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Prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi Writes New Book on JFK
by Anne O'Dell
“Right now,” said Bugliosi, “I’m working around the clock, almost literally, because I’m reliving the JFK trial in my dreams.”
“The idea for the book originally started with a 21-hour ‘trial’ that took place in London in 1986,” Bugliosi stated.
“There were real witnesses, real evidence, and real jurors.”
The object of the trial, which was produced by London Weekend Television, was to reexamine the findings of the 1964 Warren Commission, which supported the plausibility of a “single bullet” theory and concluded that Oswald was not part of a larger conspiracy to assassinate then-President Kennedy.
Fifteen years after the Warren Commission offered its conclusion, the House Select Committee on Assassinations declared that although Oswald most likely did commit the murder, he probably was not operating alone. Subsequent conspiracy theories have attempted to lay blame for the assassination conspiracy on such diverse organizations as the Mafia and the CIA.
In the London studio, a Dallas Federal Courthouse was painstakingly reconstructed. Jurors were imported from Dallas, and witnesses included such key figures as Ruth Paine, Buell Fraser, Charles Brehm, Bill Newman, Harold Norman, Judyth Baker, Ted Callaway, Johnny Brewer, and forensic pathologist Cyril Wecht.
Said Bugliosi, “It’s the closest thing to a trial that Lee Harvey Oswald ever had or will have.”
As the prosecuting attorney, Bugliosi was responsible to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Oswald killed Kennedy. The defending attorney, Gerry Spence, whom Bugliosi called “one of the finest criminal defense attorneys in the world,” needed to find the reasonable doubt.
“We fought it out,” said Spence.
“It was a powerful experience—as real as a real trial because it was a real trial with real witnesses who had never had a chance to testify before, a real federal judge, a real jury from Texas, and a really fine prosecutor.”
Bugliosi noted that he and Spence both spent five months working on the mock trial.
After such a career milestone, said Spence, “I do think of the case from time to time.
“One makes friends with those he learns to respect. So it was with Vince. We have been great friends every since.”
Although Bugliosi’s expertise and research could have yielded a much longer manuscript, he said the book “will be condensed into a single volume of 1,500 pages.
“There will also be a separate 600-page volume of endnotes.”
Previously, Bugliosi has penned definitive works on the trial of Charles Manson, whom he prosecuted; the O.J. Simpson case; and the Supreme Court’s involvement in the 2000 presidential election.
Bugliosi has been writing the book since the 1986 mock trial; both volumes are tentatively scheduled for release in May 2007.
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