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Long-lost JFK-era items revealedPhoto property of JFK Lancer. All rights reserved.
07:05 PM CST on Monday, February 18, 2008
By BRAD WATSON / WFAA-TV
DALLAS — On the day set aside to honor America's presidents, items related to the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy were unveiled in Dallas.
Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins became the latest public official to add intrigue to the story surrounding Kennedy's slaying. He released a dozen boxes of papers and items related to the trial of Jack Ruby, who murdered alleged assassin Lee Harvey Oswald.
Watkins said he became aware of the items shortly after he took office in 2006. They had all been locked in a safe for nearly two decades.
At a news conference Monday morning, Watkins showed off what he said were Ruby's gun holster and the brass knuckles that he was carrying when booked into jail after the nationally-televised murder of Oswald.
There's also a transcript of a purported conversation between Oswald and Ruby about shooting the president, but historians strongly believe the conversation never took place—and is probably fake.
Regardless, Watkins wanted everything released to add to the JFK debate.
"I am not lending my authority to this suspected conversation," he said. "All I am doing is providing you the information that we found. Now, I didn't say it was true; I didn't say it was false; I said that it was in a file in a safe that needed to be looked at and needed to be opened with everything else."
Watkins contends that previous district attorneys who followed Henry Wade knew about the assassination-era items but didn't want it to get out. He said his administration's policy of transparency led to Monday's public release.
Watkins said all of the items are owned by the DA's office, and that he will decide what to do with it. He said that could include donating some of it to the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, or to other institutions that could attest to the historical significance of this material—that is, if it has any significance at all.
With the potential for assassination memorabilia to fetch tens of thousands of dollars at auction, Watkins said one thing he won't do is to sell the newly-released items.
Had DA Watkins asked most any JFK assassination researcher about the "Oswald-Ruby" transcript, we wouldn't have had this new red herring all over the media. However, I don't hold it against Watkins as he is releasing lost documents on the Ruby trial that could prove to be most intriguing.
Most probably the transcript is from a a long-discredited claim by Dallas lawyer, Carroll Jarnagin, (letter to J. Edgar Hoover, December 5, 1963. (See a transcript of the letter below.)
No record could be found of the call Jarnagin claims he made to the Texas Dept of Public Safety before the assassination.
Researcher Dave Perry writes,
Dallas District Attorney Henry Wade knew all about Jarnagin. Time magazine wrote, "The commission relied on Texas prosecutor Henry Wade for evaluation of the alleged conversation between Oswald and Ruby, overheard at Ruby's Carousel Club by Dallas lawyer Carroll Jarnagin. Wade found Jarnagin sincere in thinking he had heard Oswald offer to kill Connally so that gangsters could open up the state for their rackets, but he told the commission that the lawyer nonetheless had failed a lie-detector test on the subject." (Time, June 21, 2007, "The Assassination: Did the Mob Kill J.F.K.?" by ED MAGNUSON)
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