The School of Law hosted two authors and legal scholars from across the political divides, Mark Lane and Robert K. Tanenbaum, on October 27 for a discussion about their careers and the search for truth following President Kennedy's assassination. The discussion, titled "From the Left and the Right," took place with a crowded audience in the Mendenhall Appellate Courtroom of the law school, Malibu.
"It was a privilege to host Mark Lane and Robert Tanenbaum at the law school as they are lawyers who have relentlessly pursued the truth wherever it led them and regardless of the cost," commented Tim Perrin, vice dean of the law school and professor of law. "Despite their ideological differences, they share a common commitment to personal integrity. You cannot help but notice the respect they have for each other. It's a great model for all of us as we witness the deterioration of civil discourse in the public square."
Tanenbaum has been homicide bureau chief of the New York criminal courts where 250 new cases arrive daily and from 1976-78 he served as a Deputy Chief Counsel for the House Select Committee on Assassinations to investigate the John F. Kennedy assassination and the Martin Luther King, Jr. assassination. He opened the conversation aimed at the law students by noting that "trials are searches for the truth," and that he learned early on that there is no Republican or Democratic way in which to gather evidence.
He touched on American Exceptionalism and the death penalty in extreme cases, before moving into the topic of President Kennedy's assassination and exploring witness accounts from November 22, 1963, including reports that Lee Harvey Oswald was seen purchasing firearms in Mexico City just days before the assassination.
"The American people would like to know—if the CIA knew about this, why didn't they cover Oswald in Dallas?" Tanenbaum posited, before closing his remarks with words of encouragement to his audience. "It's important that we enhance the dignity of any office we hold, whether parent, student, president... That's the best we can do."
Mark Lane has been a member of the bar for more than half a century and authored the New York Times bestselling book Rush to Judgement (1966) about the assassination. He opened his comments by telling his audience that "you, as the American people, will be the only jury Oswald will ever have."
He explained that in the 1960s when he delved into records made available through the Freedom of Information Act and was openly criticizing the investigation of President Kennedy's death, he was publicly defamed by the CIA and has since been apologized to. "The day the honor of our country will be restored is when the government tells the truth about the murder of the American president in a nuclear age," he commented.
About Robert Tanenbaum
Tanenbaum ran the homicide bureau for the New York District Attorney's Office and served as deputy chief counsel to the Congressional committee investigations into the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Most recently, he has taught Advanced Criminal Procedure at the University of California at Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law.
Tanenbaum's previous works include the novels Outrage, Betrayed, Capture, Escape, Malice, Fury, Hoax, Resolved, Enemy Within, and Absolute Rage and true-crime books The Piano Teacher: The True Story of a Psychotic Killer and Badge of the Assassin. Additional information about Tanenbaum's literary career can be found at authors.simonandschuster.com.
About Mark Lane
Lane successfully represented the American Indian Movement in the historic Wounded Knee trial. He defeated E. Howard Hunt and the CIA in a trial in the United States District Court in Florida and William F. Buckley in a trial in the United States District Court in Washington DC. He represented numerous clients in the civil rights movement in the South and in the North. He was counsel for a plaintiff in a leading case in the United States District Court, Washington, DC establishing the rights of women to bring actions for sexual harassment. He was a member of the New York State Legislature and was the only public official arrested as a Freedom Rider in Mississippi.
Lane is the author of ten books. His first work, Rush to Judgment, was the New York Times Number One bestselling book both in its original edition and the following year in paperback. Plausible Denial was also a New York Times bestselling book. Lane's most recent work is Last Word: My Indictment of the CIA in the Murder of JFK; in May 2012, Mark Lane's autobiography, Citizen Lane, will be published by Chicago Review Press.