Jump to content
The Education Forum
Sign in to follow this  
Karl Hilliard

Another look at Charles Givens

Recommended Posts

A friend in another forum suggested that I post this article as I searched and couldn't find one quite like it---

The Warren Report chronicled that Charles Givens stated he saw Oswald on the 6th floor somewhere near the 'sniper nest' around 12 noon on that Friday when JFK came through town in a motorcade. Givens did 'testify' [if you want to call it that].. in a closed room session with David Belin-- a sniveling criminal of a lawyer because of his complaisant agenda to frame Lee Oswald.
There were no Commissioners present..only the court reporter.


Here is what really happened...On Saturday Nov 23 [the day after the assassination] Givens made a statement to the FBI--
https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=10406#relPageId=334
Notice the very last sentence..Givens said he last saw Oswald at around 11:50 in the first floor break room reading a newspaper.
That account was hidden from the Commissioners, the press and the public and that weasel Belin knew it.
In an affidavit also to the FBI..Bonnie Ray Williams stated that he had gone back up to the sixth floor also at approx 12 noon to eat his lunch but seeing no one else there after a few minutes went down to the fifth floor and ate lunch with a couple of other employees. Williams did not say he saw Givens nor did he report Oswald being on the 6th floor. None of the employees saw anyone using the stairs or elevators at this time.
https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=10406#relPageId=335
Subsequently... In a statement dated Feb 13 1964 one Lt Jack Revill a Dallas police detective revealed that Givens had a previous drug charge and that "Givens would change his story for money".

This criminal revelation was also ignored by the press and the authorities.......
https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=11133#relPageId=304

 
Three other employees also claimed that Lee Oswald was on the first floor around noon on that Friday.
Charles Givens lied and stated in his obviously rehearsed interview that he forgot his cigarettes on the sixth floor and went back up to get them from his jacket and lo, there was Oswald.
Here is where I catch the lie right in that contrived misrepresentation of truth....

Quote
Mr. BELIN. Is that what you call the domino room?
Mr. GIVENS. Yes, sir. ~
Mr. BELIN. You put your lunch there?
Mr. GIVENS. Yes, sir.
Mr. BELIN. Did you wear a jacket to work that day?
Mr. GIVENS. I wore a raincoat, I believe. It was misting that morning.
Mr. BELIN. Did you hang up your coat in that room, too?
Mr. GIVENS. Yes, sir.
Mr. BELIN. Did you know Lee Harvey Oswald?
Mr. GIVENS. Well, I knew of him.
Mr. BELIN. When did you see Lee Harvey Oswald next?
Mr. GIVENS. Next?
Mr. BELIN. Yes.
Mr. GIVENS. Well, it was about a quarter till 12, we were on our way downstairs, and we passed him, and he was standing at the gate on the fifth floor.
I came downstairs, and I discovered I left my cigarettes in my jacket pocket upstairs, and I took the elevator back upstairs to get my jacket with my cigarettes in it. When I got back upstairs, he was on the sixth floor in that vicinity, coming from that way.
 

Givens said he wore a raincoat and hung it up in the break room. So, how is it that he had cigarettes in some jacket that he didn't wear?
Notice the distance he placed between himself and a fellow worker whom he called Lee by name.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I discuss Givens and his jacket in great detail in chapter 4: Pinning the Tale on the Oswald

Here's part of it.

Step 4: The 4-8-64 Testimony of Charles Givens

We now arrive at the 4-8-64 testimony of Charles Givens (6H345-356). There are four problems with Givens' testimony that would almost certainly have come to light should Oswald have been provided a defense, or even if Ball (and his junior partner Belin) had found his testimony at odds with the Oswald-did-it conclusion. 

The first problem bubbles up near the beginning of his testimony.

Mr. BELIN. Do you remember what time you got to work that day? 
Mr. GIVENS. Yes; I got to work around about a quarter to eight.                                                          

Mr. BELIN. Where did you go when you got to work? 
Mr. GIVENS. I went in a little lunchroom that we have downstairs. 
Mr. BELIN. Is that what you call the domino room? 
Mr. GIVENS. Yes, sir. 
Mr. BELIN. You carry your lunch with you? 
Mr. GIVENS. Yes, sir. 
Mr. BELIN. You put your lunch there? 
Mr. GIVENS. Yes, sir. 
Mr. BELIN. Did you wear a jacket to work that day? 
Mr. GIVENS. I wore a raincoat, I believe. It was misting that morning. 
Mr. BELIN. Did you hang up your coat in that room, too? 
Mr. GIVENS. Yes, sir. 

Now, this is clear, right? Belin asked Givens about a jacket, and Givens corrected Belin and told him he'd wore a raincoat, and that he'd hung it up in the domino room.

Belin then asked Givens about his seeing Oswald on the morning of the 22nd. Givens said he saw Oswald on the first floor around 8:30. Belin then asked Givens about the next time he saw Oswald.

Here is his response: “Well, it was about a quarter till 12, we were on our way downstairs, and we passed him, and he (Oswald) was standing at the gate on the fifth floor. I came downstairs, and I discovered I left my cigarettes in my jacket pocket upstairs, and I took the elevator back upstairs to get my jacket with my cigarettes in it."

Well, wait a second. This bit about the jacket is not only in conflict with Givens' earlier testimony he hung up his raincoat (not jacket) in the domino room, it's in conflict with a statement Givens provided the FBI on 3-18-64, in which he asserted that he was a block away from Dealey Plaza when the President was shot, but that "After the President was shot I returned to the Texas School Book Depository Building, and was told by a Dallas policeman that I could not enter the building. About an hour later, I went to the Dallas Police Department and was questioned by the police for about forty-five minutes. Then I returned to the Book Depository Building about 5 o'clock that same afternoon to pick up my hat and coat. I left the building a few minutes after I picked up my hat and coat." (22H649)

Okay. Let's get this straight. Givens said he went to the sixth floor to get cigarettes from his jacket. No jacket was found on the sixth floor. It follows then that Givens took his jacket with him when he went to lunch. Now, he also claimed he returned to the building to get his coat. Well, the only way Givens' statements and testimony can make any sense, then, is if we give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he wore both a coat and jacket to work on 11-22-63.

Now, should we give him that benefit? Absolutely not. Givens was a warehouse worker. He did not work in a jacket. So, why should we believe he wore a raincoat to work over a jacket, removed this raincoat in the domino room, and then removed the jacket up on the sixth floor? I repeat, he was a warehouse worker. He would know, upon entering the building, that he wasn't gonna need a jacket while working up on the sixth floor. It follows, then, that he would have left his jacket (if he was even wearing a jacket) with his coat in the domino room. I mean, think about it. The order pullers and floor crew with access to the sixth floor were not allowed to return to that floor after the shooting. Some of them--Harold Norman, Bonnie Ray Williams, and Billy Lovelady come to mind--were captured in photographs during or just after the shooting. And yet none of them were wearing jackets when photographed. And yet none of their jackets were found on the sixth floor.

Givens' claim he left a jacket on the sixth floor is simply not credible. 

Belin's failure to clarify Givens' testimony regarding his raincoat and/or jacket is also strange, if not suspicious...

Suspicious Omission #6                                                                                                     

4-8-64. Warren Commission attorney David Belin fails to follow-up and clarify the record when Charles Givens testifies to leaving his coat in the domino room upon his arrival at work, but then going back up to the sixth floor to get his jacket after everyone else had left for lunch--a brand new addition to Givens' story that allowed Belin and the Commission to place Oswald in the proximity of the sniper's nest shortly before the shooting.

This brings us to the second problem with Givens' testimony.

Edited by Pat Speer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 Is it safe to say that to all intents and purposes...Charles Givens vanished completely after these revelations? Can we wonder just how much he was paid to change his story?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Karl:

He did not disappear.  If you read Speer's long essay on him, CBS used him later. 

Which one was it Pat?  The 1967 one or the 1975 one?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is from the Mary Ferrell website:

A witness to Given’s statement was a secret service agent named Mike Howard. Howard related his account to Fort Worth Star Telegram reporter, Thayer Waldo, on 9 February 1964, apparently unaware that Waldo was a newsman. According to Waldo,

"Mike Howard then explained that the negro witness had been arrested in the past by the Special Services office of the Dallas Police for gambling; and, since he was familiar with that branch of the Dallas Police, he immediately gave himself up to that branch. Mr. Howard alleged that he had visited the negro witness while he was in custody of the Special Services in the Dallas Jail."

Waldo quotes Agent Howard as saying,

"Wait till that old black boy gets up in front of the Warren Commission and tells his story. That will settle everything. Yes, sir. He was right there on the same floor, looking out the next window; and, after the first shot, he looked and saw Oswald, and then he ran. I saw him in the Dallas Police station. He was still the scaredest n I ever seen. I heard him tell the officer, "Man you don't know how fast fast is, because you didn't see me run that day." He said he ran and hid behind the boxes because he was afraid that Oswald would shoot him." (CE 2516

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Something has always troubled me about the whole episode with Bonnie Ray Williams eating his lunch on the sixth floor as late as 12:20. Are we really expected to believe that this highly planned out assassination hinged on just hoping this guy would leave the floor before the motorcade arrived? I read in the very same article I cited from the MF website that the lunch remains from Bonnie Ray Williams were only half eaten. I think there is a high probability that someone interrupted him and had him leave the floor, possibly with a threat. Anyone else have any ideas or suspicions about this?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From another section of chapter 4:

 

 

Still, let's not pretend. The likelihood is and has been (since this issue was first explored by researcher Sylvia Meagher) that Givens flat out lied when he said he'd went back up to the sixth floor after he came down for lunch. The 11-23-63 FBI teletype reporting on its interview of Givens, after all, claimed that after coming down for lunch "Givens stayed on first floor until twelve o'clock and then walked out of the building to watch the parade pass." The 12-7-63 Secret Service Report  summarizing an interview with Givens, for that matter, not only failed to mention that he'd went back upstairs and encountered Oswald, it actually had him stating that he saw Oswald with the clipboard and heard him yell out before he came down for lunch. (CD87 p780)

So how can he suddenly change his story to his not staying on the first floor after first coming down for lunch, and to his hearing Oswald yell out after going back up for his cigarettes? He can't. Or at least shouldn't.

Now this raises a question. Did someone pressure or pay Givens to change his story? 

A 2-9-64 article in the Fort Worth Star Telegram gives us reason to believe this occurred. According to the article, written by Thayer Waldo, a Secret Service agent had boasted that a negro witness, who "had been arrested in the past by the Special Services office of the Dallas Police for gambling" had come forward, and had claimed to have seen Oswald actually fire the shots that killed Kennedy. According to Waldo, who claimed to have sat in on a conversation between this agent and another man, the agent said "Wait till that old black boy gets up in front of the Warren Commission and tells his story. That will settle everything. Yes, sir. He was right there on the same floor, looking out the next window; and, after the first shot, he looked and saw Oswald, and then he ran. I saw him in the Dallas Police station. He was still the scaredest n I ever seen. I heard him tell the officer, 'Man you don't know how fast fast is, because you didn't see me run that day.' He said he ran and hid behind the boxes because he was afraid that Oswald would shoot him." As Givens was the only school book depository employee with a notable police record, and was also one of the very few to have seen Oswald in the hour before the shooting, the "negro witness" described in the article is most certainly Givens.

Since Givens never signed a statement or offered testimony describing these events, however, it suggests that either Givens had lied to the police, the agent was lying to Waldo, or that Waldo himself had embellished his story. Perhaps the agent, who Waldo would later reveal to be Mike Howard, had merely indicated that Givens' story was damaging to Oswald, and Waldo had filled in the blanks.  

On 2-13-64 the FBI looked into this story. They contacted Jack Revill, a Lieutenant in the Dallas PD's Special Service Bureau. Revill told them the man described in the article was most logically Charles Givens. Revill told them that Givens had a history of drug use and “would change his story for money”.Revill told them, furthermore, that although he thought the character in the story was Givens, "that when Givens was interviewed immediately after the assassination, he stated he was not in the building at the time of the assassination." The FBI report then recounts Givens' earlier story that he came down for lunch around 11:30, and that, as he came down, he heard Oswald yell out and ask to have the elevator sent back up. (CD735, p295-296).

Months later, after Waldo's story was dredged up by Mark Lane as an indication the Secret Service had been planting false stories in the press, the FBI re-investigated. On May 28, 1964, the FBI wrote a report after talking with agent Mike Howard. (25H844-845). While Howard admitted that he and his brother, Deputy Sheriff Pat Howard, had had a conversation with Waldo, he claimed they did not know he was a reporter, and that they'd never discussed a negro witness to the shooting. On this same day Waldo signed a sworn statement backing his published version of the story. (25H846-848). A few days later, the Bureau contacted Pat Howard, and he admitted that he and his brother had told Waldo about a negro employee with a criminal record who had fled the building after the shots, for fear he would be implicated. (25H849-850) This is clearly a reference to Givens. If the Howards were telling the truth, and they just mentioned Givens because they thought his flight was an "amusing incident," it seems an incredible coincidence that Givens would shortly thereafter change his story and help the Warren Commission put the rifle in Oswald's hand. 

Yes, you read that right...I wrote shortly thereafter. You see there is reason to believe that, although Givens first officially told his tale on 4-08-64, that he began to change his story within days of Howard's talking to Waldo. The February 21, 1964 cover story of Life Magazine, which treated Oswald's sole guilt as a proven fact, revealed "A few minutes after noon, as the President and his wife were pulling away from the airport in the open presidential limousine, an employee in the school book building, Charles Givens, saw Oswald on the sixth floor and said 'Let's go down and watch the President go by.' 'Not now,' Oswald responded. 'Just send the elevator back up.'" 

So, hmmm...a story sneaks out that a black man with a criminal record is gonna implicate Oswald; a report is then written indicating that this man is Charles Givens, that he will change his story for money, and that he really doesn't know anything; a thoroughly-biased article then appears in a prominent magazine citing Givens as the source of previously undisclosed information, and that this information is extremely damaging to Oswald; this info, furthermore, is inconsistent with Givens' sworn testimony months later. Well, from this one might gather Life paid Givens for his story, and that he lied to them, or that someone paid or pressured Givens to lie to them, and that he then told a different lie to David Belin. One can not reasonably assert or assume his cloudy memory suddenly became clear. 

 

Edited by Pat Speer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I never realized Givens testimony was "a closed door session" with just him, Belin and the court reporter.  That's a kind of questionable procedure isn't it?  In a true legal proceeding would it even be admissible in court?  All Belin would have to do change things up so to speak is tell the reporter to stop transcribing, this is off the record.  He could then lead or even intimidate the witness before going back on the record.  In Givens shoes I think I'd have wanted my attorney present before I said a word.

Also, it's interesting this Secret Service Agent Mike Howard's brother was a Dallas County Deputy Sheriff?

Last, I've questioned the veracity of everything Williams, Norman, Jarman and Givens said for years now.  If I remember right they all at some point changed their stories on some aspects.  I don't think anyone would have to have paid Givens or any of them regarding what they said.  They said what they were told to.  I mentioned this on another thread a few months back but this was Dallas in 1963/64.  With the KKK dominated Dallas Police Department.  They already knew but were likely reminded that whatever they were told, "this is the way it happened", or else.  Or else you might find yourself stopped by a cop who "find's" a bag of weed on you (20 + years in Texas at the time).  Or else, you might find yourself beat up with a few broken bones.  Or else, your body might or might not ever be found in the Trinity river bottoms.  JMO.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, James DiEugenio said:

Yep, its Givens.

Which CBS show was it Pat?

More from chapter 4

 

On June 25, 1967, CBS News debuted part 1 of a 4 part investigation of the Warren Commission’s findings. As to whether or not Oswald was on the sixth floor at the time of the shooting CBS relied on the statements of one man: Charles Givens. Eddie Barker of CBS introduced Givens as the “last man known to have seen Lee Harvey Oswald before the assassination.”  Givens then told Barker a new and improved story of his seeing Oswald "standing about middle ways of the building on the sixth floor...just standing there looking with his orders in his hand" and of Oswald asking him to close the door on the elevator when he got to the bottom, so that Oswald could call it when needed. Well, this was a change from Givens' 1964 testimony, in which he claimed he saw Oswald walking back from the sniper's nest in the southeast corner of the building. But a bigger change was a-coming. When Barker asked Givens “This would be about what time?” Givens’ gave a new response, indicating that someone, somewhere, had alerted Givens to Piper’s testimony. Givens told Barker “Well, about one or two minutes after twelve.” Not surprisingly, CBS failed to alert their viewers that Givens had thereby changed his story, yet AGAIN, and that Bonnie Ray Williams, cited elsewhere on their program, had testified he was on the sixth floor from about noon to 12:20 and had seen neither Givens nor Oswald.

Edited by Pat Speer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

FWIW:

I wrote a 200 page chapter on Charles Givens and friends, which can be found in Volume 2 [Forsaken - Tales of Straw-men and Reconstruction]  of my John Connally trilogy, "Controlling The Past" It is Chapter 26 of Volume 2 and is titled, "Disconnected - or Four Blind Mice?"

Gary Murr

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...