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News Archive - Jan 2006

Dr. Cyril Wecht Indicted

Jan 23, 2006: On Jan 20, Allegheny county coroner Dr. Cyril Wecht was indicted on charges of misuse of his office. According to the Associated Press: "The 84-count indictment accuses him of using county employees to run private errands and do work for his private practice between 1996 and December 2005." (see the AP story, U.S. Newswire, and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review). Wecht, a longtime critic of the Warren Commission, was the only dissenter on the nine-member HSCA Forensic Pathology Panel, arguing against the single-bullet theory. The inventor of that theory, Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter, was among the speakers at a 2003 JFK Assassination 40th Anniversary Symposium hosted by Dr. Wecht at Duquesne University in November 2003. A grand jury probe into alleged corruption at his office began the following year, in 2004. The charges stemming from that probe revolve around use of the coroner's office and its employees for private business and personal purposes. Some examples include county employees using county cars to transport Dr. Wecht and relatives to the airport, and Wecht allegedly ordering them to run errands such as walking his dog, taking out his trash and buying tennis balls. Dr. Wecht's defense team, which includes former U.S. Attorney General Dick Thornburgh, issued a statment on Jan 20 denying the charges and blaming local politics. According to the AP: "The attorneys said the investigation began as a result of 'fanciful allegations' by the county district attorney, with whom Wecht has feuded." Dr. Wecht has resigned his new post as Allegheny County Medical Examiner, and will fight the charges in court.

New Documentary on German TV: ''Rendezvous with Death''

Jan 4, 2006: On Jan 6, the documentary Rendezvous with Death will be shown on German television (see Daily Telegraph story, Reuters article, and this Times Online article by Anthony Summers). The documentary, created by German filmmaker Wilfried Huismann and author Gus Russo, claims that Fidel Castro was behind the assassination of President Kennedy. Russo is the author of Live by the Sword, which asserts that Oswald was a lone gunman, but hints at possible connections to Castro and Cuba. Rendezvous with Death includes interviews with former Cuban agent Oscar Marino, Alexander Haig, and Lawrence Keenan. The film apparently claims that Rolando Cubela (AMLASH), who was recruited by the CIA in a 1963 plan to assassinate Castro, was the man who hired Oswald to kill Kennedy. The documentary appears to be the latest attempt to pin the JFK murder on Castro, despite the lack of compelling evidence presented to date for this theory. Some of the documentary will apparently focus on Oswald's visit to Mexico City, and purported evidence leading from there to a Castro connection to the assassination. There are many reasons to believe that there was an attempt to falsely connect Oswald with the Cubans during that trip, however, most importantly in taped telephone calls of an apparent Oswald impersonator.

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