Bill Simpich's Betrayal of Lee Harvey Oswald
by Ralph C. Cinque
"No real defense would be so stupid as to plead not guilty but not place their client somewhere else."
That is so well put, I had to quote you, Amy. And I do love it when someone states something really profound in just a few succinct words, as you did.
The person who made that decision was Attorney Bill Simpich, who was supposed to be Oswald's attorney. And again I'll state that Bill Simpich vaguely referred to Oswald being in the 2nd floor lunchroom during the shooting. My recollection is that Bill sought to imply that that's where Oswald was. But, he was tepid about it; like he was deliberately being vague and evasive. Why? I know why. I know exactly why.
It's because Bill Simpich talked, at length, to Larry Rivera, and Bill knows, full-well, how certain Larry is that Oswald was in the doorway during the shooting.
And, Bill was going to go with that. I kid you not. So, why didn't he do it? He planned to. He was going to put Larry Rivera on the witness stand. He very nearly did. But, what I think happened is that someone got to Bill and said to him, in so many words:
"Oh Bill, you don't want to go with him. Don't you know that he's considered an extremist? Don't you know that there is a respectable level of disputing the JFK assassination, but that he's not on that level? Don't you understand that Larry Rivera is considered fringe? Lunatic fringe? You'll be aligning yourself with radicals, and it may stick with you- even beyond the trial. Don't do it, Bill. It's not worth it. Think about your reputation. As for Oswald's whereabouts at the time of the shooting, nobody knows for sure, but I think most likely, he was in the second floor lunch room, just as Carolyn Arnold said. And recall that that's what Oliver Stone depicted in his movie JFK. So, you can't go wrong with that. You won't be criticized. And besides, your case really isn't about Oswald's alibi anyway, is it? There are plenty of CTs who make their case opposing the official story without giving Oswald any alibi at all. So, don't feel obliged."
So, Bill took that advice, but I think that the things Larry told him and showed him were still haunting him. Remember what he was going to do. For weeks, it was a done deal. Look:
So, Bill Simpich changed his mind at the last minute, and I suspect it was because somebody got to him. I don't think he changed his mind on his own. But, I suspect he was conflicted. He knows there is nothing bizarre and extreme about Larry Rivera; that Larry is level-headed, stable, rational, etc. And that means that he just may be right.
So, I think that in the interest of self-preservation, Bill Simpich decided that he would go with the "respectable" alibi, but he wouldn't push it. He wasn't going to state emphatically that Oswald was in the 2nd floor lunch room during the shooting. What he said was (and I'm paraphrasing): "Carolyn Arnold said she saw him in the 2nd floor lunch room at 12:15". (she, reportedly, said 12:25) And then he followed that with, "And then, a police officer also saw him there, a little after the shooting."
Now, keep in mind that I am recalling this from memory, so the wording isn't exactly right, but I believe the meaning is.
But, the most important thing is that Bill Simpich never actually said: "Oswald was in the the 2nd floor lunch room during the shooting." No, no, no: Bill protected Bill. He just stated what Carolyn Arnold said (although he got the time wrong) and what Marrion Baker said, and he left it to the jury to put the two together and draw the conclusion that there was continuity between them, that Oswald stayed put from the time Carolyn Arnold saw him to the time Marrion Baker saw him.
But, there is NO CHANCE that Carolyn Arnold was right. She actually claimed that she saw Oswald EATING in the 2nd floor lunch room, and he NEVER ate there. He ALWAYS ate in the 1st floor lunch room. In fact, according to Bill Simpich, Oswald made a point of eating in the 1st floor lunchroom just to show solidarity with African-Americans. I think it's complete, total, utter bull shit. It sounds like something the Idiot Backes would say. But, the point is that Bill Simpich knows that Oswald didn't eat in the 2nd floor lunch room, and that he didn't eat there on 11/22/63. But, look at the article about Carolyn Arnold from 1978:
Now, keep in mind that that article, from the Dallas Morning News, is everything. It's everything there is to this. There is nothing else. And it isn't evidence in the case. Obviously, it did not exist at the time of the Warren Commission, but it's not in the "document pile" of the HSCA either. It's just a piece of hearsay by a reporter for a newspaper with close ties to the CIA. But, what it says there is that at 12:25, Carolyn Arnold saw Oswald in a booth in the 2nd floor lunch room, sitting there, alone as usual, and HE APPEARED TO BE HAVING LUNCH. That's what it says in plain visible English, Bill. Did you miss that? So, what does it mean? I presume it means that she saw that there was food in front of him on the table. And it likely means that she saw him bringing food to his mouth, chewing, swallowing, etc.
But again: Bill Simpich knows very well, because he said so in the trial, that Oswald ate in the 1st floor lunch room, on that day, and every day, "to show solidarity with African-Americans." Your words, Bill.
Well, what are we supposed to presume, Bill? That Oswald ate two lunches that day? As skinny as he was, he was lucky if he got one lunch. It is preposterous to suggest that he ate lunch twice within half an hour.
So, if Carolyn Arnold made a false statement about seeing Oswald eating in the 2nd floor lunch room, and we have to presume she did, then what reason is there to give credence to any of this?
We have a signed FBI statement from November 26, 1963 stating that she said she saw Oswald at the doorway (between the double doors) shortly before the shooting. It wasn't signed by her. It was signed by the FBI agent who took her statement.
Carolyn Arnold was a 19 year old girl in 1963. What are the chances that she lied to an FBI agent? And what possible reason could he have had to lie? And what possible reason could the agent have had to invent that she said she saw Oswald at the doorway close to the time of the shooting? That's bad for the official story, so an FBI agent wouldn't make it up.
Here is that statement. Note that, at the time, Carolyn used her husband's initials R.E. because, you know, women are the property of men, right?
Note: Special Agent Richard E. Harrison wrote it, based on what she said. But, Professor Gerald McKnight, in his excellent book Breach of Trust, spelled out why he thinks it was Harrison who edited her words, and that it was he who designated the time as 12:15 (to leave Oswald enough time to get up to the 6th floor).
But, smarter/wiser minds above Harrison at the FBI realized that it was still poison to the official story. So, they came back, in March 1964, and got Carolyn Arnold to say that she didn't see Oswald at all. And then, they let her cite the real time when she got outside which was 12:25.
It was Professor McKnight who separated the wheat from the chaff and concluded that the first statement was the truth, except the time that she saw Oswald at the doorway was not 12:15 but 12:25.
But again, I want to stress that hearsay is not admissible in court, and what Bill Simpich cited today in court was hearsay. Hearsay from a newspaper article is still hearsay, and there is nothing but hearsay in that article.
In fact, at the trial today, the pretty young prosecutor asked the last witness, Brian Edwards, if he believed everything in the newspaper, and his response was that he never does because "they never get it right." Everyone laughed.
So, why would anyone put stock in this highly suspect, unverified, and internally-contradicting newspaper article? Why would ANYONE think that it's bankable as evidence?
But, getting back to Bill Simpich, he wanted to allude to Oswald's alibi. He remembered what Larry Rivera told him and showed him, and he must have been impressed at the time. Right? I mean, he put Larry on the witness roster, didn't he? You want that I show it to you again? OK, here it is again:
Now, when Bill Simpich told Larry Rivera that he was out, the excuse he gave was that Larry has appeared on the New JFK Show with Jim Fetzer, and that program is anti-Semitic.
Now, I am not going to get into this in a big way because it would be a distraction. However, I will point out what Jim Fetzer said to me last night on the phone: that criticism of Israel for its policies and actions is NOT anti-Semitism. And I'll also point out something that I know, that when David Lifton, who is Jewish, was writing his book Best Evidence about the pre-autopsy of JFK's body, that Jim Fetzer gave him $1000 just to help him out. I know both Jim and Larry well enough to say that there isn't a racist bone in either of their bodies. And, that's all I have to say about that.
But, the point is that as far as I'm concerned, it was just an excuse on Bill's part. And why shouldn't I feel that way? Because: if it was just that, then why wouldn't he ditch Larry but keep the alibi? What bearing does Larry Rivera's attitude towards Jews have on where Oswald was during the shooting?
So again, I think it was just an excuse, and really, Bill let someone convince him that associating with Larry Rivera was a detrimental association. And, I think that if he hadn't come up with the anti-Semite excuse, he would have found another one.
So, Bill Simpich gave up on the doorway alibi, and really, he gave up on making Oswald's alibi a pivotal part of the case. I really think Bill decided to just brush over it lightly. He NEVER made a definitive statement to the jury about where Oswald was at 12:30. And again, to my ears, it sounded like he was just implying to the jury that Oswald was in the second floor lunch room the whole time, from the time Carolyn Arnold supposedly saw him until when Marrion Baker saw him. That's what it sounded like to me.
But, there is NO CHANCE that it's true, and there is no reason to even expect it to be true. Why would Lee Harvey Oswald choose to sit in the 2nd floor lunch room when President John F. Kennedy was passing the building? Oswald? The guy who defended Kennedy to Marina's family in Russia? Oswald? The guy who went to the library and checked out Profiles in Courage and read it just because Kennedy wrote it? Oswald? The guy who read James Bond novels because he heard that Kennedy liked them? Oswald? The guy who had a Soviet wife and who knew that the one and only person who figured out a way to avert nuclear war with the Soviet Union during the Cuban Missile Crisis was John F. Kennedy? Why, WHY WHY, Bill, would Oswald have no interest in seeing JFK when he had more reasons, personal reasons, to be interested in JFK than anyone else who worked there?
Bill Simpich has no strong conviction where Oswald was at the time of the shooting. His action wasn't based on that. His action wasn't based on WHERE OSWALD WAS. It was based on WHO LARRY RIVERA IS.
There is some irony here. Can you see it?
And here's the epilogue:
When word of this reached me, I pleaded with Bill.
"Alright, so you don't want Larry Rivera. Then what about Chana Gail Willis? She is a professional photographer, a longtime JFK researcher, and an advocate of Oswald in the doorway. And she's never been on the New JFK Show. So, would you let her testify in place of Larry?
And of course, I first spoke to Chana. And when she heard what was going on, she agreed to drop everything and catch a flight to Houston. It meant to immediately pack and leave and drive two hours to the airport. I assured Bill that we asked for nothing in the way of travel expenses. But, the response we got from Bill was no response at all- not even a polite rejection.