Late former U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy publicly suported the Warren Commission’s conclusion that his brother, President John F. Kennedy, had been killed by a lone gunman, but privately he had serious doubts.
In a round-table discussion Friday night in the Dallas Arts District, the attorney general’s son, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., said, “My father believed the Warren Report was a shoddy piece of crafstmanship.”
The appearance of Robert F. Kennedy Jr., with his sister Rory, was a rare public speaking engagement in Dallas by any member of their family in the 50 years since the president’s assassination.
The two were guests of PBS talk show host Charlie Rose, who interviewed them for an hour and a half on a sparsely decorated stage at the Winspear Opera House.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said his father was concerned enough about the accuracy of the Warren Report that he had Justice Department investigators look into allegations the assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, had received aid from the Mafia, the CIA or other organizations.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. did not say whether his father ever concluded that such groups were involved, but he said, “My father thought that somebody was involved.”
The reference to the Warren Commission was one of the few moments during the evening when the subject of the 1963 assassination in Dallas came up.
Most of the evening was devoted to discussions of life in the Kennedy family and of sometimes funny memories.
But other recollections were sobering, such as when Robert F. Kennedy Jr. mentioned that the president’s widow, Jacqueline Kennedy spent much of the five years after the assassination outside the United States because she feared for her children’s safety.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr., 58, an environmentalist, is the third son of Ethel and the late Sen. Robert Kennedy, the president’s brother. Rory Kennedy, 44, is the youngest of 11 children. She is an Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker.
Robert was 9 at the time of the president’s death. Rory was not born until five years after the assassination.
Organizers said there were no plans to broadcast Friday’s event, which was the first of a year-long set of programs at the AT&T Performing Arts Center commemorating President Kennedy’s legacy.
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