February 18, 2008 in Nation/World

Unearthed safe contains JFK memorabilia

Jennifer Emily Dallas Morning News

At a glance

Part of the two-page transcript reads:

Lee: You said the boys in Chicago want to get rid of the Attorney General.

Ruby: Yes, but it can’t be done … it would get the Feds into everything.

Lee: There is a way to get rid of him without killing him.

Ruby: How’s that?

Lee: I can shoot his brother.

Ruby: But that wouldn’t be patriotic.

Lee: What’s the difference between shooting the Governor and in shooting the President?

Ruby: It would get the FBI into it.

Lee: I can still do it, all I need is my rifle and a tall building; but it will take time, maybe six months to find the right place; but I’ll have to have some money to live on while I do the planning.”

DALLAS – The Dallas County district attorney’s office has unearthed a treasure trove of memorabilia from the aftermath of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination in an old safe on the 10th floor of the courthouse.

It includes personal letters to and from former District Attorney Henry Wade, a gun holster, official records from the Jack Ruby trial, letters to Ruby, and clothing that probably belonged to him and Kennedy’s assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, said Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins.

And conspiracy theorists will rejoice over one find: a highly suspect transcript of a conversation between Ruby and Oswald plotting to kill the president because the mafia wanted to “get rid of” his brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy.

“It will open up the debate again about whether there was a conspiracy,” said Watkins, who was born four Novembers after Kennedy was killed in 1963.

But the curator of the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza said the conversation could not have happened.

Terri Moore, Watkins’ top assistant, believes the transcript is part of a movie Wade was working on with producers.

“It’s not real. Crooks don’t talk like that,” she said.

“If that transcript is true, then history is changed because Oswald and Ruby were talking about assassinating the president.”

Wade wrote about the movie, “Countdown in Dallas,” in letters found in the safe. Wade prosecuted Ruby in Oswald’s death, although the verdict was overturned and Ruby died of cancer in 1967 before his second trial could begin.

“I believe it important for the film to be factually correct, that it come from official files, that the witnesses who in any way were participants should appear in person in the film, and in my opinion, will result in an excellent film not only of interest at present but the record of events for history,” Wade wrote.

It is unclear if any further work was ever done on the film.

Watkins is expected to formally announce the finding of about a dozen boxes of materials today at a news conference. The vast majority of the documents are authentic records from the 1960s.

The purported Oswald-Ruby conversation took place Oct. 4, 1963, at Ruby’s Carousel Club on Commerce Street. It reads like every conspiracy theorist’s dream of a smoking gun that ties the men to a plot to kill Kennedy.

Gary Mack, curator of the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, laughed when told of the transcript. He has not seen it or any of the other documents found in the safe.

“The fact that it’s sitting in Henry Wade’s file, and he didn’t do anything, indicates he thought it wasn’t worth anything,” Mack said of the newly found transcript. “He probably kept it because it was funny. It’s hilarious. It’s like a bad B movie.”

William J. Alexander, the only surviving prosecutor from Ruby’s trial for killing Oswald in the days after Kennedy’s assassination, told the district attorney’s office he’d never seen the Ruby-Oswald transcript. But it’s labeled with a sticker that reads, “Plaintiff’s Exhibit 27.” Typically, exhibits for criminal trials are marked as state’s exhibits or defense exhibits.

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