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Warren Commission Hearings: Vol. VII - Page 323« Previous | Next »

(Testimony of Gregory Olds Lee)

Mr. Olds.
I am its President.
Mr. Stern.
Were you its president in November of 1963?
Mr. Olds.
Mr. Stern.
Can you tell us what transpired on November 22, in connection with your efforts and the efforts of your organization to assure that Lee Harvey Oswald was not being denied his right to counsel?
Mr. Olds.
Yes. I got a phone call about 10:30 that night from one of our board members saying they had been called by the President of the Austin affiliate who was concerned about the reports that were being circulated on the air. I think Oswald was directly quoted as saying he had not been given the opportunity to have counsel, and the suggestion was made that it might be well to check into this matter, and I believe I called this--I first called the police department to inquire about this, and finally talked to Captain Fritz, Capt. Will Fritz, and was--raised the question, and he said, "No--" that Oswald had been given the opportunity and declined. And I called--then I called the board member back who had called me----
Mr. Stern.
Excuse me. Did Captain Fritz say that Oswald did not want counsel at that time, or that he was trying to obtain his own counsel?
Mr. Olds.
What I was told, that he had been given the opportunity and had not made any requests. So, I called our board member back and conferred with him and he suggested that we go down and see about it at the police department, in person, to get further assurances. And he and I and two others of our organization met down there at the Plaza Hotel lobby about 11:15, directly across the street from the police station, and we discussed the matter there, and I called Mayor Earle Cabell at his office, but was told that he was busy at the moment so we went then over to the police station, and we got in there. Let's see, it was up on the I guess the third or fourth floor, wherever Oswald was being questioned, and Chuck Webster, a lawyer--professor of law, who was known to the other three men with me said he had been there a good part of the time since the assassination, and that--we told him what we were there for, and he said he thought he knew who we could see to get our assurances. Did you have something?
Mr. Stern.
Mr. Olds.
We went to--first, we talked-conferred with Captain King, I believe is the right name, who is, I believe, assistant to the chief of police. I'm not sure on that. We all went in with Mr. Webster, and this was shortly after 11:35, or 11:40, and Captain King was, at this time, talking to somebody and said that Oswald had just been charged with the assassination of President Kennedy. He had here earlier been charged with the assassination--I mean the murder of the policeman, Tippit, and we told Captain King what we were there for, and he said, he assured us that Oswald had not made any requests for counsel. And we went outside of the office and went downstairs, at least--I didn't, but two of the others, I believe, went downstairs to the basement where Justice of the Peace David Johnston was. He was the one that had held the I believe an arraignment, I believe is the right term, at 7:30 when the first charge of murder was filed against Oswald, and he also assured us that there had been an opportunity of--Oswald's rights had been explained, and he had declined counsel. Said nothing beyond that. I think that was the extent of our inquiry.
Mr. Stern.
What happened next?
Mr. Olds.
Also we were--I believe Chief Curry was quoted to us as having said some--also that Oswald had been advised of his rights to counsel. I am not sure who told me that. I believe that it was Mr. Webster. That was about all. We felt fairly well satisfied that Oswald probably had not been deprived of his rights, so, we then broke up. I think the other men went home, and I went downstairs. I heard that there was going to be a press conference, so I thought I could stand in on that and--do you want me to go ahead and detail that?
Mr. Stern.
Yes, this was----
Mr. Olds.
This was right at midnight, I think, when Oswald was brought in.
Mr. Stern.
Brought in where?
Mr. Olds.
This was a squadroom and I am not sure what the term is. It is
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