New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison.
In late 1966, New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison quietly opened an investigation into certain New Orleans-based aspects of the Kennedy assassination. Local reporters caught the scent, and in early 1967 the investigation went public, causing a huge media frenzy and national attention. Garrison arrested local businessman Clay Shaw on charges of conspiring to murder President Kennedy.
During the lengthy period before trial, the scope of Garrison’s inquiry broadened, as did the ferocity of the attacks which appeared in the press and behind the scenes in the federal government. Finally, in early 1969 the case against Shaw went to trial. Shaw was acquitted.
Oliver Stone’s 1991 film JFK is, with some license, based on the Garrison investigation. That film re-ignited many of the same passions that the inquest brought in the late 1960s. Most mainstream journalists and historians dismiss Garrison as a publicity seeker and a charlatan. Experts on the JFK case are divided on the matter. While Garrison’s case against Shaw was certainly a weak one, the declassified record increasingly reveals the panic in Washington that his investigation triggered, and the unusual lengths the Justice Department in particular went to in response.
Was Garrison a fraud? Or is this an image manufactured by the media in response to Garrison's call to "let justice be done, though the heavens fall?" Welcome to one of the most contentious aspects of the JFK assassination.
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