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Hoffa Investigated for Possible RFK Murder Plot

Apr. 12, 1964 - Teamster president James Hoffa has been under investigation since September 1962 by the Department of Justice on a charge of allegedly plotting the assassination of Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy.

The charge was made in 1962 by Edward Grady Partin, a Baton Rouge, La., Teamster official. He spoke to Justice Department officials and took a lie detector test given by the FBI.

Two months ago, Partin appeared at Hoffa’s jury-tampering trial in Chattanooga, Tenn., as the Government’s star witness. During sharp cross-examination by Hoffa’s defense attorneys, Partin made a cryptic reference to the alleged plot.

The Government objected, saying the defense was trying to inject matters “not related to this case.” The Government feared that references to the alleged plot would be grounds for a mistrial.

U.S. District Judge Frank Wilson then cleared the courtroom and held a closed session with defense and Government lawyers to settle the matter of what would be admissible in open court. Hoffa was also present.

A transcript of that closed session has now been revealed. It was ordered sealed at the time and became public when the judge filed a memorandum with the court record for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati. Hoffa and three associates were convicted of jury tampering on March 4 and are free pending an appeal. The transcript of the closed session quotes James Neal, a special attorney for the Justice Department, as saying that “this man [Partin] reported a threat by James Hoffa to kill the Attorney General.” Neal added: “He took a lie-detector test and passed it with flying colors.”

In Chicago yesterday, Hoffa denounced the public disclosure of the closed meeting. He told UPI that the alleged plot to kill Kennedy was “nonsense,” adding: “I may not like him very much, but I certainly would not plot to kill him.”

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