FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Debra Conway
JFK Lancer Productions & Publications
Warren Commission Suppressed Jackie's
Testimony On JFK's Head Wound
Court Reporter's Tape Shows
Additional Description Withheld
Dallas, TX -- August 5, 2001 -- JFK Lancer, an historical
research firm reports that the Court Reporter's tape
shows Jacqueline Kennedy's testimony before the Warren
Commission had additional descriptions which were withheld.
Mrs. Kennedy testified in a short private session held
at her home in Washington, D.C., with Chief Justice Earl
Warren, Commission General Council J. Lee Rankin, Attorney
General Robert Kennedy, and a court reporter in attendance.
Testimony of witnesses before the Warren Commission was
made public in the fall of 1964. Jacqueline Kennedy's
testimony was also released containing her description
of her husbands wounds which read :
"And just as I turned and looked at him, I could see
a piece of his skull and I remember it was flesh colored. I
remember thinking he just looked as if he had a slight headache.
And I just remember seeing that. No blood or anything."
But a second section in which she described the wounds
she saw carried only the notation: (Reference to Wounds
Although very few Americans actually read those transcripts,
historians and researchers who did read them were outraged,
and waged a legal battle to have the omitted testimony
released. In the early 1970s, a court decision required
the United States Government to disclose to the public
the contents of the still classified section of Mrs.
Kennedy's 1964 Warren Commission testimony. Her previously
withheld statement read:
" I was trying to hold his hair on. From the front
there was nothing --- I suppose there must have been. But from
the back you could see, you know, you were trying to hold his
hair on, and his skull on."
Releasing this previously withheld section gave researchers
what was assumed to be Mrs. Kennedy's complete description
of the President's head wounds. Researchers took for
granted that the hand-typed transcript page released
by the National Archives from the official records of
the Warren Commission ended the matter.
However, new analysis reveals that the original court
tape actually reads:
"... I could see a piece of his skull sort of wedge-shaped,
like that, and I remember that it was flesh colored with little
ridges at the top."
Filmmaker Mark Sobel found the discrepancy while doing
research for a forthcoming documentary on JFK. Sobel
explained, "I was quite surprised to find that Mrs.
Kennedy was not asked for more detail --- she had an
opportunity to view the wounds longer and closer than
any other person as they originally existed. Given the
seemingly contradictory testimony by the doctors who
treated the President at Parkland Hospital in Dallas
just after the shooting and the Doctors who performed
the autopsy at Bethesda many hours later, Mrs. Kennedy's
testimony would appear critical."
Sobel filed under the Freedom of Information Act to
have the court reporter's original tape of Mrs. Kennedy's
testimony unsealed, citing that the content had already
been fully declassified by the courts and that it was
in the best interest of the public for the accuracy of
the existing transcript to be verified. Sobel explained, "As
I compared the 1964 transcript to the original court
reporter's paper tape, I reached a sentence officially
transcribed by the Warren Commission as: "I could
see a piece of his skull, and I remember that it was
flesh colored" words on the original paper
taped no longer matched up."
Court Reporter Kathy Bradford of Bradford Court Reporting
of Dallas, Texas, agreed. Bradford reviewed the transcript
from the archives and certified Mrs. Kennedy's complete
statement was not found in the Warren Commission's version..
This extra description was almost certainly witheld
from the Commissioners and Legal Staff as well, since
these descriptions are missing in the typed transcript
that is contained in the actual Warren Commission Records
--- before it was finally released publicly in its entirety.
Apprised of these new details, David Mantik, M.D., Ph.D.
"Given the lack of follow-up in Mrs. Kennedy's description
to exactly what she saw, these details could have been
valuable to the House Select Committee on Assassinations
that reviewed the medical evidence." Mantik is one
of the few doctors allowed to view President Kennedy's
original autopsy materials in the National Archives.
Secret Service Agent Clint Hill, seen in films and photos
in Dealey Plaza climbing onto the rear of the limousine,
stated in his Warren Commission testimony,
"Between the time I originally grabbed the handhold
and until I was up on the car, Mrs. Kennedy--the second noise
that I heard had removed a portion of the President's head,
and he had slumped noticeably to his left. Mrs. Kennedy had
jumped up from the seat and was, it appeared to me, reaching
for something coming off the right rear bumper of the car,
the right rear tail, when she noticed that I was trying to
climb on the car."
Debra Conway of JFK Lancer, says that the court reporter's
tape is now on their web site. Conway stated, "Mrs.
Kennedy also describes this piece of skull to historian
Theodore White in her famous 'Camelot' interview where
she told him, 'I could see a piece of his skull coming
off; it was flesh colored not white--' This is very
similar to what she said to the Warren Commission."
Conway went on to explain, "There were pieces of
skull found in the street and in the limousine. The piece
of skull described by Mrs. Kennedy could have been one
of those later found in the street, the limousine, or
an avulsed piece still attached to his head."
Researcher Barb Junkkarinen, who specializes in the
medical evidence of the Kennedy assassination and is
the Director of the JFK Alliance for Open Archives organization,
told JFK Lancer,
"The real 'find' here is that two specific descriptions
of the head wound by Mrs. Kennedy (that the skull piece
was wedge shaped, and that it had little ridges at the
top) are not included in what is supposed to be the full
and complete transcript of her testimony."
In his memoirs, Senator Arlen Specter, a Junior Council
for the Warren Commission in 1964, suggests that the
minimal testimony taken from Mrs. Kennedy was due to
Earl Warren wishing to be protective of her, and that
the handling of her testimony created some distress among
other Commissioners and Legal Staff. However, in formerly
Top Secret transcripts of the meetings of the seven Commissioners,
Commissioner John J. McCloy repeatedly emphasized the
importance of obtaining such testimony as quickly as
"She's the best witness," he said "as
to how those bullets struck her husband."
Junkkarinen adds, "Why they would withhold an accurate
description is open to debate, but the fact that they
put out an altered transcript is telling. How many other
transcripts may have fallen victim to the same shenanigans?
This is a find that proves alteration of original evidence,
and that is important.
JFK Lancer Productions & Publications
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