Because of his writings on the Kennedy assassination in the Post, New York Times, and his book Scandals, Scamps, and Scoundrels, many have harbored suspicions about Phelan's independence as a writer. What makes him even more suspicious is the company he has kept throughout the years, writes Jim DiEugenio.
Just as we went to press, we were told by New Orleans sources that Perry Russo had passed away of a reported heart attack on August 16th.
Russo, of course, was the witness at the Shaw trial who stated that Ferrie, "Leon" Oswald, and a man he later identified as Clay Shaw, discussed the assassination of President Kennedy at Ferrie's apartment in New Orleans in September of 1963. Russo surfaced after Ferrie's death (Ferrie had threatened his life previously) and became a witness for Garrison at the preliminary hearing of Clay Shaw in March, 1967. Perry was brutally maligned by local Shaw allies like Rosemary James, and national media reporters who ended up having government ties e.g.Walter Sheridan, Hugh Aynesworth, and James Phelan (see p. 7, col. 1). Because he would not turn on Garrison he underwent a four year onslaught that altered his life permanently. He later became a taxi driver, working 80 hour weeks. He would always give researchers access to him and was a font of information on Ferrie, anti-Castro Cubans, and the New Orleans scene in general. In the summer of 1994, Perry got researchers Jeff Caufield and Romney Stubbs into Ferrie's apartment and reconstructed the scene at Ferrie's apartment that he testified to at the Shaw trial.
Jim DiEugenio follows the twists and turns in Connick's statements concerning the destruction of Jim Garrison's files, and the media's hand in obfuscating the facts.
More on the politics of Jim Garrison's successor to the New Orleans DA office, by Jim DiEugenio.
In the New York Times Magazine of August 6, 1995, author Gerald Posner was allowed to do what no other American can do at this moment: pass judgment on a 5 drawer file cabinet of materials from the late Jim Garrison's JFK assassination probe. DA Harry Connick has given Posner sole access to materials about which he said on local television last month: "Everything connected with that case [Shaw trial] should have been retained and preserved in some way." Later before the Assassination Record and Review Board hearing he stated that the files contained, ". . .things that would be of great interest to the American public and the world, as a matter of fact." In praise of the mission of the ARRB, namely to obtain and open up all records on the JFK murder, he said: "I compliment you for attempting to do what I think is a necessary undertaking"; and still later in his testimony, ". . .we think that what you are doing is important and we think that what we can hopefully add to what you're doing will clarify some of the clouded areas of the past and make sense out of what happened." At the time of his testimony-June 28th-Connick was arranging to ship these records to the National Archives so the American public could begin the "clarification of clouded areas" for itself.
In response to a slur concerning his professional reputation in a memorandum from 1969.