Richard A. Sprague

Richard A. Sprague

Richard A. Sprague was born in Philadelphia. He received his B.S. from Temple University and his LL.B. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. After joining the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office in 1958, Sprague served as a Chief Assistant District Attorney, Chief of the Prosecution Division, Chief of the Trial Division and Chief of the Homicide Division. From 1966 to 1974, he was the First Assistant District Attorney of Philadelphia County.

Sprague became a national figure when he successfully prosecuted Tony Boyle, President of the United Mine Workers for the murder of Joseph Yablonski. He also had a record of 69 homicide convictions out of 70 prosecutions.

In 1976 Thomas N. Downing began campaigning for a new investigation into the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Downing said he was certain that Kennedy had been killed as a result of a conspiracy. He believed that the recent deaths of Sam Giancana and Johnny Roselli were highly significant. He also argued that the Central Intelligence Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation had withheld important information from the Warren Commission. Downing was not alone in taking this view. In 1976, a Detroit News poll indicated that 87% of the American population did not believe that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone gunman who killed Kennedy.

Coretta Scott King, was also calling for her husband's murder to be looked at by a Senate Committee. It was suggested that there was more chance of success if these two investigations could be combined. Henry Gonzalez and Walter E. Fauntroy joined Downing in his campaign and in 1976 Congress voted to create a 12-member committee to investigate the deaths of Kennedy and King.

Thomas N. Downing named Sprague as chief counsel of the House Select Committee on Assassinations. Gaeton Fonzi was to later say: "Sprague was known as tough, tenacious and independent. There was absolutely no doubt in my mind when I heard of Sprague's appointment that the Kennedy assassination would finally get what it needed: a no-holds-barred, honest investigation. Which just goes to show how ignorant of the ways of Washington both Sprague and I were".

Sprague quickly assembled a staff of 170 lawyers, investigators and researchers. On 8th December, 1976, Sprague submitted a 1977 budget of $6.5 million. Frank Thompson, Chairman of the House Administration Committee made it clear he opposed the idea of so much money being spent on the investigation.

Smear stories against Sprague began appearing in the press. David B. Burnham of The New York Times reported that Sprague had mishandled a homicide case involving the son of a friend. Members of Congress joined in the attacks and Robert E. Bauman of Maryland claimed that Sprague had a "checkered career" and was not to be trusted. Richard Kelly of Florida called the House Select Committee on Assassinations a "multimillion-dollar fishing expedition for the benefit of a bunch of publicity seekers."

Probably the most important criticism came from Eldon J. Rudd of Arizona, a former FBI agent who had worked on the assassination investigation, declared the Committee had "already fanned the flames of rumour, distortion and unwanted distrust of law inforcement agencies." However, Walter E. Fauntroy defended the work of Sprague: "threshold inquiries by a thoroughly professional staff... in the last three months have produced literally a thousand questions unanswered by the investigations of record."

On 2nd February, 1978, Henry Gonzalez replaced Thomas N. Downing as chairman of the House Select Committee on Assassinations. Gonzalez immediately sacked Sprague as chief counsel. Sprague claimed that only the full committee had the power to dismiss him. Walter E. Fauntroy agreed with Sprague and launched a campaign to keep him as chief counsel. On 1st March, Gonzalez resigned describing Sprague as "an unconscionable scoundrel"

Louis Stokes of Ohio was now appointed as the new chairman of the House Select Committee on Assassinations. After a meeting with Stokes on 29th March, Sprague agreed to resign and he was replaced by G. Robert Blakey.

Sprague later told Gaeton Fonzi that the real reason he was removed as chief counsel was because he insisted on asking questions about the CIA operations in Mexico. Fonzi argued that "Sprague... wanted complete information about the CIA's operation in Mexico City and total access to all its employees who may have had anything to do with the photographs, tape recordings and transcripts. The Agency balked. Sprague pushed harder. Finally the Agency agreed that Sprague could have access to the information if he agreed to sign a CIA Secrecy Agreement. Sprague refused.... "How," he asked, "can I possible sign an agreement with an agency I'm supposed to be investigating?"

A senior partner with the Philadelphia law firm of Sprague & Sprague, he continued is engaged in general, civil and criminal practice; state and federal litigation; antitrust and corporate litigation; and trial and appellate practice. He also served as special counsel to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Judicial Inquiry and Review Board.

Sprague has also served as a voluntary defender in the Defender Association of Philadelphia and has lectured on Trial Tactics in Criminal Trials and Advanced Criminal Procedure at Temple University School of Law.

© , September 1997 - April 2014

Primary Sources

(1) Gaeton Fonzi, The Last Investigation (1993)

Philadelphia's Richard Sprague as the Committee's chief counsel. Sprague had gotten national attention with his successful prosecution of United Mine Workers President Tony Boyle for the murder of UMW reformer Joseph Yablonski. In Philadelphia, where as First Assistant District Attorney he had run up a record of 69 homicide convictions out of 70 prosecutions, Sprague was known as tough, tenacious and independent. There was absolutely no doubt in my mind when I heard of Sprague's appointment that the Kennedy assassination would finally get what it needed: a no-holds-barred, honest investigation. Which just goes to show how ignorant of the ways of Washington both Sprague and I were.

When he took the job, Sprague had done so with the stipulation that he would have complete authority to hire his own staff and run the investigation as he saw fit. He proposed setting up two separate staffs, one for Kennedy and one for King.

He insisted on handling both cases as if they were homicide investigations.

In the annals of the John F. Kennedy assassination, it was a novel approach. And, judging from the reaction of many Congressman, it was a far too radical approach.

The key factors that drove Richard Sprague to resign as Chief Counsel of the Assassinations Committee appeared, at the time, to be apparent and on the surface. His proposed use of certain investigative equipment, his demand for a expensive, unrestricted investigation, his refusal to pay politics with Chairman Gonzalez - all were apparent grounds for the vociferous criticism which, in the long run, was debilitating to the Committee's efforts to get on with its job. However, after his resignation and a brief respite from the turmoil of Washington, Sprague was able to view his experience in a broader perspective.

Shortly after he returned from Acapulco, he was interviewed by Robert Sam Anson of New Times Magazine. Sprague admitted that, with the barrages flying at him from all directions, he and the staff had little time to actually investigate. By his reckoning, he said, he spent "point zero one percent" of his time examining the actual evidence. Yet, he told Anson, if he had it to do over again, he would begin his investigation of the Kennedy assassination by probing "Oswald's ties to the Central Intelligence Agency." Recently, I asked Sprague why he had come to that conclusion. "Well," he said, "when I first thought about it I decided that the House leadership really hadn't intended for there to be an investigation. The Committee was set up to appease the Black Caucus in an election year. I still believe that was a factor. But when I looked back at what happened, it suddenly became very clear that the problems began only after I ran up against the CIA. That's when my troubles really started."

In the early months of the Committee's life, Sprague's critics both in Congress and in the press were not only keeping him busy dodging the shots, they were also demanding that the Committee produce some sensational new evidence to justify its continuance. Sprague, therefore, was forced to take some wild swings at what appeared to be a few obvious targets. One area that very apparently needed closer examination was the CIA's handling of the initial investigation of Lee Harvey Oswald's activities in Mexico City.

According to the information supplied to the Warren Commission by the CIA, a man who identified himself as Lee Harvey Oswald visited the Cuban consulate in Mexico City on September 27th, 1963. (That, by the way, the House Assassinations Committee would later conflictingly conclude, was possibly one of the dates Oswald appeared at Silvia Odio's door in Dallas.) The Agency told the Commission that Oswald had been in Mexico City from September 26th to October 3rd. During the time, said the Agency, Oswald made a number of visits to both the Cuban Embassy and the Russian Embassy attempting to get an in-transit visa to Russia by way of Cuba. The CIA also claimed that when Oswald visited the Russian Embassy he spoke with a Soviet consul who was really a KGB intelligence officer. It was later learned, however, that CIA headquarters in Washington was not informed of the incident until October 9th, and then told only that Oswald had contacted the Soviet Embassy on October 1st. The CIA station in Mexico City told headquarters that it had obtained a photograph of Oswald visited the Embassy and described the man in the photo as approximately 35 years old, six feet tall, with an athletic build, a balding top and receding hairline.

When the Warren Commission asked the CIA for photos of Oswald taken in Mexico City, the ones it produced depicted the man described in the original teletype - obviously not Oswald. Notified of this discrepancy, the CIA said simply it had made a mistake and that there were no photographs of Oswald taken in Mexico City. It never identified the man in the photos. In fact, the CIA was able to produce very little hard evidence regarding Oswald's activities in Mexico City. "For example," Commission Counsel J. Lee Ranking complained, "they had no record of Oswald's daily movements while in Mexico City, nor could they confirm the date of his departure or his mode of travels."

Some Warren Commission critics would later interpret the incident as an attempt by certain CIA personnel to falsely link Oswald to Communist connections even before the Kennedy assassination. When Sprague first approached this area, he discovered that the CIA officer in charge of reporting such information from Mexico City at the time of Oswald's visit was former Bay of Pigs propaganda chief David Atlee Phillips.

In the biography, The Night Watch: 25 Years of Peculiar Service (published in 1977), David Phillips spends just a few pages on the Kennedy assassination and the Mexico City incident. He blames the cable discrepancy on a mistake by an underling. He explains the lack of an Oswald photography on the CIA's inability to maintain camera coverage of the Cuban and Russian embassies on an around-the-clock and weekend basis. A seemingly strange deficiency at a period so close to the Cuban missile crisis)

Sprague called David Phillips to testify before the Assassinations Committee in November, 1976. According to Sprague, Phillips said that the CIA had monitored and tape recorded Oswald's conversations with the Soviet Embassy. The tape was then transcribed by a CIA employee who then mistakenly coupled it with a photograph of a person who was not Oswald. Phillips said that the actual recording was routinely destroyed or re-used about a week after it was received.

Sprague subsequently discovered an FBI memorandum to the Secret Service dated November 23rd, 1963. It referred to the CIA notification of the man who visited the Russian Embassy. The memo noted that "Special Agents of this Bureau who have conversed with Oswald in Dallas, Tex., have observed photographs of the individual referred to above and have listened to a recording of his voice. These Special Agents are of the opinion that the above-referred-to individual was not Lee Harvey Oswald."

Sprague was intrigued: How could the FBI agents have listened to a tape recording in November when Phillips said it had been destroyed in October? Sprague decided to push the CIA for an answer. He wanted complete information about the CIA's operation in Mexico City and total access to all its employees who may have had anything to do with the photographs, tape recordings and transcripts. The Agency balked. Sprague pushed harder. Finally the Agency agreed that Sprague could have access to the information if he agreed to sign a CIA Secrecy Agreement. Sprague refused. He contended that would be in direct conflict with House Resolution 222 which established the Assassination Committee and authorized it investigate the agencies of the United States Government. "How," he asked, "can I possible sign an agreement with an agency I'm supposed to be investigating?" He indicated he would subpoena the CIA's records.

Shortly afterwards, the first attempt to get the Assassinations Committee reconstituted was blocked.

(2) G. Robert Blakey and Richard Billings, The Plot to Kill the President (1981)

There were worthy lessons to be learned from Sprague's experience. Granted, he had many shortcomings, so his dismissal was fitting. He was egotistical and arrogant to the extent that he believed he did not need to pay attention to the work that had been done by the FBI and the Warren Commission (he was literally calling witnesses - gangsters, ex-CIA officials - without the benefit of full background briefings). He insisted that his investigation be kept independent of individuals who had been "tainted" by experience - federal agency officials, critics, and politicians (this would seem even to include members of the Committee). Sprague apparently forgot he was conducting a congressional investigation. To him, the Kennedy and King assassinations were everyday murders, which explained why he staffed the Committee with attorneys and investigators from metropolitan homicide bureaus. The approach was doomed from the start, for it was predicated on the single objective of apprehending and prosecuting the killers, an unconstitutional undertaking for a congressional committee. (Even if he had developed evidence against named conspirators that met trial standards, it would have been up to the Department of Justice, not the Committee, to act on it.)

It is only fair to say, however, that Sprague came to terms on the conditions of his appointment with Downing, and Gonzalez switched the signals. Sprague understood, for example, that he had full authority to hire and fire, and he understandably resented the public way that Gonzalez took it away from him. He also resented having to justify his stewardship once Downing had departed, and he objected strenuously to being forced to go hat-in-hand before other congressional committees for funding. Sprague confided to associates that he had thought, when he accepted the job, that all he had to do was put together a staff, prepare a budget, and proceed to solve the cases. Thus, he betrayed a misunderstanding of Congress, for if it is nothing else, Congress is a political institution accustomed to granting nothing that is not inveigled from it by the lobbying process that Sprague resented. Congress also draws a sharp distinction between elected and appointed power - committee staff members, even a chief counsel, are expected to know their place.

(3) Richard E. Sprague, The Taking of America (1985)

Downing and Gonzalez hired Dick Sprague as chief counsel. Sprague very rapidly hired the equivalent of his own FBI. He sensed from the start that he might be up against both the FBI and the CIA, so he carefully screened his investigators, lawyers, researchers and other personnel to prevent intelligence penetration of the staff. However, some personnel were "handed" to him by both Gonzalez and Downing.

It goes almost without saying that the PCG would have tried to infiltrate the staff. What they learned by their early infiltration was that Sprague and his crack team were not only on the right track in both the JFK and MLK investigations, but also that the tactics used by the PCG in those weeks were making the staff and some of the committee members suspicious about the PCG itself.

Faced with the new committee and Sprague's staff, the PCG had devise a strategy that included:

1. Attacking Dick Sprague to discredit him with dirt and print it in the media.

2. Using the media to spread PCG propaganda and control the sources of all stories concerning the Select Committee.

3. Using PCG Congressmen to provide biased, distorted quotes to the media for its use.

4. Trying to discredit the entire committee by making it appear to be disorganized and unmanageable.

5. Controlling the voting and lobbying against the continuation of the committee in January and February.

6. Influencing members of the House to vote against the Committee through a massive letter and telegram campaign.

7. Exaggerating the emphasis placed on the size of the budget requested by Sprague without considering the need for such a budget.

8. Demanding that the committee justify its existence by producing new evidence.

9. Splitting the committee and attempting to create dissension; creating a battle between Henry Gonzalez and Richard Sprague and between Gonzalez and Downing.

10. Hamstringing the staff so they could not receive salaries, could not travel, did not have subpoena power, could not make long distance telephone calls; blocking access to the key files at the FBI, Justice Department, CIA and Secret Service.

11. Trying to insert their own man at the head of the staff.

12. Brainwashing Henry Gonzalez into believing that Sprague and others were agents.

13. Sacrificing Henry Gonzalez when it became obvious the PCG could not control him as their chairman.

14. Leaking stories that seemed to make the committee's efforts unnecessary.

(4) Richard E. Sprague, The Taking of America (1985)

The final report of the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA), issued in 1979, concluded that a conspiracy existed in the assassination of President Kennedy. This news should have delighted hundreds of researchers who had disagreed with the no-conspiracy finding of the Warren Commission. The fact that it did not, is due to the HSCA conspiracy being a simple one, with Lee Harvey Oswald still firing all but one of the shots from the sixth floor window of the Texas School Book Depository Building. The existence of another shooter and another shot, from the grassy knoll, was "proved" by the HSCA, based primarily on acoustical evidence presented in the very last month of their public hearings. Dr. Robert Blakey and Richard Billings, chief counsel and report editor for the HSCA, co-authored, in 1981, a book, The Plot to Kill the President, following the publication of the HSCA's final report. The book claimed that the other shooter and Oswald were part of a Mafia plot to kill JFK.

To over simplify the current (1985) situation, most JFK researchers feel that the American public had been deceived once again. The HSCA reaffirmed all but one of the Warren Commission's findings, including even the famed single bullet theory. The simplified conspiracy finding is now subject to review by the Justice Department and the FBI because it is based on very questionable acoustical evidence. Justice commissioned the so-called Ramsey Panel[1] to review this evidence, in 1981, under the auspices of the National Academy of Sciences. It found no evidence from the acoustics that a grassy knoll shot was fired. So, we are back to no-conspiracy and Oswald being the lone assassin. And even if there was a conspiracy, Blakey claims it involved the Mafia and not the CIA. The HSCA report and all of its volumes of evidence omitting any reference to CIA involvement, concluded that the CIA was not involved, and did not reveal any evidence that the HSCA staff had collected showing that CIA people murdered JFK, and that the CIA has been covering up that fact ever since.

Any followers of CIA activities connected with the JFK assassination, since 1963, must ask the question, how did they do it? How did the CIA turn things completely around from the 1976 days when Henry Gonzalez, Thomas Downing, Richard A. Sprague, Robert Tanenbaum, Cliff Fenton and others were pursuing the truth about the assassination, to essentially the same status as when the Warren Commission finished its work? How did they produce the final cover-up? The answer is that the CIA controlled the HSCA and its investigation and findings from the early part of 1977, forward. The methods they used were as clever and devious as any they had used previously to control the Warren Commission, the Rockefeller Commission, the Garrison Investigation, the Schweiker/Hart Committee and the efforts of independent researchers.

The first step taken by the CIA was to use the media they control, along with some members of Congress they control, and two planted agents on the staff of and consulting for, Henry Gonzalez, to get rid of both Henry and Richard A. Sprague. In taking this step, they used the old Roman approach of divide and conquer. They made Gonzalez and his closest staff assistant, Gail Beagle, believe that Sprague was a CIA agent and that Gonzalez must get rid of him. They also made Gonzalez believe that some of his other associates, both in the HSCA and outside, were CIA agents. At the same time, they used the media to attack Sprague mercilessly. The key people in doing this attack on Sprague were three CIA reporters, George Lardner of the Washington Post, Mr. Burnham of The New York Times, and Jeremiah O'Leary of the Washington Star. In all HSCA committee meetings and in Rules Committee and Finance Committee meetings, these three reporters sat next to each other, passed notes back and forth, and wrote articles continually attacking and undermining both Sprague and Gonzalez, as well as the entire committee. The CIA had the support of top management in all three news organizations in doing this.

Gonzalez eventually tried to fire Sprague, was over-ruled by the committee, and then resigned from the committee. Sprague eventually resigned, because it became obvious that the CIA controlled members of the Finance and Rules Committees and other CIA allies in the House, were going to kill the committee unless he resigned. There are many more details to this story, which requires a book to describe. Suffice it to say, the CIA accomplished their first two goals by March 1977. The next steps were to install a CIA-controlled chief counsel and to get a chairman elected who could be fooled or coerced into appointing such a counsel. Lewis Stokes was a perfect choice for chairman. He was, and probably still is, a good and honest man. But he was completely bamboozled by what the CIA did and is still doing. The selection and implementation of a CIA man as chief counsel had to be done in an extremely subtle manner. It could not be obvious to anyone that he was a CIA man. Stokes and the other committee members had to be fooled into believing they had made the choice, and had picked a good man. Professor Robert Blakey, an apparently scientifically oriented, academic person, with a history of work against organized crime, was the perfect CIA choice. Once Dr. Blakey took over as chief counsel, he accomplished goals numbered 3, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 very nicely. The fourth and fifth goals having been achieved, Blakey set about the other parts of his assignment very rapidly after he arrived. For Goal 3, he fired Bob Tanenbaum, Bob Lehner, and Donovan Gay, three loyal Sprague supporters, quickly.

The most important weapon used by the CIA and Blakey to pursue goals 9 and 10 was instituted within one week after Blakely arrived. It is by far the most subtle and far reaching technique used by the CIA to date. It is called the "Nondisclosure Agreement" and it was signed by all members of the committee, all staff members including Blakey, all consultants to the committee, and several independent researchers who met with Blakey in 1977. Signing the agreement was a condition for continued employment on the committee staff or for continuing consulting on a contract basis. The choice was, sign or get out. The author signed the agreement in July 1977, without realizing its implications at the time, in order to continue as a consultant. The agreement is reproduced in full the Appendix and is labelled Exhibit A. The author's consulting help was never sought after that and the obvious objective was to silence a consultant and not use his services.

This CIA weapon has several parts. First, it binds the signer, if a consultant, to never reveal that he is working for the committee. Second, it prevents the signer from ever revealing to anyone in perpetuity, any information he has learned about the committee's work as a result of working for the committee. Third, it gives the committee and the House, after the committee terminates, the power to take legal action against the signer, in a court named by the committee or the House, in case the committee believes the signer has violated the agreement. Fourth, the signer agrees to pay the court costs for such a suit in the event he loses the suit.

These four parts are enough to scare most researchers or staff members who signed it into silence forever about what they learned. The agreement is insidious in that the signer is, in effect, giving away his constitutional rights. Some lawyers who have seen the agreement, including Richard A. Sprague, have expressed the opinion it is an illegal agreement in violation of the Constitution and several Constitutional amendments. Whether it is illegal or not, most staff members and all consultants who signed it have remained silent, even after three and a half years beyond the life of the committee. There are only two exceptions, the author and Gaeton Fonzi, who published a lengthy article about the HSCA cover-up in the Washingtonian magazine in 1981.

The most insidious parts of the agreement, however, are paragraphs 2, 3 and 7, which give the CIA very effective control over what the committee could and could not do with so-called "classified" information. The director of the CIA is given authority to determine, in effect, what information shall remain classified and therefore unavailable to nearly everyone. The signer of the agreement, and remember, this includes all of the Congressman and women who were members of the committee, agrees not to reveal or discuss any information that the CIA decides he should not. The chairman of the committee supposedly has the final say on what information is included, but in practice, even an intelligent and gutsy chairman would not be likely to override the CIA. Lewis Stokes did not attempt any final decisions. In fact, the CIA did not have to do very much under these clauses. The fact that Blakey was their man and kept nearly all of the CIA sensitive information, evidence, and witnesses away from the committee members was all that was necessary. Stokes never knew what he should have argued about with the CIA director. It is this document which proves beyond doubt that the CIA controlled the HSCA.

The author attempted to point out to Stokes in a letter dated February 10, 1978, copy included herein, Exhibit B, the type of control the agreement gives the CIA over the HSCA. Stokes replied in a March 16, 1978 letter, Exhibit C, that he retained ultimate authority and was not bound by the opinion of the Central Intelligence Director. He also claimed that paragraphs 12 and 14, on extending the agreement in perpetuity and giving the government the right to file a civil suit in which the signer will pay all costs, were legal. He said in the letter that the purpose of the agreement was to give the HSCA control over the conduct of the investigation including control over the ultimate disclosure of information to the American public. That is a key admission about what has actually happened. The only question is, who is controlling the information in the heads of the staff investigators who discovered CIA involvement? Was Louis Stokes working for the public or for the CIA?

(5) Secret Files That Would Have Proven James Earl Ray Not Guilty (22nd March, 2006)

In the first House Select Committee on Assassinations 1977 interview with James Earl Ray, Chief Counsel Richard Sprague agreed with Ray and his legal team that all materials concerning the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. as well as President John F. Kennedy (including CIA, FBI and other intelligence agency files) should be made available to them as well as the committee. Mr. Sprague, Ray and Ray's legal team believed the files would produce evidence that Ray did not shoot Martin Luther King Jr.

One week later Richard Sprague was forced to resign his post because he found it impossible to do his job with the requirement that he sign a secrecy agreement before he could view the files he requested. He did not believe he could properly investigate a US Government Department or Agency if he agreed to keep secret the proof that Ray wasn't the assassin of King.

Chief Counsel Richard Sprague is heard saying that he too believes all CIA, FBI and other files having anything to do with the entire matter (MLK and JFK's assassination) should be made available to the committee and Ray's legal team. It is believed that the files will contain proof that Ray was 'handled' via methods used by the Intelligence services and set up to take the wrap for the MLK assassination.

It is now known that in the 1960's President Lyndon Johnson set up the 'Domestic Operations Division' (Another DOD) to carry out special operations within the United States which would be separate but support Defense Department, NSA and FBI operations of national security interest. CIA agents in the US and throughout the world could be directed from the White House via the use of a secret communication channel between the agent in the field and the President labeled CRITICOM (Critical Communication). In the execution of an assassination or what would be established as a legal execution of a clear and present danger to the national security of the United States of America a very simple VOCO (Verbal Order of the Commanding Officer) could be the triggering mechanism. This kind of operation would have no paperwork to prove that it ever happened and any coincidental evidence would be classified top secret and never released to the public until such time as it could be confused or would be useless for investigative purposes.

James Earl Ray, Attorneys Jack and Mary Kershaw and Gary Revel-Special Investigator and Richard Sprague believed that the CIA had files that would produce evidence of a US Government-Organized Crime connection with Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination. Ray's admission that he was given a phone number by Raoul to call for instructions and help when needed connected organized crime. That phone number turned out to be the number for a motel in New Orleans owned by Mafia Boss Carlos Marcello.

Former D. C. Congressional Delegate Walter Fountroy chaired the House Select Committee on Assassinations for a period of time and discovered his telephones and television were bugged. Fauntroy said in a 1999 trial that Richard Sprague's replacement, Robert Blakey, did not follow up on James Earl Ray's request for files from the CIA and others. What is clear is that Mr. Blakey would have signed a secrecy agreement with the CIA and others for whatever information he received thus even if he knew today that James Earl Ray was innocent he would be legally bound not to say so.