Scholar says Charlie Crist's investigation into the deaths of Harry T. Moore is bogus by Mitch E. Perry09/26/06
Less than a month before the GOP Primary, gubernatorial candidate and Attorney General Charlie Crist announced that his office had solved the 55 year old murders of a major civil rights activist and his wife â€“ identifying 4 dead KKK members as the perpetrators.
But a scholar who wrote a book about the late Harry T. Moore says Crist has got it wrong. (roll tape#1 o.q.â€?on these 4â€?)
Ben Green is perhaps the pre-eminent scholar when it comes to the life and death of Moore, the state chairman of the Florida NAACP from 1941 to 1951. He doesnâ€™t believe the Attorneyâ€™s report, released last month, that fingers 4 klansman â€“ Earl Brooklyn, Tillman Belvin, Joseph Cox, and Edward Spivey as the men who murdered the Moores(roll tape#2 o.q.â€?to single out these 4â€?)
Moore and his wife Harriett were killed by a bomb planted underneath their home on Christmas night, 1951. His killers were never found.
There had 3 investigations prior to Attorney General Cristâ€™s involvement in the case beginning 2 years ago. An original FBI report in 1952, that encompasses 2,000 pages, and one that Ben Green knows thoroughly, as it aided his research for his 1999 book, â€œBefore His Time: The Untold Story of Harry T. Moore, Americaâ€™s First Civil Rights Martyrâ€?.
Moore said he consulted frequently with investigators in the Attorney Generalâ€™s office. He said once he read the report, he discussed it with the officeâ€™s Civil Rights chief, Allison Bethel (roll tape#3 o.q.â€?Harry Moore movieâ€?)
Charlie Crist says he stands by his officeâ€™s report, as he told WMNFâ€™s Roxanne Escobales last week (roll tape#4 o.q.â€?every confidence in themâ€?)
Ben Green says heâ€™s particularly troubled by the use of old evidence to come up with a new verdict. Specifically, he mentions in the Crist report, how one KKK informant told the FBI that Klansman Earl Brooklyn had displayed floor plans of the Moores home at a Klan meeting a year before the bombing.
And another Klansman , Tillman Blevin, a close friend of Brooklyn , was initially suspected of providing dynamite for the bombing. But Green says the report fails to say that this allegation was discredited by the FBI itself because the informant was not reliable (roll tape#5 o.q.â€?of Harry T. Mooreâ€?)
Appearing with Charlie Crist at his news conference last month announcing that the case had been â€˜resolvedâ€™ was the Mooresâ€™ daughter, Evangeline. Ben Moore says that his disagreement with the Crist case was difficult to express to Evangeline, who he has become close with over the years (roll tape#6 o.q.â€?back home to Marylandâ€?)