Back in December of 1999, history was made. On December 8th of that year, a jury returned a verdict of not guilty for the late James Earl Ray. But they actually went beyond that and said that Loyd Jowers, a local Memphis businessman was part of a large conspiracy to murder Martin Luther King back in April of 1968.
The problem was a recurrent one with the assassinations of the sixties: the public didn't know about it because the MSM ignored it. In fact, using the word "ignore" is probably too mild. The MSM deliberately decided that they were not going to cover the civil trial brought by the King family against Jowers. We know this for a fact because the only reporter in court every day of the trial was Probe Magazine's Jim Douglass. Even the regular reporter on the King case for the local Memphis Commercial Appeal, who thought he would be in court each day, had to wait for Jim to emerge to get the information about the day's proceedings. Court TV, in its infancy at the time, also had planned to cover the trial. They also did not show up. In fact, after the verdict, the MSM sent Gerald Posner around the TV networks to say that this verdict really did not mean anything.
As one reads the attached story Jim filed for Probe, the opposite is the case. The trial was like a bad dream for the MSM. Because first, as stated, it was backed by the King family. The people who were directly and emotionally involved did not buy the cover up. Secondly, the family's interests were ably represented by a knowledgeable and skilled attorney, William Pepper. Pepper really knew the case. And, unlike Jim Garrison, he was allowed to present his evidence without being directly obstructed. When it was all over, not only did he prove that the late James Early Ray was innocent, he also convinced the jury that a large, high level conspiracy snuffed out King's life. And, in fact, Jim actually interviewed a juror who told him just that.
This remains, even today, one of the very best brief summaries of what happened in that much covered up and distorted case. Thanks to Jim Douglass, Probe was the only media outlet where readers could find the truth at the time. Our thanks to him, and the King family, as we print his work once more in commemoration of that landmark event.
- Jim DiEugenio