*[ E. Howard Hunt & JFK ]*

       FD: You mentioned  E. Howard Hunt earlier.

       I understand that you wrote an article for a Washington-based
       publication about the assassination of John F. Kennedy and Hunt
       sued the publication, charging libel.

       Could you give us some background on this matter?

     The article was written in the summer of 1978 and published by
     SPOTLIGHT, a weekly newspaper that advertises itself as `The
     Voice of the American Populist Party.'

     At the time I wrote the article for SPOTLIGHT the House Select
     Committee on Assassinations was getting ready to hold its
     hearings reviewing the Kennedy and King assassinations.

     I had picked up some information around town that a memo had recently
     been uncovered in the CIA, and that the CIA was concerned about it.

     I believe the memo was from James Angleton, who at the time was chief
     of counterintelligence for Richard Helms.  I forget the exact date,
     but this memo was something like six years old,  while  Helms was
     still in office  as director.

     The memo said that at some point in time the CIA was going to have
     to deal with the fact that Hunt was in Dallas the day of the Kennedy
     assassination or words to that effect.

     There was some other information in it, such as did you know anything
     about it, he wasn't doing anything for me, and back and forth.

     I had that piece of information, along with information that
     the House Select Committee was going to come out with tapes that
     indicated there was more than one shooter during the Kennedy
     assassination and that the FBI, or at least certain people in
     the FBI, believed these tapes to be accurate and had always
     believed that there was more than one shooter.

     I was in contact with the House Select Committee, and they were
     probing real deeply into things and they were very suspicious of
     the Kennedy assassination.  There were some other reporters
     working on the story at the time, one in particular who has a
     tremendous reputation, and he felt there was something to it.

     So we rushed into print at SPOTLIGHT with a story saying, based
     on everything we put together, that we had this information, and
     we tried to predict what was going to happen.

     In essence we said whats going to happen is that the committee is
     going to unearth some new information that there was more than one
     shooter and probably come up with this memo, this internal CIA
     memorandum, and there will be some other things.

     Then the CIA will conduct a limited hangout, and will admit to some
     error or mistake, but then sweep everything else under the rug,
     and in the process they may let a few people dangle in the wind
     like E. Howard Hunt, Frank Sturgis, Jerry Hemming, and other people
     who have been mentioned in the past as being involved in something
     related to the Kennedy assassination.

     It was that kind of speculative piece.

     What happened is that about a week after my article appeared in
     SPOTLIGHT the Wilmington News-Journal published an article by Joe
     Trento.  This was a longer and more far-ranging article, in which
     he discussed the memo too but in greater detail.

     A couple of weeks after that Hunt informed SPOTLIGHT that he wanted a
     retraction.  I checked with my sources and said I don't think we
     should retract.  I said we should do a follow-up article.

     Now by this time some CIA guy was caught stealing pictures in the
     committee, some spy, so things were really hot and heavy at the time.

     There was a lot of expectation that the committee was going to
     do something, some really good work to bring their investigation
     around.  So I said to SPOTLIGHT let's do a follow-up piece,  but
     the publisher chickened out and said, nah, what we'll do is tell
     Hunt we'll give him equal space.  He can say whatever he wants
     to in the same amount of space.

     Hunt ignored the offer.  A couple of months later Hunt comes to town
     for secret hearings with the committee, and was heard in executive
     session.  Hunt was suing the publisher of the book `Coup D'Etat in
     America,' and deposed me in relation to that case, and then he
     brought in, he tried to slip in, this SPOTLIGHT article.

     I was under instructions from my lawyer not to comment.

     My lawyer would have me refuse to answer on the grounds
     of journalistic privilege, and also on the grounds of
     my relationship with the CIA.

     My lawyer had on his own gone to the CIA before I gave my
     deposition and asked them about this, and they said to tell
     me to just hide behind my injunction.

     I told my lawyer I don't understand it, and he told me all that
     the CIA said is that they hate Hunt more than they hate you and
     they're not going to give Hunt any help.  So that's what I did,
     and that was the end of it. We thought.

     Two years after it ran Hunt finally sued SPOTLIGHT over my
     article.  SPOTLIGHT thought it was such a joke, all things
     considered, that they really didn't pay any attention.

     I never even went to the trial.  I never even submitted an
     affidavit.  I was not deposed or anything.  The Hunt people
     didn't even try to call me as a witness or anything.

     I was left out of everything. Hunt ended up winning a judgment
     for $650,000. Now SPOTLIGHT got worried.  They appealed and the
     Florida Appellate Court overturned the decision on certain
     technical grounds, and sent it back for retrial.

     The retrial finally occurred earlier this year.  When it came
     time for the retrial, which we had close to a year to prepare
     for, SPOTLIGHT got serious, and went out and hired themselves a
     good lawyer, Mark Lane, who is something of an expert on the
     Kennedy assassination.

     They got me to become involved in everything, and we ended up going
     down there and just beating Hunt's pants off.  The jury came in, I
     think, within several hours with a verdict in our favor.

     The interesting thing was the jury said we were clearly not guilty
     of libel and actual malice, but they were now suspicious of Hunt and
     everything he invoked because we brought out a lot of stuff on Hunt.

     Hunt lost, and was ordered to pay our court costs in addition to
     everything else.  He has subsequently filed an appeal and that's
     where its at now.  It's up for appeal.

     I imagine it will probably be another six months to a year before
     we hear anything further on it.  Based on everything I have seen,
     Hunt doesn't have a leg to stand on because the deeper he gets
     into this the more he runs the risk of exposing himself.

     We had just all kinds of material on Hunt.  We had a deposition
     from Joe Trento saying, yes, he saw the internal CIA memo.

     We produced one witness in deposition, Marita Lorenz, who was
     Castro's lover at one point, and she said that Hunt was taking
     her and people like Sturgis and Jerry Hemmings and others
     and running guns into Dallas.

     Lorenz said that a couple of days before the assassination Hunt
     met them in Dallas and made a payoff.  What they all were doing,
     whether it was connected to the assassination, we don't know.

     I think if Hunt keeps pursuing this, all that he's doing is
     setting the stage for more and more people to come forward and
     say bad things about him, and raise more evidence that he was in
     Dallas that day and that he must have been involved in something.

     If it wasn't the assassination it must have been some kind of
     diversionary activity or maybe it was something unrelated to the
     assassination and the wires just got crossed and it was a
     coincidence at the time.

     One of the key points in the mind of the jury as far as we`ve been
     able to tell at SPOTLIGHT is that Hunt to this day still cannot come
     up with an alibi for where he was the day of the assassination.

     Hunt comes up with the weakest, phoniest stories that he can't
     corroborate.  Some guy who was drunk came out of a bar and waved at
     him.  His story doesn't match with that guy's story.

     Hunt says he can produce his children to testify he was in Washington.

     None of his children appeared at the trial.  It's a very, very
     strange thing.  Hunt clearly was, in my mind, not in Washington
     doing what he says he was doing Nov.  22, 1963.  He was certainly
     not at work that day at the CIA.

     This subject has come up before, whether he was on sick leave, an
     annual leave, or where the hell he was.  Hunt just cannot come up
     with a good alibi.

     Hunt has gone before committees.  The Rockefeller Committee, I
     believe he was before the Church Committee, and before the House
     Select Committee.  Nobody will give Hunt a clean bill of health.

     They always weasel words.  Their comment on Hunt is always some
     sort of a way that can be interpreted anyway that you want.  You
     can say this indicates the committee looked into it and they feel
     he wasn't involved.

     Or you can look at it and say the committee looked into it and
     they have a lot of doubts about Hunt, and they're just being very
     careful about what they are saying.  Hunt himself will not tell you
     what happened before these committees. He says that his testimony
     is classified information.

     Well, if the testimony vindicates Hunt and provides him with an
     alibi then why can't he tell us?   The mystery remains.

       FD: Do you believe it possible  that  the CIA  knows  where
           Hunt was Nov.  22, 1963,  but  just  do not  want  to
           release  that  information?

     That's my guess.  I think that subsequently, by now, the CIA may
     not have known where Hunt was at the time, and they may not have
     even realized  what he was up to  until years after and years
     later when his name started to be commonly mentioned in connection
     with the assassination.

     I think by now the CIA probably knows where Hunt was and what he
     was doing or have some very strong feelings about that, and they're
     not  too happy about it.  But whatever it was, and is, that Hunt
     was involved in, it seems to be, or would appear, that he was in
     or around Dallas about the time of the assassination, involved
     in some kind of clandestine activity.

     It may have been an illegal clandestine activity, even something
     the CIA was unaware of.  The CIA acts very strangely about this.
     The CIA will not give Hunt any help.  He got no help at all from
     the CIA in the preparation of his case against us or in the
     presentation of his case.  They just left him out there.