Leo Damore

Leo Damore

Leo Damore was born in Ontario, Canada, in 1929. Soon afterwards the family moved to North Tonawanda, New York. While studying at Kent State University he began contributing articles to the the Daily Kent Stater. After graduating in 1952 he became a journalist.

He was working for The Cape Cod News in July 1969 when Mary Jo Kopechne died at Chappaquidick. He began investigating the role played by Edward Kennedy in her death. He obtained a contract and a large advance from Random House to write a book about Chappaquidick. However, as a result of pressure from the Kennedy family, the contract was cancelled.

In 1978 Damore published The Crime of Dorothy Sheridan. This was followed by In His Garden : The Anatomy of a Murderer (1983). Damore's book on Mary Jo Kopechne, Senatorial Privilege : The Chappaquiddick Cover-Up, was finally published by Regnery Gateway in 1983. The Cape Cod Years of John Fitzgerald Kennedy was published in 1993.

Damore than began investigating the murder of Mary Pinchot Meyer. In an article that appeared in the New York Post Damore claimed that he believed that the Central Intelligence Agency had something to do with the death of Meyer. He pointed out that on the night of the murder James Angleton and Ben Bradlee were in Mary's home looking for her diary. He added: "She (Meyer) had access to the highest levels. She was involved in illegal drug activity. What do you think it would do to the beatification of Kennedy if this woman said, 'It wasn't Camelot, it was Caligula's court'?" Damore also said that a figure close to the CIA had told him that Mary's death had been a professional "hit".

Damore's book on Meyer was never published. Leo Damore committed suicide in October 1995.

Sometime between 11:30 pm. and 1 a.m. on the muggy, moonlit night of Friday, July 18, 1969, a car careened off a bridge on an obscure New England island and plunged into a tidal pond. The driver of that car was Edward Moore Kennedy, then a 37-year-old United States Senator, and the sole surviving heir to one of the most glittering political dynasties in American history Riding with him was Mary Jo Kopechne, only ten days away from her 29th birthday Kennedy lived. Mary Jo Kopechne died.

Nearly two decades have passed since the car driven by Senator Kennedy plunged off Dike Bridge on Chappaquiddick Island. In the intervening nineteen years, Kennedy has seen the specter of that mishap haunt, frustrate, and finally foil his presidential ambitions. Not even the Kennedys' daunting political weight has been able to suppress the questions left, until now, unresolved by the official investigations into the accident: Why was a married United States Senator with Miss Kopechne in a remote part of Chappaquiddick Island? Why did he flee - how could he flee - an accident scene while she remained trapped, suffocating, in a car beneath the waters of Poucha Pond? And why did he not report the accident to the police until 10 a.m. the following morning?

What had begun in effervescence--six unmarried "Boiler Room" girls (former workers on Robert Kennedy's campaign staff) and six married men, partying in a rented cottage - had ended in tragedy Chappaquiddick shook the Kennedy dynasty to its very foundations, ending perhaps forever the presidential dreams of Ted Kennedy. Yet, on a deep and human level--the level of crime and punishment, of right and wrong - Chappaquiddick also came to symbolize cover-up, incompetence, and ruthless, raw power, a cruel travesty of justice.

Here, for the first time, are the words of Joe Gargan, Kennedy's cousin, co-host of the Chappaquiddick party, and trusted operative of the Kennedy clan, who finally decided that he had protected Ted Kennedy long enough. Gargan gives his candid recollections of the night of the party, and provides an eye-witness account of the initial attempts to rescue Mary Jo. Here, also, is a detailed report of how Kennedy, his high-powered lawyers, and his public relations counselors were able not only to contain investigations into the accident and Kennedy's conduct afterward, but to cover up numerous facts and implications in order to shield Kennedy against legal and even moral accountability

In seeking the answers to the many questions that surround the Chappaquiddick incident, Leo Damore conducted over 200 interviews, many with people close to the case--including police officers--who had never before spoken to the press. He had access to the files on Chappaquiddick locked in the district attorney's vault in Barnstable, and to personal notes about the case kept by key investigators of the accident. The result of his meticulous research is Senatorial Privilege, the true story of what really happened during those dark hours at Poucha Pond, and, over the months ahead, in the world of the Kennedy compound, as a massive apparatus of power and influence schemed and plotted to assure for Ted Kennedy life-after-Chappaquiddick's-death.

Domininick Arena had to be reminded by reporter Ed Crosetti of The Boston Record-American, "Chief, you better talk to 'Huck' Look." Arena had neglected to question the deputy sheriff in the confusion of events on Saturday. Look's comments at Dike Bridge hadn't seemed critical.Whether the accident occurred at 11: 15 a .m. as Kennedy said in his report, or after Look saw the car, didn't make much difference insofar as a leaving-the-scene charge was concerned. Arena said, "The question of time only became an issue after the press picked up inconsistencies in Kennedy's report."

A husky man with the high color of the outdoors, and a plainspoken, country-boy manner, Look was reluctant to retell his story officially for the record in view of the Senator's published account of the accident.

Look regretted having blurted out information before he realized its significance.

Look had seen a dark car between 12:40 a.m. and 12.45 a.m., Saturday morning approaching the bend on Chappaquiddick Road at the center of the intersection of Dike Road. Arena noted, "He is positive there was a man driving and that there was someone next to him. He 'thinks there may have been someone else in the back seat but he's not sure." The car appeared "unsure or lost." Look stopped, and started to walk toward the car, but the driver had sped off down Dike Road.

Look's story sounded OK to Arena. "The thing that bothered me about it was, 'Huck' was so adamant about his time. I did believe he saw this particular thing, but I was between a stone and a hard place because I couldn't disprove Kennedy's time."

Look was more closely interrogated by George Killen and Bernie Flynn when the two detectives arrived in Edgartown around noon....

Killen knew "Huck" Look as a reliable and responsible court officer from cases he'd prosecuted in Edgartown. Look agreed to accompany the police officers to Chappaquiddick to reenact his encounter with the "Kennedy car."

Look had worked as a special police officer at the Edgartown Yacht Club Regatta dance from 8 o'clock to 12:30 on Friday night. Brought to Chappaquiddick in the yacht club's launch, Look got into his car parked at the landing and headed home. He had seen the headlights of a car coming toward him near the curve at the intersection.

"Knowing the road, I slowed down, because there's a sharp corner that people usually will cut too close," Look said. "I wanted to make sure I didn't get sideswiped." Look came almost to a complete stop. A black sedan passed in front of his headlights. "There was a man driving, a woman in the front seat, and either another person or some clothing, a sweater, or a pocketbook in the back seat - what appeared to be a shadow of some kind." The car went off the pavement into the private, dirt Cemetery Road.

By this time Look had proceeded around the corner a little bit, he said. "I observed in my rear view mirror that the car was parked. And it looked like they are going to back up. I thought they wanted information, that they were lost or something."

Look got out of his car and walked toward the other vehicle. He was 25 to 30 feet away when the car started backing up toward him, tail lights showing all over the deputy sheriff uniform he was wearing. Look believed the driver must have seen him, as the lights glanced off the badge and whistle on his shirt. He started to call out an offer of help, but the car took off down Dike Road in a cloud of dust. He observed a Massachusetts registration letter "L", he said. "And I did sort of a photostatic thing in my mind that it had sevens in it, at the beginning and the end."

Look returned to his car. A short distance from the intersection he saw two women and a man doing a snake dance down the middle of the road, "like a conga line." He stopped to ask if they needed a lift. The tall girl of the trio said, "Shove off, buddy. We're not pick-ups." The man in the group apologized. "Thank you, no," he said. "We're just going over there to our house."

Kenn Thomas: This is an extraordinary story to me considering the flap that one hears about JFK's liaisons with Marilyn Monroe and Judith Exner, Mary Pinchot Meyer's name it's not a name that's brought up a lot. You indicate in the book that she had a diary and that it may still exist, that James Angleton took it. There's so much to this story that never gets talked about. May we explore it a little bit more?

Deborah Davis: Mary Pinchot Meyer, after she divorced Cord Meyer, moved to Washington and she was living in Ben Bradlee's garage, which had been made into an art studio and this is where she was living. And when she was killed on this tow path, James Angleton showed up at the garage at the studio. There's two versions of the story that I've heard. One is that he searched for the diary and found it and took it away, and the other is that Ben Bradlee handed it to him and he took it away. Supposedly he burned it, but people that knew Angleton say he never burned anything, he saved everything. So supposedly it still exists. Angleton is dead now, so if anybody has it it's probably his widow.

Kenn Thomas: There's no Freedom of Information way of accessing it I guess.

Deborah Davis: Not unless it's in official government files. It's a sketchbook. Bradlee talked about this in an interview with David Frost a couple of months ago and he said that it was just a sketch book and he's seen it and it only has sketches in it and a few pages of writing, but it wasn't a diary per se. Now I trust Bradlee about as far as I can throw him.

Kenn Thomas: NBC did a series on the JFK assassination this week and the last thing they did was roll a list of people who had been killed that were somehow connected to the JFK assassination and there Mary Meyer's name rolled by.

Deborah Davis : She was alive for another year. I don't know what went on in that year. Maybe she was trying to expose something. That's something that also worth looking into. There's a man right now doing a book on Mary Meyer which should be very interesting. His name is Leo Damore and I'm very much looking forward to reading that book. I'm sure it's going to have a lot of new information in it. It's not out yet but it will be soon.

Anatomy of a CIA Assassination: The Chase

Who killed President John F. Kennedy’s mistress, and why?

In searching for the answers to this mystery, author Peter Janney came upon what seem to be the jagged fragments of an even bigger picture.

Previously, we posted excerpts from Janney’s remarkable book on the murder of Kennedy’s mistress, Mary Pinchot Meyer — Mary’s Mosaic: The CIA Conspiracy to Murder John F. Kennedy, Mary Pinchot Meyer, and Their Vision for World Peace: Third Edition (Skyhorse Publishing, 2016). The excerpts were from Chapter 2, which we broke up into three parts, here, here, and here.

We now present the first of two more excerpts, taken from Chapter 12 (but with added subheading).

In this installment, Janney describes the amazing things he hears during his search for the killer, and his frustrating attempts to substantiate these stories. They are fascinating though unproven.

But the essential parts of the story are proven fact.

And, by the way, the assassination of Kennedy — the crime of the century — seems connected to Meyer’s murder.

WhoWhatWhy Introduction by Milicent Cranor

Senator Ted Kennedy drives car off bridge at Chappaquiddick Island

Shortly after leaving a party on Chappaquiddick Island, Senator Edward “Ted” Kennedy of Massachusetts drives an Oldsmobile off a wooden bridge into a tide-swept pond. Kennedy escaped the submerged car, but his passenger, 28-year-old Mary Jo Kopechne, did not. The senator did not report the fatal car accident for 10 hours.

On the evening of July 18, 1969, while most Americans were home watching television reports on the progress of the Apollo 11 lunar landing mission, Kennedy and his cousin Joe Gargan were hosting a cookout and party at a rented cottage on Chappaquiddick Island, an affluent island near Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. The party was planned as a reunion for Kopechne and five other women, all veterans of the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy’s 1968 presidential campaign. Bobby Kennedy was Ted Kennedy’s older brother, and following Bobby’s assassination in June 1968 Ted took up his family’s political torch. In 1969, Ted Kennedy was elected majority whip in the U.S. Senate, and he seemed an early front-runner for the 1972 Democratic presidential nomination.

Just after 11 p.m., Kennedy left the party with Kopechne, by his account to drive to the ferry slip where they would catch a boat back to their respective lodgings in Edgartown on Martha’s Vineyard. While driving down the main roadway, Kennedy took a sharp turn onto the unpaved Dike Road, drove for a short distance, and then missed the ramp to a narrow wooden bridge and drove into Poucha Pond. Kennedy, a married man, claimed the Dike Road excursion was a wrong turn. However, both he and Kopechne had previously driven down the same road, which led to a secluded ocean beach just beyond the bridge. In addition, Kopechne had left both her purse and room key at the party.

Kennedy escaped the car and then dove down in an attempt to retrieve Kopechne from the sunken Oldsmobile. Failing, he stumbled back to the cottage, where he enlisted Gargan and another friend in a second attempt to save Kopechne. The three men were unsuccessful her body was not recovered. The trio then went to the ferry slip, where Kennedy dove into the water and swam back to Edgartown, about a mile away. He returned to his room at the Shiretown Inn, changed his clothes, and at 2:25 a.m. stepped out of his room when he spotted the innkeeper, Russell Peachey. He told Peachey that he been awakened by noise next door and asked what time it was. He then returned to his room.

Was Kennedy trying to establish an alibi? In Leo Damore’s Senatorial Privilege–the Chappaquiddick Cover-up (1988), the author recounts an interview with Joe Gargan in which Gargan claimed that Kennedy had plotted to make Kopechne the driver and sole occupant of the automobile. Whatever Kennedy’s intentions, on the morning of July 19 he went back to Chappaquiddick Island and then returned to Edgartown. At 9:45 a.m., 10 hours after driving off Dike Road bridge, Kennedy reported the accident to Edgartown Police Chief Dominick Arena and admitted that he was the driver.

On July 25, Kennedy pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident, received a two-month suspended sentence, and had his license suspended for a year. That evening, in a televised statement, he called the delayed reporting of the accident “indefensible” but vehemently denied that he been involved in any improprieties with Kopechne. He also asked his constituents to help him decide whether to continue his political career. Receiving a positive response, he resumed his senatorial duties at the end of a month.

Leo Damore papers

Finding Aid

Prepared by Ron Antonucci, December 1995 Last Updated: January 2021

Inclusive Dates: 1969-1993
Extent: 19.83 cubic feet (48 document cases + 2 slim document cases + 3 half-sized record storage boxes + 1 record storage box + 1 custom-made box + 1 flat oversized box + 2 oversized folders)
Physical Location: 11th floor

Biographical Note Leo Damore was born in 1929 in Ontario, Canada, and moved to North Tonawanda, New York, with his family. He was graduated from Kent State University in 1952. During his years on the campus, he was a prominent writer for the Chestnut Burr and the Daily Kent Stater. He was working for The Cape Cod News in July 1969 when the incident involving Senator Edward Kennedy and the death of Mary Jo Kopechne at Chappaquidick occurred. Damore, who had a reputation as a dogged, thorough reporter, was able to obtain interviews and investigatory materials from police and court officials which he would use in his New York Times bestseller, SENATORIAL PRIVILEGE. That manuscript was initially rejected by Random House, which had paid him a sizeable advance. Claiming that the publisher was bowing to pressure from the Kennedy family, the issue went to court. Damore was able to reach a settlement with Random House and the book was finally published by Regnery Gateway in 1983. Damore's other books include THE CRIME OF DOROTHY SHERIDAN, IN HIS GARDEN, THE CAPE COD YEARS OF JOHN F. KENNEDY, and CACHE, a novel. Damore committed suicide in October 1995.

Scope and Content The Leo Damore papers contain research materials, notes, transcripts, documents and correspondence pertaining to four of his book publications. The bulk of the material consists of newspaper clippings and notes recorded by Damore during his research on the individual books. The highlights of the collection include typescripts of the books with Damore's marginal notes and the collected evidence and transcripts of interviews relating to the Antone Costa case (IN HIS GARDEN) and the Chappaquidick incident (SENATORIAL PRIVILEGE). Damore often utilized the verso of a draft page from one book to type or take notes for another book making it difficult for both the researcher and the archivist to discern what belonged with what. Damore was able to acquire photographs and documents previously unavailable to reporters and chroniclers. Please note that some of the materials in this collection, such as autopsy reports and photographs, are graphic in nature.

Acquisition Note: Leo Damore's papers and records were donated to the Department of Special Collections and Archives of Kent State University in November 1993.

Processing Information: In 2018, severe water and inactive mold damage was discovered in a portion of this collection. Affected materials were professionally treated by ICA Art Conservation of Cleveland, Ohio. A full description of treatment applied to damaged portions of the collection is available in the front of Box 1 with the printed finding aid to the collection. Although inactive mold spores were vacuumed and cleaned from the documents, staining and paper loss damage are still visible and present on affected materials. Some materials have been encapsulated due to loss and damage from water and mold.

Restrictions on Use: Kent State University does not own copyright to the materials in the collection. Permission for any use, other than personal research use, must be obtained from the Leo Damore estate and any other copyright holder(s).

Book: The Crime of Dorothy Sheridan- 1978

Box 1
Folder -- Contents

  1. "Legal documents, motions, autopsy report, Indictment." Notes.
  2. "Legal background/cases cited." Notes.
  3. "Pretrial." Notes, clippings.
  4. "Trial." Notes, book proposal,
  5. "Post trial and Appeal." Notes, clippings.

Box 2
Folder -- Contents

  1. Background clippings, notes.
  2. Notes, file copy of F.I. Broadhurst, reporter for Cape Cod Standard Times.
  3. "Bibliography."
  4. Notes, clippings.
  5. Notes.
  6. Notes.

Box 3
Folder -- Contents

  1. "Dorothy Sheridan Personal." Notes, clip.
  2. "Christian Science." Booklets, periodicals, clippings, notes.
  3. Background clippings and notes.
  4. Background clippings.
  5. Legal background, clippings, notes.
  6. "General Background stuff."
  7. "Harwich." Clips, notes, booklet.
  8. Background, correspondence, clippings.

Box 4
Folder -- Contents

Box 5
Folder -- Contents

Box 6
Folder -- Contents

Book: Senatorial Privilege - 1988

Box 7
Folder -- Contents

  1. Note: the contents of box 7 were deaccessioned, August 2011.
    Scope and Content: This box was comprised of newspaper clipping scrapbooks on loan to Damore during the writing of this book and were subsequently returned to their original owner.

Box 8
Folder -- Contents

Box 9
Folder -- Contents

  1. Investigatory notes, documents, clippings.
  2. Plaintiff brief.
  3. Court briefs.
  4. "Documents." Correspondence, notes.
  5. Investigatory and court documents.

Box 10
Folder -- Contents

  1. Pre-inquest hearing.
  2. Kopechne hearing, 10/20/69 transcript.
  3. Excerpt from Hand-Book for Coroners: Containing a Digest of all the laws in the Thirty-Eight States. by John G. Lee, MD. Philadelphia: William Brotherhead, 1881. Photocopy of pages 1-25 41-47 170-171

Box 11
Folder -- Contents

  1. "Preinquest August." (1969) Clips, notes.
  2. "Preinquest Sept." (1969) Clips, notes.
  3. "Oct OK/Endnotes." (1969) Clips, notes.
  4. "Nov--OK notes." (1969) Clips, notes.
  5. "January----Inquest OK/Notes." (1970) Clips, notes.
  6. "Post Inquest 1970." Clips, notes.
  7. "1971 OK for notes." Clips, notes.
  8. "1973--OK for notes." Clips, notes.
  9. "1974---OK for notes." Clips, notes.
  10. "1975 OK for notes." Clips, notes.
  11. "1976 OK for notes." Clips, notes, wire reports.

Box 12
Folder -- Contents

  1. "1978--OK for Chapter notes." Clip.
  2. "1979--OK for Chapter notes." Clips, notes.
  3. "1980--OK for Chapter notes." Clips, notes, ephemera.
  4. "1981--OK for Chp notes." Clips.
  5. "1982 Chapter notes OK." Clips, notes.
  6. "1983 OK for Chp notes." Clips, notes.
  7. "'84 OK Chap notes." Clips.
  8. "1985 OK for Chapter notes." Clips.
  9. (1988) Clips.
  10. (1989) Clips.

Box 13
Folder -- Contents

  1. "Ted Kennedy/Pre-Background 1962-1969." Clips, notes.
  2. "Background" on Kennedy campaigns.
  3. "Background politics -- Jim with JFK and RFK and Mary Jo Kopechne." Notes.
  4. Correspondence, notes, manuscript pages.
  5. Miscellaneous notes.
  6. "Appendix." Notes.
  7. "Arena." Notes.
  8. "Dinis Background." Notes, correspondence.
  9. "McLaughlin Background and Correspondence." Clips, notes.
  10. "Background/Elliott Richardson." Clips, notes.
  11. "Background/Politics Jim Smith (O'Donnell)."
  12. "Jimmy Smith Interview." Notes, 1968-69 memo book.

Box 14
Folder -- Contents

  1. Chief Arena interview notes.
  2. Joseph Gargan interview notes, correspondence, section of manuscript.
  3. "Jim Smith" interview notes.
  4. Photos, documents, correspondence.
  5. "Documents." Correspondence, notes, clippings.
  6. Miscellaneous interviews and tape transcripts, notes.
  7. Motor Vehicle Registrar correspondence, notes.

Box 15
Folder -- Contents

  1. 1969 clippings.
  2. Inquest, miscellaneous clippings.
  3. "Background Chappy publicity to 1972." Clips.
  4. "Law and Medical."
  5. "Future Interview Questions."
  6. Miscellaneous clippings, notes.
  7. Miscellaneous correspondence, clippings, notes.
  8. Miscellaneous notes.
  9. Tangential clippings, miscellaneous research materials.

Box 16
Folder -- Contents

Box 17
Folder -- Contents

Box 18
Folder -- Contents

  1. Miscellaneous notes and correspondence.
  2. Legal, permissions regarding manuscript.
  3. "Photo research."
  4. Photos.
  5. Page proofs, correspondence.

Box 19
Folder -- Contents

Box 20
Folder -- Contents

Box 21
Folder -- Contents

Box 22
Folder -- Contents

Box 23
Folder -- Contents

Box 24
Folder -- Contents

Box 25
Folder -- Contents

Box 26
Folder -- Contents

Book: The Cape Cod Years of John F. Kennedy - 1967

Box 27
Folder -- Contents

  1. Manuscript with marginal notes (folder 1 of 4)
  2. Manuscript with marginal notes (folder 2 of 4)
  3. Manuscript with marginal notes (folder 3 of 4)
  4. Manuscript with marginal notes (folder 4 of 4)

Box 28
Folder -- Contents

  1. Clips.
  2. "Original photos."
  3. "Photos as they appear in the book."
  4. Photos, negatives.
  5. Photos.

Book: In His Garden - 1981

Box 29
Folder -- Contents

  1. Investigator's notebooks correspondence, reports, clippings.
  2. Police report, warrant.
  3. "#52 Photo Wysocki." (No photo therein) Death certificates, notes.
  4. 2 investigator's notebooks.
  5. "Police Investigation/Reports-Autopsy Reports."
  6. "#41 Antone Costa Records of Witnesses."
  7. "#39 Costa Autopsy Reports."
  8. Investigative report.
  9. Inventories of victims' pocketbooks.
  10. Ballistics report.
  11. "#49 Antone Costa Dental Charts." (Contains those of the victims.)
  12. Costa's hospital records.
  13. Damore files, as found: transcripts, reports.

Box 30
Folder -- Contents

  1. 7 investigator's "working notebooks."
  2. "Subpoena."
  3. "Part 1." Medical examiner's report, notes.
  4. "Additional Police." Documents, reports, correspondence.
  5. List of witnesses.
  6. Statements of girls' boyfriends.
  7. Witness interview: Primitivo Africa.
  8. Victims' fingerprint report.
  9. "Costa/Journals letters, memos doops." Police reports, documents, psychological reports, notes.
  10. Victims' personal effects found near gravesite.
  11. Automobile body material chips.
  12. Burlington, Vermont, police file on Costa.
  13. Costa's job application from Massacheusetts General Hospital.
  14. "Part II used notes." Police, court documents, witness interviews, clippings, notes.
  15. "Walpole/(PostTrial)" Transcripts, corrspondence, notes.

Box 31
Folder -- Contents

  1. "Arraignment and pretrial Hearings on Motions." Transcripts, documents, notes.
  2. "Checked Transcripts." Notes.
  3. "Unused notes---Drugs and Chronology." Notes, clippings.
  4. "Part IV used notes." Legal documents, transcripts, psychological report, notes.
  5. "Afterward used." Correspondence, transcripts, notes.
  6. "Agenda Register Legal Expense List."
  7. "Part IV used notes." Transcripts, correspondence, notes.
  8. "Part 4/outakes---unused notes." Correspondence, legal papers, clip, notes.

Box 32
Folder -- Contents

  1. "Used Police notes/Part 1 OK." Correspondence.
  2. "Drugs." Addendum to Damore's prospectus for the book clippings, notes.
  3. "Galleys." Notes, clippings (apparently used to check against publisher's galleys.)
  4. "Zimmerman." (polygraph examiner) 1 copy of "The Polygraph in Court." Correspondence, clippings, notes.
  5. "Miscellaneous/Expenses Book and Articles." Clips, investigatory documents, notes.
  6. 1 copy of the Cape Cod Register for Thursday, April 5, 1979.
  7. Background clippings, notes.
  8. Clips.
  9. Clips from "Inside Detective."
  10. "Press/Radio/TV Trial OK." Clips.

Box 33
Folder -- Contents

  1. Costa's writings, letters, notes.
  2. "Hole #2 Walsh Wysocki"
    Scope and Content: This file contains crime scene and autopsy photographs. Content is extremely graphic and might be disturbing to some users.
  3. "#54 Photos Hole #2 Walsh Wysocki"
    Scope and Content: This file contains crime scene and autopsy photographs. Content is extremely graphic and might be disturbing to some users.
  4. "Antone Costa copy"/Witness interviews transcripts
    Restrictions on Use: This document is damaged and fragile. Please use the Reference Photocopy in the following folder for reference and duplication purposes.
  5. "Antone Costa copy"/Witness interviews transcripts: Reference Photocopy

Box 34
Folder -- Contents

  1. Witness interviews transcripts.
  2. Transcripts/reports/trial notes/correspondence.
  3. Police reports/evidence/correspondence/trial notes/clippings.

Box 35
Folder -- Contents

  1. "Motions--Answers" Transcript of initial Costa interview
  2. "#59 Photo--VW. Burlington Pol Sta" Contains evidence inventories
  3. Case history/transcripts of interviews
  4. Investigator's interviews, "Statement of Facts"
  5. "Pretrial Motions--Agenda"
  6. "Motions" Correspondence/documents
  7. Interviews transcripts
  8. Court transcripts/documents

Box 36
Folder -- Contents

Box 37
Folder -- Contents

  1. Stray papers, notes, photo
  2. Interview transcripts (partial), notes
  3. Stray papers, documents, notes
  4. Typescripts of "Investigator's attempt at a novel on case" (folder 1 of 3)
  5. Typescripts of "Investigator's attempt at a novel on case" (folder 2 of 3)
  6. Typescripts of "Investigator's attempt at a novel on case" (folder 3 of 3)

Box 37A

  1. Evidence found in auto glove compartment
    Scope and Content: chewing gum, matches, maps, magic marker and other materials

Box 38
Folder --Contents

Alternate Form Available: The recordings in Box 38 were digitally captured and CD reference copies were created in April 2019.
Physical Access: Original recordings cannot be played due to preservation concerns. Researchers, please use CD reference copies to access these recordings.


Leo Damore has lit upon a new slant on JFK. The Cape Cod years reached from 1926, when Joseph Kennedy came to the rising community of Hyannis Port, rich but not quite in, and Jack was a bean of a boy, through JFK's election as President when he watched the returns there and made his acceptance speech at the Armory. Mr. Damore depicts the growing years (a prank once landed Jack in jail) when Joe, Jr. was the exemplar, college, the Navy, heroism and Joe, Jr.'s death in war, Jack's ensuing take-over of duties as the eldest, the move into politics. Basil Brewer of the New Bedford Standard-Times stood behind him against Lodge in the senatorial race, and Jack was launched despite the stolid Republicanism of the area. ""Come what may in November. I will always be a Cape Codder,"" he told his audience when he ran for President. The standard quotes are here (""Good morning, Mr. President""--Carolyn) along with some additional incidents, and a scene, a setting for a Kennedy sequence, unexceptionally recorded.

Chappaquiddick: Power, Privilege, and the Ted Kennedy Cover-Up Kindle Edition

An achievement of reportorial diligence, this book tells a story that the most imaginative crime novelist would have been hard put to invent.

Full of compelling detail.

-- "Washington Post" --This text refers to the audioCD edition.

About the Author

Leo Damore (1929-1995), a native of Ontario and graduate of Kent State University in Ohio, was a journalist and the author of several nonfiction works, including The Cape Cod Years of John F. Kennedy and Senatorial Privilege, a New York Times bestseller.

Howie Carr is an award-winning front-page columnist for the Boston Herald and the host of The Howie Carr Show, a popular New England drive-time talk radio program. Known for his scathing exposés of local politicians, he is regularly featured on NBC's Today, MSNBC, C-SPAN, and CNN. In 1985 he won a National Magazine Award, the magazine industry's equivalent of a Pulitzer Prize. He has been nominated for an Emmy. He lives in Wellesley, Massachusetts.

Peter Berkrot, a forty-year veteran of stage and screen, has voiced over three hundred audiobook titles, winning Earphones Awards, a 2012 Audie Award nomination, and a 2016 Audie Award.

Leo Damore - History

Ted Kennedy's Driving Record - List of Traffic Offenses

- Ted Kennedy had a record of serious traffic violations. Their nature formed a pattern of deliberate and repeated negligent operation. Particularly bothersome was a June, 1958 conviction for "reckless driving."
- On March 14, 1958, Deputy Sheriff Thomas Whitten had been on routine highway patrol outside Charlottesville, Virginia, when an Oldsmobile convertible ran a red light, sped off, then cut its tail lights to elude pursuit. A license check revealed the car belonged to Edward M. Kennedy, a 26-year-old law student attending the University of Virginia. Kennedy had previously been fined $15 for speeding in March 1957.
- Whitten was on patrol at the same intersection a week later, he testified, "And here comes the same car. And to my surprise, he did exactly the same thing. He raced through the same red light, cut his lights when he got to the corner and made the right turn." Whitten gave chase. He found the car in a driveway, apparently unoccupied. Looking inside, he discovered the driver, Teddy Kennedy, stretched out on the front seat and hiding. Whitten issued a ticket for "reckless driving racing with an officer to avoid arrest and operating a motor vehicle without an operator's license (Mass. registration.)"
- Kennedy's attorneys were able to win numerous postponements, but eventually he was convicted on all charges and paid a $35 fine. Court officials never filed the mandatory notice of the case in the public docket, however, and Kennedy's name had not appeared on any arrest blotter. Instead, a local reporter discovered the case when he spotted 5 warrants in Kennedy's name in a court cash drawer.
- Three weeks after his trial, Ted Kennedy was caught speeding again, and still operating without a valid license.
- In December 1959, Kennedy was stopped again for running a red light and fined $10 and costs. In Whitten's view, "That boy had a heavy foot and a mental block against the color red. He was a careless, reckless driver who didn't seem to have any regard for speed limits or traffic ordinances."

- The offenses in Virginia had occurred on Ted Kennedy's Massachusetts driver's license, but mysteriously neither the Registry of Motor Vehicles nor the office of probation in Cambridge had any record of the out-of-state convictions. Had it been revealed at the inquest, the Senator's history of negligence and reckless driving would have been further evidence to support a charge of manslaughter in the Chappaquiddick accident.

Senatorial Privilege by Leo Damore

- Senator Kennedy's driver's license had expired on February 22, 1969 (nearly 5 months before the accident at Chappaquiddick) and had not been renewed.
- Although driving with an expired license was only a misdemeanor, it did provide the evidence of negligence needed to prove a manslaughter charge in the death of Mary Jo Kopechne.
- The license problem was "fixed" by officials at the Registry of Motor Vehicles, under the direction of Registrar Richard McLaughlin, before the legal proceedings began.

Why the True Story of ‘Chappaquiddick’ Is Impossible to Tell

Mary Jo Kopechne was 28 years old when she attended a party on Chappaquiddick Island, a tiny spit near Martha’s Vineyard, on July 18, 1969. Joined by five of her friends from the 1968 presidential campaign for Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, Kopechne had already made waves in Democratic circles in Washington, working for a Florida senator before moving to Kennedy’s Senate staff. She proved herself adept by helping to write an anti-Vietnam War speech for RFK, and helped write the address announcing his ill-fated candidacy for president.

Edward “Ted” Kennedy, meanwhile, was the last surviving son of Joseph Kennedy at the time of the party. After the wartime death of Joseph Jr. and the assassinations of John and Robert, Ted remained as the political leader of the family, a sitting U.S. senator from Massachusetts, with a potential run at the presidency in his future.

As the host of the party in question, Ted brought the women together for a reunion that included Kennedy’s cousin, Joseph Gargan, and former U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts Paul Markham. But by the end of the night, the festivities had turned tragic: Kennedy’s car overturned on a small bridge and landed upside-down in the water. While Kennedy survived, Kopechne, his passenger, drowned. What happened on that bridge? Was Kennedy drinking and driving? What were he and Kopechne doing together alone in the first place? The details at the time were, as they are now, sparse. It would be a full 10 hours before Kennedy reported the incident to local police.

It’s the story of this night that would become an enduring black mark on Kennedy’s political career and that serves as fodder for the new film Chappaquiddick, starring Jason Clarke as Ted Kennedy. The scandal haunted him, and the Democratic party, for decades and was also blamed for ruining his presidential prospects. (Kennedy for his part claimed in his autobiography that “it was not a determinant” in his decision to run for president in 1980.)

Screenwriters Taylor Allen and Andrew Logan felt the drama was the perfect subject for a film about the disposability of women, the impossible expectations of the Kennedy family, how power gets abused, and the role of the media in hiding or exposing political scandal.

Although they don’t claim complete veracity for their film—director John Curran says he wasn’t interested in making a documentary on the incident—all three men strove to hew as closely as possible to actual events. Logan and Allen based their script on the nearly 1000-page inquest released by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in 1970.

“The two people who really know what happened that night are dead: Ted and Mary Jo,” Curran says. “And the others around them, the ones that are still alive, they aren’t going to say anything.”

Part of the reason details are so spotty comes from those 10 hours of waiting to report the accident. Why didn’t Kennedy contact authorities sooner? He would later claim he was suffering from physical and emotional shock, and not thinking clearly. And then there was talk of a cover-up, of Kennedy and his press team attempting to downplay the incident so as not to harm his future political aspirations.

“Sometimes I’d like to scream a lot but I’m trying to hold it back,” said Gwen Kopechne, the mother of Mary Jo, to the Boston Globe. “It would be nice if somebody spoke up.” But she also told McCall’s Magazine that she believed Kennedy had been behaving erratically after the accident due to shock and a minor concussion. What she didn’t understand were how Gargan and Markham, Kennedy’s aides who also attempted to retrieve Mary Jo from the car after the accident, didn’t report the accident or force Ted to do so.

“Gargan and Markham not only failed to get immediate help, but also let the senator swim back alone to report the accident from Edgartown,” the elder Kopechne said. “This is the big hurt, the nightmare we have to live with for the rest of our lives: that Mary Jo was left in the water for nine hours. She didn’t belong there.”

No one ever provided the answers she wanted. In the immediate aftermath of the car accident, the nation—and the media—were largely distracted by the Apollo 11 moon landing.

“It was the greatest moment in John F. Kennedy’s presidential [legacy] happening at the worst possible moment for Ted-Kennedy-the-senator’s potential legacy,” Allen says. That backdrop of an already distracted news media provided Ted’s team with time for damage control, and further obscured the truth about what actually happened.

But once the moon landing receded from the immediate news cycle, the story of Kennedy and Kopechne exploded. Curran and his producers attempted to capture the media coverage by intercutting archival news footage and newspaper headlines throughout the narrative. The film also emphasizes the strain it put on Kennedy’s wife, Joan, who was pregnant at the time. She ultimately suffered a miscarriage, which she blamed on the incident. At the same time, she told the wire service United Press International, “I believe everything Ted said.” She didn’t pay heed to allegations that Kennedy and Kopechne were going for a midnight swim when the accident happened.

This fervor for more details about what exactly happened, and whether some misconduct had occurred between the married men and single women the night of the party, was also experienced by those who attended the party the night of Kopechne’s death. Among them were Susan Tannenbaum, who also worked on Robert Kennedy’s campaign staff.

“You can’t begin to understand what it’s been like,” Tannenbaum later said. “I place a tremendous value on the right of privacy, but suddenly I’m infamous. The real meaning of what you are and what you value remains intact inside yourself but there you are splashed all over the papers. How would you feel if a reporter called your mother at 8 a.m. and asked whether she approved of her daughter’s conduct in spending the night with a group of married men?”

That aspect of the accident particularly galled the screenwriters. In an era when women were only beginning to enter the workforce in high numbers, press coverage only added to their objectification. “[Kopechne] was an intelligent, strong woman who worked for the Bobby Kennedy campaign in a high capacity and did really great work, including transcribing and then adding to the speech he gave about Vietnam,” Allen says.

In the end, Kennedy appeared in court and pleaded guilty to a charge of leaving the scene of an accident. Judge James Boyle sentenced Kennedy to the minimum punishment for the offense, two months’ incarceration, but Kennedy never served the jail time, as the judge suspended the sentence.

“He has already been and will continue to be punished far beyond anything this court can impose—the ends of justice would be satisfied by the imposition of the minimum jail sentence and the suspension of that sentence, assuming the defendant accepts the suspension,” Boyle said, with the result that the suspension was accepted by the defense team.

Actor Jason Clarke portrays Senator Ted Kennedy in the new film "Chappaquiddick," which looks at the events surrounding the death of Mary Jo Kopechne. (Entertainment Studios)

No public inquest into the death occurred, and Kennedy went on to make a televised speech about the accident. That speech is one of the few scenes in which the writers of Chappaquiddick took liberties with the facts of the case. In the movie, Kennedy cousin Joe Gargan unsuccessfully tries to convince Ted to read a resignation letter rather than going on television. “We have no evidence in the research to back that up, although it’s evident that it was considered,” Allen says.

Since then, the Chappaquiddick incident has been used repeatedly as a go-to insult by conservative politicians, particularly when one of their own came under the microscope of a D.C.-scandal. Faith Whittlesey, a Pennsylvania Republican and White House staff member under President Reagan, recalled thinking the incident would be “the end of Kennedy,” and that he could be blocked from the presidency for the rest of his career. The story was occasionally resurrected to point to the questions that remained unanswered, even as Kennedy remained in the Senate until his death in 2009.

Though Curran was nervous about taking on someone whose political achievements he admired (especially since there continue to be numerous conspiracy theories about the accident, including that a third person was in the car), he felt the task to be a necessary one.

“Whether you’re on the left or right side of the aisle, it’s imperative that we take a pretty hard, unvarnished look at our heroes these days,” Curran says. “The time is done to let all these guys skate by. I think if this story happened now, it would overshadow the moon landing.”

But in 1969, the reverse proved true. The closing scene of Chappaquiddick features a bit of archival footage, from a man-on-the-street style interview in Boston. A reporter asks one person after another whether they would still consider voting for Kennedy after the Chappaquiddick accident. They answer, many resoundingly, with a “yes.

Serial killer Phillip Jablonski’s crimes continue to haunt victim’s daughter

Fox News Flash top entertainment headlines for September 3

EXCLUSIVE: Yolonda Robinson-Vann still remembers the haunting nightmare that tragically came true.

“I remember I went to sleep and had a dream that somebody was going to kill my mother,” she recalled while speaking to Fox News. “She came in my room, running in there, and said, ‘What’s the matter?’ I said, ‘Mom, somebody is trying to kill you.’ That was a few months before my mother’s life was taken away.”

The matriarch, Fathyma Vann, was murdered by Phillip Jablonski in the spring of 1991. Robinson-Vann became an orphan at age 19.

Jablonski, a convicted serial killer whose five victims included two wives, is the subject of Investigation Discovery’s new documentary, “The Serial Killer Among Us: Phillip Jablonski,” which airs Thursday night. It features interviews with investigators associated with the case, loved ones of the victims, as well as Jablonski's macabre audio where he details his horrific bloodlust.

The special is part of the crime and justice network’s “Serial Killer Week,” where audiences can tune in each night and watch original programming that takes a closer look at some of the most infamous and seemingly forgotten murderers from over the years. Robinson-Vann said she participated in the documentary to make sure her mother’s name wasn’t forgotten with time.

Vann, 38, of Indio, Calif., was attending the same community college as Jablonski at the time of her death. Robinson-Vann was also attending college when she went to meet up with the matriarch. It was then that she encountered her mother's sinister classmate for the first time. That meeting occurred just a few weeks before she had her nightmare.

“She was standing next to him,” Robinson-Vann recalled. “She introduced me to him. And immediately, without even saying, 'Hi,' to him, I said, ‘If something happens to my mother, I’m going to come looking for you.’ He says, ‘Well, you don’t have to worry about me doing anything to her. You should worry about her doing something to me.’ And I said, ‘Well, we shouldn’t have a problem. ‘Cause if you don’t mess with her, she’s not going to mess with you.’”

That first meeting didn't sit well with her.

“Just the way he stood there and was looking at my mother, there was just something about him that didn’t sit right in my stomach,” she added.

Sadly, Robinson-Vann’s intuition turned out to be right.

Fathyma Vann. Her daughter told Fox News: “This is the picture that I go to when I need to talk. I have cried tears over this picture and as a result mom’s cheek has a water spot!" (ID)

Jablonski offered to give Vann a ride home from class on April 22, 1991, according to court documents. The next day, her body was found off the road in the desert outside of Indio. The cause of death was a gunshot wound, but Vann's body was heavily mutilated with stab wounds. Abrasions on her back appeared to state “I love Jesus” with a heart-shaped incision in place of the word “love.”

When Jablonski was later arrested for another murder, a belt was found in his car that had the handwritten names of his victims, along with their death dates. It also contained Vann’s name. In his audio diary, Jablonski described in graphic detail how he sexually assaulted, murdered and mutilated Vann.

News reporter Barry Bortnick listened to Phillip Jablonski's audio diaries and transcribed the killer’s thoughts. (ID)

“My mother was a people person,” Robinson-Vann tearfully described. “She wanted to give us a better life. There was nothing this lady wouldn’t do for you… What happened to me was devastating. My kids always wanted to know about their grandmother. But when you go online and put her name in Google, his face pops up. And you have to remember, I had a conversation with this man. I felt like I was given a warning and I hate the fact that I didn’t listen. I still wonder, had I not told him anything about messing with her, would she still be alive today? Or was he already plotting to kill her? I live with that."

But Robinson-Vann also pointed out that the system had failed her. Before her mother’s murder, Jablonski had a long history of violence against women starting with an attempt to kill his first wife in the 1960s. At the time, he was an Army sergeant who had served two tours of duty in the Vietnam War before he was discharged in 1969 for a “schizophrenic illness.” He pleaded guilty to the second-degree murder, assault and attempted rape of his second wife, Melinda Kimball, in 1978.

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