The People vs. Lee Harvey Oswald: History on Trial

Overview

Walt Brown weaves an engrossing narrative that will answer once and for all the most fundamental question surrounding the assassination of John F. Kennedy: Could Lee Harvey Oswald have been convicted? Brown, a historian and former Special Agent for the Justice Department, brings before the "court of history" hundreds of witnesses and documents, some rarely seen before. He constructs an extraordinary courtroom drama, and he does so with an historian's concern for scholarship as well as with a federal agent's ...
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Overview

Walt Brown weaves an engrossing narrative that will answer once and for all the most fundamental question surrounding the assassination of John F. Kennedy: Could Lee Harvey Oswald have been convicted? Brown, a historian and former Special Agent for the Justice Department, brings before the "court of history" hundreds of witnesses and documents, some rarely seen before. He constructs an extraordinary courtroom drama, and he does so with an historian's concern for scholarship as well as with a federal agent's understanding of the innermost workings of the American judicial system. A sample of the testimony: Waggoner Carr, Attorney General of Texas testifies that the White House instructed him on how to word Oswald's indictment. A man by the name of Willie Somersett tells the court what he learned once he had penetrated a right-wing organization. The members of this organization had been promised that Kennedy would be eliminated and that someone would be swiftly arrested to satisfy the grieving public. Secret Service Agent Clint Hill, testifies that the rear portion of President Kennedy's head had been removed by the bullet. Dallas Deputy Sheriff Roger Craig relates how a man - a suspect whom he arrested in the railroad yards immediately following the shooting - simply disappeared. Presidential Assistant Kenneth P. O'Donnell tells the court how he was pressured to testify that the shots came from the rear of the limousine, when in fact, the shots he heard came from in front of the President's car. Gordon Arnold and Mary Moorman explain how the film they took of the motorcade was seized by authorities and has not been seen since. Itya Mamantov, who was contacted by intelligence agents on November 22 to serve as a translator for Marina Oswald, stresses that Mrs. Oswald could not identify the telescopic sight on the rifle she was shown. This suggests that she had not seen or photographed Oswald with that rifle in the now famous backyard photos. What were Oswald's mot
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In a brilliantly conceived but workmanlike courtroom drama built around the testimonies of more than 175 actual witnesses to the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Lee Harvey Oswald, having survived Jack Ruby's attempt to assassinate him, goes on trial in late 1964 for the murder of the president and is acquitted. Brown, a historian and former special agent of the Justice Department, makes a strong case that Oswald was the patsy for a professional conspiracy. Oswald's fictive defense attorney, youthful Edward Barnes, the Minnesota kid, riddles holes in the flimsy case mounted by highstrung, 50ish Texas prosecuting attorney Raymond Matthews, who sees the trial as his ticket to fame. In Brown's persuasive argument, there is overwhelming evidence that Oswald did not pull the trigger on any rifle aimed over Dealey Plaza, and that the Dallas police, federal officials and pathologists suppressed or destroyed key evidence. Regrettably, Brown does not explore the conspiracy angle beyond suggesting that the CIA, the Mafia, oil companies and the military all had strong motives to eliminate Kennedy, and the narrative, which may engage history and legal buffs, proceeds at the tedious pace of most actual trials. An epilogue skewers the Warren Commission's lone-assassin scenario and its apologists. (Oct.)
Kirkus Reviews
Huge, gripping novelistic work that assembles the most legally relevant information known about Lee Harvey Oswald to see how he would fare if tried for the murder of JFK. While this is not the last word on Oswald, it does present the State of Texas case so thoroughly that few readers will come to a verdict different from Brown's. A former Special Agent of the Justice Department, Brown is a layman, not a lawyer. He imagines that Oswald survives Ruby's bullet, is charged with Kennedy's murder, the attempted assassination of Governor Connally, and the death of Officer Tippett. The Connally and Tippett trials have been separated from the Kennedy trial, however, and will follow it. Brown also imagines that the 27 volumes of the Warren Commission Report have been published. The prosecution goes to trial thinking that the Warren Report and the Dallas police have handed it an open-and-shut case. Quickly, though, the case against Oswald begins to fold, and the reader realizes that an acquittal lies ahead. The story is how the acquittal is brought about despite the seemingly vast case against Oswald. The prosecutor's witnesses turn out invariably to be witnesses for the defense as the discrepancies between the facts and what the witnesses told the Warren Commission destroy the State's evidence against Oswald. It's all bad news for the prosecution: what the Dallas doctors testify to; what the Dealey Plaza witnesses saw and say; the testimony of those who saw Oswald at places he could not have been (implying an Oswald imposter); the many fake Secret Service agents in Dealey Plaza; the worthless autopsy report from Bethesda; and the absence of motive (many witnesses testify that Oswald likedJFK). Oswald's defender believes his client knew about a conspiracy but didn't commit murder—but Oswald's not on trial for conspiracy. A nose-breaking blow to the lone assassin theory.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780881848694
  • Publisher: Avalon Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/1/1992
  • Pages: 651

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