELECT COMMITTEE ON ASSASSINATIONS

NAME: William Gurvitch Date 11/7/78 Time: 8:30-10:30pm

Address Place: Gurvitch home in New Orleans

Interview:

Gary Cornwell, Bob Buras, and I interviewed Bill Gurvitch

at his home on the night of November 7th.

Gurvitch was asked at the outset to provide a running

account of his work as Garrison's chief investigator during

the early months of the Garrison probe, and to do so in a

roughly chronological fashion.

Gurvitch spoke at great length about the Garrison probe,

and recounted how he (Gurvitch) came to believe that the

case was a fraud, based on the outright fabrications of

evidence, the testimony of demonstrable mental cases, and

highly unethical and in some cases illegal prosecutorial

conduct by Jim Garrison.

Gurvitch stated that he had known Garrison for years prior

to the investigation and that Garrison asked him in the

fall of 1966 to join his staff as an investigator on "a

very important project." Gurvitch agreed to do so and was

soon told by Garrison that it involved a conspiracy to

assassinate President Kennedy. Gurvitch stated that any

investigator in the country would have agreed to work on

the case, and that he thought it was his duty as a citizen

to do anything to shed light on such an important event.

Gurvitch stated that he worked closely with Garrison for

several months before resigning from his staff and

denouncing the investigation in early 1967. Gurvitch stated

that during the weeks of his work for Garrison he had

believed that Garrison did in fact have some credible

information about potential conspirators, including Ferrie,

and Shaw, and others. He stated that Garrison always was

able to give the impression that he had much other

significant material which he would not fully discuss.

Gurvitch stated that he traveled around a great deal

interviewing witnesses and performing other investigative

tasks for Garrison. He stated that within a few weeks he

began to doubt whether they were coming up with anything

really solid or conspiratorial, and began to convey this

impression to Garrison. Gurvitch stated that Garrison would

always just ignore his doubts and tell him that he didn't

know what important information they had.

Interviewer: Mike Ewing

Signature:

Date Transcribed: 11/26/78 (p. 2)

Gurvitch stated that as more weeks went by he began to see

that Garrison was allegedly a very reckless investigator

and did not really comprehend what constituted real

evidence. He also stated that this was coupled with a

tendency by Garrison to embellish and in some instances

invent "evidence." Gurvitch stated that by then he had

begun to have intense discussions with Garrison in which he

would tell Garrison that they did not have a case; that

they did not have sufficient evidence to even consider a

prosecution.

Gurvitch stated that Garrison had a generally incompetent

staff that was afraid to ever question Garrison or differ

with him. Gurvitch stated that several of Garrison's aides,

particularly his top deputy, James Alcock, privately would

admit that the Garrison case was a "fraud," but wouldn't

tell Garrison that. He stated that they were more concerned

about keeping their jobs with Garrison, and that each of

the key Garrison aides involved in the investigation were

later rewarded with judgeships by Garrison's political

friends.

Gurvitch stated that he finally decided he must resign from

the Garrison staff and publicly state his disagreements

with him. He stated that he agonized over this decision at

great length before deciding to do so. He stated that he

believed it was important to hold a press conference to

publicly air his view that Garrison was blind to his own

fraudulent evidence.

Gurvitch related how Garrison had him charged with stealing

xerox paper from his office after he resigned, and the

resolution of that charge. Gurvitch stated that Garrison

was very vengeful to anyone whoever disagreed with him on

the case, and would attempt to smear them if he could.

Gurvitch stated that Garrison never had any interest in

investigating Carlos Marcello and the links between

Marcello and such Garrison witnesses as Ferrie and Andrews.

Gurvitch stated that "Garrison would never fool with

Marcello. He was much too heavy for Garrison."

Gurvitch stated that one of the specific things which led

to his firm belief that Garrison was a man with significant

mental difficulties, and a dishonest mentality, was when he

heard Garrison once order two of his aides to arrange for

Walter Sheridan (the former Kennedy aide) to be severely

beaten in New Orleans. Gurvitch stated that Garrison

ordered the beating because Sheridan was in town doing an

expose on Garrison for NBC. Gurvitch stated that he

interceded and stopped Garrison's orders from being

implemented.

Gurvitch stated that Garrison's office became a gathering

place for various mentally unbalanced people who would come

in to volunteer their services or testimony. He stated that

it was easy for Garrison's staff to find "some nut" to

testify to anything they wanted.

Gurvitch stated that he did not believe Garrison's

"Clinton" witnesses and believed that they were coached

into making up their stories about Oswald and Ferrie by

Garrison's staff, probably Al Sciambra. Gurvitch stated

that he spoke with some of the Clinton witnesses and

doubted their stories very much. Gurvitch also stated that

Garrison was aware of the alleged Clinton information very

early in his investigation, and spoke of it to Gurvitch

within a few weeks after he joined the staff.

Gurvitch also mentioned that he had been the investigator

who had later obtained affidavits indicating that Garrison

had sexually molested a 15 year old boy in the New Orleans

Athletic club in about 1970. Gurvitch stated that his

involvement in this episode came about because he was a

member of the club and heard of the story from the father

of the boy involved. Gurvitch stated that he secured

affidavits from the boy, his father, and the boy's brother,

and tried to get the city authorities to press charges

against Garrison. He stated that the authorities wouldn't

touch the case however, and the boy's father was reluctant

to make the alleged incident public. Gurvitch stated that

the boy and his father and brother stated that Garrison

seemed to be in a drugged state upon emerging from the

sauna room facilities after making the alleged sexual

advance.

Gurvitch stated that it is well known in New Orleans that

Garrison has long taken to various pills and drugs and is

not in good health as a result.

Gurvitch related literally dozens of various stories and

anecdotes reflecting what he claimed was Garrison's

reckless investigative acts and unbalanced mental state.

Gurvitch stated that he knows it must sound awfully one

sided, but stated that "that's the way it was. I saw it all

firsthand." Gurvitch stated that it all became like a scene

out of Frankenstein; that Garrison had created a horrible

monster out of the JFK case, and was eventually destroyed

by it himself.

Gurvitch stated that he does not believe that there is a

conspiracy behind the case, and has no thoughts of any real

suspicion in any direction based upon his work on the case.

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