Rather than eyewitness reports, true crime homicide investigators prefer hard evidence they can follow that leads them to the perpetrators of the crime, especially if it was a planned covert conspiracy designed to protect those actually responsible.
Fingerprints, ballistics, automobile license plates and telephone records are all considered hard evidence, and in the investigation of the assassination of President Kennedy, there was one telephone record that really stands out and worthy of more intense inquiry.
While Jack Ruby’s telephone records were extensively reviewed and provided many significant leads, the single most significant telephone call was made by Ruby’s
friend Lawrence Meyers, ostensibly to his girlfriend Jean Aase. This phone call
is mentioned by New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison in his book “A Heritage of Stone,” and recounted in
“On the Trail of the Assassins,”
which was used as the basis for Oliver Stone’s movie “JFK.” Chicago
My purpose is not to promote a conspiracy theory or to debate those who disagree with my approach (ala Dave Reitzes ), but to develop the investigative leads as far as possible and to try to locate new records and living witnesses who can be properly questioned about these events. I agree with Reitzes, for instance, in that the phone records obtained by Garrison from G. Ray Gill’s office were not necessarily made by David Ferrie, as Gill and his secretary maintained, but they could have been made by anyone who worked in that office. Nor do I accept Garrison’s conclusion that Jean Aase was the intended recipient of the call, as we know she was of the corresponding call Lawrence Meyers made to her that is included among the records of the Warren Commission. Rather, it appears that the intended recipient of the
to New Orleans was someone else at that
number, possibly the manger of the hotel, Les Barker, a friend of Meyers who
had loaned Meyers money for a failed business enterprise. In any case, whereas
DR may easily debunk Garrison’s insinuation that Ferrie called Aase, once that
is dismissed, then the true nature of the call must still be ascertained, and
the whole line of inquiry not dismissed, as DR would like to do, as I believe
that the call does lead somewhere significant. Chicago
I am going over the nature of Lawrence Meyers’ role, not because of this lead regarding the suspicious phone call, but because of Meyers’ $500 donation to a failed carnival show at the Texas State Fair. Meyers did this at the request of Jack Ruby, who also recruited two employees from the show, a stripper who later befriend Jean Aase and a carnival roustabout Larry Crafard, who is later, more than once, mistaken for Lee Harvey Oswald, and may have intentionally impersonated him. One of those who mistook Crafard for Oswald was an informant for the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) and mentioned in a report written by ONI director Adm. Rufus Taylor, whose entire office files went missing when they were requested by the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB).
In addition, it was Lawrence Meyers who first called attention to the Dallas State Fairground, where his $500 donation to Ruby’s friends became compounded by the facts later developed that the fairgrounds were the center of Dallas gambling operations in the 1940s and 1950s, and where the HQ of the Dallas Special Services Unit and where the Dallas Civil Defense bunker were located, which I discuss in Shenanigans at the Dallas State Fairgrounds [JFKcountercoup: Shenanigans at the Dallas State Fairgrounds ].
In “On the Trail” (p. 126-130), Garrison checks out the records of David Ferrie’s phone calls from the office of attorney G. Ray Gill, where Ferrie worked on the case of the deportation of New Orleans Mafia don Carlos Marcello. Rather than issuing a subpoena to officially obtain the records in the course of criminal investigation, Garrison’s friendship with G. Gray Gill led him to try the “Big Easy” approach, as he wrote:
When I showed up at the
, Wray Gill came out to his
waiting room to meet me. One of the city’s best trail lawyers, Wray bowed and
extended a welcome in his ornate fashion all the way back to his private
office, which looked down on the winding Mississippi River, 18 floors below. I
was there because David Ferrie had worked as a part-time investigator for Gill
in 1962 and 1963. Pere Marquette
In Gill’s office I waved the small talk aside, “Wray,” I said, “I need a favor of you.”
In Gill’s office I waved the small talk aside, “Wray,” I said, “I need a favor of you.”
“No problem,” he replied.
“My intuition tells me that David Ferrie might have charged some long-distance calls on your phone when he was around here.”
His white eyebrows rose up. “Some long distance calls? God Almighty! The man almost bankrupted me.”
“Can you give me copies of his calls?” I asked.
He sent his secretary to search the bills for 1962 and 1963.
“This is what we have, Mr. Gill,” she said when she returned. “You let him go in January 1964, remember?”
“How can I ever forget?” he muttered. He put his finger on the bill for that month. “I told Dave adios. I told him I could put up with his eccentricities, but not his long distance calls.”
Gill instructed his secretary to draw a penciled line through every call made by the office, leaving exposed the calls made by Ferrie. “They’re easy to pick out,” he said. “Those cities there didn’t have a damned thing to do with this office. You know better than anyone that about ninety percent of my business is right here in
In the course of striking through the office calls, the secretary discovered that the bills for November 1963 – the month of President Kennedy’s assassination – were missing. She had no idea who had removed them but pointed out that Ferrie still had access to the office files then.
That night I began going through Ferrie’s long-distance bills for 1962 and 1963. The first thing I noticed was there remarkable diversity. The calls were not only to many domestic cities but to such distant locals as
and Guatemala, Mexico .
Just whom he was calling could have been discovered in short order by a federal
agency such as the F.B.I. with its resources and authority. But it had become
apparent that no such agencies were going to be willing to help out. Canada
We had neither the telephone company connections nor the investigative staff to undertake the kind of broad-based, logical approach I would have chosen. Instead, I painstakingly collected and correlated all of the Warren Commission exhibits listing phone calls made by, to or otherwise connected with witnesses encountered by the federal investigation.
After many evenings of comparing Ferrie’s long-distance calls to those in the Commission exhibits, I made a connection. The local telephone bill indicated that one of Ferrie’s calls had been made from
to New Orleans
on Chicago September 24, 1963. This
was, according to the Warren Commission’s later conclusions, the day before Lee
Oswald left . The number
Ferrie called in New Orleans that
day was WH 4-4970. The local phone bill did not identify the recipient. Was
Ferrie calling, perhaps, to report to some intermediary that the sheepdipping
job had been completed or that “the kid is leaving Illinois ” or something of the sort? New
In Commission exhibit number 2350 (page 335 of volume XXV) I found a call made to exactly the same number: WH 4-4970 in
Under Additional Information in the commission volume was listed “Person call
(sic) at credit card used, Chicago, Illinois to Miss A. Asie
Room 1405.” The exhibit did not identify the caller. However, now at least I
had someone’s name to connect with the number Ferrie had called. Kansas
Some night later I located Miss Aase – now spelled Aase – in Commission exhibit number 2266. There an F.B.I. report identified her more fully as “JEAN AASE” of
. The F.B.I. report, dated Chicago,
Illinois December 4, 1963, described how she
had accompanied “LAWRENCE V. MEYERS” on a business trip to , where they arrived the evening of Dallas,
Texas November 20, 1963 – two days before
President Kennedy’s assassination. They checked into the Ramada Motel, the
report continued, where they spent the night. On November 21 they moved to the
Aase then stated, according to the F.B.I. report, that on the evening of November 21, Meyers took her to the Carousel Club, where he introduced her to Jack Ruby and “the three of them sat at a table near the doorway and chatted.”
Considering that Lee Oswald’s New Orleans friend David Ferrie had called her Chicago number, I wondered if Miss Aase was later curious when Jack Ruby, her partner in casual conversation, killed Oswald three days later…..
Garrison also writes (“Trail” p. 238-239) about Jim Braden being taken into custody as a suspicious person at
during the dragnet in the aftermath of the assassination noting, “Another man
was arrested at the Dealey Plaza .
According to Dal-Tex Building law enforcement
authorities, he gave his name as Jim Braden and was released after being
checked out. Astonishingly, this time the federal government offered a
considerable amount of information about the suspect. His real name, it was
said, Dallas Hale Brading, and he
was an ex-convict with a history of several dozen arrests. In the several
months before the assassination he had begun using the name Jim Braden, under
which his oil business in Eugene
was listed. He explained to authorities that he had been in Los Angeles
on business, with the approval of his parole officer. Only a few days earlier,
he had an appointment with one of the sons of H.L. Hunt, the oil billionaire.
Braden had been in the Dal-Tex building at the time of the assassination, he
claimed, because he wanted to make a phone cal. When he discovered the pay
phone there was out of order, he walked out to find himself arrested.” Dallas
Although Garrison doesn’t put them together, both Lawrence Meyers and Jim Braden spent the night before the assassination at the Cabana Motel, actually a large hotel owned by
Doris Day and the Teamsters. Meyers later said that he had earlier been in
specifically to attend the gala grand opening of the Cabana. Dallas
While there is no indication that Meyers and Braden knew each other, they both frequented the Cabana’s Bon Vivant bar, possibly at the same time, as Meyers’ testimony and Braden’s credit card receipts indicate.
Los Angeles TV journalist Peter Noyes wrote a book “Legacy of Doubt” (Pinnacle, 1973), which details the intriguing background of Jim Braden, the gambler, con-artist and oil man who was taken into custody as a suspicious person at Dealey Plaza. Although the Warren Commission only published his statement, Richard Sprague, the first chief counsel to the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) had his staff read Noyes’ book and sought to obtain his testimony.
By the time Braden was located and questioned in secret executive session before the HSCA, Sprague had been replaced by G. Robert Blakey, an organized crime expert who also thought Braden’s testimony was important. But after finishing his final report, Blakey had the HSCA records sealed and locked away for 50 years, including the tapes and transcripts of Braden’s two days of testimony.
It took nearly fifteen years, but in 1992 Congress passed the JFK Act ordering the release of HSCA records to the public, at which time we learned a lot more. In the course of his testimony, Braden acknowledged that while Peter Noyes was wrong to peg him as a criminal or involved in a conspiracy to kill the President, he was right about his eventual destination after leaving
In his book “Legacy of Doubt” (p.157-158, Chapter XII – The Proximity Factor), Noyes wrote, “Eugene Hale Brading was no stranger to
. Federal parole records show he began
traveling frequently to New
in August 1961…However, there is one crucial bit of evidence that does provide
a proximity factor. David Ferrie worked out of Room 1707 in the Louisiana
Marquette Building – the office of
Marcello’s attorney G. Ray Gill. A check of federal records and correspondence
showed that in addition to his office in New Orleans , Brading also shared office space
on occasion in the Beverly Hills,
California , a few doors away from
Ferrie in Room 1701. Is this just one more coincidence? Room 1701 was the
office of an oil geologist, Vernon Main, Jr. Brading received mail at that
address, and at one time notified parole authorities that he would be working
out of Main’s office while he was in New Orleans….The parallels between the two
cannot be ignored….” Pere Marquette
In his HSCA testimony, Braden said that he flew to
by private plane with other business partners. While they visited Hunt on oil
business, he checked in with a parole officer at the Federal building, watched
the motorcade go past there and then walked to Dealey Plaza, which was in chaos
as a result of the assassination. He went into the Dal-Tex building looking for
a telephone to call his mother and tell her about the assassination and was
taken into custody (by Dallas Sheriff’s deputy Lummie Lewis) because an
elevator operator said he was a stranger in the building. Dallas
After giving a statement as to what he was doing there, Braden was free to go, but when he got back to the Cabana Motel, he discovered that his business associates had checked out early, immediately after the assassination, and went to
in the plane. Braden said he then flew by commercial airline from Love Field to
Houston where he caught up with his
associates, and then went to Houston
where he worked out of the office of oil geologist Vernon Main, Jr. on the 17th
floor of the New Orleans . Pierre Marquette
For those who aren’t keeping score here, on
September 24, 1963, - the day Oswald
left for New Orleans , someone in the law office of G. Ray Gill made a
long distance telephone call to Chicago – a phone registered to one Miss Jean
Aase (aka West), who accompanied Jack Ruby’s friend Lawrence Meyers to Dallas on
the weekend of the assassination. Mexico
They visit Ruby at the Carousel Club on the night before the assassination and spend some time at the Bon Vivant Room of the Cabana, where Jim Braden and his associates are also registered, and visit the same bar around the same time, but there is no evidence they ever met or knew one another.
After the assassination Braden leaves
for Dallas and then Houston , where he visits and shares office space with
Vernon Main, Jr., on the same floor and a few doors down the hall from attorney
G. Ray Gill, from where the phone call was made to Jean Aase on September 24. New
While Garrison accepts Gill’s allegation that it was Ferrie who made the call to Aase’s phone number in
it could have been anyone in Gill’s office, though Ferrie is certainly a chief
When Canadian researcher Peter Whitmey caught up with Jean Aase, she said she didn’t know David Ferrie, but she was never properly questioned by the Warren Commission, the HSCA or the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB). She was also offended by Meyers’ description of her as a “dumb but accommodating broad.”
I went to the address listed for the phone on
Avenue in ,
which is a small three star hotel owned by the same White Russian family that
owned the building in 1963. Aase lived a room at the hotel that was converted
into an apartment, and she worked part time there for the hotel manager Les
Barker, a friend of Meyers who introduced them and lent Meyers money. Chicago
Garrison thought it significant that Meyers, a traveling salesman, had a daughter who had a security clearance to work at a nuclear facility and a son who served in U.S. Army intelligence.
What Garrison didn’t know at the time was that Meyers had a brother Ed Meyers, who owned a
Brooklyn, New York Pepsi
Cola bottling Company franchise, who was also in
the weekend of the assassination. While Ed Meyers was registered at the
historic Adolphis Hotel, across the street from the Carousel Club, he attended
a Pepsi party at the Cabana on the night before the assassination, where Larry
introduced him to Jack Ruby. Dallas
While the Warren Report says that Ruby then went to dinner at Campisi’s Egyptian Lounge with is business partner Ralph Paul, Beverly Oliver claims to have accompanied Ruby and “Mr. Meyers” to the Egyptian so Meyers could have a real
steak and makes some phone calls from Campisi’s office. The Texas
cop who sold Ruby the gun he used to kill Oswald later said that too often used
the phone at Campisi’s office – to call Carlos Marcello in Dallas . Yes, Campisi said, he was good friends with
Marcello, met him at a charity golf tournament and sent him home made Italian
sausage for Christmas every year. New
Did Meyers and Ruby call Marcello from Campisi’s office on the night before the assassination? While the Warren Commission obtained the phone records of Ruby and Meyers, they apparently didn’t obtain the records of phone calls made from Campisi’s office even though the
police had an active investigation of Campisi’s gambling operations. Dallas
Possibly even more significant however, is the fact that Lawrence Meyers’ brother Ed had a son Ralph Meyers, who had served in the US Army Security Agency, the code breakers, and was stationed at a U2 base in
where Gary Powers had flown out of. Turkey
Ralph had left the Army and worked as a bus driver for the Chicago Transit Authority – with Homero Echeverria – sheep dipped, as Garrison would call it. According to David Kaiser’s “Road to
(p. 390), “Other evidence suggests foreknowledge of the assassination in Dallas .
On November 21, the day before Kennedy was shot, Chicago Secret Service agents
heard a disturbing rumor about the Chicago DRE from
one of their informants, Tom Mosley. He was planning the sale of arms to two
Cubans; a local bus driver, Homero Echeverria, and a man from
whom the FBI later identified as Juan Francisco Blanco Fernandez, a member of
the military section of the Miami DRE.”
Even more intriguing is the fact that after leaving
Ralph Meyers moved to Chicago
where he worked as a journalist at the time Oswald ostensibly was there.
Ralph’s parents had visited him in Mexico City
before going to the Pepsi convention in Mexico City ,
and Ralph may have also been in Dallas
at the time of the assassination. Dallas
Although they have never been properly questioned, G. Ray Gill, Jean Aase and Ralph Meyers remain living witnesses to these events.
Thanks to Dave Reitzes for this interesting diagram. Read Dave's attempt to debunk this evidence at:
A Sinister Phone Call From New Orleans to Chicago Before the JFK Assassination?
A Sinister Phone Call From New Orleans to Chicago Before the JFK Assassination?
NOTE: In the Dallas State Fairground JFKcountercoup: Shenanigans at the Dallas State Fairgrounds it is noted that Lawrence Meyers testified that Jack Ruby took him to the Dallas State Fairgrounds and convinced him to invest $500 in a failed fair exhibit, first calling attention to what was happening in that part of Dallas.