Researcher Dave Ratcliffe has painstakingly revived the full transcript of the trial of the century, the civil trial brought by the King family in Memphis that exonerates James Earl Ray and points to the real conspiracy behind the assassination of Dr. King.
This trial got almost no press coverage at the time and the guilty finding of the jury indicting U.S. government agencies was treated dismissively. Dr. William Pepper, who was the attorney for the King family and for James Earl Ray in his last appeal before death, is now working to exonerate Sirhan Sirhan as his attorney, and breaking yet another historical case open. Pepper’s books on the assassination of Dr. King include Orders to Kill and Act of State.
COPA continues to push for release of the government files relating to the life and death of Dr. King and the official investigations into his death with passage of the Dr. Martin Luther King Records Act, following a ruling by the current Clerk of the House that it would take an act of Congress.
Dave Ratcliffe has made the full transcript available here, which is not available elsewhere on the web, with hypertext links throughout to key points of information or people cited. He is to be commended for his hard work over the years in preserving many assassination related books and records at his site, www.ratical.org.
Complete Transcript of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Assassination Conspiracy Trial
November 15 to December 8, 1999
This is a hypertext representation of the complete transcript of the 1999 trial held in Memphis, Tennessee, brought by the family of Martin Luther King, Jr. in a wrongful death action against Loyd Jowers and Other Unknown Co-Conspirators for the April 4, 1968 assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.
This trial and its transcript would not have happened without the steadfast determination and perseverance of William Pepper, beginning in 1978, to investigate the circumstances of Martin Luther King Jr.’s death. The King Family expressed great courage and understanding in declaring themselves the plaintiffs. By recounting their experiences, the seventy witnesses at the trial engaged in truth-telling that made the the facts of Dr. King’s murder tangible and known. From my position I wish to thank John Judge for his invaluable help addressing many questions I had and ways of resolving them. Without his support this presentation would not be possible.
This presentation is dedicated to the memory of Wendell Stacy (b. July 3, 1958, d. August 22, 2007) , , , a first rate investigative reporter as well as a Memphis television reporter and cameraman. Other than the courtroom participants, Mr. Stacy and Jim Douglass were the only two people who attended the trial – Mr. Douglass from beginning to end, Mr. Stacy as much as he could. Wendell Stacy recorded the trial on his own video tapes and after the trial was fired by his employer Clear Channel because he had been pushing for more coverage of what had happened in the trial and on other issues. He sued Clear Channel and years later won his suit but Clear Channel blocked his ever being paid anything for it. Using his video recordings he produced an hour-long documentary on the assassination of Dr. King that aired on French and German prime time television. After the documentary was aired he was repeatedly threatened by telephone messages, experienced a series of break-ins to his home, and his car blew up when he was about to get into it. His sudden death in 2007 was from causes that are very difficult to understand. He suffered the consequences for his dedication to the truth. (Quoting Jim Douglass in 2009 Black Op Radio interview, #369c, 09:14-13:35 minutes)
The legal designation for this lawsuit is:
The Circuit Court of Shelby County, Tennessee
Thirtieth Judicial District at Memphis
Coretta Scott King, Martin Luther King, III,
Bernice King, Dexter Scott King and Yolanda King,
Vs. Case No. 97242-4 T.D.
Loyd Jowers and Other Unknown Co-Conspirators,
Complete Trial Transcript
The Trial began on November 15, 1999 and was conducted over 14 days with closing statements and verdict on December 8, 1999. The Table Of Contents contains links to each day as well as each witness who testified.
King Family Press Conference Following The Trial
How This Representation Came About
In early 2003 I made an annotated transcript of William Pepper’s talk on February 4 at the Modern Times Bookstore in San Francisco on the release of his book, An Act of State – The Execution of Martin Luther King. In the process of annotating this transcript, footnote number 5 was fashioned to reference the complete transcript of the trial at thekingcenter.com (which has since changed to thekingcenter.org). Following my usual process when linking to significant content elsewhere on the web, I made copies of the entire file set of the trial transcript just in case it ever went away.
In January 2010 while reviewing the links in William Pepper’s talk to confirm everything still worked, I discovered that the third through the fourteenth day of the trial transcript no longer existed on The King Center website. I sent two e-mails to The King Center to inquire about this and did not receive replies to either message.
Given the significance of this material, I decided to make a hypertext representation of the original 14 text files (matching the fourteen days of the trial) – plus a copy of the King Family’s December 9, 1999 Press Conference on the results of the trial – so that this unique historical record is preserved for people to read, study, and learn from. In general terms this is the guiding purpose of rat haus reality, ratical branch: studying and presenting relevant and critical facts to increase awareness of our world and provide a more holistic view of our time.
editor and publisher
Entry Points / Recommended Reading
A good place to start reading this document are the Closing Statements in Volume 14. The King Family Press Conference held the day after the trial is another starting point. Other than the courtroom participants, Jim Douglass was the only person who attended the entire trial. His article, “The Martin Luther King Conspiracy Exposed in Memphis,” published in Probe Magazine in Spring 2000, is an excellent introduction. See also William Pepper’s talk on February 4 at the Modern Times Bookstore in San Francisco on the release of his book, An Act of State – The Execution of Martin Luther King (Verso, 2003).