Purchased a FORA.tv video on another website? Login here with the temporary account credentials included in your receipt.
Sign up today to receive our weekly newsletter and special announcements.
I am David Greenstein, Director of Public Programs and I am happy to see you for what is certain to be a remarkable evening here. As many of you will certainly know the Great Hall has been the scene of a great deal of history. It was here at this very podium that Abraham Lincoln in 1860 gave his famous "might makes right" speech that propelled him to the Presidency of the United States and seven another Presidents, most recently Bill Clinton have spoken here. The precursor American Red Cross was founded at the Cooper Union, the NAACP was founded here, the Women Suffrage Movement and the American Labor movement, both got early start in this room. It is sometimes sad that no one who is alive and conscious in 1963 will ever for get where he or she was when hearing the news of President Kennedy's assassination. In November 1963 I was a school teacher in East Africa and my students and colleagues were a 100 percent certain that they knew the story behind this terrible event. Kennedy had ventured into known hostile territory controlled by a big man who had every thing to gain by the President's death. I don't know the Swahili translation of no brainer but that was certainly their point of view. Vincent Bugliosi, closest to me sitting here, author of Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Since that 75 percent of Americans believe in contradiction to the Warren Commission Report that there was a conspiracy behind Lee Harvey Oswald. The poet William Blake puts it; nothing can be more contemptible than to suppose public records to be true. Well, Mr. Bugliosi had spent the past 20 years researching every thing connected with the assassination of John F Kennedy including public records and has come to a conclusion about Mr Blake's statement. Vincent Bugliosi has been best known as one of the most successful prosecutors in American Legal History. As Deputy District Attorney in Los Angeles he won a 105 of the 106 felony cases he tried including all twenty one of the murder cases. His most famous trial was the prosecution of Charles Manson and other members of the Manson family for the 1969 murders of actor Sharon Tate and six of her friends. His book about the Manson case, Helter Skelter was a number one best seller. He has written six other books beside Reclaiming History which will be on sale, is on sale out side on the corridor after this evenings event and which he is happy to sign. Discussing Reclaiming History with Mr. Bugliosi, I almost say cross examining Mr. Bugliosi is another attorney and author James L. Swanson. In addition to serving as Editor of the Cato Supreme Court Review he has written Lincoln's Assassins: Their Trial and Execution and most recently Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer. After the conversation between Mr. Bugliosi and Mr. Swanson if any one has any questions there is a table in the back right over there with some cards and pens, if you write them and hand them to me I will be up front here we will give the cards up for them to answer the questions. Before we begin I have one more historical remainder. When Lincoln spoke here there were no microphones. We have that advantage over his audience. But there were also no cell phones. Let us not put ourselves at a disadvantage for that reason, please turn them off now. Mr. Bugliosi. Well, Abraham Lincoln has been invoked, let's begin with that, not only that Lincoln launched his Presidency in this hall, he was our first assassinated President. And that's just one of the many conspiracy theories and I would like to begin by setting the Kennedy assassination in the context of conspiracy. The assassination of Abraham Lincoln was of course a conspiracy by the cabinet, led by Secretary of War, Edwin M. Stanton or it was a Catholic conspiracy and Lincoln's murder was ordered by the Pope. It was not John Wilkes Booth but a double who died at the climax of the 12 day manhunt. And the real Booth escaped and lived for decades in the American West. And a collector claims that he he has his mummy to this day and it was toured at American carnivals and state fairs in the 30s and the 40s. The Protocols of the Elders of Zion out by the obvious Jewish master plot to dominate the world. Germany really didn't lose World War I, instead [0:06:12] ____ fifth column men betrayed the Parliament from within, the notorious "stab in the back" conspiracy that caused an unknown man, a corporal, to rise from the trenches and say, it cannot be that two million Germans have died in vain, we were never defeated, I demand vengeance. There were no gas chamber, the holocaust never happened, man never landed on the moon. NASA faked the Apollo mission on a secret town stage. And on November 22nd 1963 President John F Kennedy was assassinated by Fidel Castro or the Mob or Lyndon Johnson or the CIA or J. Edgar Hoover or the Military Industrial Complex or even the Umbrella Man but certainly not by Lee Harvey Oswald. Conspiracy theories have consequences, Vince, who killed President Kennedy? Before I answer that question, can you hear me? Yes you can. You can hear me; yes you can answer my question, right? That's sarcastic, I am sorry. But whoever is in charge here, if you can fix this so that you can hear me. You can't hear me on the back? Put it up a little higher. Put this up -. Put it up higher, James before I answer your question, you could see that we don't have a standing room only crowd tonight but the other thing that you don't know is that most of these people are here to see you because you are the best selling author. I am trying to become that. But James as you know have this brilliant book is this Manhunt, huge New York Times best seller and my book just came out yesterday, but a great number of people are here to see you tonight, you are more a celebrity than I am. You know, when you asked me that question authors are [0:08:11] ____ here to look for the doubt, when you asked me that question I know you know that Oswald kill the Kennedy. But a great number of people ask that question in America and they ask that question because it shows how successful these conspiracy theories have been. No question about Oswald's guilt, not just some of the evidence, not just most of it, all of them points towards his guilt and yet the conspiracy theories have convinced a great number of Americans that he was innocent or some proxy and that's why the question as you asked even though you asked me just to set up the question and answer, there are many people sincerely asking that question today, even though there is no question about his guilt, they say who killed John F Kennedy. Let me show you why Oswald killed Kennedy lets take the couple of billion words that have been written about this subject and I will try to convince that James down into a couple of minutes, if I can. Yes. I am not good at summarizing, you know my orientation, like yours, you argue to jury for two three days or you write books that go on for your got book was very long, this one 1600 pages. But from my experience as a prosecutor and I think its just common sense, if you are innocent of the crime chances are there is not going to be any evidence at all pointing towards your guilt, why because you are innocent, but now and then because of the nature of life then the unaccountability of certain things there may be one piece of evidence pointing one piece of evidence pointing towards your guilt even though you are innocent and in some unusual may be rare situation, may be even two or three pieces of evidence pointing towards your guilt even though you are completely innocent. But in this case here, James, everything everything pointed towards Oswald's guilt, everything he said, everything he did, the physical evidence, the scientific evidence. In Reclaiming History, I set forth for 53 pieces of evidence, separate pieces of evidence, pointing towards the guilt of Lee Harvey Oswald and under those circumstances it would not be humanly possible it would not be humanly possible for him to be innocent, at least not in the world in which we live. I am talking to you James, you can hear me, there is going to be a dawn tomorrow not in that world. Only in a fantasy world can you have 53 pieces of evidence pointing towards your guilt and still be innocent, so there is no question James that Oswald is guilty. Anyone who says that he is not, I know one of two things. Either he is totally unaware of the evidence or he is such a silly person. Let me just give you a couple of the pieces of evidence. I am not going through all 53. It was Oswald's weapon the murder weapon that belonged to Oswald, I mean that alone is pretty conclusive evidence, not a 100 percent conclusive but pretty powerful evidence. It's your gun, Oswald's weapon. Also the employees of the Book Depository Building, he was the only one who fled the building after the shooting in Dealey Plaza, he fled the building, the only one. 45 minutes later as you know James, he shot and killed Dallas Police Officer J. D. Tippit and that murder bore the signature of a man in desperate flight from some awful deed. Half hour later he resists arrest, pulls his gun on the arresting officer. During his interrogation by the Dallas Police Department he told, I just want to lie but one provable lie one provable lie after another all of which showed a conscience of the guilt. So there just no question what so ever about Oswald's guilt and yet there are people that say, you know, how do you know he killed the President Kennedy and long answered your question, yes it was Lee Harvey Oswald. I want to get to some of the other elements of the evidence in a moment but let's set the stage, take us back to the time and place on that day Dallas, November 22nd, a little good afternoon, what was the stage for the crime and who was Lee Harvey Oswald, in a nutshell who was this man? Who was Lee Harvey Oswald; he was 24 at the time. Most people that written about him, they don't think he is intelligent but I am not one of them. I think he was intelligent, kind of intellectually inclined, he was the dyslexic, but even though he was the dyslexic he was a voracious reader of serious biography, totally alienated from everyone around him, couldn't get along with anyone antisocial a loner. One thing that sticks out about more than anything else about Oswald, he was a very angry person, very confrontational. But he was somewhat complex and I think he was fairly really intelligent. What was his stage, the little afternoon November 22nd, what was happening, who was where? Well he worked at the Book Depository Building and he was on the sixth floor. He was a a stock boy who stock books at the Book Depository Building and he was very by the way when we were talking about who was he, his whole life was politics. I mean he was deeply involved in politics and yet the President of the United States was coming by and he was not out on the street to greet the President. But the Presidential motor came, landed at Mount Field at about 11:15 and then there was the motorcade, went through downtown Dallas main street and then took a ride on Houston, up to Elm Street and the Book Depository Building was at the intersection of Elm and Houston, made a left turn on Elm starting way in the south westerly direction. The crowds on main street were tremendous, that was very conservative town, Dallas and the President said we are coming at the nut country now, very conservative. However they greeted him tremendously with tremendous enthusiasm. Very, very warmly, a record crowd, but by the time it got into Dealey Plaza, which is where the Book Depository building was located, the crowds very sparse at that point. So limousine takes a left turn down Elm street and all of a sudden there is this shot from the sixth floor window, no one know what it was at the beginning, some people Governor Connally thought that it was a shot but several members of the secret service thought it was a fire cracker or a tire exploding. By the time of the second shot they knew it was a it was a gun shot and that was the the first shot by the way missed the limousine completely. If you are interested anyone out there, I would get into the answer as to why the first shot missed because it was the closer shot. But I am just going on now that the first shot missed; the second shot is the first shot that hit the President. And that shot, again from Oswald up to the sixth floor window; there was a snipers nest up there, so that anyone walking on to the sixth floor they couldn't see him. The boxes piled up? The boxes piled up. The second shot entered the President's upper right back and exit in the front of his throat and then the third shot I am sure most of you know about that, that's the head shot, the frame 313 you literally can see the head exploding, that shot entered the upper right part of the President's head, exited the right frontal position of his head, so total there were three shots. Dealey Plaza resounds with echo and there was so much chaos and confusion at the time that was difficult for people really to determine the origin of fire because of the echo. But most people felt that there were three shots, I am talking about the spectators. Some thought there were more because they couldn't differentiate between the shots and the echo, one person though there were eight shots, couple of said two shots but then the limousine you know, just screeched away down to Parkland Hospital on the [0:16:58] _____ freeway and Oswald left the building fled the building everyone else stayed there, the stock boys, the Dallas Police Department had a line up not a line up but a a roll call, every one present, where is Lee Harvey Oswald? Well, Lee Harvey Oswald took off. What so with those stock boys in the floor below? Yeah there - - also looking up there didn't they hear when the shell casing hit the floor? Yeah absolutely there were three of them, one directly below who testified for me on London, Harold Norman, and then there were two others and Norman literally heard the shell casings dropping to the floor directly above him. In the book I have the photo taken about the Dallas Police Department, I got it from the Dallas Municipal Archives, it shows the three shell casings in the snipery nest on the floor there, right below the window, three shell casings. What about some of the myth of Oswald as a marksman? First myth that he couldn't shoot well or that he shot so well that no one was able to duplicate his feat in test after the assassination. That's the common myth we hear often that no one was able to duplicate that, so there must have been a ____ on that. At my age at my age James, you got to ask one question at a time, I am 72 and I forget, I start answering the second one, I forgot your question. All right all right, how close could he shoot? I am kind of joking, but not completely, Oswald couldn't shoot, that's just a lie perpetrated by the conspiracy community that he couldn't hit the broadside of a barn, you have heard that. Oswald was a pretty good shot, in the Marines well, there is marksmen, sharpshooter and expert. Oswald was a sharpshooter, he fired at 212. So he was a fairly good shot as far as I think your second question is how did - No one could duplicate Oswald's feat. - yeah, just flat out wrong. My firearms guy in London not only duplicated him but beat him, at the time of the Warren Commission, there was a specialist Miller that beat him, CBS had a reenactment in 1967, someone beat Oswald. So this is just one lie after another and the other lie of course yesterday on radio, I was hearing, well how could he be so accurate? And I said, who said he is accurate who said he is accurate. This is an easy shot, some of you know that. Well, Dealey Plaza is smaller in person that appears on photograph. Exactly right, exactly right they - But explain why it was an easy shot, how the car was moving laterally across the field of vision but in a single line away from him? Okay, the first shot that hit the president was at about 59 yards, on a range when you fire, 100 yards, 200 yards, 300 yards and 500, so this is below 100 yards, the first shot, the second shot was about 88 yards, again below a 100 yards. So he is up at the window there, have you ever been up to the window? No. Okay, well if you look through the window and you just imagine holding a rifle in your hand, the barrel is almost on a straight line with Elm street just on a straight line, south westly direction, the limousine traveling at 11 miles an hour, very, very slowly. Elm Street has a declination of 3.9 degrees, the relevance of that is that it eliminated the necessity of elevating the muzzle as the limousine got farther away from the window. And in London we can get into at the moment about that, the trial in London, I asked my firearm guys that I don't want to put any words in your mouth, what I said was the President essentially a stationary target getting through essentially a stationary target. And how accurate was Lee? Well, we have to make the assumption that is aiming at the President's head, I mean if you are trying to kill someone you are not aiming in any other part of the body, secondly not that much of his body was visible because of the limousine. First shot missed this completely, that's not too accurate, is it? Why did he miss the first shot? Okay I will get to this is in a second. The second shot again, misses the head, hits the upper right back and then third shot hits the head, that's one out of three and that's not that accurate and yet everyone says, oh its unbelievable, the top rifle people in the world couldn't do this, so one out of three shots, its not that tough. Why did he miss the first shot? The Warren Commission couldn't figure that out. And believe me when I I am not denigrating the Warren Commission, they are the grand daddy of all investigations and I [0:21:33] ____ in front of them and this book could not have been written without the Warren Commission, but they couldn't figure out how can Oswald miss the first shot and yet hit Kennedy with the second and third shot. There is a couple of reasons I think, no one knows for sure of course, but there is a couple of reasons why he probably missed the first shot. One reason which I kind of reject because its speculation and James is a great lawyer himself, he knows that speculation only goes so far and we deal with evidence. And the speculation is that he was extremely excited, nervous, shooting the President of the United States and that's why he missed, speculation right? But there are some other things that are not speculation, that may have contributed. One is that there was an oak tree there, when you look out that window there, there is an oak tree and before the oak tree you can see the President and then there is a period of time up to about frame 207, you can't see him except because the oak tree is in the way. And then he reemerges and you can see him. Well, at the time he fired that first shot he probably had this you know, a split second before that oak tree there, so he was rushed, do you follow? He was rushed because in a split second that oak tree was going to prevent any view of Kennedy. And then my firearms guy told me something in London that I haven't thought about, that he felt was one of the reasons why he missed the first shot, he is talking about the stability of the rifle. At frame 160 of the Zapruder film Abraham Zapruder is an amateur photographer and he had the film, he is the one that filmed the assassination, at frame 160 the limousine was not directly below, but pretty close to being directly below the window. So the rifle is not too stable, you follow? At the time of second and third shot it had a little more stability, he can rest it there. Well, so I would say that the lack of stability and the fact that he had to squeeze off that round before the oak tree is the reason why he missed the first shot. But, I don't know if answered everything. Well you mentioned the Warren commission and let's right to that. I can't think of any Government Commission that in American pop culture in last 25 years has more ridiculed or more rejected. What's your take on the Warren Commission and regarding the Warren Report, have the most of read all volumes of the Warren Report? Have I read the report, again you asked me two question, I can't try remember the first one, what's my opinion of - Of the Warren Commission Report. - the Warren Commission. Who were they? What would have been their motive to cover conspiracy? Well, they wouldn't have had motive to cover. These are all very, very distinguished men you know what I mean. Earl Warren, Chief Justice, The US Supreme Court, there were couple of senators, Gerald Ford who became became President and I can tell you James, you are too young to think about your you are going to have a heck of a legacy, but you are too young to think about, I am not at my age. But when you get up to a certain age you know, legacy means quite a bit and when you get up to the age of these people they are thinking about their legacy, they are not thinking about politics. And to find a world with people like James like Earl Warren and Senator Cooper and people like that, why would they ever want to do something which if discovered, number one they would be prosecuted being accessories after the fact to murder. And number two, they are descendents for ever would live infamy, that very, very name. When you are thinking of your legacy you don't do something like that. Furthermore why would they do such an absolutely despicable thing, to cover up the murder of the President of the United States, its silly right on its face. So these were decent, honorable men you know, when you are talking about a conspiracy, the but's aren't satisfied with just saying that the whole world was trying to kill Kennedy, they are not satisfied with that? They also say that the Warren Commission comes along, finds out the truth and engages in a second conspiracy to suppress the truth. So you got this two massive conspiracies when I co-prosecuted Oswald in London I told the jury I said, you know folks, I said I would stipulate that three people can keep a secret, I said, I will agree with you on that. But only if two are dead. And here you have close to forty four years now and not one word, not one syllable has leaked out about this alleged conspiracy, so they were good people having no motive whatsoever under the moon to cover up the President cover up the assassination of the President. Now you had a second question, see I told you I cant I can think of two at a time, what were your second question? I don't remember the question, but but regarding the commission and it wouldn't have just been the commissioner, there were Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives? Four Republican and three Democrats, right. And they had a quite And they are going to cover up for Democratic President, right? - they had a staff of legal counsels, assistant counsels, lots of people. Oh yeah, you had a General Counsel and 14 Assistant Counsels, so they have had to be part of that too and they were the best and the brightest. You look at their background, Editor in Chief of the Yale Law Review, Harvard Law Review; they would have had to them brought on to this too, its just pure unadulterated nonsense. Did the conspiracy theories begin even before the Warren Commission finished its works? What was the origin the point of origin of this multi generation of - How did it all start, you mean? Yeah, how did it begin? I said in the book, I tend to be sarcastic a little bit, you know they say when you get older you become more mellow, its not working of course because I have become more nasty, Saying this - so you know but I I tend to be kind of sarcastic and what what was I talking about? When did this began? When did this whole conspiracy theory began? Oh okay, all right. I said in the book that the conspiracy theorists started screaming the word conspiracy before the fatal bullet had even come to rest. And one reviewer, obviously with a very high high intellect brighter than mere I brighter than I he poked fun at me and he said oh, come on how can Bugliosi be so silly, that they are screaming conspiracy and the bullet haven't even come to rest. Well, obviously it was a planned word; I wasn't suggesting that in that the one split second while the bullet is traveling in the air, the people are screaming conspiracies. But shortly thereafter they started thinking about a conspiracy. And the question is why? Why the people want to believe that there is a conspiracy in this case? Interestingly enough and I just started this recently because I want to make this book slicker than it is, it is not slick enough, so if it comes out on the second edition I am going to have to the thing I came up with I don't know when it entered my alleged mind but not too long ago, about a week or so ago. I said you know, one reason for people wanting to believe in a conspiracy in this case believe it or not is John F Kennedy himself. And the reason I say that I didn't know that much about John F Kennedy. But he was one heck of an impressive guy. Every one said he had an irresistible charm. Nellie Connally Connally's wife I mean her husband, good looking dynamic guy and she said I thought I knew what charisma meant until I met John F Kennedy. People loved John F Kennedy, Bobby, no well, there were people who loved RK, but he had a lot of enemies too. But John F Kennedy was very, very popular. People liked him, even his enemies respected him, even some members of the John Birch Society respected him. He was very well loved, his death was mourned, they say, by more people than the death of any other human in world history. The only country that did not mourn his death was China. Now I am trying to go in off on a tangent but people loved John F Kennedy and I am just theorizing here that in a way in a way these conspiracy theory theories in a way is one way of hanging on to him, and a sublimely type of way of hanging on. And let me give you one observation that might bolster what I am saying. And this isn't at all deterrence to Lyndon Johnson. If Lyndon Johnson had been killed under the same identical circumstances as John F Kennedy I want to ask you, do you think there would be the interest in this assassination if he was killed under the same identical circumstances? No. No. No. Right, right so I don't think it would be any where near the interest. And that's not deterrence to LBJ. So in a very strange way JFK is one of the reasons. Are there any other reasons, yeah I think there are, I think people instinctively wanted to believe in a conspiracy here because in a strange way the belief that powerful forces killed Kennedy because he was taking the country in a direction and antithetical to the way they wanted the country to go in gives more meaning in a strange way gives more meaning to his life and death than the notion that he was killed by some loner, with a deranged mind. I mean Jackie Kennedy herself Jackie herself said, we don't even have the satisfaction, she said he is dying for some cause like civil rights, she said it had to be some little communist and these are her words, she said that robbed his death his death of meaning. Another reason, I think everyone out in the audience knows about you have heard variations of it that that they look at Oswald totally inconsequential and they say you know, how could he do something as consequential as killing the President of the United Sates they find it intellectually incongruent. We need to find a larger scheme. Yeah, larger scheme yeah. Great murder requires a great plot and someone they perceived to be a king, i.e. Kennedy, struck down by someone they perceive to be a non entity Not worthy of him. - yeah, yeah and Kennedy is on top of the world, he is with his charm, his intelligence, he is captivating the world audience, he is smiling and a second later fall over with. So they got this visceral feeling which is illogical that something more just had to be involved. But bullets are very democratic, you know they kill or injure whomever they they hit and it doesn't require any important to pull a trigger, but there are all types of reasons but the new one that I have I come up with which is going to increase the size of the book is that JFK played a part in this. Let's turn to some of these theories. There are so many of them, I don't where to begin but some of them are famous ones. The grassy knoll, the multiple gunmen, the Zapruder film shows that Kennedy had moved in a direction that proves the shot must have inevitably have come from the front, not from behind from our Oswald. The single bullet theory this pristine bullet completely undamaged. I am going to ask the take not four or five questions. Let's begin with I can't do more than one at a time. Let's begin with the Zapruder film, allegedly proving that Kennedy had to be shot from the front because of the movement of his head. Yeah, okay if you look at the Zapruder film I should get into this trial in get into this in London, in 1986 I co-prosecuted Lee Harvey Oswald in London, Gerry Spence, you have heard of him, the cowboy lawyer from Miami, when I use the word cowboy I am not speaking in denigration, Gerry thinks he is the cowboy, he comes to the court you know, stetson hat and cowboy boots, he defend down Oswald and we went out it for 21 hours in London, no script no script, a regular Federal Jury from Dallas, the regular Federal Judge, the regular Warren Commission witnesses, the real people and I am giving a background now to your question which I am going to have to ask you again, because I am going off in a tangent but anyway we we had a trial in London in 1986 and that's how I got involved in this case and the jury, the Dallas jury, convicted Oswald. Now your question about the head snap - at the trial Spence showed that head snap to the jury five times and I didn't object. And he argued it looked like Babe Ruth and hit the President from the front and he said you know, Mr. Bugliosi with his all of the fancy doctors and witnesses and all of the theory, he is trying to convince you folks that what you saw with your own eyes never even happened, you saw the head snapped to the rear. And I have to say that I didn't find a way to get around that the verdict would have been not guilty in London. I think that would have been a reasonable doubt of guilt. What you have to do James, you have to look at the individual frames of the Zapruder film, you cannot see that if you look at the film. If you look at the film all you see is the head snapped to the rear. But when you look at the individual frames, at frame 312 the President head is okay, at frame 313 1/18th of a second later, each frame is 18.3 frames, at frame 313 of the Zapruder film you see the explosion to the head, okay so he he is shot, some people still feel he was shot at 312 but you can't see anything at 312, but either a 312 or in that 1/18th of the second between 312 and 313 he is struck in the head. Question, in what direction was the President's head pushed at 313 and the answer is not backwards but forward, indicating what? A shot from the rear, see the head snapped to the rear would indicate a shot from the front which is where the grassy knoll is, not from the rear where Oswald was. But at that all important moment of impact, when the bullet hits the head, the President's head is pushed forward 2.3. inches indicating a shot from the rear. And then the on the film what you see from frame 314 to 321, you see the neuromuscular reaction the head snapped to the rear. But I can tell you that millions of Americans are understandably, saw that on television it was a Geraldo Rivera Special, Good Evening America or something, it was on ABC. And the next day there was the conversation around the water cooler, you know that the President must have been shot from the grassy knoll, there must be a conspiracy and and I can see why people would think that. But if you look at those individual frames, they show very, very clearly that the President's head was shot was pushed forward in impact and then the neuromuscular reactions between 314. Critics of the single bullet theory, the theory that one bullet struck Kennedy passed through him and then struck Governor Connally. Those critics argue that that is impossible because that bullet is in a pristine undamaged state, what's the truth what's the truth of that? Okay the there are two aspects of the magic bullet and you have touched on one but I am going to get into the other one too which is probably even well they they are equally important. That was not a pristine bullet and I show it in the book, pristine I guess means what, a perfect in its original condition? Well, the conspiracy theorists who love to take liberty with the truth of course, when they show that bullet its Warren Commission exhibit 399, they never showed the base of the bullet and why don't they show the base because if you look at base it's badly damaged. Well, it's not pristine. Originally it weighed a 161 grams, it's down to 158.6 grams right now. So it's lost 2.4 grams but the base of the bullet is badly damaged. Also this was a fully metal jacketed by fully I am talking about the nose itself too, everything was metal jacketed with the exception of the base. Fully metal jacketed, bullet military type bullet, the type that designed to do a lot of damage to objects that it hits without doing too much damage to itself and firearms people from the Warren Commission and the House Select Committee both agreed that it could cause the damage that it did to Kennedy and Connally and not be anymore deformed that it was The other aspect of the magic bullet that the that the just flat on lie about just flat on lie about, they say, wait a while, how in the world could a bullet coming from the President's right rear going through soft tissue hit Connally when Connally was seated directly in front of Kennedy? Their sketches show Connally seated directly in front of directly in front of President Kennedy. So they say a bullet coming from the right rear where Oswald was, its going through soft tissue everyone aggress on that, in a straight line, to hit Connally they say, it would have to make a right turn in midair and a left turn to go out to hit Connally and then when they speak to conspiracy groups they say both don't even do that cartoons, then everyone starts to laugh. Well if you start off, James as you know with an erroneous premise everything that follows makes a heck of a lot of sense. The only problem is that it's wrong. Connally was not seated directly in front of Kennedy and there is not question about that, they just flat out lie. And if you look at the Zapruder film or individual frames or photographs, no question, he was seated in a jump seat half a foot in. He was seated to and I have photos in the book, he was seated to the left front of Kennedy. So a bullet passing through a soft tissue through Kennedy had nowhere else to go but to hit Governor Connally, the orientation of Connally's body vis-ÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â -vis Kennedy's was such that it had to hit Governor Connally. But Jury Spence in London he called Dr. Cyril Wecht here, I don't even know that name - yeah, he was the coroner of Alleghany County in Pittsburgh, so Wecht takes the witness stand and testifies to the magic bullet and he put he puts on the screen for the London Jury the sketch showing them Connally seated directly in front of Kennedy. So on cross, I said Dr. Wecht, where did you get that sketch? He said I got in the Warren Commission, I said, no you didn't get it in the Warren Commission; I have been living with those volumes for five months. I said it's not Warren Commission volume, I said where did you get it? He says well, its not there, I don't know I don't know where I got it. I said, you have been traveling around this country the last 10 years showing this silly sketch and you don't know where you got it. Anyway, on cross, I said now Dr. Wecht, I said, if the bullet, you agree passed through the soft tissue on a straight line, if it did not hit Governor Connally as you say it did not, why didn't it tear up the interior of limousine or go on and hit the driver? He said, I don't know I was no the investigator, I don't know why it didn't. I said, well, I said, if it did not hit Connally, did not tear up the interior of limousine, it did not hit the driver; I said it must have zigzagged to the left, because it normally - you have got a magic bullet now. He said no it didn't pass zigzag to the left, I said what then it hop skip and jumped over the car. He said, no it didn't have to do anything like that. I said, what happen to the bullet, he said I don't know. So what's the bottom line? I will tell you what the bottom line is, you know the conspiracy theorists have hung that magic bullet around the neck of the Warren Commission for years, you are aware of that? Well, who ends up having the only magic bullet? Its conspiracy theorists, this bullet exits from the front of the presidents throat and apparently if we were to believe them, vanishes without a trace into thin air, that's a magic bullet, right? And yet if you were to talk to the average American they would say, well the magic bullet, and there is no such thing as the magic bullet, ergo the Warren Commission is lying. But the only people that have a magic bullet are the conspiracy theorists. Now in your book, Outrage you have suggested that the prosecution of O.J Simpson was incompetent. It was worse than incompetent, yeah. That they were so dazzled, by the identity of the defendent that they went haywire. I don't know if I expect speculated the why they did, but yes. But and your argument in that was - was if that was a simple murder, if it was not O.J Simpson, if it was not the hype, not the media, you argued that that would have been an easy case to prosecute using the elementary facts of the crime, could we say the same things about the Kennedy assassination? If that was a family of tourists driving in an open car Right. - and a mad man climbs up in that building in Dallas and opens fire, wouldn't that have been a simple fact? I agree with you that it would have been an easy case and Earl Warren, you know, he used to be the District Attorney of Oakland County and he said the same thing, he said when I was the DA in Oakland County if we had a case like this and it wasn't the President it would have been a two three days murder case and Oswald would have been convicted, yeah. Who are these critics or who are some of them? What are their stories, were they professors, lawyers, scholars, scientists, political experts and talk a little about them by naming some of them and I am sure it was their fate to work and if this has become a life long obsession? Okay now, who are these people I think that 99 out a 100 the column box are sincere, patriotic people intelligent, not with respect to this case, they are certified to be psychotic when it comes to this case. But other wise, you know they are doctors, lawyers and I think that they are sincere, they don't have the Warren Commission volumes, they know, the authors know, the authors are not sincere. Actually not, why not because they are working with the volumes and they just flat out distort the official record. So I have to distinguish between these the box and those who actually start writing the book and they have the volumes, and the House Select Committee volumes and they just flat out lie. Well, let's stick with them, the authors, the major perpetrators of the theories. Talk a little bit about them and and what they have done, how their lives have turned? Well, they are celebrities in that world you know, they speak for nice fees and every thing like that and they put one conspiracy book after another and they they have a reading audience and it doesn't make any difference how far out their theory is the farther out the better. Probably the farthest David Lifton, you know about his theory, do you want to get into that crazy theory or not? Let skip that. Quite so far out, its got up to number five it is going to get up higher probably than this book writer, it got up to the number five in the New York Times, but just crazy, its just unbelievable. Would you say that some of the, the most extreme or radical conspiracy authors have have essentially ruined their lives, they have gone down their wherewithal and they have a personal tragedy they haven't come out. Not the authors, I think the boss's are. The authors have made money obviously. I think a lot of them are just deliberately fragile and but the I was one the Discovery Channel and because I happened to know the Director. He was pleased then, you know, we will come to your house, talk for a couple of minutes and I gave advice to any parents who have a child, who on the internet, I said stay away from the Kennedy case, it's toxic, I use the word toxic. James I can tell you that it has ruined many many lives, it has caused divorces, bankruptcies, suicides and everything else. It becomes their whole life. And basically in this book I am telling these people that they wasted the last twenty years of their lives and they are not going to like me for that, people don't like to be told they have wasted their twenty years of life, and I am also asking them to focus their futures, you know what I mean, this is a big part of their life. I mean they go to conventions in Dallas; they have newsletters when they are traveling around the country, they stay over night at friends homes so, it becomes their -their whole lives but most of those are not authors. They are just sincere, patriotic people and they feel that there is you know dark forces behind the death of the President and they wanted to bring justice to whoever perpetrated the murder. I wonder do some to the critics seen motivated by the by a lack of faith in American Institute? Oh, yeah, it's okay. I think you are right. In in Democracy, you know, - I think you are right. Are you sure - is it dangerous to democracy, is that dangerous to our institution to let wild conspiracy series run unchecked? Well, I don't know how much damage it has done to America, so many things have caused damage to America. I think it is that we are down the tube; I think the nation is deteriorating and I think you may agree with me on that. In many many ways and I don't know if its because of the Kennedy assassination but it doesn't help when you insert into the nations marrow as it were, the notion that the people walking the highest corridors of power in America actually changed the ballot box you know, and they changed it and and they had they had the President killed. If its some nut that did it, that's different. But when you start talking about governmental agencies, you know Military Industrial Complex, the CIA, not organized crime but the FBI, Secret Service that has to be deleterious whether on a conscious or a subliminal level to the people of this country. I want to read a line from this months' Vanity Fair to give an example of how the flavor of this is still in the culture. This is the cover story; this is an interview with the noted Kennedy assassination fellow Bruce Willis. And here is what he said in this month's Vanity Fair Unchallenged, the things that are going wrong in Washington, the lobbies etc and here is the line. They have got to stop the guy that show up with bags of money and the huge company that will remain nameless. Some of the stuff you can't say, you can't go out against big oil companies, they killed President of the United States for less than that. They still haven't caught the guy that killed Kennedy. I will get killed for saying this, but I pretty show those guys are still in power in some form. The entire government of United States was co-opted. One guy did it, I don't think so. Is that what more than half the American people believe today? Well the last Gallup polls showed that 75 percent of American people reject the findings of Warren commission, only 19 percent accept the findings and the rest undecided so they've really done a number on the Warren Commission these conspiracy theories. You think part of it as people look from the present days to wrong end of the telescope back in time and see the Kennedy assassination as some sort of cataclysmic trigger that lead to Vietnam, led to the assassination of Bobby Kennedy, led to the assassination of Martin Luther King, led to what some people described probably as the nightmare end of 1960s. Your landmark case, the Charles Manson murders. That people look at it the wrong way and see the Kennedy case as the tipping point that led to a decade of American catastrophe and it couldn't have been one man, it had to be conspiracy, it had to be great powers conspiring to make things happen. Well many people feel there is umbilical chord between the assassination, and all the things you mentioned, Iran Contra, Watergate all that. I don't know about that but certainly - certainly there is a very, very strong possibility that if Kennedy had not been killed, we would not have the Vietnam War. I tend to conclude that in the book. There was division on that what would have happened has been lost to history but I tend to conclude that there would not have been a Vietnam war where this cataclysmic, I would use that word consequences that resonate to this very day. So at least in that respect, yeah it's had a tremendous influence on American history. Whether or not there is a connection between the assassination and these other things like Watergate and Iran Contra I don't know. I think it will speculation but Vietnam, I think - I think there is a very good likelihood we would not have had Vietnam if it had not been to the Kennedy assassination. And wasn't something similar said about the Manson murder, that somehow commentators view it as symbolizing the end of an era. Yeah I think Joan Didion said, it was I think, at the end of 60s and several people have said that it brought an end to that period of our life when, I forget what the mantra was but love, peace and sharing and stuff like that and because see, up to that point people looked at hippies and they were peaceful and they wanted to bring about change by peaceful means and then all of a sudden Manson came along and started wanting to change the status quo by violence and I do know in LA where there is no question of because, there were articles about it that people used to pick up hippies, you know, why not. They maybe scrungy and all that but they were peaceful and then they would have an image of Charles Manson, you know, the long haired. They would pick someone up but whether it was the watershed movements in American history, the Manson cases, some people said I really don't know. It certainly with the reaffirmation of the fact that whenever people turn over their minds to an authoritarian figure whether it's on the left or right, at least the potential for this type of madness exists. I look to go back to Oswald to, I think, the most American's a little known episode. Talk about his other attempted assassination General Walker? Well General Walker was high up in the John Birch Society in Dallas and there was a common denominator between Walker and Kennedy because they were both strongly anti-Castro and Walker with all his urgings a intervention, military intervention in Cuba. And about seven months before the assassination what does Oswald do, well he goes off behind Walker's house and he tries to kill Major General Walker and because of the lighting in the home, the windows sill - he didn't it somehow it blocked his view and the bullet hit the window sill and just missed Walkers head. But he tried to kill Walker about seven months prior to the Kennedy assassination but Walker was a right wing nut and people wondering, you know, it makes sense, they said, for Oswald try to kill Walker. That's the far left shooting at the far right but why Kennedy. Kennedy is in the middle, if anything maybe a little bit to the left. That's a tough question, that's a tough question because Spence raised that issue in London he said Mr. Bugliosi, I want you to believe that Oswald killed someone that he didn't even dislike and he did he did make some positive remarks about Kennedy's pro civil rights stands. But there was also some negative stuff too; he certainly was against Kennedy's support for the Bay of Pigs authorizing the Bay of Pigs invasion. What were we talking about now, again I keep - Well, the let the people know that how Oswald tried to kill before he kind of - I was saying that the the common, the common denominator is that between Walker who was on the far right and Kennedy is they were both anti Castro. But why would may not be able tell us. The dynamics swirling around in his fevered mind that led to this monstrous act of killing. However we do know certain things about. He had delusions of grandeur, he had a diary, what did he call it, historical diary, a squad mate of his said that Oswald wanted to do something that 10,000 years from now people would be talking about, Marina the wife said that he used to compare himself with the historical figures whom he read about in these biographies and there was something else that I used London on the issue of motive. And as you know motive have been never an element of the corpus, the [0:56:48] ____ of any crime you don't have to prove motive, but the jury wants to know why and if you can prove the presence of motive that circumstantial evidence of guilt and the absence of motive that even stronger circumstantial evidence of innocence. So we got into this motive thing and there was something that I was reading that left off the pages, probably because of Manson more than anything else. Reading Oswald's diary and there were two references there, one was that anyone who lives under capitalism and communism as I have has to be opposed to both systems but then here here was the key one, because I had to come up I didn't have to come with motive but I did want to come up with some strong motive and here is the key one. It said anyone who lives under capitalism and communism has to "despise" now we are talking in passion, right, hatred has to "despise the representatives of both systems." The word representative is left left off the page you know why, because the Manson killings were representative killings, Manson didn't know who these people were but they symbolize the establishment to him and he was viciously striking out at the establishment on these two nights of murder. He didn't who they were, he didn't care but they have represented a society to him, the white pigs he called them, the white establishment. So here I see Oswald talking about despising the representatives, so I am starting to think its a representative killing, Oswald did not hate Kennedy but we don't didn't appear that he hated Kennedy, Marina said that there was a little jealously but he did not hate Kennedy and he liked certain aspects of Kennedy but he did hate the United States of America, no question about that. He spoke about it all the time. So from that I started thinking that and I told the jury I didn't know but I have asked them to consider this that Oswald may have viewed Kennedy as the quintessential representative of a society for which he had a grinding contempt and that when he was shooting at Kennedy he was shooting at the United States of America. Now you may think I am playing with words or far out, who knows what was going on his mind. All I do know is whatever his motive was he killed Kennedy. I mean I have got people on [0:59:13] death row without knowing exactly what the motive was, all I knew is that they six feet under and they didn't have any legal justification for doing so. So we don't have to know motive. But that's a tough question on why he did it and we are never going to know the answer of that question. The LA Times last Sunday called Reclaiming History a book for the ages. The New York Times this Sunday will say that the conspiracy theorists were essentially shameless lunatics and that you are right. Thomas Whalen says the same in this month's Atlantic. What would you say about someone who would read every page of this book and still say; oh no Kennedy was killed by a conspiracy? Why would be I wasted 20 years in my life. What would I say about someone who read this Well, what would you say about the mind of someone who would still You know this is almost 3000 pages, you are aware of that I mean with the CD, I - you know it is difficult for me talk about this case and be candid without boasting but I really feel that with the exception of those on the jagged margins of the conspiracy theory, I think that any reasonable conspiracy theorist assuming that's not an oxymoron, I think that it will be very, very difficult. I just don't see how any reasonable rationalist I tell aside those two words, person, conspiracy theorist or otherwise can possibly read this book without concluding beyond all reasonable doubts that Oswald killed Kennedy and acted alone. I really feel that this book here settles all questions, I really do, I sound like I am boasting. The other option is not be candid that's not too advisable either, but I really feel that his book settles all questions about the case once and for all and if someone reads this whole book with an open mind and says that I am full it then I have got problems.