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Garrison Investigation

New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison.
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.



Case Distorted: Posner, Connick, and the New York Times, by William Davy.

Garrison's Case for Conspiracy, by Lisa Pease.

New Orleans, and the Garrison Investigation, by John McAdams.

False Witness: Aptly Titled, by James DiEugenio and Bill Davy.

Jim Garrison in History and Film, by George Michael Evica.

David Ferrie: Presumed Guilty - Garrison's Villain and Hollywood's Clown, by Dave Reitzes.

Jolly Green Giant, by Art Kevin.

Connick vs. Garrison: Round Three, by Probe.

Herbert Helps Out - A Brief Rebuttal to the Christenberry Decision, by Joe Biles.



Clay Shaw Trial Transcript - Transcript of the proceedings at the trial of New Orleans businessman Clay Shaw.

Orleans Parish Grand Jury Transcripts - The almost-destroyed grand jury transcripts from the Garrison investigation.

Anti-Castro Activists and Organizations and Lee Harvey Oswald in New Orleans - Staff report in Volume X of the HSCA Report.

Other Links

Jim Garrison's October 1967 Playboy Interview.

JFK Online website contains Dave Reitze's writings on the Garrison investigation.

Jim Garrison on wikipedia.

Related Starting Points


Zachary Sklar, screenwriter of Oliver Stone's film JFK, discusses Jim Garrison and the campaign to malign his character.
(running time: 2:07)

(Video clip source: Into Evidence DVD)

Books of Interest

    A Farewell To Justice
Joan Mellen
Potomac Books, 2005
    On the Trail of the Assassins
Jim Garrison
Skyhorse Publishing, 1988
    Destiny Betrayed: JFK, Cuba, and the Garrison Case
James DiEugenio
Skyhorse Publishing, 2012
    Let Justice Be Done
William Davy
Jordan Publishing, 1999
    False Witness
Patricia Lambert
M. Evans and Company, Inc., 1998
    American Grotesque
James Kirkwood
Simon and Schuster, 1968
    Oswald In New Orleans: Case of Conspiracy with the CIA
Harold Weisberg
Skyhorse Publishing, 2013
    Plot or Politics?
Rosemary James and Jack Wardlaw
Pelican Publishing, 1967

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