Things started to change a few months later when Secretary of Agriculture, Orville Freeman, released information pertaining to an investigation that Marshall had been participating in at the time of his death.
Billie Sol Estes, now known as the Texas wheeler-dealer and con-man supreme was, in 1961, at the peak of his agricultural career. He had become a multimillionaire and a virtual icon in Pecos, Texas. His success was due, in great part, by his solid connections in government - and one of his primary connections was Vice President Lyndon Johnson. Things started to fall apart when Estes' cotton allotment scheme began to be scrutinized by Agriculture officials. Estes had master minded a bizarre method of having the government transfer other farmer's cotton allotments to his own cotton acreage. In this way all of his land could be used to grow the tightly regulated crop. Such a scheme would have been impossible without help from high officials, either inside the U.S.D.A., or Washington, or both. Henry Marshall, in reviewing the cotton allotment irregularities connected with Billy Sol Estes, evidently uncovered a warm path that led to Vice President Johnson, but also to his own untimely death.
Billie Sol went to trial and then prison, never once breathing the name of Lyndon Johnson - until his release in 1984. A Texas Ranger, Clint Peoples, had befriended Estes and convinced him that he should come clean with the whole truth. True to his word, Estes agreed to appear before a Robertson County grand jury and clear the record concerning the cotton allotments, the death of Henry Marshall and the involvement of LBJ and others.
He recounted the whole ugly picture - from the millions he had funnelled into Johnson's secret slush fund, to the illegal cotton allotment scheme, to the murder of Henry Marshall. Estes testified that Lyndon Johnson, Cliff Carter, Malcolm Wallace and himself met several times to discuss the issue of the "loose cannon" - Henry Marshall. Marshall had refused a LBJ-arranged promotion to Washington headquarters, and it was feared that he was about to talk. Johnson, according to Estes finally said, "Get rid of him," and Malcolm "Mac" Wallace was given the assignment. According to testimony, Wallace followed Marshall to a remote area of his farm and beat him nearly unconscious. Then while trying to asphyxiate him with exhaust from Marshall's pickup truck, Wallace thought he heard someone approaching the scene, and hastily grabbed a rifle which customarily rested in the window rack of the truck. Quickly pumping five shots into Marshall's body, Wallace fled the scene. Suicide.
That 1984 grand jury testimony accomplished only one official action. Marshall's death certificate was finally changed to read: "Cause of death - murder by gunshot." All of the guilty participants were dead - Johnson, Carter and Wallace. The only one left was Estes, and the U. S. Justice Department, getting wind of the Robertson grand jury testimony, wanted to talk to him.
A letter was sent to Estes, requesting a meeting with him to discuss the provocative charges he had made. Estes enlisted the legal services of Douglas Caddy to represent him in the matter. Caddy then wrote a letter to the Justice Department asking for the protection of immunity, among other things for his client. In his letter, Caddy outlined far more than the Justice Dept. had bargained for. In addition to the crimes Estes had testified to for the Robertson County grand jury, Estes listed seven more murders directly linked to Lyndon Johnson, one of them being that of President John F. Kennedy; and all of them at the hand of Malcolm Wallace.
After many months of negotiating at the highest levels of the Justice Department, Estes refused to testify to federal officials regarding the details of these crimes of the 1960's. We are still awaiting the day when Billie Sol, now 71, will testify to these details.
A few months after the November, 1995 release of our book: "THE MEN ON THE SIXTH FLOOR," I received two of these letters of negotiation, from two different sources. The content of these letters was startling. These letters have never been released to the public and since they are private negotiations between the Justice Department and a citizen, it is doubtful that they ever would have been released, even to the Assassination Records Revue Board, whose federally mandated job it is to examine and oversee the release of documents pertaining to the assassination of President Kennedy.
Here, for the first time, is the complete text of these two letters. They will be added to future printings of "THE MEN ON THE SIXTH FLOOR."
May 29, 1984
U. S. Justice Department Criminal Division
General Homes Building
7322 Southwest Freeway
Houston, Texas 77074
Dear Mr. Caddy:
RE: Billy Sol Estes
I have considered the materials and information you have provided to me in connection with your representation of Billy Sol Estes. I understand that Mr. Estes claims to have information concerning the possible commission of criminal offenses in Texas in the 1960's and that he is willing to reveal that information at this time. I also understand that Mr. Estes wants several things in exchange for this information, such as a pardon for the offenses for which he has been convicted and immunity from any further prosecution among other things.
Before we can engage in any further discussions concerning Mr. Estes' cooperation or enter into any agreement with Mr. Estes we must know the following things: (1) the information, including the extent of corroborative evidence, that Mr. Estes has about each of the events that may be violations of criminal law; (2) the sources of his information; and (3) the extent of his involvement, if any, in each of those events or any subsequent cover-ups. Until we have detailed information concerning these three things we can not determine whether any violations of federal criminal law occurred which are within our jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute and, if so, whether the information is credible and otherwise warrants investigation. Accordingly, if we are to proceed with meaningful discussions concerning Mr. Estes' proffered cooperation, we must receive a detailed and specific written offer of proof from you setting forth the information noted above. The government will hold your offer of proof in strictest confidence and will not make any use of it other than to determine the credibility of the proffered information and whether it warrants further discussions with or debriefings of Mr. Estes.
I must make sure that several things are understood at this time concerning Mr. Estes' proffered cooperation. First, if after reviewing your offer of proof we decide the information that Mr. Estes can provide is credible and in all other respects warrants further investigation -- a decision which will be made unilaterally by the government -- it will be necessary for Mr. Estes to be interviewed and to reveal everything he knows about the possible criminal violations. He will have to do so completely, truthfully and without guile. Second, it must be understood that the government is not now making specific promises to Mr. Estes except with respect to the confidentiality and use of your offer of proof as noted above. If it is decided that Mr. Estes should be interviewed, the extent of promises concerning the confidentiality or use of the statement or promises of reward or consideration to Mr. Estes, if any, will be determined only after we receive a detailed written offer of proof from you.
Above all else, I must emphasize that Mr. Estes must act with total honesty and candor in any dealings with the Department of Justice or any investigative agency. If any discussions with or debriefings of Mr. Estes take place after receipt of your offer of proof and if any agreement ultimately is reached after Mr. Estes provides a statement, the government will not be bound by any representations or agreements it makes if any of his statements at any time are false, misleading or materially incomplete or if he knowingly fails to act with total honesty and candor.
Stephen S. Trott
Assistant Attorney General
August 9, 1984
Mr. Stephen S. Trott
Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division
U.S. Department of Justice
Washington, D. C. 20530
RE: Mr. Billie Sol Estes
Dear Mr. Trott:
My client, Mr. Estes, has authorized me to make this reply to your letter of May 29, 1984. Mr. Estes was a member of a four-member group, headed by Lyndon Johnson, which committed criminal acts in Texas in the 1960's. The other two, besides Mr. Estes and LBJ, were Cliff Carter and Mac Wallace. Mr. Estes is willing to disclose his knowledge concerning the following criminal offenses:
1. The killing of Henry Marshall
2. The killing of George Krutilek
3. The killing of Ike Rogers and his secretary
4. The killing of Harold Orr
5. The killing of Coleman Wade
6. The killing of Josefa Johnson
7. The killing of John Kinser
8. The killing of President J. F. Kennedy.
Mr. Estes is willing to testify that LBJ ordered these killings, and that he transmitted his orders through Cliff Carter to Mac Wallace, who executed the murders. In the cases of murders nos. 1-7, Mr. Estes' knowledge of the precise details concerning the way the murders were executed stems from conversations he had shortly after each event with Cliff Carter and Mac Wallace.
In addition, a short time after Mr. Estes was released from prison in 1971, he met with Cliff Carter and they reminisced about what had occurred in the past, including the murders. During their conversation, Carter orally compiled a list of 17 murders which had been committed, some of which Mr. Estes was unfamiliar. A living witness was present at that meeting and should be willing to testify about it. He is Kyle Brown, recently of Houston and now living in Brady, Texas.
Mr. Estes, states that Mac Wallace, whom he describes as a "stone killer" with a communist background, recruited Jack Ruby, who in turn recruited Lee Harvey Oswald. Mr. Estes says that Cliff Carter told him that Mac Wallace fired a shot from the grassy knoll in Dallas, which hit JFK from the front during the assassination.
Mr. Estes declares that Cliff Carter told him the day Kennedy was killed, Fidel Castro also was supposed to be assassinated and that Robert Kennedy, awaiting word of Castro's death, instead received news of his brother's killing.
Mr. Estes says that the Mafia did not participate in the Kennedy assassination but that itparticipation was discussed prior to the event, but rejected by LBJ, who believed if the Mafia were involved, he would never be out from under its blackmail.
Mr. Estes asserts that Mr. Ronnie Clark, of Wichita, Kansas, has attempted on several occasions to engage him in conversation. Mr. Clark, who is a frequent visitor to Las Vegas, has indicated in these conversations a detailed knowledge corresponding to Mr. Estes' knowledge of the JFK assassination. Mr. Clark claims to have met with Mr. Jack Ruby a few days prior to the assassination, at which time Kennedy's planned murder was discussed.
Mr. Estes declares that discussions were had with Jimmy Hoffa concerning having his aide, Larry Cabell, kill Robert Kennedy while the latter drove around in his convertible.
Mr. Estes has records of his phone calls during the relevant years to key persons mentioned in the foregoing account.
II. The Illegal Cotton Allotments
Mr. Estes desires to discuss the infamous illegal cotten allotment schemes in great detail. He has recordings made at the time of LBJ, Cliff Carter and himself discussing the scheme. These recordings were made with Cliff Carter's knowledge as a means of Carter and Estes protecting them selves should LBJ order their deaths.
Mr. Estes believes these tape recordings and the rumors of other recordings allegedly in his possession are the reason he has not been murdered.
III. Illegal Payoffs
Mr. Estes is willing to disclose illegal payoff schemes, in which he collected and passed on to Cliff Carter and LBJ millions of dollars. Mr. Estes collected payoff money on more than one occasion from George and Herman Brown of Brown and Root, which was delivered to LBJ.
In your letter of May 29, 1984, you request "(1) the information, including the extent of corroborative evidence, that Mr. Estes sources of his information, and (3) the extent of his involvement, if any, in each of those events or any subsequent cover-ups."
In connection with Item # 1, I wish to declare, as Mr. Estes' attorney, that Mr. Estes is prepared without reservation to provide all the information he has. Most of the information contained in this letter I obtained from him yesterday for the first time. While Mr. Estes has been pre-occupied by this knowledge almost every day for the last 22 years, it was not until we began talking yesterday that he could face up to disclosing it to another person. My impression from our conversation yesterday is that Mr. Estes, in the proper setting, will be able to recall and orally recount a criminal matters. It is also my impression that his interrogation in such a setting will elicit additional corroborative evidence as his memory is stimulated.
In connection with your Item #2, Mr. Estes has attempted in this letter to provide his sources of information.
In connection with your Item #3, Mr. Estes states that he never participated in any of the murders. It may be alleged that he participated in subsequent cover-ups. His response to this is that had he conducted himself any differently, he, too, would have been a murder victim.
Mr. Estes wishes to confirm that he will abide by the conditions set forth in your letter and that he plans to act with total honesty and candor in any dealings with the Department of Justice or any federal investigative agency.
In return for his cooperation, Mr. Estes wishes in exchange his being given immunity, his parole restrictions being lifted and favorable consideration being given to recommending his long-standing tax leins being removed and his obtaining a pardon.
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