LaHISTORY: Jim Garrison

Next month marks the 25th anniversary of the death of New Orleans district attorney Jim Garrison, a man with firm connections to the sprawling conspiracy theories involving the JFK assassination.

According to his New York Times obituary, Garrison “asserted that Lee Harvey Oswald, whom the Warren Commission identified as the lone assassin in the President's 1963 death, was not the killer and had ‘never fired a shot.’ Announcing that he had ‘solved the assassination,’ Mr. Garrison accused anti-Communist and anti-Castro extremists in the Central Intelligence Agency of plotting the President's death to thwart an easing of tension with the Soviet Union and Cuba, and to prevent a retreat from Vietnam.”

Garrison claimed to have uncovered evidence demonstrating that Clay Shaw, acting under an alias, met with Lee Harvey Oswald and a man named David Ferrie on several occasions to plan the assassination of JFK.

He did eventually prosecute Shaw, but the 34-day trial was seen by the country as a circus, according to one take on the matter that can be found in Loyola University’s archives. The jury acquitted Shaw after deliberating less than an hour… Here’s more from the archives:

“On February 17, 1969, an article entitled ‘Mardi Gras Season’ compared the trial to carnival season in New Orleans, styling that the ‘flamboyant D.A.’ introduced his ‘mystery witness to supplement the exotic array of stars who trotted out for public showing.’ In fact, Newsweek became so critical of the Garrison trial of Clay Shaw that it even turned on its fellow members of the press, criticizing various magazines and newspapers for not being critical enough. At the top of its list were New Orleans own Times Picayune and the States-Item. However, both newspapers feared to editorialize because of a court injunction preventing them from printing anything which might jeopardize the objectivity of the jurors. Therefore, both newspapers waited until after the trial to editorialize.”

In 1973, Garrison himself was indicted on federal charges of taking bribes to protect illegal pinball gambling. He defended himself and won, but the trial hurt his campaign for a fourth term. He lost re-election to Harry Connick Sr., ending a 12-year elected career. He won a seat in Louisiana’s Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal in 1978, and remained there until he retired at age 70.

At six-foot-six, Garrison was “known for bar hopping along Bourbon Street, often wearing a white dinner jacket.” Months before his death, he returned to the limelight in Oliver Stone’s movie “J.F.K.,” a narrative based largely on Garrison’s own accounts that grossed $195 million in the box office. Garrison was advisor to the film and played Chief Justice Earl Warren, the commission head whose conclusions Garrison denounced as "totally false.”

He passed away in 1992 at his home in New Orleans.

*** WORTH WATCHING: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wzys8dIOnIkhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hqo2c_SxQag&t=4s & https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BckPa2_A8gI

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