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Warren Commission Report: Page 201« Previous | Next »

(CHAPTER V - Detention and Death of Oswald)

I know nothing more than that and I do request someone to come forward to give me legal assistance.
Q. Did you kill the President ?
A. No. I have not been charged with that. In fact nobody has said that to me yet. The first thing I heard about it was when the newspaper reporters in the hall asked me that question.


Q. Mr. Oswald, how did you hurt your eye ?
A. A policeman hit me.46


At this time Oswald had been arraigned only for the murder of Patrolman Tippit, but questioning by Captain Fritz and others had been substantially concerned with Oswald's connection with the assassination.47


On Friday evening, representatives of the American Civil Liberties Union visited the police department to determine whether Oswald was being deprived of counsel. They were assured by police officials and Justice of the Peace Johnston that Oswald had been informed of his rights and was being allowed to seek a lawyer.48 On Saturday Oswald attempted several times to reach John Abt, a New York lawyer, by telephone, but with no success. 49 In the afternoon, he called Ruth Paine and asked her to try to reach Abt for him, but she too failed. 50 Later in the afternoon, H. Louis Nichols, president of the Dallas Bar Association, visited Oswald in his cell and asked him whether he wanted the association to obtain a lawyer for him. Oswald declined the offer, stating a first preference for Abt and a second preference for a lawyer from the American Civil Liberties Union.51 As late as Sunday morning, according to Postal Inspector Harry D. Holmes, Oswald said that he preferred to get his own lawyer.52

ACTIVITY OF NEWSMEN

Within an hour of Oswald's arrival at the police department on November 22, it became known to newsmen that he was a possible suspect in the slaying of President Kennedy as well as in the murder of Patrolman Tippit. At least as early as 3:26 p.m. a television report carried this information. Reporters and cameramen flooded into the building and congregated in the corridor of the third floor, joining those few who had been present when Oswald first arrived. 53

On the Third Floor

Felix McKnight, editor of the Dallas Times-Herald, who handled press arrangements for the President's visit, estimated that within 24 hours of the assassination more than 800 representatives of news media were in Dallas, including correspondents from foreign newspapers and press associations.54 District Attorney Henry M. Wade
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