Clay Shaw

Clay Shaw

Clay Shaw was a businessman in New Orleans. He joined the U.S. Army and took part in the fighting in Europe. He served as an aide to General Charles Thrasher and by the time he retired in 1946 he had reached the rank of major general.

He played an important role in the restoration of historic New Orleans sites and in 1962 he established the city's International Trade Mart. He was a member of the World Trade Development Committee and a member of the board of directors of Permindex.

In 1961, Jim Garrison was elected as the city's district attorney. He developed a good reputation and in his first two years he never lost a case. Garrison took a keen interest in the case of Lee Harvey Oswald. After investigating the matter he became convinced that a group of right-wing activists, including Shaw, Guy Bannister, David Ferrie and Carlos Bringuier were involved in a conspiracy with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to kill John F. Kennedy. Garrison claimed this was in retaliation for his attempts to obtain a peace settlement in both Cuba and Vietnam.

Two of those being investigated died: Guy Bannister (June, 1964) and David Ferrie (February, 1967). On 2nd March, 1967, Jim Garrison announced the arrest of Clay Shaw on charges of conspiring to assassinate President John F. Kennedy. Attorney General Ramsay Clark, stated that the FBI had already investigated and cleared Shaw "in November and December of 1963" of "any part in the assassination". As Garrison has pointed out: "The statement that Shaw, whose name appears nowhere in the 26 volumes of the Warren Commission, had been investigated by the federal government was intriguing. If Shaw had no connection to the assassination, I wondered, why had he been investigated?" Within a few days of this statement Clark had to admit that he had published inaccurate information and that no investigation of Shaw had taken place.

As part of Garrison's attempt to prove the existence of a conspiracy, he subpoenaed the Zapruder Film from Time-Life Corporation. The company refused and they fought this subpoena all the way to the Supreme Court, which finally ruled that the corporation had to hand over the film. As Jim Marrs has pointed out: "Time-Life grudgingly turned over to Garrison a somewhat blurry copy of the film - but that was enough. Soon, thanks to the copying efforts of Garrison's staff, bootleg Zapruder films were in the hands of several assassination researchers."

At the trial in February, 1969, Perry Russo claimed that in September, 1963, he overheard Shaw and Ferrie discussing the proposed assassination of John F. Kennedy. It was suggested that the crime could be blamed on Fidel Castro.

During Shaw's trial Russo's testimony was discredited by the revelation that he underwent hypnosis and had been administered sodium pentathol, or "truth serum," at the request of the prosecution. It claimed that Russo only came up with a link between Clay Shaw , David Ferrie and Lee Harvey Oswald after these treatments. The jury found Shaw not guilty of conspiring to assassinate John F. Kennedy.

In 1973 Jim Garrison lost the office to Harry Connick. After leaving his post as district attorney Garrison wrote a book about his investigations of the Kennedy assassination, On the Trail of the Assassins (1988).

Clay Shaw died in 1974.

Primary Sources

(1) Pershing Gervais, who worked for Jim Garrison, was interviewed for Patricia Lambert's book, False Witness, in 1998.

Garrison inverted the criminal investigatory process. You should begin by assembling the facts and from the facts you may deduce a theory of the crime. . . . Garrison did the opposite. He started with a theory and then assembled some facts to support it. Those facts that fit the theory, he accepted. Those that did not, he either ignored or rejected as CIA misinformation.

(2) Jim Garrison, interviewed by Playboy Magazine (October 1967)

Playboy: Frank McGee claimed that NBC investigators had discovered that your two key witnesses against Clay Shaw - Perry Russo and Vernon Bundy - both failed polygraph tests prior to their testimony before the grand jury. In the case of Russo, who claimed to have attended a meeting at David Ferrie's apartment where Shaw, Oswald and Ferrie plotted the assassination, NBC said that "Russo's answers to a series of questions indicate, in the language of the polygraph operator, 'deception criteria.' He was asked if he knew Clay Shaw. He was asked if he knew Lee Harvey Oswald. His 'yes' answer to both of these questions indicated 'deception criteria.'" Did Bundy and Russo fail their lie-detector tests?

Jim Garrison: No, and NBC's allegations in this area are about as credible as its other charges. The men who administered both polygraph tests flatly deny that Russo and Bundy failed the test. I'll offer right now to make Russo's and Bundy's polygraph tests accessible to any reputable investigator or reporter the day Clay Shaw's trial begins; I can't do it before that, because I'm restrained from releasing material pertaining to Shaw's guilt or innocence. Just for your information, though, the veracity of Bundy and Russo has been affirmed not only through polygraph tests but through hypnosis and the administration of sodium amytal - truth serum.

I want to make a proposition to the president of NBC: If this charge is true, then I will resign as district attorney of New Orleans. If it's untrue, however, then the president of NBC should resign. Just in case he thinks I'm kidding, I'm ready to meet with him at any time to select a mutually acceptable committee to determine once and for all the truth or falsehood of this charge. In all fairness, however, I must add that the fact Bundy and Russo passed their polygraph tests is not, in and of itself, irrefutable proof that they were telling the truth; that's why we administered the other tests. The lie detector isn't a foolproof technique. A man well rehearsed and in complete control of himself can master those reactions that would register on the polygraph as deception criteria and get away with blatant lies, while someone who is extremely nervous and anxiety-ridden could tell the truth and have it register as a lie. Much also depends on who administers the test, since it can easily be rigged. For example, Jack Ruby took a lie-detector test for the Warren Commission and told lie after outright lie - even little lies that could be easily checked --- and yet the Warren Commission concluded that he passed the test. So the polygraph is only one weapon in the arsenal we use to verify a witness' testimony, and we have never considered it conclusive; we have abundant documentation to corroborate their stories.

Playboy: Two convicts, Miguel Torres and John Cancler, told NBC that Vernon Bundy admitted having lied in his testimony linking Clay Shaw to Lee Oswald. Do you dismiss this as just another NBC fabrication?

Jim Garrison: Messrs. Cancler and Torres were both convicted by my office, as were almost half the men in the state penitentiary, and I'm sure the great majority of them have little love for the man who sent them up. I don't know if they fabricated their stories in collusion with NBC or on their own for motives of revenge, but I'm convinced from what I know of Vernon Bundy that his testimony was truthful. NBC manipulated the statements of Cancler and Torres to give the impression to the viewer that he was watching a trial on television - my trial - and that these "objective" witnesses were saying exactly what they would say in a court of law. Actually - and NBC scrupulously avoided revealing this to its audience - their "testimony" was not under oath, there was no opportunity for cross-examination or the presentation of rebuttal witnesses, and the statements of Cancler, Torres and all the rest of NBC's road company were edited so that the public would hear only those elements of their story that would damage our case. The rules of evidence and adversary procedure, I might add, have been developed over many years precisely to prevent this kind of phony side show.

Of course, these two convicts have been used against my office in variety of respects. Miguel Torres also claims I offered him a full pardon, a vacation in Florida and an ounce of heroin if he would testify that Clay Shaw had made homosexual overtures to him on the street. What on earth that would have established relevant to this case I still don't know, but that's his story. I think it was actually rather cheap of me to offer Torres only an ounce of heroin; that wouldn't have lasted out his vacation. A kilo would be more like it. After all, I'm not stingy. Torres' friend John Cancler, a burglar, has also charged that one of my investigators tried to induce him to burglarize Clay Shaw's house and plant false evidence there, but he refused because he would not have such a heinous sin on his conscience. I suppose that's why Cancler's prison nickname is "John the Baptist." I can assure you, if we ever wanted to burglarize Shaw's home --- which we never did - John the Baptist would be the last man on earth we'd pick for the job. By the way, Mr. Cancler was called before the grand jury and asked if he had told the truth to NBC. He replied; "I refuse to answer on the grounds that my answer might incriminate me" - and was promptly sentenced to six months in prison and a $500 fine for contempt of court.

Playboy: The NBC special also claimed to have discovered that "Clay, or Clem, Bertrand does exist. Clem Bertrand is not his real name. It is a pseudonym used by a homosexual in New Orleans. For his protection, we will not disclose the real name of the man known as Clem Bertrand. His real name has been given to the Department of Justice. He is not Clay Shaw." Doesn't this undermine your entire case against Shaw?

Jim Garrison: Your faith in NBC's veracity is touching and indicates that the Age of Innocence is not yet over. NBC does not have the real Clay Bertrand; the man whose name NBC so melodramatically turned over to the Justice Department is that of Eugene Davis, a New Orleans bar owner, who has firmly denied under oath that he has ever used the name Clay, or Clem, Bertrand. We know from incontrovertible evidence in our possession who the real Clay Bertrand is - and we will prove it in court.

(3) Clay Shaw, diary entry (17th March, 1967)

The press of course had a field day with the entire preliminary hearing and there have been many descriptions of my grim expressions, my chain smoking, etc, etc. etc. One of the curious things about Russo's testimony, was that he did not feel that we had made any definite plans for the assassination of the President but had talked about it in general terms. He did say, of course, that there was much talk about the need for a scape goat, and that none of the three of us could possibly appear at the time of the assassination. It was agreed, according to him, that Ferrie was to go to Hammond, I would be on the West Coast traveling for my firm, as he put it, and it wasn't very clear what was going to happen to Harvey Lee Oswald [sic]. Another startling defect in his testimony was his insistence that the man he had known as Leon Oswald, and whom he identified as Ferrie's roommate, had always been very unkempt, unshaven, with lots of hair. In fact, he was not able to identify Leon Oswald as Lee Harvey Oswald until a police artist had sketched an unshaven beard onto the chin of the photograph he had originally been shown. This of course was directly contrary to all the evidence of people who knew Oswald which indicates that he was psychopathically neat and tidy in his personal appearance. The other incredible part of his story is that Oswald lived with his wife until September 23 and she returned to Dallas and then he himself left for Mexico on the 25th, which would have given him very little time to be Mr. Ferrie's roommate. Above all, the real damaging thing in Russo's testimony is why he did not come forward previously. He says he was busy with school work, had a lot of things on his mind, didn't want to push himself on people, felt the FBI knew what they were doing, and therefore he felt no necessity as a citizen to come forward and describe to the FBI the assassination plot he alleges he overheard sometime in late September or early October, in the apartment of Ferrie. This is manifestly absurd, as is the notion that I would ever undertake such a plot under the conditions he describes.

I can only assume that he is acting out of self-interest, or for publicity, or because he has been hypnotized and this information fed to him. He is certainly not averse to publicity, and some very rapid investigation on the part of our people indicates that he has a very bad reputation in several areas, particularly for his operations in the French Quarter. He has also, by his own admission, been under psychiatric treatment for some time. All in all, not a very reliable witness, but sufficient for the DA to have me bound over.

(4) Jim Garrison, closing speech at the trial of Clay Shaw (28th February, 1969)

There have been indications since November the 22nd of 1963 - and that was not the last indication - that there is excessive power in some parts of our government. It is plain that the people have not received all of the truth about some of the things which have happened, about some of the assassinations which have occurred - and more particularly about the assassination of John Kennedy...

The government's handling of the investigation of John Kennedy's murder was a fraud. It was the greatest fraud in the history of our country. It probably was the greatest fraud ever perpetrated in the history of humankind. That doesn't mean that we have to accept the continued existence of the kind of government which allows this to happen. We can do something about it. We're forced either to leave this country or to accept the authoritarianism that has developed - the authoritarianism which tells us that in the year 2029 we can see the evidence about what happened to John Kennedy.

Government does not consist only of secret police and domestic espionage operations and generals and admirals - government consists of people. It also consists of juries. And cases of murder - whether of the poorest individual or the most distinguished citizen in the land - should be looked at openly in a court of law, where juries can pass on them and not be hidden, not be buried like the body of the victim beneath concrete for countless years.

You men in these recent weeks have heard witnesses that no one else in the world has heard. You've seen the Zapruder film. You've seen what happened to your President. I suggest to you that you know right now that, in that area at least, a fraud has been perpetrated.

That does not mean that our government is entirely bad; and I want to emphasize that. It does mean, however, that in recent years, through the development of excessive power because of the Cold War, forces have developed in our government over which there is no control and these forces have an authoritarian approach to justice - meaning, they will let you know what justice is.

Well, my reply to them is that we already know what justice is. It is the decision of the people passing on the evidence. It is the jury system. In this issue which is posed by the government's conduct in concealing the evidence in this case - in the issue of humanity as opposed to power - I have chosen humanity, and I will do it again without any hesitation. I hope every one of you will do the same. I do this because I love my country and because I want to communicate to the government that we will not accept unexplained assassinations with the casual information that if we live seventy-five years longer, we might be given more evidence.

In this particular case, massive power was brought to bear to prevent justice from ever coming into this courtroom. The power to make authoritive pronouncements, the power to manipulate the news media by the release of false information, the power to interfere with an honest inquiry and the power to provide an endless variety of experts to testify in behalf of power, repeatedly was demonstrated in this case.

The American people have yet to see the Zapruder film. Why? The American people have yet to see and hear from the real witnesses to the assassination. Why? Because, today in America too much emphasis is given to secrecy, with regard to the assassination of our President, and not enough emphasis is given to the question of justice and to the question of humanity.

These dignified deceptions will not suffice. We have had enough of power without truth. We don't have to accept power without truth or else leave the country. I don't accept either of these two alternatives. I don't intend to leave the country and I don't intend to accept power without truth.

I intend to fight for the truth. I suggest that not only is this not un-American, but it is the most American thing we can do--because if the truth does not endure, then our country will not endure.

In our country the worst of all crimes occurs when the government murders truth. If it can murder truth, it can murder freedom. If it can murder freedom, it can murder your own sons - if they should dare to fight for freedom-- and then it can announce that they were killed in an industrial accident, or shot by the "enemy" or God knows what.

In this case, finally, it has been possible to bring the truth about the assassination into a court of law--not before a commission composed of important and powerful and politically astute men, but before a jury of citizens.

Now, I suggest to you that yours is a hard duty, because in a sense what you're passing on is equivalent to a murder case. The difficult thing about passing on a murder case is that the victim is out of your sight and buried a long distance away, and all you can see is the defendant. It's very difficult to identify with someone you can't see, and sometimes it's hard not to identify to some extent with the defendant and his problems.

In that regard, every prosecutor who is at all humane is conscious of feeling sorry for the defendant in every case he prosecutes. But he is not free to forget the victim who lies buried out of sight. I suggest to you that, if you do your duty, you also are not free to forget the victim who is buried out of sight.

You know, Tennyson once said that, "authority forgets a dying king." This was never more true than in the murder of John Kennedy. The strange and deceptive conduct of the government after his murder began while his body was warm, and has continued for five years. You have seen in this courtroom indications of the interest of part of the government power structure in keeping the truth down, in keeping the grave closed.

We presented a number of eyewitnesses as well as an expert witness as well as the Zapruder film, to show that the fatal wound of the President came from the front. A plane landed from Washington and out stepped Dr. Finck for the defense, to counter the clear and apparent evidence of a shot from the front. I don't have to go into Dr. Finck's testimony in detail for you to show that it simply did not correspond with the facts. He admitted that he did not complete the autopsy because a general told him not to complete the autopsy.

In this conflict between power and justice - to put it that way - just where do you think Dr. Finck stands? A general, who was not a pathologist, told him not to complete the autopsy, so he didn't complete it. This is not the way I want my country to be. When our President is killed he deserves the kind of autopsy that the ordinary citizen gets every day in the State of Louisiana. And the people deserve the facts about it. We can't have government power suddenly interjecting itself and preventing the truth form coming to the people.

Yet in this case, before the sun rose the next morning, power had moved into the situation and the truth was being concealed. And now, five years later in this courtroom the power of the government in concealing the truth is continuing in the same way.

We presented eyewitnesses who told you of the shots coming from the grassy knoll. A plane landed from Washington, and out came ballistics expert Frazier for the defense. Mr. Frazier's explanation of the sound of the shots coming from the front, which was heard by eyewitness after eyewitness, was that Lee Oswald created a sonic boom in his firing. Not only did Oswald break all of the world's records for marksmanship, but he broke the sound barrier as well.

I suggest to you, that if any of you have shot on a firing range - and most of you probably have in the service--you were shooting rifles in which the bullet traveled faster than the speed of sound. I ask you to recall if you ever heard a sonic boom. If you remember when you were on the firing line, and they would say, "Ready on the left; ready on the right; ready on the firing line; commence firing," you heard the shots coming from the firing line - to the left of you and to the right of you. If you had heard, as a result of Frazier's fictional sonic boom, firing coming at you from the pits, you would have had a reaction which you would still remember.

Mr. Frazier's sonic boom simply doesn't exist. It's part of the fraud - a part of the continuing government fraud.

The best way to make this country the kind of country it's supposed to be is to communicate to the government that no matter how powerful it may be, we do not accept these frauds. We do not accept these false announcements. We do not accept the concealment of evidence with regard to the murder of President Kennedy. Who is the most believable: a Richard Randolph Carr, seated here in a wheelchair and telling you what he saw and what he heard and how he was told to shut his mouth - or Mr. Frazier with his sonic booms? Do we really have to reject Mr. Newman and Mrs. Newman and Mr. Carr and Roger Craig and the testimony of all those honest witnesses--reject all this and accept the fraudulent Warren Commission, or else leave the country?

I suggest to you that there are other alternatives. One of them has been put in practice in the last month in the State of Louisiana--and that is to bring out the truth in a proceeding where attorneys can cross-examine, where the defendant can be confronted by testimony against him, where the rules of evidence are applied and where a jury of citizens can pass on it--and where there is no government secrecy. Above all, where you do not have evidence concealed for seventy-five years in the name of "national security."

All we have in this case are the facts - facts which show that the defendant participated in the conspiracy to kill the President and that the President was subsequently killed in an ambush.

The reply of the defense has been the same as the early reply of the government in the Warren Commission. It has been authority, authority, authority. The President's seal outside of each volume of the Warren Commission Report--made necessary because there is nothing inside these volumes, only men of high position and prestige sitting on a Board, and announcing the results to you, but not telling you what the evidence is, because the evidence has to be hidden for seventy-five years.

You heard in this courtroom in recent weeks, eyewitness after eyewitness after eyewitness and, above all, you saw one eyewitness which was indifferent to power - the Zapruder film. The lens of the camera is totally indifferent to power and it tells what happened as it saw it happen - and that is one of the reasons 200 million Americans have not seen the Zapruder film. They should have seen it many times. They should know exactly what happened. They all should know what you know now. Why hasn't all of this come into being if there hasn't been government fraud? Of course there has been fraud by the government.

But I'm telling you now that I think we can do something about it. I think that there are still enough Americans left in this country to make it continue to be America. I think that we can still fight authoritarianism--the government's insistence on secrecy, government force used in counterattacks against an honest inquiry--and when we do that, we're not being un-American, we're being American. It isn't easy. You're sticking your neck out in a rather permanent way, but it has to be done because truth does not come into being automatically. Individual men, like the members of my staff here, have to work and fight to make it happen - and individual men like you have to make justice come into being because otherwise is doesn't happen.

What I'm trying to tell you is that there are forces in America today, unfortunately, which are not in favor of the truth coming out about John Kennedy's assassination. As long as our government continues to be like this, as long as such forces can get away with such actions, then this is no longer the country in which we were born.

The murder of John Kennedy was probably the most terrible moment in the history of our country. Yet, circumstances have placed you in the position where not only have you seen the hidden evidence but you are actually going to have the opportunity to bring justice into the picture for the first time.

Now, you are here sitting in judgment on Clay Shaw. Yet you, as men, represent more than jurors in an ordinary case because of the victim in this case. You represent, in a sense, the hope of humanity against government power. You represent humanity, which yet may triumph over excessive government power - if you will cause it to be so, in the course of doing your duty in this case.

I suggest that you ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country.

What can you do for your country? You can cause justice to happen for the first time in this matter. You can help make our country better by showing that this is still a government of the people. And if you do that, as long as you live, nothing will ever be more important.

(5) John Kelin, Fair Play Magazine, Perry Russo (November, 1994)

At the Shaw trial, Russo testified that several months before the JFK assassination, he was at a party also attended by Shaw, Lee Harvey Oswald, and David W. Ferrie, and that assassinating President Kennedy was discussed.

"Ferrie was in control of the gathering," Russo said years later in a videotaped interview. "He was in one of his obsessive evenings concerning his hatred of the President of the United States."

In 1967, before the Clay Shaw trial began, NBC broadcast a documentary on the case, which Garrison defenders generally agree was an attempt to discredit the prosecutor. The documentary's producer, Walter Sheridan, appeared on the program and said, "In my conversations with Perry Russo he has stated that his testimony against Clay Shaw may be a combination of truth, fantasy, and lies."

Russo, however, said Sheridan "was not investigating any facts. His only purpose was - and he stated it pointedly - he said, 'I'm going to take Garrison out of this.' He says, 'You're going down with him.'"

Russo said that Sheridan offered to relocate him, get him a job, and protect him from extradition. In exchange for that, Russo said, Sheridan wanted him to retract his identification of Shaw and his testimony about the party attended by Shaw, Ferrie, and Oswald, where Russo said an assassination plot was discussed.

"What Walter Sheridan was asking me to do was an absolute lie," Russo said. "Shaw was there. Ferrie was there. Oswald was there."

(6) Robin Ramsay, Who Shot JFK (2002)

Shaw was a director of the World Trade Centre in New Orleans and was brought into a similar project in Italy involving a company called Permindex (Permanent Industrial Exhibitions), which proposed to create a network of World Trade Centres: propagandising for American business. Around these bare facts was created a story in which all these companies were CIA fronts for covert operations and assassinations. Permindex had been involved in trying to assassinate General de Gaulle and then had killed JFK. This story was planted on a Soviet-sympathising Italian newspaper; was then picked up by a left-wing magazine in New York and a magazine in Canada; and thence made its way to the Garrison investigation. And Garrison believed it without checking it. His 1988 book. On The Trail Of The Assassins, carries a couple of pages on Permindex in which he quotes only the Canadian and Italian versions of the story. Parts of this Permindex story - itself disinformation - were then picked up and used to form the centrepiece of the most famous and most durable piece of disinformation generated by the case, the Nomenclature Of An Assassination Cabal by 'William Torbitt,' better known as the Torbitt Memorandum. 'Torbitt' took Garrison's inquiry into the ClA's links to the assassination and converted them into a story about the FBI's responsibility for the assassination. (This, in my view, tells us that the author/s of Torbitt were working for the CIA, trying to diminish the 'Garrison effect.') At the beginning of the first chapter 'Torbitt' tells us that the assassination was the work of the FBI and the Defense Intelligence Agency, who jointly ran 'the Control Group.' These two agencies ran another really secret agency, the Defense Industrial Security Command (DISC). Clay Shaw, David Ferrie et al., previously identified as CIA, were in fact DISC. Because it was 'underground' and - because it was full of interesting and authentic-sounding bits and pieces, Torbitt was 'sexy.' However, as soon as I began trying to check the few citations in it, they proved to be useless: either they didn't exist, were impossible to get or, when tracked down, didn't say what Torbitt' said they did. But Torbitt lives on. Like all good conspiracy theories, it is immune to refutation.

(7) Robert D. Morrow, First Hand Knowledge (1992)

It is known that Ferrie suffered from hypertension. A physician: friend confirmed to Garrison that if someone suffering from hypertension took a whole bottle of this specific drug, it would cause death very quickly. Garrison later wrote: "I phoned immediately but was told that no blood samples or spinal fluid from Ferrie's autopsy had been retained. I was left with an empty bottle and al number of unanswered questions."

Eladio del Valle was also killed the same day in Miami. For three days Garrison's men had been looking for him. He was eventually found. He had been tortured, bludgeoned, shot, and left in his car in a parking lot. Because Guy Banister had succumbed to a heart attack in 1964, that left only one person to indict, Clay Shaw. Shaw would be the most difficult of the New Orleans group to convict. He was receiving help from CIA Director, Richard Helms.

Damning proof of Helms's concern about Shaw surfaced in 1975. It was in an interview of a former, high ranking CIA staff officer, Victor Marchetti. Marchetti disclosed in True magazine: "I, was then told, 'Well... Shaw, a long time ago, had been a contact of the Agency.... He was in the export-import business ... he knew people coming and going from certain areas-the Domestic Contact Service' -he used to deal with them ... and it's been cut off a long time ago'. .. and then I was told, `well of course the Agency doesn't want this to come out now because Garrision will distort it, the public would misconstrue it.'"

In the interview, Marchetti added: "At that time or shortly thereafter this guy Ferrie came up ... and I was given a similar kind of explanation, that he's been involved in the Bay of Pigs and been a contract agent or contact at the time."

After a disastrous trial, Shaw received a verdict of not guilty within hours of the judge's instructions to the jury.

The events surrounding Shaw's death were, according to Garrison,' also mysterious. On August 14, 1974, a neighbor saw some men carrying a body on a stretcher in the front door of Shaw's carriage house. The entire body, including the head, was covered with a sheet. The neighbor, finding this unusual, called the coroner's office, which promptly sent its investigators to Shaw's residence. By the time they arrived, the place was empty. After a day of inquiry, the Orleans Parish coroner's investigators learned Shaw had just been buried in Kentwood, in Tangipahoa Parish where he was born.

The New Orleans coroner, Dr. Frank Minyard, concerned about the circumstances and the speed of the burial, decided to exhume Shaw's body so that he could assure himself that Shaw had not died a victim of foul play. Before he could obtain the court order, however, word of the proposed exhumation reached the media. This caused the .local New Orleans papers to publish scathing editorials protesting the callous desecration of Shaw's remains. With the heated publicity, the coroner reconsidered. There was no exhumation."

Although I was concerned about Garrison's investigation and the deaths of Clay Shaw and Dave Ferrie, I was particularly worried by Helms's admission that Shaw had worked as a contract man for Tracy Barnes's Domestic Contact Division (known facetiously as the Domestic Dirty Tricks Operation Division).

In a 1979 trial, Helms was asked if he knew Clay Shaw. He responded, under oath: " The only recollection I have of Clay Shaw and the Agency is that I believe that at one time as a businessman he was one of the part-time contacts of the Domestic Contact Division (Tracy Barnes's operation), the people that talked to businessmen, professors, and so forth, and who traveled in and out of the country."

In a subsequent trial, in 1984, this answer was repeated to Helms, and he was asked, "Do you recall making that statement under oath on May 17, 1979?" He responded, "If it says here I did make it under oath, I guess I did." " Helms also conceded then that he had publicly this fact when he was the Director of the Agency.