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Trial Transcript of Martin Luther King Jr. Assassination Conspiracy Trial
This trial was completely blacked out by the MSM. The findings are astounding and newsworthy by any standard but because it implicates the underlying structure of US power it was untouchable. Read it and weep.
Vs. Case No. 97242

December 8th, 1999

Before the Honorable James E. Swearengen,
Division 4, judge presiding.

Suite 2200, One Commerce Square
21 Memphis, Tennessee 38103

(901) 529-1999


For the Plaintiff:

Attorney at Law
New York City, New York

For the Defendant:

attorney at Law
Memphis, Tennessee

Court Reported by:


Certificate of Merit
Registered Professional Reporter
Daniel, Dillinger, Dominski, Richberger & Weatherford 22nd Floor
One Commerce Square
Memphis, Tennessee 38103


(9:50 A.M.)

(Jury in.)

THE COURT: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. We've got two more depositions that we're going to -- no. As I promised you, we're going into the arguments of counsel, and then you'll get your instructions.
As I indicated to you earlier, the plaintiff would give his summary first. The defendant then would give his version, and then the plaintiff is allowed an opportunity to respond to the defendant's arguments.
Mr. Pepper, you may proceed.
MR. PEPPER: Thank you, Your Honor. Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Let me right at the out set thank you for your attention throughout these proceedings, long and sometimes tedious though they may have been. We're very grateful for your sitting here and listening to the variety of evidence that you have heard.
Your Honor will charge you on the various aspects of evidence that you heard. You know you've heard a great deal of testimony here. You also have available to you a great number of exhibits that are attached to the testimony that you have heard.
We urge you to at any point require these exhibits to be brought to you so that you can read them and consider them at length. All the testimony, the various levels of credibility that you describe, his Honor will charge you with that, but it is really down to you at the end of the day as to how much you believe the various people who sat in that chair there and who told you things.
The media is very quick and prompt to say and yell out that such and such is hearsay, second-hand accounts, third-hand accounts. But the media is unable to tell you, ever course, what the law is with respect to hearsay evidence.
They think because something is hearsay, a person is saying what another person has said, that it is not to be regarded, it is to be dismissed. In actual fact, ladies and gentlemen, if a witness is giving you hearsay but the hearsay statement is from a person who is speaking against his own interest, saying something that could put him in jail in the case of the defendant here, could have him indicted, then that is to be taken very seriously. It is admissible because of that exception. There are a range of other exceptions why you can consider hearsay.
Now, it is my job, my role here this morning, to summarize the plaintiffs' case. It is a case that is divided really into nine sections. In the course of presenting that case to you, we've taken witnesses out of order simply because they have come from various parts of the country and the world.
We've had problems with schedules. So at one time you would hear a witness talking to you about a rifle, a murder weapon in evidence, then another time you would hear a witness talking about a crime scene, and we had already gone over that. So it is difficult for you sometimes perhaps to put all those pieces together in an orderly fashion. That's really what I have to do. I have to try to do that. I have to set it out so that you can see how this case folds together. I'm going to try to work with you on that this morning and try to help you understand it as best I can. Plaintiffs' case began with a section that dealt with the background, the background of all of this, why you are here, why Martin King was assassinated, why he came to Memphis before he was assassinated. So it dealt with the background.
Then we moved with a second area concerned which was local conspiracy we called it, what was happening here in Memphis, what events were going on that constituted conspiracy, legally civil conspiracy under the law. Because that's really what we are asking you to find is that there was a conspiracy here.
Thirdly, we dealt with the crime scene. What was this crime scene all about. Where was the crime scene? What happened there?
Fourthly, we went into the rifle. This is the murder weapon. We discussed the murder weapon and asked you to consider all the evidence with respect to the murder weapon. We move next to a shadowy figure called Raoul. Who is this man who was claimed to have been James Earl Ray's controller and the role that he played in this case?
Then we move beyond that to what we have called a broader conspiracy beyond Memphis that reached into the higher levels of the government of the United States and some of its agents and officials. We moved through that with you. We went beyond that, then, into really what amounts to a cover up. What was the cover-up activity and why was it important and why have these events been shielded
from public view so that only you, you twelve, fourteen, here day after day, and his Honor, alone perhaps in this broad land, have heard this evidence. How could that be, a case as important as this? How could that be? But it has been the case. Then we considered the defendant's admissions, the defendant -- the named defendant in this case, his actual admissions, against his own interest and what is in evidence with respect to that.
We moved lastly really to the area of damages. And there was a fair amount of testimony on damages from the members of the family with respect to what they were looking for and what their perspective was in terms of any kind of remuneration for the loss that they have suffered.
So that's the outline. Now let's look at each of those sections, if we can.
First the background. Martin King, as you know, for many years was a Baptist preacher in the southern part of this country, and he was thrust into leadership of the civil rights movement at a historic moment in the civil rights movement and social change movement in this part of the country. That's where he was. That's where he has been locked in time, locked in a media image, locked as an icon in the brains of the people of this country.
But Martin King had moved well beyond that. When he was awarded the Noble Peace Prize he became in the mid-1960's an international figure, a person of serious stature whose voice, his opinions, on other issues than just the plight of black people in the South became very significant world-wide. He commanded world-wide attention as few had before him. As a successor, if you will, to Mahatmas Gandhi in terms of the movement for social change through civil disobedience. So that's where he was moving. Then in 1967, April 4, 1967, one year to the day before he was killed, he delivered the momentous speech at Riverside Church in New York where he opposed the war.
Now, he thought carefully about this war. He had been inclined to oppose it for quite a long period of time. Prior to that, two, three years prior to that he had uneasy feelings.
I remember vividly, I was a journalist in Vietnam, when I came back he asked to meet with me, and when I opened my files to him, which were devastating in terms of the effects upon the civilian population of that country, he unashamedly wept.
I knew at that point really that the die was cast. This was in February of 1967. He was definitely going to oppose that war with every strength, every fiber in his body. And he did so. He opposed it. And from the date of the Riverside speech to the date he was killed, he never wavered in that opposition. Now, what does that mean? Is he an enemy of the State? The State regarded him as an enemy because he opposed it. But what does it really mean, his opposition? I put it to you that his opposition to that war had little to do with ideology, with capitalism, with democracy. It had to do with money. It had to do with huge amounts of money that that war was generating to large multinational corporations that were based in the United States, corporations that were based in the United States.
When Martin King opposed the war, when he rallied people to oppose the war, he was threatening the bottom lines of some of the largest defense contractors in this country. This was about money. When he threatened to bring that war to a close through massive popular opposition, he was threatening the bottom lines of some of the largest construction companies, one of which was in the State of Texas, that patronized the Presidency of Lyndon Johnson and had the major construction contracts at Cam Ran Bay in Vietnam. This is what Martin King was challenging. He was challenging the weapons industry, the hardware, the armament industries, that all would lose as a result of the end of the war.
Forget about democracy, forget about any ideology. This opposition to Martin King, this growing enmity to him, was based on money and the loss of money. The second aspect of his work that also dealt with money that caused a great deal of consternation in the circles of power in this land had to do with his commitment to take a massive group of people to Washington and there to encamp them in the shadow of the Washington memorial for as long as it took. For as long as it took, they would make daily trips to the halls of Congress and they would try to compel the Congress to act, as they had previously acted in terms of civil rights legislation, now to act in terms of social legislation.
Now, he begin to talk about a redistribution of wealth, in this the wealthiest country in the world that had such a large group of poor people, of people living then and now, by the way, in poverty.
That problem had to be addressed. And it wasn't a black-and-white problem. This was a problem that dealt with Hispanics, and it dealt with poor whites as well. That is what he was taking on. That's what he was challenging.
The powers in this land believed he would not be successful. Why did they believe that? They believed that because they knew that the decision-making processes in the United States had by that point in time, and today it is much worse in my view, but by that point in time had so consolidated power that they were the representatives, the foot soldiers, of the economic -- the very economic interests who were going to suffer as a result of these times of changes. So the very powerful lobbying forces that put their people in the halls of Congress and indeed in the White House itself and controlled them, paid and bought them and controlled them, were certainly not going to agree to the type of social legislation that Martin King and his mass of humanity were going to require.
So there was a fear. What happens when they are frustrated? What happens when they don't get any satisfaction? What would happen? They feared, the military feared, that there would be a violent rebellion in the nation's capital. And they didn't have the troops that could contain half a million angry poor alienated Americans. They didn't have the troops. Westmoreland wanted another two hundred thousand in Vietnam. They didn't have them to give to him. They didn't have them. They were afraid that mob would overrun the capital. They were afraid that what Mr. Jefferson had urged many, many times, that the body politic can only be cleansed by a revolution every twenty years.
They were afraid that Mr. Jefferson would be listened to and that that revolution would take place. Because of that, those factors, Martin King was not going to be allowed, not going to be allowed to bring that group of people to Washington. So that's the reason for the hostility. He saw Memphis as part and parcel of the overall problem, as a microcosm. He saw the plight of the garbage workers here as being symptomatic of the pervasive sickness of American society.
So he said if we turn our backs on these ones, how can we go on behalf of the broad national interests? These ones need us now, let's start the Poor People's Campaign here, which is what he did.
So he came to Memphis and he was here on the 17th and 18th of March and he spoke and he returned again on the 28th of March and the march turned nasty. Indications are there that there were provocateurs, that it was broken up deliberately, that he was discredited because of that, and he had to then return. And so he did plan to come back. There was opposition within his own organization. But he said, no, we're going to do this and we're going to lead a peaceful march and this is the way we're going to launch this campaign, and so he came back to Memphis. After the 28th he came back on the 3rd of April.
Now we move to the local conspiracy that related to the death of Martin Luther King. You've heard evidence of a very reputable forty-year-in-business store owner sit up there and tell you that he always bought -- every Thursday he went to Frank Liberto's warehouse, that was his last stop before he went back to Somerville, and on that Thursday, April 4, he heard the owner of that place take the telephone and scream into it, "Shoot the son-of-a-bitch when he comes on the balcony," amongst other things. That is the first indication of the involvement of a Mr. Frank Liberto, which information was given to the police and the FBI and forgotten about.
Then you've heard two other independent witnesses testify at different ends of the trial, one called as a witness by the defense, Mrs. Lavada Addison, who had this conversation with Mr. Liberto in her cafe when Liberto leaned over the table at a time when the Select Committee hearings were on, apparently something came on the television, and whispered to Mrs. Addison, "I arranged have Martin Luther King killed."
She jumped back and was shocked by this. So. Liberto puts himself in it against his own interest, mind you. He has said that. You are entitled to believe that. Then comes Mrs. Lavada Addison's son Nathan, who confronts Liberto, and Liberto again confirms the same thing to him. So we see now Mr. Frank Liberto's involvement in this whole scenario.
Then we have from the defendant himself in sessions that are before you and you've heard testimony from Ambassador Young and Mr. King about how he was approached and he was asked to assist or become involved in this assassination again by Mr. Liberto and how he was told that he would be visited by a man called Raoul, he would first receive some money, be visited by a man called Raoul, he would pass the money to Raoul, he would receive a gun, that he was be asked to participate in this endeavor and he should not worry because there would be no police around, the police would not be there.
We've heard him say that in fact he did these things and that he received the gun after the shooting. He said he received the gun right at his back door. That's as far as he went in his admissions. Of course, he also said he didn't know what was going on. Neither Ambassador Young nor Mr. King believed him in that respect, that he didn't know what was going on.
Now, why would anyone say this? Is this something new? No. You heard testimony from witnesses who indicated that Mr. Jowers had said this to them years ago, as much as twenty years ago he had said this, he had said that he knew how Martin Luther King was killed. He had indicated to them that he didn't do it but he knew how it was done, and in one case he actually told the same story way back then that he is telling now. So this is not some afterthought from Mr. Jowers to try to make a movie or become -- have notoriety or something like that. This is a consistent story that has been around for a long time, and other witnesses from previous times have confirmed it.
So other indications of the local conspiracy, what are they? You've heard about the removal of Detective Redditt, who was a police officer on surveillance duty on the afternoon. He was removed within an hour of the killing and told there was a threat on his life and he was sent home to arrive at his home at the time of the assassination, never to hear about this threat again. This was a phony threat. I think it became quite clear. They didn't trust him because when been a community relations officer that had been secunded into intelligence and at the last minute had to pull him off, he might have seen something, done something that was untrustworthy. He was pulled off. The other officer remained making notes of what he saw.
There were two black firemen, the only two black firemen in the fire station, they were removed. They were given orders the night before not to report for duty but to go to another fire station in each case where they were surplussed to requirements.
Why were they removed? Why were those two black firemen removed, the only two black firemen, and the night before? You heard the Jerry Williams, Captain Williams, testified that he had always formed an elite black homicide group of detectives as a bodyguard for Dr. King. The last visit, he was not asked to form that bodyguard. This was the only time he was not asked to form that bodyguard, and he didn't know why he was not asked to form that bodyguard. And that troubled him. You heard that the police were at one point around the Lorraine Motel and then they were removed, or they just disappeared. They disappeared within a half hour, forty-five minutes of the killing. Why did they disappear? Where did they go? You saw evidence that the Invaders, a local community-organizing group that had been willing to work with Dr. King toward the end and were there for the purpose of helping him produce a produce a peaceful march, at ten minutes to six, eleven minutes before the actual shooting, they left the motel. They were ordered to leave the motel. They were told their bills were no longer going to be paid and they had to leave the hotel. So they emptied out. They might have reacted violently and caused some sort of conflagration at the hotel, but they didn't. They just left.
You heard about the removal of the emergency tact forces. This is the emergency tact forces, in this case it was Tact 10, which was usually a group of four or five police cars with officers from the sheriff's department, police officers. They were around the Lorraine Motel until the afternoon before the killing. The afternoon of the 3rd they were ordered to be pulled back to the fire station on the periphery. When Inspector Evans was asked who gave him the instructions to pull them back, he said it was a request from Dr. King's group. But when he was asked who, you may recall, he said, oh, yes, I think it was Reverend Kyles that gave me that instruction. But the tact forces were pulled back.
The defendant on the day of the killing ordered a witness whom you heard who was working at a waitress for him, ordered Bobbie Balfour not to take any food upstairs to Grace Stephens, who was ill, and who had been received food on a daily basis, but that day, because the second floor of the rooming house was being used as a staging ground, no one was allowed up there, and he told her not to go up there. So she didn't go. So she didn't go.
Then you heard Olivia Catling, who had never been spoken to by anyone, Olivia Catling took the stand and told about a man coming from an alley that was connected to a building that was attached to the rooming house. She saw this man coming through that alley shortly after the killing, some minutes after the killing, and getting into a 1965 Green Chevrolet that was parked on Huling and then speeding away Norton Mulberry Street right in front of the police burning, rubber as he went, with no interference whatsoever from them.
All of these things, all of these events, I submit to you profoundly are strong evidence of the existence of a conspiracy just at the local level, not even mentioning the fact that the defendant has also indicated that planning sessions took place in his grill prior to the assassination.
So I think it is important to see that total picture of evidence you have. There should be no doubt that all of these things are indicative overwhelmingly of conspiracy. Now, are we conspiracy buffs because we find all of this evidence insurmountable? I think not. But you have heard it. The masses of Americans have not. And the media has never put it to them and I submit to you probably never will. That's why your presence is so important.
The crime scene, what about this crime scene? We submit that the crime scene, of course, was the back area of the rooming house. It was terribly overgrown with bushes. The bushes were thick and they were difficult to penetrate and that they provided an excellent sniper's lair. That's where the crime took place.
Any number of witnesses and evidence in the record indicates that a person or persons was seen in those bushes at the time of the shooting. These are different accounts that we put into the record, separate and apart.
There is other evidence, again, separate independent evidence, that a person was seen jumping from the wall, jumping over the wall and running up Mulberry Street. As a result of this, we've concluded some while ago and have tried to provide enough impetus for you to conclude that the shot came from these bushes and not from the bathroom window.
The bathroom window and the rooming house bathroom has been officially the scene of this crime forever. The State had evidence long ago that that was not the case, that the dent in the window sill was not made by the rifle, even though they maintained that was the case. The bathroom was seen open.
The State's main witness was drunk at the time. He was intoxicated. He couldn't identify anybody. Captain Tommy Stephens said he couldn't identify anyone, much less stand up. Yet it was the affidavit of Charles Stephens that brought James Earl Ray back to this country back from England. That was the basis of the proof that brought him back.
Do you know what confidence the State had in their own chief witness? They didn't even call him at the time of the guilty plea hearing. He didn't even testify at that point. Now, the murder weapon itself, Judge Joe Brown heard testimony and evidence in this case for about four years. He paid particular attention to the weapon, and he has had a lifetime of experience and developed knowledge about weapons and about rifles in particular. We qualified the judge as an expert. He came before you and he sat there.
Anyone who heard Judge Brown's testimony with respect to that weapon should have no -- and weapons in general should have no doubt whatsoever that he is in fact an expert. The media will point to his lack of technical training, courses having been taken with respect to learning about rifles. The other areas for developing expertise happens to be experience and self knowledge and development, which is what Judge Brown has.
Judge Brown sat in that chair and gave you sample technical scientific reasons why that weapon in evidence is not the murder weapon very clearly. He said, first of all, the scope was never sighted in. Because it was never sighted in, if you use that scope, to quote him, you couldn't hit the broadside of a barn with that weapon, remember that expression, because it was firing to the left and below the target, because it was never sighted in.
He also said the scope couldn't have been altered by having been dropped in a bundle. You can't alter a scope to that extent, its accuracy, by doing that.
He said also that the death slug did not have the same metallurgical composition as existed in the lead of the other evidence bullets that were found in that bundle the State has always said it was one of a number of bullets the defendant had and you should see them as a package, if you will. Judge Brown said, no, the death slug was different in metallurgical composition than the bullets that were there.
Beyond this, there is evidence that you've heard that this clearly couldn't have been the murder weapon because the defendant told a taxi driver, James McCraw, to get rid of the murder weapon, and he did so. McCraw, being a close friend of Jowers, a confident of Jowers, took the actual murder weapon and threw it off the Memphis-Arkansas Bridge. So it is laying at the bottom of the Mississippi River for over thirty-one years. The real murder weapon is at the bottom of that river.
Now, Bill Hamblin, no reason to lie, he said McCraw would only tell him this when he got drunk and he told him this over fifteen years. This is not something McCraw made up one day. It is over a period of fifteen years. I remind you that he told this same story.
Judge Arthur Haynes testified that he was, of course, James Earl Ray's first lawyer along with his father, and he testified that in the course of their early on-the-scene investigation, they talked to Guy Canipe, who owned the amusement shop in front of which was found the bundle which contained, amongst other things, the rifle. He said Canipe told them very early on, before anyone else apparently had done any kind of tampering with him, told him very early on that that bundle was dropped some minutes before the actual shooting. Imagine that, that the bundle, the murder weapon, the rifle in evidence, was dropped minutes before the actual shooting.
Now we come to Raoul, this shadowy figure who the defendant has mentioned and who James Earl Ray has talked about right from the beginning as someone who controlled him. You have a number of independent people, not even knowing each other, who have identified this man from a spread of photographs that they have seen. And they range from an English merchant seaman, who we had to depose by telephone at some length, who ran into this same Raoul at the same bar James did, up at the Neptune in Montreal.
They range from him to the Grabows, Royce Wilburn, to the defendant himself who identified Raoul from a spread of photographs before Ambassador Young and Mr. King, and, of course, James Earl Ray, who also identified him.
If that is not enough, if that is not enough, we have the British film producer, Jack Saltman, going to the door of Raoul's house, showing a photograph and having his daughter admit that that is the photograph of her father, her words to the effect that anyone can get that picture or that photograph of my father. It is from Immigration & Naturalization. She identified her own father as the person in that photograph.
Under subpoena and reluctantly a Portuguese journalist took the stand. She had conducted an interview with a member of the family. The member of that family had told her that this was a horror, a nightmare for them and for the family, but the one comfort they had was that the government was helping them, that the government had sent people to their home approximately three times or so, and that the government was monitoring their telephone calls and the government was providing them with guidance. The government was trying to give them comfort and advice.
Can you imagine if anything like that happened to -- if any charges were laid against any of us in those circumstances, do you think the government would come around and see us, help us, monitor our phones?
That act alone indicates the importance and the significance of this man, Raoul. So it is essential that that be put clearly in the context.
Now, as I understand it, the defense had invited Raoul to appear here. He is outside this jurisdiction, so a subpoena would be futile. But he was asked to appear here. In earlier proceedings there were attempts to depose him, and he resisted them. So he has not attempted to come forward at all and tell his side of this story or to defend himself.
As we move into the next area, we're concerned now about a broader conspiracy, a broader conspiracy. That is two-pronged, ladies and gentlemen. On the one hand, the broader conspiracy goes beyond a shooter in the bushes who gets away with killing Martin King. It goes from him to a Mr. Jowers, who is involved in facilitating, and it goes back to Mr. Liberto, whom you've heard was clearly a part of it, but it goes beyond Mr. Liberto in terms of the Mob side, because you've heard from witness Nathan Whitlock how he used to push a fruit cart in New Orleans with Mr. Carlos Marcello and that he then has this relationship and this awareness of Marcello and Marcello activities. Carlos Marcello has been the Mob kingpin, was the Mob leader in this part of the country, for a long, long time.
So any contract, any Mob contract, on Martin Luther King's life, would come from Marcello through Liberto into the local infrastructure that Marcello had here in Memphis. Marcello himself was involved in gun running. Part of the evidence in terms of the military involvement is contained in a lengthy article that we put into evidence that appears in March of 1993 in the Commercial Appeal by Steve Tomkins, and that article indicated that there was a high-ranking general who had been charged and imprisoned for aiding and abetting the trading in stolen weapons. That deal meant what he was involved in was the theft of guns from arsenals, armories and camps, like Camp Shelby in Mississippi, the theft of weapons from those places that went to -- were trucked to a Marcello property in New Orleans, and from the Marcello property in New Orleans were shipped around the coast into Houston, Texas, where they were taken off. And that is where Raoul and his crowd came into the receipt of those weapons before they went into Latin and South America.
So that's one prong of the broader conspiracy, the Mob. But, you see, already there is a relationship between organized crime and the military in the receipt of those weapons and in the ongoing sale of them.
Then we move directly into the government of the United States, their agents themselves. We've learned that the 111th Military Intelligence Group based at Fort McPherson in Atlanta, Georgia, were here.
They were in Memphis. They had Martin King under surveillance. That as open -- quote, open surveillance, eye-to-eye surveillance.
They had him under surveillance. Eli Arkin of the Memphis Police Department Intelligence Bureau, Intelligence Division, said they were in his office. He has he has admitted they were in his office.
They were here.
There was another section here that was involved in covert surveillance of Martin King. "Covert" means bugging, wiretapping, that type of activity. That was done at the Rivermont when he was here on the 17th or 18th. You heard a witness say he was one of three people who were effectively a surveillance team. They had Martin King's suite bugged, every room of it bugged, including the balcony. If he wanted to speak privately and went out on the balcony, they would pick it up by relay from the roof.
That covert -- that type of covert surveillance was carried out by another agency, usually the Army Security Agency. So there we have those two agencies involved very clearly here.
Then there were photographers. Remember those photographers that Captain Weiden talked about. They were on the roof of the fire station. He put them there. Who were they? They were a psychological operations team, and they were there and they photographed everything throughout that day. That means, ladies and gentlemen, that there is a film of everything that happened, photographs of everything that happened buried somewhere. We tried long and hard to unearth it unsuccessfully, but it is there and it is hidden, as it was hidden from this jury it is hidden from the American people. Maybe the media one day will let you know that it exists. But it is there. They took those photographs. They were what is known as a psychological operations team, and they were there and they photographed everything throughout that day. That means, ladies and gentlemen, that there is a film of everything that happened, photographs of everything that happened buried somewhere. We tried long and hard to unearth it unsuccessfully, but it is there and it is hidden, as it was hidden from this jury it is hidden from the American people. Maybe the media one day will let you know that it exists. But it is there. They took those photographs. They were what is known as a psychological operations team, and we know who the two members of that team were.
So there is this very strong presence now, which is primarily surveillance, it is intelligence gathering, it is visual and it is audio and it is going on and Martin King and his group are the subject of it.
But then there is another group that is more sinister. They are not more sinister because of what they did, because they didn't really do anything, but we know they had a presence. And that was a special eight-man sniper unit that was here in Memphis. They were all part of the 20th Special Forces Group. They were here and they were assigned and they were trained for an operation, for a mission, in Memphis. You heard testimony by a man who himself was a national security council operative who was very involved in Iran-Contra activities, who had been a long-standing operative, if you will, of the government of the United States and whose best friend was a member of that sniper team. There was no reason in the world for his best friend other than in a moment of whatever, anguish or burden, desire to relieve himself, to talk about this, this mission that he was on which he was assigned to in Memphis which was aborted, but he was assigned to it.
With a Q and A approach you heard documents of working papers that were used to get information from other -- from another source who lives south of the border and who fled the country in the 1970's out of fear who was also a part of that unit. So they were there, and there are three separate sources that confirm the presence. But they did not -- it was not necessary for them to do anything. The mission was aborted because the Mob contract was successful in killing Martin Luther King and framing James Earl Ray.
Remember, one of the things that Liberto also told the defendant, Loyd Jowers, was that there was a setup man, there was a patsy, lined up to take the blame. There was another area of comfort that the defendant could have.
Now we move to the cover-up aspect of this case. This in many ways is the most sad in a representative democracy to have to have this kind of cover-up be successful for so long. It is a shame. It is a tragedy. I think it goes right to the essence of democracy and the right of the people to know.
The cover-up activities in this case, ladies and gentlemen, range from murder to press manipulation and distortion, with bribery in between. Murder, unfortunately in our view, and from the evidence that you have heard here, credible sources, is that a taxi driver who pulled into the Lorraine Motel maybe six minutes before the killing or so, shortly before the killing, a Yellow Cab taxi driver who pulled into that drive and who was standing at the rear of his car loading the trunk of the car with the baggage, the luggage, of someone that was leaving, unfortunately for him, immediately after the shooting he saw the shooting and then turned to look at the other side of the road and saw a man come down out of the bushes and run up the street and get into a waiting Memphis Police Department traffic car which sped away.
When he reported this to his dispatcher, he thought the police had the assassin because he was in a police car going away. Well, this man, as you've heard, was questioned by the police a couple of times that week. He was to give a statement the next day.
He didn't give a statement, did he? No, his body was found off the Memphis-Arkansas Bridge supposedly thrown out of a speeding car. Now, when we tried to find death certificates for this man, we couldn't, either in Arkansas or in Tennessee. There is no death record at all. We found his phone number with that of his wife listed in 1967, 1966 and 1967, Betty and Paul Butler. This is all in evidence. The Polk Directory pages are there for you to look at. In 1968 it is Betty, brackets, widow, WID, of Paul, Betty widow, 1968 and 1969 she a widow. Paul Butler was her deceased husband. He was, for him, in the wrong place at the wrong time.
That is in some ways the worst of it. Because is there anything really worse than losing your life when you've been in the wrong place at the wrong time?
The next aspect of cover-up is the tampering, drastic alteration, of the crime scene. What happened there? You've heard what happened. Seven o'clock in the morning Inspector Sam Evans called Maynard Stiles, who was a public works administrator, and asked him to get a work crew out there and to cut down those bushes. They cut the bushes down. Now, normally what one does with a crime scene, at least for quite a period of time, is to rope it off and keep people out of it and investigate it as it is. You don't go and destroy the crime scene. You don't know what is there. You go and you deal with it the way it was at the time of the crime.
No, it was cut right to the ground, cut right to the ground. And however long it took them to do it, they did a good job, because it was not possible for a sniper to be in that area once it was cut to the ground because he could obviously be very visible.
So the image of a flat, barren area is what was relayed, and that reinforced the whole bathroom window. There was no house-to-house investigation, ladies and gentlemen. Do you remember Judge Brown on the stand saying that this was the most deficient investigation, criminal investigation, he had ever seen as a criminal court judge? He is talking about all of these kinds of things. Imagine, no house-to-house investigation.
What that means is that no policeman going and knocking on the door of all of the local residents and asking them did they see anything, did they hear anything, because surely if they had, they would have knocked on Olivia Catling's door, wouldn't they? She just lived down the street on Mulberry. She would have told them what she saw. But they didn't. They didn't do that, did they? No, they didn't do that, not at all. Why? Why did they suppress two alibi statements, a statement from Ray Hendricks and William Reed, who left Jim's Grill, oh, thirty-five minutes past the hour of five, forty minutes past the hour of five, right around there, maybe even -- well, right around that time. It would be difficult to pin exact times down.
They left Jim's Grill, saw James Earl Ray's Mustang parked in front of Jim's Grill, started to work walk up the street and a couple of minutes later when they went up a couple of blocks and were about to cross Vance, one pulled the other back when the same white Mustang they thought came right around the corner driving away, as James Earl Ray had said he done.
He always said he left the scene of the crime around to that time to try to go have a spare tire repaired. Here are two alibi witnesses with statements given to the FBI in their 302's kept from the defense, withheld from the guilty plea jury, suppressed.
What else was suppressed? What was suppressed was the fact that they had a scientific report from the FBI that the dent in the window sill could not sufficiently be tied to the rifle. They had that. They had that almost a year prior to the actual guilty plea hearing. And yet they went before the guilty plea jury and said that scientific evidence would establish that the murder weapon made that dent. Obstruction of justice, suppression? That and worse.
What about the death slug that could not be matched? You know, the media and the State have turned the burden in this case of matching the bullet to the rifle the other way around. They are saying because you can't exclude it, it may be the murder weapon. That's not the way it works. In any other case that's not the way it works.
This is not a good rifle in evidence when you cannot match the death slug to it. And it was a death slug capable of being matched. You have evidence that that bullet was capable of being matched if it could.
There were enough striations, enough independent markings that they could match it if they could.
So the guilty plea hearing guilty plea hearing heard none of this. I talked to members of the guilty plea jury years later.
They heard none of this. This was all kept quiet. They certainly would have had questions about Mr. Ray's plea if they had.
They certainly didn't know that his lawyer had agreed in writing to pay $500 if he would plead guilty and not cause any problems and that $500 could be used to hire another lawyer who could help overturn the plea. They certainly were not told that.
They certainly were not told those kinds of pressures that descended on him at the last minute to cop this plea, which I'm afraid people do all the time in desperation, particularly when they are in isolation the way he was.
What about Captain Weiden? My goodness. Captain of the fire station, never interviewed by local police authorities. The man who ran that installation, who was there at the time, never interviewed by the authorities. Forgetting about knocking on people's doors. Here is official, he is a senior executive officer of the fire station. They didn't talk to him. They didn't interview him. They didn't ask him what was going on there that afternoon. Were they afraid that he would have told them about the photographers on the roof? Because if he had, then they wouldn't have been unnoticed, would they? It wouldn't have been unnoticed that there were photographs of what went on, and they would have then had to request those photographs. So if you don't talk to Captain Weiden, you don't have to know about them. If you don't know about it, you don't ask for it.
You heard Bill Schaap on the stand for a long time talking about media distortion and the use of media for propaganda. He gave you the history of how it has developed particularly over the 20th century America but, of course, it is a long-standing activity throughout history in older nations than this.
But Schaap took you painstakingly through that history down to the present time when he dealt with the way the media handled Martin Luther King, how they handled his opposition to the war in Vietnam, how he was attacked because of that opposition to the war.
Then he moved on. There were similar, comparable attacks on the King family since they decided they wanted the truth out in this case and they decided that James Earl Ray was entitled to a trial, similar media treatment happened to them that happened to Martin, similar loss of contributions and money for the work that happened to Martin back in those days. The same thing.
Bill Schaap led you through that. There were a couple of instances where he referred to the huge network of ownership and control of media entities all over the world by the Central Intelligence Agency. It is a matter of public record. It has appeared in Congressional hearings, Senate hearings, which most people don't read, don't know anything about, and, of course, the media only covers in sparse fashion, because it is contrary to their interests to show that great numbers of newspapers, radio stations, television stations, may in fact be actually owned by the Central Intelligence Ageny in this country as well as elsewhere.
He talked about the numbers of actual agents who work for media companies, who are placed in positions in network television company positions, in newspaper company positions, on newspaper editorial board positions.
If you see the history of how national security cases are covered and this is one, you will be amazed that some of the most liberal columnists, writers, respected journalists, Pulitzer Prize winners, who have all the liberal credentials, when it comes to this kind of case, they all of a sudden are totally with the government because national security cases are a different ball game.
Ambassador Young ran into one at one point in an airport, and he said to him, how can you do this, Tony, about this case, you have great credentials in every other way, what is it about this case? His response was, you'll be happy to know my wife agrees with you. But that was it. That was the end of the response.
The point is on these cases there is a special type of treatment that is given. It is important to understand that across the board. That explains a lot of what we're talking about. Examples: Column 1, New York Times, November, the article is here, Alton, Illinois, bank robbery, Wendell Rose, Jr., the Times wrote this whole piece, fabricated, whole cloth, that the Ray brothers robbed the bank in Illinois and that's where James got his money and therefore there is no Raoul.
The problem was that the article said that the Times had conducted a special investigation that paralleled that of the House Select Committee and that of the FBI, and all three investigations indicated this was the case. Case closed, this is where Ray got his money.
The problem is they never talked to the chief of police in Alton, Illinois. They never talked to the president of the bank in Alton, Illinois. There was no investigation. And when those people were talked to by myself or by Jerry Ray, who went down there to turn himself in -- you think I did this, I'm prepared to turn myself in -- the guy said, go away, you've never been a suspect. Isn't that amazing, out of whole cloth. But it appears, and that's the mindset that the people have.
You heard Earl Caldwell say he was sent to Memphis by his national editor, New York Times national editor, Claude Sitton at the time, and told to go to Memphis and his words were "nail Dr. King." Nail Dr. King. That is what he said he was told was his mission here in Memphis as a New York Times reporter. I can go on. But these are examples of what happens with the media.
Now, Bill Schaap told you the impact of that out of thirty-one years is very devastating, is very hard to hear this for thirty-one years and have somebody come along and say, no, you've been told the wrong thing and here are a whole set of facts that are incontrovertible and this is why you've been old the wrong thing.
The reaction is still, oh, yes, that's interesting, but the next day we still believe, because it is almost implanted neurologically. That's the problem that this kind of distortion, media propaganda abuse, just raises.
Mr. Jowers here, the defendant, was a victim of that. They gave him -- ABC gave him a lie detector test and they told him at the end of that lie detector test that he had failed, why was he doing this, was he looking for money, he had failed this lie detector test. You heard from a cab driver, who has nothing to gain by this, take the stand and say, yeah, he drove those ABC people to the airport, took them to the airport, and he heard their conversation. His ears perked up when he heard Jowers' name because he heard them, the guy in the front, the examiner, said, I couldn't get him to waver, I couldn't get him to waver. They were commenting on how much he remembered in so much detail and why he remembered so much detail.
There is no question about him failing this test. They couldn't get the defendant to lie. And yet that program was broadcast, was put out to masses of people in this country to believe to this day that the defendant lied, that he lied.
Now, you heard -- we're still on cover-up. I'm sorry. You heard about two efforts to bribe James Earl Ray. I don't know of any others, but you have heard of two in particular, one from a lawyer, Jack Kershaw, who told you about a meeting at the Nelson Book Publishing Company and he was offered a sum of money if Ray would admit that he did it. He was offered this money by William Bradford Huey, who was a writer, if Ray would confess that he did it and did it alone and he would give him this money and give him a pardon and he would go on and have a nice life.
Mr. Kershaw went over to the prison, as you heard, asked Mr. Ray if you want to take up this wonderful offer. Ray, of course, said, no, and sent him packing. Some while later a telephone -- on a telephone conversation Huey made the same offer to Jerry Ray. His problem then was that that conversation was recorded. Jerry Ray testified and you have a transcript of that recording, he was offered now $220,000, they greatly increased the sum of money, $220,000, also a pardon. And the best story, of course, that they wanted, that Huey wanted, was the story why I killed Martin Luther King.
So they were offering him money, a pardon if he would tell that story. It didn't work. James, of course, was not interested in anything of the sort. James had always only wanted, from three days after his conviction, he had always wanted a trial. That is what he wanted. Then there were a number of attempts to kill James Earl Ray. These attempts vary. One time he escaped from Brushy Mountain in 1977, he escaped from Brushy Mountain with six others. No sooner did his feet hit the ground and they were up in the woods there -- if you know that area of Petros, Tennessee, it is pretty rural in some areas and rocky and hilly -- he was up in the woods, and no sooner did he go get up in the woods but there was an FBI SWAT team out of the Knoxville office on the scene.
Who asked for them? It is a State escape, State prisoner. The State is handling it. No, here comes in the SWAT team. They have snipers with sniper rifles. What are they going to do with those sniper rifles?
Lewis Stokes was chairman of the Select Committee on Assassinations. He calls Ray Blanton, who is a governor of the State at the time. Reverend Fauntroy was a part of to that conversation and said he was the one who encouraged Stokes to call, but he was there. Stokes calls Blanton and says that you better get over to Brushy Mountain. If you don't, I'm going to lose my most famous witness and your most famous prisoner because the FBI is going to kill him. Blanton goes over in a helicopter and chases the FBI away.
They didn't what to go at first. He told them he would put them in the same sell James Earl Ray came out of if they didn't. He saved James Earl Ray's life. He was caught and brought back by local authorities, which is the way it should have been.
The second attempt was in April of 1978. You heard April Ferguson, public defender counsel, tell you how that worked. She went out, interviewed a prisoner who had called their office when April and Mark Lane were representing James back at that time. He was offered a contract. He was asked to put out a contract on James Earl Ray, and he decided not to do it.
One, he thought he was being set up because the person who called him left a number and he had to call him back. When he called had him back, he was calling him back at an Executive Suites hotel that he knew, the prisoner knew, was being used by the local US Attorney's Office and the FBI where they interviewed informants and where they did the briefings. That's where the phone call came from.
He thought he was being set up. The phone call came to him from a fellow called Arthur Wayne Baldwin, who was a Mob figure in Memphis but who also was involved as a federal informant and was used by the government.
So he gave the statement of how this contract was put out by Baldwin on James Earl Ray's life, and Ms. Ferguson testified as to her affidavit. Defendant's prior admissions, the next section of plaintiffs' case, you've heard a good deal of it, how the defendant has admitted how he was approached by Mr. Liberto and how he was told that he would receive a package, which he did, and money and eventually a rifle to hold, and he told about planning sessions in his cafe, and he told about taking a rifle from the shooter, taking the rifle from the shooter, one that was still smoking. He said taking it from his back door.
He named the shooter as a Memphis Police Department lieutenant, Earl Clark, who is deceased, who was a sharpshooter who he said was a hunting companion of his, a friend of his, and a friend of Liberto's as well and who never had any contact with him again after this day.
Now, Mrs. Clark, the first wife, who testified, gave her husband an alibi. It is only fair that you consider what Ms. Clark said. When I first interviewed here in 1992 -- she referred to that interview. In fact, her son was there. He was not twenty-two. He was born later. He was about sixteen. Her daughter was born in 1970. It was the son who was present. She told essentially the same story at that point in time.
There are serious questions with that story, and they have to do with whether or not in fact Lieutenant Clark had a radio at all at that point in time and whether or not in fact Dent Cleaners was open later than six p.m. on that day. Because by her accounts she got there sometime between six-thirty and six-forty to pick up his uniform. But, in any event, you have to consider all of that.
Lastly, in respect of the defendant's situation, we had placed a woman -- aspects of a woman's testimony into the record so that you can review it, and she was a waitress who had been a lover of the defendant during that previous year.
She very reluctantly in 1992 gave a statement that had really to be worked out of her. She didn't want to tell this story even then because she was afraid that her former lover and boss, Mr. Jowers, was the killer.
He was the only one she saw, she said, out there, and she was afraid that he was the killer. Plaintiffs do not believe that to be the case at this point in time.
She described him running, face white as a sheet, looking like a wild man with all mud on his knees, as though he had been kneeling in that brush area. She has been to some extent discredited because there have been -- people have descended upon her for various reasons. She was a -- a statement of hers was taken repudiating a lot of things she said, but she subsequently said in another sworn statement that she didn't even read what the state officials told her to sign.
So in a case like this, this is a difficult area for you to assess for yourselves in terms of what you read and what you have heard here.
The last area of the plaintiffs' case has to do with damages. We've addressed that. Members of the family have addressed that in terms of the spirit in which the family has approached these proceedings from the beginning.
Yes, we want a verdict of liability, a verdict of a finding of conspiracy, but the family is not interested to benefit financially from these proceedings. There has to be damages in civil litigation of this sort. It is a wrongful death action. So the request is that there be an award of one hundred dollars to offset funeral expenses at the time. And that one hundred dollars the family has decided to contribute, along with other contributions, to a welfare fund of the sanitation workers in this city, because that is the reason that Dr. King came here in the first place.
Now, what I'd like to do is to briefly take you through a visual summary, it will be much quicker than my verbal summary, but to take you through a visual picture of the summary of what you have just heard in terms of the major aspects of the plaintiffs' case.
24 THE COURT: Does anybody need a break?
THE COURT: You do? All right. Just five minutes.
(Jury out.)
(Short recess.)
THE COURT: All right, Sheriff. Bring the jury back out, please.
(Jury in.)
THE COURT: All right,
Mr. Pepper. You may resume.
MR. PEPPER: Thank you, Your Honor. We have a depiction of the overall seen of the assassination at about five forty-three, the time we've pinpointed, on the afternoon of the assassination. Here in this depiction we have two people on the firehouse roof, we show two people in the brush area at this time, a number of witnesses down below the balcony right in there.
THE COURT: Mr. Pepper, excuse me. Can you see that?
MR. PEPPER: Am I in your way?
THE COURT: You may stand over here, Mr. Pepper.
MR. PEPPER: There is also a car, a Chevrolet car, parked here on Huling, and two Mustangs on South Main Street. You will remember Charles Hurley testified that he drove up behind this Mustang when he was picking his wife up. It had Arkansas plates. This Mustang is believed to have been James Earl Ray's.
Now, when we move ahead, we're still at five forty-three, but it is between five forty-three and five forty-four, Hendricks and Reed, who have been in Jim's Grill here, have come out and have since walked up this street. About this time this first Mustang has pulled off. Everything else remains the same. You have the photographers on the roof, you have the two figures in the brush, who we believe to be Earl Clark and Loyd Jowers, and you have witnesses below the balcony over here.
Now we're at five-fifty. The evidence reveals that this first Mustang is gone. The second Mustang still remains. Photographers still remain clicking away on the roof. The figures in the brush still remain. The Invaders have started to leave the hotel. They are coming down the stairs and they are leaving at five-fifty. They were noticed leaving. Billy Kyles, Reverend Kyles, is right there knocking on Martin King's door as the evidence indicates at ten minutes to six. The witnesses are still down below.
At five fifty-five, the Invaders are now off the premises, they've gone. Reverend Kyles has come away from the door and is on the balcony to the right of the door. The witnesses are still below. Photographers are still in their perch photographing. The Chevrolet is still parked where was. And now a Memphis Police Department traffic car has pulled up to this intersection right here at Mulberry and Huling. In addition to that, about this time a rifle and an evidence bundle has been dropped by this figure right here in Canipe's.
Next. Still at five fifty-five, between five fifty-five and five fifty-six, the Yellow taxicab has pulled into the Lorraine driveway and is loading a passenger. The man who has dropped the rifle has now approached this second Mustang with the Arkansas plates here. The figures in the bushes are still there. The Chevrolet is there and the taxi driver himself is standing toward the rear of his car next. About five fifty-six, in that area, Martin King appears on the balcony and begins to talk to a number of the people below who we've been calling as witnesses. The taxi driver is still there unloading a passenger's luggage, and the photographers are there. The rifle remains, but now the second Mustang moves off. The traffic car remains in position and the Chevrolet remains where was.
Okay. Six-oh-one p.m., April 4th, 22 1968, Martin Luther King has been felled by a single shot. Everything else remains the same. The taxi driver is facing the brush area. The photographers are still on the roof of the fire station. The rifle in evidence remains in Canipe's doorway. The Chevrolet remains on Huling. The Memphis traffic car remains at the intersection of Mulberry and Huling. The figures in the bushes at this point remain there.
Next. Instantly, between six-oh-one and six-oh-two, immediately after the shot, one of the two figures, and we maintain it is the defendant, is moving toward his building carrying the murder weapon. The other figure in the bush, in the bushes, is going down -- appears to be at this point not going down but appears to be alone around the edge of the wall. The photographers are there. The taxi driver is still there looking at the brush area, and journalist Earl Caldwell, having heard the shot, has come out of his room.
It is difficult to do this with computers. You may recall Caldwell was in his shorts standing there looking at the bushes seeing this figure in the bushes. The traffic car remains there. Kyles remains off to the right of the fallen Martin King instantly after the shot. The witnesses are there, some of whom turn toward the bushes looking up in that direction.
Next. Also between six-oh-one and six-two, because that's what it takes, Mr. Jowers has entered his establishment. The shooter has gone down over the wall and has run toward that Memphis traffic vehicle, car vehicle, right there. This is all happening between six-oh-one and six-oh-two. That's the period of time in which this was carried out.
The taxi driver has seen the shooter jump from the wall and run to here and get into that traffic car. The photographers must have photographed it. There they are. The rifle remains. Mr. Jowers has entered his establishment at that point in time.
Okay. Around six-oh-five, under great pressure from his passenger, the taxi driver actually drives away, left the Lorraine parking lot. The shooter, having gotten into that traffic car, is also gone, disappeared. That traffic car sped up Huling, west on Huling. It is gone. Mr. Jowers is inside his establishment, the witnesses remain in place where they were. Mr. Caldwell has gone back into his room to put on his trousers.
Next. We're at about six-oh-eight. At this point in time barricades in the form of police cars have been established at either end of Mulberry, thus blocking any entrance to the street. We're at six-oh-seven. I'm a minute ahead of myself.
We're at about six-oh-seven. Everything else remains pretty much the same except Journalist Caldwell has come out of his room again and would eventually make his way up to the balcony. Dr. King is still down, witnesses are in place, photographers are in place, the rifle remains where it is, and Reverend Kyles is still on the balcony.
Also at six-oh-seven or thereabouts Olivia Catling has arrived at the corner of Mulberry and Huling. She has three children with her. Two are hers and one is a neighbor child. She has come to that corner just about this time, having heard the shot from inside her house. Everything else remains pretty much in place with the photographers, the witnesses and Journalist Caldwell coming out and the rifle still at Canipe's.
Okay. About six-oh-nine we have a man appearing in the alley. This is the first time he has appeared. He has apparently come from connected Buildings to the rooming house and he is now seen in the alley. Everything else remains the same. The barricades are in place. Mrs. Catling is there.
Next. He moves between this time, within a minute, very quickly to this car seen by Mrs. Catling and the children. Next. He gets in the car and rips off east on Huling, making a sharp turn going north on Mulberry right in front of this police barricade and proceeds unimpeded north on Mulberry away from the scene.
Now, at that point in time Mrs. Catling notices a fireman who is standing in front of the wall, and he is talking to policemen, yelling at policemen, that the shot came from the clump of bushes up there. They apparently are not listening to him. Those are the -- that's the visual depiction of the critical events that we wanted to put forward.
Well, ladies and gentlemen, sometimes that is helpful to amplify the verbal narrative. Sometimes it confuses more than it helps. But I think we've tried to draw this and depict it as precisely as we can within the constraints of the actual evidence that has been presented to you.
Let me close by saying to you...
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
Jury selection begins. It is closed to the public. The Memphis Commercial Appeal is granted permission to file an appeal against the public being excluded for jury selection.




Vs. Case No. 97242-4 T.D.



BE IT REMEMBERED that the above-captioned cause came on for Trial on
this, the 15th day of November, 1999, in the above Court, before the
Honorable James E. Swearengen, Judge presiding, when and where
the following proceedings were had, to wit:
22nd Floor, One Commerce Square
Memphis, Tennessee 38103
(901) 529-1999

(901) 529-1999

For the Plaintiffs:
Attorney at Law
575 Madison Avenue, Suite 1006
New York, New York 10022
(212) 605-0515

For the Defendant:
Attorney at Law
100 North Main Street, Suite 1025
Memphis, Tennessee 38103
(901) 527-6445

For The Commercial Appeal:
Attorney at Law
Armstrong, Allen, Prewitt, Gentry
Johnston & Holmes, PLLC
80 Monroe Avenue, Suite 700
Nashville, Tennessee 38103
(901) 524-4948
Reported by:
Registered Professional Reporter
Daniel, Dillinger, Dominski,
Richberger & Weatherford
2200 One Commerce Square
Memphis, Tennessee 38103

(901) 529-1999


THE COURT: Mr. Garrison, are you all ready?
THE COURT: Let me see the lawyers in chambers before we get started.
(Brief break taken.)
THE COURT: All right. Are we ready to proceed?
MR. GARRISON: Yes, sir.
THE COURT: If there are any members of the media, we're going to ask you
to excuse yourself until after the jury selection process. All right, Mr. Sheriff,
you can get us some jurors.
THE COURT: All right, Mr. Pepper, who are these additional people with you?
DR. PEPPER: They're all with us, part of our team.
THE COURT: Are they going to participate in the trial?
DR. PEPPER: Only as assistants, that's all.

(901) 529-1999

THE COURT: I normally introduce those parties who are going to participate.
And if they are, I need their names.
DR. PEPPER: You want me to write them down for you, Your Honor?
THE COURT: That has dual purposes -- for my convenience and then, in
addition to that, once we have called their names, we're in a position to
ask the jurors if they're familiar with their names.
DR. PEPPER: Sure. (Brief break taken.)
MR. PERA: Your Honor, for many years -- and I should first say, Your Honor,
that all I know about this situation is what I've learned in the last 15 minutes.
But as I say, for the record, I do represent The Commercial Appeal. I'm a little
out of breath. But my name is Lucian Pera. And since at least 1984 when the
Supreme Court decided the Press Enterprise case -- Press Enterprise versus Superior
Court of California. And the cite on that I can give you which is 464 U.S. 501.

(901) 529-1999

In 1984 the Supreme Court has made it clear, as has virtually every court in the
nation -- has addressed the issue that there is a constitutional right on the part
of members of the public and, therefore, members of the press to attend jury voir
dire proceedings in court. I would add, Your Honor, that in Tennessee there have
been at least two cases on this point -- I believe three. The first one of which
is State versus Drake which is a 1985 case which squarely follows the analysis in
what are called the quartet of cases of which Press Enterprise is a part from the
U.S. Supreme Court. And that case requires that if there is a closure of any part
of a trial that there must be under the constitution specific findings by the Court
on a motion by a party that there will be prejudice if there's not a closure and
specifically how the closure is tailored as narrowly as possible to meet the
compelling interest of preventing prejudice.
The Supreme Court of Tennessee

(901) 529-1999

requires written findings. There have been at least two other cases since then,
Your Honor. I don't -- I can't cite you the precise name on this short of notice,
but I will remind the Court of one the Court may be familiar with arising from
this county. I believe it was in front of a criminal court judge across the street.
And essentially what happened is that there was -- it was a rather horrible
gang-related murder case. In fact, it was one in which I believe the victims were
literally buried alive. There were claims of misconduct ongoing in the midst of the
trial. In fact, the Court itself was under 24-hour armed guard at home and at the
office -- at the court. During the course of that trial, the judge heard testimony
from witnesses obviously. And one of the witnesses who had testified was to testify
again. The Court imposed a gag order essentially closing the trial implicitly and
saying that the reporters might not print the name of that witness who had already

(901) 529-1999

testified in open court and who was to further testify as a rebuttal witness. The
Court expressed very specific concerns about safety, that the witness might flee,
that the trial might be jeopardized for that reason. And the Court of Appeals --
excuse me, I think it was the Court of Criminal Appeals -- specifically and flatly
and firmly reversed that ruling and said that what goes on in open court is open,
and the constitution requires that it be so, and again reaffirming State vs. Drake
relying on Press Enterprise. So, Your Honor, with that thought in mind -- again,
I've not been privy to the discussions here about what the problem were that
were sought to be addressed, and I apologize to the Court for not being prepared
in that respect. But I would urge the Court to not close this hearing to members
of media including my client, The Commercial Appeal.
THE COURT: All right.
MR. PERA: And, Your Honor, I might finally request that in compliance with

(901) 529-1999

State versus Drake, whatever the Court's decision there, that there be specific
findings of fact tailored to address the issues under Press Enterprise.
THE COURT: All right. First of all, I would like to refer you to Supreme Court Rule 30, Media Guidelines, under Section C(2) which reads as follows: "Jury selection. Media
coverage of jury selection is prohibited."
MR. PERA: Your Honor, it's my -- am I interrupting? I can look at the rule, Your Honor,
but it's my impression that Rule 30 addresses television coverage and similar media coverage. To the extent that that rule, Your Honor, either says or is interpreted to mean that voir dire may be closed by a court without constitutional foundation, the specifics which are very clear -- I can cite them to the Court if I can get my hands on State versus Drake.
If that rule says that or means that or the Court interprets it to mean that, then
it is unconstitutional, Your Honor.

(901) 529-1999

THE COURT: Well, let me further refer you to Section D, and that section deals with limitations. And under 2 it says:
"Discretion of Presiding Judge." That's me.
"The presiding judge has the discretion to refuse, limit, terminate or temporarily
suspend media coverage of an entire case or portions thereof in order to 1.) Control
the conduct of proceedings before the Court.
2.) Maintain the quorum and prevent distraction. 3.)" -- and this one I am concerned
with --"Guarantee the safety of any party, witness or juror." This case is such that
I feel that the jurors should be protected from public scrutiny and that the public
shall not be aware of who they are. I don't want -- and I'm going to assure them when
we voir dire them that they will remain anonymous. And for that reason they will feel
free to participate in the trial process. That's my ruling.
MR. PERA: Your Honor, may I be heard on this point?

(901) 529-1999

THE COURT: No. I've ruled. I have ruled.
MR. PERA: Okay. Your Honor, meaning no disrespect, may I ask -- may I ask a question?
THE COURT: Yes, sir.
MR. PERA: Has this Court considered or has it been proposed to the Court that the jurors remain anonymous and therefore that proceedings be allowed to take place in open court
with, for example, members of the public and/or media present but nevertheless with the jurors remaining anonymous? Has that been considered, Judge?
THE COURT: No, sir, because I don't feel that that's a viable solution.
MR. PERA: May I ask a further inquiry, Your Honor?
THE COURT: Yes, sir.
MR. PERA: Is it the Court's ruling that the entire trial is going to be held in secret?
THE COURT: No, sir. Once the jury selection process is completed, then it

(901) 529-1999

will be open to the media as prescribed by court rules with cameras and with reporters
and all of that. This court is not excluding the media from the trial proceeding, but it
is excluding them from the jury selection process.
MR. PERA: Well, Your Honor, again -- the Court knows me, and the Court knows that I'm not inclined to argue with a ruling once it's been made. But since I'm getting into this so late, Your Honor, I have to inquire further. Your Honor, if -- I'm not at all sure I understand how this is tailored narrowly under the guidelines of the constitution.
I mean, for example, Your Honor, if -- if the identities of the jurors is what the Court is trying to protect, then -- and not, for example, their answers to the questions of one of the parties as to their particular biases or lack of biases, it seems to me that the Court might consider having the jurors, as has been done across the country, I think the Court is probably aware

(901) 529-1999

of this -- having the jurors remain anonymous and have the parties to the case and the
Court refer to them in whatever way would do so anonymously but, nevertheless, allow the
questioning that goes to, for example, bias -- their views on particular subjects to
be explored in open court as the constitution requires. I would urge that upon the Court
as a remedy that has been used elsewhere. And it would not trample on the First Amendment
but it would, nevertheless, meet the Court's concerns.
THE COURT: I'm going to deny your request.
MR. PERA: Your Honor, when -- you're ruling then that until voir dire is complete and the jury is sworn that this hearing is closed both to members of the press and the public?
THE COURT: I'm not excluding the public, no, sir.
MR. PERA: So I can sit here for example?

(901) 529-1999

THE COURT: You may, yes, sir. But if you do, then you would be under a gag order. As an officer of the Court you could sit, yes, sir.
MR. PERA: But another member of the public could be present and not be under some sort of gag order?
THE COURT: I'm going to exclude all members of the public, as a matter of fact, during the jury selection process. I'm not going to let reporters come in here and say, at this time I'm not a reporter, I'm just a member of John Q. Public.
MR. PERA: Okay, Your Honor. I just wanted to make sure I understand your ruling then. The hearing is closed to members of the press and the public until the jury is sworn.
THE COURT: And the public. And the public, yes, sir.
MR. PERA: May I -- I assume that what has transpired here so far, I'm under no gag order; is that correct, Your Honor? Because I may well be instructed by

(901) 529-1999

my client to pursue appellate relief. THE COURT: You are free to do that.
MR. PERA: Okay. I just want to make sure that we understand each other. Thank you. Appreciate it, Your Honor.
MR. GARRISON: In the Court's ruling I think Your Honor did the proper thing.
(Brief break taken.)
(By Order of the Court, the Jury Selection portion of the trial was not transcribed.)

MR. PERA: I would like to apply for permission to appeal under Tennessee Rule
of Appellant Procedure 9 from the Court's earlier ruling.
THE COURT: Oh, yes. Of course.
MR. PERA: Thank you, Your Honor. I assumed so. Your Honor, may I present an order on that either this afternoon or in the morning?
THE COURT: You may.

(901) 529-1999

MR. PERA: Thank you, Your Honor.
(Lunch Recess.)

(Jury Selection resumed.)
THE COURT: All right. Ladies and Gentlemen, we have completed our process. We have
12 jurors now and two are alternates. So the rest of you I'm going to excuse and thank you for your patience, and you can report to the main jury room tomorrow at 9:30.
All right. Now that we have selected or jurors and alternates, we would ask to you please stand and take the official oath as jurors in the case.
THE CLERK: Ladies and Gentlemen, please raise your right hand.
(Whereupon the jury was sworn in.)
THE CLERK: Okay. Please be seated.
THE COURT: All right. Normally at this stage we would begin our trial which would be the rendering of an opening

(901) 529-1999

statement by the lawyers. That is they would tell you what they expect the proof to be as
it develops in the case, and then we would start to hear the witnesses in the case. But
because of the hour, I'm going to excuse you and ask you to be here tomorrow at 9:45 so
that we can get started promptly at 10 o'clock, reminding you that you should not speak
with the lawyers or the witnesses or anyone else involved in the case and that you should have no contact with the media. I think -- I'll have some additional instructions for you tomorrow before we start to hear the proof. You should not go back to the main jury room for any reason. You come directly here from now on which means that you don't report at the regular 9:30 thing over there. Just come right here. Mr. James will show you our jury facility back here, and that's where you should congregate until you come out as a group.
We would ask you -- sometimes the jurors would sit out in the hall and do things of that sort before the trial begins

(901) 529-1999

in a normal case. But because of the nature of this one and because we don't want you to
be exposed to the media, we would ask you to please not congregate in the hallways out
there. If there are smokers in the crowd, then during our breaks, you can feel free to
go down and do your smoking or whatever else just as long as you don't have any contact
with the media. If we -- if for any reason we need to take a comfort break on your behalf, we're very considerate, we'll do that. We want this to be a pleasant experience for you.
But it's a serious matter, and let's not forget that. All right.

(Court adjourned until 11/16/99 at 10:00 a.m.)

(901) 529-1999
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
  • Mrs. Coretta Scott King, wife of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., currently-Founder, The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, Inc.
  • Dr. Cobey Smith, founder, The Invaders (Black Organizing Project)-1968, educator consultant (current)
  • Mr. Charles Cabbage, Executive Secretary, The Invaders
  • Mr. John McFerren, founder, Fayette County Civic & Welfare League and local businessman
  • Mr. Nathan Whitlock, taxicab driver, musician
  • Captain Thomas Smith, Memphis Police Department, Homocide Detective (1968), currently retired
  • Mr. Charles Hurley, advertising manager, National Food Stores, Memphis (1968), Division Manager, Save-A-Lot Food Stores (current)


Vs. Case No. 97242
November 16th, 1999
Before the Honorable James E. Swearengen,
Division 4, judge presiding.
Suite 2200, One Commerce Square
Memphis, Tennessee 38103
(901) 529-1999


For the Plaintiff: DR. WILLIAM PEPPER
Attorney at Law
New York City, New York

For the Defendant:
Attorney at Law
Memphis, Tennessee

Court Reported by:
Certificate of Merit
Registered Professional
Daniel, Dillinger, Dominski, Richberger & Weatherford
22nd Floor
One Commerce Square
Memphis, Tennessee 38103



BY MR. PEPPER:........................ 53 22

BY MR. GARRISON:...................... 70 15


BY MR. PEPPER:........................ 75 10

BY MR. GARRISON:...................... 96 16

BY MR. PEPPER:........................ 101 4


BY MR. PEPPER:........................ 102 10

BY MR. GARRISON:..................... 121 7

BY MR. PEPPER:....................... 127 18


BY MR. PEPPER:....................... 132 5

BY MR. GARRISON:..................... 155 10

BY MR. PEPPER:....................... 159 9


BY MR. PEPPER:....................... 160 9

BY MR. GARRISON:..................... 184 4


BY MR. PEPPER:....................... 185 14


BY MR. PEPPER:....................... 192 15



(November 16th, 1999, 10:15 a.m.)

MR. PERA: Your Honor, good morning. I have a couple preliminary matters related to the matter you have on trial. May I address the Court this morning?

THE COURT: Let me get my orders first.

MR. PERA: Okay. I thought that was done, Your Honor. That's why I approached.

THE COURT: Any additional orders? Okay. Go ahead, Mr. Pera.

MR. PERA: As you know, I'm Lucian Pera. I represent the Commercial Appeal. First, your Honor, I have an order on yesterday's proceedings as to our motion for access -- I have served this on counsel for the parties -- that both grants -- both denies my motion for access, grants our status as an intervenor for our limited

purpose and grants the Rule 9 motion that you orally granted yesterday.

THE COURT: All right.

MR. PERA: Does that meet with your approval, your Honor? There are two other matters, your
Honor, I want to present. One is a motion we filed this morning. As I understand it, although, of course, I wasn't here and my client wasn't in the courtroom, voir dire has been completed.
We have moved -- filed a motion with the Court, I'm not sure if the Court has received it yet, for access -- immediate access as soon as practicable to the transcript of voir dire proceedings. We have filed a motion and would ask the Court to grant us immediate access to the transcript of the voir dire proceedings held in this case.

THE COURT: Denied.

MR. PERA: Denied?

THE COURT: Uh-huh.

MR. PERA: May I, Your Honor --

I'll obviously give a moment to counsel. I'm anticipating one of two possible results. I've actually prepared an order. Since I know my client may be interested in an appeal, I will share this with Mr. Pepper and Mr. Garrison.
There is one other matter, Your Honor. That is my partner Ms. Leizure is in a better position to address it than I. We know the Court has granted access to the trial to the broadcast media, but under Rule 30 we would also, as the Court knows, do use still photographers and would request and have filed a motion yesterday afternoon by access by one of our still photographers to the courtroom.
If the Court needs to hear that addressed from a legal point of view under Rule 30, my partner, Ms. Leizure, can address that.

THE COURT: As for still photography, I'll have to refer to the rule, which does allow it, but it is limited.

MS. LEIZURE: Your Honor, I


believe the provisions are that you can limit it to two still photographers.

THE COURT: Who are you?

MS. LEIZURE: I'm sorry, Your Honor. I'm Kathy Leizure. I'm Mr. Pera's partner. I represent the Commercial Appeal.

THE COURT: Kathy who?

MS. LEIZURE: I'm Kathy Leizure. I believe the provision is, your Honor, you can limit it to two still photographers who are using no more than two cameras each.

THE COURT: I intend to abide by the rule.

MS. LEIZURE: Okay, Your Honor.

THE COURT: It says if there are more than two, if we're going to have still photography in the courtroom, you'll have to work it out among yourselves. If they can't work it out among themselves, then I'm going to disallow all of it.

MS. LEIZURE: I understand, Your Honor. There is a provision in here for pooling arrangements, which I would be happy

to try to work out if I know, you know, what other media have been granted access pursuant
to this rule for still photography purposes.

THE COURT: I intend to abide by the rules. It is for that same reason that I disallowed the presence of media during the jury selection. All right. Assuming that there are no others who want to have still photographers in the room, I'll allow yours, but if it comes to a point where there are more than the rule allows, if you can work it out among yourselves, I'll do that. If not, as I said, I'm going to disallow all of them, because I'm not going to become involved in a dispute over who can and who cannot.

MS. LEISURE: I understand, Your Honor. I understand. So I will advise my client that they can bring the still photographer in within the provisions, the criteria and guidelines of the rules.

THE COURT: The other thing is that I have instructed all of them that they are not to photograph my jury.

MS. LEIZURE: That's right. That's certainly a provision that is in the rule. That's understood.


MR. PEPPER: May I be heard, Your Honor?

MR. PERA: I've provided this order --

THE COURT: Just a moment. Go ahead, Mr. Pepper.

MR. PEPPER: Thank you, Your Honor. Your Honor, the family has its own still photographer who would like to be present in the courtroom and will abide by all of the rules. It is Mr. Benedict Fernandez, who for nearly forty years has followed the history of Dr. King's work and these proceedings.

THE COURT: All right. Those two, then.

MR. PEPPER: Thank you, Your Honor.

MR. PERA: Mr. Pepper, is this order okay.



MR. PERA: Your Honor, if I could pass the order for immediate access to is the transcript. Mr. Garrison and Mr. Pepper have approved that order, although I haven't actually signed that original. Thank you, your Honor. I appreciate you hearing us.

THE COURT: Yes. Mr. Garrison, are you ready?

MR. GARRISON: Yes, Your Honor.

THE COURT: Mr. Pepper?


THE COURT: Bring the jury out,

Mr. Sheriff.

(Jury in.)

THE COURT: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Glad to see that everybody made it this morning. Yesterday I inadvertently omitted one of the Court personnel. I should have introduced him. I have to constantly remind him that I'm elected by the residents of Shelby County and that he is not my boss. It is my court

clerk, Mr. Brian Bailey over here. I think I introduced everybody else. Before we begin the trial, I'm going to give you some preliminary facts that you can refer to during the course of this trial. Before the trial begins, I'm going to give you some instructions to help you
understand how the case will proceed, what your duties many be, and how you should conduct yourselves during the trial. When I have completed these instructions, the attorneys will make their opening statements. These statements will be brief outlines of what the attorneys expect to be evidence. After the opening statements, you will hear the evidence. The evidence generally consists of the numbered exhibits and testimony of witnesses. The plaintiffs will present evidence first. The defendant will then be given the opportunity to present evidence.
Normally the plaintiff presents all of the plaintiff's evidence before the other

parties present any evidence. Exceptions are sometimes made out of this usually to accommodate a witness. The witnesses will testify in response to questions from the attorneys. Witnesses are first asked questions by the party who calls the witness to testify, and then other parties are permitted to cross-examine the witness.
Although evidence is preserved my asking questions, the questions themselves are not evidence. Any insinuation contained in a question is not evidence. You should consider a question only as it gives meaning to the witness' answer. Evidence may be presented by
deposition. A deposition is testimony taken under oath before the trial and preserved in
writing or sometimes it will be videotaped. During the trial objections may be made to the evidence or trial procedures. I may sustain objections to questions asked without permitting the witness to answer or I may instruct you to disregard an answer that

has been given. In deciding this case you may not draw an inference from an unanswered
question, and you may not consider testimony that you are instructed to disregard. Any arguments about objection or motions are usually required to be made by the attorneys out of the hearing of the jury. Information may be excluded because it is not legally admissible. Excluded information cannot be considered in reaching your decision. A ruling that is made on an objection or motion will be based solely upon the law. You must not infer from a ruling that I hold any view or opinion for or against any parties to this lawsuit. When all of the evidence has been presented to you, the attorneys will make their closing arguments. The attorneys will point out to you what they contend the evidence has shown, what inferences you should draw from the evidence and what conclusions you should reach as your

verdict. The plaintiff will make the first argument and will be followed by the defendant. Plaintiff will then respond to the defendant's arguments. Unless you are otherwise instructed, statements made by the attorneys are not evidence. Those statements are made only to help you understand the evidence and apply the law to the evidence. You should ignore any statement that is not supported by the evidence.
After the arguments are made, I will instruct you on the rulings of law that apply to the case. It is your function as jurors to determine what facts -- what the facts are and apply the rules of law that I have given you to the facts that you have found. You will determine the facts from all of the evidence. You are the sole and exclusive judges of the facts. On the other hand, you are required to accept the rules of law that I give you, whether you agree with them or not.
As the sole judge of the facts, you

must determine which of the witness' testimony you accept, what weight you attach to it and what inferences you will draw from it. The law does not, however, require you to accept all of the evidence in deciding what evidence you will accept. You must make your own evaluation of the testimony given by each of the witnesses and determine the weight you will give to that testimony. You must decide which witnesses you believe and how important you
think their testimony is. You are not required to accept or reject everything a witness says. You are free to believe all, none or part of any person's testimony. In deciding which testimony you believe, you should rely on your own common sense and every-day experiences. There is no fixed set of rules to use in deciding whether you believe a witness, but it may help you to think of the following questions:
Was the witness able to see, hear or be aware of the things about which the witness testifies?
How well was the witness able to recall and

describe those things? How long was the witness watching or listening? Was the witness distracted in any way? Did the witness have a good memory? How did the witness look and act
while testifying? Was the witness making an honest effort to tell the truth or did the
witness evade questions? Did the witness have an interest in the outcome of the case? Did the witness have any motive, bias or prejudice that would influence the witness' testimony? How reasonable was the witness' testimony when you consider all of the evidence in the case?
There are certain rules that would apply concerning your conduct during the trial and during recesses that you should keep in mind. First, do not conduct your own investigation into the case, although you may be tempted do so. For example, do not visit the scene of an incident, read any books or articles concerning any issue in the case or consult any other source of information. If you were

to do that, you would be getting information that is not evidence. You must decide the case only on the evidence and law presented to you during the trial. Any juror who receives any
information about the case other than that presented at the trial must notify the Court
immediately. Do not discuss the case either among yourselves or with anyone else during the trial.
You must keep an open mind until you have heard all the evidence, the attorneys' closing arguments and my final instructions concerning the law. Any discussion before the conclusion of the case would be premature and improper.
Do not permit any other person to discuss the case in your presence. If anyone does attempt to do so, report that fact to the Court immediately without discussing the incident with any of the other jurors. Do not speak to any of the attorneys, parties or witnesses in the case even for the limited purpose of saying good morning. They are

also instructed not to talk to you. In no other way can all of the parties feel assured of your absolute impartiality. All right. There are a couple of additional comments I would like to make. I know that when you are over in the big room, the jury commissioner probably tells you don't ever leave anything lying around. I just want you to know that we have not had any unhappy experiences, that your personal affects are considered to be safe in the jury room.
So if you have sweaters or coats or lunches or whatever else, then you can feel pretty safe leaving them back there while you are here or while you are gone to lunch. Also, if we need to take a comfort break, let us know and we'll be glad to accommodate you. We want to make this a pleasant experience for everyone. We would ask you to be on time whenever we are supposed to congregate. We'd hate to have to be waiting on someone who is disrespectful of the others and for some

reason couldn't make it on time.
Finally, I know that sometimes, usually after lunch, but any time of day you can become weary and just can't keep your eyes open. So I am going to designate each of you and authorize you to nudge your neighbor if you catch them dozing on us. All right. As I promised, the attorneys will give their opening statements, that is, they will tell you what they expect the proof to be in this case. After they have done that, we will begin to hear the proof.
As I told you, this is a case on conspiracy. Conspiracy I guess in general terms would mean carrying out a design or plan where two or more have agreed to commit an act to do injury or damage. And the planning, of course, is not enough. They have to, in addition to the planning, do an act pursuant to that plan in order to be a co-conspirator.
All right. The plaintiff will begin. Then after the defendant has given

their opening statement, we will start to hear the proof in the case.
Mr. Pepper.
MR. PEPPER: Thank you, Your Honor. Good morning, ladies and gentlemen of the jury. On the 3rd of April, 1968, loving husband, father of four young children kissed his family goodbye and left for Memphis, Tennessee. He would never return. They would never see him alive again.
On the 4th of April, 1968, approximately one minute past six in the evening as he stood on a balcony overlooking a parking area of the Lorraine Motel, he was felled by a single bullet, never regained consciousness and died shortly thereafter.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is the beginning of this story. The plaintiff in this case, the victim, was a husband and a father, but he also was a prophetic figure in American history. He had been a civil rights leader as a young man after school and in his early pastor's years, but he moved beyond

that calling, beyond that calling on behalf of the poor in the southern part of this
country, in this area of this country, to become an international figure concerned with
the plight of poor people, economic injustice and with the issues of peace and war.
So as he grew in his leadership and his calling, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. With that award he became truly an international figure, not a regional pastor fighting for justice on behalf of his people. He then turned his attention to the plight of poor people and the effect of war.
He came out strongly during the last year of his life to oppose the war in Vietnam because he saw it destroying an ancient culture and civilization that had so much in common with the plight of black people and the poor everywhere in the world. So he opposed that war.
He also turned his attention to the plight of poor people, the growing numbers of poor in the United States, and had put together a poor people's campaign that was to

descend on Washington D.C. in the spring of 1968, the very spring in which he was
assassinated. That March an encampment did come off but without its leader. As such, it is history now that it did not have the impact that it might have had on the Congress of the United States. The victim was, of course, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr...
The defendant in this case, Mr. Loyd Jowers, who owned Jim's Grill, which was at the ground floor of a rooming house on South Main Street in Memphis at the time. It no longer exists, but the building is still there.
Your Honor has quite correctly advised you not to go near the scene of this crime because it has changed so much over the years. It would only be very confusing for you. That is the reason for that instruction.
At that time and now that building backed onto an area, like a vacant lot area or a backyard. That backyard was covered with brush and bushes, and beyond it was the Lorraine Motel and the balcony on which

Martin Luther King stood when he was assassinated. The defendant managed and owned that grill, and the plaintiffs will attempt to prove that the wrongful acts and conduct of this defendant led to the death of Martin Luther King from behind his very premises, from the bushes, the brush in that area.
Now, by way of disclosure to you, counsel for both parties have agreed not to conduct any interviews with the media, not to talk to the press at all, during the course of this trial. The Court has so instructed you with respect to that. We think that is a most important
instruction, and, in addition, plaintiffs would hope that you would think carefully
about the issues of this case and the facts that are presented and the evidence that
comes before you and not considering what is on television or radio or in the newspapers
regarding this case.
We would ask you please consider staying away from any coverage of that sort

and make your decision solely on what you hear in this courtroom. It is most important.
Also by way of disclosure I have the obligation to tell you that I was a friend and a colleague of the victim in this case during only the last year of his life. Years later I began to look into the facts of this case and ultimately became convinced that the man accused of the crime was not guilty and undertook to represent him and was his lawyer for the last ten years of his life.
He died in prison, never having a trial on the evidence in the case. And the plaintiff family decided that this man also was innocent of the crime and decided to come out and support a trial for him a few years before he died.
Now, the Court has properly instructed you with respect to the nature of the evidence. There will be mostly live witnesses, but there will also be some deposition evidence that you will hear, some affidavits, some public statements, and the

Court will advise you as to the range of voracity you should put on any evidence that is admitted in this Court. But it will not all be live testimony, although indeed most of it will.
With respect to the plaintiff's proof, it is -- the case will be divided into a variety of sections. It is important to us that you consider those sections in the order as it appears.
There will be a general introductory background area of the case that will familiarize yourself with what led up to this wrongful death so that will be hopefully as clear to you as can be.
There will then be evidence laid before you that will indicate that in fact the fatal bullet was fired from the brush area behind the rooming house, from a row of bushes that were very tall and thick where a sniper lay in wait and fired the shot. So that section will deal with the bushes.
There will be a section of proof that will deal with the rifle that is in evidence that is alleged to have caused the

death of Dr. King. And the proof that the plaintiffs will put forward will demonstrate to you that in fact the rifle in evidence is not the murder weapon and that the murder weapon was disposed of in another way.
Plaintiffs will advance proof that there were a number of other people involved. As Your Honor has correctly told you, of course a conspiracy involves more than one. Whilst this case is focusing in a civil court on Mr. Jowers as the defendant, there were other people involved. And some of those individuals will be developed in evidence.
In particular one individual will be developed in evidence who was critical to the coordination of a lot of these activities and who is beyond the reach of this Court, although will be invited, has been invited, and will be invited to attend, but was a part
of this conspiracy, this collaboration with Mr. Jowers.
Now, defendants have in their answer, their amended answer, indicated that

if liability results, and counsel has mentioned that yesterday, if liability results, attaches to his client, that it should also attach to other agencies and individuals.
Because that door is open, plaintiffs will advance evidence of the extent and the scope of this conspiracy so that you understand the umbrella under which the defendant was operating, so it is clear to you the kind of total picture in which he found himself as he carried out his wrongful acts which led to this death.
One indication of this conspiracy, why we are here thirty-one years later in this courtroom in Memphis, Tennessee, is the suppression of the truth, the cover-up that has lasted for so long and the effects of that cover-up in terms of people learning the truth and courts, such as this Court, being able to entertain proceedings designed to unearth that truth.
This cover-up itself and that section of the case would show you

indications of the wrong and will relate directly to the wrong itself that we are proving here and alleging here.
Now, because these witnesses will come from various parts of the country and various parts of the world, I must say, we've had to adjust to various schedules of people. So to some extent the evidence you hear up there may be disjointed. But what I ask you to consider is that each of the witnesses who testify with respect to facts will be putting forward to you a particular piece of this puzzle. And they are being called only for -- he or she will be called only for that particular piece. So you must discern what that is in each instance.
Yes, there will be an introductory statement so that you get to know the witness and who the witness is, get a feeling for whether he or she is credible. But beyond that there will be a piece of information. It would be very useful in our view for you, if you could, to take notes in the course of these proceedings. I know the

State I understand does not provide you with note paper or pads in this jurisdiction. But if you could provide yourselves with them just to make notes of particular facts that you think are relevant that a witness has testified to or an exhibit that you might want to look at further or later on during deliberations, that would be very helpful to you when you begin to refresh your own recollections, because there will be a lot of information coming out.
There will be a great deal of information coming out from a number of witnesses. You may very well expect to forget some of it unless you have noted it down so you understand what they said. I urge you to consider using that, to use some mechanical way of recalling what has happened.
I think that's basically it. I think plaintiffs believe that as a result of the evidence you will hear in this courtroom, that finally the truth will emerge in respect of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. He often said that

truth-crushed earth will rise again. Well, I think plaintiffs sincerely hope that the
truth will be resurrected in this courtroom. And that as a result of the truth being
resurrected in this courtroom, the events, those horrible events of April 4th, 1968, will be unearthed and seen and understood.
Ladies and gentlemen, prepare yourselves for the resurrection of truth with respect to that horrible day, April 4, 1968. And I suggest to you that some of the evidence you hear may go to the essence of this Republic and may in fact shake some of the foundations of this Republic. So important is this case, so important is the evidence, please consider it carefully and well.
We seek a verdict of liability against the defendant because he played a critical role in these events. But it goes well beyond him. And we're prepared to acknowledge and to establish that.
Thank you.

THE COURT: Mr. Garrison.

MR. GARRISON: If Your Honor please and Dr. Pepper and ladies and gentlemen, as you know, I'm Lewis Garrison. I represent Mr. Jowers, who is the defendant in this case.
I'd like to say this: I started forty years ago in this practice of law in August, and on April the 6th, 1968, I was about three hundred feet from this very spot in my desk when Dr. King was assassinated.
Now, Dr. Pepper and I agree on probably eighty percent of the things that he is advocating and stating to you. There are some areas that we do not agree upon. I'll touch on those now.
Ladies and gentlemen, April 4th, 1968, this city was racially divided. November 16, 1999, it is still racially divided. I'm sorry to tell you, it is. It is an error we need to work on, and I hope this trial will bring out some things that perhaps will have some bearing on that.
Mr. Jowers has been around the City of Memphis a long time. He is a former

police officer. When this occurred in 1968, he was operating a small restaurant called Jim's Grill.
Now, you'll find that any part that he -- he has conferred with Mr. Dexter King and Ambassador Young and told them some things that he knew and heard, but I think you will find that he was a very small part, if any -- if any -- in the assassination of Dr. King. He was simply operating a little restaurant down on South Main Street.
Anything that Mr. Jowers may have had to do with this certainly was unknown to him. He was never told that the target of an assassination was Dr. King. Certainly his feelings are that he was at sympathy with Dr. King and certainly for the things that Dr. King was seeking.
Certainly Ms. King and her family have been made to suffer more than any family should. There is no question about that. They've had to go through more than a family should have to go through. We're certainly in sympathy with them and have always been,

always have been behind Dr. King and the things that he was seeking. When I was growing up, not too far from here, we had separate rest rooms, separate water fountains, those type things, separate schools. It doesn't seem like it was very long ago. But after Dr. King came
along, those things came to some extent, but we still take too much of our rights for granted. It has not always been the way it is now.
In this trial you will hear from different persons that will bring forth things that you probably never heard before. For instance, there will be a police officer that will testify here about the United States government sending in agents just before Dr. King's assassination. You'll hear a lady here testify about a police officer who was her husband who was very prejudiced against people whose skin was not white.
You'll hear, ladies and gentlemen, from a gentleman who will also tell you that he had a chance to be with Mr. James Earl Ray

for some months before the assassination, and he'll provide information to you as to what
Mr. Ray disclosed to him as to how he escaped from the Missouri prison, who helped him, and
the purpose of it.
I think, ladies and gentlemen, you'll find in this case that Mr. Jowers was a very, very small cog in a big wheel, if he was a party at all. He never knowingly did anything that would have caused the death of Dr. King or brought any hardship on Ms. King or her family.
Now, this has been a long process. I've been involved it seems like forever. It has been many, many years. Dr. Pepper has been involved in this three times as long as I have. But this is the final chapter.
Whatever historians may write, your verdict will be the final chapter in this case. So in this case I think when you hear all the testimony here and all the proof that Dr. Pepper will offer and I'll offer, I'm going to be able to stand here and ask you not only if you find that Mr. Jowers had

anything to do with it, but there are others who are much more responsible than he was who
knew what they were doing and who brought about the commission of this hate crime. That's what it was. And that others are responsible and that they should be held liable instead of Mr. Jowers. It will be an interesting trial. I think that you will certainly find it interesting, and I hope that you do. If you will listen attentively, because this is a very important case in the history of this country.
Thank you.
THE COURT: Mr. Pepper, call your first witness, please.
MR. PEPPER: Plaintiffs call Mrs. Coretta Scott King to the stand. CORETTA SCOTT KING
Having been first duly sworn, was examined and testified as follows: DIRECT EXAMINATION
Q. Good morning, Mrs. King.

A. Good morning.
Q. Thank you for being here. I realize how stressful it is at the time, particularly
because of the gauntlet of the media out there. We're grateful for your presence. Could you just tell us by way of background what was the purpose of Dr. King's visit to Memphis, his involvement in Memphis and his coming here in 1968.
A. Martin came to Memphis to support the sanitation workers who were engaged in a strike for better wages and working conditions. He felt it was important to come to support them because they were working poor people.
Q. And how did the sanitation workers' strike and his support for that fit into the Poor People's March in Washington which had been planned for later on, the spring?
A. He felt that it was important that he give his support to them because they were a part of what he was really struggling to get the nation to understand, that people work full-time jobs but in a sense for part-time

55 pay. Even people who were poor who worked could not make a decent living. So they would then be invited to join the mobilization for the campaign which was to be held in Washington.
Q. Right. And was this support -- his support for the sanitation workers in Memphis and the plans for the Poor People's March in Washington to be covered by the umbrella of non-violence at all times?
A. Absolutely. He felt that -- as you know, his whole life was dedicated to non-violent struggle. Any time there was violence of any kind, it was very disturbing to him, and he disavowed it completely and whenever he had an opportunity to. He dedicated his life to helping people to understand the philosophy of non-violence, which he lived it as a way of
life. And so when he came to Memphis -- I don't know, Counsel, should I mention that he -- I don't want to get ahead of myself, but when he came to Memphis the first time and there was a march that he led

which his organization had very little to do with planning, that broke out in violence. It was very, very upsetting to him because most of the marches, I would say all of them, that he had led had always been mobilized with the support of the National Southern Christian Leadership Conference staff. Therefore, they were aware of any problems, any controversies that might exist, conflicts between groups and among groups. But he came that day from a trip, got off the plane and went straight to the head of the march. Of course, the march did
break out in violence. It was most disturbing to him. So when he -- when this happened, he
felt that it was very important for him to return to Memphis to lead a peaceful, non-violent march before he could go forth to Washington. He had to demonstrate that a non-violent march, a peaceful march, could take place in Memphis because of the criticisms that were being leveled at that time.

Q. So he returned to Memphis that last time because of the violence that broke out on the march of March 28th, and he was determined, from what you are saying, to restore the position of non-violence to the movement?
A. Yes, that's correct.
Q. Did he attribute -- did he have any idea why that march on March 28th turned violent? Did he have any notion of what caused that?
A. Well, I think he became aware that there was a local -- well, he thought at the time what was a local group of young people who really precipitated the violence. The feeling was that there were some forces behind them, that they were not just persons who decided that they would throw rocks and break windows.
Q. Now, what was behind or underlay his decision to come out against the war in Vietnam and to take on such a public political posture, if you will, which was quite a different change for him?

A. I must say that my husband had wanted to speak out against the war in Vietnam for many years before he actually did do so. He always -- he understood the conflict that existed in Vietnam from its inception. And he realized that it was an unjust war in the first place. Then it was being fought against, you know, people of color who were poor. And wars, of course, for him didn't solve any social problems but created more problems than they solved.
He felt that this particular war was not -- we could not win. Of course, history proved him right within a very short period of time after he spoke out. As a matter of fact, one year after he spoke out against the war, he was vindicated in that the nation had reversed itself and its policy toward that war.
That was April 4th, 1968, when he actually spoke out against the war in his first public statement. But he said he had to do it because his conscience -- he could no longer live with his conscience without

taking a position. He felt that doing so, perhaps he could help to mobilize other public opinion in support of his position, which was, again, against the war.
Q. Do you recall the reaction of other civil rights leaders at that time when he came out against the war?
A. Yes, I do. Civil rights leaders, other opinion makers, all criticized him, both black and white. It was certainly -- certainly he expected it, but he probably didn't expect some of the people who criticized him to do so publicly. His way in the non-violent way was to privately disagree and to go and talk to persons which are having a disagreement, but to be attacked publicly was very difficult for him. He also knew that if he spoke out, it would probably affect the support, the financial support, for his organization, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. And, of course, it did very profoundly. He knew that before he took that risk and that position. So it wasn't

surprising, but, nevertheless, it was painful.
Q. Was there much discussion at the time about him running for public office because he was being pushed forward as a third-party candidate with Dr. Benjamin Spock as an alternative to Lyndon Johnson's being returned to office at that time? What do you recall about him moving in that direction of more serious political activity?
A. Well, I was aware of the fact that there was talk about his running for public office. It was interesting because from what I knew of him, I never thought that he would run for public office. Just knowing the kind of person he was, and because, you know, politics is very important and necessary, but he would be freer to make statements according to his conscience if he didn't run for public office, and because he was Christian minister and because he took his commitment so seriously, I felt that it would have been difficult for him. But at the same time I remember him

saying that because of the criticisms that he had gotten as he had spoken out against the
war, the media had stopped carrying any of his statements and they didn't understand --
no one was getting his message, because the message wasn't being carried forth. There were a number of critical articles and some cover stories that were very critical of him at that time. Time magazine, for instance, did one in 1967 that was extremely critical. He had been the Time man of the year in 1964 after the Peace Prize, and 1957 was the first time, so it
was, again, very painful for him not to be able to get his message out. So he said if I did run for office, it would be one way of getting my message out because I would have to be given equal time. The interesting thing about my husband, he always considered, you know,
every aspect of an issue, both the pros and the cons. And then he would make his mind up as to what he would do.
Q. Were there any comments that he made

the night before his departure to Memphis, that last trip, any indications that he had of potential danger or the seriousness of the task that he faced in Memphis?
A. I don't remember specific comments in that regard. But he had -- after he returned from Memphis after the violence broke out, which was like on a Friday evening, he went back on a Tuesday -- he went back on --
Q. He arrived on a Wednesday, the 3rd.
A. -- on Wednesday morning. But in between that time I was aware of how heavily it weighed on him, the problem of -- this whole problem of the sanitation workers' conflict and what he could do to help by getting his staff united. Because some of the staff didn't feel he should go to Memphis in the first place. He was very strongly in favor of that.
So he came home late -- I guess it was Tuesday evening he came in. There was not time to talk. He got up very early Wednesday morning to go to Memphis. He always called me, you know, almost every

night when he was on trips, so he didn't say whole lot about it, but I could tell that he had a lot of anxiety and it was very heavily weighing on his mind.
Q. Did he go through these times, and particularly this last year, manifesting an awareness that his life was in danger, that he had taken a path of action now that might have brought his life into danger?
A. Yes. I think he was aware of that certainly. I might say he was aware from the early days after Montgomery, Montgomery forward, but I think as he got closer toward this period of his life, he was even more acutely aware. Given the positions that he had taken, he realized that, you know, he could be killed at any time, but for him, his commitment to what he believed and to a higher authority was such that he didn't mind giving his life for a cause that he believed in.
He used to say that the end of life is not to be happy but to do God's will, come

what may. So for him being happy was when he could come out against the war against Vietnam. He said to a colleague, and I heard this on the telephone, I was the happiest man in the world when I could come out personally against this evil and immoral war, because I came to a point where I felt that silence was betrayal.
So that was -- I think that was his position.
Q. Mrs. King, on March 10th, 1969, one James Earl Ray entered a guilty plea and was sentenced to ninety-nine years in prison for the assassination of your husband. Mr. Ray
stayed in prison until he died. But he tried continually to get a trial. At one point the family decided to support an effort for a trial for Mr. Ray. Why did the family take that position that late in the day at that point in time?
A. Well, as a matter of fact, it was because he of new information that we had received and largely because of the efforts that you had put forth to investigate a

65 number of these leads that had come out and found that they were reliable enough. When we looked at it and investigated it, we felt then that we had to take a position. For years we hoped that somebody else would find out, find the answers. We wanted to know the truth. But
the truth was elusive.
We wanted to go on with our lives. We felt the only way we could do it was to really take the position that we did take, because the evidence pointed away from Mr. Ray, not that he might have not had some involvement but he was not the person we felt that really actually killed him.
THE COURT: Just a moment. I see this man aiming a camera at my jury. I don't know that he has been told not to.
DEPUTY JAMES: I've instructed him not to take it of the jury.
THE COURT: All right. Go ahead.
Q. (BY MR. PEPPER) What was the general reaction to the family as a result of that

position? Were there animosity? Were there attacks, lawsuits? What happened to the family, yourself and the children and the organization as a result of that position?
A. Well, there were a number of media articles that were negative toward the family. As a result of that -- there were several really and over a period of months, and as a result of it, we feel that there was some -- it had affected some of the support that we might have been able to receive for the King Center.
Q. Financial support?
A. Financial support, yes.
Q. Contributions?
A. Yes.
Q. Is that similar to what happened to SCLC back in 1967?
A. That's right.
Q. Mrs. King, why is the family bringing this action now thirty -- almost thirty-one years later against the defendant, Mr. Jowers?
A. Well, it has only been recently that

we realized the extent of Mr. Jowers' involvement. So we felt that it was important to bring it now. We're all getting older, I'll say, and, of course, we wanted to be able to get the truth, as much of it as we can, out before it gets later.
I don't know how much longer any of us will be around. That's not given. But the fact is that my family, my children and I -- I've always felt that somehow the truth would be known, and I hoped that I would live to see it. And it is important I think for the sake of healing for so many people, my family, for other people, for the nation. I think Martin Luther King, Jr., served this nation. He was a servant. He gave his -- he willingly gave his life if it was necessary. It is important to know, actually not because we feel a sense of revenge -- we never have.
We have no feeling of bitterness or hatred toward anybody. But just the fact that if we
know the truth, we can be free, and we can go on with our lives.

Q. Mrs. King, is the family seeking a large monetary award from Mr. Jowers as a
result of this action?
A. No, it is not about money. That's not the issue. I think what we're concerned about is the fact that certainly there is some liability by Mr. Jowers, but we're concerned about the truth, having the truth coming out, and in a court of law so that it can be documented for all. And we were hoping that this would be one way of getting to the truth.
MR. PEPPER: Mrs. King, thank you very much.
MR. GARRISON: If we could possibly take a short break before I ask my questions.
THE COURT: Very well. We will take a fifteen-minute recess.
(Jury out.)

(Short recess.)

THE COURT: Are you ready for the jury?

MR. GARRISON: Yes, if Your

69 Honor please.
THE COURT: Bring the jury out.
(Jury in.)
THE COURT: All right, ladies and gentlemen. I would like to read to you before we begin here the Court rules on taking notes. You are permitted to take notes during the trial. You may take notes only of verbal testimony from witnesses, including witnesses presented by deposition or videotape. You may not take notes during the opening statements or closing arguments or take notes of objections made to the evidence. You may not take notes during
breaks or recesses. Notes may be made only in open court while witnesses are testifying. Your notes should not contain personal reactions or comments but, rather, should be limited to a brief factual summary of testimony you think is important.
Please do not let your note-taking distract you and cause you to miss what the witness said or how the witness said it.

Remember that some testimony may not appear to be important to you at the time. The same testimony, however, may become important later in the trial. Your notes are not evidence. You should not view your notes as authoritative records or consider them as a transcript of
the testimony. Your notes may be incomplete or may have certain errors and are not an exact account of what was said by a witness.
All right. You may proceed, Mr. Pepper. Oh, would you like to cross-examine, Mr. Garrison?
Q. Good morning, Mrs. King.
A. Goods morning.
Q. Ms. King, you and I met before and we've talked a few times. I've talked to your sons several times. Let me say this to you: I know it isn't easy for you to be the mother of four
children, but they are all fine, honorable

71 sons and daughters, very fine, honorable people and I know you are pleased with them. I know Dr. King would be.
Let me ask you, Ms. King, you've never been afforded the opportunity to come into a court of law such as this and be able to be a witness as a part of it, have you? When Mr. Ray had a hearing, you were not a party to that hearing, were you?
A. No.
Q. You never had an opportunity to come into a court of law before this to have a jury decide the issues in the case. Am I correct, please, ma'am?
A. That's correct.
Q. Let me ask you, did Dr. King before his assassination, sometime before he came to
Memphis, did he receive a lot of threats that you are aware of that may be hearsay? Was he
aware of a lot of threats?
A. Well, the morning that he was to come back to Memphis that second time, which was the final time, his plane was delayed because of threats that had come to him. I

understand that -- well, of course, over the years there had been threats on his life many
Q. Do you recall, Ms. King, when Dr. King would appear at a place such as Memphis here who would plan his security? Do you know who was in charge of that or how they arranged for security for him? Did he have someone in his group that was responsible for it or did they rely on the local police department? Do you know how that was done?
A. I really don't know how that was handled except usually when he went into cities, the people who -- when he went to towns, the people locally, the committee locally that invited him, would handle the security.
Q. Let me ask you, Ms. King, when Dr. King returned from Memphis after the march, do you recall -- was there any particular group or any particular person that insisted he come back here a second time? Did he ever mention to you anything about any particular person or any group that insisted on him

coming back a second time?
A. I don't know about his coming back specifically, but I know about his coming initially. I think what he had said publicly before he left was that he was planning to come back. So I think there was that understanding that he would be coming back. How it came about I'm not sure.
Q. You mentioned earlier I believe that he seemed to be agonizing over the fact that he would return to Memphis. Was that because of the threat or because of the conditions here?
A. No, not because of the threats but just because it was so important that he lead a non-violent demonstration. Of course, there was an injunction. He had to get past the injunction as well. He took those -- his responsibility very, very seriously, because he knew that the nation and indeed the world was watching. In his own conscience he wanted to be clear that he was doing the right thing.
Q. Now, Ms. King, you are aware of the

fact that Mr. Jowers had met and conferred with Mr. Dexter King, your son, on one occasion, then again with Mr. Dexter King and Ambassador Young on another occasion. You have heard about that, I'm sure?
A. Yes, yes.
Q. Are you aware of the fact that Mr. Jowers stated to them each time he met with them that he was not aware of any of the acts he did that would lead up to the assassination of Dr. King, that whatever acts -- there was no mention of that to him, that he had no idea that whatever acts he may have been called upon he had no idea would lead to the assassination Dr. King? Are you aware of that?
A. I'm not aware of the conversation as much as I wasn't involved with it. So I couldn't speak to the detail of that.
Q. I see.
MR. GARRISON: I believe that's all. Thank you, Ms. King.
THE COURT: Any redirect?
MR. PEPPER: Nothing further,

Your Honor.
THE COURT: You may stand down, Ms. King.
(Witness excused.)
MR. PEPPER: Plaintiffs call Dr. Cobey Smith.
Having been first duly sworn, was examined and testified as follows:
Q. Good afternoon, Dr. Smith.
A. Good afternoon.
Q. Thank you for coming here. Would you state your full name and address for the record, please.
A. Cobey Vernon Smith, 2240 Brown Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee.
Q. And what is your occupation?
A. I'm an educator consultant.
Q. Were you a member of a group called the Invaders back in 1968?
A. Yes.
Q. You were an active member of that

group at the time of the assassination of Martin Luther King?
A. Yes.
Q. At the time of the sanitation workers' strike?
A. Yes.
Q. And when were the Invaders formed?
A. In 1967.
Q. Who formed that group?
A. I formed that group along with Charles Cabbage and John Smith.
Q. What was the purpose of the Invaders? What was their organizational purpose?
A. The purpose was to provide an organizational format for young people, for people in the City of Memphis. We really formed as a result of the Meredith march in Mississippi, which is when I first met Dr. King. Many of us who had gone down became active in organizing and became proponents of the black power movement. We saw ourselves as agents for liberation of our people throughout the country.

I don't know whether people can really remember this, but in 1966 and 1967 it was extremely unsafe to walk the streets in cities like Memphis and southern cities across the country, cities all over. So we saw ourselves as an organizing tool to make people aware of the fact that we were a free people with all the rights and privileges of Americans, to operate and seek prosperity, equality and all the other things that were rightfully ours by law.
Q. So the Invaders were a local community-organizing group?
A. That's right.
Q. How were the Invaders funded? How were they financed?
A. Out of our own pocket. We received no real funding. We received one grant for the black organizing project, which is a grant I wrote in 1967. We received some jobs from the War on Poverty Commission. Cab and I were hired as thirty-dollar-a-week organizers in 1967, a job from which we were fired because we had

affiliation with SNCC and other organizations.
Q. Would you tell the jury what SNCC stands for?
A. The Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee.
Q. What was the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee?
A. It was a national organization which spent -- which really developed out of the civil rights movement which at its inception provided the foot soldiers for the civil rights movement, the young men and women who went out and desegregated lunch counters, students from all over the country, many from Memphis, incidentally, who became the cannon fodder for the movement, as a matter of fact. We would go out and do the organizing work, go into the rural areas, go into the cities, the colleges, the prisons, everywhere there was a need really to let people know the kinds of things that Dr. King and others had talked about were realities

for us.
Q. Did you see yourself in a sense as foot soldiers, community-based foot soldiers, in that movement?
A. Well, you know, now that I'm a gray-haired old man, I don't want to be vain enough to say that. We really thought that we were a chosen few on a mission. We really saw ourselves as helping fulfill the American dream.
We were idealists for the most part. We were people born of desire to change the concept in America from its desegregated biased roots and its hatred for African-Americans to people who understood that we should enjoy the right to vote, the right to speak freely, the right to come and go as we please, to live where we wanted to, to seek an education, all those little things that people now seem to say we take for granted.
Q. With this background and this history and this organizational activity, was there a time when you associated -- became associated

with Dr. King's activities in Memphis?
A. Oh, yes. Oh, yes.
Q. When was that?
A. When the sanitation workers started their -- we did the basic street organizing, you might say, for the events that led up to the sanitation workers' strike. We went out and got the -- we told grown men that they had a right to petition government, to question police, to do all kinds of things. Then when the organization, the AFSCME, which is the American Federation of State, County, Municipal Employees, started to organize its membership, many of its leaders came to us and they accepted our efforts to go out in the communities and gain support for the kind of people who needed this help. When you say this to somebody, it
probably sounds -- I don't know how to really describe it because this was a very dangerous
thing to do. You didn't have a right to go and talk to the city government about organizing its employees. That was against

the law. You did not have a right to question a policeman if they stopped you and talked to you or if they asked you a question. And people were afraid. We didn't have many lawyers, judges, anything else, who would actually stand up to the kind of abuse that we were subjected to here in Memphis.
So when the sanitation workers got together and decided they would organize, they offered a list of things that they wanted, to be recognized as a union, to receive the same pay as white employees, other kinds of things, that seem so mundane to us now. That platform that they used, we had been using it for a few years since a man who is now a judge ran for public works commissioner.
So we were involved in this process actively trying to get it together. And that year when we became -- when the union kind of put itself together, the real hell broke loose in Memphis. The mayor decided that it would never be recognized. A group of

ministers got together and decided that they would work in support of the union. We worked hard to get them to come in. And because we were having such great difficulty with the white community resisting this whole effort, with many people in the black community being threatened and who were afraid, the leadership of the strike itself decided to invite Dr. King here.
Dr. King was not only the greatest leader that we've ever had, he was a person who by his bearing and presence brought a kind of calm to the entire community, to those who were opposed to us. We understood because of our youth and our exuberance that sometimes we were not perceived as being ready to lead. There were people who were afraid of us because we would stop and ask questions.
Well -- or because we would even resist the kinds of pushing around that we received. Several days after the start of the strike itself, the sanitation workers had a march down Main Street, and the police took their

cars and pushed them into the sidewalk.
Q. Do you know -- excuse me for interrupting. Do you know the date of that particular march?
A. No, I don't remember the exact date. But it was --
Q. Was it in February of 1967 or March of 1967?
A. It would have been in February.
Q. Early on in the strike?
A. Yes. Very early in the strike. A number of sanitation workers were injured. Before that happened, two men were killed, were crushed, in a garbage truck, one that automatically closed down and collected the garbage. That set off a fierce to resistance, a fierce resistance. When they had to march down Main Street and the police attacked them, dogs,
clubs, guns, beat the hell out of a lot of them, we really decided to ask for a more militant stance from the union itself.
This probably sounds pretty mundane, but prior to that time the religious leaders

did not want to approach this as if it were a regular strike. Many of us had grown up in the -- with roots to the labor movement, just as we had to the civil rights movement. We believed, for example, that ASCFME should operate its strike just like the AFL-CIO or the Teamsters or anybody else and that we should stop the flow of trucks that were being driven by strike breakers, that we should end this garbage collection that was designed to break the strike. Well, we found ourselves in a greatly divided strike effort.
Many of the ministers and some of the black leaders in town were much more interested in compromising and going along with the edicts of the city administration. We did not want to see that occur. We wanted a full and legitimate recognition of the union. We wanted to make
sure that the rights of these employees were protected. Most of these men were from rural
West Tennessee, had been driven off the farm, had come in from places like Fayette County

where they had been driven off the land in what we call the Tent City.
Q. The founder of Tent City will be testifying in these proceedings. So we can move from that. But let me move you onto the association with Dr. King. What was the relationship that emerged between the Invaders and SCLC, Dr. King's organization here in Memphis, related to the sanitation workers' strike?
A. Originally when Dr. King's people got here there was a kind of an uneasiness between the two organizations. In fact, there were -- there was a brief struggle, skirmish, that kind of occurred, some bad feelings, some other things. It took Dr. King's arrival here to ease those problems out, to kind of smooth that over.
We insisted on following the same principles that we had learned from Dr. King during the
Meredith march in Mississippi and other places.
Q. Did the Invaders with its relationship with SCLC play a role in the

first march that Dr. King led here on the 28th of March, 1967, on behalf of the sanitation workers' strike?
A. We did not play an active role in that march because the night before, Reverend Jim Lawson and reverend H. Ralph Jackson came to the steering committee and presented a letter with bullets in it and said that they had been sent by the Invaders and that we had
threatened them. Consequently I ordered the members of our organization off the streets, not to participate.
Q. So the clergy-led steering committee received from somewhere --
A. From somewhere.
Q. -- a letter with some bullets in it?
A. Yes.
Q. And that was represented as having been sent by the Invaders?
A. That's right.
Q. It was taken as a threat by the more traditional civil rights groups here?
A. Yes. They were very annoyed with us. They didn't like our style. They didn't

like the blue jeans, the long hair. I used to have hair.
Q. Dr. Smith, style aside, did the Invaders send that threat to --
A. No, no.
Q. -- to the organization?
A. Quite frankly, the protocol for groups like ours, if we intended on sending a message, we sent a message. We were not interested in showing --
Q. Let me move you on. You know the march on the 28th of March became violent?
A. Yes.
Q. That was perhaps the only violent march or march that turned violent that Dr. King ever led.
A. Yes.
Q. And you know that the Invaders have been blamed for causing that disruption.
A. Yes.
Q. And you know that Dr. King returned to Memphis to lead another march on his fatal trip here as a result of that violent march?
A. Yes.

Q. Now, let me ask you, did the Invaders disrupt that march?
A. No.
Q. How was that march disrupted? Who disrupted that march, to the best of your knowledge?
A. We received --
Q. Strike that. Let me rephrase that. Did you conduct as an organization an investigation?
A. Yes. I personally conducted an investigation. I ordered a complete investigation to see if any of our people were involved. As I said, I put an order out that our people would not attend the march because we had already, once that letter had been sent ...
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
Full transcript in PDF

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"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.

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