February 18, 2008 / 8:11 PM / in 10 years

Conspiracy buffs may feast on JFK documents

A letter dated April 1964 from the FBI to Dallas chief of Police Jesse Curry was presented by Dallas County district attorney Craig Watkins at a news conference in the Frank Crowley Courts Building in Dallas, Texas, February 18, 2008. REUTERS/Mike Stone

DALLAS (Reuters) - John F. Kennedy assassination conspiracy buffs have been handed a Presidents’ Day present they are sure to savor.

The Dallas County district attorney said on Monday that he could not categorically dismiss as fake a transcript of an alleged conversation between Kennedy’s assassin Lee Harvey Oswald and Oswald’s killer Jack Ruby.

The transcript is one of many items related to the Kennedy slaying in November 1963 and Ruby’s trial that were found in an old safe in a Dallas courthouse about a year ago and have been painstakingly cataloged.

In the purported conversation nearly two months before the assassination, Oswald and Ruby discuss killing Kennedy to halt the mafia-busting agenda of his brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy.

“We don’t know if this is an actual conversation or not,” District Attorney Craig Watkins told a news conference. “It will open up the debate as to whether or not there was a conspiracy to assassinate the president.”

Yet if it were proven these two key figures in one of the most captivating periods in U.S. history did meet ahead of that day in Dallas, then the Kennedy assassination was almost certainly a conspiracy.

One theory about the transcript holds that it is part of a movie script that Henry Wade, the district attorney who prosecuted Ruby, worked on later with producers for a film that was never made. Among the documents found was a contract signed by Wade for a movie deal.

Adding fuel to the conspiracy fires, Watkins said his predecessors in the DA’s office were “aware of the contents of the safe” but had decided to keep them secret “for whatever reason.”

He said that may have been related to the “racist tone” of some of the documents that he said painted an unflattering portrait of the criminal justice system at the time. Watkins is the first black district attorney ever of Dallas County.

PRESIDENTS’ DAY RELEASE

Watkins did not say why he went public with his find on Presidents’ Day, the U.S. holiday that honors its leaders.

Watkins and others in his office came across the items after being told the gun used to kill Oswald was in the courthouse. The gun was not there because it is privately owned.

The purported Lee-Ruby meeting took place at Ruby’s Carousel Club on Oct. 4, 1963. The transcript reads like scripted cloak-and-dagger dialogue.

Lee: “There is a way to get rid of him (Attorney General Robert Kennedy) without killing him.”

Ruby: “How’s that?”

Lee: “I can shoot his brother.”

Ruby: “You mean the president?”

Lee: “Yes, the president.”

Ruby: “But that wouldn’t be patriotic.”

At one point, Lee says that to kill Kennedy all he needs “is my rifle and a tall building.”

A bit later Ruby tells Oswald: “You’re asking too many questions; remember, they know who you are already; but you don’t know them. They’ll be watching you ...”

Legions of conspiracy theorists have long questioned the conclusion of the Warren Commission that investigated the slaying that Oswald acted alone when he shot Kennedy as his motorcade swept past the Texas School Book Depository.

The commission said that Ruby and Oswald had never met. Ruby shot Oswald dead at point-blank range as police were escorting their prime suspect. Ruby died a few years later from cancer.

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