The Jeffrey MacDonald Information Site is a compendium of information about the Jeffrey MacDonald case. MacDonald was convicted in 1979 of the murders of his pregnant wife and two small daughters. He is serving three life sentences for that brutal crime.

The Murders of Colette, Kimberley and Kristen MacDonald

The Jeffrey MacDonald Information Site

June 2, 1996: Jeffrey MacDonald's Memorandum to
Harvey A. Silverglate, ESQ re: Nimmich memo from Brian Murtagh

(Spelling, punctuation and grammar preserved)



DATE: JUNE 2, 1996


  • 1. I just received the February 5, 1996 FOIA release. The Nimmich memo (attached) is very important, as it lays out Murtagh's specific request as to Q89 fibers.
  • The February 5, 1996 FBI FOIA release comprises 121 pages. The rest of the analysis follows this memo.
  • 3. The item of most obvious importance to us is the Nimmich memo, dated July 5, 1989. Note that this is a different "Murtagh to Nimmich" memo from the one just received in the May 1996 FBI FOIA "final" release. This one, (July 5, 1989), is considerably more specific than the follow-up one in May release.
  • 4. (See the attachment) July 5, 1989 memo from Murtagh to Nimmich, 2 pages. Crucial memo that lays out Murtagh's plan to revisit Q89 to see if Fred Bost's fiber allegations are correct,(i.e., that Paul Stombaugh's "two purple cotton threads" at trial in 1979, are, in fact, the "two black wool" fibers of James Frier of 1979.
  • a.) Paragraph 1 - Murtagh lays out the problem (see also paragraph 2)
  • b.) Note in paragraph 1, Murtagh received the papers via "Office of Professional Responsibility" (OPR). So, when a citizen complains of unethical work by a DOJ lawyer, the OPR turns over the complaint, so the lawyer can absolve himself, and no citizen ever hears of the "result". Amazing!
  • c.) Note: Tony Bisceglie may be able to request documents from OPR, now that we have this Nimmich memo.
  • d.) Note in paragraph 3, Murtagh claims he did have prior handwritten notes in his possession. I believe this may be at variance with what he said in 1991 motions re: his knowledge of handwritten notes.
  • e.) Note also Murtagh's fascination with whether or not the defense has seen the handwritten notes (top of page 2).

  • f.) Harvey, I believe this memo is as important as Fred Bost reads it. It is very clear, now, that Murtagh asked the specific question to the FBI - "Are there four fibers on the club, or two?" And the only written answer I can see, or find, is twofold:
  • 1. Malone's written results in the lab reports issued late 1990 which do not indicate purple cotton threads in Q89. (Found in Headquarters packet of May 1996 FOIA release - our 1st view ever, I might add, of Malone's lab work), and...
  • 2. Malone's affidavit at 1990-91-92 appeals - In one affidavit, on page 11, he lists the contents of Q89 and does not mention two purple cotton threads, only 2 wool ones (he calls them one black and one green wool). On page 12 of this same affidavit, he proceeds to discuss Q100, on which he lists the 1 black wool fiber, 1 blue cotton fiber, and pointedly adds, "These are in addition to 2 purple cotton threads previously found and removed by Stombaugh". Yet, he does not mention any purple cotton "previously found" by Stombaugh in Q89.
  • g.) Since we know (now) that Murtagh was desperately trying to find 2 "purple cotton threads" in Q89, it seems really strained to say now that there "may be" 2 purple cotton threads still hidden somewhere, but originally derived from Q889. Malone wasn't given general tasks - he was specifically asked to prove or disprove 2 or 4 fibers on the club. His results only indicate dark wool fibers.

    Just in review - Recall that in Shirley Green's 1990 cataloguing of contents of Q89 for Malone, she wrote "pillbox containing 2 purp. thr" (2 purple threads). Yet, Malone still reported only 2 dark woolen fibers. The end result, to me, is very clear: Fred Bost has been correct all along. Paul Stombaugh negligently never bothered to actually study the fibers. He simply assumed 2 dark fibers had to be "purple cotton" from Q89, the pajama top. When Frier did his evaluation in 1979, Frier only saw 2 dark woolen fibers and no purple cotton.

    And now, in 1990, we have Malone, even more specifically, being asked to find 2 purple cotton, yet he reports only dark wool. The clincher is in his affidavit where he does remind the reader Stombaugh did find 2 purple cotton threads in Q100, but he does not say it about Q89. Malone must have discovered, on real analysis of the 2 dark fibers, that they were wool, not purple cotton.
  • h.) Recall that it is these exact fibers that were the crux of the government closing argument in 1979. Blackburn and Murtagh specifically used "2 purple cotton fibers" on the club to convince the jury. If we now, via a 1996 series of 2 FOIA releases - February 5 and May - can prove the purple cotton never existed, we have a major new argument. And two more things:
  • 1. It goes directly to "actual innocence".
  • 2. Murtagh knowingly, now, allowed the courts in 1991-92 make decisions based upon false information.




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