July 7 - August 13, 1987: Jeffrey MacDonald vs. Joe McGinniss
July 21, 1987: Testimony of Joseph (Joe) R. McGinniss
Note from Christina Masewicz: Pages 20 through 23 of this transcript was missing when I received it
Note from Christina Masewicz: Page 24 below starts at line # 10
A I'm sorry. I would refer the questioner back to the Sterling Lord Agency which disbursed the checks, although in my experience, his information has not always been accurate or precise.
Q And if you had to determine how much money Dr. MacDonald had received from "Fatal Vision," how would you determine that figure if you were required to do so?
A MR KORNSTEIN: Objection to the form of that, your Honor. Speculation.
THE COURT: Well, I don't think so. He's asking what he would do. Overruled.
You may answer.
THE WITNESS: I think I'd refer my questioner to Sterling Lord who handles the disbursements for both of us.
Q Sterling Lord, as far as you know, should have the
accurate accounting of what money came in on "Fatal Vision" and how much was paid to Dr. MacDonald; isn't that correct?
A Well, he was the person in charge of doing it.
Q Did you ever check to see whether the accuracy of his figures was acceptable?
A No, I didn't.
Q Did you ever have your accountant check that?
A There was A conversation I had with my accountant at the time I became concerned, or at least aware of the possibility that Sterling wasn't paying as I would have preferred him to.
Q But the only person that you know of that would have the figures that would allow someone to determine how much was obtained for "Fatal Vision," how much of that was paid out to Dr. MacDonald, would be Sterling Lord; isn't that right?
A In terms of the breakdown and payouts, offhand I can't think of anyone else, because that was his job.
Q Would you take A look at Exhibit 78.
I'd like to refer you to Exhibit 78, which is A three-page exhibit, an article purportedly from the Raleigh News and Observer by Jeannie Caroll. Do you recall giving an interview sometime in the fall of 1983 to someone from the Raleigh News and Observer?
A Yea, I remember she called me on the telephone.
Note from Christina Masewicz: Pages 31 through 35 of this transcript was missing when I received it
Mr. Bostwick: No objection.
The Court: All right. 298 will be received in evidence.
By Mr. Bostwick:
Q On Friday, we were going through A series of letters, Mr. McGinniss, from yourself to Dr. MacDonald. I wanted to fill in one or two dates. Would you look at Exhibit 232?
Q Do you have it?
A I do sir.
Q I'd like to show you Page 2. First, at the top of this page, is that your handwriting at the top?
A Yes, it is, sir.
Q This is -- do I read it correctly? Does it say: Had A good recent talk with your mother. She sent the release.
A That's correct.
Q Had Dr. MacDonald talked to his mother, to your knowledge, to ask her to send you the release?
A I don't recall.
Q You did ask him to talk to his brother, and his mother, and his sister, to get those releases, though. Right?
A I may have. I probably did.
Q I'm talking about in the letters that we've already gone over. Do you recall that?
A this moment I don't recall the specific request.
But I'm not suggesting that I didn't.
Q I want to refer you to the fifth line that is typed there. And you're talking about Sterling Lord discussing with Delacort's editor-in-chief, that was about your withdrawal of the book from Dell or Delacort; isn't that correct?
A That's what he would have been talking about at that time, yes, sir.
Q And it says: I cannot and will not complete the book. He has explained, and if necessary, I will have to accept an advance from someone else and begin work on A new project in order to support myself.
Was that the position that you and your agent were talking with Dell at that time, that if they didn't let you out, you would just stop writing on the that book?
A Well, I wasn't present at any meetings or conversations that he had with any Dell executive. That is A position that he and I discussed taking.
Q You authorized him to take that position; didn't you?
A I authorized him to take whatever position he felt was best in terms of enabling me to finish the book under the most productive circumstances.
Q Did you talk to Dr. MacDonald at any time around the time of this letter, to ask him whether you could take the position that you would refuse to continue writing the book
Note from Christina Masewicz: Pages 41 through 43 of this transcript was missing when I received it
Note from Christina Masewicz: Pages 50 through 53 of this transcript was missing when I received it
Note from Christina Masewicz: Pages 61 through 64 of this transcript was missing when I received it
Note: page 65
First line of the page directly below is missing
first-four sections, all in to Putnam's where the pages will be cleanly typed , etc., etc.
Did you really have an understanding with your publisher that you could change the ending according to new events as late as January?
A If the new events were significant enough, certainly.
Q At that point did you have in mind what you would do if there was A new trial granted in terms of taking out the section about the Eskatrol Spansules?
A At that time I was only focusing on the work in front of me. I wasn't speculating what I might do if something else might happen.
Q But you were trying to tell Dr. MacDonald that if there were some new developments, that you could put them in; is that right?
A If there were significant new developments, I could have made alterations as late as the middle of January, yes, sir.
Q When you said the ending could be modified, is it the ending where you talk about pathological narcissism and the drugs?
A Well, actually the very ending, I think is in his own word, but the ending in terms of the legal history of the case was what I was referring to there.
Q But you wouldn't have been able to change the ultimate conclusion of your book that he was, in fact, guilty of murder; would you?
A Wouldn't have been able to change A conclusion, is A question that I don't I don't know the answer to. I -- at that time that conclusion was pretty firmly fixed in my mind.
Q No matter what developments occurred in January, you would have had to leave that conclusion in the book; right?
A I would have, had A new trial been granted for any reason which seemed to do with the correctness -- to have to do with the correctness of the jury's verdict, I certainly would have incorporated that information. And, in fact, towards the ending of the book I did incorporate A great deal of the, quote, "New Investigation" type of thing that he and his detectives and psychics, and those people were working on
Q But you wouldn't have been able to change the ultimate conclusion that you knew that he had committed the crimes; right?
A I don't think at that point there would have been any -- who could say it wouldn't, who could say it couldn't, that's just something that didn't happen. But I didn't foresee anything on the horizon that would have caused me to modify my conclusion at that point.
Q Would you take A look at the last page once again, just
above your signature.
Do you see where you talk about the next four weeks of being hellish?
A Yes, I do.
Q Down from the third line at the bottom it says: And please keep me posted on the progress made by O'Neill and investigators. The ending can be altered even after the book is set in type if there is A truly important break.
Who is O'Neill?
A O'Neill was his, at that time, criminal attorney, Brian O'Neill.
Q Had you had contact with O'Neill?
A If I did, it was very limited. There may have been one phone call and A brief note. It was not extensive, sir.
Q The investigator that you're talking about, is that Ted Gunderson?
A Gosh, I don't know if Gunderson was still into it then, or if he had been replaced. I think that's when Gunderson was still into it, yeah.
Q Did he have another investigator by the name of Ray Shedlick?
A I don't know if they worked together or Shedlick replaced Gunderson. I can't keep that straight.
Q Did Shedlick ever give you any information about new information that he said he had found?
Afternoon Session: July 21, 1987
Note from Christina Masewicz: Page 80 of this transcript was missing when I received it
Note from Christina Masewicz: Page 111 of this transcript was missing when I received it
Note from Christina Masewicz: Page 114 of this transcript was missing when I received it
Note from Christina Masewicz: Pages 135 and 138 of this transcript was missing when I received it