A reporter who said he was “the actual — and only — reporter” to have seen a JFK figure before he committed suicide in 1977 wrote that Bill O’Reilly was definitely not present at the time, and got his facts wrong in claiming he was.
In a piece for Newsweek published on Tuesday, the biographer of JFK assassin Harvey Lee Oswald, Edward Jay Epstein, rebuked O’Reilly’s claim to have been on the scene when George de Mohrenschildt, a friend of Oswald, killed himself.
O’Reilly has repeatedly said and written that while reporting on the assassination investigation for Texas station WFAA, he was at the doorstep of the house in Florida where Mohrenschildt killed himself.
Epstein explained that he had interviewed de Mohrenschildt only hours before the Russian emigré died, and wrote that “O’Reilly’s story does not fit the facts.”
“For one thing, O’Reilly put himself at the wrong house,” Epstein wrote, pointing out that O’Reilly claimed to have heard the shotgun blast at de Mohrenschildt’s daughter’s house. According to Epstein, de Mohrenschildt killed himself at the home of C.E. Tilton.
Epstein went on to cite evidence from police reports and witnesses that contradicted O’Reilly’s account.
In audio recordings of a 1977 phone call with investigator Gaeton Fonzi on the day of the suicide, O’Reilly can be heard saying he had not yet traveled to Florida and had heard of the death secondhand. Ex-colleagues have also told the liberal watchdog Media Matters that O’Reilly was in Texas at the time.
Ironically, in those same recordings, O’Reilly can be heard referencing “Epstein,” saying, “he knows what happened.”
“We gotta get this guy Epstein,” O’Reilly said on the tapes. “I’m comin’ down there tomorrow, I’m comin’ to Florida.”
“We gotta get this guy, he knows what happened,” O’Reilly said in the recording.