The Trial of Lee Harvey Oswald for the Murder of John F. Kennedy: The Defense Perspective

Following up from my previous post, reproduced below is an opening statement from the Lee Harvey Oswald defense team.  I believe this would be the type of opening argument jurors would have heard if Oswald was not murdered by Jack Ruby.

The evidence you will hear in this case will be replete, rife and riddled with reasonable doubt. The evidence, or more precisely, the lack thereof, will require you to find LEE HARVEY OSWALD NOT GUILTY, like it or not, because the State simply cannot prove their case. A NOT GUILTY verdict means nothing more than NOT PROVEN.

You will hear that the State’s case is nothing more than a theory. They will bring you their theory, not cold, hard facts. Specious speculation, not tangible, credible evidence. You will find that their theory, their “official government-sanctioned” version of the assassination of our president is based on an investigation as incomplete as it was cursory. The evidence you will hear in this trial will raise more questions than it will answer.

Specifically, ladies and gentlemen, you will hear:

  1. From their own eye-witness, that the fatal shots came from the grassy knoll and not the TEXAS SCHOOL BOOK DEPOSITORY
  2. from their own witness that the package LEE HARVEY OSWALD carried that day could not have contained the rifle they say it did
  3. from their own witness that LEE HARVEY OSWALD did appear nervous that day before the shooting
  4. from their own witness that the cheap rifle found was not zeroed in, that the scope was way off,
  5. from a coworker that LEE HARVEY OSWALD was on the second floor of the TEXAS SCHOOL BOOK DEPOSITORY minutes before the shooting
  6. from their own witness, a police officer at that, that LEE HARVEY OSWALD was calmly sipping a coke on the second floor of the TEXAS SCHOOL BOOK DEPOSITORY within seconds after the shooting
  7. from every witness that LEE HARVEY OSWALD never, ever said one single solitary bad thing ever about our 35th president
  8. You will find out about the mysterious missing bullet that was never found after their thorough search, and you will wonder if it ever existed at all
  9. You will find out about magic, pristine bullet—a bullet that traveled through our president breaking a vertebrae, traveled through our governor, in and out three times, breaking a rib, only to emerge unscathed and unscarred, pristine in appearance, somehow deposited completely intact at Parkland Hospital

These are only a few of the facts you will hear, facts that don’t fit conveniently into their theory, at odds with their official government sanctioned version. Even their star witness, the lead G-man from Washington D.C. will be forced to admit that their investigation was neither complicated nor complex. They had their man—because you see they always get their man—they had their man, the patsy LEE HARVEY OSWALD, within hours and for all intents and purposes, the case was closed and so were their minds. Why search other buildings near-by? Why be bothered by magic bullets, or missing bullets, or gunshots from the grassy knoll? They had their official theory and you will see this theory implode in this courtroom as they struggle to fit square evidence into the round holes in their theory. And borrowing a phrase from another historic trial of the century, if the evidence doesn’t fit, you must acquit.

You will hear their theory on motive. You see, what their case, their theory lacks in evidence they will overcompensate for in a psycho-babble pseudo analysis of the psyche of my client. He was mad at his wife so he killed the president, he was a failure so he killed the president, he worked at a dead-end job so he killed the president, and on and on you will hear their theories in this courtroom as they struggle to explain why my client might have killed the president, to divert you from their lack of evidence that he did kill the president.

Ladies and gentlemen, history will look to your verdict today for the truth of what happened that dark day in Dallas, those deadly seconds in Dealey Plaza. The evidence you will hear will raise more questions than it answers. Do not sanction with your verdict mere theories when facts are lacking. Exert your intelligence, exercise your independence, rely on rational thought, base your verdict on the law and the evidence and you will be left with no other verdict than NOT GUILTY, NOT PROVEN, because history, truth, and the law all demand that you find that they haven’t proven their case.”

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