A little publicized and long forgotten trial took place nearly 30 years ago in which a jury found that the CIA, and specifically E. Howard Hunt, had been responsible for the assassination of President Kennedy. Why haven’t you heard of this earth-shattering verdict? You’ll have to read previous blogs in this series for that answer. For now, I’ll give you some of the facts of the case. Mark Lane, attorney and noted JFK author, tried the case for Liberty Lobby which was sued by CIA employee E. Howard Hunt. Lane wrote a book about the case, titled Plausible Denial, and I quote a passage from it here:
From the introduction to Plausible Denial, p. xiii, “It has been clearly evident for years that the American public, and the people of the world, do not believe that Lee Harvey Oswald killed John F. Kennedy…the evidence is on their side. It is the side of the truth…this truth was borne out in a courtroom on February 6, 1985, in the US District Court for the Southern District in Florida, where as lawyer for the defense in the case Hunt vs. Liberty Lobby, [Mark] Lane won a verdict from a jury of our peers that upheld, against a claim of libel, a news story that E. Howard Hunt, a long-time CIA employee, was in Dallas on the day the president was shot. The testimony at that trial gave more credibility to the notion that the CIA was involved in the assassination.
“From the transcript of that trial (Plausible Denial, pp. 295-297): Lane’s direct questioning of witness Marita Lorenz:
Q. Did Mr. Hunt pay Mr. Sturgis sums of money for activity related to the transportation of weapons?
Q.Did Mr. Sturgis tell you where you would be going from Miami, Florida, during November of 1963, prior to the time that you traveled with him in the car?
A. Dallas, Texas.
Q. He told you that?
Q. Did you arrive in Dallas during November of 1963?
Q. After you arrived in Dallas, did you stay at any accommodations there?
Q. While you were at the motel, did you meet anyone other than those who were in the party traveling with you from Miami to Dallas?
Q. Who did you meet?
A. E. Howard Hunt.
Q. Was there anyone else who you saw or met other than Mr. Hunt?
A. Jack Ruby.
Q. Tell me the circumstances regarding your seeing E. Howard Hunt in Dallas in November of 1963.
A. There was a prearranged meeting that E. Howard Hunt deliver us sums of money for the so-called operation that I did not know its nature.
Q. Now, can you tell us in relationship to the day that President Kennedy was killed, when this meeting took place?
A. The day before.
Q. Is it your testimony that Jack Ruby, the man who killed Lee Harvey Oswald is, to the best of your ability to identify him, the person who was in the motel in Dallas with you, E. Howard Hunt, and Frank Sturgis the night before the president was killed?
Q. Is it your testimony today, that today’s testimony is consistent with waht you said before the House Select Committee?
A. That’s right.”
From p. 320-22 of Plausible Denial: “Verdict as of February 6, 1985. We, the jury, find for the defendant, Liberty Lobby, and against the plaintiff, E. Howard Hunt.”
“…The reporters gathered around [jury foreperson] Leslie Armstrong. What had caused her to vote for the defendant she was asked time and time again. Patiently she explained that at the outset she was, as were all the jurors, absolutely objective. None of them had any fixed opinion about either or the facts surrounding the assassination of President Kennedy.” And why had she found against Hunt, she was asked…The evidence was clear, she said. The CIA had killed President Kennedy [and] Hunt had been a part of it…”