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Paz Marverde

Laurie Dusek, Sirhan’s lawyer, explains that even RFK Jr. believes in Sirhan’s innocence

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Posted (edited)

https://medium.com/@pazmarverde/laurie-dusek-sirhans-lawyer-explains-that-even-rfk-jr-believes-in-sirhan-s-innocence-dbbbf2e02119

Please, note: original of an article by Michele Metta also published in Italian here


 
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My today’s article is a conversation with Laurie Dusek. She is the lawyer of Sirhan Sirhan, the presumed assassin of RFK. Laurie, let me please thank you, since I am really glad you accepted to answer my questions. The first one of them is why you decided to become Sirhan’s lawyer.

Robert Kennedy has been a hero of mine since I was a kid. In the very beginning, I thought Sirhan was guilty, as I saw him on TV with a gun in his hand but, the more I read over the years the more I became convinced that there was a lot more to the story. When I met Bill Pepper I was impressed with his knowledge of the 60s and when he asked if I would be interested in helping him represent Sirhan I jumped at the chance.

50 years later and the words, concerns and hopes of RFK are still relevant today! We, as a country, NEED to find the truth behind his death. When people question my dedication and determination to this case all I can say is we as a country, need to learn from our past, our history, but we can’t do that by hiding from it or ignoring it.

Today, as a country we are questioning how we got where we are -politically, economically, ethically and morally. We hear about “Russian” interference in our last election but forgot about the “interference” in the election of 1968.

In 1968 the leading candidate of the Democratic party was killed and the media and the masses turned their heads and refused to address the issue of who was responsible… RFK was not Killed by Russians, he was not killed by Sirhan B. Sirhan, he was Killed by forces from within our country and those forces are still active today.

RFK wanted to help the poor and the disenfranchised. He wanted to stop the violence within this country and around the world. These are issues that have been largely ignored and thus still face us today. RFK was not a saint, he was a statesman who cared about our country and cared about those who were less fortunate. Let us honor his memory by helping those that are less fortunate and by finding the truth behind his death.

As RFK said so eloquently, in a speech in S. Africa, “Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can strike down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”

Let’s send forth as many ripples as we can!!!

Have you ever received threats, or insults, for being Sirhan’s legal representative?

I personally have not received a threat. I can’t say that Bill Pepper or Dan Brown have been physically threatened but they have been subjected to harassment -especially Dan. Both Dan and Bill have had issues with the IRS after they started working on the case. Dan has been audited for 4 or 5 times and even though nothing is ever found they keep auditing him. He has a very interesting story regarding the audits… Dan also has an issue with his luggage when he flies. His problems started right after his first visit with Sirhan. In one incident Dan noticed an airline official taking his luggage from the baggage area and when Dan questioned them he was told by the person holding his luggage “I have instructions to take all luggage from the Kennedy party” to which Dan replied “I am not part of any Kennedy party… “and demanded his suitcases. Similar incidents have happened to him on subsequent occasions.

Our phones were tapped for a while…

As far as being insulted- people either think what I’m doing is great or they look at me as if I’m crazy and so I pay no attention.

Which evidence exist that he is innocent?

a. Eye-witnesses never put Sirhan close enough to the Senator to be responsible for the fatal shot, which was 1.5 to 2 inches from the Senator’s head when fired. Distance is known due to gunpowder residue on the Senators hair and clothing as stated in autopsy report.

b. Sirhan was pinned to the steam table and his hand was held down after he fired 2 shots. Impossible for him to have shot the Senator.

c. Witnesses placed Sirhan in front of the Senator but all wounds sustained by RFK were shot from behind him at an upward trajectory.

d. The Pruszynsky tape (recorded by Stanislaw Pruszynski, a Polish reporter covering the Presidential election and overlooked for 40 years) shows there was a 2nd gun as 13 shots are heard on that tape. Shots 3 & 4 and 7 & 8 are too close to each other to have been fired from the same gun. Numerous tests were conducted on 22 caliber pistols and it’s physically impossible for 1 person to shoot 2 shots from the same gun in that time span. Said test were conducted by Phil Van Praag, an electrical engineer with over 35 years of experience.

e. Too many victims (besides the Senator, 5 other people were wounded) and too many bullet holes in door jams and ceiling tiles to have been caused by Sirhan’s gun which could hold only 8 bullets. A lot, if not all of the tiles and doors with bullet holes were destroyed by the LAPD.

And there are all the actions taken by the LAPD- destruction of evidence, Scott Enyart’s photos being taken from him, switching of bullets at trial (the bullet taken from RFK’s neck -Peoples exhibit 47- was marked “TN 31” by Dr. Noguchi when he removed the bullet but in 1975 in front of the Wenke Commission, Peoples exhibit #47 had “TNDW” as a marking…) The miss-conduct of DeWayne Wolfer, the chief criminalist at the LAPD Scientific Investigation Division who was put in charge of the investigation of the ballistics.

Right after the shooting- a couple who identified themselves as the Bernsteins were outside the Ambassador hotel and they saw a young woman and a man run by them shouting “we shot him” and when the Bernsteins asked “shot who?” the young woman replied “Kennedy; we shot him…” The Bernsteins reported this to LAPD Sergeant Sharaga who put out an APB (all point bulletin) only to be told by higher ups to retract the APB…

What are Sirhan’s inside feelings today about the assassination of RFK?

Sirhan’s feelings regarding the assassination in many ways have remained the same over the past 50 years. He has always stated that he liked RFK and wished what happened hadn’t. He now knows he did not kill the Senator, as for years he was told by his attorneys he was the killer, and that offers him some comfort and yet if he didn’t do it why is he still in jail??? When I went with RFK Jr. last December to see Sirhan, Sirhan expressed his shame about being associated with the death of Bobby’s father and Bobby patted Sirhan’s hand and told him “I know you did not kill my father.” I believe this gave Sirhan some comfort. Sirhan also told Bobby “Innocent or not, inside I feel guilty as your Dad should not have experienced that nor your family, it pains me…”

We all for sure know Sirhan because of what happened in 1968. I would instead like to please know from you who intimately is the Sirhan you personally have known through these years of contacts with him.

Sirhan is a kind, quite man who stays to himself inside prison. He’s articulate and stays abreast of current matters by listening to the radio. He used to read newspapers etc. but now says he has “lost interest” in reading. I like Sirhan and over the past 11 years I have become somewhat protective of him — especially the more I learn about how he and his family were taken advantage of by Grant Cooper and other legal officials who said they were there to help…

What does he feel for still being in prison in spite of his innocence?

Sirhan is very religious but in a quiet, personal way. I feel compelled to say Sirhan is a Christian, as many people believe he’s a Muslim and therefore a terrorist. I don’t understand that rationale but I have encountered it over the years that I have worked on the case. I believe it’s Sirhan’s strong religious faith that has sustained him over the past 50 years. The first time I met Sirhan, (June 6, 2007), he told me “if anything happens to me in here I didn’t do it…”. I am amazed at Sirhan’s inner strength and sometimes when I feel overwhelmed I think of him and my mind set changes.

Sirhan is a Palestinian. Do you believe that who framed him chose Sirhan exactly because of his roots?

Sirhan was a distraction that night-he caught the public’s attention and everyone focused on him and paid no attention to anyone else. It reminds me of a magician who tells the audience he’s going to make an elephant disappear and calls on an assistant to help. Well, we all know you can’t make an elephant disappear but you can distract the audience and divert their attention to a different part of the stage. Sirhan’s being a Palestinian was important and was successfully used by those in power against him. His being a Palestinian was offered as a reason behind his motive to kill the Senator. It made good reading and the media covered that aspect but failed to actually cover the real story. I find a lot of fault with the media for the way the public sees Sirhan — he was portrayed as a terrorist, as a deranged person and from the very beginning as the ‘SOLE’ gunman. The media helped cover up the truth.

During my recent interview of Stephen Jaffe, a really preeminent member of Garrison’s staff, the DA thanks whose courage in 1967 the investigation on the assassination of JFK revived, Jaffe reveled that he was the organizer of an astonishing, secret rendezvous between RFK and Garrison himself, adding: “Before that meeting, I had a contact from a close friend of the Kennedy family who asked me to arrange the meeting. We also had help from another US Senator. RFK told Garrison in New York, at this very confidential meeting, that he was going to reopen the investigation into the assassination of President Kennedy but only after he was elected President. Only with that power, he explained, could he do so.” Please, Laurie, what do you think about this revelation?

I believe one of the main reasons Senator Kennedy was killed is because if elected President he would have reopened the investigation of the assassination of his brother, JFK. Those involved in Dallas couldn’t let that happen. You should read David Talbot’s book “Brothers” which goes into detail about this. I remember when I went with RFK Jr to see Sirhan, Bobby asked me what I thought happened that night and I told him “I don’t think it mattered what route your Father took that night as I believe as soon as he won the Democratic primary he was a marked man and he wasn’t going to leave there alive…” I have kept quiet for the past 11 years regarding who I thought was responsible for the death of RFK as it is my job as Sirhan’s attorney to show how he could not have committed the crime; it is NOT my job to prove who did do it. Being solo practitioners and working on the case pro-bono, Bill Pepper and I did not have the finances to do any investigative work with the exception of the work done by Dan Brown. We focused on the legal documents filed by other attorneys on Sirhans behalf (which wasn’t always the truth as Grant Cooper did nothing on Sirhan’s behalf whereas Larry Teeter did an incredible job on Sirhans behalf) the LAPD and FBI files as well as numerous books on the subject. I thought it was extremely important NOT to say who I thought was responsible as I felt we were on shaky ground and 1 incorrect statement could negate years of hard work… I was pissed when the State of California in one of their replies to a Court submission by Bill and I, said we should the possibility of a second gunman but didn’t show who it was. In the same Court filing they said we also should the possibility of mind control but didn’t show who did it…. It’s our job to show how and why Sirhan could not have killed the Senator- it is NOT our job to find or name the killer(s).

You just reiterated that RFK Jr. himself too started to believe in Sirhan’s innocence. A fact that also emerges from the appreciation he gave to the really talented Shane O’Sullivan for his documentary on the assassination of RFK. What does this documentary tell, and why it matters?

Shane’s documentary is important because it shines a light on the many different aspects of this case. Shane is the only journalist who has focused on the work of Dr. Dan Brown and his efforts to de-program Sirhan. The concept of a Manchurian Candidate is met with total disbelief even though we have submitted credible documentation of studies conducted by the CIA showing this was something our government did. We relied on declarations submitted by Dan Brown and Alan Scheflin which detailed the history of the CIA’s involvement with the Manchurian Candidate. This is extremely important as it goes to whether Sirhan acted alone, whether Sirhan acted “under free will” and if the Manchurian Candidate theory is proved it shows government involvement…

Another factor that Shane focuses on is how the LAPD miss-handled the case. From the very beginning evidence and eye-witnesses were ignored, evidence was destroyed prior to the trial and more evidence was destroyed after the trial and that same evidence should have been preserved for an appeal. Key pieces of evidence (autopsy report) were kept from the Defense team for weeks. Eyewitnesses were not interviewed by the LAPD- they were interrogated in an effort to get them to change their statements.

Shane has taken an objective view of the case and by doing so he has exposed a lot of the inconsistencies by the LAPD, the District Attorney’s office, and the FBI. I do not believe the inconsistencies were innocent oversights or due to negligence- I believe they were deliberate. I say that as 50 years later I still face obstacles in Court and with the prison system.

 
Edited by Paz Marverde

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