Dan E. Moldea's responses to questions posed on
John Simkin's Education Forum on the RFK murder case
(To view the entire thread, see: http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=6747&st=0)
May 9, 2006
[To John Hunt:]
Nobody I know can say with absolute certainty what happened to the four stray bullets at the crime scene of Senator Kennedy's murder: 1) the bullet that passed through Kennedy's jacket without striking him, 2) the through-and-through bullet that exited from his chest, 3) the bullet that struck the ceiling and exited through one of the ceiling tiles, and 4) the bullet that was supposedly lost in the ceiling interspace.
In its official inventory of the bullets fired by Sirhan, the LAPD claimed that Paul Schrade was wounded by the bullet that went harmlessly through the shoulder pad of Senator Kennedy's suit coat. Some people clearly [believe] the LAPD's flawed and widely-discredited bullet count. I do not.
Instead, I believe that the shoulder-pad bullet probably struck one of the other four shooting victims - someone other than Schrade. So, regardless of how much some critics try to twist and torture the crime-scene evidence, my explanation does not add a single bullet to the final bullet count.
In short, I stand by what I have written, especially my conclusion that Paul Schrade was hit by the first shot--which is completely consistent with the fact that Sirhan's eight-shot revolver could not fire more than eight bullets. Once again, the simple truth is that Sirhan murdered Senator Kennedy, and he acted alone.
--Dan E. Moldea
(Note: Despite my direct responses to his specific questions, Hunt, who had been harassing me with
a series of false charges since 2005, tried to claim that I was unresponsive. Please see my response.)
May 11, 2006
You are making the same mistake I once made. Just as I cautioned against on page 312 of my book, you are trying to characterize "the people at the crime scene, including Senator Kennedy and the other five victims, as being stick figures, standing tall and upright throughout the incident. Many of us failed to consider realistically the kinetic movement of the crowd, that everyone in that room must have been in motion after the first or second shot."
With regard to the Moldea-extra-bullet scenario you have been peddling for the past several months, my position, as stated earlier on this thread, is completely consistent with the eight-shot reality. And I will leave it to legitimate ballistics and firearms-identification experts to take this issue further. I am not a forensics specialist--and neither are you. However, to be clear, I continue to support those who want to reopen the RFK case. I would like to see these matters resolved once and for all.
John, you can waste as much time as you want on the minutia of the case. But you are never going to be able to prove that a second shooter was at the crime scene--because there wasn't one.
I walked away from my three interviews with Sirhan completely convinced that he was guilty--and that he acted alone. I'll be interested to hear what you think of his story if and when you ever interview him.
May 11, 2006 (2)
Stephen Turner wrote: "In The Killing of Robert F Kennedy you [Moldea] write:Quote on " If Sirhan could not achieve the American dream, as well as a level of public appreciation and respect, murdering this popular symbol provided the means by which he could achieve, at the very least, a level of notoriety." Quote off. [Turner to Moldea:] I personally find this tired old excuse an insult to our collective intellegence, its the same bunch of week old [baloney] the W/C wheeled out to tar Oswald with, and with the same result, a person who kills for infamy, but then denies doing it, and keeps on denying it."I apologize, Stephen, for appearing to insult your "collective intelligence," but consider what I wrote in context with what Sirhan actually said: "They can gas me, but I am famous. I have achieved in one day what it took Robert Kennedy all his life to do." (Quoted in Time magazine, April 13, 1981)
--Dan E. Moldea
May 11, 2006 (3)
To Lee Forman:
I'm pretty sure that Sirhan is still at Corcoran State Prison in California. My third and final interview with him was on June 5, 1994, the 26th anniversary of the shooting. Other than sending him the composite transcript for his approval--and receiving that approval both from him and his brother, Adel, who witnessed all three interviews--I have not had any further contact with Sirhan.
To Michael Hogan:
Come on, Michael. You're suggesting that Sirhan thought he did it and took credit for doing it--but didn't really do it. Once again, prove that there was a second shooter at the crime scene. Believe me, you can't do it. With regard to the apparent discrepancies in the physical evidence and eyewitness accounts, I refer you to my book. In my opinion, there are simple answers to just about everything.
To Shanet Clark:
Sorry, I found no proof that "Sirhan was influenced and supported by shadowy handlers." Prove that they existed, and you will make history. You gotta have more than "it looks like."
To John Geraghty:
Regarding your post on May 9 at 12:47 P.M., thank you for the kind words about The Hunting of the President documentary. I was very proud to be part of it. Bill Clinton is still my favorite President.
With regard to Larry Teeter, he and I didn't agree on very much about the Senator Kennedy murder case. However, I always maintained a grudging respect for him, and I was sad when I heard that he had passed away.
To John Simkin:
On May 3 at 7:55 A.M., in your post about my book on Senator Kennedy's murder, you flat-out accused me of being corrupted by a publisher's advance and suggested that I was controlled by the CIA and/or the FBI. I can assure you both of these allegations are not true.
With that aside, though, I appreciate your invitation to participate in this forum.
--Dan E. Moldea
May 13, 2006
To Michael Hogan:
Just to be clear, I only used Sirhan's quote from Time magazine in response to Stephen Turner's specific remarks about assassins who kill "for infamy."
With regard to the murder of Senator Kennedy's brother, President John Kennedy, I still believe, as I wrote in The Hoffa Wars, which was published in August 1978, that Jimmy Hoffa, Carlos Marcello, and Santo Trafficante arranged and executed it. Mercifully, as I'm sure you'll agree, I'm not here to discuss that case.
Concerning "simple answers," I was referring only to the Senator Kennedy murder case--not the JFK assassination or any other major investigation. I'm sorry that I didn't make that clear.
To Pat Speer (1):
Of course, you're free to support John Hunt's Quixotic search for a second gunman in the RFK case. He's not the first, and he certainly won't be the last. Proving that there was a second shooter is now central to everything he believes about this case. But he's not going to find one--because there wasn't one. Sadly, I see him as just another burn-out in the making.
Respectfully, with regard to your belief that Sirhan participated in a conspiracy, you certainly can't prove anything. But don't feel badly--no one else can either. As you already know, it's not what we believe to be true, rather it's what we can prove to be true.
To John Hunt:
In my response to your earlier question on this thread, I said that no one can know for sure the exact flight paths of the bullets at this particular crime scene. I added that neither you nor I were qualified as experts to make these determinations. And I'm not interested in making any wild guesses for your entertainment, especially since I am convinced that Sirhan acted alone. Consequently, I wanted to leave this issue to minds greater than mine, hoping that this entire investigation would be reopened someday.
In your remarkable reply to that, you insisted:"The matter is one of math, geometry, and the ingredients (the official evidence) with which to cook the stew. Being an expert in anything is not requisite for the thinking man. . . . Busting you making an error that destroys the conclusion in your book is not minutia. . . .My response? Wow! That's amazing! You have come to a conclusion that differs from that of every single world-renowned expert who has ever investigated this very well-researched case. Despite your acknowledged lack of education and experience, you believe that you have somehow morphed into a forensics genius without peer. Either that or you are really nothing more than a complete blowhard--and a very arrogant and rude one to boot.
"It is my conclusion that Sirhan shot RFK twice in the armpit, with the one that left the chest hitting Schrade in the forehead. I also believe Sirhan put a bullet in Wiesel and probably Goldstein as well. Sirhan does not get a free pass with me. Having said that, the evidence indicates the round that hit RFK in the head was larger than a .22."
Since you obviously believe that you are endowed with Absolute Truth, I will eagerly await the moment when a responsible publication or publishing house publishes your mindless speculations, half-baked opinions, and poorly-sourced facts. And, then, I might consider sitting down with you--as I have with so many others with legitimate credentials--and debate your bad manners and screwball beliefs. To date, despite your delusions, you haven't laid a glove on anything I wrote in my book.
I have seen people, like you, come and go in this case for many years. My advice to you--and I mean this sincerely after watching you flail away for the past several months--is to save yourself and to get a life.
To John Geraghty:
Thank you for the information about the Harry Benson photograph. I'll be very interested to see it.
Yes, I took part in that program to which you referred. I really don't remember the name of the production company, but it had a fairly sophisticated crime-scene reenactment, using high-tech devices.
With regard to the producers' use of lasers to plot the flight paths of the bullets, I refused to speculate on camera about the exact trajectories of all eight bullets fired--because, once again, I'm just not qualified as an expert in either ballistics and firearms identification. However, based on the experiences and opinions I collected from my sources in the law-enforcement community, I did agree to demonstrate how Senator Kennedy could've been hit by three bullets at contact or near-contact range--and why I believe that Paul Schrade was hit by the first shot. Of course, I stand by that scenario, which I articulated in my 1995 book.
Also on the program, I debated an old friend of mine, Dr. Robert Joling, the former president of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. Bob attempted to show how the security guard, Gene Cesar, could've fired those same shots. I know that scenario all too well, and Bob did a great job in his presentation.
Regardless of which of us offered the most convincing case, the simple fact is that Cesar didn't fire his weapon that night. I have spent hundreds of hours with this guy and even polygraphed him, as I described in my book. (For whatever it's worth, he passed the lie-detector test with flying colors.) I am absolutely convinced that Cesar is an innocent man, who has been wrongly accused of murder for nearly forty years.
Once again, my three interviews with Sirhan played no small role in forming my final conclusion. After talking with Sirhan, I was absolutely convinced that he had committed the murder--not Gene Cesar--and that he had acted alone.
To Len Colby:
Good point. Indeed, no one saw the muzzle of Sirhan's .22 get that close--but no one saw the Senator get shot either. All of the eyewitness testimony is based on Sirhan's location, relative to Senator Kennedy's, at the moment of the first shot--which, I believe, missed the Senator and struck Paul Schrade, who was standing several feet in back of him. Therefore, in my opinion, the issue of muzzle distance for that first shot is moot. After the shooting started, the crime scene became chaotic. The eyewitnesses were busy covering up and falling all over each other. Yet, we know from Noguchi's excellent autopsy--not from any of the eyewitnesses--that the Senator was hit three times by contact or near-contact shots, along with a fourth shot that went harmlessly through the shoulder pad of his suit jacket.
I explained all of this on pages 310-313 of my book.
To Pat Speer (2):
Yes, you are right. I believe that Sirhan's claimed confusion was and always has been a ruse. During my interviews with him, each and every time he insisted that he had a memory lapse, it was in response to one of my questions about his motive, means, or opportunity.
You are also correct that this lame defense has not served him well.
To Daniel Wayne Dunn:
You wrote: "Sirhan has been and remains a perpetual liar and 'people manipulator.'"
I couldn't agree more. He is exactly where he belongs--in prison for the rest of his life.
Thank you for your kind attention.
--Dan E. Moldea
May 13, 2006 (2)
I am answering questions on the thread in which I agreed to participate: http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=6747. I hope that your forum leader, John Simkin, will back me up on this--and not force me to respond to multiple threads.
As Simkin knows from when he asked me to do this, I'm very busy with my own work and deadlines. However, I'm trying to be as responsive as I can to your membership about a book I published eleven years ago.
I will try to post another set of responses--to whatever questions are asked that I can actually answer--by the end of the weekend.
Thank you again for your kind attention.
--Dan E. Moldea
May 14, 2006
To Stephen Turner:
You asked me whether I believe that Sirhan suffered from a psychotic disorder. I'm sorry, but I just have no way of knowing. I'm not qualified to judge. I'm just a grunt crime reporter.
However, I did provide my impressions of Sirhan when I first met him on page 292 of my book. He was very polite, well-spoken, and intelligent. My interview with him is in Chapter 29, "Confronting Sirhan," pages 291-304.
To John Hunt:
On another thread you created, you asked me to answer this "simple question": "As a matter of clarification, when you say 'the bullet that was supposedly lost in the ceiling interspace,' are you saying you have doubts about whether or not that really was a bullet hole?"
My response? All of the crime-scene evidence stems from the investigation of the very controversial Dwayne Wolfer of the LAPD/SID. No, I do not necessarily accept all of his work at the crime scene. However, as I have said before, I am not an expert on ballistics and firearms identification. I am not qualified to make an independent judgment about what he did right and what he did wrong. Therefore, I am hoping that the case will be reopened, so that the crime-scene evidence can be reexamined.
Still, I am not alarmed by any of this--because I am convinced that Sirhan committed the murder, and that he acted alone.
To Ron Ecker:
Did I suspect Hoffa, Marcello, and Trafficante--whom I believe arranged the assassination of President Kennedy--of being behind the murder of Senator Kennedy? During the period of time that I thought that a second gunman had fired a weapon at the Ambassador Hotel crime scene, you bet I did. I described these suspicions on pages 191-193 of my book. In addition, I discussed Hoffa's specific plots against Robert Kennedy on pages 116-118, which also noted the Russell Parsons-Mickey Cohen connection.
Remember, too, that Robert Kennedy believed that Hoffa and his allies in the Mafia were behind the murder of his brother. (See page 18.)
In addition, I questioned Sirhan about such characters as Henry Ramistella, aka Frank Donnarumma, as well as John Alessio. (See pages 294-297.) But there is no evidence that anything nefarious had happened between or among them. Further, I jumped all over Gene Cesar repeatedly about his connection to an associate of the Chicago Outfit. (See page 281.) But, once again, I couldn't take that relationship and find the evidence to turn it into a provable murder conspiracy.
To Pat Speer:
The only portion of the LAPD's bullet inventory I really made an issue of in my book was with regard to the shot that hit Paul Schrade. DeWayne Wolfer suggested that the first shot went harmlessly through the shoulder pad of Senator Kennedy's jacket and hit Paul Schrade, who was standing several feet behind Kennedy. I disagreed, insisting that the first shot simply missed Kennedy and hit Schrade.
John Hunt claims that my conclusion that Schrade was hit by a bullet that didn't hit anything else proves that a ninth bullet was fired at the crime scene. Of course, that's nonsense. I simply believe that the bullet that passed through Kennedy's shoulder pad simply hit someone or something other than Schrade. Thus, the eight-bullet reality remains in tact. But, as I've said over and over again, I'm not an expert on bullet flight paths. I cannot say for sure what exactly happened, and, unlike Hunt, I'm not interested in making any wild guesses.
With regard to the value of Hunt's work in the RFK case, I can't believe that any legitimate publisher would even consider publishing the garbage he's been peddling. There is no one I know and respect who takes anything he says or writes seriously.
Believe me, I was very nice to this kid when he first contacted me several years ago. Then, in 2005, he responded with a shameless all-out attack on me over the Schrade-shot issue in some little-known online publication--without ever giving me the opportunity to respond to his screwball charges before publication. Then, after the release of his article, he trashed me in various Usernet forums for refusing to react to what he had already published. It was a cheap tactic, and I really objected to it.
As you can see from Hunt's behavior on this main thread on which John Simkin asked me to respond to questions from your membership, as well as on the multiple threads that Hunt has created to divert attention away from my responses, his dirty tricks continue.
Finally, thank you for your kind words in your final paragraph--although I disagree with the premises upon which those compliments were based.
To John Hunt (2):
You wrote: "Here is a question Moldea will never answer: 'Do you think Elizabeth Evan was hit in the head by the shot that went through a tile, struck the ceiling, then re-entered the pantry through the second tile?"
With regard to which bullet struck Elizabeth Evans, I have no way of knowing for sure--and neither do you.
To Pat Speer (2):
On another thread, you wrote: "I mean, when is the last time a published writer on a controversial event admitted he was wrong in his overall conclusions? It doesn't happen. EGOs always seem to get in the way."
My response? I am one of those published writers.. After years of believing that a second gun had been fired at the RFK crime scene and making no secret of it, I admitted that I was wrong. And I did it in my book.
A lot of people, including John Simkin, have flat-out accused me of succumbing to pressure from my publisher to conclude that Sirhan did it and did it alone. That's simply not true. The proposal I submitted to my publisher--the basis for my book deal--guaranteed delivery of a pro-conspiracy manuscript. And my editor was absolutely furious with me in the wake of my interviews with Sirhan when I told him that, in good conscience, I could no longer support a conspiracy theory in the Senator Kennedy murder case. My publisher actually considered killing the book because of this.
Consequently, with the advice of my editor, we decided to incorporate my turnaround in the final manuscript.
To Daniel Wayne Dunn:
You asked: "On page 303 of your book in the chapter 'Confronting Sirhan,' you recount that you were suddenly and angrily aware that Sirhan had been lying to you in the possible belief that as long as he could keep stringing researchers like yourself along, then he would continue to have hope for clemency. I guess the first thing that strikes me about this is, what did you expect?"
My response? When I walked into my first interview with Sirhan, I still believed that a second gun had been fired at the crime scene, either accidentally or intentionally. The lies he told me--especially those about his memory lapses with regard to matters that went to motive, means, and opportunity--were what convinced me that he had committed the murder and acted alone.
You asked: "[I]s it possible that you are quite happy to lay sole blame upon Sirhan in large part because of your resentment over 'being used'”?
My response: That's a fair question. But the answer is "no"--for the reasons I explained on pages 305-309.
With regard to your questions about my discussion with Sirhan about a possible conspiracy, my conclusions were not solely based on his responses.
Further, if you have evidence that adds to the credibility of the accounts by Larry Arnot or Booker Griffin, feel free to pursue them. Based on interviews with my sources in the law-enforcement community and others, I decided not to. With regard to the scenarios about Sirhan's alleged "giddy" accomplices--such as the so-called "polka-dot dress girl"--it is no secret that I dismissed these theories and explained why in my book.
In short, during the eleven years since the publication of my 1995 book, I haven't seen anything that causes me to regret what I wrote and/or what I concluded. Clearly, you disagree with my final conclusions. And I respect your opinion.
To Len Colby and Mike Perez:
Regarding what you wrote on other threads, thank you for being fair-minded people who defended me when I refused to be dragged into debates on multiple threads, created only to divert attention away from my responses on this main thread. I predict that it will happen again.
To John Simkin and All:
Thank you again for your invitation to participate in this interesting forum.
--Dan E. Moldea