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Saturday, 17 April 2021 23:00

Fred Litwin Smooches Clay Shaw’s Lawyers

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Jim DiEugenio calls into question the credibility of Fred Litwin’s primary sources for his book On the Trail of Delusion by exposing the clear deceptions of Clay Shaw’s lawyers regarding Shaw’s long-standing connection to the Central Intelligence Agency.


In Fred Litwin’s book about New Orleans and Jim Garrison, he reveals that he was stung by my criticism of his first book I Was A Teenage JFK Conspiracy Freak. There I said that in his references to Jim Garrison, he never used any primary sources. So in his book on Garrison, On the Trail of Delusion, he relied in large part upon the files of Clay Shaw’s lawyers. And he actually presented these as being credible pieces of evidence, which is another problem with his book.

If there is one word I would use to describe Shaw’s legal team, it would not be “credible.” As I have related elsewhere, Shaw’s lead lawyer, Irvin Dymond lied to me about there being no CIA-cleared panel of lawyers in New Orleans. In fact, Shaw’s former boss, Lloyd Cobb was on that panel.

Shaw’s lawyers—Dymond, Sal Panzeca, and Ed and Bill Wegmann—did not want to admit to all the help they were getting from Washington. This included the Department of Justice, the FBI, and the CIA. To my knowledge, they never revealed this and at every opportunity they denied it. When I posited this direct question to Dymond, as to if he ever asked himself where this help was coming from, he replied with: “Well, it was the Kennedy assassination.”

That statement was utterly false. As early as 1967, Shaw’s lawyers were literally pleading for help from Washington. And one of the more valuable achievements of the Assassination Records Review Board was that they made this provable through the declassification process. By September of 1967, the CIA had actually set up what they called “The Garrison Group” at the request of Director Richard Helms. At the first meeting of this group, James Angleton’s assistant Ray Rocca predicted that if Garrison proceeded as he was, Clay Shaw would be convicted. (James DiEugenio, Destiny Betrayed, Second Edition, p. 270) It turned out that, even in September of 1967—seven months after he was indicted—Shaw had not even revealed his longstanding association with the CIA to his own lawyers. In his initial direction to the group, Helms stated that there should be consideration to the implications of Garrison’s inquiry before, during, and after the trial of Clay Shaw. (Ibid, italics added) As is revealed by the declassified record, every appeal—in person and by letter—to the DOJ was sent to Larry Houston, the Chief Counsel of the CIA, Helms’ close personal consultant and friend. And as HSCA attorney Bob Tanenbaum noted at a conference in Chicago in 1993, there was action taken. He had seen documents out of Helms’ office detailing surveillance on Garrison’s witnesses; James Angleton was running background checks on prospective jurors for the Shaw trial. (CIA Memo of February 11, 1969)

The obvious question from all of this—and much more—is that there was a covert story to the undermining of Garrison in which Shaw’s lawyers played a large part. After much examination of this declassified record, it is quite fair to conclude that, at the very least, Shaw’s lawyers knew he would lie when they put him on the stand. For example, from the following articles, they knew that Shaw knew Ferrie. From a cleanly declassified FBI memo, they knew he used Clay Bertrand as an alias. (FBI Memorandum of March 2, 1967) And, as the reader will see, they knew much more than that. In fact, they participated in Guy Banister’s operations. From these articles it is fair to say that all that mattered to them was winning the case. In making that Faustian agreement, Shaw’s attorneys descended into a surreal subterranean netherworld. One that would be concealed from public view for almost three decades.

Only Fred Litwin—and his co-editor Paul Hoch—would either ignore or discount this crucial information. And then utilize Shaw’s lawyers’ material as if it were credible.

Last modified on Saturday, 17 April 2021 23:35
James DiEugenio

One of the most respected researchers and writers on the political assassinations of the 1960s, Jim DiEugenio is the author of two books, Destiny Betrayed (1992/2012) and The JFK Assassination: The Evidence Today (2018), co-author of The Assassinations, and co-edited Probe Magazine (1993-2000).   See "About Us" for a fuller bio.

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