Reporter convicted of contempt for article on JFK assassination investigation
LOUISIANA–A reporter for WDSU-TV in New Orleans was convicted of contempt of court, fined $100 and given a 3-month suspended jail sentence in late February for reporting details gleaned from documents generated by a 1969 grand jury investigation into President Kennedy’s assassination. The investigation was led by then-New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison.
The reporter, Richard Angelico, received the grand jury documents from a confidential source, Gary Raymond, who worked in the D.A.’s office, and reported details from the documents in June 1995. Raymond has since testified in open court regarding his involvement in procuring the documents.
Raymond was held in contempt of court in early February for divulging the contents of the documents. Judge Frank Marullo stated at the time that Angelico was probably also guilty of contempt for reporting on secret grand jury proceedings, but would rule on that issue in late February. The judge said that he would weigh the responsibility of a non party, such as a reporter, to keep grand jury proceedings secret. Raymond reportedly asked Angelico to get the documents to the review board while keeping Raymond’s identity secret.
Raymond worked for the district attorney’s office under Harry Connick, who took over the office from Garrison in 1974. According to Angelico, Connick ordered the documents to be destroyed in order to create storage space.
Raymond claimed that when he argued that the documents chronicling the only criminal investigation into the assassination of President Kennedy should be preserved, Connick dismissed any historical value they might have and ordered the materials “burned today.” Instead, Raymond smuggled the documents out of the office and held them for 21 years.
Raymond gave the documents to Angelico last year after Connick testified before the Assassination Records Review Board, charging that the documents had been pilfered by Garrison’s staff when they left the office. Raymond reportedly asked Angleico to turn the documents over to the Review Board to let them know that Connick lied to the board.
According to Angelico, when he asked Connick during an interview if he had ordered them destroyed, Connick stated that the documents were of no value anyway, and that some remained in the District Attorney’s office, but that he would probably “burn them too.” (Louisiana v. Angelico; Media Counsel: Julian Murray, New Orleans)