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CONVERSATIONS WITH PERRY

by William Matson Law

"Perry Russo is a unique character because of his individuality.
I don't think the man would lie if you put burning irons on his hands.
He's one of the most remarkable young men I have known."

- Jim Garrison

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I asked Perry about the book American Grotesque, by James Kirkwood, of which he has quite a chapter.

"In his book I supposedly tell him all the stuff that Garrison had me witness to in Court and was made up. I made it up under drugs. I made it up under hypnosis. I don't know how that occurred". "I never knew this", Perry was saying sarcastically. "Everything I said in Court, I confidentially told him (James Kirkwood) differently of which he wrote a book about--American Grotesque--the American Judicial System gone awry, you know, and grotesque. Perry, reading now from the book, quotes Kirkwood. "So Russo asked, 'now that he is washed of his sins, what would he say to Clay Shaw. You know, if I want to apologize and ask for his forgiveness', Perry explained to me. He goes on, 'what would Judas say to Christ?' "That's a great line but he got a little bit too crazy. That line was a dramatic Broadway one-liner. It comes out of his imagination", said Russo. "It fits perfectly if he puts words in my mouth, but I didn't say it."

So, I said to Russo, "you never gave him an interview?"

"Oh yeah, I gave him an interview; I gave him an interview with Garrison's awareness of it." I asked Russo, "so he just made up what he wanted?" "Yes", Perry said, "the guy was way off the fucking beam. For him to say I was so overwrought and now what Judas would say to Christ. That's dramatic; that's cinemographic; that's Broadwayitis." Perry's voice was rising with every word. He went on, "that's James Kirkwood; he's got all these flourishes, all these trumpets and all these great sayings and more power to him. But it's a fictional world to him. He's lost his sense of reality somewhere. And for what reason? He propositioned me for sex." I told him, "I don't get turned on by you." I managed to get in a comment of, "Oh really", while Perry paused for breath. The point is", Perry went on, "that's a melodramatic author, not a fucking two lane Loyola LSU jock who's a pervert like me. It comes from Broadway, "what would Judas say to Christ? Almost Shakespearean". "And so", Perry said, "he gets by with that so the mainstream press, the same type of press that Clinton gets, they don't find anything wrong with him. The man's a fake, he's a sleaze-bucket." "Somebody", Perry said (talking about Clinton and his voice continuing to rise and become excited) "someone should blow his fucking brains out. He's a fake.

Anyway, read the Kirkwood book; it's fabulous. A great reading in fiction--American Grotesque; it will just destroy the Garrison Case if you let his premises go but his facts are all wrong. What he says I told him, I never told him." "He told me", Perry went on, "you couldn't have said Clay Shaw was this. You couldn't hear them talking about the Kennedy assassination. Why wouldn't you run out of the building and say, "they're going to kill Kennedy!" I said, "because I didn't give a fuck. He didn't put that in there (American Grotesque). I told them I didn't give a fuck," Perry said again.

"I said I didn't like Kennedy because those people thrilled me when they talked." Perry, by this time, had wound down a little. So I mentioned that I was reading Counterplot by Epstein. "Yeah sure", Perry said, "there are several works. He has his thoughts, you know, but his assumptions aren't based on anything. At least Garrison--my testimony could have been challenged by all kinds of witnesses if it didn't occur. I had to have been right." "Let me tell you something", Russo said to me. In 1967, 1968 and 1969, and 1970, everything I said about the facts was that if I was making it up, I must have been the smartest son-of-a-bitch that ever walked the streets of New Or-leans. And everything I said about the facts of that period of 1961, 1962 and 1963 was factually correct. Clay Shaw was around, Dave Ferrie was around and Lee Oswald was around'.' "Now remember", Russo said, "if Lee Oswald had been in Texas, it couldn't have occurred." I was able to get in the word, "right" before the waterfall of words from Perry began again. "If Clay Shaw had been in Brazil", he went on, "it couldn't have occurred. All he (Shaw) needed to do was show his hotel receipts for a Brazilian Hotel or a Yugoslavian Hotel. If David Ferrie had been in jail, it could not have occurred. But I just came out of the blue and started saying these things and here I remembered that on September 13, I was at a meeting where they discussed this." I said to Russo, "this is the party you were at." Russo replied, "that's the date, yeah and we discussed it. Anybody comes up and says it didn't occur," Perry sarcastically says, "I was making a speech that night at LSU at the assembly center in Baton Rouge so I couldn't have been there. And Russo, that makes him at least not credible. But no one, no one would get up there (on the stand) and say differently. No one." Perry stopped for a breath. I managed to squeeze in the statement, "what you have to say is explosive stuff."

Perry stated, "Marina Oswald did a great deal of damage. She was tailed incognito for about two months by the FBI after the assassination and she was a Russian woman. When she came out from being incognito (detention), she came forward to tell the world that Lee Oswald, in effect, talked about killing Kennedy and that he was, in fact, guilty of doing such. She was overwhelmed with sympathy for Jackie and so on" "In 1970", Perry said, "she announced that Lee Oswald had never ever stayed away from her bed. So therefore, with Perry Russo saying that Lee Oswald was a roommate and you question the roommate. That's just a quick gay way of saying that's your trick for the night. 'I got in another "right.'" Perry went on, "Ah, of Dave Ferrie, that Lee Oswald was a roommate which, in fact was, incorrect. He never slept around or that he never slept away from Marina and their marriage was, in fact, a fairly decent marriage. It wasn't until 1979 that she became a little more Americanized and she knew that she could say things without worry that she could be kicked out of the country or put in jail".

I put in another, "right", so that Perry would know that I was still there.

Perry continued, "She announced before the House Select Committee on Assassinations that she, in fact, and Lee used to fight all of the time. He used to beat the fuck out of her, get drunk and leave and be gone for three or four days-- a week at the longest." "At this time", Perry said, his voice rising excitedly, "in New Orleans he was going over to Dave Ferrie's house, exactly what I said. Right? I mean you get it. That would make sense."  "You see", Perry said, "that when he had a fight with her, he goes over to this dude's house (meaning Ferrie). That's not so very unusual. But, of course, all the way up to when the trial was around, (The Garrison Trial), that makes me look bad'.' "Right" I was able to say. "I'm saying," Perry said, 'that the guy stayed over at this other guy's house. Well, the wife should know. How the fuck would this dude, Perry Russo know?'", said Perry speaking in the third person. "Well, he did know. She admitted that he used to beat the fuck out of her and then he would run out on her. And he would be gone three or four days and she was glad to see him go," Perry said. She said in 1970 when we were in Court, she said he was always immaculately clean. Well, he wasn't when he was away from her."

"He was dirty", Russo said, "and unshaven. Well and understandable because he didn't bring his saving stuff, he didn't bring his deodorant, he didn't give a fuck; he was mad at the world." "I didn't get along with him", Perry told me, "but I maintained that. I looked like the Lone Ranger. No one could believe me. His wife said he slept every night with her. He took care of the kids. He was never dirty; he was always a clean and meticulous about his person. I'm saying that he was unshaven; a three day beard. Well, it comes out he used to beat the fuck out of her and leave for a week. So, it becomes reasonable that Lee Oswald went over to Ferrie's house." "Dave was not that far", Russo said, "from 49 on Magazine Street, where he lives with her on 33 Louisiana."

I asked Russo for his opinion in regard to whether or not Jack Ruby knew Oswald.

"I sure do", Russo replied. "The thing is", Perry said, "about him knowing Oswald, if you will, there is a tape Rush to Judgment. "I have that", I said to Perry. "You have that", Perry said, "you have the tape?" "Do you also have the book?", he asked. I get everything I can", I replied. "In it", (Rush to Judgment) Perry told me, "the people are interviewed that worked Ruby at the Carousel Club". "Right", I said. "And Garrison had interviewed quite a few more. The basic consensus of what they said was the Jack Ruby knew Oswald, knew Tippet, knew these people and knew half of the Sheriff's Office on a first name basis. And when the official version was by the Police Chief'; Jesse Currie", I interjected. "that was his first name", Russo asked. "That was Jesse Currie".

"Yeah'; Russo said. "Currie said there had only been 12 to 15 incidents of the police ever being at the Carousel Club. Of that 1,000 man police force, only 10 to 15 were on Vice Business; undercover. Trying to get a broad to solicit or something. To that effect, 15 out of the 1,000." "Let's say", Perry went on, "50 out of 1,000; that's five percent. That's three times what the Police Chief Currie said. 300% more than what the Police Chief said. "Who would ask the people that were there?", said Perry answering his own question. "Oh yeah, there's no ax to grind, nothing to grind, nothing to be gained by this. They say, "Well, why didn't you come forward, Jack Ruby knowing all these people. Well, he knew about half the police force by first name. Half of 500; or let's say this black piano player, the dancing girls were wrong by 50%. That's still 250." "You bet", I said. "And that's still", Perry continued, "that 250 versus 15 to 20 people."

"Now getting back to Oswald", said Perry, "there are people in the place (Carousel Club) that saw Ruby and Oswald together." "You see", Perry said. "Yes", I replied. "That placed them together. Now that's nothing damning at all but there is something for an argument that says Oswald never looked at the gun when he was being shot. He looked straight a Ruby's eyes", Perry said, "with that look on his face, "what the fuck are you doing here". "It was a look of recognition", Perry said to me. "Play the tape Rush to Judgment over and over. He never looks at the gun." "Right, I have", I said. "Yeah", Perry said, "And Ruby looking through the group and pulls out his pistol. And shoves it in Oswald's stomach and bang, bang. And Oswald never looks at the gun. So it would make sense that they did know each other.

Ruby was in with some folks over here in the French Quarter. "I don't know about ownership", Russo said, "it may have been percentage of the over ownership. But the Marcello Family owned most of the money-making clubs. The big ones so that would put them in relations with, or very good contact with, none other than Carlos Marcello". "People who are", said Perry with emphasis on people, "who are (in the voice of a carnival barker) Dave Ferrie." "Right", I said. "He pops up all over the place." "All over the place", Perry echoes. "He, in fact, returned Carlos Marcello from Guatemala (meaning Ferrie). He flew him back into the country after Bobby Kennedy had deported him." "That's a fact", Perry said. "The point is, Ruby then has contact here.

Perry came back to the subject of Jim Garrison. "They always try to make him the bad guy", Perry said. "It should have worked but for Mark Lane came along and began Rush to Judgment. He had been hired to defend Lee Oswald by Margarita Oswald and on his way to Dallas, Oswald gets shot. So he (Lane) no longer has a client. Margarita Oswald says her son worked for the government. Now even they say he did it and now it will be in the history books: Lee was the killer of a President. But her son worked for the government." "What does she mean by that?", Russo asked rhetorically. "She asked Mark Lane to continue and he said "only if I come up with an idea that he, in fact, did it. I will make an announcement that way." "And she said O.K.. Well, the Garrison Investigation then comes up with the exact reverse; he didn't do it" "That doesn't make Mark Lane correct", Russo said. "I see him every once in a while here in town." "Oh, do you really?", I said. "Yeah, and it doesn't make him correct.


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