Jack Ruby's Testimony to the Warren Commission
By: Connor Turpan
When Jack Ruby testified to the Warren Commission, his first request was that he be given a polygraph machine test to proveto the Commission that he was not lying during his testimony. While Chief Justice Warren voiced the opinion that the machine was not altogether that accurate, he allowed Ruby to be hooked up to the machine. Ruby then went on to describe that when he heard the President was shot he “became very emotional” and eventually fell into “crying pretty bad”. Because of that, Ruby decided to close his club that night (Friday), and eventually decided to close on Saturday and Sunday as well.
Perhaps more interestingly, he then described how he entered the Dallas police station the night of Kennedy’s death. He allegedly went into the station looking for a “Joe Long”, and was eventually let into the crowd of reporters and police officers gathering inside the building. Ruby swore he spoke with a couple police officers he knew personally while he was in there.
He then apparently walked into the interview of Dallas County District Attorney Henry Wade (who would later be involved in the famous Roe v. Wade decision). Ruby said he “felt perfectly free walking in there.” During the Wade press conference, Ruby describes how Wade said that Oswald was a member of a “Free Cuba” group. Ruby then corrected him, saying out loud that Oswald was a member of “Fair Play Cuba”, prompting Wade to correct his answer.
After this, Ruby began to beg to be taken to Washington to finish his testimony, as he felt unsafe in Dallas. He kept saying that he wanted “to tell the truth, and I can’t tell it here”. Warren, however, said that he could not go to Washington because of he overwhelming amount of red tape they would have to go through. He also could not guarantee Ruby’s safety, as the Commission had no policing powers. Ruby seemed rather desperate to go to Washington, saying he wanted to go to convince President Johnson that he was not part of any conspiracy. It is worth noting that during his testimony to the Warren commission he passed the polygraph test.
Ruby, however, seemed to change his mind about his involvement in, or at least knowledge of, a conspiracy.
In March 1965, Ruby gave a very brief press conference that was televised. In it he alleged that
everything that the public knows about the assassination barely scratches the surface of what actually happened. He said the world would never
know what happened or his motives in acting. He also stated that the people who perpetrated the crime, and in doing so had him framed, were in high positions in the government.
The Jack Ruby story is perhaps the most interesting part of the entire potential conspiracy. His actions
in murdering Oswald immediately raise suspicion about a possible conspiracy. However, I cannot really, based solely on his testimony, fully and immediately believe everything he said during the Commission hearings and during his press conference. Ruby
did in fact have a bit of a family history of mental illness. He was also a rather unsavory character whose word was probably not the most trustable. Furthermore, I find his claim that the conspiracy
involved high level members of the government. I do not necessarily have an issue with the potential for there being high level government involvement in an alleged conspiracy of this magnitude.
However, there is no way Ruby would have known how far up the ladder the conspiracy went. I am personally
quite partial to the theory that the Mafia had a role in the killing. Ruby, with his Mafia roots, most likely
was talking to a friend in the Marcello family who instructed him on what to do. Therefore, his involvement in the conspiracy was most likely not directly with anyone that high up, as the Mafia (and the
government too) operates in a top down system where the top guys are insulated from potential prosecution by never really being directly involved
in the crimes they oversee. Therefore, I find it very difficult to believe that Ruby actually knew anything about who was involved at a higher level, and any claim of that was most likely a desperate shot at getting more media attention.