TESTIMONY OF MR. JACK RUBY
The President's Commission met at 11:45 a.m., on June 7, 1964, in the interrogation room of the Dallas County Jail, Main and Houston Streets, Dallas, Tex. Present were Chief Justice Earl Warren, Chairman; and Representative Gerald R. Ford, member.
Also present were J. Lee Rankin, general counsel; Joseph A. Ball, assistant counsel; Arlen Specter, assistant counsel; Leon Jaworski and Robert G. Storey, special counsel to the attorney general of Texas; Jim Bowie, assistant district attorney; Joe H. Tonahill, attorney for Jack Ruby; Elmer W. Moore, special agent, U.S. Secret Service; and J. E. Decker, sheriff of Dallas County.
Mr. RUBY. Without a lie detector test on my testimony, my verbal statements to you, how do you know if I am tell the truth?
Mr. TONAHILL. Don't worry about that, Jack.
Mr. RUBY. Just a minute, gentlemen.
Chief Justice WARREN. You wanted to ask something, did you, Mr. Ruby?
Mr. RUBY. I would like to be able to get a lie detector test or truth serum of what motivated me to do what I did at that particular time, and it seems as you get further into something, even though you know what you did, it operates against you somehow, brainwashes you, that you are weak in what you want to tell the truth about and what you want to say which is the truth.
Now Mr. Warren, I don't know if you got any confidence in the lie detector test and the truth serum, and so on.
Chief Justice WARREN. I can't tell you just how much confidence I have in it, because it depends so much on who is taking it, and so forth.
But I will say this to you, that if you and your counsel want any kind of test, I will arrange it for you. I would be glad to do that, if you want it.
I wouldn't suggest a lie detector test to testify the truth. We will treat you just the same as we do any other witness, but if you want such a test, I will arrange for it.
Mr. RUBY. I do want it. Will you agree to that, Joe?
Mr. TONAHILL. I sure do, Jack.
Chief Justice WARREN. Any kind of a test you want to verify what you say, we will be glad to do.
Mr. RUBY. I want it even if you put me into a sort of drowsiness so you can question me as to anything pertaining to my involvement in this particular act.
Mr. TONAHILL. Jack, you have wanted to do that from the very beginning, haven't you?
Mr. RUBY. Yes; and the reason why I am asking for that is--are you limited for time?
Chief Justice WARREN. No; we have all the time you want.
Mr. RUBY. As it started to trial--I don't know if you realize my reasoning, how I happened to be involved--I was carried away tremendously emotionally, and all the time I tried to ask Mr. Belli, I wanted to get up and say the truth regarding the steps that led me to do what I have got involved in, but since I have a spotty background in the night club business, I should have been the last person to ever want to do something that I had been involved in. In other words, I was carried away tremendously. You want to ask me questions?
Chief Justice WARREN. You tell us what you want, and then we will ask you some questions.
Mr. RANKIN. I think he ought to be sworn.
Mr. RUBY. Am I boring you?
Chief Justice WARREN. Go ahead. All right, Mr. Ruby, tell us your story.
Mr. RUBY. That particular morning--where is Mr. Moore I had to go down to the News Building, getting back to this--I don't want to interrupt.
Chief Justice WARREN. What morning do you mean?
Mr. RUBY. Friday morning, the starting of the tragedy.
Mr. Belli evidently did not go into my case thoroughly, circumstantially. If he had gone into it, he wouldn't have tried to vindicate me on an insanity plea to relieve me of all responsibility, because circumstantially everything looks so bad for me.
It can happen--it happens to many people who happen to be at the wrong place at the right time.
Had Mr. Belli spent more time with me, he would have realized not to try to get me out completely free; at the time we are talking, technically, how attorneys operate.
Chief Justice WARREN. I understand.
Mr. RUBY. Different things came up, flashed back into my mind, that it dirtied my background, that Mr. Belli and I decided--oh yes, when I went to say that I wanted to get on the stand and tell the truth what happened that morning, he said, "Jack, when they get you on the stand, you are actually speaking of a premeditated crime that you involved yourself in."
But I didn't care, because I wanted to tell the truth.
He said, "When the prosecution gets you on the stand, they will cut you to ribbons."
So naturally, I had to retract, and he fought his way to try to vindicate me out of this particular crime.
You follow that?
Chief Justice WARREN. Yes; I do indeed.
Mr. RUBY. I want you to question me and requestion me on anything you want, plus the fact I do want the tests when they are available.
Chief Justice WARREN. Yes.
Mr. RUBY. On Friday, the morning parade--this goes back to Thursday night, because it has something to do with it.
We were having dinner at the Egyptian Restaurant----
Chief Justice WARREN. Right now, Mr. Ruby, before we get started taking your testimony, would you mind being sworn?
(Chief Justice Warren and Jack Ruby stand and both raise their right hand.)
Chief Justice WARREN. Do you solemnly swear that the testimony you are about to give before the Commission will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
Mr. RUBY. I do.
Chief Justice WARREN. Now will you please state whether the things you have just told us are true under your oath?
Mr. RUBY. I do so state they are the truth.
Chief Justice WARREN. Now you complete whatever story you want to tell.
Mr. RUBY. All right. Thursday night I was having dinner at the Egyptian Restaurant on Mockingbird Lane, and a fellow comes over to the table. I was sitting with a guy by the name of Ralph Paul. He tried to invite me to the club a couple of doors down and I refused, because he had taken a band away from me that had been engaged for 7 years, and I felt it was a lost cause, that the club would be failing because of that, and I sort of excused myself and I refused to go over to the club.
We finished our dinner, and I went down to the club that I operated, the Carousel, and this particular master of ceremonies happened to be there at the time, and we discussed a few things.
And there is a columnist by the name of Tony Zoppi--and prior to that, I wrote out a full page copy of this build--I have the copies--as an emcee, and brought a picture and brochure, and Tony said, "I will write a story." This was done 2 days prior to this Thursday night.
So then I went down, so we discussed it and were very much disgusted with Tony because he only gave us a build of one or two lines.
Well, I retired that night after closing the club. Then I knew I wanted to go back to the Morning News Building to get the brochure I left, and also this complete page of longhand writing describing the various talents of this Bill DeMar.
I picked up the brochure that Friday morning, and I also had business at the News Building on Friday because that is the start of the weekend, which is very lucrative, the weekend.
I have ways of making my ads of where they have a way of selling the product I am producing or putting on on the show.
So I went down there Friday morning to Tony Zoppi's office, and they said he went to New Orleans for a couple of days.
I picked up the brochure. I believe I got downtown there at 10:30 or 11 o'clock that morning. And I took the brochure and then went into the main room where we compose our ads. That is the sales room where we placed our ads. And I remained there for a while. I started to write the copy of my ad. Now I go back to the same fellow that wanted me to come over to the club when we were having our dinner on Mockingbird at the Egyptian Lounge.
I came to the desk and I wanted to apologize and explain why I didn't accept his invitation last night. I wanted to explain, and that took about 20 or 25 minutes. All this is pertaining to everything prior to the terrible tragedy that happened.
I started to explain to him why I didn't want to go there, because this fellow mentioned--Tony, I think---I can't think of his last name of me having his band so many years, and I felt at the moment I didn't want to go over to the club because I didn't care to meet this fellow.
And he started to apologize, "Jack, I am sorry, I did work for the fellow and
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we have been advertising him for that club, and I am putting out a night club book."
I remained with him for 20 or 25 minutes talking there. I don't know whether my ad was completed or not. It was an ad on the Vegas and the Carousel.
My ads were completed, I believe, and after finishing my conversation with him, he left.
Suddenly the man that completes my ads for me, that helps me with it on occasion--but I usually make it up myself--but the person that takes the money for the ads--this is the reason it is so hard for me to meet a deadline when I get downtown to the News Building. And as a rule, I have to pay cash for my ads.
When you are in debt, it is necessary, and they will not put it in unless you pay cash.
And consequently, the weekend, I had been to town on that particular day. All this adds up later on, as I will state why I didn't go to the parade.
In the first place, I don't want to go where there is big crowds. I can't explain it to you. If I was interested, I would have seen it on television, our beloved President and all the parade that transpired.
But all that adds up why it is important for me to be in the News Building.
I owe the Government quite a bit of money, and it is doing business out of your pocket, supposedly, in the slang expression.
Well, John Newnam comes in, and evidently he took it for granted I finished my ad, and I don't recall if he paid for his ad, and suddenly there is some milling around. I think it was 12, or 15 minutes after 12, I don't recall what, but John Newnam said someone had been shot.
And I am sorry, I got carried away. It is the first time I got carried away, because I had been under pressure.
And someone else came running over and he said a Secret Service man was shot, or something to that effect.
And I am here in the middle with John Newnam, because Newnam isn't paying any attention to anyone else, and there is a lot of going back and forth.
So someone must have made a statement that Governor Connally was shot. I don't recall what was said. And I was in a state of hysteria, I mean.
You say, "Oh my God, it can't happen." You carry on crazy sayings.
There was a little television set in one office not far away from where I had been sitting at the desk. I ran over there and noticed a little boy and a little sister say, "I was standing right there when it happened." I mean, different things you hear on the television.
Then the phone started ringing off the desk and I heard John Newnam say people were complaining about the ad, why they accepted this ad.
(A tray of water and glasses was brought in.)
Has every witness been this hesitant in trying to explain their story?
Chief Justice WARREN. You are doing very well. I can understand why you have to reflect upon a story of that length.
Mr. RUBY. The phones were ringing off the desk calling various ads, and they were having a turmoil in that News Building because of a person by the name of Bernard Weissman placing that particular ad, a full page ad. I am sure you are familiar with the ad.
Chief. Justice WARREN. Yes; I am.
Mr. RUBY. Criticizing a lot of things about our beloved President. Then John Newnam and I and another gentleman walked over to another part of the room, and I heard John Newnam say, "I told him not to take that ad." Something to that effect.
Then he said, "Well, you have seen him pay part cash and come back and pay the balance."
Now everything is very vague to me as to when this transpired; after they heard the President had been shot, or prior to that.
You know it's been a long time, and I am under a very bad mental strain here.
Chief Justice WARREN. Yes.
Mr. RUBY. From the time that we were told that the President was shot, 35 minutes later they said he had passed away. In the meantime, I became very emotional. I called my sister at home. She was carried away terribly bad. And John Newnam happened to be there, and I know it is a funny reaction you have, you want other people to feel that you feel emotionally disturbed the same way as other people, so I let John listen to the phone that my sister was crying hysterically.
And I said to John, I said, "John, I will have to leave Dallas." I don't know why I said that, but it is a funny reaction that you feel; the city is terribly let down by the tragedy that happened. And I said, "John, I am not opening up tonight."
And I don't know what else transpired there. I know people were just heartbroken.
I left the room. I may have left out a few things. Mr. Moore remembers probably more, but you come back and question me and maybe I can answer those questions.
I left the building and I went down and I got my car, and I couldn't stop crying, because naturally when I pulled up to a stoplight and other people would be adjacent to me, I wouldn't want them to see me crying, because it looked kind of artificial.
And I went to the club and I came up, and I may have made a couple of calls from there. I could have called my colored boy, Andy, down at the club. I could have--I don't know who else I would have called, but I could have, because it is so long now since my mind is very much warped now.
You think that literally?
I went up to the club, and I told Andy, I said, "Call everyone and tell them we are not opening."
We have a little girl in Fort Worth I wanted to make sure he called her.
And a fellow by the name of Bell called and wanted to know if we were open.
And Kathy Kay called, and I said, "Definitely not."
And I called Ralph Paul, that owns the Bull Pen. He said, "Jack, being as everyone else is open"--because he knows I was pressed for money--and I said, "No, Ralph, I can't open."
He said, "Okay, if that is why, that is the way it's got to be."
So in the meantime, I had gone with Alice Nichols for some time, and I called her on the phone but she wasn't there, but I left the number on the pay phone for her to return the call, because I didn't want to keep the business phone tied up. And I hadn't spoken to her in maybe 9 months or a year. I don't know what I said to her, not many words, but just what happened.
I still remained around the club there. I am sure I was crying pretty bad. I think I made a long-distance call to California. This fellow had just visited me, and I had known him in the days back in Chicago when we were very young, in the real tough part of Chicago. His name is Al Gruber. He was a bad kid in those days, but he is quite reformed. He is married and has a family, and I am sure he makes a very legitimate livelihood at this time.
He happened to come through a couple of nights prior to that to try to interest me, or 4 or 5 days prior to that, to interest me in a new kind--you follow the story as I tell it?
Chief Justice WARREN. Yes.
Mr. RUBY. It is important, very important. It is on a new kind of machine that washes cars. You pay with tokens. It is a new thing. I don't know if it faded out or not. He tried to interest my brother, Sammy, because Sammy sold his washateria.
And my sister was in the hospital when he first came. I am going back a little bit. Sammy didn't go to the hospital, and we needed to tell Sammy about this particular thing, and that is the reason Al Gruber came into the picture, because he came to try to interest my brother, Sammy, in this new washateria deal to wash cars.
He left and went to California, but before he went to California I promised him my dachshund dog.
When this thing happened, I called him. He said, "Yes, we are just watching on television." And I couldn't carry on more conversation. I said, "Al, I have to hang up."
Then I must have called my sister, Eileen, in Chicago.
Then a fellow came over to deliver some merchandise I had ordered over the phone, or Andy ordered. And we said, "What is the use of purchasing any merchandise of any kind, we are not interested in business." And I don't recall what I said, but I told him whatever money he received, to keep the change. I am not a philanthropist, but nothing bothered me at the time. I wasn't interested in anything.
Then I kept calling my sister, Eva, because she wanted me to come be with her.
Eva and I have a very complex personality. Very rarely can I be with her, but on this particular occasion, since she was carrying on so, I felt that I wanted to be with someone that meant something to me. I wanted to be with her.
And I kept calling her back, "I will be there." And so on. But I never did get there until a couple of hours later.
I finally left the club. I am sure you gentlemen can brief in all the things that happened before. A kid by the name of Larry up there, I think I told him to send the dog they crated, to find out about the price--very implusive about everything.
Then I left the club. And I had been dieting, but I felt I wanted some food. I can't explain it. It would be like getting intoxicated at that particular time. It is amusing, but it is true.
I went over to the Ritz Delicatessen a block and a half away. Must have bought out the store, for about $10 worth of delicacies and so on. Went out to my sister's and stayed at her apartment.
Oh, I called from the apartment--my sister knew more of my calls than I did. I remember I think I called--I can't think of who I called. Anyway, I am sure I made some calls of what had happened there. Somebody will have to piece me together from the time I got to my sister's apartment where I had partaken of the food.
Oh yes, I called Andy. This Andy Armstrong called me and said, "Don Safran wants you to call him."
This is rare for this gentleman, because he is a columnist for the Dallas Times Herald, because he never could get out any copy for my club. And he said, "Don Safran wants me to call him."
I called him, and he said, "Jack, are you going to be closed tonight?"
I said, "Yes."
He said, "Well, the Cabana and the Adolphus, the Century Room, are going to be closed."
I said, "Don, I am not asking you about any clubs that are going to be closed. I know I am going to be closed."
And he said, "Jack, that is what I want to know."
And I said, "You don't have to prompt me about who else is going to be closed."
I put the receiver down and talked to my sister, and I said, "Eva, what shall we do?"
And she said, "Jack, let's close for the 3 days." She said, "We don't have anything anyway, but we owe it to"-- (chokes up).
So I called Don Safran back immediately and I said, "Don, we decided to close for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday."
And he said, "Okay."
Then I called the Morning News and I wanted to definitely make sure to change a copy of my ad to "Closed Friday, Saturday, and Sunday," something to that effect.
And it was a little late in the afternoon, but he said, "we will try to get the copy in."
Then I called Don back again but couldn't get him, and I spoke to one of his assistants, and I said, I forget what I told him. Anyway, that is one of the calls I had that had transpired.
I lie down and take a nap. I wake about 7 or 7:30. In the meantime, I think I called--the reason this comes back to me, I know I was going to go to the synagogue.
I called Coleman Jacobson and asked him what time services are tonight, and he said he didn't know.
And I said, "Are there going to be any special services?"
And he said he didn't know of any.
And I called the Congregation Shearith Israel and asked the girl, and she said, "Regular services at 8 o'clock."
And I said, "Aren't there going to be earlier services like 5:30 or 6?
And about 7:30 I went to my apartment. I don't know if I went downtown to the club. I know I went to my apartment either to the club or to the apartment.
And I changed, showered and shaved, and I think I drove and as I drove down, there is a certain Thornton Freeway, and I saw the clubs were still open going full blast, a couple of clubs there.
Anyway, I went out to the synagogue and I went through the line and I spoke to Rabbi Silverman, and I thanked him for going to visit my sister at the hospital. She was in a week prior and had just gotten out. I don't remember the date.
Then he had a confirmation--this is the night prior to the confirmation. They serve little delicacies. So in spite of the fact of the mood I was in, I strolled into the place, and I think I had a little glass of punch. Nothing intoxicating, just a little punch they serve there. I didn't speak to anyone. One girl, Leona, said "Hello, Jack," and I wasn't in a conversational mood whatsoever.
I left the club--I left the synagogue and I drove by the Bali-Hai Restaurant. I noticed they were open. I took recognition of that. I drove by another club called the Gay Nineties, and they were closed.
And I made it my business to drive down Preston Road. In my mind suddenly it mulled over me that the police department was working overtime. And this is the craziest thing that ever happened in a person's life. I have always been very close to the police department, I don't know why.
I felt I have always abided by the law--a few little infractions, but not serious--and I felt we have one of the greatest police forces in the world here, and I have always been close to them, and I visited in the office. And over the radio I heard they were working overtime.
I stopped at the delicatessen called Phil's on Oak Lawn Avenue, and suddenly I decided--I told the clerk there I wanted him to make me some real good sandwiches, about 10 or 12, and he had already started on the sandwiches and I got on the phone.
I called an officer by the name of Sims and I said, "Sims, I hear you guys are working," and so on. I said, "I want to bring some sandwiches." And he said, "Jack, we wound up our work already. We wound up what we were doing. We are finished what we were doing. I will tell the boys about your thoughtfulness, and I will thank them for you."
In the meantime, there is a fellow in town that has been very good to me named Gordon McLendon. Do you know him, Mr. Warren?
Chief Justice WARREN. I think I do not.
Mr. RUBY. He had been giving me a lot of free plugs. And all the while listening to the radio, I heard about a certain diskjockey, Joe Long, that is down at the station, giving firsthand information--I want to describe him--of Oswald.
Very rarely do I use the name Oswald. I don't know why. I don't know how to explain it--of the person that committed the act. [Pause to compose self.] So before going down to the police station, I try to call KLIF but can't get their number.
I wanted to bring the sandwiches to KLIF so they would have the sandwiches, since they already started to make them up.
And I remember Russ Knight, a diskjockey--these names aren't familiar to you, but I have to mention them in order to refresh my memory.
His name was Moore, or something, and I tried to get information on the telephone, but they couldn't give me the phone number of his home.
I probably thought I could get the phone number, but after 6 p.m., you
cannot get into the premises unless you have a "hot" number that is right to the diskjockey room.
So I couldn't get a hold of that.
But in the meantime, I called Gordon McLendon's home, because I know he lives near the synagogue out there, and I got a little girl on the phone, and I knew they had children, and I asked for the number for KLIF.
I said, "Anyone home?"
She said, "No."
I said, "Is your daddy or mommy home?" I forget what transpired. I said, "I would like to get the number of the station so I can get in the building at this time."
She said she would go and see, and gave me a Riverside exchange.
Mind you, this is 6 or 7 months back, gentlemen.
And I asked her name. Her name was Christine, I think. I said, "I wanted to bring some sandwiches."
She said, "My mother already brought sandwiches."
And I said, "I wanted to go there too." And that was the end of this little girls conversation with myself.
I called that number, as I am repeating myself. There was no such number. It was an obsolete number.
I go down to the--I drive by--I leave the delicatessen--the clerk helped me with the sandwiches out to my car, and I thanked him. I told him, "These were going to KLIF, and I want you to make them real good."
He helped me with the sandwiches in the car. I got in the car and drove down toward town. I imagine it is about 4 or 5 miles to the downtown section from this delicatessen.
But prior to going into the station, I drove up McKinney Avenue to look over a couple of clubs to see if they were activating. I knew the club across from the Phil's Delicatessen and I knew the B. & B. Restaurant was open. That is a restaurant and I know the necessity for food, but I can't understand some of the clubs remaining open. It struck me funny at such a tragic time as that happening.
I drove down to Commerce and Harwood and parked my car with my dog--incidentally, I always have my dog with me--on the lot there, left the sandwiches in the car, went into the building of the police station, took the elevator up to the second floor, and there was a police officer there.
This is the first time I ever entered the building, gentlemen. The first time of that Friday. This time it must have been about--I mean the time, the time of my entering the building, I guess, was approximately 11:15 p.m.
The officer was there, and I said, "Where is Joe Long?"
I said, "Can I go and look for him?"
Evidently I took a little domineering part about me, and I was able to be admitted. I asked different reporters and various personalities there, "Are you Joe Long?," and I couldn't locate him.
I even had a police officer try to page him and he couldn't locate him.
I recognized a couple of police officers, Cal Jones and a few others, and I said "hello" to them.
And I am still looking for Joe Long, but I am carried away with the excitement of history.
And one fellow then--I am in the hallway there--there is a narrow hallway, and I don't recall if Captain Fritz or Chief Curry brings the prisoner out, and I am standing about 2 or 3 feet away from him, and there is some reporters that didn't know the various police officers, and I don't know whether they asked me or I volunteered to tell them, because I knew they were looking to find out who that was, and I said, "That was Chief Curry" or "That is Captain Fritz," or whoever it was.
I don't recall Henry Wade coming out in the hallway. He probably did. I don't recall what happened.
(To Joe Tonahill) Is that for me, Joe?
Then suddenly someone asked, either the Chief or Captain Fritz, "Isn't there a larger room we can go into?"
They said, "Well, let's go down to the assembly room downstairs."
I don't know what transpired in between from the time that I had the officer page Joe Long up to the time I was standing about 3 feet away from Oswald. All the things--I don't recall if I am telling you everything that happened from that time, from the time I entered the building to the time I went down to the assembly room.
I went down to the assembly room down in the basement. I felt perfectly free walking in there. No one asked me or anything. I got up on a little table there where I knew I wasn't blocking anyone's view, because there was an abutment sticking out, and I had my back to the abutment, and I was standing there.
Then they brought the prisoner out and various questions were being shouted.
I noticed there was a chief county judge--Davidson, I can't think of his name, one of these precinct court judges, and they brought the prisoner out.
I don't recall if Chief Fritz, Captain Fritz was there, or Chief Curry. I know Henry Wade was there. And they started shouting questions and he said, "Is he the one?" And the question about the gun.
And they questioned Henry Wade, "what organization did he belong to," or something. And if I recall, I think Henry Wade answered, "Free Cuba."
And I corrected Henry Wade, because listening to the radio or KLIF, it stood out in my mind that it was "Fair Play Cuba." There was a difference.
So he said, "Oh yes, Fair Play Cuba," and he corrected that.
I don't know how long we remained there. There was a lot of questions thrown back and forth, and this District Attorney Henry Wade was answering them to the best he could.
From the way he stated, he let the reporters know that this was the guilty one that committed the crime.
He specifically stated that in that room, that he was the one.
It didn't have any effect in my mind, because whether the person had come out, whether he come out openly and publicly stated didn't have any bearing in my mind, because I wasn't interested in anything. All I knew, they had the prisoner. But the reporters like to know where they stand, "is he the one?"
We left out in the hallway, and I saw Henry Wade standing there, and I went over to him and said, "Henry, I want you to know I was the one that corrected you." I think it is a childish thing, but I met Henry Wade sometime back, and I knew he would recognize me.
By the way, it was "Fair Play Cuba," or something to that effect.
In the meantime, as I leave Henry Wade, two gentlemen pass by and I said, "Are you Joe Long?" He said, "No, why do you want Joe Long?"
And I said, "I got to get into KLIF. I have got some sandwiches."
And he said, "What about us?"
And I said, "Some other time."
And it so happened I found out Jerry Cunkle and Sam Pease, I found out they were the names, so I did get the number, because these fellows work for a rival radio station, and he gave me the number of KLIF.
And in the testimony of John Rutledge, if I recall now--this is the only time I had ever seen this person. When I went out the railing where the phone was at, people felt free to walk in.
In other words, I felt that I was deputized as a reporter momentarily, you might say.
So I called one of the boys at KLIF and I said to them, "I have sandwiches for you. I want to get over there." I said, "By the way, I see Henry Wade talking on the phone to someone. Do you want me to get him over here?"
And he said, "Yes, do that."
That is when everyone was beckoning Henry Wade, and I called him over and he talked on the phone to this boy.
And after he finished; I didn't even tell him what station it was. I said, "Here is somebody that wants to talk to you." And I felt he wouldn't turn it down.
And this fellow was very much elated that I brought him over there.
And I said, "Now, will you let me in?"
He said, "I will only leave the door open for 5 minutes." That was after the conversation was finished with Henry Wade.
I got ready to leave the building and I got up to the next floor and there was another diskjockey at KLIF, Russ Knight. He said, "Jack, where is everything happening?" And he had a tape recorder.
And I said, "Come on downstairs", and led him downstairs. And there was Henry Wade sitting there. And I said, "Henry, this is Russ Knight." And I left him there with Henry Wade, and I went to my car and drove over to KLIF, which is a block away from there.
And it was a little chilly that night, as I recall, but by bringing Russ Knight over to Henry Wade, I delayed too long to get to KLIF, and I had to wait 15 minutes until Russ Knight came from finishing his interview with Henry Wade.
I had the sandwiches with me and some soda pop and various things, and Russ Knight opened the door and we went upstairs.
(Mr. Arlen Specter, a staff counsel, entered the room.)
Chief Justice WARREN. This is another man on my staff, Mr. Specter. Would you mind if he came in?
(Chief Justice Warren introduced the men around the room.)
Mr. RUBY. Is there any way to get me to Washington?
Chief Justice WARREN. I beg your pardon?
Mr. RUBY. Is there any way of you getting me to Washington?
Chief Justice WARREN. I don't know of any. I will be glad to talk to your counsel about what the situation is, Mr. Ruby, when we get an opportunity to talk.
Mr. RUBY. I don't think I will get a fair representation with my counsel, Joe Tonahill. I don't think so. I would like to request that I go to Washington and you take all the tests that I have to take. It is very important.
Mr. TONAHILL. Jack, will you tell him why you don't think you will get a fair representation?
Mr. RUBY. Because I have been over this for the longest time to get the lie detector test. Somebody has been holding it back from me.
Chief Justice WARREN. Mr. Ruby, I might say to you that the lateness of this thing is not due to your counsel. He wrote me, I think, close to 2 months ago and told me that you would be glad to testify and take, I believe he said, any test. I am not sure of that, but he said you would be glad to testify before the Commission.
And I thanked him for the letter. But we have been so busy that this is the first time we have had an opportunity to do it.
But there has been no delay, as far as I know, on the part of Mr. Tonahill in bringing about this meeting. It was our own delay due to the pressures we had on us at the time.
Mr. RUBY. What State are you from, Congressman?
Representative FORD. Michigan. Grand Rapids, Mich.
Chief Justice WARREN. I will be glad to talk that over, if we can. You might go right ahead, if you wish, with the rest of your statement.
Mr. RUBY. All right. I remained at KLIF from that moment on, from the time I got into the building, with Russ Knight. We talked about various things. I brought out the thought of this ad that Bernard Weissman had placed in the newspaper, and I also told Russ the one I admired by Gordon McLendon.
He came out with an editorial about the incident with Adlai Stevenson and all those things. He is one person that will immediately go to bat if anything is wrong. He will clarify it.
And I told Russ Knight there were some other things that were occurring at the time. So I remained there until about 2 a.m., and we all partook of the sandwiches and had a feast there.
And they spliced the various comments they got back and forth of Henry Wade, of Russ Knight's copy--of Russ Knight's items of Henry Wade.
Chief Justice WARREN. Mr. Ruby, this is the young man, Mr. Specter. He is a member of our staff, and he comes from Philadelphia.
(Ruby shakes hands with Mr. Specter.)
Mr. RUBY. I am at a disadvantage, gentlemen, telling my story.
Chief Justice WARREN. You were right at the point where you had it about
2 o'clock in the morning, and you had had your feast, as you mentioned, and had talked to these men, and so forth. That was the last that you had told us.
Mr. RUBY. Well, lots of things occurred up to that. They talked pro and con about the tragedy.
At 2 a.m, I left the building. I drove--I was going to go toward the Times Herald Building, because as a result--I very rarely go there for my weekend ad, because once I get the ad into the Morning News, which is the earlier issue, all I have to do is call the newspaper and they transpire the same ad that I had into the newspaper--into the Morning News.
And I promised one of the boys working in the Times Herald Building there--I was in the act, in the business of a twist-board deal I was promoting as a sales item by advertisement and mail order, and I had been evading him, or didn't have time to go out there because it was very late when I left the club, and I didn't want to stop, but because this was an early morning, I thought this would be the right time to go over there, plus the fact of changing my ad I had in the Morning News to the closing of 3 days, that I would go over there and maybe add a little more effectiveness to it in the way I wanted the ad placed.
As I was driving toward the Times Herald with the intention of doing these things, I heard someone honk a horn very loudly, and I stopped. There was a police officer sitting in a car. He was sitting with this young lady that works in my club, Kathy Kay, and they were very much carried away.
And I was carried away; and he had a few beers, and it is so bad about those places open, and I was a great guy to close; and I remained with them--did I tell you this part of it?
Mr. MOORE. I don't recall this part; no.
Mr. RUBY. I didn't tell you this part because at the time I thought a lot of Harry Carlson as a police officer, and either it slipped my mind in telling this, or it was more or less a reason for leaving it out, because I felt I didn't want to involve them in anything, because it was supposed to be a secret that he was going with this young lady. He had marital problems. I don't know if that is why I didn't tell you that. Anyway, I did leave it out. His name is Harry Carlson. Her name is Kathy Kay. And they talked and they carried on, and they thought I was the greatest guy in the world, and he stated they should cut this guy inch by inch into ribbons, and so on.
And she said, "Well, if he was in England, they would drag him through the streets and would have hung him." I forget what she said. I left them after a long delay. They kept me from leaving. They were constantly talking and were in a pretty dramatic mood. They were crying and carrying on.
I went to the building of the Times Herald. I went to the Times Herald--may I read that, Joe? May I please?
(Joe Tonahill hands paper to Jack Ruby.)
Mr. TONAHILL. Sam ever get your glasses?
Mr. RUBY. Not yet. [Reading.] "This is the girl that"--what?--"that started Jack off." What is this other word?
Mr. TONAHILL Culminated?
Mr. RUBY. That is untrue. That is what I wanted to read. (Throwing pad on table.)
Gentlemen, unless you get me to Washington, you can't get a fair shake out of me.
If you understand my way of talking, you have got to bring me to Washington to get the tests.
Do I sound dramatic? Off the beam?
Chief Justice WARREN. No; you are speaking very, very rationally, and I am really surprised that you can remember as much as you have remembered up to the present time.
You have given it to us in detail.
Mr. RUBY. Unless you can get me to Washington, and I am not a crackpot, I have all my senses--I don't want to evade any crime I am guilty of. But Mr. Moore, have I spoken this way when we have talked?
Mr. MOORE. Yes.
Mr. RUBY. Unless you get me to Washington immediately, I am afraid after what Mr. Tonahill has written there, which is unfair to me regarding my testimony here--you all want to hear what he wrote?
Chief Justice WARREN. Yes; you might read it. If you need glasses again, try mine this time (handing glasses to Mr. Ruby).
Mr. RUBY (putting on glasses). "This is the girl"----
Mr. TONAHILL. "Thing," isn't it?
Mr. RUBY. "This is the thing that started Jack in the shooting."
Mr. TONAHILL. Kathy Kay was talking about Oswald.
Mr. RUBY. You are lying, Joe Tonahill. You are lying.
Mr. TONAHILL. No; I am not.
Mr. RUBY. You are lying, because you know what motivated me. You want to make it that it was a premeditation.
Mr. TONAHILL. No.
Mr. RUBY. Yes; you do.
Mr. TONAHILL. I don't think there was any premeditation, but you go ahead and tell it your way. That is what we want you to do. That is what the Chief Justice wants.
Mr. RUBY. Not when you specify this. You are Senator Rankin?
Mr. RANKIN. No; I am the general counsel for our Commission, Mr. Ruby.
Mr. TONAHILL. You go on and keep telling it down to Caroline and the truth.
Chief Justice WARREN. Mr. Ruby, may I suggest this, that if we are to have any tests, either a lie detector or, as you suggest, maybe a truth serum--I don't know anything about truth serum, but if we are to have it, we have to have something to check against, and we would like to have the rest of your story as you started to tell us, because you are now getting down to the crucial part of it, and it wouldn't be fair to you to have this much of it and then not have the rest.
Mr. RUBY. Because the reason why, Joe knows from the time that I told Attorney Belli, and the story I wanted to tell on the stand, and Mr. Tonahill knows this isn't the time. The thought never entered my mind. He knows it.
Mr. TONAHILL. I didn't say the thought entered your mind. I didn't say that.
Mr. RUBY. You are inferring that.
Mr. TONAHILL. Unconsciously, maybe, is what I meant to say.
Mr. RUBY. Why go back to Friday, Joe?
Mr. TONAHILL. You are going to come right down----
Mr. RUBY. Why go back to Friday? That set me off.
Then it is a greater premeditation than you know is true.
Mr. TONAHILL. I don't say it is premeditation. I never have. I don't think it is.
Mr. RUBY. Because it never entered my mind when they talked about, the officer, cutting him into bits. You would like to have built it up for my defense, but that is not it. I am here to tell the truth.
Mr. TONAHILL. The psychiatrist said that to me.
Mr. RUBY. You want to put that into my thoughts, but it never happened. I took it with a grain of salt what he said at that particular time. Well, it is too bad, Chief Warren, that you didn't get me to your headquarters 6 months ago.
Chief Justice WARREN. Well, Mr. Ruby, I will tell you why we didn't. Because you were then about to be tried and I didn't want to do anything that would prejudice you in your trial. And for that reason, I wouldn't even consider asking you to testify until your trial was over. That is the only reason that we didn't talk to you sooner.
And I wish we had gotten here a little sooner after your trial was over, but I know you had other things on your mind, and we had other work, and it got to this late date.
But I assure you, there is no desire on our part to let this matter go to any late date for any ulterior purpose. I assure you of that. And as I told you at the beginning, if you want a test of some kind made, I will undertake to see that it is done.
Mr. RUBY. You have power to do it, even though the district attorney objects to me getting the tests?
Chief Justice WARREN. Yes; I do.
Mr. RUBY. How soon can it be done?
Chief Justice WARREN. Well, I am not familiar with those things, but we will try to do it expeditiously, you may be sure, because we are trying to wind up the work of this Commission. And I assure you we won't delay it.
Mr. RUBY. Are you staying overnight here, Chief Warren?
Chief Justice WARREN. No; I have to be back, because we have an early session of the Court tomorrow morning.
Mr. RUBY. Is there any way of getting a polygraph here?
Mr. DECKER. May I make a suggestion?
Jack, listen, you and I have had a lot of dealings. Do you want my officers removed from the room while you talk to this Commission?
Mr. RUBY. That wouldn't prove any truth.
Mr. DECKER. These people came several thousand miles to interview you. You have wanted to tell me your story and I have refused to let you tell me. Now be a man with a bunch of men that have come a long way to give you an opportunity to.
You asked me for permission to tell your story, and I told you "No."
This is a supreme investigating committee at this particular time. Now give them your story and be a man, if you want them to deal with you and deal fairly with you.
Mr. RUBY. It is unfair to me unless I get all the facilities to back up what I say.
Mr. DECKER. You tell him your story. Nobody is denying it. You tell this man. He has come a thousand or more miles to listen to you. Now be a man about it.
Mr. MOORE. What I suggest--Jack, at one time I was a polygraph operator, and you would not be able to go through the entire story the way you have here.
So, seriously, you should tell the story and the things you want checked, you can be asked directly. Because you can only answer yes or no on the polygraph examination. So I think in view of what you want, you should tell your story first, and then the points that you want verified, you can be questioned on.
As the sheriff mentioned, the Commission has come a long way to have the opportunity to listen to your story, and I am sure that they know you are telling the truth, in any case.
Mr. RUBY. I wish the President were right here now. It is a terrible ordeal, I tell you that.
Chief Justice WARREN. I am sure it is an ordeal for you, and we want to make it just as easy as we can. That is the reason that we have let you tell your story in your own way without being interrupted.
If you will just proceed with the rest of your statement, I think it would make it a lot easier for us to verify it in the way that you want it to be done.
Mr. RUBY. I don't know how to answer you.
Chief Justice WARREN. Well, you have told us most of what happened up to the time of the incident, and you are almost within, you are just within a few hours of it now.
Mr. RUBY. There is a Saturday.
Chief Justice WARREN. Beg your pardon?
Mr. RUBY. There is a Saturday night. There is a Friday night. This is still only Friday night, Chief.
Chief Justice WARREN. Yes; that is true.
Mr. RUBY. Well, I will go into a certain point, and if I stop, you will have to understand if I stop to get my bearings together.
Chief Justice WARREN. Yes.
Mr. RUBY. I am in the Times Herald Building. I go upstairs, naturally.
Chief Justice WARREN. This is about what time?
Mr. RUBY. This, I imagine, is--I left the KLIF at 2 a.m., and I spent an hour with the officer and his girl friend, so it must have been about 3:15 approximately. No; it wasn't. When you are not concerned with time, it could have been 4 o'clock.
Chief Justice WARREN. It doesn't make any difference.
Mr. RUBY. Forty-five minutes difference.
I am up there in the composing room talking to a guy by the name of Pat Gadash. He was so elated that I brought him this twist board, and I had it sealed in a polyethylene bag, but he wanted to see how it is demonstrated, how it was worked.
It is a board that is on a pivot, a ball bearing, and it has a tendency to give you certain exercises in twisting your body. So not that I wanted to get in with the hilarity of frolicking, but he asked me to show him, and the other men gathered around.
When you get into the movement of a ball bearing disk, your body is free to move. I know you look like you are having a gay time, because naturally if your body is so free of moving, it is going to look that way.
I am stating this in that even with my emotional feeling for our beloved President, even to demonstrate the twist board, I did it because someone asked me to.
You follow me, gentlemen, as I describe it?
Chief Justice WARREN. Yes; I do.
Mr. RUBY. Then we placed the ad in, and if I recall, I requested from Pat to put a black border around to show that the ad was in mourning, or something, because we were, everything was in mourning.
Bill, will you do that for me that you asked a minute ago? You said you wanted to leave the room.
Mr. DECKER. I will have everyone leave the room, including myself, if you want to talk about it. You name it, and out we will go.
Mr. RUBY. All right.
Mr. DECKER. You want all of us outside?
Mr. RUBY. Yes.
Mr. DECKER. I will leave Tonahill and Moore. I am not going to have Joe leave.
Mr. RUBY. If you are not going to have Joe leave----
Mr. DECKER. Moore, his body is responsible to you. His body is responsible to you.
Mr. RUBY. Bill, I am not accomplishing anything if they are here, and Joe Tonahill is here. You asked me anybody I wanted out.
Mr. DECKER. Jack, this is your attorney. That is your lawyer.
Mr. RUBY. He is not my lawyer.
(Sheriff Decker and law enforcement officers left room.)
Gentleman, if you want to hear any further testimony, you will have to get me to Washington soon, because it has something to do with you, Chief Warren. Do I sound sober enough to tell you this?
Chief Justice WARREN. Yes; go right ahead.
Mr. RUBY. I want to tell the truth, and I can't tell it here. I can't tell it here. Does that make sense to you?
Chief Justice WARREN. Well, let's not talk about sense. But I really can't see why you can't tell this Commission.
Mr. RUBY. What is your name?
Mr. BALL. Joe Ball.
Chief Justice WARREN. Mr. Joe Ball. He is an attorney from Los Angeles who has been working for me.
Mr. RUBY. Do you know Belli too?
Mr. BALL. I know of him.
Mr. RUBY. Ball was working with him. He knows Belli. You know Melvin Belli?
Mr. BALL. I am not acquainted with him.
Chief Justice WARREN. No association of any kind.
Mr. BALL. We practice in different cities.
Chief Justice WARREN. Five hundred miles away. Mr. Ball practices in Long Beach, and Mr. Belli practices in San Francisco. There is positively no connection between anybody in this room, as far as I know, with Mr. Belli. I can assure you of that.
Mr. RUBY. Where do you stand, Moore?
Mr. MOORE. Well, I am assigned to the Commission, Jack.
Mr. RUBY. The President assigned you?
Mr. MOORE. No; my chief did. And I am not involved in the investigation. I am more of a security officer.
Mr. RUBY. Boys, I am in a tough spot, I tell you that.
Mr. MOORE. You recall when I talked to you, there were certain things I asked you not to tell me at the time, for certain reasons, that you were probably going to trial at that time, and I respected your position on that and asked you not to tell me certain things.
Mr. RUBY. But this isn't the place for me to tell what I want to tell.
Mr. Moons. The Commission is looking into the entire matter, and you are part of it, should be.
Mr. RUBY. Chief Warren, your life is in danger in this city, do you know that?
Chief Justice WARREN. No; I don't know that. If that is the thing that you don't want to talk about, you can tell me, if you wish, when this is all over, just between you and me.
Mr. RUBY. No; I would like to talk to you in private.
Chief Justice WARREN. You may do that when you finish your story. You may tell me that phase of it.
Mr. RUBY. I bet you haven't had a witness like me in your whole investigation, is that correct?
Chief Justice WARREN. There are many witnesses whose memory has not been as good as yours. I tell you that, honestly.
Mr. RUBY. My reluctance to talk---you haven't had any witness in telling the story, in finding so many problems?
Chief Justice WARREN. You have a greater problem than any witness we have had.
Mr. RUBY. I have a lot of reasons for having those problems.
Chief Justice WARREN. I know that, and we want to respect your rights, whatever they may be. And I only want to hear what you are willing to tell us, because I realize that you still have a great problem before you, and I am not trying to press you.
I came here because I thought you wanted to tell us the story, and I think the story should be told for the public, and it will eventually be made public. If you want to do that, you are entitled to do that, and if you want to have it verified as the thing can be verified by a polygraph test, you may have that, too.
I will undertake to do that for you, but at all events we must first have the story that we are going to check it against.
Mr. RUBY. When are you going back to Washington?
Chief Justice WARREN. I am going back very shortly after we finish this hearing--I am going to have some lunch.
Mr. RUBY. Can I make a statement?
Chief Justice WARREN. Yes.
Mr. RUBY. If you request me to go back to Washington with you right now, that couldn't be done, could it?
Chief Justice WARREN. No; it could not be done. It could not be done. There are a good many things involved in that, Mr. Ruby.
Mr. RUBY. What are they?
Chief Justice WARREN. Well, the public attention that it would attract, and the people who would be around. We have no place there for you to be safe when we take you out, and we are not law enforcement officers, and it isn't our responsibility to go into anything of that kind.
And certainly it couldn't be done on a moment's notice this way.
Mr. RUBY. Well, from what I read in the paper, they made certain precautions for you coming here, but you got here.
Chief Justice WARREN. There are no precautions taken at all.
Mr. RUBY. There were some remarks in the paper about some crackpots.
Chief Justice WARREN. I don't believe everything I read in the paper.
Mr. MOORE. In that respect, the Chief Justice is in public life. People in public life are well aware they don't please everyone, and they get these threats.
Incidentally, if it is the part about George Senator talking about the Earl
Warren Society, the Chief Justice is aware of that phase, and I am sure he would like to hear anything that you have to say if it affects the security.
Chief Justice WARREN. Before you finish the rest of your statement, may I ask you this question, and this is one of the questions we came here to ask you.
Did you know Lee Harvey Oswald prior to this shooting?
Mr. RUBY. That is why I want to take the lie detector test. Just saying no isn't sufficient.
Chief Justice WARREN. I will afford you that opportunity.
Mr. RUBY. All right.
Chief Justice WARREN. I will afford you that opportunity. You can't do both of them at one time.
Mr. RUBY. Gentlemen, my life is in danger here. Not with my guilty plea of execution.
Do I sound sober enough to you as I say this?
Chief Justice WARREN. You do. You sound entirely sober.
Mr. RUBY. From the moment I started my testimony, have I sounded as though, with the exception of becoming emotional, have I sounded as though I made sense, what I was speaking about?
Chief Justice WARREN. You have indeed. I understood everything you have said. If I haven't, it is my fault.
Mr. RUBY. Then I follow this up. I may not live tomorrow to give any further testimony. The reason why I add this to this, since you assure me that I have been speaking sense by then, I might be speaking sense by following what I have said, and the only thing I want to get out to the public, and I can't say it here, is with authenticity, with sincerity of the truth of everything and why my act was committed, but it can't be said here.
It can be said, it's got to be said amongst people of the highest authority that would give me the benefit of doubt. And following that, immediately give me the lie detector test after I do make the statement.
Chairman Warren, if you felt that your life was in danger at the moment, how would you feel? Wouldn't you be reluctant to go on speaking, even though you request me to do so?
Chief Justice WARREN. I think I might have some reluctance if I was in your position, yes; I think I would. I think I would figure it out very carefully as to whether it would endanger me or not.
If you think that anything that I am doing or anything that I am asking you is endangering you in any way, shape, or form, I want you to feel absolutely free to say that the interview is over.
Mr. RUBY. What happens then? I didn't accomplish anything.
Chief Justice WARREN. No; nothing has been accomplished.
Mr. RUBY. Well, then you won't follow up with anything further?
Chief Justice WARREN. There wouldn't be anything to follow up if you hadn't completed your statement.
Mr. RUBY. You said you have the power to do what you want to do is that correct?
Chief Justice WARREN. Exactly.
Mr. RUBY. Without any limitations?
Chief Justice WARREN. Within the purview of the Executive order which established the Commission. We have the right to take testimony of anyone we want in this whole situation, and we have the right, if we so choose to do it, to verify that statement in any way that we wish to do it.
Mr. RUBY. But you don't have a right to take a prisoner back with you when you want to?
Chief Justice WARREN. No; we have the power to subpena witnesses to Washington if we want to do it, but we have taken the testimony of 200 or 300 people, I would imagine, here in Dallas without going to Washington.
Mr. RUBY. Yes; but those people aren't Jack Ruby.
Chief Justice WARREN No; they weren't.
Mr. RUBY. They weren't.
Chief Justice WARREN. Now I want you to feel that we are not here to take any advantage of you, because I know that you are in a delicate position, and unless you had indicated not only through your lawyers but also through your
sister, who wrote a letter addressed either to me or to Mr. Rankin saying that you wanted to testify before the Commission, unless she had told us that, I wouldn't have bothered you.
Because I know you do have this case that is not yet finished, and I wouldn't jeopardize your position by trying to insist that you testify. So I want you to feel that you are free to refrain from testifying any time you wish.
But I will also be frank with you and say that I don't think it would be to your advantage to tell us as much as you have and then to stop and not tell us the rest. I can't see what advantage that would give you.
Mr. RUBY. The thing is this, that with your power that you have, Chief Justice Warren, and all these gentlemen, too much time has gone by for me to give you any benefit of what I may say now.
Chief Justice WARREN. No; that isn't a fact, because until we make our findings for the Commission, and until we make our report on the case, it is not too late.
And there are other witnesses we have who are yet to be examined. So from our standpoint, it is timely. We are not handicapped at all by the lateness of your examination.
Mr. RUBY. Well, it is too tragic to talk about.
Mr. RANKIN. Isn't it true that we waited until very late in our proceedings to talk to Mrs. Kennedy?
Chief Justice WARREN. Yes; I might say to you that we didn't take Mrs. Kennedy's statement until day before yesterday. Mr. Rankin and I took her testimony then.
So we are not treating you different from any other witness.
Mr. RUBY. I tell you, gentlemen, my whole family is in jeopardy. My sisters, as to their lives.
Chief Justice WARREN. Yes?
Mr. RUBY. Naturally, I am a foregone conclusion. My sisters Eva, Eileen, and Mary, I lost my sisters.
My brothers Sam, Earl, Hyman, and myself naturally--my in-laws, Harold Kaminsky, Marge Ruby, the wife of Earl, and Phyllis, the wife of Sam Ruby, they are in jeopardy of loss of their lives. Yet they have, just because they are blood related to myself--does that sound serious enough to you, Chief Justice Warren?
Chief Justice WARREN. Nothing could be more serious, if that is the fact. But your sister, I don't know whether it was your sister Eva or your other sister----
Mr. RUBY. Eileen wrote you a letter.
Chief Justice WARREN. Wrote the letter to me and told us that you would like to testify, and that is one of the reasons that we came down here.
Mr. RUBY. But unfortunately, when did you get the letter, Chief Justice Warren?
Chief Justice WARREN. It was a long time ago, I admit. I think it was, let's see, roughly between 2 and 3 months ago.
Mr. RUBY. Yes.
Chief Justice WARREN. I think it was; yes.
Mr. RUBY. At that time when you first got the letter and I was begging Joe Tonahill and the other lawyers to know the truth about me, certain things that are happening now wouldn't be happening at this particular time.
Chief Justice WARREN. Yes?
Mr. RUBY. Because then they would have known the truth about Jack Ruby and his emotional breakdown.
Chief Justice WARREN. Yes?
Mr. RUBY. Of why that Sunday morning--that thought never entered my mind prior to that Sunday morning when I took it upon myself to try to be a martyr or some screwball, you might say.
But I felt very emotional and very carried away for Mrs. Kennedy, that with all the strife she had gone through--I had been following it pretty well--that someone owed it to our beloved President that she shouldn't be expected to come back to face trial of this heinous crime.
And I have never had the chance to tell that, to back it up, to prove it.
Consequently, right at this moment I am being victimized as a part of a plot in the.world's worst tragedy and crime at this moment.
Months back had I been given a chance--I take that back. Sometime back a police officer of the Dallas Police Department wanted to know how I got into the building. And I don't know whether I requested a lie detector test or not, but my attorney wasn't available.
When you are a defendant in the case, you say "speak to your attorney," you know. But that was a different time. It was after the trial, whenever it happened.
At this moment, Lee Harvey Oswald isn't guilty of committing the crime of assassinating President Kennedy. Jack Ruby is.
How can I fight that, Chief Justice Warren?
Chief Justice WARREN. Well now, I want to say, Mr. Ruby, that as far as this Commission is concerned, there is no implication of that in what we are doing.
Mr. RUBY, All right, there is a certain organization here----
Chief Justice WARREN. That I can assure you.
Mr. RUBY. There is an organization here, Chief Justice Warren, if it takes my life at this moment to say it, and Bill Decker said be a man and say it, there is a John Birch Society right now in activity, and Edwin Walker is one of the top men of this organization--take it for what it is worth, Chief Justice Warren.
Unfortunately for me, for me giving the people the opportunity to get in power, because of the act I committed, has put a lot of people in jeopardy with their lives.
Don't register with you, does it?
Chief Justice WARREN. No; I don't understand that.
Mr. RUBY. Would you rather I just delete what I said and just pretend that nothing is going on?
Chief Justice WARREN. I would not indeed. I am only interested in what you want to tell this Commission.That is all I am interested in.
Mr. RUBY. Well, I said my life, I won't be living long now. I know that. My family's lives will be gone. When I left my apartment that morning----
Chief Justice WARREN. What morning?
Mr. RUBY. Sunday morning.
Chief Justice WARREN. Sunday morning.
Mr. RUBY. Let's go back. Saturday I watched Rabbi Seligman. Any of you watch it that Saturday morning?
Chief Justice WARREN. No; I didn't happen to hear it.
Mr. RUBY. He went ahead and eulogized that here is a man that fought in every battle, went to every country, and had to come back to his own country to be shot in the back [starts crying]. I must be a great actor, I tell you that.
Chief Justice WARREN. No.
Mr. RUBY. That created a tremendous emotional feeling for me, the way he said that. Prior to all the other times, I was carried away.
Then that Saturday night, I didn't do anything but visit a little club over here and had a Coca-Cola, because I was sort of depressed. A fellow that owns the Pago Club, Bob Norton, and he knew something was wrong with me in the certain mood I was in.
And I went home and that weekend, the Sunday morning, and saw a letter to Caroline, two columns about a 16-inch area. Someone had written a letter to Caroline. The most heartbreaking letter. I don't remember the contents. Do you remember that?
Mr. MOORE. I think I saw it.
Mr. RUBY. Yes; and alongside that letter on the same sheet of paper was a small comment in the newspaper that, I don't know how it was stated, that Mrs. Kennedy may have to come back for the trial of Lee Harvey Oswald. That caused me to go like I did; that caused me to go like I did.
I don't know, Chief Justice, but I got so carried away. And I remember prior to that thought, there has never been another thought in my mind; I was never malicious toward this person. No one else requested me to do anything. I never spoke to anyone about attempting to do anything. No subversive
organization gave me any idea. No underworld person made any effort to contact me. It all happened that Sunday morning.
The last thing I read was that Mrs. Kennedy may have to come back to Dallas for trial for Lee Harvey Oswald, and, I don't know what bug got ahold of me. I don't know what it is, but I am going to tell the truth word for word.
I am taking a pill called Preludin. It is a harmless pill, and it is very easy to get in the drugstore. It isn't a highly prescribed pill. I use it for dieting.
I don't partake of that much food. I think that was a stimulus to give me an emotional feeling that suddenly I felt, which was so stupid, that I wanted to show my love for our faith, being of the Jewish faith, and I never used the term and I don't want to go into that--suddenly the feeling, the emotional feeling came within me that someone owed this debt to our beloved President to save her the ordeal of coming back. I don't know why that came through my mind.
And I drove past Main Street, past the County Building, and there was a crowd already gathered there. And I guess I thought I knew he was going to be moved at 10 o'clock, I don't know. I listened to the radio; and I passed a crowd and it looked--I am repeating myself--and I took it for granted he had already been moved.
And I parked my car in the lot across from the Western Union. Prior to that, I got a call from a little girl--she wanted-some money--that-worked for me, and I said, "Can't you wait till payday?" And she said, "Jack, you are going to be closed."
So my purpose was to go to the Western Union--my double purpose but the thought of doing, committing the act wasn't until I left my apartment.
Sending the wire was when I had the phone call--or the money order.
I drove down Main Street--there was a little incident I left out, that I started to go down a driveway, but I wanted to go by the wreaths, and I saw them and started to cry again.
Then I drove, parked the car across from the Western Union, went into the Western Union, sent the money order, whatever it was, walked the distance from the Western Union to the ramp--I didn't sneak in. I didn't linger in there.
I didn't crouch or hide behind anyone, unless the television camera can make it seem that way.
There was an officer talking--I don't know what rank he had--talking to a Sam Pease in a car parked up on the curb.
I walked down those few steps, and there was the person that--I wouldn't say I saw red--it was a feeling I had for our beloved President and Mrs. Kennedy, that he was insignificant to what my purpose was.
And when I walked down the ramp--I would say there was an 8-foot clearance--not that I wanted to be a hero, or I didn't realize that even if the officer would have observed me, the klieg lights, but I can't take that.
I did not mingle with the crowd. There was no one near me when I walked down that ramp, because if you will time the time I sent the money order, I think it was 10:17 Sunday morning.
I think the actual act was committed--I take that back--was it 11 o'clock? You should know this.
Mr. MOORE. 11: 21.
Mr. RUBY. No; when Oswald was shot.
Mr. MOORE. I understood it to be 11:22.
Mr. RUBY. The clock stopped and said 11:21. I was watching on that thing; yes. Then it must have been 11:17, closer to 18. That is the timing when I left the Western Union to the time of the bottom of the ramp.
You wouldn't have time enough to have any conspiracy, to be self-saving, to mingle with the crowd, as it was told about me.
I realize it is a terrible thing I have done, and it was a stupid thing, but I just was carried away emotionally. Do you follow that?
Chief Justice WARREN. Yes; I do indeed, every word.
Mr. RUBY. I had the gun in my right hip pocket, and impulsively, if that is the correct word here, I saw him, and that is all I can say. And I didn't care what happened to me.
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I think I used the words, "You killed my President, you rat." The next thing, I was down on the floor.
I said, "I am Jack Ruby. You all know me."
I never used anything malicious, nothing like s.o.b. I never said that I wanted to get three more off, as they stated.
The only words, and I was highly emotional; to Ray Hall--he interrogated more than any other person down there--all I believe I said to him was, "I didn't want Mrs. Kennedy to come back to trial."
And I forget what else. And I used a little expression like being of the Jewish faith, I wanted to show that we love our President, even though we are not of the same faith.
And I have a friend of mine do you mind if it is a slipshod story?
Chief Justice WARREN. No; you tell us in your own way.
Mr. RUBY. A fellow whom I sort of idolized is of the Catholic faith, and a gambler. Naturally in my business you meet people of various backgrounds. And the thought came, we were very close, and I always thought a lot of him, and I knew that Kennedy, being Catholic, I knew how heartbroken he was, and even his picture of this Mr. McWillie flashed across me, because I have a great fondness for him.
All that blended into the thing that, like a screwball, the way it turned out, that I thought that I would sacrifice myself for the few moments of saving Mrs. Kennedy the discomfiture-of coming back to trial.
Now all these things of my background, I should have been the last person in the world to want to be a martyr. It happens, doesn't it, Chief Warren?
I mean, for instance, I have been in the night club business, a burlesque house. It was a means of a livelihood. I knew persons of notorious backgrounds years ago in Chicago. I was with the union back in Chicago, and I left the union when I found out the notorious organization had moved in there. It was in 1940.
Then recently, I had to make so many numerous calls that I am sure you know of. Am I right? Because of trying to survive in my business.
My unfair competition had been running certain shows that we were restricted to run by regulation of the union, but they violated all the rules of the union, and I didn't violate it, and consequently I was becoming insolvent because of it.
All those calls were made with only, in relation to seeing if they can help out, with the American Guild of Variety Artists. Does that confirm a lot of things you have heard?
Every person I have called, and sometimes you may not even know a person intimately, you sort of tell them, well, you are stranded down here and you want some help--if they know of any official of the American Guild of Variety Artists to help me. Because my competitors were putting me out of business.
I even flew to New York to see Joe Glazer, and he called Bobby Faye. He was the national president. That didn't help. He called Barney Ross and Joey Adams. All these phone calls were related not in anyway involved with the underworld, because I have been away from Chicago 17 years down in Dallas.
As a matter of fact, I even called a Mr.--hold it before I say it--headed the American Federation of Labor--I can't think--in the State of Texas--Miller.
Chief Justice WARREN. I don't know.
Mr. RUBY. Is there a Deutsch I. Maylor? I called a Mr. Maylor here in Texas to see if he could help me out.
I want to set you gentlemen straight on all the telephone calls I had. This was a long time prior to what has happend. And the only association I had with those calls, the only questions that I inquired about, was if they could help me with the American Guild of Variety Artists, to see that they abolished it, because it was unfair to professional talent, abolish them from putting on their shows in Dallas. That is the only reason I made those calls. Where do we go from there?
Chief Justice WARREN. Well, I will go back to the original question that I asked you. Did you ever know Oswald?
Mr. RUBY. No; let me add--you are refreshing my mind about a few things.
Can I ask one thing? Did you all talk to Mr. McWillie? I am sure you have.
Mr. RUBY. He always wanted me to come down to Havana, Cuba; invited me down there, and I didn't want to leave my business because I had to watch over it.
He was a key man over the Tropicana down there. That was during our good times. Was in harmony with our enemy of our present time.
Chief Justice WARREN. Yes?
Mr. RUBY. I refused. I couldn't make it. Finally he sent me tickets to come down, airplane tickets.
I made the trip down there via New Orleans, and so I stayed at the Volk's Apartments, and I was with him constantly.
And I was bored with the gambling, because I don't gamble, and there is nothing exciting unless you can speak their language, which is Spanish, I believe.
And that was the only environment. That was in August of 1959.
Any thought of ever being close to Havana, Cuba, I called him frequently because he was down there, and he was the last person to leave, if I recall, when they had to leave, when he left the casino.
As a matter of fact, on the plane, if I recall, I had an article he sent me, and I wanted to get it published because I idolized McWillie. He is a pretty nice boy, and I happened to be idolizing him.
When the plane left Havana and landed in the United States, some schoolteacher remarked that the United States is not treating Castro right. When they landed in the United States, this Mr. Louis McWillie slugged this guy for making that comment.
So I want you to know, as far as him having any subversive thoughts, and I wanted Tony to put it in the paper here. That is how much I thought of Mr. McWillie. And that is my only association.
The only other association with him was, there was a gentleman here that sells guns. He has a hardware store on Singleton Avenue.
Have I told this to you gentlemen? It is Ray's Hardware. His name is Ray Brantley.
This was--I don't recall when he called me, but he was a little worried of the new regime coming in, and evidently he wanted some protection.
He called me or sent me a letter that I should call Ray Brantley. He wanted some four little Cobra guns--big shipment.
So me, I should say myself rather, feeling no harm, I didn't realize, because he wasn't sending them to me, and I thought there was no crime, the man wanted protection, he is earning a livelihood.
I called Ray Brantley and I said, "Ray, McWillie called me." I don't remember if he sent me a letter or he called. He said he wants four little Cobras, or something like that.
He said "I know Mac. I have been doing business with him for a long time." Meaning with reference to when he was living in Texas. He did a lot of hunting and things like that.
Chief Justice WARREN. Yes?
Mr. RUBY. That was the only relationship I had of any mention, outside of phone calls, to Mr. McWillie, or any person from Havana, Cuba.
Chief Justice WARREN. When was that?
Mr. RUBY. Now the guns--am I correct? Did you ever go to check on it? On Ray Brantley?
Mr. MOORE. No.
Mr. RUBY. He denies I ever called. Evidently he feels, maybe he feels it would be illegal to send guns out of the country. I don't know if you gentlemen know the law. I don't know the law.
Chief Justice WARREN. I don't know.
Mr. RUBY. I kept--did I tell you this, Joe, about this?
Mr. TONAHILL. Yes; you did.
Mr. RUBY. That I wanted someone to go to Ray Brantley?
Mr. TONAHILL. Yes.
Mr. RUBY. When Phil Burleson came back with a letter signed, an affidavit
that Ray Brantley said he never did receive a call from me, and the only gun he sent to McWillie was to the Vegas, but it came back that they didn't pick it up because it was a c.o.d. order.
This definitely would do me more harm, because if I tell my story that I called Ray Brantley, and he denies that he ever got a call from me, definitely that makes it look like I am hiding something.
Haven't I felt that right along, Joe?
Mr. TONAHILL. You sure have, Jack.
Mr. RUBY. Now, the reason I am telling you these things, I never knew Lee Harvey Oswald. The first time I ever have seen him was the time in the assembly room when they brought him out, when he had some sort of a shiner on his eye.
Chief Justice WARREN. When was that little incident about the Cobras? About what year? That is all I am interested in.
Mr. RUBY. Could have been prior to the early part of 1959.
Chief Justice WARREN. Yes; all right.
Mr. RUBY. That is the only call I made. And as a matter of fact, I didn't even follow up to inquire of this Mr. Brantley, whether he received it or what the recourse was. That is why I tell you, Chief Justice Warren--who is this new gentleman, may I ask?
Mr. RANKIN. This is Mr. Storey from your community, a lawyer who is working with the attorney general, and Mr. Jaworski, in connection with watching the work of the Commission so that they will be satisfied as to the quality of the work done insofar as the State of Texas is concerned.
(Pause for reporter to change paper, and Ruby asked about one of the gentlemen, to which Chief Justice Warren replied as follows):
Chief Justice WARREN (referring to Mr. Specter). He has been working with us on the Commission since very close to the beginning now.
Mr. RANKIN. How long did you spend in Cuba on this trip?
Mr. RUBY. Eight days. A lot of your tourists were there. As a matter of fact, a lot of group tourists were going down, students of schools.
I mean, he had a way of purchasing tickets from Havana that I think he purchased them at a lesser price. He bought them from the travel agent in the Capri Hotel. He bought them--did you meet McWillie?
Mr. MOORE. I didn't.
Mr. RANKIN. He was checked by the Commission in connection with this work.
Chief Justice WARREN. There was some story in one of the papers that you had been interested in shipping jeeps down to Cuba. Was there anything to that at all?
Mr. RUBY. No; but this was the earlier part, when the first time Castro had ever invaded Cuba. There was even a Government article that they would need jeeps. I don't recall what it was, but I never had the facilities or the capabilities of knowing where to get jeeps.
But probably in conversation with other persons--you see, it is a new land, and they have to have a lot of things. As a matter of fact, the U.S. Government was wanting persons to help them at that particular time when they threw out the dictator, Batista.
And one particular time there was a gentleman that smuggled guns to Castro. I think I told you that, Mr. Moore; I don't remember.
Mr. MOORE. I don't recall that.
Mr. RUBY. I think his name was Longley out of Bay--something--Texas, on the Bayshore. And somehow he was, I read the article about him, that he was given a jail term for smuggling guns to Castro. This is the early part of their revolution.
Chief Justice WARREN. Before the Batista government fell?
Mr. RUBY. Yes; I think he had a boat, and he lived somewhere in Bay something, Bayshore, in the center part of Texas. Do you know him, Mr. Storey? Do you know this man?
Mr. STOREY. No; I don't know him.
Mr. RUBY. How can I prove my authenticity of what I have stated here today?
Chief Justice WARREN. Well, you have testified under oath, and I don't even know that there is anything to disprove what you have said.
Mr. RUBY. No; because I will say this. You don't know if there is anything to disprove, but at this moment, there is a certain organization in this area that has been indoctrinated, that I am the one that was in the plot to assassinate our President.
Mr. RANKIN. Would you tell us what that is?
Mr. RUBY. The John Birch Society.
Mr. RANKIN. Can you tell us what basis you have for that, Mr. Ruby?
Mr. RUBY. Just a feeling of it. Mr. Warren, you don't recall when I--Friday night after leaving the Times Herald. I went to my apartment and very impatiently awakened George Senator. As a matter of fact, used the words, as I state, "You will have to get up, George. I want you to go with me."
And he had been in bed for a couple of hours, which was about, I imagine, about 4:30 or a quarter to 5 in the morning.
And I called the club and I asked this kid Larry if he knew how to pack a Polaroid, and he said "Yes."
And I said, "Get up." And we went down and picked Up Larry. And in the meantime, I don't recall if I stopped at the post office to find out his box number of this Bernard Weissman. I think the box number was 1792, or something to that; and then there was, it came to my mind when I left the Times Herald--I am skipping back--why I had awakened George.
I recall seeing a sign on a certain billboard "Impeach Earl Warren." You have heard something about that?
Chief Justice WARREN. I read something in the paper, yes; that is all.
Mr. RUBY. And it came from New Bedford, or Massachusetts; I don't recall what the town was.
And there was a similar number to that, but I thought at the time it would be the same number of 1792, but it was 1757.
That is the reason I went down there to take the Polaroid picture of it, because of that remaining in the city at the time.
What happened to the picture, I don't know. I asked Jim Bowie or Alexander to tell you.
Mr. RANKIN. Did you know Weissman before that?
Mr. RUBY. Never knew him. When I said Jim Bowie, no one says a word.
Mr. BOWIE. We never have seen them.
Mr. RUBY. They were in my person.
Mr. BOWIE. But no evidence came?
Mr. RUBY. No; it did not, never. As a matter of fact, I went to the post office to check on box 1792. I even inquired with the man in charge of where you purchase the boxes, and I said to him, "Who bought this box?"
And he said, "I can't give you the information. All I know is, it is a legitimate business box purchase."
And I checked the various contents of mail there.
Mr. RANKIN. Did you know Officer Tippit?
Mr. RUBY. I knew there was three Tippits on the force. The only one I knew used to work for the special services, and I am certain this wasn't the Tippit, this wasn't the man.
Mr. RANKIN. The man that was murdered. There was a story that you were seen sitting in your Carousel Club with Mr. Weissman, Officer Tippit, and another who has been called a rich oil man, at one time shortly before the assassination. Can you tell us anything about that?
Mr. RUBY. Who was the rich oil man?
Mr. RANKIN. Can you remember? We haven't been told. We are just trying to find out anything that you know about him.
Mr. RUBY. I am the one that made such a big issue of Bernard Weissman's ad. Maybe you do things to cover up, if you are capable of doing it.
As a matter of fact, Saturday afternoon we went over to the Turf Bar lounge, and it was a whole hullabaloo, and I showed the pictures "Impeach Earl Warren" to Bellocchio, and he saw the pictures and got very emotional.
And Bellocchio said, "Why did the newspaper take this ad of Weissman?"
And Bellocchio said, "I have got to leave Dallas."
And suddenly after making that statement, I realized it is his incapability, and suddenly you do things impulsively, and suddenly you realize if you love the city, you stay here and you make the best of it. And there were witnesses.
I said, "The city was good enough for you all before this. Now you feel that way about it." And that was Bellocchio.
As far as Tippit, it is not Tippitts, it is not Tippitts it is Tippit.
Mr. RANKIN. This Weissman and the rich oil man, did you ever have a conversation with them?
Mr. RUBY. There was only a few. Bill Rudman from the YMCA, and I haven't seen him in years.
And there is a Bill Howard, but he is not a rich oil man. He owns the Stork Club now. He used to dabble in oil.
Chief Justice WARREN. This story was given by a lawyer by the name of Mark Lane, who is representing Mrs. Marguerite Oswald, the mother of Lee Harvey Oswald, and it was in the paper, so we subpenaed him, and he testified that someone had given him information to the effect that a week or two before President Kennedy was assassinated, that in your Carousel Club you and Weissman and Tippit, Officer Tippit, the one who was killed, and a rich oil man had an interview or conversation for an hour or two.
And we asked him who it was that told him, and he said that it was confidential and he couldn't tell at the moment, but that he would find out for us if whether he could be released or not from his confidential relationship.
He has never done it, and we have written him several letters asking him to disclose the name of that person, and he has never complied.
Mr. RUBY. Isn't that foolish? If a man is patriotic enough in the first place, who am I to be concerned if he wasn't an informer.
I am incarcerated, nothing to be worried about anyone hurting me.
Chief Justice WARREN. Mr. Ruby, I am not questioning your story at all. I wanted you to know the background of this thing, and to know that it was with us only hearsay. But I did feel that our record should show that we would ask you the question and that you would answer it, and you have answered it.
Mr. RUBY. How many days prior to the assassination was that?
Chief Justice WARREN. My recollection is that it was a week or two. Is that correct?
Mr. RUBY. Did anyone have any knowledge that their beloved President was going to visit here prior to that time, or what is the definite time that they knew he was coming to Dallas?
Chief Justice WARREN. Well, I don't know just what those dates are.
Mr. RUBY. I see.
Chief Justice WARREN. I just don't know. Well, we wanted to ask you that question, because this man had so testified, and we have been trying ever since to get him to give the source of his information, but he will not do it, so we will leave that matter as it is.
Mr. RUBY. No; I am as innocent regarding any conspiracy as any of you gentlemen in the room, and I don't want anything to be run over lightly. I want you to dig into it with any biting, any question that might embarrass me, or anything that might bring up my background, which isn't so terribly spotted--I have never been a criminal--I have never been in jail---I know when you live in the city of Chicago and you are in the livelihood of selling tickets to sporting events, your lucrative patrons are some of these people, but you don't mean anything to those people. You may know them as you get acquainted with them at the sporting events or the ball park.
Chief Justice WARREN. The prizefights?
Mr. RUBY. The prizefights. If that was your means of livelihood, yet you don't have no other affiliation with them, so when I say I know them, or what I have read from stories of personalities that are notorious, that is the extent of my involvement in any criminal activity.
I have never been a bookmaker. I have never stolen for a living. I am not a gangster. I have never used a goon squad for Union activities.
All I was was a representative to sound out applications for the American
Federation of Labor, and if the employees would sign it, we would accept them as members.
I never knew what a goon looked like in Chicago, with the exception when I went to the service.
I never belonged to any subversive organization. I don't know any subversive people that are against my beloved country.
Mr. RANKIN. You have never been connected with the Communist Party?
Mr. RUBY. Never have. All I have ever done in my life--I had a very rough start in life, but anything I have done, I at least try to do it in good taste, whatever I have been active in.
Mr. RANKIN. There was a story that you had a gun with you during the showup that you described in the large room there.
Mr. RUBY. I will be honest with you. I lied about it. It isn't so. I didn't have a gun. But in order to make my defense more accurate, to save your life, that is the reason that statement was made.
Mr. RANKIN. It would be quite helpful to the Commission if you could--in the first place, I want to get the trip to Cuba. Was that in 1959?
Mr. RUBY. Yes; because I had to buy a $2 ticket, a pass to get through Florida.
Mr. RANKIN. Did you have any other trip to Cuba?
Mr. RUBY. Never; that is the only one that I made.
I stayed at the Volk's Apartments with Mr. McWillie, lived in his apartment. Ate directly in a place called Wolf's, downstairs. Wouldn't know how to speak their language. I wouldn't know how to communicate with them.
I probably had two dates from meeting some young ladies I got to dancing with, because my dinners were served in the Tropicana.
One thing I forgot to tell you--you are bringing my mind back to a few things--the owners, the greatest that have been expelled from Cuba, are the Fox brothers. They own the Tropicana.
Mr. RANKIN. Who are the Fox brothers?
Mr. RUBY. Martin Fox and I can't think of the other name.
Mr. RANKIN. Do you know where they are located now?
Mr. RUBY. They are in Miami, Fla. They know everything about McWillie, I heard; and know the officials.
I met McWillie because he came to the club, and he came to the club to look over the show. And you get to talk to people and meet a lot of different types of people.
The Fox brothers came to Dallas--I don't know which one it was--to collect a debt that some man owed the Cotton Gin Co. here. Do you know their name, Mr. Bowie?
Mr. BOWIE. Murray, or something.
Mr. RUBY. He gave some bad checks on a gambling debt, and they came to visit me. The lawyer, I think, is Mark Lane. That is the attorney that was killed in New York?
Chief Justice WARREN. That is the fellow who represents, or did represent Mrs. Marguerite Oswald. I think I read in the paper where he no longer represents her.
Mr. RANKIN. He is still alive though.
Chief Justice WARREN. Oh, yes.
Mr. RUBY. There was one Lane that was killed in a taxicab. I thought he was an attorney in Dallas.
Chief Justice WARREN. That was a Dave Lane.
Mr. RUBY. There is a very prominent attorney in Dallas, McCord. McCord represents the Fox brothers here. They called me because the Fox brothers wanted to see me, and I came down to the hotel.
And Mrs. McWilliep--Mr. McWillie was married to her at that time--and if I recall, I didn't show them off to the airport at that time.
This is when they were still living in Havana, the Fox brothers. We had dinner at--how do you pronounce that restaurant at Love Field? Luau? That serves this Chinese food.
Dave McCord, I was in his presence, and I was invited out to dinner, and there was an attorney by the name of Leon. Is he associated with McCord?
And there was a McClain.
Chief Justice WARREN. Alfred was killed in a taxi in New York.
Mr. RUBY. He was at this dinner meeting I had with McCord. I don't know if Mrs. McWillie was along. And one of the Fox brothers, because they had just been awarded the case that this person owns, this Gin Co., that was compelled to pay off.
Mr. RANKIN. I think, Mr. Ruby, it would be quite helpful to the Commission if you could tell, as you recall it, just what you said to Mr. Sorrels and the others after the shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald. Can you recall that?
Mr. RUBY. The only one I recall Mr. Sorrels in, there were some incorrect statements made at this time.
Mr. RANKIN. Can you tell us what you said?
Congressman FORD. First, tell us when this took place.
Mr. RANKIN. How soon after the shooting occurred?
Mr. RUBY. Well, Ray Hall was the first one that interrogated me. Wanted to know my whole background.
Mr. RANKIN. Can you tell us how soon it was? Within a few minutes after the shooting?
Mr. RUBY. No; I waited in a little room there somewhere upstairs in--I don't know what floor it was. I don't recall.
Mr. RANKIN. Where did this occur, on the third floor?
Mr. RUBY. One of those floors. I don't know whether it was the third or second. If you are up on an elevator----
Mr. RANKIN. Can you give us any idea of the time after the shooting?
Mr. RUBY. I spent an hour with Mr. Hall, Ray Hall. And I was very much, I was very much broken up emotionally, and I constantly repeated that I didn't want Mrs. Kennedy to come back to trial, and those were my words, constantly repeated to Mr. Hall.
And I heard there was a statement made--now I am skipping--and then I gave Mr. Hall my complete background about things he wanted to know, my earlier background going back from the years, and I guess there was nothing else to say to Hall because as long as I stated why I did it--it is not like planning a crime and you are confessing something. I already confessed, and all it took is one sentence why I did it.
Now what else could I have said that you think I could have said? Refresh my memory a little bit.
Mr. RANKIN. There was a conversation with Mr. Sorrels in which you told him about the matter. Do you remember that?
Mr. RUBY. The only thing I ever recall I said to Mr. Ray Hall and Sorrels was, I said, "Being of Jewish faith, I wanted to show my love for my President and his lovely wife."
After I said whatever I said, then a statement came out that someone introduced Mr. Sorrels to me and I said, "What are you, a newsman?" Or something to that effect. Which is really--what I am trying to say is, the way it sounded is like I was looking for publicity and inquiring if you are a newsman, I wanted to see you.
But I am certain--I don't recall definitely, but I know in my right mind, because I know my motive for doing it, and certainly to gain publicity to take a chance of being mortally wounded, as I said before, and who else could have timed it so perfectly by seconds.
If it were timed that way, then someone in the police department is guilty of giving the information as to when Lee Harvey Oswald was coming down.
I never made a statement. I never inquired from the television man what time is Lee Harvey Oswald coming down. Because really, a man in his right mind would never ask that question. I never made the statement "I wanted to get three more off. Someone had to do it. You wouldn't do it." I never made those statements.
I never called the man by any obscene name, because as I stated earlier, there was no malice in me. He was insignificant, to my feelings for my love for Mrs. Kennedy and our beloved President. He was nothing comparable to them, so I can't explain it.
I never used any words--as a matter of fact, there were questions at the hearing with Roy Pryor and a few others--I may have used one word "a little
weasel" or something, but I didn't use it, I don't remember, because Roy said it. If he said I did, I may have said it.
I never made the statement to anyone that I intended to get him. I never used the obscene words that were stated.
Anything I said was with emotional feeling of I didn't want Mrs. Kennedy to come back to trial.
Representative FORD. It has been alleged that you went out to Parkland Hospital.
Mr. RUBY. No; I didn't go there. They tried to ask me. My sisters asked me. Some people told my sister that you were there. I am of sound mind. I never went there. Everything that transpired during the tragedy, I was at the Morning News Building.
Congressman FORD. You didn't go out there subsequent to the assassination?
Mr. RUBY. No; in other words, like somebody is trying to make me something of a martyr in that case. No; I never did. Does this conflict with my story and yours in great length?
Mr. MOORE. Substantially the same, Jack, as well as I remember.
Mr. RANKIN. Did you say anything about people of your religion have guts, or something like that?
Mr. RUBY. I said it. I never said it up there. I said, I could have said, "Weren't you afraid of getting your head blown off?" I said, "Well, to be truthful, I have a little nerve." I could have said that.
Now I could have said to the doctor that was sent to me, Bromberg, because there is a certain familiarity you have, because it is like you have an attorney representing you, it is there. I mean, it is there.
But I did say this. McWillie made a statement about me, something to the effect that "he is considered a pretty rough guy," this McWillie. He said, "One thing about Jack Ruby, he runs this club and no one runs over him."
And you have a different type of entertainment here than any other part of the country, our type of entertainment.
But I don't recall that. I could have said the sentimental feeling that I may have used.
Representative FORD. When you flew to Cuba, where did you go from Dallas en route? What was the step-by-step process by which you arrived at Havana?
Mr. RUBY. I think I told Mr. Moore I stopped in New Orleans. Sometime I stopped in New Orleans, and I don't remember if I stopped in Florida or New Orleans, but I know I did stop in New Orleans, because I bought some Carioca rum coming back.
I know I was to Miami on a stopover. It could have been on the way back. I only went to Cuba once, so naturally, when I bought the Carioca rum, there was a couple of fellows that sell tickets for Delta Airlines, and they know me like I know you, and I am sure you gentlemen have spoken to them, and they were to tell me where to go in Havana, and have a ball, and I told them why I was going there, and who I was going to look up, and everything else.
Representative FORD. They were Delta Airlines employees in New Orleans or Dallas?
Mr. RUBY. No; in New Orleans. Evidently I went out to the Delta Airlines at Love Field and caught the plane. I may have taken the flight--here is what could have happened. I could have made a double stop from Havana on the way back in taking in Miami, and then taking another plane to New Orleans, I am not certain.
But I only made one trip to Havana. Yet I know I was in Miami, Fla. and I was in New Orleans.
And the next time I went to New Orleans, when I tried to look up some show-girl by the name of Jada, I stopped in to see the same fellows at Delta Airlines.
Mr. RANKIN. Do you recall going up the elevator after the shooting of Oswald?
Mr. RUBY. That is so small to remember, I guess it is automatic, you know.
Mr. RANKIN. Did you have this gun a long while that you did the shooting with?
Mr. RUBY. Yes.
Mr. RANKIN. You didn't carry it all the time?
Mr. RUBY. I did. I had it in a little bag with money constantly. I carry my money.
Chief Justice WARREN. Congressman, do you have anything further?
Mr. RUBY. You can get more out of me. Let's not break up too soon.
Representative FORD. When you got to Havana, who met you in Havana?
Mr. RUBY. McWillie. Now here is what happened. One of the Fox brothers came to visit me in Dallas with his wife. They came to the Vegas Club with Mrs. McWillie, and we had taken some pictures, 8 x 10's.
Evidently the Foxes were in exile at that time, because when I went to visit McWillie, when he sent me the plane tickets, they looked through my luggage and they saw a photograph of Mr. Fox and his wife. They didn't interrogate, but they went through everything and held me up for hours.
Representative FORD. Castro employees?
Mr. RUBY. Yes; because evidently, in my ignorance, I didn't realize I was bringing a picture that they knew was a bitter enemy. At that time they knew that the Fox brothers weren't going to jail, or something was going to happen.
Whether it was they were in exile at that time, I don't know.
But they came to my club, the Vegas Club, and we had taken pictures.
Mr. McWillie was waiting for me, and he saw me go through the customs line for a couple of hours, and he said, "Jack, they never did this to anyone before." Evidently, they had me pretty well lined up as to where I come in the picture of Mr. Rivera Fox. I can't think of his name.
Representative FORD. You spent 8 days there in Havana?
Mr. RUBY. Yes; approximately.
Representative FORD. And you stayed at the apartment of Mr.----
Mr. RUBY. Volk's Apartments. I never used the phone. I wouldn't know how to use the phone. Probably to call back to Dallas. And the only time, McWillie had to be at the club early, so I remained a little later in town--not often--because I saved money when I rode with him; because they charge you quite a bit. But I didn't want to get there too early, because to get there at 7 o'clock wasn't very lively.
Because I would always be with him for the complete evening.
We leave the place and stop somewhere to get coffee, a little dugout--I saw Ava Gardner down there at the time when I was there. She was visiting there.
Representative FORD. What prompted you to leave at the end of 8 days?
Mr. RUBY. I was bored because gambling isn't my profession, and when you have a business to run, and there weren't many tourists I could get acquainted with there.
I went to the Capri rooftop to go swimming, and went to the Nacional to go swimming once.
Representative FORD. Did you ever go to Mexico? Have you ever been to Mexico?
Mr. RUBY. The only time, 30 or 40 years ago, 1934.
Representative FORD. This trip to Cuba was the only time you left the country other than military service?
Mr. RUBY. Actually I didn't leave in the military. I was stationed three and a half years here in the States. Let's see, never out of the United States except at one time to Havana, Cuba.
Chief Justice WARREN. Now you said there were some other things. Would you mind telling us anything you have on your mind?
Mr. RUBY. No; because as I said earlier, you seem to have gotten the juicy part of the story up to now in the various spasmodic way of my telling it. How valuable am I to you to give you all this information?
Chief Justice WARREN. Well, how valuable is rather an indefinite term, but I think it is very helpful to our Commission report. I think the report would have been deficient if it had not been for this interview we have had with you.
So we are interested in anything that you would like to tell us, in your own language.
Mr. RUBY. The only thing is this. If I cannot get these tests you give, it is pretty haphazard to tell you the things I should tell you.
Mr. Moore, you seem to have known more about my interrogation than anybody else, right?
Mr. MOORE. I think you have told us about everything you told me.
Mr. RANKIN. It isn't entirely clear how you feel that your family and you yourself are threatened by your telling what you have to the Commission.
How do you come to the conclusion that they might be killed? Will you tell us a little bit more about that, if you can?
Mr. RUBY. Well, assuming that, as I stated before, some persons are accusing me falsely of being part of the plot naturally, in all the time from over months ago, my family has been so interested in helping me.
Mr. RANKIN. By that, you mean a party to the plot of Oswald?
Mr. RUBY. That I was party to a plot to silence Oswald.
All right now, when your family believes you and knows your mannerisms and your thoughts, and knows your sincerity, they have lived with you all your life and know your emotional feelings and your patriotism---on the surface, they see me only as the guilty assailant of Oswald, and by helping me like they have, going all out.
My brother who has a successful business, I know he is going to be killed. And I haven't seen him in years. And suddenly he feels that he wants to help me, because he believes that I couldn't be any further involved than the actual----
When I told him I did it because of Mrs. Kennedy, that is all he had to hear, because I would never involve my family or involve him in a conspiracy.
Everyone haven't let me down. Because they read the newspapers away from Dallas that stated certain facts about me, but they are untrue, because they wouldn't come out and put those things in the newspapers that they should be putting in; and people outside of Dallas read the Dallas newspapers and are all in sympathy with me, as far as the country itself.
That they felt, well, Jack did it. They probably felt they would do the same thing.
That sympathy isn't going to help me, because the people that have the power here, they have a different verdict. They already have me as the accused assassin of our beloved President.
Now if I sound screwy telling you this, then I must be screwy.
Chief Justice WARREN. Mr. Ruby, I think you are entitled to a statement to this effect, because you have been frank with us and have told us your story.
I think I can say to you that there has been no witness before this Commission out of the hundreds we have questioned who has claimed to have any personal knowledge that you were a party to any conspiracy to kill our President.
Mr. RUBY. Yes; but you don't know this area here.
Chief Justice WARREN. No; I don't vouch for anything except that I think I am correct in that, am I not?
Mr. RANKIN. That is correct.
Chief Justice WARREN. I just wanted to tell you before our own Commission, and I might say to you also that we have explored the situation.
Mr. RUBY. I know, but I want to say this to you. If certain people have the means and want to gain something by propagandizing something to their own use, they will make ways to present certain things that I do look guilty.
Chief Justice WARREN. Well, I will make this additional statement to you, that if any witness should testify before the Commission that you were, to their knowledge, a party to any conspiracy to assassinate the President, I assure you that we will give you the opportunity to deny it and to take any tests that you may desire to so disprove it.
I don't anticipate that there will be any such testimony, but should there be, we will give you that opportunity.
Does that seem fair?
Mr. RUBY. No; that isn't going to save my family.
Chief Justice WARREN. Well, we can't do everything at once.
Mr. RUBY. I am in a tough spot, and I don't know what the solution can be to save me.
And I know our wonderful President, Lyndon Johnson, as soon as he was the
President of his country, he appointed you as head of this group. But through certain falsehoods that have been said about me to other people, the John Birch Society, I am as good as guilty as the accused assassin of President Kennedy.
How can you remedy that, Mr. Warren? Do any of you men have any ways of remedying that?
Mr. Bill Decker said be a man and speak up. I am making a statement now that I may not live the next hour when I walk out of this room.
Now it is the most fantastic story you have ever heard in a lifetime. I did something out of the goodness of my heart. Unfortunately, Chief Earl Warren, had you been around 5 or 6 months ago, and I know your hands were tied, you couldn't do it, and immediately the President would have gotten ahold of my true story, or whatever would have been said about me, a certain organization wouldn't have so completely formed now, so powerfully, to use me because I am of the Jewish extraction, Jewish faith, to commit the most dastardly crime that has ever been committed.
Can you understand now in visualizing what happened, what powers, what momentum has been carried on to create this feeling of mass feeling against my people, against certain people that were against them prior to their power?
That goes over your head, doesn't it?
Chief Justice WARREN. Well, I don't quite get the full significance of it, Mr. Ruby. I know what you feel about the John Birch Society.
Mr. RUBY. Very powerful.
Chief Justice WARREN. I think it is powerful, yes I do. Of course, I don't have all the information that you feel you have on that subject.
Mr. RUBY. Unfortunately, you don't have, because it is too late. And I wish that our beloved President, Lyndon Johnson, would have delved deeper into the situation, hear me, not to accept just circumstantial facts about my guilt or innocence, and would have questioned to find out the truth about me before he relinquished certain powers to these certain people.
Chief Justice WARREN. Well, I am afraid I don't know what power you believe he relinquished to them. I think that it is difficult to understand what you have to say.
Mr. RUBY. I want to say this to you. The Jewish people are being exterminated at this moment. Consequently, a whole new form of government is going to take over our country, and I know I won't live to see you another time. Do I sound sort of screwy--in telling you these things?
Chief Justice WARREN. No; I think that is what you believe, or you wouldn't tell it under your oath.
Mr. RUBY. But it is a very serious situation. I guess it is too late to stop it, isn't it?
All right, I want to ask you this. All you men have been chosen by the President for this committee, is that correct?
Chief Justice WARREN. Representative Ford and I are the only members of the Commission that are here.
Mr. Rankin of the Commission is employed as our chief counsel.
Mr. Rankin employed Mr. Specter and Mr. Ball as members of the staff.
You know who the other gentlemen here are.
You know that Mr. Moore is a member of the Secret Service, and he has been a liaison officer with our staff since the Commission was formed.
Representative FORD. Are there any questions that ought to be asked to help clarify the situation that you described?
Mr. RUBY. There is only one thing. If you don't take me back to Washington tonight to give me a chance to prove to the President that I am not guilty, then you will see the most tragic thing that will ever happen.
And if you don't have the power to take me back, I won't be around to be able to prove my innocence or guilt.
Now up to this moment, I have been talking with you for how long?
Chief Justice WARREN. I would say for the better part of 3 hours.
Mr. RUBY. All right, wouldn't it be ridiculous for me to speak sensibly all this time and give you this climactic talk that I have?
Maybe something can be saved, something can be done.
What have you got to answer to that, Chief Justice Warren?
Chief Justice WARREN. Well, I don't how what can be done, Mr. Ruby, because I don't know what you anticipate we will encounter.
Representative FORD. Is there anything more you can tell us if you went back to Washington?
Mr. RUBY. Yes; are you sincere in wanting to take me back?
Representative FORD. We are most interested in all the information you have.
Mr. RUBY. All I know is maybe something can be saved. Because right now, I want to tell you this, I am used as a scapegoat, and there is no greater weapon that you can use to create some falsehood about some of the Jewish faith, especially at the terrible heinous crime such as the killing of President Kennedy.
Now maybe something can be saved. It may not be too late, whatever happens, if our President, Lyndon Johnson, knew the truth from me. But if I am eliminated, there won't be any way of knowing.
Right now, when I leave your presence now, I am the only one that can bring out the truth to our President, who believes in righteousness and justice.
But he has been told, I am certain, that I was part of a plot to assassinate the President.
I know your hands are tied; you are helpless.
Chief Justice WARREN. Mr. Ruby, I think I can say this to you, that if he has been told any such thing, there is no indication of any kind that he believes it.
Mr. RUBY. I am sorry, Chief Justice Warren, I thought I would be very effective in telling you what I have said here. But in all fairness to everyone, maybe all I want to do is beg that if they found out I was telling the truth, maybe they can succeed in what their motives are, but maybe my people won't be tortured and mutilated.
Chief Justice WARREN. Well, you may be sure that the President and his whole Commission will do anything that is necessary to see that your people are not tortured.
Mr. RUBY. No.
Chief Justice WARREN. You may be sure of that.
Mr. RUBY. No; the only way you can do it is if he knows the truth, that I am telling the truth, and why I was down in that basement Sunday morning, and maybe some sense of decency will come out and they can still fulfill their plan, as I stated before, without my people going through torture and mutilation.
Chief Justice WARREN. The President will know everything that you have said, everything that you have said.
Mr. RUBY. But I won't be around, Chief Justice. I won't be around to verify these things you are going to tell the President.
Mr. TONAHILL. Who do you think is going to eliminate you, Jack?
Mr. RUBY. I have been used for a purpose, and there will be a certain tragic occurrence happening if you don't take my testimony and somehow vindicate me so my people don't suffer because of what I have done.
Chief Justice WARREN. But we have taken your testimony. We have it here. It will be in permanent form for the President of the United States and for the Congress of the United States, and for the courts of the United States, and for the people of the entire world.
It is there. It will be recorded for all to see. That is the purpose of our coming here today. We feel that you are entitled to have your story told.
Mr. RUBY. You have lost me though. You have lost me, Chief Justice Warren.
Chief Justice WARREN. Lost you in what sense?
Mr. RUBY. I won't be around for you to come and question me again.
Chief Justice WARREN. Well, it is very hard for me to believe that. I am sure that everybody would want to protect you to the very limit.
Mr. RUBY. All I want is a lie detector test, and you refuse to give it to me. Because as it stands now---and the truth serum, and any other--Pentothal--how do you pronounce it, whatever it is. And they will not give it to me, because I want to tell the truth.
And then I want to leave this world. But I don't want my people to be blamed for something that is untrue, that they claim has happened.
Chief Justice WARREN. Mr. Ruby, I promise you that you will be able to take such a test.
Mr. RUBY. When?
Chief Justice WARREN. You will have to let me see when we can figure that out. But I assure you, it won't be delayed, because our desire is to terminate the work of the Commission and make our report to the public just as soon as possible, so there won't be any misunderstanding caused by all of these rumors or stories that have been put out that are not consistent with the evidence in the case.
But it will not be unnecessarily delayed, and we will do it on behalf of the Commission, I promise you.
Mr. RUBY. All I want, and I beg you--when are you going to see the President?
Chief Justice WARREN. Well, I have no date with the President. I don't know just when. But as soon as I do see him, I will be glad to tell him what you have said.
Mr. RUBY. All I want is to take a polygraph to tell the truth. That is all I want to do.
Chief Justice WARREN. Yes.; that, I promise you you can do.
Mr. RUBY. Because my people are going to suffer about things that will be said about me.
Chief Justice WARREN. Yes; well, I promise.
Mr. RUBY. Hold on another minute.
Chief Justice WARREN. All right.
Mr. RUBY. How do you know if the facts I stated about everything I said, statements with reference to, are the truth or not?
Chief Justice WARREN. Well, if you want a test made to test those principal questions, we will work them out so they can be tested.
As I understand it, you can't use the polygraph to say now this is the story.
Mr. RUBY. I know that.
Chief Justice WARREN. To say you have the story of Jack Ruby. You can't do that.
Mr. RUBY. I know that. You can clarify by questioning me when I conceived the idea and what my answer would naturally be that Sunday morning.
Chief Justice WARREN. Maybe I can help the situation this way. Suppose you list for us, if you can, the questions that you would like to have asked of you on the polygraph to establish the truth of your testimony.
What things do you consider vital in it, and what would you like to have verified?
Mr. RUBY. Yes; but you are telling me to do these things--these things are going to be promised, but you see they aren't going to let me do these things. Because when you leave here, I am finished. My family is finished.
Representative FORD. Isn't it true, Mr. Chief Justice, that the same maximum protection and security Mr. Ruby has been given in the past will be continued?
Mr. RUBY. But now that I have divulged certain information because I want to be honest, all I want to take is a polygraph test and tell the truth about things and combat the lies that have been told about me.
Now maybe certain people don't want to know the truth that may come out of me. Is that plausible?
Representative FORD. In other words, the Chief Justice has agreed, and I on the Commission wholeheartedly concur, that you will be given a polygraph test as expeditiously as possible.
And I am sure you can rely on what has been stated here by the Chairman.
Mr. RUBY. How are we going to communicate and so on?
Chief Justice WARREN. We will communicate directly with you.
Mr. RUBY. You have a lost cause, Earl Warren. You don't stand a chance. They feel about you like they do about me, Chief Justice Warren. I shouldn't hurt your feelings in telling you that.
Chief Justice WARREN. That won't hurt my feelings, because I have had some evidence of the feeling that some people have concerning me.
Mr. RUBY. But you are the only one that can save me. I think you can.
Chief Justice WARREN. Yes?
Mr. RUBY. But by delaying minutes, you lose the chance. And all I want to do is tell the truth, and that is all.
There was no conspiracy. But by you telling them what you are going to do and how you are going to do it is too late as of this moment.
Chief Justice WARREN. You take my word for it and the word of Representative Ford, that we will do this thing at the earliest possible moment, and that it will be done in time. It will be done in time.
Mr. RUBY. Well, you won't ever see me again, I tell you that. And I have lost my family.
Chief Justice WARREN. Yes?
Mr. RUBY. No, no; you don't believe me, do you?
Chief Justice WARREN. To be frank with you, I believe that you are not stating now what is the fact.
I don't say you don't believe it, but I believe that I will be able to see you again and that we will be able to take this test that you are speaking of.
Well, I think we have tired Mr. Ruby. We have had him here for close to 4 hours now, and I am sure our reporter must be equally tired, but we appreciate your patience and your willingness to testify in this manner for us.
Mr. RUBY. All I want to do is tell the truth, and the only way you can know it is by the polygraph, as that is the only way you can know it.
Chief Justice WARREN. That we will do for you.
(Whereupon, at 2:50 p.m., the President's Commission recessed.)