Richard M. Mosk dies at 76; California Court of Appeal justice and Warren Commission staffer – LA Times
California Court of Appeal Justice Richard M. Mosk — who over more than three decades of public service investigated the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, chaired the Motion Picture Assn.’s ratings committee and served at The Hague — has died of cancer. He was 76.
9 thoughts on “Richard M. Mosk, Warren Commission staffer ”
Around 1991 I received a $3000 grant from the Fund for Constitutional Government Investigative Journalism Project to investigate the unresolved leads in the assassination of JFK. I used most of it to buy a round trip AMTRACK train ticket from Philly to LA and back via Chicago, New Orleans and Dallas, interviewed witnesses and visiting researchers along the way. When I got to California I picked up a copy of the LA Times and read a lame Op Ed article by Mosk lamenting the proliferation of silly conspiracy theories. I went to an office store, rented a type writer for an hour and wrote and faxed them a letter to the editor in response to Mosk’s article that they published which basically said if the Warren Commission had did their job there would be no silly conspiracy theories and I would not be doing then what they should have done. Around the same time the US News and World Report ran a short notice that former Warren Commission attorneys had met in Washington and put together a multi-million dollar war chest to counter the media reports supporting conspiracy theories being generated by Oliver Stone’s film. While their war chest made my three grand seem insignificant I got as much out of it as I could, and used some of it to respond to Mosk on his own turf. BK
I find it hard to believe that even a bunch of highly successful lawyers would have enough money to put together a multi-million dollar war chest. I wonder if the real source of the money was one or more multimillionaires. Or maybe the U.S. government.
Some may not realize Mosk’s role in the media’s treatment of the assassination. He was one of those “The WC was made up of honest men and they got it right and we should all move on” guys. He was influential in Southern California legal circles, and was a big supporter of Bugliosi’s awful book.
interesting observations, Peter…
surely part of a pattern by the WC to obfuscate uncomfortable truths about Oswald’s intelligence background…
Russ, what I find interesting, is that at the time the WC were well aware of allegations that Oswald was working for intelligence agencies before his trip to the Russia. It would be logical to presume if that were the case, he would have most likely been recruited while in the marines. To then give the youngest members of staff the responsibility to deal with this, seems unusual to say the least.
Sorry, correction 25yo John Ely and 24yo Richard Mosk but the general point remains, they were both young and relatively inexperienced having only finished law school the previous year. It appears they were given the important task of dealing with Oswald’s time in the marines, particularly Ely.
I find it strange that when John E. Donovan, the commanding officer of Oswald’s crew at Santa Ana, testified before the WC, he was examined by a 24yo John Ely assisted by 23yo Richard Mosk. I would have thought such an important witness would have at least warranted examination by assistant counsel not just the young staff.
It’s interesting to note that the CIA showed interest in Donovan several weeks before the assassination and then he contacted the CIA on Dec 1 regarding Oswald. Of course Donovan didn’t mention to the WC any links he may have had to the CIA, if any. When Ely asked about his background, he also conveniently forgot to mention that he worked for the FBI for 3 years before joining the marines.
I took a course in national security law at Yale Law School taught by John Ely in 1993 or 1994. Until now, I had no idea that he had been on the staff of the Warren Commission.
Ely’s Wikipedia entry states: “In the fall of 1963, Ely trained with Company A of the U.S. Army’s Military Police School at Fort Gordon, Georgia.” Did Ely do his work for the Warren Commission while serving in the military?
Ely spent the summer of 1962 as a law clerk to Abe Fortas while still at Yale and went onto be law clerk to Chief Justice Warren during 1964-65. Perhaps Warren thought his few months at Fort Gordon qualified him to examine Oswald’s background in the marines.
Apart from Donovan, Ely examined Lt. Col. A G Folsom and Capt. George Donabedian about Oswald. There may be nothing in this at all but it does seem odd when Howard Willens told the HSCA that Ely wasn’t even considered junior counsel. He along with Mosk came under the category of “Others” assisting the commission.
In his 1965 article A Critique Of The Warren Report, Dwight Macdonald wrote, they were “ambitious young chaps who were not going to step out of the lines drawn by their chiefs.”