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Belli Dismissed as Counsel for Jack Ruby

Mar. 18, 1964 - Melvin Belli (pictured) was dismissed today as counsel for Jack Ruby.

Mrs. Eva Grant, sister of the killer of Lee Harvey Oswald, accused assassin of President Kennedy, disclosed the move. She said she had sent a letter of dismissal to Mr. Belli’s office in San Francisco. Mrs. Grant said the Ruby family was distressed by Mr. Belli’s “unsatisfactory remarks” about Dallas and its residents.

“We’ve encouraged people to come and live in Dallas,” she said. “Mr. Belli’s remarks were uncalled for.”

When the guilty verdict was announced last Saturday, Mr. Belli denounced the jury, the court, and the city. He termed Dallas “one of the sore spots of America.”

“If this venomous infection spreads throughout the country, God save us all,” he said. “We are back a thousand years. The jury has made this city a shame forevermore.”

The attorney’s defense in the month-long trial was that Ruby was not guilty by reason of insanity when he shot Oswald on Nov. 24 at the Dallas County jail.

Mr. Belli’s bitter comments following the verdict have brought criticism from officials of the American Bar Association and members of the Texas bar. Walter Craig, president of the A.B.A., called Mr. Belli’s post-verdict statements “intemperate and abusive.”

“The effect was to question the integrity of the court and the jury,” he said.

The most the A.B.A. could do, he said, would be to recommend that Mr. Belli be expelled from the Bar Association.

Mr. Belli had reportedly charged the Ruby family $100,000. Of this, $75,000 represented the fees for the attorney and his associates. The rest was for expenses. So far, the family has paid less than one-third. The largest payment came through the sale of Ruby’s life story to newspapers.


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