Monday, February 18, 2008

Dallas DA's Office: JFK Assassination Memorabilia

DALLAS (AP) — A curious transcript purportedly about President John F. Kennedy's assassination has been discovered among boxes of memorabilia that were long forgotten in an old safe at the Dallas County district attorney's office.

While the transcript reads like a conspiracy theorist's dream — Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby plotting to kill Kennedy — the DA's top assistant said it's likely material for a proposed movie.

Other items found in an old safe on the 10th floor of the county courthouse include letters to and from former DA Henry Wade, the now-dead prosecutor in the Ruby trial, The Dallas Morning News reported in Sunday's editions. Ruby shot and killed Kennedy assassin Oswald two days after the president's death.

There are also letters to Ruby, records from his trial, a gun holster and clothing that probably belonged to Ruby and Oswald, said District Attorney Craig Watkins, who planned to discuss the find at a news conference Monday.

Much of the attention is bound to focus on the transcript purporting that Ruby and Oswald met at Ruby's nightclub on Oct. 4, 1963, less than two months before the Nov. 22 assassination. In it, they talked of killing the president because the Mafia wanted to "get rid of" his brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy.

Says Oswald in the transcript, "I can still do it, all I need is my rifle and a tall building; but it will take time, maybe six months to find the right place; but I'll have to have some money to live on while I do the planning."

Gary Mack, curator of the Sixth Floor Museum near where the president was shot, hasn't seen the transcript but doubts it's real. It is well-documented that Oswald was in Irving the evening of Oct. 4, at a home where his wife was staying, Mack said.

"The fact that it's sitting in Henry Wade's file, and he didn't do anything, indicates he thought it wasn't worth anything," Mack said. "He probably kept it because it was funny. It's hilarious. It's like a bad B movie."

Terri Moore, Watkins' top assistant, said she believes the latest transcript is part of a movie Wade was working on with producers. The former prosecutor wrote about the proposed movie, "Countdown in Dallas," in letters found in the safe.

"It's not real. Crooks don't talk like that," Moore said. "If that transcript is true, then history is changed because Oswald and Ruby were talking about assassinating the president."

The transcript resembles one published in a report by the Warren Commission, which investigated Kennedy's assassination and determined that Oswald was the lone gunman. The FBI determined that conversation between Oswald and Ruby about killing the governor was definitely fake.

The account in the commission report was "re-created" for authorities by a now-deceased Dallas attorney who claimed he recognized Oswald in a newspaper photo as the man he saw talking to Ruby.

It's unknown whether the boxes Watkins and others found in the courthouse about a year ago have information previously undisclosed to the public or the Warren Commission.

The search began after Watkins was told the gun used to kill Oswald was somewhere in the courthouse. They didn't find the gun, which Mack said is privately owned. The boxes probably sat in the safe since being moved when the courthouse opened in 1989.

The items are still being processed and eventually will be donated to an entity that can authenticate them, preserve them and make them available to the public, Watkins said.

"It's interesting, and it's not ours," Watkins said. "It's the public's."

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