Subject: A Couple Of Questions About CE399
Date: 8/8/2009 7:05:37 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From: David Von Pein
To: Rosemary Newton (And Vincent Bugliosi)
I was wondering if you could possibly ask Vince Bugliosi a couple of
questions for me regarding the "stretcher bullet" in the JFK case
(Commission Exhibit 399).
If you're too busy, I certainly understand; but these questions are
ones I've wanted to ask Vince for a while, and I don't recall finding
the answers to these in his book "Reclaiming History". And I certainly
can't think of a better person to ask when it comes to these matters
than a seasoned lawyer like Mr. Bugliosi.
Here are my questions:
1.) Do you, Mr. Bugliosi, think that Bullet CE399 would have been
admissible as evidence at Lee Harvey Oswald's court trial (had Oswald
lived to stand trial)?
You, Vince, said this on page 442 of the endnotes in "Reclaiming
"I believe that 95 percent of the physical evidence in this case
would be admissible. I can tell you from personal experience that
excluding evidence at a trial because the chain of custody is weak is
rare, certainly the exception rather than the rule. The typical
situation where the chain is not particularly strong is for the trial
judge to nevertheless admit the evidence, ruling that the weakness of
the chain goes only to "the weight of the evidence [i.e., how much
weight or credence the jury will give it], not its admissibility"."
But I don't recall your ever specifically talking about the
admissibility vs. inadmissibility of stretcher bullet CE399.
Conspiracists, of course, love to harp on the "lack of a chain of
possession" for CE399. But, in your opinion Vince, was the "chain" so
weak in the case of CE399 that the weakened chain would have resulted
in a judge not allowing 399 to be admitted into evidence at all at a
real trial of Oswald?
2.) At the 1986 TV docu-trial ("On Trial: Lee Harvey Oswald"), Bullet
CE399 is mentioned by you (Vincent Bugliosi) during your examination
of witness Dr. Vincent P. Guinn. (And CE399 is possibly mentioned in
other portions of the trial as well.)
Now, doesn't this necessarily mean that Judge Bunton DID, indeed,
consider Bullet CE399 to be an ADMISSIBLE piece of evidence at the
Because I would think that if Judge Bunton had deemed CE399 to be
inadmissible, we wouldn't have had prosecutor Vince Bugliosi saying
the words "stretcher bullet" and "CE399" during his interrogation of
witness Guinn at the mock trial.
That type of questioning regarding CE399 would not have been permitted
for a piece of evidence that had been EXCLUDED from being admitted at
the trial, would it?
I guess my #2 question actually boils down to this general type of
question for conspiracy theorists: Since Bullet CE399 was allowed to
be admitted as a valid piece of evidence during the 1986 television
docu-trial, then why do conspiracy theorists think that that very same
bullet WOULDN'T have had a snowball's chance in hell of being admitted
into evidence at Oswald's real trial (had there been one)?
The "Rules Of Evidence" were still basically the same at the mock
trial in '86 as they would be at any "real" trial elsewhere, weren't
Thank you very much for your time on this, Vince (and Rosemary).
Best regards always,
David Von Pein
Subject: Re: Bugliosi Letter
Date: 8/22/2009 10:06:32 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From: Rosemary Newton (And Vincent Bugliosi)
To: David Von Pein
August 22, 2009
Please forgive this belated reply to your e-mail to Rosemary on August
8, 2009, as well as the abbreviated nature of this response, but I've
been extremely busy the past two weeks doing, among other things,
perhaps 30-35 radio, TV and print interviews on the 40th anniversary
of the Manson murders, racing across town to Santa Monica to spend
many hours editing the documentary on the Bush book, plus working on
my book of essays.
About the issue in your e-mail, the whole purpose behind the chain of
possession requirement is to insure that the item being offered into
evidence by the prosecution or defense is what they claim it to be. It
is particularly important when there is no other evidence that the
item is what it is purported to be. We don't have that situation here.
In addition to CE 399 being admissible because of the general practice
during trials that I mention on page 442 of the endnotes, there is
other evidence that is extremely compelling that CE 399 (even if,
let's assume, it wasn't found on Connally's stretcher, but on
Kennedy's stretcher or even on the floor) was, in fact, what it is
purported to be--a bullet that passed through Kennedy's and Connally's
What is that evidence? Mainly that we know that CE 399 was fired from
Oswald's Carcano rifle to the exclusion of all other weapons (3 H
428-429). This alone and all by itself (and certainly in conjunction
with all the other evidence I set forth in "Reclaiming History" such
as the orientation of Connally's body vis-a-vis Kennedy's, the ovoid
configuration of the entrance wound to Connally's back, etc.), is
highly persuasive evidence that CE 399 not only hit Kennedy but went
on to hit and exit Connally's body.
Additionally, see the footnote on page 814 of "Reclaiming History".*
The above makes the chain of possession or custody requirement even
less restrictive than I point out, on page 442, it already is.
To the argument that yes, CE 399 was fired from Oswald's Carcano, but
at another time and place, and was planted at Parkland, see pages
814-815 of "Reclaiming History".
The admissibility of CE 399 (along with other items of evidence) was,
indeed, dealt with in London by Judge Lucius Bunton at a pre-trial
evidentiary hearing, and Bunton, a sitting federal judge in Texas at
the time, ruled in my favor that CE 399 (not the actual bullet, of
course, which we did not have in London) was admissible at the London
I'm sure there is more I could say on this issue if I had the time but
I am still very busy and hope you understand.
David, I can't thank you enough for all the tremendous support you
have given me and my book. You have become very valuable in helping to
make sure that the truth catches up to all the lies and distortions
told about the assassination, and I hope we get to meet some day so I
can thank you in person.
Your friend and colleague,
P.S. In terms of condensing the 1-and-a-half million words of
"Reclaiming History", there's no way for any rational and objective
person to get around pages 951-969 and 1437-1461 of "Reclaiming
History". If the person agrees with the conclusions set forth on these
pages, as he must if, again, he is a rational and objective person,
then pages 953-954 of the book take over from there and there is no
need for further discussion.
* = The footnote on page 814 of "Reclaiming History" that Vince spoke
of in his 8/22/09 letter contains the following text written by Mr.
"There is another piece of circumstantial evidence pointing to
the stretcher bullet as the bullet that passed through Kennedy's and
Connally's bodies. If it weren't, then what happened to that bullet,
which, its velocity nearly spent, barely penetrated the governor's
"Since we know that the FBI and Secret Service scoured the
limousine for evidence and even found several small bullet fragments,
surely they would have found the bullet, inside the limousine, that
dropped from the governor's left thigh.
"As author Larry Sturdivan writes, it would be "inevitable that
the bullet that worked its way out of the governor's thigh would be
found" (Sturdivan, 'JFK Myths', p.132 footnote 62).
"The fact that no such bullet was found in the presidential
limousine is fairly strong circumstantial evidence that that bullet is
the same one found on the governor's stretcher."