May 11, 2005: E-mail from Jim Blackburn
Published with permission of the author
I have been reading your website for some time now, more recently due to MacDonald's request for parole, and just wanted to comment on it. I think it is excellent and getting better all the time.
I really commend you for putting so many documents on there for people to read, not only the court documents and transcripts, but also the personal notes you have received from so many people.
Including people who have been on the investigative side, the defense side and perhaps in-between adds so much depth to your site and also to an understanding of the entire case.
I would think that anyone wishing to learn more about this case, its particulars or just trial work in general would do well to read what you have included.
You allow people, no longer living, such as Freddy Kassab, to come alive again. I read yesterday for the first time ever the comments he wrote about "how it all started". Fascinating reading.
You know that this case has consumed so many people for so many years, myself included. It is hard to just put it away. One of my main memories from all that has happened is a comment Brian Murtagh made to me just before the trial opened in July, 1979. He wanted to know if he could be the one who stood up in federal court and said the United States Government was ready for trial when Judge Dupree called the case for trial. Then a few weeks later, he told me that his wish was for the case to go to the jury so that they could decide, and he would live with whatever decision they made.
This is the real Brian...passionate about the case, certainly. But also someone who wanted justice and fairness and to do it within the judicial system. He simply wanted to do his best. And he did...and so did so many others on the government side.
I am sure that there were many on the defense side, equally committed to MacDonald who also did their very best. And that is commendable as well.
But in the end, the jury came to its conclusion...a sad one for everyone...there were no winners...but, in my opinion, the right and just one. MacDonald will have to live with that the rest of his life.
Best wishes to you.