Log Cabin Chronicles

Follow-up Column

JOHN MAHONEY

Two weeks ago I reviewed a disturbing book about the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King in 1968. It was written by James Earl Ray, the man who pleaded guilty to murdering the civil rights leader.

Ray now denies killing King, and says he was a patsy set up by a conspiracy involving the FBI. He is demanding an trial and wants information that has been ordered sealed until 2027 to be made public.

I mailed Ray a copy of my column and offered him a one-time use of the editorial page space for comment. I also took issue with one small section in his book that involved a shoving/shouting encounter between then-NY Times investiative reporter Anthony J. Marro and Mark Lane, the best-selling author/lawyer who believes Ray is innocent.

Marro, now editor of Newsday -- one of the largest and best dailies in the U.S. -- is an old friend and former colleague and, as I told Ray, a man of unimpeachable personal and professional integrity. In the book, Marro reportedly declines to listen to Lane's arguments, gets into a shoving match, and stalks off with Lane shouting, "Don't you want to hear the truth?"

Marro told me that he had been grilled by Patterson, a former government informer who became a Lane/Ray partisan, and "probably taped."

When Patterson took Marro to Lane's hotel room, the TV lights went on and Marro found himself at the center of what he told me was a "circus." He refused to take part, he said, and pushed his way out of the room. Lane rushed out after him, calling "They told you I was queer, didn't they?"

The government allegedly was trying to undermine Lane's credibility by tagging him as homosexual.

James Earl Ray's letter follows:

23 March 1992

Dear Mr. Mahoney:

I have your letter dated 18 March; also, thanks for the review.

As to responding, I think the editorial was alright, so I see no point in commenting about it.

Re: Anthony J. Marro; in the initial book (Tennessee Waltz), which had a limited circulation, I had a 300 [plus or minus] bibliography in it, and I think the reference I used was from the St. Louis Globe.

Apparently, a SC [U.S. House Select Committee on Assassinations] investigator, Conrad Baetz, told the dude that worked for the Committee [Patterson -- see below] to tell Marro that Mark Lane was a homosexual (this was before the opinion makers decided that gay was beautiful). In any case, John Auble [a St. Louis TV reporter], listed below, and who was on the scene, probably could recall the episode.

I'm sure that Marro didn't know what he was getting into, and was just doing what Horrock told him to do. Apparently Horrock also didn't know that Lane had turned Oliver Patterson, the dude who had worked for the Committee.

As to the NY Times and the metro papers, they have always supported the State's case, which is natural since they have an interest in perpetuating the system. However, the media is becoming more diverse, consequently my version of the case has been receiving an airing in the last 3 or 4 years. Further, major foreign media outlets have commenced looking into the MLK case (see enclosure). Now a large French Network is producing a documentary & a German co. is also considering a documentary.

Sincerely,

[signed] J.E. Ray


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