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Vero Beach man sues A&E Networks over JFK program
Malcolm Liggett's lawsuit alleges the History Channel program "The Men Who
Killed Kennedy: The Smoking Guns" falsely portrays him and invades his
By James Kirley staff writer July 6, 2004
VERO BEACH -- Malcolm Liggett recalls dozing off in front of the
television one night just before the 40th anniversary of President John F.
Kennedy's assassination last November and waking to hear that he was part
of a cover-up.
"At first I thought I dreamed it," said Liggett, a 74-year-old retired
economics professor, labor economist and court mediator. "At that point, I
woke up my wife. She was very dismissive. 'You were just having a dream,'
But when Malcolm and Suzanne Liggett sat through a Nov. 21 rerun of "The
Men Who Killed Kennedy: The Smoking Guns" on The History Channel, it
repeated what Malcolm Liggett had awoken to a few nights' earlier: A
former wife of his deceased brother, John Liggett -- a Dallas, Texas,
mortuary worker -- saying she thinks her ex-husband used his skills at
preparing bodies to do something to JFK's corpse.
Mortuary worker John Liggett's widow is identified in the film as "Lois"
who has since remarried and lives, "in a small town in Oklahoma." She
further states her ex-husband met his older brother, Malcolm Liggett, in a
Corpus Christi, Texas, motel two days after the assassination.
"Here again, they had conversations that made me feel like I didn't
belong," she said in the documentary. "They knew something I didn't know."
Malcolm Liggett says he was nowhere near Corpus Christi that night. He has
filed a lawsuit in federal court against A&E Television Networks. It
alleges the program falsely portrayed him and invaded his privacy.
"Apparently, the producers of the program are intending to suggest that
(Malcolm Liggett) is (in Corpus Christi) to help his younger brother,
John, in a plot to cover up John's alleged role in the cover-up in the
assassination of President John F. Kennedy," the lawsuit reads. "At the
time of the depiction, (Malcolm Liggett) was in California, not Texas."
Another woman, identified in the documentary as Debra Godwin, Lois'
daughter and John Liggett's stepdaughter, identifies a man and woman in a
photograph as Malcolm and Suzanne Liggett. They appear to be standing next
to Dallas nightclub owner Jack Ruby in the photo, taken sometime before
Ruby murdered Oswald.
Malcolm Liggett says it's not him and his wife in the nightclub picture.
"This alleged photograph is apparently the only way that the producers of
the program could find to link John Liggett to Jack Ruby," the lawsuit
reads. "The program then clearly suggests that (Malcolm Liggett) is the
link that brings together Jack Ruby and John Liggett."
Malcolm Liggett said he was "just flabbergasted that somebody would do
that, take my name and drag it through that, to concoct their story."
He did confirm something the documentary detailed -- that his brother came
to a bad end. Accused of beating a woman to near death in 1974, John
Liggett was charged with attempted murder.
But in the documentary, John Liggett's ex-wife said Malcolm Liggett spoke
to her at a park in Dallas while his brother was still incarcerated,
telling her it would be best if she had no further contact with her
A short time later, John Liggett was shot and killed by guards at the
Dallas County jail, reportedly while trying to escape.
Malcolm Liggett confirmed the circumstances of his brother's death. But
his lawsuit says the meeting in the park never occurred.
"The program demonstrates a reckless disregard for the truth
and...continues to circumstantially allege that (Malcolm Liggett) was
involved in some sort of conspiracy with John Liggett and others in the
assassination of John F. Kennedy," the lawsuit reads.
Richard L. Brown, Malcolm Liggett's Vero Beach attorney, said a lawyer for
A&E Television Network wrote him to say the documentary contained no
defamatory statements. He declined to share a copy of the letter without
the company's consent.
"We are not going to release the letter," said Lynn Gardner, director of
communications for The History Channel in New York City. "We don't comment
on legal matters in the press."
Brown said he was struck by Malcolm Liggett's telling him that nobody
connected with the program ever contacted him.
"He's not a public figure," Brown said. "He shouldn't be exposed to that
kind of public humiliation without it even being checked."
Malcolm Liggett's lawsuit involves one of nine episodes in a three-part
series made over a 15-year period by British producer Nigel Turner.
Gardner said she was not aware of any lawsuits other than Malcolm
Liggett's that have been a result of the series. Nevertheless, it has been
For example, one episode, "The Guilty Men," examined conspiracy theories
that Lyndon B. Johnson was involved in Kennedy's murder. Besieged by
friends and family of the late President Johnson, The History Channel
apologized to Johnson's widow, stopped airing the segment and produced a
one-hour program in which a trio of independent historians were, in the
words of The History Channel's own press release, "highly critical of 'The
Guilty Men' and The History Channel decision to air it."
CV-67, "Big John," USS John F. Kennedy Plank Walker
Sooner, or later, the Truth emerges Clearly
"From a moral standpoint, Johnson had no use for religion except for the
political benefits that it bestowed upon him. He had no use for the sanctity of
marriage except for the voting benefits it offered to him as a 'married man.'
And, his desire for alcohol, just like with sex, was excessive. In short, moral
rules relating to his personal conduct had no effect on stopping him from
getting what he wanted."
----CRAIG ZIRBEL, summarizing LBJ's amoral characteristics that may have
contributed, along with 4 on-going criminal investigations implicating LBJ, to
LBJ's motivations for wanting President KENNEDY assassinated, "The Texas
What I think is puzzling is that The History Channel aired that in
spite of the huge fiasco that the "Corsican Assassins" (in part 2 of
the original 1988 series) turned out to be.
I'm afraid the only possible conclusion is that they don't
fundamentally *care* about the accuracy of their offerings.
Dave Reitzes has a good critique of the series here:
And Dave Perry has a good debunking of the latest round:
The Kennedy Assassination Home Page
I hope those irresponsible fools at A&E get their asses nailed to the
He also comes off as being more than a little stupid, I'm afraid.
>From: john.m...@marquette.edu (John McAdams)
>What I think is puzzling is that The History Channel aired that in
>spite of the huge fiasco that the "Corsican Assassins" (in part 2 of
>the original 1988 series) turned out to be.
>I'm afraid the only possible conclusion is that they don't
>fundamentally *care* about the accuracy of their offerings.
Without knowing any of the people involved at A&E's end, I would offer a
blind guess that, as far as their usual programming is concerned, they
just aren't used to dealing with the same level of irresponsibility and
incredulity that comes with the JFK conspiracy theories.
Having once swallowed all the conspiracist idiocy hook, line, and sinker
myself, I could sympathize with them if this is the case.
>Dave Reitzes has a good critique of the series here:
One of these days I guess I'll have to force myself to address all the
horseshit put forward in "The Smoking Guns" and "The Guilty Men." These
episodes seemed so illogical, self-contradictory, and, well, just plain
lame to me, frankly, that it's hard to believe that any but the most
gullible among us would be taken in.
I'm probably overestimating a lot of people, though. Sadly enough.
Someone would have to dub me a VHS copy of "The Guilty Men," however, as
my own copy has been, well, pilfered.
No, not by a guy driving a white van! \:^)
>And Dave Perry has a good debunking of the latest round:
Dave P. continues to be one of the most valuable researchers around.
Ah, well, you know what I meant.
>The following epitomizes to what the CT world has sunk. No real evidence
>so these scoundrels invent stories that not only aren't true but desecrate
>the memory of JFK and his tragic assassination. And then they hide behind
>the bullshit argument of "no censorship."
I'm opposed to government censorship. But I'm not opposed to people
refusing to tune in to shoddy programs. I'm not opposed to people
boycotting networks that air shoddy material.
And I'm not opposed to people viewing executives of such networks as
scum, who care nothing about the truth.
>I hope those irresponsible fools at A&E get their asses nailed to the
It will be interesting to watch the progress of this lawsuit. I'd like
to hear Turner's take on all this.