Clip Job: an excerpt every day from the Voice archives.
January 23, 1964, Vol. IX, No. 14
Wary of Warren Approach, Plans Defense of Oswald
By Stephanie Gervis Harrington
Why has Mark Lane risen from the political graveyard to defend a dead man?
Because, he answers, “I consider myself a good American and therefore believe that anyone accused of a crime is innocent until proven guilty. and on that basis I believe that Oswald was innocent.”
Lane also believes that the Dallas police operated on the assumption that Lee Harvey Oswald was guilty of assassinating President Kennedy unless he happened to be proven innocent; that, via the mass media, the American public came to assume Oswald’s guilt; and that the Warren Commission, appointed by President Johnson to investigate the assassination, shows signs of proceeding on that same assumption.
Determined to restore to Oswald, post mortem, his right, denied him while he lived, to be presumed innocent, and his right, denied him by his death, to a trial, Lane agreed to Mrs. Marguerite Oswald’s request that he represent the interests of her slain son. He was offered the job, he says, after a woman in Hominy, Oklahoma, sent Mrs. Oswald a copy of Lane’s article in the December 19 National Guardian (inaccurately headlined as a ‘brief’). The article presented a summary of the gaps and contradictions in the evidence against Oswald, some examples of evidence favorable to Oswald that might have been offered by the defense had the accused lived to be tried, and charges that Oswald had not received due process…
“Why did I take it? Because no other lawyer in the country would take it. Why did I have the article published in the Guardian? Because no other goddam newspaper in the country would print a word of it! Where are the big liberals in this country? Where are the ‘free Djilas’ voices in this country?” he wants to know…
There are people in Dallas, lawyers and journalists, who are also suspicious of the evidence against Oswald and who are helping Lane in his investigations, but he has a long, difficult job ahead of him — a job he says he would do even if Oswald’s alleged political affiliations had been with the extreme right. His difficulties are compounded, he says, by the reluctance of many witnesses who have given evidence to the FBI to talk to him. Oswald’s wife, who he says is still in the protective custody of the Secret Service, has so far refused to see him…
[Each weekday morning, we post an excerpt from another issue of the Voice, going in order from our oldest archives. Visit our Clip Job archive page to see excerpts back to 1956.]