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Mary Jo Kopechne and JFK


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Everybody knows that Mary Jo Kopechne died in Edward Kennedy's car on 19th July, 1969. However, Mary Jo is also connected to the events surrounding the assassination of JFK. In 1963 Mary Jo was working as a secretary for JFK's close friend, George Smathers. She shared an apartment with Nancy Carole Tyler, who worked for Bobby Baker. In fact, they were having an affair. Baker used Tyler's apartment to hold sex parties where he obtained information to blackmail politicians in Washington. LBJ had access to this information and used it to keep the Senate from discussing the Don Reynolds testimony given to the private session of the Senate Rules Committee on the day JFK was assassinated.

In 1964 Tyler was called before the Senate Rules Committee. She took the fifth amendment and refused to provide any information that would implicate Bobby Baker in any corrupt activities.

She moved back to Tennessee but returned in 1965 to work with Baker as his bookkeeper at the Carousel Motel. Tyler believed that Baker would leave his wife. When he refused, she became very angry and according to Baker, made scenes. This included threats to commit suicide. Nancy Carole Tyler died in a plane crash, in front of Baker's motel at Ocean City, Maryland, on 10th May, 1965.

In his autobiography, The President's Private Eye, Tony Ulasewicz explains that he received a phone call from Jack Caulfield, who was working for Richard Nixon, soon after Mary Jo Kopechne's dead body was found at Chappaquiddick. He was told to get any dirt on Edward Kennedy concerning the accident. Ulasewicz got to the scene of the crime before any of the journalists. As a result he was the first person to interview several of the important witnesses, including the woman who lived in Dike Cottage. Although the woman was reading her book with the light on when the accident happened, Kennedy did not knock on her door when the accident took place. Ulasewicz also interviewed the people who examined Mary Jo's body. He also interviewed John Farrar, the scuba diver who pulled Mary Jo out of Kennedy's car. Farrar argued that Mary Jo had been trapped alive for several hours inside the car.

In the Senate Watergate Report there is an interesting reference to Mary Jo Kopechne. John Dean testified that he was directed by Deputy Attorney General Richard Kleindienst to call Cartha DeLoach, the Deputy Director of the FBI, to find out about the foreign travels of Mary Jo Kopechne. He later gave this information to Jack Caulfield at the White House (pages 228-229). The committee do not appear to have asked why Nixon was interested in this information. Nor did it say what time period that Nixon was interested in.

I wonder if it was about Mary Jo's foreign visits in 1963? Did she go to Cuba for JFK? Was she playing a similar role to Lisa Howard? However, soon after the assassination she went to work for Robert Kennedy. Did he give her a job to keep her quiet? Was she about to talk about what she knew in 1969? How did Ulasewicz get to the scene of the crime so quickly? Was he there already. According to his autobiography, the first two jobs he was given to do when he was recruited by Nixon was to investigate Bobby Baker and Edward Kennedy?

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