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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 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.
https://medium.com/@pazmarverde/a-conversation-with-shane-osullivan-c059aa736d56 A conversation with Shane O’Sullivan. The portrait of an excellent researcher giving us an astonishing scoop: RFK Jr. is writing a book on both Kennedy assassinations NOTE: This is the translation of an Italian article by Michele Metta. Original here Today, I am going to interview Shane O’Sullivan. He is an Irish talented writer and filmmaker. He is in fact the author of a very important documentary, The Real Manchurian Candidate, on the assassination of Robert Kennedy. This movie received an endorsement by RFK Jr., son of RFK. O’Sullivan also wrote a very well-made book, Who Killed Bobby? The Unsolved Murder of Robert F. Kennedy. So, I am deeply honored he accepted to answer some questions. Let’s start. When and why did you decide to investigate the assassination of RFK? I first heard about the case in 2004 and intended to adapt the story of two guns, a mysterious girl in a polka dress and a Manchurian Candidate assassin into a screenplay for a film. While researching the story, I discovered new evidence that led me to write a book and make a documentary instead. Sirhan Sirhan, a Palestinian, was the man caught in the afterwards of RFK’s killing, and the one declared guilty of the assassination. Anyway, if we do examine all the evidence, we realize facts are very different from what they seem. Which was Sirhan’s position at the moment of the shooting? Witnesses placed the barrel of Sirhan’s gun between one and a half to five feet in front of Kennedy. And which was Sirhan arm position? I mean: its angle, its elevation. Most witnesses, like Frank Burns, who was standing between Sirhan and Kennedy, described it as level with the ground. After how much time was Sirhan blocked? Ambassador Hotel maître d’ Karl Uecker said he diverted Sirhan’s gun hand away from Kennedy after the second shot. Sirhan continued firing as Uecker slammed his gun hand against the steam table, trying to disarm him. The kind of gun used to kill RFK is so little it can easily disappear in a palm. Is this important, and why? It may explain why the second gunman, with a similar small-gauge model to Sirhan’s Iver Johnson .22-caliber Cadet, could fire the fatal shot and escape, relatively undetected. What about the kind of bullets used that fatal night? They were CCI Mini-Mag Hollow Point .22-caliber bullets. These hollow points were high-velocity bullets, which mushroomed on impact, expanding to cause maximum damage, explaining the devastation in the senator’s brain. What does the autopsy on RFK exactly establish? The fatal shot was fired from an inch behind Kennedy’s right ear. Three other shots were fired from the same firing position. Two penetrated Kennedy’s right armpit. One of these lodged in his neck, the other exited his body and was lost in the ceiling interspace. A fourth shot entered and exited through the shoulder-pad of his coat without entering his body. All four shots were from a sharp upward angle, back-to-front, from behind and to the right. What can you tell us about Thane Eugene Cesar? He was an Ace security guard hired to supplement the hotel security team that evening. He was behind Kennedy and to his right, holding the senator by the right elbow as he made his way through the pantry to a late-night press conference. At the time of the shots, he was in the firing position of the fatal shot described in the autopsy. He ducked, lost his balance, and fell back against the ice machines. He looked up to see the senator lying on his back right in front of him. During his fall, he lost his bow-tie, which can be seen beside Kennedy as he lies bleeding on the pantry floor. Cesar scrambled to his feet, pulled his gun, and moved to Kennedy’s side “to protect him from further attack.” Cesar claimed he was carrying a .38, not a .22, that night but his gun was never checked by the police. He had racist views and hated the Kennedys. Cesar stated that he sold his .22 you just talk about in your answer. A gun that we can all in all describe as an exact copy of Sirhan’s gun. There are various problems about his statement, are there not? Cesar owned a H&R .22 caliber revolver that was a different model to Sirhan’s but was a similar size and had the same “rifling characteristics,” which means it was compatible with the key victim bullets in the case. Cesar said he sold this gun three months before the Kennedy shooting. In fact, he sold it three months after and told the buyer it had “been involved in a police shooting.” Witnesses exist stating that a security guard fired; that there was a “second gun” involved that night. Don Schulman is the main witness to this. Ten minutes after the shooting, he gave his witness account to Jeff Brent, a friend of his, who was just outside the pantry when the shooting happened, reporting for Continental News Service. When you listen to it at first, Schulman actually seems to say that the security guard hit Kennedy all three times, but later he stated that the Caucasian man who stepped out fired three times at Kennedy, hitting Kennedy all three times, and then the security guards fired back. This is how the “second gun” theory whose first father was a researcher called Ted Charach, was born: from this ninety-second recording. Who talked about a girl in a polka dot dress, and why this does matter? Around eleven thirty, young Mexican American campaign worker Sandra Serrano went to sit outside on a fire escape to escape the heat of the lower ballroom. While she was out there, a man resembling Sirhan climbed the stairs past her with a pretty girl in a polka-dot dress and a Mexican American man in a gold sweater. “Excuse us,” the girl said, and Sandra made way as the three went up the stairs to the Embassy Ballroom. Shortly after the shooting, Serrano was still sitting on the fire escape below the southwest corner of the Embassy Ballroom. She heard what she thought was a car backfire six times; then the girl in the polka-dot dress and the Mexican American man in the gold sweater burst out onto the hotel fire escape and ran down the stairs, almost stepping on her. “We’ve shot him! We’ve shot him!” the girl exclaimed. “Who did you shoot?” asked Sandra. “We’ve shot Senator Kennedy!” The girl seemed so excited about shooting Kennedy, Sandra went back inside in a state of shock. Just over an hour later, she told her story live on NBC television and in the weeks that followed, was bullied by Hernandez, LAPD polygraph officer, into retracting her story. She never did and stands by her statement today. And we also have Di Pierro’s words. Yes. Teenage waiter Vincent Di Pierro was in the pantry shortly before the shooting, standing level with the ice machines, five feet to the right of Kennedy. He noticed Sirhan in a powder blue jacket, white shirt, and light blue pants at the opposite end of the ice machine, twelve to fifteen feet away. He was standing up on a tray stacker “in a kind of funny position . . . like in a crouch — like if he were trying to protect himself from something. . . . I thought he was sick.” “When I first saw him there was a girl behind him, too; I don’t know if you need that. There were two people that I saw.” In fact, the only reason Di Pierro noticed Sirhan in the first place “was because there was this good-looking girl in the crowd there.” The girl and Shiran were really close each other, and Sirhan turned and smiled and seemed to say something to her or flirt with her, the waiter remembered. Di Pierro described the girl as Caucasian, between twenty and twenty-four years old, at approximately the same eye level as Sirhan on the tray stacker, with dark brown hair to just above the shoulders, a little puffed up on one side, and a short, “pug” nose. She wore a white dress with black or dark violet polka dots on it and a bib collar made of the same material as the dress. Her face wasn’t that pretty, “but I would never forget what she looked like because she had a very good-looking figure — and the dress was kind of lousy.” He didn’t see her after the shooting. The accounts of Serrano and Di Pierro establish that an attractive female “handler” in a white dress with black polka dots led Sirhan to the hotel, positioned him in the pantry, triggered him to start firing and then disappeared down the fire escape and has never been found. Rather than admit that, Hank Hernandez bullied Di Pierro into retracting his statement and closed the polka-dot dress investigation. These facts induce me to ask: how do you judge the police behavior in this case? The LAPD desperately wanted to avoid the national embarrassment the Dallas Police Department had suffered after the deaths of JFK and Oswald in 1963. They shut down all leads suggesting a conspiracy by getting witnesses to undertake a polygraph examination with Lt. Enrique “Hank” Hernandez, who browbeat witnesses into retracting their statements. The LAPD suppressed their investigation files for twenty years and destroyed important evidence. LAPD criminalist Dewayne Wolfer was later harshly criticized for his work on the firearms evidence in the case. He claimed he matched the key victim bullets to Sirhan’s gun but this conclusion and the evidence he based it on were later found to be false. Paul Schrade was also hit along with Robert Kennedy, but he survived. Who is Schrade, what does he say now, and why is it so important? Paul Schrade was a close friend of Bobby Kennedy and labor chair for his 1968 campaign. Schrade was walking six to eight feet behind Robert Kennedy when he was shot in the head by the first bullet (probably by Sirhan). He fell to the floor and was knocked out as the shooting continued but from 1974 onwards, he has called for a reinvestigation of the case because he believes more bullets were fired that night than Sirhan’s gun could hold. In 2016, he attended Sirhan’s parole hearing and apologized to the man who shot him for not supporting his release sooner. He believes Sirhan did not kill Bobby Kennedy and should be released. I recently interviewed Stephen Jaffe, a really preeminent member of Garrison’s staff, the New Orleans DA thanks whose courage in 1967 the investigation on the assassination of JFK revived. Answering to my questions, he reveled that he was the organizer of a very special secret rendezvousbetween 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.” This very well pairs with a statement by RFK Jr. This one: “My father believed the Warren Report was a shoddy piece of craftsmanship. He publicly supported the Warren Commission report but privately he was dismissive of it. My father thought that somebody [else] was involved. The evidence at this point I think is very, very convincing that it was not a lone gunman.” Please, what do you think about this meeting and about this revelation by RFK Jr.? This provides one of the motives for why he was killed. As I said in the beginning introducing you, your documentary received an endorsement by RFK Jr., a clear demonstration of how much important your work is. Did you also have any opportunity to talk with him directly? No, but I’m in touch with people who are close to him. He’s writing a new book on both Kennedy assassinations that I hope will keep media attention on the RFK assassination and Sirhan’s case.
On February 10, Sirhan Bishara Sirhan, the convicted assassin of Robert F. Kennedy, will be considered for parole in San Diego. Sirhan was originally scheduled for release in 1984 but after intense political pressure, his parole date was rescinded in 1982 and he has since been denied thirteen times. In March, Sirhan will turn 72 years old, having spent two-thirds of his life in prison for a crime he cannot remember committing. For three years prior to his last parole hearing in 2011, Dr. Daniel Brown of Harvard Medical School spent over sixty hours with Sirhan trying to recover his memory of the shooting. Dr. Brown concluded Sirhan’s amnesia for events before and during the shooting was real but his findings were ignored by the parole board, who saw the gaps in Sirhan’s memory as a cynical ruse to minimise his responsibility for his crime. Sirhan has been an exemplary inmate, with no prison violations since 1972 and an excellent work record. If paroled, he would be deported to Jordan to live out his final years, a danger to nobody. But as The Marshall Project recently discovered in a year-long examination of America’s parole boards, parole decisions are often driven not by public safety but by politics. Since 1982, California has treated Sirhan like a political prisoner who will never be released, not a human being who has served his time and has the right to a fair hearing and the rule of law. In the courts, his habeas corpus petition was denied last year, despite new audio evidence indicating thirteen shots were fired in the Ambassador Hotel pantry that evening. American journalism’s record of reporting this case has been abysmal, with no serious investigation by a news organisation since a CBS News inquiry forty years ago. While Sirhan is still alive, there’s still time to reinvestigate his case and expose the politicised charade that his appeal and parole process have become. I will be blogging on the case daily in advance of Sirhan’s parole hearing, releasing a range of new archival material, and I urge others to join me: www.sirhanbsirhan.com I've posted a video giving an overview of the case, with previously-unseen clips from Sirhan’s 2011 hearing here.