The widow of Lee Harvey Oswald told a grand jury three decades ago that if her husband did assassinate President Kennedy, "I don't think he would be involved in any conspiracy."
The never-before-revealed testimony of Marina Oswald Porter came on Feb. 8, 1968, as part of District Attorney Jim Garrison's investigation into Kennedy's killing.Garrison brought New Orleans businessman and civic leader Clay Shaw to trial in 1969 on charges that he plotted with Oswald to kill the president. Jurors heard 34 days of testimony, deliberated 45 minutes and acquitted Shaw, who died in 1974.
Porter's testimony is part of a number of transcripts to be released Monday by the Assassination Records Review Board, which obtained them after Gary Raymond, a former investigator for current District Attorney Harry Connick, gave them to WDSU-TV. The board was created by Congress to collect documents regarding Kennedy's assassination in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963.
Under questioning by an unidentified Orleans Parish grand juror, Porter said Oswald "never said anything about Kennedy at all." Asked if she would "wonder why he would want to shoot him," she said: "I have no idea. He never mentioned anything."
Then asked if she thought Oswald "was capable of planning, plotting this whole thing by himself," she said: "I think so."
"You think he was that intelligent?" the grand juror asked.
"I would think so," Porter said.
"Do you think he was intelligent?"
"He did not have college education, but he wasn't stupid. Whatever he read, he learned from it. I think he was confused."
Then, the grand juror asked: "He was only smart in what he read, then?"
Porter responded: "I don't know. If somebody (was) involved, my belief that if Lee was alone and he did something, I don't think he would be involved in any conspiracy with anybody, in my opinion."
After conspiracy theories piled up during the 1970s about Kennedy's assassination, Marina Oswald requested the exhumation of her late husband's body in 1981 to put to rest a theory by British author and assassination theorist Michael Eddowes.
Eddowes contended the body in Oswald's grave was that of a Russian impostor who replaced Oswald when he defected to the Soviet Union in 1959.
Dr. Linda Norton, the head of a pathology team that examined the remains after the exhumation, said it was "beyond any doubt" that the body in the grave was Oswald's.
At the time, Porter said she wanted to put the conspiracy theory to rest to get on with the rest of her life. However, in September 1996, the records review board made public a request from Porter asking for an investigation into Oswald's possible involvement with the FBI.
"I definitely think that Lee Oswald did not kill President Kennedy," she wrote. "I think he was given up to pacify people as a patsy. I believe that the documents I have requested will be eye-openers."
That request was released at the same time that the board made public an unedited version of a 1966 FBI document that said the Soviet Union's spy agency believed that President Lyndon Johnson was responsible for Kennedy's assassination. Johnson was Kennedy's vice president and became president after his death.