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Investigator of the MLK Assassination Gary Revel Here is the first 18 pages of the court transcript of the guilty plea whereby James Earl Ray was sentenced to 99 years in prison for the murder of Martin Luther King Jr. If you study it closely you will find that in the case against James Earl Ray, he did not plead guilty as charged. I have added my notes to some of the proceedings to clarify what I learned about the case of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1977 when I investigated the killing in association with the House Select Committee on Assassinations. Excerpts from: The Court Transcript Guilty Plea of James Earl Ray Monday, March 10, 1969
why the ‘Yes. his cell was bathed in light 24 hours a day with microphones and cameras . yes. legally yes.First Indication of James Earl Ray’s Confusion The question from Judge Battle. if he was pleading guilty to murder in the first degree under the law as explained to him by his lawyers. Being an escaped convict and due to extreme tortuous conditions within his cell in the jail and other threats from Foreman he agreed to enter a plea of guilty.” I asked James about why he didn’t just say yes. He was in a confused state. “Yes. because he was somehow involved.” James told me that his attorney. legally. Percy Foreman. James answered. had told him he was legally guilty whether he shot and killed MLK himself or not.
So he replied. Canale Jr. He told me that on that day he assumed he was pleading guilty because he was on the low end of the totem pole and according to Foreman would ‘Die in the electric chair.”. legally yes. ‘Yes. He didn’t even know that the prosecution was having problems mounting a case that could be proven in court beyond a reasonable doubt.recording him each and every moment of the day and night.’ if the case went to trial. Introduces Himself . meaning that he wasn’t guilty but according to his attorney he was ‘legally guilty’. District Attorney – Prosecutor – Phil M.
. for example-his old sick father would be arrested and sent back to prison. because of threats from his attorney. Read on and you’ll see what those conditions were.Prosecutor Canale Tells Jury James Earl Ray is Changing His Plea From Not Guilty to Guilty James told me he thought that in a fair trial he would not have been convicted. Percy Foreman. Still. his brother Jerry would be arrested and charged with conspiracy in the MLK assassination and of course if the case went to trial James would be convicted and sent to the electric chair. because of these threats and his mental state of confusion due to the extreme treatment in his jail cell he pled ‘legally guilty’ with conditions.
no weapon and no identification of James as being the person that shot and killed MLK. was not part of a conspiracy which would have been the case if he had been paid to kill MLK. As a matter of common sense as well as legal precedent there wasn’t even enough evidence to arrest the man let along convict him and send . Of the several witnesses who should have been able to identify James as the assailant. James was not a racist. We now know that they didn’t have a murder weapon (the bullet didn’t match James’ rifle). no personal conflict or any other reason to want the man dead. you see here is a case with no motive. This is something a good defense lawyer would have used very effectively. he had nothing against MLK. There was no motive. No matter how you try to pitch it the prosecution had no case. This is evidence that the prosecution’s case had some problems. And there’s more.Canale Admits Rumors That Ray Was a Dupe or Fall Guy in a Conspiracy Canale admits in open court to the Jurors that some of them may have heard James Earl Ray was a fall guy in a conspiracy to kill Martin Luther King Jr. So. there was no consistent identification between them.
him to prison for the rest of his life. Attorney Percy Foreman Begins His Statement to the Jury .
Percy Foreman Sounds Like a Witness Against His Own Client .
Percy Foreman Explains the Constitution Requires a Public Trial in Capital Cases. -12- .
Canale and Judge Battle Are Saving James Ear Ray From a Death Penalty .Foreman Brags: He.
Foreman Begins Polling the Jury .
Foreman Continues Polling the Jury .
(Ramsey Clark was the Attorney General of the United States who had been consistently declaring that James Earl Ray and James Earl Ray alone killed MLK. James Earl Ray.Foreman Finishes Polling Jury and James Earl Ray (surprising Foreman) Stands and Speaks to Judge Battle This is where James Earl Ray stands up in open court and says he would like to say something then includes that something with the words. Percy Foreman. ‘Ramsey Clark’. I would like to say something. Clark. ‘I can’t agree with Mr. but I just want to enter one other thing. ‘Your honor. His attorney. The only thing that I have to say is that I can’t agree with Mr. clarifies the statement by saying.’ . Clark.”. I don’t want to change anything I have said. James Earl Ray just said in open court that he did not agree with that – meaning he did not agree with the charges against him.
is that he had said that he was ‘legally guilty’ as explained to him by his attorney – his attorney had explained it to him this way. James. Clark.) and can prove you bought it and it has at least one of your fingerprints.’ What he meant about anything I have said. your an escaped convict and were at the scene. I have went over this case with many defense attorneys and once they see the whole thing they all agree that it would be hard for the prosecution to get a conviction if it went to court. they found the murder weapon (Which was a lie. . Here James is saying that he did not agree that ‘there was no conspiracy and that he and he alone had killed MLK. James was saying that he pled ‘legally guilty’ because he was somehow involved without knowing the weakness of the case against him. He said... to this day the gun cannot be proven to be the murder weapon. Ramsey Clark had been quoted in the press as saying that there was no conspiracy and that James Earl Ray and James alone had shot and killed MLK.My notes: 2 things here – and I asked James about this myself. His attorney went through a litany of evidence and threats to convince James that he would go to the electric chair if the case went to trial (Again a lie. ‘I can’t agree with Mr. and he will refer to this again shortly.’ He was talking about Attorney General of the United States Ramsey Clark. ‘I don’t want to change anything I have said.). The 2nd thing-at this point James said.
More Below Judge Battle says. Edgar Hoover.’. ‘I agree with all these stipulations and I am not trying to change anything. 'Mr. J.’ He had been told by his . ‘Mr. Who?’ James Earl Ray replies. Who?' Ray Replies.Judge Battle Appears Confused and Asks. I agree with all these stipulations and I am not trying to change anything. Then James says. J. Edgar Hoover.' . Both FBI Director and Ramsey Clark had been quoted in the press and on television news as saying that there was no ‘conspiracy’ and that James and James alone was the assassin. Edgar Hoover. ‘Mr. ‘J.’ My note: Judge battle didn’t seem to connect AG Ramsey Clark so James added. 'Mr.
I don’t want to add something on that I haven’t agreed to in the past. James Earl Ray told me that he thought he had agreed to being involved in the assassination due to his proximity and contact with those who killed King. Edgar Hoover’s about the conspiracy. and Mr. ‘Ididn’t argue that as evidence in this case. hence-’I don’t want to add something that I haven’t agreed to in the past. ‘You don’t agree with those theories?’ My note: Here Judge Battle is talking about the theories (theories. Edgar Hoover is right (about James and James alone being the killer of MLK). Clark’s. (James said that this is where Foreman still with his hand on James shoulder and bringing significant force with his hand to make his point turned to him and finished with) ‘You are not required to agree with it at all. J.’ James answers. What you have here is a person standing up in open court with a jury present saying he thought he was pleading ‘legally guilty’ to a charge that wasn’t before the court. ‘I don’t want to add something on that I haven’t agreed to in the past. Canale.’ My note: This time he adds Mr.’ because he had signed stipulations and pled ‘legally guilty’ in that he was somehow involved and did not shoot MLK himself. Think about this. He says. J. He had signed stipulations given him by Foreman that he believed established that. Foreman then tells the court that he thinks Ray is saying that he doesn’t agree that the Attorney General Ramsey Clark or J. Mr.attorney that these stipulations his attorney had him sign clearly showed the court that he was pleading ‘legally guilty’ because he was somehow involved but James understood that he was not pleading guilty to killing MLK himself. The Judge says. ‘There was no conspiracy and that James Earl Ray and James Earl Ray alone shot and killed MLK. Edgar Hoover and AG Ramsey Clark’s assertion that there was no conspiracy. ‘Mr. He was not trying to change that he was pleading ‘legally guilty’ to being somehow involved but was telling the court that he didn’t agree with J. Clark and FBI-Federal Bureau of Investigation Director – Mr. Mr. Canale.) James told me that at this point Percy Foreman put his hand on James’ shoulder and with some effort PUSHED him back down in his seat. Edgar Hoover were all quoted in the press as saying that there was no conspiracy and that James and James alone killed MLK-James Earl Ray is saying here in open court that in fact he doesn’t agree that he is guilty of now what he understands he is being charged with. Philip Canale was the prosecutor of the case standing there in court prosecuting James for the crime of killing MLK without anyone else being involved. I simply stated that under riding the statement of General Canale that they had made the same statement. ‘conspiracy’? (Mr. Of Course he had to agree that he and he alone killed MLK because that was the charge and was what he was supposed to . Then says. James is saying here that he did not agree with the charge being brought against him and therefore didn’t agree with a guilty plea that did not include a conspiracy and the fact that he believed he was somehow involved but didn’t shoot MLK himself. how can a man plead guilty to a charge when he doesn’t agree that he is pleading guilty to that charge but instead thinks he is pleading guilty to another charge. because they had not been proven one way or the other) by Hoover and Clark that. Canale’s. This in fact and full legal consequence was a lie to James Earl Ray in open court.
‘you killed Dr.be pleading guilty to. Martin Luther King under such circumstances that it would make you legally guilty of murder in the first degree . Judge battle asks the question if James was guilty of murder because.
’ Judge battle asked the question but got no reply from James because James told me at that point he was confused and really did not understand what was going on. NEVER. but notice. or did he? END . a fraud and a corruption of the very intents of the Constitution of the United States of America. Prior to his death he was asked hundreds of times about his son’s ability to pull off the MLK killing. John. put it this way. Conklin. If any court in this land is engaging in this kind of judicial practice today then my friends we are not getting justice. he wasn’t smart enough. He didn’t know what was going down.under the law as explained to you by your lawyer. Note: James father. judicial system and our government. Judge Battle then went through the ceremony of asking James if he was pleading ‘legally’ guilty and Ray remembered that he just sighed and withered in his seat but never said a word or even made a gesture that he agreed he was then pleading guilty. ‘yes’. what our courts are doing – to us all (and what was done to James Earl Ray) is a farce. James had made several attempts to explain that he wasn’t pleading guilty to killing MLK himself and the judge was clearly frustrated. “James got caught up in something he didn’t understand. He said the judge then glanced at him briefly and went to swearing the jury without getting his reply to this final charge because James did not agree with the charges at this point. you may swear the jury. published: April 02. (It was at this point that Judge Battle should have stopped the proceeding and found out for sure if James Earl Ray was pleading guilty because he was involved in a conspiracy or if James Earl Ray was truly pleading guilty to killing Martin Luther King Jr. Sir. He just thought he’d be the getaway driver. James attorney was grasping James shoulder which to James meant for him to shut up and the court was proceeding without James pleading guilty as charged. This was a sad day in the history of our country and especially in the history of our courts. He consistently maintained that. “He couldn’t have planned it alone. James Earl Ray pleads guilty. himself.” So. James’ brother. He stayed in prison and died in prison almost 30 years later. George Ellis Ray. He was never a racist. that is all. 2008. he did not at that point say. He told me that he did not nod or give any indication that he was then pleading guilty.) Witnesses were then called to provide some credibility to the shameful judicial circus that was going on and ultimately James Earl Ray was sentenced to 99 years in prison. Your answer is still yes? Alright.” In a River Front Times article by Ellis E. was still alive when James went to prison.
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