A three judge panel in New Orleans is holding a preliminary hearing to determine if Clay Shaw should be tried on charges that he plotted the assassination of President John Kennedy.
A three judge panel in New Orleans is holding a preliminary hearing to determine if Clay Shaw should be tried on charges that he plotted the assassination of President John Kennedy. The first day of hearing (March 14) was marked by testimony from and "informer" that Mr. Shaw had met with David Ferrie and Lee Harvey Oswald in September 1963 and that the three discussed the assassination then.
At Tuesday's hearing, the only principal who was visible to the television cameras outside the courthouse was Mr. Shaw.
Mr. Shaw was arrested recently by New Orleans District Attorney James Garrison and charged with plotting the assassination of President Kennedy. The charge was apparently based on the testimony of an informer, Perry Russo. Mr. Garrison produced Mr. Russo at the preliminary hearing. Under Louisiana law, the prosecution can be required to reveal much of its evidence against an accused at a preliminary hearing so that judges can decide if there are sufficient grounds for trying the accused on the charges.
Mr. Russo told the court that he had attended a party at David Ferrie's apartment in September 1963 and had there overheard Clem Bertrand, Leon Oswald, Ferrie discussing a possible assassination. He said Mr. Ferrie took the initiative in the discussions. Mr. Russo than identified "Leon Oswald" from photographs as Lee Harvey Oswald and "Clem Bertrand" as Clay Shaw.
(David Ferrie, a former airline pilot and alleged homosexual, died recently in New Orleans. It has been said that he discussed flying an assassination out of the country. Mr. Shaw is a prominent New Orleans businessman. Mr. Russo, an insurance agent, was at one time a friend of David Ferrie's. Mr. Russo brought his "evidence" to the attention of the authorities only recently because, he told an interviewer, he had not thought if of sufficient importance previously. Both Mr. Ferrie and Mr. Shaw were checked by agents of the U.S. government after President Kennedy's death and cleared of any complicity in the assassination.)