JFK Records Fight Draws Jail Term
By Sam Parry
When Harry Connick replaced Jim Garrison as District Attorney of
New Orleans in the 1970s, he went through the routine process of
cleaning out old files. But some of those files were anything
but routine. They included Grand Jury records of the Clay Shaw
investigation, the only criminal prosecution arising from John
F. Kennedy's assassination. When Shaw was found not guilty, the
records could legally be destroyed. Connick ordered them burned.
But the man assigned to light the match, Gary Raymond, then a
staffer at the District Attorney's office, couldn't bring
himself to do it. "It's not every day you are assigned to burn
the records of investigations into the assassination of a
President," he told The Consortium. Raymond protested the
decision, but Connick wouldn't budge.
So, Raymond disobeyed the order and kept the files for 21 years.
When Raymond learned last year that Congress had commissioned
the Assassination Record and Review Board to recover all
documents relating to the Kennedy assassination, he turned the
Grand Jury files over to television reporter Richard Angelico
for delivery to the board. "When Congress asks for all
documents, they mean all documents," explained Raymond.
Unfortunately for Raymond, this action placed District Attorney
Connick in a bad spot. Connick had already testified that those
Grand Jury files did not exist. When Connick's statements were
contradicted, he accused Raymond and Angelico of theft of
secret Grand Jury records, an action considered to be in
contempt of court, even though neither had disclosed the
contents of the Grand Jury testimony.
For his part, Raymond said that he suspects that Connick had
previously given two print journalists access to the Grand Jury
material for articles they wrote in 1995 attacking Jim
Garrison's investigation of Shaw. "Their articles must have
come from the Grand Jury files" Raymond claimed. "That's where
their information comes from."
Connick denied giving the records to the reporters and insisted
they were shown other non-confidential material for their
stories. The district attorney continued to pursue the case
against Raymond and Angelico. On Feb. 13, Raymond was found
guilty and was sentenced to 6 months in jail, but is out pending
appeal. The judge deferred Angelico's court ruling until Feb.
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