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Warren Commission Hearings: Vol. XIV - Page 400« Previous | Next »

(Testimony of Earl Ruby)

Mr. Ruby.
the fee because, you know, expenses. Well, he said his fee would run anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000, because he figured it would be a 2- or 3-month trial, plus expenses.
So I, of course, asked him what his expenses might be, and he says it shouldn't be more than, if I recall, $100 or $200 a week for his own expenses, he said, because he doesn't live highly and knowing me he is going to keep it down as low as possible.
Mr. Hubert.
You are talking about Bellows now?
Mr. Ruby.
Mr. Griffin.
Mr. Ruby, had you discussed a fee with Tom Howard?
Mr. Ruby.
I did, but I don't know when.
Mr. Griffin.
What was the fee that was finally arrived at with Tom Howard? What was his fee to be?
Mr. Ruby.
His fee was originally, if he would stay in all the way, he told me from $10,000 to $15,000.
Mr. Griffin.
And how many lawyers did Howard suggest would be needed besides himself?
Mr. Ruby.
Well, I mentioned the names, you know, like Bellows. In fact, he talked to Bellows, and we were in the process of probably working something out with Bellows, but he was too busy, and asked--then the question came up as to whether Bellows would be a risk in Dallas, since he is Jewish. And I talked to about a half dozen other lawyers, and I even talked to the best criminal lawyer in Detroit, Joe Louisell. I had a meeting with him. I asked his advice. He says, "Don't bring a Jewish lawyer down there."
Mr. Griffin.
What was Howard's view?
Mr. Ruby.
Howard agreed with that. So that more or less took Bellows out of the picture. Now, in the meantime, I am back, going to California. So I go to California. They meet me at the airport. Is everything pretty well in sequence up until now?
Mr. Griffin.
That is all right, we will clarify. We will ask you some questions about it.
Mr. Ruby.
Oh, yes; first the conversation, to get back to Tom Howard, the first one or two conversations, as I said, I talked to him Monday morning. Then I think I talked to him Monday night. I don't remember, I talked to him any number of times. And in our discussions we talked money, costs. He mentioned "It is going to take a couple of months. You have got to figure anywhere total expenses close to $50,000."
I never knew all these things existed that you have to hire a special investigator, and he wants $10,000. And you have got to have an appeals lawyer like Burleson. That is how he came in. You have got to pay him.
Anyhow, he broke it down, roughly, over the phone he says it may run $50,000. So that is why I started asking any lawyer I talked to, like Bellows, "How much are you going to charge? I have got to know all these things. Give me an idea what we have to raise."
Then I had all of this information more or less in the back of my mind, how much have we got to raise to get Jack a decent defense counsel. Then I go out to California. They meet me at the airport, Mike Shore and Woodfield. The first thing they say, "Have you got a lawyer yet?" I says, "No."
I am still talking to Bellows. He is not out yet, you see. He is not out of the picture. Howard is still supposedly trying to contact somebody else that is good. I haven't been to Dallas yet. In the meantime, as I said, he had contacted Foreman and Charlie Tessmer and Fred Erisman. They were out. Fred Brunner, he didn't want to get in at the beginning. Those were considered some of the top criminal lawyers in the State of Texas.
So, anyhow, I meet him, they meet me at the plane in Los Angeles, get in the car. The first thing they ask is "Have you got a lawyer?" And I tell them what is going on. I am not sure yet. So they start talking to me about Belli, Melvin Belli. I had never heard of him. And they couldn't understand it. But I never had. And I told them that, that I had never heard of him, and so they start telling me how great he was, you know, and all that stuff.
And they said, "By coincidence he is in town. He is in L.A."
Mr. Griffin.
How long before you arrived did Shore and Woodfield--how
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