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Tag: John Kennedy

Weekend Series on Crime History: JFK’s Secret Service Agents Break Their Silence

Ex-Miss. U.S. Attorney H.M. Ray Who Served 20 Years Dies at Age 86

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Former Mississippi U.S. Attorney H.M. Ray, whose 20- year reign included the 1960s civil rights era, and who served under five presidents, died at age 86, the Memphis Commercial Appeal reported.

Ray was appointed by President Kennedy to the Jackson, Miss. office, and resigned right after Ronald Reagan became president in 1981.

“We were very close. He was a great boss,” former assistant U.S. attorney John Hailman of Oxford, Miss. told the Commercial Appeal.  “Mainly, he insisted that we do the right thing. He was very courageous about taking unpopular stances, and he always backed us up.”

Some of his higher profile cases included the prosecution of  four men linked to the shooting deaths of two people during rioting over the entrance of James Meredith to the University of Mississippi in 1962, the paper reported. The men were not convicted.

Ray also served in the state House from 1948 to 1951. After resigning as U.S. Attorney,  he went off to  practice law with the Wise, Carter, Child & Caraway firm in Jackson. He then went to work for then-state Atty. Gen. Mike Moore, the Commercial Appeal reported.

“He was quite a mentor for me, and I learned a lot from him. He was a great lawyer and an even better person,”  Moore told the paper.

Justice Dept. Honors Robert Kennedy’s 50th Anniversary of Swearing in as Atty. Gen.

doj photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — On Friday, the Justice Department took pause to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Robert F. Kennedy’s Swearing-in as  Attorney General in a building named after him.

With Kennedy’s widow Ethel and daughter Kathleen Kennedy Townsend in attendance, along with some other notables,  Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr. delivered remarks.

“To Mrs. Kennedy and the Kennedy family, to our distinguished guests, to my colleagues, and to those who have served and supported our nation’s Department of Justice – it is my pleasure, and my great honor, to welcome you to the Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Building,” Holder said.

“Today, we come together to celebrate the achievements and enduring contributions of our nation’s 64th Attorney General – a man whose legacy continues to guide us, whose memory continues to touch us, and whose example continues to inspire us.”

Atty. Gen. Kennedy with staff/doj photo

“For me, it is a tremendous privilege to be joined by so many former Department leaders who have made this a truly historic reunion. With us, we have former Attorneys General, and a cadre of Assistant Attorneys General, First Assistants, Administrative Aides, line attorneys, and support staff who worked alongside Attorney General Kennedy – in the Criminal Division, the Lands Division, the Antitrust Division, the Tax Division, the Civil Rights Division, and the Attorney General’s Office, among other components.

“I can still remember sitting in the basement of my childhood home in Queens, watching – on our little black-and-white television – the inauguration of a young, charismatic new President. That was January 20th, 1961 – half a century ago. I was in the fourth grade. And I can still recall my mother’s enthusiasm, my father’s pride, and my own sense and certainty that something exciting – something important – was happening.

“The following day was marked by another historical moment, when Attorney General Robert Kennedy was sworn in and – after Justice Department guards initially turned him away for lack of an ID card – was finally shown to his office on the 5th floor of this building.

“That was January 21st, 1961.

doj photo

“Attorney General Kennedy championed the cause of the least among us – and made our nation more just, more fair, and more humane.

“The lessons of his life inspired my own decision, after finishing law school, to come to work in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division – just as Robert Kennedy did shortly after he graduated from law school.”

To see more photos click here.

To read text of Holder’s speech click here.

Retired Secret Service Agent John Joseph Lardner Who Protected the Kennedys Dead at Age 80; Always Kept Mum About Detail

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Retired Secret Service agent John Joseph Lardner rode behind President John F. Kennedy on Pennsylvania Avenue during his inauguration in 1961 and later went on to head up the agency’s Rhode Island office, the Boston Globe reported.

He died of a heart attack in Easton, Mass. on Nov. 19 at age 80.

The paper reported that Lardner told his family he was proud to be the kid from Lowell who grew up to guard the president.

But he was mum about most everything else about the Kennedy years, the Globe reported.

“There’s a reason we’re called the Secret Service,” Lardner often told his nephew, Michael Walsh of Bedford, N.H., according to the Globe.

Lardner, a US Marine Corps captain, was a Secret Service agent from 1959 until his retirement in 1983 as special agent in charge of Rhode Island and Bristol County, Mass.

“My dad lived his life by the Marine Corps code,” God, corps, and country, his oldest daughter, Kristin M. Brown of East Sandwich, Mass., told the Globe. “It was just the way his life was.”

The Globe reported that Lardner never talked about his assignment on the day Kennedy was shot or whether he was even in Dallas.

“He would never tell,” his daughter said.

“He had strong opinions about the assassination, but it was very difficult for him to talk about,” she told the Globe. “He was never a man at a loss for words, but it was the one subject you just couldn’t approach him about.”

After the assassination, he protected Jacqueline Kennedy and her children. His family told the Globe they believe Jackie Kennedy personally requested him.

The Globe reported that Lardner was a life-long Republican and supported state candidates including Senator Scott Brown.

“The only time I saw him cry in the 33 years I knew him was the day President Reagan died,” his daughter told the Globe. “He adored him.”

Ex-Fed Prosecutor Remembers James K. Robinson as “One of the Finest Lawyers of His Generation”

Ross Parker was chief of the criminal division in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit for 8 years and worked as an AUSA for 28 in that office.

Ross Parker

Ross Parker

By Ross Parker
ticklethewire.com

Every young lawyer remembers the guy who gave him his first real job. For me and some others, it was a mark of distinction that that guy was Jim Robinson.

His death last Friday from cancer evokes a painful loss but also many happy memories about a man who was one of the finest lawyers of his generation.

Although Jim’s long and successful career as a litigator, public servant, author and teacher included many of the highest achievements available in the legal profession, it was for many of us his term as a 34-year-old U.S. Attorney in Detroit which we remember most fondly.

James K. Robinson

James K. Robinson

During his three-year term from 1977 to 1980, he set a framework for the modern federal prosecutor’s office and inspired dozens of young lawyers along the way.

Jim re-organized and modernized the U.S. Attorney’s Office in ways that are still followed today in this and other districts around the country.

He convinced the Justice Department to let him hire several dozen new lawyers and support staff, and he filled the positions with a diverse group, including women, African Americans and former defense counsel, three groups which had been greatly under-represented.

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