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Zapruder Film Hearing
April 2, 1997


Wednesday, April 2, 1997, 1:00 P.M.
Archivist's Reception Room (Room 105)
National Archives and Records Administration
Washington, D.C.

Witnesses - Page
T. Jermey Gunn - 6
Robert Brauneis - 22
James Lesar - 46
Josiah Thompson - 60
Moses Weitzman - 68
Richard Trask - 80
Art Simon - 97
Debra Conway - 109


JUDGE TUNHEIM:  I call to order this public 

meeting -- public hearing of the Assassination Records 

Review Board.

Thank you all for coming today.  I want to 

first express my appreciation, the appreciation of the 

board to the National Archives for permitting us to 

meet in this historic reception room.  We are happy to 

be here and happy to be able to use the facilities. 

This is not a meeting or a function of the 

National Archives.  The Assassination Records Review 

Board is an independent federal agency, not part of the 

National Archives.  I would ask that everyone take care 

with the antiques and old furniture and rugs that are 

in this building -- or in this room.  We would 

appreciate that.

I also want to thank our witnesses today for 

agreeing to participate in this important hearing 

before the board.

A little information about the board.  The as 

as records review board members were appointed by 

President Clinton, confirmed by the Senate, in 1994.  

We have been at work now for almost three years working 

on implementing the President John F. Kennedy 

Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992.  

We primarily have been locating, securing, 

and releasing to the public records related to the 

tragic assassination of President Kennedy.  Much of the 

records that have been released are records that have 

been held in Federal Government files.  We also have 

been on the search for additional records, whether they 

be in the hands of state and local governments or in 

the hands of private individuals that may wish to 

donate their material to the United States.

This has resulted in an ever-growing 

collection of the records of the assassination at the 

National Archives at College Park.  Upwards of nearly 

three and a half million pages are now available to the 

public at the National Archives.

The goal of the Assassination Records Review 

Board is the goal -- was the goal of Congress in 

passing the Records Collection Act, is to ensure the 

broadest possible public release of the records of the 

assassination of President Kennedy, relevant records 

which were created before the assassination and 

certainly all of the records of its investigatory 


It is not, I emphasize, it is not the 

responsibility of the Review Board to solve remaining 

mysteries associated with the assassination or to reach 

conclusions about the assassination itself.  Rather, it 

is the duty of the board and the responsibility of the 

board to secure and release to the public, to the 

greatest extent possible, the records that 

unfortunately have remained shrouded in secrecy through 

so many years since the events in 1963.

Let me turn to today's hearing.  The purpose 

of today's hearing is to seek public comment and advice 

on what should be done with the camera-original motion 

picture film of the assassination that was taken by 

Abraham Zapruder on November 22, 1963.  That film has 

been stored, the original has been stored at the 

National Archives.  It was placed there by Mr. 

Zapruder's heirs, which now have formed a company, and 

they claim to possess legal title to the film.  

So the Review Board is faced with the 

question of how to properly handle this artifact, the 

original -- the camera-original film from the day of 

the assassination.  We have assembled today for 

testimony an interesting group of experts related to 

legal issues that are associated with this question, 

and certainly issues relative to the value of the 

camera-original film taken by Abraham Zapruder, the 

film itself.

I would like to ask before we begin whether 

any of the other Review Board members have any comments 

that they would like to make before we get into the 


[No response.]

Again, I appreciate all of you coming today.  

Thank you for attending this hearing.  We are going to 

hear first from the general counsel for the 

Assassination Records Review Board, Mr. Jeremy Gunn, 

who is going to outline some of the issues that are 

presented to the Review Board by the Zapruder film.

Mr. Gunn.

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