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HSCA Records of Richard A. Sprague, Esq.

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NARA Seeks Records of Former HSCA Chief Counsel Sprague

JFKcountercoup: NANA Seeks HSCA Records of Richard A. Sprague, Esq.

When Richard A. Sprague, Esq. was first appointed chief counsel to the HSCA I read an article that he had his staff read Peter Noyes Legacy of Doubt, in which Noyes said that Jim Braden's 1948 Camden NJ arrest record was being with held because the Camden PD were controlled by organized crime. Since my father was a Camden PD lieutenant at the time, I asked him about it and the next day he handed me the original file.

JFKcountercoup: Jim Braden 1948 Camden, NJ Mug Shot

JFKcountercoup: Braden's Camden Arrest Report

I hand delivered a copy of this file to Sprague's Philadelphia office and forgot about it until after the HSCA dissolved, when I received a phone call from G. Robert Blakey, who said that he had learned from Peter Noyes that I had obtained Braden's Camden arrest report, and asked for a copy. When I said that I had given Sprague a copy, Blakey said that Sprague didn't turn over his files to him when he left the HSCA. |

I said I was glad he didn't because you (Blakey) had the HSCA records sealed for 50 years even though most of the records came from other than Congressional sources. I still gave Blakey a copy of the Braden arrest report.

When I testified before the Assassination Records Review Board (Oct. 11, 1994) I mentioned this to them, but I don't think they really paid much attention to any of the witnesses, as they certainly didn't follow up on it.

Testimony of William Kelly (Thank's for posting that John)

.....Lastly, I want to share with you an experience that I have had with a file concerning Mr. Jim Braden. He was arrested in Camden in 1948,Camden, New Jersey. When his story about how he was arrested at Dealey Plaza was published in a book called Legacy of Doubt, the author, Peter Noyes, attempted to obtain this file from the Camden Police Department. He was unsuccessful, but a few years later I obtained this file, the original Camden Police document. When the House Select Committee was established, I personally handed this file or a copy of the file to the first chief counsel, Mr. Sprague, Richard Sprague from Philadelphia. After the House Assassination was dissolved and no longer existed and its files were locked away, I received a call from Mr. Blakely, the second chief counsel, who learned that I obtained this file, and he asked me for a copy of it, and I was shocked that he had not seen it since I had already hand-delivered it to his Committee. But he informed me that Mr. Sprague's files were not totally passed on to his Committee when he took over the Committee. So I am just suggesting to you that there are files out there in private hands, including Mr. Sprague's files, that should be brought back and made a part of the record.

CHAIRMAN TUNHEIM: Thank you, Mr. Kelly.

Any question from members of the Board?

After calling the NARA's attention to the references in The Kennedy Detail that Gerald Blaine had kept copies of the Tampa SS advance reports that were reportedly destroyed after being requested by the ARRB, I also mentioned the Richard A. Sprague records. Apparently, because there was a researcher also named Richard Sprague, they confused the two and never obtained the HSCA records from Richard A. Sprague, Esq., the Philadelphia prosecutor and first chief counsel to the HSCA.

Now, I've received this note from the NARA, and hope that others follow up on the Blaine SS records and these HSCA that are just now being made part of the JFK Assassination Records Collection.

The point being, as with the Clifton AF1 tapes, the Blaine SS records, the RFK files at the Kennedy Library and the Sprague HSCA files, I think there are still significant assassination records out there and we should put a full court press on identifying them and trying to obtain them.


Mr. Kelly,

Thanks for bringing Mr. Richard A. Sprague’s files to our attention. We searched the collection and concur that the collection does not contain a record series of Sprague’s files as Chief Counsel of the HSCA. We also searched the records of the ARRB and did not find evidence that the review board discussed acquiring his records. We’re contacting Mr. Sprague at the address you provided regarding a potential donation of his files.




Special Access and FOIA Branch

Edited by William Kelly
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That's excellent, Bill. One of the things I've noticed is that Sprague once worked for Arlen Specter. By 1977, Arlen Specter had already admitted he'd viewed a photo of Kennedy's back wound during the Warren Commission's investigation...a photo which, as we know,, and as later admitted by the HSCA pathology panel, showed the back wound to have been a back wound, and not a wound on the back of Kennedy's neck, as pushed by Specter in the Warren Report and a number of interviews afterward.

In other words, there was sufficient reason, in 1977, for Sprague to pursue Specter as an accessory after the fact, or at least put him on the spot and get him to admit that he'd lied when he said the wound was on the back of the neck. But nothing happened. When eventually interviewed by Kenneth Klein, Klein failed to even bring up that Specter had viewed the back wound photo and knew the drawings he'd submitted into evidence were inaccurate and misleading. They totally let him skate.

Now, here's where it gets strange, IMO. In early '77, if I recall, a great amount of friction developed between Congressman Henry Gonzalez, a conspiracy theorist, and Sprague, the supposedly dogged investigator determined to get at the truth. This friction was purportedly related to Sprague's attempts to expand the investigation.

This led to Gonzalez's stepping down, which in turn led to Sprague's stepping aside and handing the reins over to Blakey. But get this. Gonzalez was replaced on the committee by a Democrat from Philadelphia, Robert Edgar, and Edgar brought in as his assistant on the committee a young student , Specter's son, Shanin. That's right. Specter's son worked as an assistant on the committee that, should it not have ignored the most basic of questions, would have destroyed Specter's career in politics.

So what's up with that? The thought occurs that Sprague's files might contain correspondence with Specter and/or Edgar, in which Specter's unique problem--he was the one employee of the Warren Commission to both view an autopsy photo showing the back wound location and publicly support the accuracy of the Rydberg drawings in which the back wound location was grossly misrepresented--was discussed.


Edited by Pat Speer
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I didn't know about Specter's kid working for HSCA, that's interesting.

They are all alive today - Specter, Sprague, Blakey and Edgar.

I can't imagine what Sprague took with him and didn't turn over to Blakey but I think he took everything that he considered of value.


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