The King family launched a civil suit to expose the facts surrounding the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., and they discovered that government agents, not James Earl Ray, were responsible for King’s death. – “According to a Memphis jury’s verdict, in the wrongful death lawsuit of the King family versus Lloyd Jowers [a Memphis restaurant owner] ‘and other unknown co-conspirators,’ Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated by a conspiracy that included agencies of his own government,” Jim Douglass of radical.org, the only reporter in attendance, reported. “Almost 32 years after King’s murder at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis on April 4, 1968, a court extended the circle of responsibility for the assassination beyond the late scapegoat James Earl Ray to the United States government.”
FLASHBACK: Jury Finds MLK Was Killed by Government Conspiracy, King Family Agrees
TheEndRun.com | January 25, 2012
I’d like to first highlight this short video, produced by journalist Barrie Zwicker, which provides a clear, concise overview of the realities regarding the assassination of this national civil rights and anti-war icon on April 4, 1968. (The book mentioned in the video is An Act of State: The Execution of Martin Luther King.)
As explained in the video, decades after King’s death, there now exists a large body of evidence indicating that his assassination was not the work of “lone gunman” James Earl Ray, but a conspiracy involving multiple governmental agencies, including the FBI and Memphis Police Department. From March 13, 1969, until the day of his death in 1998, Ray had always maintained that he was an innocent patsy, or scapegoat, who had been duped at the very last minute by the conniving lawyer who had offered to represent him into entering a guilty plea instead of going to trial as planned. (This guilty plea is often misleadingly referred to as a “confession.”)
It took Dr. William F. Pepper until 1988, twenty years after King’s death, to decide fully and conclusively that Ray was telling the truth.
Pepper had been a close colleague and friend of Dr. King in the final year before his assassination. The two met in early 1967, after King had seen a series of disturbing and heart-breaking photographs in Ramparts magazine which were taken by Pepper the previous year during a visit to Vietnam. They depicted some of the countless thousands of children who had been killed, maimed, or left homeless by American weapons of war, including napalm and white phosphorus. These and other photos (and anecdotes) shared with him by Pepper deeply moved and disturbed Dr. King, and ultimately had a serious influence on his decision to come out strongly against the war a short time later.
Even before joining the anti-war movement, King had already been a major target of the FBI’s COINTELPRO, which engaged in a “no holds barred” covert operation to surveil, intimidate, “completely discredit,” and “destroy” him as a leader of the civil rights movement by any means necessary, as documented in great detail years later by the Church Committee in its Final Report. However, when he came out against the Vietnam War, this caused even more concern by “the powers that be.” As revealed by the Church Committee (Volume 7, Book III, pp. 173–174):
Dr. King publicly announced his opposition to American involvement in the war in Vietnam in a speech at New York’s Riverside Church on April 4, 1967 (exactly 1 year before assassination). Six days later, Charles Brennan of the [FBI’s] Domestic Intelligence Division recommended the circulation of an updated draft of the King monograph to the White House. Brennan’s memorandum states that the revised monograph contained allegations about communist influence over Dr. King as well as personally derogatory allegations.
Director Hoover approved and copies of the revised monograph were sent to the White House, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, the Director of the Secret Service, and the Attorney General. A copy was subsequently sent to the Commandant of the Marine Corps, who had been interested in “King’s activities in the civil rights movement but recently had become quite concerned as to whether there are any subversive influences which have caused King to link the civil rights movement with the anti-Vietnam War movement.”
King was assassinated on April 4, 1968 — the one year anniversary of his “Beyond Vietnam” speech at the Riverside Church.
For years after King’s death, Pepper assumed, as most people did, that Ray was guilty. But, in late 1977, he was asked by prominent civil rights leader Ralph Abarnathy to accompany him to Ray’s prison to interrogate him. Pepper (a lawyer) agreed, but said he needed time to get up to speed with the case. The following summer, the two did travel to the prison, and Pepper spent five hours questioning the man accused of murdering Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “I put him really through a rather rigorous, painful time.”
“After the interview… Abernathy and I became convinced that he was not the shooter,” Pepper would later explain. “We didn’t know what other role he might have played. But it was clear he was not the assassin of Martin Luther King. This guy couldn’t have done that. But he raised so many questions that I had never heard raised before, that had never been answered, that I decided I would begin to go into Memphis and talk to some people, become familiar with the terrain and the crime scene and see if I could get some answers to those questions.”
For the next decade, James Earl Ray attempted to convince Pepper to represent him in his quest to finally get a trial, but Pepper [lightbox full=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWS1KPCmOrI#t=33m12s”]refused[/lightbox]. “He kept asking me to represent him. And I said no. … I had to be convinced that he not only wasn’t the shooter, but that he had no knowing role. And it took me ten years to be convinced of that.”
Finally, in 1988, after ten years of investigation and many trips to Memphis (and occasionally New Orleans), Pepper was convinced, and he agreed to be Ray’s lawyer. In 1995, he published the book Orders to Kill, which detailed the large body of evidence he had accumulated pointing to a conspiracy, and to James Earl Ray’s innocence. (This was years before he wrote An Act of State.)
While the book was deliberately ignored by most in the media, it was not ignored by Martin Luther King, Jr.’s family. They had a long-held policy of not weighing in on the issue one way or the other, but James Earl Ray’s health was deteriorating, and after reading Orders To Kill, studying the evidence, and discussing the case with Pepper, they became convinced not only that Ray was innocent and that the conspirators who really killed Martin were still at large, but also of their own need to get involved.
MLK’s son, Dexter Scott King, met with James Earl Ray at the Lois DeBerry Special Needs Facility in March of 1997. He asked Mr. Ray, for the record, “Did you kill my father?” Ray replied, “No, no I didn’t. No.”
“As awkward as it may seem, I believe you and my family believes you,” King said a moment later, “and we will do everything in our power to see you prevail.”
One pressing order of business was getting Ray a liver transplant, which, due to his terminal condition, he desperately needed in order to stay alive long enough to go to trial. Despite the fact that he now had Martin Luther King, Jr.’s own family in his corner, requests to allow Ray to travel to Pittsburgh for the transplant were repeatedly denied.
- Assassin Denied Liver Test, New York Times, May 25, 1997
- James Earl Ray Denied Medical Furlough, Chicago Tribune, June 10, 1997
- James Earl Ray Denied Medical Leave, Chicago Tribune, Sept 19, 1997
“Even though it wasn’t going to cost the state anything, they nevertheless decided they didn’t want to let James Earl Ray have that liver transplant,” Pepper has [lightbox full=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWS1KPCmOrI#t=58m57s”]said[/lightbox]. “That was equivalent to signing his death warrant.” Just a few months later, in March 11, 1998 Ray went into a coma, and he died on April 23, 1998.
In 1999, the King Family filed a civil action against Lloyd Jowers, a Memphis restaurant owner who had by then admitted his own complicity in the assassination, and “other unknown co-conspirators.” The list of plaintiffs included MLK’s wife-turned-widow Coretta Scott King, and his four children, Martin Luther King III, Bernice King, Dexter Scott King, Yolanda King.
To show that their goal was not obtaining money, but establishing the truth, the family asked for only one hundred dollars in damages, which were to be donated to charity. As William Pepper, serving as the family’s lawyer, explained:
“…in terms of the spirit in which the family has approached these proceedings from the beginning. Yes, we want a verdict of liability, a verdict of a finding of conspiracy, but the family is not interested to benefit financially from these proceedings. There has to be damages in civil litigation of this sort. It is a wrongful death action. So the request is that there be an award of one hundred dollars to offset funeral expenses at the time. And that one hundred dollars the family has decided to contribute, along with other contributions, to a welfare fund of the sanitation workers in this city, because that is the reason that Dr. King came here in the first place.”
The trial commenced in Memphis, Tennessee on November 15, 1999, and court was in session until December 8, 1999. After hearing testimony from over 70 witnesses, it took the jury just one hour to find that Dr. King was in fact murdered as a result of a “conspiracy” involving Lloyde Jowers and “others, including governmental agencies,” which were named in the trial to include the FBI, Memphis Police Department, and others. Even the New York Times had to report (cache):
For a much more thorough overview of what really happened to Dr. Martin Luther King and who was behind his assassination, I highly recommend setting aside 70 minutes to watch the following speech by Dr. William F. Pepper. It is one of the most interesting speeches I’ve ever heard on any subject.(A transcript of a similar lecture can be read here if you’d prefer.)
Other key resources include:
- Complete Transcript of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Assassination Conspiracy Trial, November 15 to December 8, 1999, Memphis, Tennessee. Also mirrored The King Center, with a backup copy here (left click and “save as”).
- An Act of State: The Execution of Martin Luther King – William F. Pepper’s 2003 follow-up to Orders to Kill
- “The Martin Luther King Conspiracy Exposed in Memphis” by Jim Douglass – Article originally published in the May-June 2000 issue of Probe magazine. Contains a good summary of the evidence with hyperlinks to sections of the trial transcript.
- Evidence of Revision – Part 6 of this series is a two hour documentary about King’s assassination. It contains many enlightening interviews and loads amazing archival footage.
- VIDEO: Assassination of MLK.
- VIDEO: Dr. Pepper Interview (Infowars)
- VIDEO: Dr. William Pepper Speech: The US Government Assassinated MLK
- VIDEO: Dr. Pepper Speaks at San Diego Bookstore on MLK
- VIDEO: Abby Martin interviews Tavis Smiley: The last year of MLK’s life
Why have most people never heard about this? In the conclusion of the video at the beginning of this article, Zwicker gives us the answer:
The trial, in effect, [was] boycotted by the media. That’s why you didn’t know about it. That’s why I didn’t know about it until three months ago through James Douglass. King recognized that powerful economic interests stunt history and kill hope. It’s important to understand that these powerful forces now include the ‘mainstream’ media.
Mainstream Media Censorship & Propaganda of the trial and outcome
Here are some recent examples of how the media has attempted to tell lies by omission about this case, and often leaves key information completely “down the memory hole”:
- Just last week, CNN published a fact sheet on MLK, which includes a timeline. Even though they themselves reported on the Dexter King/James Earl Ray meeting and aired it live on TV at the time, calling it “extraordinary,” this event is completely omitted from the timeline. So is any reference to William Pepper, the 1999 trial, Lloyd Jowers being found guilty of conspiring with “governmental agencies” to murder King and frame Ray, the King family’s statements, or any of the 70+ witnesses who the jury heard at the trial. Instead they flatly state that King was “assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, by James Earl Ray,” that James Earl Ray was “King’s assassin,” and that the Justice Department says that there is “no reliable evidence to support a conspiracy behind King’s murder.”
- Searching the New York Times website with Google reveals only one reference to the name Lloyd Jowers from 2000-2013, and that article does not even mention the trial at all, let alone his conviction, or that of other local and federal government agencies.
- CBS News has repeatedly run articles naming James Earl Ray as King’s killer and making key omissions about the trial. The omissions actually seem to be getting more and more egregious as time goes on. See for example:
1. “The MLK Case: A Timeline” (2009) – Mentions Jowers, the trial, and the King family’s support for Ray, yet says that the Jury ruled that “King was the victim of a murder conspiracy,” omitting the fact that it specifically named “governmental agencies” as being among the guilty parties — agencies which were listed by name throughout the trial, with evidence presented substantiating their involvement.
2. “James Earl Ray: Timeline”, (2009) – Mentions that James Earl Ray was acquitted in 1993 by a mock jury during an HBO special, but completely fails to mention that he was found innocent by a real jury in 1999.
3. “New Photos of King’s Killer Emerge” (2011) – Dubs Ray “King’s Killer” and completely omits any mention of the trial.
4. “Retracing the hunt for MLK’s killer” (2011) – Admits that Ray pled guilty to “avoid the death penalty” and spent his entire time in prison professing his innocence, yet completely fails to mention the trial or any of the evidence supporting his claim, and instead quotes “experts” calling him a liar.
- Last year, Fox News ran an entire article about Ray, “Ray doubted jury would believe an MLK conspiracy”. The article paints Ray as guilty, attempts to discredit his claims that he was duped into entering a guilty plea (which is mischaracterized as a “confession”), and attempts to discredit his claims of innocence. It is not until the very last sentence that they briefly allude to the fact that King’s own family is convinced of Ray’s innocence. No mention at all of Jowers, the trial, or any of the voluminous evidence and witness testimony pointing to a conspiracy involving the governmental agencies like the FBI & Memphis PD and Ray’s innocence.
- Wikipedia briefly mentions the trial on the MLK Assassination page (ignoring the mountain of evidence), and dedicates as many words in a whitewashing manor, “The government agencies accused could not defend themselves or respond because they were not named as defendants. Based on the evidence, the jury concluded that Jowers and “others were part of a conspiracy to kill King.” and awarded $100.00. The allegations and the finding of the Memphis jury were later rejected by the United States Department of Justice in 2000 due to lack of evidence.” Not the first cover up the DOJ has been involved with, don’t be too surprised by this announcement by the ‘Department of InJustice‘.