Tuesday, December 26, 2017

New Jim Braden Documents Released

Jim Braden at Dealey Plaza

Lee Harvey Oswald wasn't the only suspect in the assassination.  He wasn't even the first, as Jim Braden was taken into custody as a suspicious person shortly after he got off the elevator of the Dal Tex building and the elevator operator considered him suspicious because he didn't work there.

Taken to the Sheriff's office accross the street for questioning, Braden gave a statement to a typist and was released.

Some years later, when Los Angeles TV reporter Peter Noyes came across Braden's statement among the Warren Commission exhibits, he did a background check and discovered that shortly before the assassination Eugene Hale Brading had legally changed his name to Jim Braden, and had a lengthly rap sheet of previous arrests, for burglary, gambling and assorted confidence schemes.

Peter Noyes wrote a pulp paperback book about Braden and the assassination - "A Legacy of Doubt" (Pinnacle Books, 1977), that Braden took exception to when the book led to his expulsion from the exclusive La Costa Country Club near San Diego.

Noyes wrote about how Brading and his sidekick Victor Emanuel Pereira were arrested for embesselment and kicked out of Dallas by Sherriff  Decker for swindling Mrs. Lee Little, the widow of a high ranking executive of Magnolia Oil company, and her sister. Decker branded them "The Honeymooners," and taking rich widows for their money, as the newly released FBI records confirm.

Braden was anxious to testify before the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) and did so for two day in executive sessions that were sealed from the public until the 1990s, when I obtained a transcript from the Ford Library.

In his testimony Braden said that he spent the entire summer of 1963 in New Orleans, where Oswald was also living, and worked out of the offices of Vernon Main, Jr. on the 17th floor of the Pierre Marquette office building, just down the hall from the law offices of G. Ray Gill.

Jim Garrison obtained the phone records from Gill's office and discovered that one phone call on September 24, 1963, a significant date, was made to a Chicago phone listed in the Warren Commisson records.

Jack Ruby's assocaite Lawrence Meyers, a wholesale sporting goods salesman, had called the same phone number, a Chicago hotel apartment where Jean Aase (aka West) lived and worked.

A few months before the assassination Meyers had visited Ruby in Dallas for the grand opening of the swank Cabana Hotel, owned by Doris Da y and other Hollywood stars, and Ruby took him to the Dallas State Fair where Meyers invested a few hundred dollars in a tent show called "How Hollywood Makes Movies." That show included roustabout former Army vet Larry Crafard and a showgirl, both of whom Ruby would hire to work at the Carousel Club.

Although he was married, Meyers returned to Dallas on the assassination weekend with Jean Aase, who Meyers described as "a dumb but accomidating broad," and he took her to the Carousel Club to meet Ruby and on the night before the assassination, Ruby visited Meyers at the Cabana Hotel Lounge.

Dallas reporter Earl Golz obtained the Cabana recipts from Jim Braden and his friends and discovered they too had drinks at the same lounge as Meyers and Ruby.

Meyers said he was there to visit his brother, a soft drink bottler from New York, who had just returned from visiting his son Ralph in Mexico City, where the former Army Security Agency (now NSA) officer was working as a journalist.

[See my article Thursday Night at the Cabana Lounge for more on this evening]

From the Cabana at midnight Meyers accompanied Ruby to Campisi's Egyptian Lounge, where they made phone calls from the back office.

The next day Braden was taken into custody, and Meyers went to play golf at a military base golf course.

Most of the recently released records regarding Jim Braden/aka Eugene Hale Brading date to the 1950s and reveal his business interests in oil, vending machines and swindling rich widows, and none refer to his arrest at Dealey Plaza as a suspicious person.

Some consider it also suspicious that he was in a hotel in Los Angeles the night RFK was killed, and others claim he was a shooter in the Dal Tex building. I don't believe either point, as Braden was a conartist and swindler, but didn't carry a weapon or have any record of committing violance in the course of his criminal career. He was a gambler, golfer and thief, but a non-violent one.

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