This is, for the first time in its entirety, the story of the arrest and trial of Clay Shaw, charged with conspiracy in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
Lambert, a JFK conspiracy buff and writer, believes that the assassination has yet to be solved. In this engrossing report, she argues that New Orleans district attorney Jim Garrison's 1969 prosecution of local businessman Clay Shaw for conspiracy to murder Kennedy--the source for Oliver Stone's interpretation in his film--was reckless, fraudulent and nothing more than a red herring. A jury agreed, acquitting Shaw in 54 minutes. Lambert also makes a case that Stone used the trial to launch his attack on the Warren Report rather than to find the truth. Lambert contends that a key witness, Perry Russo, who was left out of the movie altogether, made his allegations under hypnosis and while drugged with a notoriously unreliable "truth serum," and that Garrison, through an assistant, tried to bribe at least one witness to supply false testimony. But the main points of divergence between Lambert and Stone come in their assessments of the characters: Stone portrays Garrison (who died in 1992) as a caring family man, a heroic truth-seeker battling sinister forces. Lambert, by contrast, presents the former DA as a mentally unhinged, fame-seeking demagogue who, she alleges, was also a wife-abuser and a pedophile. Stone's Shaw is, according to Lambert, "an arrogant, elitist sybarite, a butch homosexual with a taste for... conspiracy," while Lambert's Shaw is a restorer of French Quarter buildings, a lifelong registered Democrat and a civic leader. While emotions clearly play a role in which version (if any) readers will believe, Lambert must be commended for having done an impressive job of tracking evidence and putting together a compelling narrative of events. Photos.