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Mary Jo Kopechne

John Simkin

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"The conspirators then murder Mary Jo (drugged and then drowned). The car is driven at speed towards Dyke Road Bridge to provide the tyre markings that will implicate Kennedy in her death. Mary Jo is then placed in the passenger seat and the car which is then pushed off the Dyke Road Bridge."

How do these ideas jibe (or not) with the official finding that MJK survived for some time underwater, in an air pocket created in the rear seat footwell?

It would seem that Mary Jo was still alive when she was placed in the car. What we do know is that the driver would not have been able to get out of the car once it went under the water.

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When I was researching the Mary Pinchot Meyer case I once again came across the name Leo Damore. Apparently, why researching his book, Senatorial Privilege: The Chappaquiddick Cover-Up, he came across information that persuaded him to research the Meyer case. However, Damore committed suicide in 1995 and the book was never published.


Although I had read extracts of Senatorial Privilege on the web I thought it would be a good idea to get a copy of the book. I could then find out if there was any links with what he found out about Chappaquiddick and the assassination of JFK. If he did, there is no evidence of this in the book. I know that he came under intense pressure from the Kennedy family not to publish the book. (Random House cancelled the contract for the book although it had paid Damore a generous advance). In fact, the book was not published until 14 years after he started work on the project. I suspect he may have been forced to remove some parts of the book before it was published. Although a detailed account of the cover-up, it does not tell us anything we did not know. Damore's main scoop is to get Kennedy's cousin, Joe Gargan, to tell his story. Gargan and Paul Markham were the two friends who were told about the accident and tried to rescue Mary Jo Kopechne. Gargan's story is not very different from the one he told during the inquest. The main difference is that Gargan argues that the reason for the delay in reporting the incident was that Edward Kennedy was trying to persuade someone else to take the blame for driving the car. Gargan and Markham refused. Kennedy then wanted to claim that Mary Jo was driving. This idea was also rejected. At this point, Kennedy tells the two men that he planned to go back to Edgartown to report the accident. He then dived into the water to swim back to his hotel (this was a very risky thing to do and Kennedy claims he nearly drowned during the swim. As there was a public phone close by, it seems a very strange thing to have done.

Damore's main thesis is that Kennedy was drunk and therefore not willing to report the accident until the next morning. However, he must have been aware, that not reporting the accident was a far more serious offence. Damore does not explain this nor several other items of evidence that undermines Gargan's story. I think Damore is wrong to believe Gargan's story. I suspect this was more about Gargan covering-up his own behaviour.

I will post later what I think might have happened at Chappaquiddick.

It's been a long time since I read Senatorial Privilege by Leo Damore, but I recall Damore making the rounds of NY radio talk shows. Then suddenly he's dead. I find this suspicious, as someone said he killed himself. I don't believe this for a minute. But what I couldn't get over was Joe Gargan, Ted's cousin, giving so much incriminating info about Ted to Damore for his book. Gargan really turned against Ted 20 odd years later. I've never found anything about that aspect. Can you imagine the hatred this would engender? Or already existed? How is Gargan being treated by the Kennedy family?

I think Ted got out of the car to hide in brush and told Mary Jo to take off. She must have seen this little road and turned into it fast and her car fell off that cursed bridge. This is why no one saw Ted wet. Or upset the next morning. Then Gargan and Markham show up to inform him Mary Jo drowned. Which is another reason he didn't call for help. He thought she got home safe.

Also, there were reports of E. Howard Hunt and Frank Sturgis being seen on Martha's Vineyard. Which is another theory.

Kathy Collins

Of late I believe in a different theory. My source -- I can't remember. I read it on the Internet. I did not invent this theory, but it seems rational to me.

Mary Jo left the party because she drank so much and wanted to lay down where it was quiet. She went into the back seat of Ted Kennedy's car and passed out.

Shortly afterward, Kennedy and Ms. Keogh went to take a drive. Kennedy believed the cop was after him, turns down the lane and plunges into the water because of that stupid bridge that shouldn't have been there. He and Keogh manage to get out. They do not know Mary Jo was in the back seat. Ted only found this out the following morning. Two men approached him in the dining room (a cousin and a friend). Ted's face changed to absolute shock as witnessed by the elderly couple in the dining room of the hotel.

The authorities found Mary Jo Kopechne in the car and a pocketbook. Curiously, it didn't belong to Mary Jo; it belonged to Ms. Keogh. This is the explanation I believe.

Kathy C

Edited by Kathleen Collins
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  • 10 months later...


That's an interesting scenario. Sounds plausible.

I did a Google search and found a similar scenario, different in details (e.g. Ted and Mary Jo are ambushed), in Chapter 7 of the online book The Taking of America. The chapter summarizes a book by Cutler called You the Jury, self-published in 1974.


I have always believed this version -even long before I read it- of the events. And people wonder why the Kennedy family remains silent. I wonder if the murder of John John helped bring on Ted's brain tumor. I knew Cutler -just in passing-in Massachusetts and in 1975 his dart from the sewer theory sounded a bit strange, not so now. A gunman there at least is quite plausible imho.


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  • 1 month later...
... We must also remember, however, that famous dictum that absence of evidence of a conspiracy is not evidence of absence of a conspiracy!

Yeah, Tim, and just 'cuz we're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get us! ;)

(Now, will someone please get those assassins off my neighbor's roof every night? The vigil is getting tedious.)

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  • 1 year later...
Guest Dale Thorn

At the risk of "What does that have to do with anything", it has always bothered me that the New York Times souvenir edition of 11/22, which I presume they actually ran late that day, has a column on page one where Smathers and Averell Harriman are discussing the assassination. I'm about 95 percent certain Harriman was one of the sign-off people on the JFK killing, and Smathers was a party to some part of it. Mary Joe probably knows.

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