Opening argument made by Jim Garrison

This is the actual opening argument made by New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison in the trial of Clay Shaw for conspiracy to assassinate President John F. Kennedy. It summarizes the actual case presented in court against Shaw. The Oliver Stone movie, "JFK" only briefly shows the actual court case and evidence. Thanks to David Stager for finding this,

From New Orleans District Attorney Records. Garrison handed out xeroxes of his opening speech to the press, and here is what he said:


The State of Louisiana is required by law in all criminal trials to make an opening statement to the jury. This statement is merely a blueprint of what the state intends to prove. It has no probative value and should not be considered as evidence in the case.

The defendant, Clay L. Shaw, is charged in a bill of indictment with having willfully and unlawfully conspired with David W. Ferrie, Lee Harvey Oswald and others to murder John F. Kennedy.

The crime of conspiracy is defined in the Criminal Code of Louisiana as follows:

Criminal conspiracy is the agreement or combination of two or more persons for the specific purpose of committing any crime; provided that an agreement or combination to commit a crime shall not amount to a criminal conspiracy unless, in addition to such agreement or combination, one or more of such parties does act in furtherance of the object of the agreement or combination.

As required by the definition of criminal conspiracy, the state will prove the following overt acts:

1. A meeting of Lee Harvey Oswald, David W. Ferrie and the defendant, Clay L. Shaw, in the apartment of David W. Ferrie at 3330 Louisiana Avenue Parkway in the city of New Orleans during the month of September 1963.

2. Discussion by Oswald, Ferrie and the defendant, Shaw, of means and methods of execution of the conspiracy with regard to the assassination of John F. Kennedy--particularly, the selection and use of rifles to be fired from multiple directions simultaneously to produce triangulation of cross-fire, establishing and selecting the routes of escape from the assassination scene, determination of procedures and the places to be used for some of the principals to the conspiracy so as to establish alibis on the date of the assassination.

3. A trip to the West Coast of the United States by Clay L. Shaw during the month of November 1963.

4. A trip by David W. Ferrie from New Orleans, Louisiana, to Houston, Texas, on the day of November 22, 1963.

5. Lee Harvey Oswald taking a rifle to the Texas School Book Depository in Dallas, Texas, on or before November 22, 1963.

The Criminal Code defines murder in the following terms: 1. When the offender has a specific intent to kill or to inflict great bodily harm.

The evidence will show that in New Orleans, in the summer of 1963, Lee Harvey Oswald was engaged in bizarre activities which made it appear ostensibly that he was connected with a Cuban organization, although in fact the evidence indicated that there was no such organization in New Orleans. This curious activity began on June 16th, when he distributed "Fair Play for Cuba Committee" leaflets on the Dumaine Street Wharf. This distribution took place at the docking site of the United States Aircraft Carrier, the U.S.S. Wasp.

Upon request of the commanding officer of the Wasp, Officer Girod Ray of the Harbor Police approached Oswald and informed him that he would have to stop passing out leaflets and leave the wharf area. At this time, Officer Ray confiscated two pieces of the literature being handed out by Lee Harvey Oswald. One of these was a leaflet, yellow in color with black print, entitled "Hands Off Cuba!" The body of the leaflet contained an invitation to join the Fair Play for Cuba Committee in New Orleans. The other item taken by Officer Ray was a pamphlet entitled "The Truth about Cuba," published by the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, 799 Broadway, New York 3, New York. In conjunction with Officer Ray's testimony, the state will offer into evidence copies of these two pieces of literature.

The evidence will further show that in June 1963 the defendant, Clay Shaw, was present at a party given in an apartment in the French Quarter of this city. Among the guests at the party was David Ferrie, a man known as an accomplished airline pilot. During the course of the party, the conversation among a small group of those present turned to President John F. Kennedy. In this group were David Ferrie and the defendant, Clay Shaw. The comment was made that President Kennedy should be killed and that the job could be best be done by a rifle. At this point, the defendant, Clay Shaw, suggested that the man doing the shooting would probably be killed before he could make his escape. The defendant, after making his observation, turned to Ferrie and asked if it might not be possible to fly the gunman from the scene of the shooting to safety. David Ferrie replied that this would be possible. At this point, the conversation was turned to other subjects.

Later in June of 1963, the defendant, Clay Shaw, was observed speaking to Lee Harvey Oswald on the lakefront in the city of New Orleans. The defendant arrived at the lakefront in a large, black four-door sedan, and was there met by Lee Harvey Oswald, who had walked to the meeting point along the lakefront from a westerly direction. The defendant and Oswald had a conversation which lasted approximately fifteen minutes. At the conclusion of this conversation, the defendant gave Oswald what appeared to be a roll of money, which he immediately placed in his pocket. In shoving the money into his pocket, Oswald dropped several leaflets to the ground. These leaflets were identical with the "Fair Play for Cuba Committee" leaflet taken from Oswald earlier that month on the Dumaine Street Wharf by Harbor Police Patrolman Girod Ray.

The evidence will show that on August 9, 1963, Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested by members of the New Orleans Police Department as a result of his becoming involved in a fight with several Cubans who were protesting his passing out "Fair Play for Cuba Committee" literature. This literature was confiscated by the New Orleans Police Department. The state will offer into evidence three of the seized items, one of which is a yellow leaflet with black print entitled "Hands Off Cuba!" This is the same type of leaflet taken from Oswald at the Dumaine Street Wharf on June 16, 1963, and also the same as the leaflet dropped by Oswald at the lakefront in the latter part of June 1963. The state will also introduce the bureau of identification photograph taken of Lee Harvey Oswald at the time of his booking.

A week later, on August 16, 1963, Lee Harvey Oswald was again distributing "Fair Play for Cuba" leaflets. Once again the distribution was done more as if to attract attention than to actually accomplish distribution. The actual distribution lasted only a few minutes, ending shortly after the news media departed. The state will introduce pictures and a television tape of this distribution, which took place in front of the International Trade Mart, whose managing director at the time was the defendant, Clay Shaw.

The state will show further that in the latter part of August or the early part of September 1963 Lee Harvey Oswald went to Jackson, Louisiana, a small town located not far from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. While in Jackson, he talked to witnesses in reference to his getting a job at the East Louisiana State Hospital in Jackson, Louisiana, and registering to vote in that parish, so as to be able to get the job. The state will introduce the witnesses who talked to Lee Harvey Oswald on this occasion.

The state will show that shortly thereafter, still in late August or early September 1963, the defendant, Clay L. Shaw, Lee Harvey Oswald and David W. Ferrie drove into Clinton, Louisiana--which is very close to Jackson--in a black Cadillac, parking the Cadillac near the voter registrar's office on St. Helena Street. While the defendant, Clay L. Shaw, and David W. Ferrie remained in the car, Lee Harvey Oswald got out of the car and got in line with a group of people who were waiting to register.

The state will introduce witnesses who will testify that they saw the black Cadillac parked in front of the registrar's office and who will identify the defendant, Clay L. Shaw, Lee Harvey Oswald and David W. Ferrie as the individuals in that car.

The state will introduce a witness who talked to the defendant, Clay L. Shaw, on this occasion. In asking Mr. Shaw for his identification, he was told by the defendant that he (Shaw) was from the International Trade Mart in New Orleans, Louisiana.

The state will introduce a witness who will identify Lee Harvey Oswald as the person he talked to in the registrar's office and who will also identify the defendant, Clay Shaw, and David W. Ferrie as the two men seated in the black Cadillac that brought Lee Harvey Oswald to Clinton, Louisiana.

The state will also introduce into evidence a photograph of a black Cadillac car that the witnesses will identify as either the same car or one identical to the one that they saw in Clinton that day.

The evidence will show that in the month of September 1963 the defendant, Clay Shaw, David Ferrie and Lee Harvey Oswald participated in a meeting in which plans for the murder of President John F. Kennedy were discussed and refined. This meeting took place in David Ferrie's apartment at 3330 Louisiana Avenue Parkway in the city of New Orleans. Shaw (using the name of Clem Bertrand), Ferrie and Oswald (using the first name of Leon) discussed details of the conspiracy in the presence of Perry Raymond Russo, after Ferrie gave assurance that Russo was all right.

The plan brought forth was that the President would be killed with a triangulation of cross fire with at least two gunmen, but preferably three, shooting at the same time. One of the gunmen, it was indicated, might have to be sacrificed as a scapegoat or patsy to allow the other participants time to make their escape. No one indicated to Oswald at the meeting that he was going to be the scapegoat and there was no indication of any awareness on his part of such an eventuality.

They also discussed alternate routes of escape, including the possibility of flying to other countries. The defendant and David Ferrie agreed that as part of the plan they would make sure they were not at the scene of the assassination. Their plan for the day of the shooting was to be engaged in a conspicuous activity in the presence of as many people as possible. The defendant, Shaw, stated he would go to the West Coast of the United States. Ferrie, not as positive about his alibi, said he thought he might make a speech at a college in Hammond, Louisiana. As the state will show, Shaw made his way to the West Coast and Ferrie, after his long drive back from Texas, made his way to Hammond, Louisiana, where he slept, not in a hotel room, but on a bed in a college dormitory.

By a month after the meeting, Lee Oswald had moved into a rooming house in Dallas under an assumed name. By the following month when the time for the President's parade arrived, Oswald was on the parade route at the Texas School Book Depository, where a job had been found for him. By the night of Friday, November 22nd, the President was dead, Ferrie was driving through a thunderstorm to Houston, Texas, and the defendant, Shaw, was out on the West Coast. Lee Oswald, however, was in a Dallas jail ending up as the scapegoat.

As to the planning--the conspiracy--our jurisdiction is limited to New Orleans, although we will later offer evidence concerning the assassination in Dealey Plaza in Dallas because it confirms the existence of a conspiracy and because it confirms the significance and relevance of the planning which occurred in New Orleans.

It is the position of the State of Louisiana that, regardless of the power which might bring about the execution of a President of the United States, whether it be initiated by a small group or the highest possible force, neither the planning of his murder nor any part of it, will be regarded in Louisiana as being above the law.

And so, with David Ferrie now dead and Lee Oswald now dead, the state is bringing to trial Mr. Shaw for his role--as revealed by evidence--in participating in the conspiracy to murder John F. Kennedy.

Returning our attention to the cluttered apartment of David Ferrie, the evidence will show that Perry Russo had been a fairly close friend of David Ferrie for some time prior to the meeting between the defendant, Ferrie and Lee Harvey Oswald.

The evidence further will show that Perry Russo first met Lee Harvey Oswald at David Ferrie's apartment shortly before the principal meeting between the named conspirators took place. At this meeting Oswald, who was cleaning a bolt-action rifle with a telescopic sight, was introduced to Russo by Ferrie as Leon. Perry Russo saw Lee Harvey Oswald at Ferrie's apartment at least once after the meeting of the conspirators. On this occasion Oswald appeared to be having some difficulty with his wife and he gave Russo the impression he was leaving town.

Russo also had seen the defendant Shaw, once before the meeting. This was at the Nashville Street Wharf at the time President Kennedy was speaking there in the spring of 1962. The defendant, Shaw, also was seen by Russo with David Ferrie subsequent to the assassination at Ferrie's service station in Jefferson Parish.

In connection with the testimony of Perry Russo, the state will introduce into evidence pictures of the defendant, David Ferrie and Lee Harvey Oswald, as well as pictures of the exterior and interior of David Ferrie's apartment at 3330 Louisiana Avenue Parkway, and other corroborating evidence.

The evidence will further show that the defendant in accordance with the plan, and in furtherance of it, did in fact head for the West Coast of the United States--ostensibly to make a speech--on November 15, 1963. He remained there until after President Kennedy's assassination on November 22, 1963, thereby establishing an alibi for himself for the day of the shooting.

The state will offer into evidence a ledger sheet of travel consultants and testimony which reflects the arrangements made by the defendant, Shaw, to go to the West Coast. This travel consultant firm--which in 1963 was located in the International Trade Mart--was the same firm which arranged for Lee Oswald to go to Europe, from which he went to Russia, several years earlier.

The state will show that Ferrie drove to Houston on the day of the assassination, departing from New Orleans on the evening of November 22--some hours after the President was killed and two days before Lee Oswald was killed. Ferrie drove, with two young companions, through a severe storm for the ostensible purpose of going ice skating in Houston. Upon arriving in Houston, Ferrie and his companions went to the Winterland Skating Rink, where Ferrie loudly and repeatedly introduced himself to the manager of the rink. Despite the fact that he had driven all the way from New Orleans to Houston for the purpose of ice skating, David Ferrie never put on any ice skates at all. While his young friends skated, Ferrie stood by the public pay phone as if waiting for a call.

With regard to the assassination itself, the state will establish that on November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy and Governor John Connally, who was riding in the same limousine, were wounded as a result of gunshots fired by different guns at different locations. Furthermore, the state will show that President Kennedy himself was struck by a number of bullets coming from different guns at different locations--thus showing that more than one person was shooting at the President. The evidence will show that he was struck in the front as well as the back--and that the final shot which struck him came from in front of him, knocking him backwards in his car. Once again, since Lee Oswald was in the Book Depository behind the President, this will show that a number of men were shooting and that he was, therefore, killed as the result of a conspiracy.

The state, in showing that a number of guns were fired during the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, will offer, in addition to eyewitnesses, various photographs and motion pictures of what transpired in Dealey Plaza on November 22, 1963.

First, the state will offer an eight-millimeter color motion picture film taken by Abraham Zapruder, commonly known as the Zapruder film. This film, which has not been shown to the public, will clearly show you the effect of the shots striking the President. In this connection we will also offer slides and photographs of various individual frames of this film. The state will request permission from the court to allow you, the jury, to view this material. Thus, you will be able to see--in color motion picture--the President as he is being struck by the various bullets and you will be able to see him fall backwards as the fatal shot strikes him from the front--not the back but the front.

The evidence will show that shortly after the assassination of President Kennedy, on November 25, 1963, agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation interviewed Dean A. Andrews, Jr., in his room at Hotel Dieu hospital in New Orleans. As a result of this interview with Dean Andrews, a local attorney, the bureau began a systematic and thorough for a "Clay Bertrand."

A man who identified himself as "Clay Bertrand" called Andrews the day after the President's assassination requesting him to defend Lee Harvey Oswald, who by then had been formally charged with the murder of John F. Kennedy. The state will introduce evidence in the course of this case showing that the defendant, Clay Shaw, and the "Clay Bertrand" who called Dean Andrews on behalf of Lee Harvey Oswald, are one and the same person.

The evidence will further show that some time during the year 1966 the defendant, Clay Shaw, requested the U.S. Post Office to deliver mail addressed to him at his residence at 1313 Dauphine Street to 1414 Chartres Street, the residence of a long-time friend, Jeff Biddison. This change-of-address order was terminated on September 21, 1966. During the period that the change of address remained in effect, the U.S. Post Office letter carrier for that route delivered at least five letters to 1414 Chartres Street, addressed to "Clem Bertrand," the name used by the defendant at the meeting between himself, David Ferrie and Lee harvey Oswald in Ferrie's apartment in mid-September 1963. None of the letters addressed to "Clem Bertrand" were ever returned to the postal authorities for any reason. The period during which these letters addressed to "Clem Bertrand" were delivered to 1414 Chartres Street preceded by at least six months the publication of the fact that the Orleans parish District Attorney's office was investigating the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. In fact, it preceded the start of the investigation by the District Attorney's office. In connection with this evidence, the state will offer into evidence the U.S. Post Office forms reflecting this change of address initiated by the defendant and testimony showing the delivery to that address of mail addressed to "Clem Bertrand."

It will be shown that in December 1966 the defendant, Clay Shaw, visited the V.I.P. room of one of the airlines at Moisant Airport and that, while there, he signed the guest register in the name of "Clay Bertrand." Eyewitness testimony will be presented and the guest book which he signed will be introduced into evidence.

The State of Louisiana will ask you to return a verdict of guilty as charged against the defendant, Clay Shaw.
  Jim Garrison's closing summation

One of the most important scenes in the Oliver Stone movie "JFK" is the closing summation given by New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison. The dramatic impact of the scene is impressive and quite convincing that a conspiracy was responsible for the assassination of President Kennedy.

Critics of "JFK" say that Garrison made no such speech. The truth is that three separate closing summations were presented by the New Orleans District Attorney's office.

The first was delivered by prosecutor James Alcock. Alcock reiterated the nuts and bolts of the testimony and evidence presented at trial. He spoke for an hour and twenty five minutes.

The second was delivered by Alvin Oser, another prosecutor in the case. Oser spoke for just over an hour and a half, summarizing the Dallas and Dealey Plaza evidence which supported conspiracy and was heavily critical of the Warren Report

At this point, Irvin Dymond, Clay Shaw's attorney, gave his single closing argument. No defense rebuttal was allowed under then existing Louisiana law. Dymond concentrated on the tenuous link between the events in Dallas and the actions of his client in New Orleans. Dymond said he still believed in the integrity of the Unites States government, claiming that a conspiracy at the level Garrison suggested is "inconceivable." Dymond summarized the physical, photographic and medical evidence used in the Warren Report, criticized the reliability of the witnesses the state had presented and the implausibility of Shaw ever using the alias "Clay Bertrand," or knowing David Ferrie. Dymond's focus on disassociating the events in Dallas from Clay Shaw is critical. Dymond stated it wasn't the basic issue in the case. This is the issue that ultimately decided Shaw's fate. Dymond's last words were, "I ask you to vote your conscience, follow the law--and don't make a mistake."

The state was allowed a rebuttal to the defense summation. Alvin Oser spoke for fifteen minutes, James Alcock spoke again for just under half an hour, then Garrison himself would finally have the last word.

At 10:55pm, February 28, 1969. Garrison delivered his closing argument. He handed out copies of the text to the press. From New Orleans District Attorney Records, this is the actual address Garrison delivered in court in the trial of Clay Shaw for conspiracy to assassinate President Kennedy. Thanks to David Stager for finding this.


May it please the court. Gentlemen of the jury. I know you're very tired. You've been very patient. This final day has been a long one, so I'll speak only a few minutes. In his argument, Mr. Dymond posed one final issue which raises the question of what we do when the need for justice is confronted by power. So, let me talk to you about the question of whether or not there was government fraud in this case--a question Mr. Dymond seems to want us to answer. A government is a great deal like a human being. It's not necessarily all good, and it's not necessarily all bad. We live in a good country. I love it and you do too. Nevertheless, the fact remains that we have a government which is not perfect.

There have been indications since November the 22nd of 1963--and that was not the last indication--that there is excessive power in some parts of our government. It is plain that the people have not received all of the truth about some of the things which have happened, about some of the assassinations which have occurred--and more particularly about the assassination of John Kennedy.

Going back to when we were children, I think most of us--probably all of us here in the courtroom--once thought that justice came into being of its own accord, that virtue was its own reward, that good would triumph over evil--in short, that justice occurred automatically. Later, when we found that this wasn't quite so, most of us still felt hopefully that at least justice occurred frequently of its own accord.

Today, I think that almost all of us would have to agree that there is really no machinery--not on this Earth at least--which causes justice to occur automatically. Men have to make it occur. Individual human beings have to make it occur. Otherwise, it doesn't come into existence. This is not always easy. As a matter of fact, it's always hard, because justice presents a threat to power. In order to make justice come into being, you often have to fight power.

Mr. Dymond raised the question: Why don't we say it's all a fraud and charge the government with fraud, if this is the case? Let me be explicit, then, and make myself very clear on this point.

The government's handling of the investigation of John Kennedy's murder was a fraud. It was the greatest fraud in the history of our country. It probably was the greatest fraud ever perpetrated in the history of humankind. That doesn't mean that we have to accept the continued existence of the kind of government which allows this to happen. We can do something about it. We're forced either to leave this country or to accept the authoritarianism that has developed--the authoritarianism which tells us that in the year 2029 we can see the evidence about what happened to John Kennedy.

Government does not consist only of secret police and domestic espionage operations and generals and admirals--government consists of people. It also consists of juries. And cases of murder--whether of the poorest individual or the most distinguished citizen in the land--should be looked at openly in a court of law, where juries can pass on them and not be hidden, not be buried like the body of the victim beneath concrete for countless years.

You men in these recent weeks have heard witnesses that no one else in the world has heard. You've seen the Zapruder film. You've seen what happened to your President. I suggest to you that you know right now that, in that area at least, a fraud has been perpetrated.

That does not mean that our government is entirely bad; and I want to emphasize that. It does mean, however, that in recent years, through the development of excessive power because of the Cold War, forces have developed in our government over which there is no control and these forces have an authoritarian approach to justice--meaning, they will let you know what justice is.

Well, my reply to them is that we already know what justice is. It is the decision of the people passing on the evidence. It is the jury system. In this issue which is posed by the government's conduct in concealing the evidence in this case--in the issue of humanity as opposed to power--I have chosen humanity, and I will do it again without any hesitation. I hope every one of you will do the same. I do this because I love my country and because I want to communicate to the government that we will not accept unexplained assassinations with the casual information that if we live seventy-five years longer, we might be given more evidence.

In this particular case, massive power was brought to bear to prevent justice from ever coming into this courtroom. The power to make authoritive pronouncements, the power to manipulate the news media by the release of false information, the power to interfere with an honest inquiry and the power to provide an endless variety of experts to testify in behalf of power, repeatedly was demonstrated in this case.

The American people have yet to see the Zapruder film. Why? The American people have yet to see and hear from the real witnesses to the assassination. Why? Because, today in America too much emphasis is given to secrecy, with regard to the assassination of our President, and not enough emphasis is given to the question of justice and to the question of humanity.

These dignified deceptions will not suffice. We have had enough of power without truth. We don't have to accept power without truth or else leave the country. I don't accept either of these two alternatives. I don't intend to leave the country and I don't intend to accept power without truth.

I intend to fight for the truth. I suggest that not only is this not un-American, but it is the most American thing we can do--because if the truth does not endure, then our country will not endure.

In our country the worst of all crimes occurs when the government murders truth. If it can murder truth, it can murder freedom. If it can murder freedom, it can murder your own sons--if they should dare to fight for freedom-- and then it can announce that they were killed in an industrial accident, or shot by the "enemy" or God knows what.

In this case, finally, it has been possible to bring the truth about the assassination into a court of law--not before a commission composed of important and powerful and politically astute men, but before a jury of citizens.

Now, I suggest to you that yours is a hard duty, because in a sense what you're passing on is equivalent to a murder case. The difficult thing about passing on a murder case is that the victim is out of your sight and buried a long distance away, and all you can see is the defendant. It's very difficult to identify with someone you can't see, and sometimes it's hard not to identify to some extent with the defendant and his problems.

In that regard, every prosecutor who is at all humane is conscious of feeling sorry for the defendant in every case he prosecutes. But he is not free to forget the victim who lies buried out of sight. I suggest to you that, if you do your duty, you also are not free to forget the victim who is buried out of sight.

You know, Tennyson once said that, "authority forgets a dying king." This was never more true than in the murder of John Kennedy. The strange and deceptive conduct of the government after his murder began while his body was warm, and has continued for five years. You have seen in this courtroom indications of the interest of part of the government power structure in keeping the truth down, in keeping the grave closed.

We presented a number of eyewitnesses as well as an expert witness as well as the Zapruder film, to show that the fatal wound of the President came from the front. A plane landed from Washington and out stepped Dr. Finck for the defense, to counter the clear and apparent evidence of a shot from the front. I don't have to go into Dr. Finck's testimony in detail for you to show that it simply did not correspond with the facts. He admitted that he did not complete the autopsy because a general told him not to complete the autopsy.

In this conflict between power and justice--to put it that way--just where do you think Dr. Finck stands? A general, who was not a pathologist, told him not to complete the autopsy, so he didn't complete it. This is not the way I want my country to be. When our President is killed he deserves the kind of autopsy that the ordinary citizen gets every day in the State of Louisiana. And the people deserve the facts about it. We can't have government power suddenly interjecting itself and preventing the truth form coming to the people.

Yet in this case, before the sun rose the next morning, power had moved into the situation and the truth was being concealed. And now, five years later in this courtroom the power of the government in concealing the truth is continuing in the same way.

We presented eyewitnesses who told you of the shots coming from the grassy knoll. A plane landed from Washington, and out came ballistics expert Frazier for the defense. Mr. Frazier's explanation of the sound of the shots coming from the front, which was heard by eyewitness after eyewitness, was that Lee Oswald created a sonic boom in his firing. Not only did Oswald break all of the world's records for marksmanship, but he broke the sound barrier as well.

I suggest to you, that if any of you have shot on a firing range--and most of you probably have in the service--you were shooting rifles in which the bullet traveled faster than the speed of sound. I ask you to recall if you ever heard a sonic boom. If you remember when you were on the firing line, and they would say, "Ready on the left; ready on the right; ready on the firing line; commence firing," you heard the shots coming from the firing line--to the left of you and to the right of you. If you had heard, as a result of Frazier's fictional sonic boom, firing coming at you from the pits, you would have had a reaction which you would still remember.

Mr. Frazier's sonic boom simply doesn't exist. It's part of the fraud-- a part of the continuing government fraud.

The best way to make this country the kind of country it's supposed to be is to communicate to the government that no matter how powerful it may be, we do not accept these frauds. We do not accept these false announcements. We do not accept the concealment of evidence with regard to the murder of President Kennedy. Who is the most believable: a Richard Randolph Carr, seated here in a wheelchair and telling you what he saw and what he heard and how he was told to shut his mouth--or Mr. Frazier with his sonic booms? Do we really have to reject Mr. Newman and Mrs. Newman and Mr. Carr and Roger Craig and the testimony of all those honest witnesses--reject all this and accept the fraudulent Warren Commission, or else leave the country?

I suggest to you that there are other alternatives. One of them has been put in practice in the last month in the State of Louisiana--and that is to bring out the truth in a proceeding where attorneys can cross-examine, where the defendant can be confronted by testimony against him, where the rules of evidence are applied and where a jury of citizens can pass on it--and where there is no government secrecy. Above all, where you do not have evidence concealed for seventy-five years in the name of "national security."

All we have in this case are the facts--facts which show that the defendant participated in the conspiracy to kill the President and that the President was subsequently killed in an ambush.

The reply of the defense has been the same as the early reply of the government in the Warren Commission. It has been authority, authority, authority. The President's seal outside of each volume of the Warren Commission Report--made necessary because there is nothing inside these volumes, only men of high position and prestige sitting on a Board, and announcing the results to you, but not telling you what the evidence is, because the evidence has to be hidden for seventy-five years.

You heard in this courtroom in recent weeks, eyewitness after eyewitness after eyewitness and, above all, you saw one eyewitness which was indifferent to power--the Zapruder film. The lens of the camera is totally indifferent to power and it tells what happened as it saw it happen--and that is one of the reasons 200 million Americans have not seen the Zapruder film. They should have seen it many times. They should know exactly what happened. They all should know what you know now. Why hasn't all of this come into being if there hasn't been government fraud? Of course there has been fraud by the government.

But I'm telling you now that I think we can do something about it. I think that there are still enough Americans left in this country to make it continue to be America. I think that we can still fight authoritarianism--the government's insistence on secrecy, government force used in counterattacks against an honest inquiry--and when we do that, we're not being un-American, we're being American. It isn't easy. You're sticking your neck out in a rather permanent way, but it has to be done because truth does not come into being automatically. Individual men, like the members of my staff here, have to work and fight to make it happen--and individual men like you have to make justice come into being because otherwise is doesn't happen.

What I'm trying to tell you is that there are forces in America today, unfortunately, which are not in favor of the truth coming out about John Kennedy's assassination. As long as our government continues to be like this, as long as such forces can get away with such actions, then this is no longer the country in which we were born.

The murder of John Kennedy was probably the most terrible moment in the history of our country. Yet, circumstances have placed you in the position where not only have you seen the hidden evidence but you are actually going to have the opportunity to bring justice into the picture for the first time.

Now, you are here sitting in judgment on Clay Shaw. Yet you, as men, represent more than jurors in an ordinary case because of the victim in this case. You represent, in a sense, the hope of humanity against government power. You represent humanity, which yet may triumph over excessive government power-- if you will cause it to be so, in the course of doing your duty in this case.

I suggest that you ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country.

What can you do for your country? You can cause justice to happen for the first time in this matter. You can help make our country better by showing that this is still a government of the people. And if you do that, as long as you live, nothing will ever be more important.