Newly discovered JFK assassination items revealed

Note that this release of files after 45 years was authorized by the new Dallas County DA, Watkins, a Democrat who is liberal. Bill Kelly, co-founder of COPA and the Committee for an Open Archives, has been promoting a petition for a Grand Jury on the JFK murder to reopen the case and hear the evidence. This new DA may be the right person to approach given his comments about “nothing to hide” – John Judge

Newly discovered JFK assassination items revealed

04:01 PM CST on Monday, February 18, 2008

By DAVID TARRANT / The Dallas Morning News
dtarrant@dallasnews.com

Historical items related to the Kennedy assassination secretly kept locked for decades in a six-foot safe in a Dallas courthouse were publicly revealed for the first time today.

Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins said he was going public with the existence of the items as part of an effort to run an open administration.

“Our motto has always been that everything is open. We have nothing to hide. So we’re making public everything that we have found in the safe,” Mr. Watkins said during a news conference on the 11th floor of the Frank Crowley Courts Building. The courthouse overlooks the site where President Kennedy was assassinated on Nov. 22, 1963.

News that a secret treasure trove of documents related to the Kennedy assassination was first broken by The Dallas Morning News in its Sunday editions. Monday’s news conference attracted several dozen members of the news media, both local and national. Mr. Watkins said he anticipated that his office would get calls from around the country and the world.

02/17/08: Dallas County DA’s office finds cache of JFK memorabilia

Archive: JFK – The story behind the story

Mr. Watkins stood by two tables stacked with more than a dozen cardboard boxes filled with documents as well as other items of curiosity, including a leather gun holster and a set of brass knuckles that belonged to Jack Ruby.

The treasure trove of documents and other items include personal letters to and from former District Attorney Henry Wade and clothing that likely belonged to Ruby and Kennedy’s assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, Mr. Watkins said.

Among the most interesting documents unearthed so far was a transcript of an alleged conversation between Ruby and Oswald plotting to kill the president because the Mafia wanted to “get rid of” his brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy.

Gary Mack, curator of The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, said last week that the conversation could not have happened because it was well-documented that Oswald was in Irving at home with his wife the evening that the conversation was supposed to have taken place.

Mr. Watkins said he didn’t know if the alleged conversation was real or fake. “But what we do know is that it will open up the debate as to whether or not there was a conspiracy to assassinate the president.”

Another document appeared to be a contract signed by Henry Wade for a movie production deal, which is dated April 27, 1967, and which “would have made Mr. Wade a rich man,” Mr. Watkins said, adding, “We don’t know why this movie was never produced.”

Mr. Watkins also noted that documents found in the safe reflected the tone and climate of racial relations that existed in the criminal justice system and throughout the country in the early 1960s. Throughout many of the documents, Mr. Watkins said, “you see that racist tone that goes throughout our criminal justice system in the 1960s. …You’d be surprised how people of color are characterized.”

Brandishing a letter written in 1964 from the district attorney of Hunt County to Mr. Wade, Mr. Watkins noted that the Hunt County letterhead included the slogan: “The blackest land and the whitest people.”

Noting that it was Black History Month, Mr. Watkins said that the letter “tells you how far we’ve come in criminal justice, not only in this state but in this country.

“This is why we have to bring credibility to the criminal justice system — because there was a time when a person’s color mattered more than his guilt or innocence.”

Mr. Watkins’ office hasn’t completed scanning the information — about 90 percent has been finished.

Once that’s done, his office plans to donate the information to a third-party institution, including The Sixth Floor Museum.

Staff writer Jennifer Emily contributed to this report.

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