Adventures in the Jungles of Crime, Politics, and Journalism
Author: Dan E. Moldea
From Confessions of a Guerrilla Writer: My dad and my great-grandfather both died at 64. And my grandfather died just one month into his 65th year. I am now midway through 63, and I have a lot of explaining to do. . . For most of my adult life, I worked as a fiercely independent investigative journalist who concentrated on investigations of organized crime. Although my career-long obsession revolves around the 1975 disappearance of former Teamsters president Jimmy Hoffa, I was the first reporter to present the case that Hoffa-along with Carlos Marcello, the boss of the New Orleans Mafia, and Santo Trafficante, the Mafia boss of Tampa-had arranged and executed the murder of President John Kennedy in 1963, "a straight mob hit." A year after I revealed this in my 1978 book, The Hoffa Wars, the U.S. House Select Committee on Assassinations released its final report, insisting that Hoffa, Marcello and Trafficante had the "motive, means and opportunity" to kill the President. The chief counsel of the committee flatly stated, "The mob did it. It's a historical fact." My subsequent news-breaking books about the contract killing of an Ohio businessman (1983), the Mafia's penetration of Hollywood (1986), and the influence of organized crime in professional football (1989) were equally controversial but also led to wider investigations. With regard to my 1995 book about the 1968 murder of Senator Robert Kennedy, I did conclude that the LAPD had arrested the right man. But, because of all the police errors, the existing evidence gave critics of the official investigation ample opportunity to claim that the senator had been killed by a conspiracy. In the end, twenty-seven years later, I solved that case-because, for the first time, I explained what the LAPD could not: Why the crime-scene evidence had given the illusion that two guns had been fired-when, in fact, Sirhan Sirhan, whom I interviewed extensively, had acted alone. I later wrote equally solid books, concluding that football star O. J. Simpson had also acted alone when he allegedly killed his ex-wife in 1994 and that Deputy White House Counsel Vincent Foster had acted alone when he committed suicide in 1993. I published those books in 1997 and 1998, respectively. The O. J. book, which I co-authored with the two lead LAPD detectives in the case, was a national bestseller. In what many considered an act of journalistic heresy-apart from my 1990-1994 landmark libel suit against the New York Times, the newspaper that created, destroyed, and then resurrected me-I served as Larry Flynt's lead investigator for eight weeks during his highly publicized crusade to expose President Bill Clinton's enemies who had conflicting standards of private behavior for public officials: one for those they like, and another for those they don't like. Specifically, my work for Flynt led to the dramatic resignation of U.S. House Speaker-designate Bob Livingston on December 19, 1998-the climactic moment that derailed right-wing dreams and schemes to remove the President from office. For this, I make no apology. However, my work for Flynt represented a career-altering experience. After years as an independent investigative journalist, I began working as an independent investigative consultant who specialized on opposition research against the radical right of the Republican Party, which, to me, had become as dangerous and nefarious as the Mafia. Nine years later, I discovered the phone number of U.S. Senator David Vitter (R-LA), another right-wing hypocrite, in the private telephone records of Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the so-called "D.C. Madam" with whom I had worked on a book about her life and times prior to her tragic suicide in 2008. . . Yet, despite the chronic chaos and combat that has marked my career, I have worked hard to establish a solid reputation as an honest, careful, and thorough journalist, author, and investigator.