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Ruby and the shooting of Leon Cooke.


Guest Stephen Turner
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Guest Stephen Turner

From American Mafia.

In 1937 Ruby became involved with the scap iron and junk handlers union, local 20467,where he worked for $22,50 a week, as an enforcer, and strong arm goon, although his official title was union organiser.

The local was organised by Ruby's freind and mentor, Leon Cooke, a Lawyer by training, whose chief goal was to raise the wages for the membership to something more reasonable than the Fifteen cents an hour they were making. But in the late 1930s labor plundering was the Chicago outfit's chief source of income, so when Johnie Martin, a two-bit hustler associated with the outfit's leading labor plunderer, Murray Humpreys came to him for permission to take over the scrap iron workers, Humpreys gave the OK.

Within days, Martin, with the mob behind him, had moved in on the union and appointed himself President. At the time, Martin was also on the City of Chicago payrole as a sanitary district clerk and was under indictment with mob boss Paul Ricca for trying to hide his taxable income from the Federal Government. Jack Ruby, although hired by Cooke, soon fell under Martins command and was made the syndicate's bagman inside the union. As for Cooke, no one is really sure what happened, except there was a power struggle inside the Union, and Cooke ende up shot to death.

From what the police were able to reconstruct of the crime, Cooke barged into Martins office and told him he wanted him out of the Union. After a few minutes, Martin drew a revolver and shot Cooke three times in the back, and then took the only witness to the shooting, the office secretary, as his hostage. Eventually Martin was arrested and released, claiming self defence although he could not explain, nor did the State Attorney ask why, if it was self defence, Cooke was shopt in the back.

For the first few days after the shooting, Jack Ruby was the primary suspect in the murder , and was even picked up and questioned by the Police, but was released after a few hours. Later, in an odd twist of fate, Bobby Kennedy reinvestigated Ruby's role in Leon Cooke's killing for the McClellna committee, and concluded that Ruby played no part in the killing. Although shortly after the murder Tubbo Gilbert, Cook County's corrupt State's attorney chief investigator moved in on the union, and confiscated all relevant paperwork, these, along with all police records about the shooting, Kenndy noted disappeared for ever, and so Ruby's real possition in the Union will in all probability, never be known..

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