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Donald Wilson


John Simkin
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I have just received a copy of William F. Pepper’s book, “An Act of State: The Execution of Martin Luther King” (2003). The book was published in the UK (has it been published in the US).

The book includes information about a FBI agent named Donald Wilson who was involved in investigating the murder of MLK. Wilson provided information on how Hoover interfered with the investigation. Wilson also told Pepper than shortly after the assassination of MLK he was sent to check out a white Mustang which had been parked for some days close to where the assassination took place. Inside the car, he found an envelope with some papers. One piece of paper had been torn out of a 1963 Dallas telephone directory. The telephone numbers on the page included those of the family of H. L. Hunt. At the top of the page was the name “Raul” and the letter “J” and a Dallas telephone number (this turned out to be the number of the Vegas Club).

Another piece of paper had the codenames of people plus dates and sums of money. According to Wilson it looked like a payoff list. Another piece had the telephone number of the Atlanta FBI field office. Because of his previous experiences during the investigation, Wilson decided not to hand this evidence to his superiors.

In 1997 Wilson went to Pepper with this evidence. Pepper had also obtained a confession from Lloyd Jowers that he had taken part in the assassination of MLK and helped set up James Earl Ray as a “patsy”.

The MLK family took this evidence to President Clinton. They asked him to establish a new investigation into the assassination of JFK and MLK. He refused but asked Attorney General Reno to conduct an investigation of this evidence. The result was that the FBI destroyed Wilson’s business (he ran a successful entertainment agency) by telephoning his clients. His wife also received telephone threats. As a result Wilson refused to hand over these papers or be interviewed by the FBI.

The Justice Department refused Jowers immunity from prosecution so he refused to cooperate with the FBI investigation. As a result, the case was dropped.

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Hi John,

As you know I had a small debate with Mel Ayton over The MLK assassination, including discussion of Don Wilson whom Mel Ayton claims is lying. I have also been in contact with Dr.Pepper and he asures me of the validity of Don Wilsons claims and the integrity of the case.

Don Wilson had a successful talent agency and was driven out of business when people began making threating phonecalls to his clients if they continued to work with Don Wilson.

Mel Ayton says that Don Wilson fabricated his story, personally I don't see any reason to have done so since he has received no finanacial reward, nor has Dr.Pepper it must be said.

Dr.Pepper is presenting as COPA this year, perhaps you could meet him.

All the best

John

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In 1997 Wilson went to Pepper with this evidence. Pepper had also obtained a confession from Lloyd Jowers that he had taken part in the assassination of MLK and helped set up James Earl Ray as a “patsy”. (John Simkin)

John,

I remember reading somewhere that the white Mustang was parked in front of a place called Jim's Grill and that Lloyd Jowers was the owner of the grill.

Was this mentioned in Pepper's book?

James

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Article on the King family's successful lawsuit against Jowers and other unnamed conspirators:

Martin Luther King family receives jury verdict on conspiracy

by Woody Baird

Associated Press

December 9, 1999

MEMPHIS -- The family of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. finally has what it has sought for years -- a jury verdict saying the civil rights leader was the victim of a murder conspiracy, not the lone gunman.

"I'm just so happy to see that the people have spoken. This is what we've always asked for," King's son, Dexter, said Wednesday after a jury ruled in his family's favor on a wrongful death lawsuit.

The Kings had sued Loyd Jowers, a retired Memphis businessman who claimed six years ago that he paid someone other than confessed killer James Earl Ray to kill King.

The trial, which began Nov. 15, for the first time gave a jury the opportunity to hear theories of a murder conspiracy in the 1968 assassination at a Memphis motel.

Ray pleaded guilty to the murder in 1969, so he did not go to trial. He tried for 30 years to take back the guilty plea and died in prison of liver disease last year. His plea was upheld eight times by state and federal courts.

The six blacks and six whites on the Chancery Court jury deliberated only about three hours before returning Wednesday's verdict and awarding the Kings $100 in damages.

The Kings has asked for minimal damages, saying they were more interested in a verdict that would support their belief of a conspiracy.

The suit named Jowers and other "unnamed conspirators," so the verdict did not identify anyone else who might have been involved. A civil court jury finding a defendant like Jowers at fault relies on a standard of a preponderance of evidence. In a criminal case, a defendant must be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

King said the family has no plans to take legal action against anyone else.

"This is kind of a final chapter ... as far as legal remedies go," he said. "We hope to put this behind us and move on with our lives. This is a time for reconciliation, healing and closure."

William Pepper, the Kings' lawyer, told jurors that Jowers, 73, was part of a vast conspiracy involving the Mafia and agents of the federal government. He said King was targeted because of his opposition to the Vietnam War and plans for a huge "poor peoples' march" on Washington.

A cover-up following the assassination involved the FBI, CIA, the news media and Army intelligence, as well as many state and city officials, said Pepper, who represented Ray for years.

He told jurors they could rewrite history with a conspiracy verdict.

"We're asking you to send a message ... to all of those in power that you cannot get away with it," Pepper said during closing arguments.

Juror Robert Tucker said the assassination was too complex for one person to handle.

He noted Pepper's assertions that King's police guard was pulled back shortly before the murder and that Army agents had King under surveillance at the time he was felled by a single rifle shot.

"All of those things added up, it wasn't just one guy acting alone," Tucker said.

A U.S. House committee concluded in 1978 that Ray was the killer but may have had help before or after the assassination. The committee did not find any government involvement in the murder.

Jowers owned a small restaurant, Jim's Grill, across the street from The Lorraine Motel, where King was killed. On the day of the murder, Ray, a prison escapee from Missouri, rented a room under an assumed name in a rooming house above Jim's Grill.

In 1993, Jowers said on ABC-TV that he hired King's killer as a favor to an underworld figure who was a friend. He did not identify the purported killer, but said it wasn't Ray.

Jowers was sick for much of the trial and did not testify.

Lewis Garrison, Jowers' lawyer, told jurors they could reasonably conclude King was the victim of a conspiracy but said his client's role was minor at best.

He said it was hard to believe that "the owner of a greasy spoon and an escaped convict" could have pulled off King's assassination.

Pepper said King's opposition to the Vietnam conflict and his support of the poor angered big-money defense contractors and threatened to redistribute wealth in America.

"This was about money," Pepper said.

The order to kill King, Pepper said, came from the head of organized crime in New Orleans to a Memphis produce dealer who got Jowers to handle the payoff and murder weapon. An Army sniper squad was in place to shoot King if the Mafia hit failed, Pepper said.

John Campbell, a state prosecutor who investigated the assassination, said his office has never turned up evidence to charge anyone other than Ray with the murder.

"I've still seen nothing that would change my opinion" that Ray was the gunman, Campbell said.

Last year, U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno ordered a limited investigation by the Justice Department into two allegations of a conspiracy in the King murder. One was Jowers' claim. The other was a statement by former FBI Agent Donald Wilson that he found papers in Ray's car that might support a conspiracy.

Justice Department spokeswoman Carol Florman said "our review is still ongoing." She would not comment on the Memphis case.

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In 1997 Wilson went to Pepper with this evidence. Pepper had also obtained a confession from Lloyd Jowers that he had taken part in the assassination of MLK and helped set up James Earl Ray as a “patsy”. (John Simkin)

John,

I remember reading somewhere that the white Mustang was parked in front of a place called Jim's Grill and that Lloyd Jowers was the owner of the grill.

Was this mentioned in Pepper's book?

James

Wilson says the Mustang had Alabama license plates and had been "parked for some days at the Capitol Homes Housing Project".

While writing his book Pepper interviewed John Curington, the former chief aide to H. L. Hunt. He was Hunt's "bag man" and carried and delivered cash to a number of individuals and organizations in support of right-wing covert activities. According to Curington, Hunt had a very close relationship with both J. Edgar Hoover and Lyndon Johnson. It was Hoover of course who provided Hunt and his radio stations with information about civil rights leaders like MLK.

I have recently discovered that Hunt had a close relationship with William Buckley. More about that later.

Pepper also points out that the FBI leaked information about Jowers to a friendly journalist who attempted to damage his credibility. The name of this journalist – our friend Gerald Posner.

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