PART ONE NOTES - NINA ROMAN RHODES - SATURDAY, MARCH 24, 2012
1:24 – 3:55
Nina resides near Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
She’s been in Canada since about 1987 or 1988 (September 1987?).
L.A. Mayor Tom Bradley helped her during her move to Canada.
4:02 – 4:45
Nina did political fund raisers for Tom Bradley.
She and Bradley went as delegates to the 1968 DNC in Chicago (along with Rafer Johnson, Rosie Grier, Shirley MacLaine, Warren Beatty).
4:53 – 6:43
Nina was born into a large extended family in Brooklyn in 1934.
Today they are celebrating the 70th birthday of her only sister Suzy (wife of Yale Summers).
Suzy followed Nina into acting.
7:08 – 7:42
Nina is an avid follower of CNN.
8:10 – 10:43
Nina: Could not watch footage of RFK until Brad contacted her.
After talking with Brad, Nina realized she had been suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome over witnessing the RFK shooting.
Looking at RFK straight in the eye, Nina knew he meant what he said.
Nina is hopeful that maybe now the truth concerning RFK’s death will at last come out.
10:59 – 13:01
Nina: RFK was directed to an area opposite the area where she had thought he was going to go.
There were more than 8 shots.
Nina: I wish there were recordings of me from that night saying that I heard at least 12, maybe 14, shots.
There was a second shooter to my right.
RFK was also to my right.
Sirhan was almost straight ahead and a tad to my left and standing on something.
There were two shooters.
It must come out that there were two shooters and who they were.
No more cover-ups.
No more unfair reporting by the authorities.
13:24 – 15:09
The talk was that we knew there was somebody else (a second shooter).
Didn’t say anything publicly because of the upcoming Sirhan trial.
Nina’s 1968 FBI interview summary was “absurd”.
When Melanson sent her the FBI report, she wrote down and circled things that were wrong in that report.
15:30 – 15:51
Nina has given the same story since 1968 and has never changed her story, but it was changed by the FBI.
16:09 – 17:00
There was a group of us who were at the Ambassador and talked about the assassination afterwards – who thought that perhaps the truth would never come out but they should not say anything due to the Sirhan trial.
Nina was never called to testify.
17:30 – 19:01
Never had a uniformed police officer come to her home. Only two FBI agents came to her home.
The FBI agents left behind their attaché case.
Nina called her friend Donna Bromberg to come over and witness that Nina never looked inside the attaché case.
19:33 – 23:00
Nina is opposed to Sirhan gaining freedom.
I do believe Sirhan got a couple of shots off at the beginning when she automatically turned to his direction.
The first shots sounded like pop sounds and she thought at first they were flashbulbs.
The shots were still going on.
Sirhan was elevated – above the floor.
I looked to my right and the Senator was falling, as were others.
I screamed, “No, oh my God, No!” and fainted.
I was only 6 to 7 feet away from RFK.
The shots were to my right, where RFK was.
As I was running, the shots first seemed like they were coming from one direction then seemed like they were coming from another direction.
People were being shot “in all directions.”
When I came to, Ethel Kennedy was kneeling by RFK.
When I came to, my dress was wet, my shoe was gone, the belt from my dress was gone.
I knew I was trampled although I wasn’t injured.
I knew he was shot in the back of the head.
23:13 – 24:17
RFK had been walking straight on and talking with people and being very social.
The sound was amazing with people talking, “Hey, Senator!”
My main reason for following him was to bring him back to the other room (the Salinger press area where the Salinger anchor desk was located, west of the kitchen pantry) and I am shouting after him “This is the wrong way! Come back!” as everyone else is shouting, “Hey, Senator!”
Over my voice (and over their voices), I’m hearing the shots erupt.
24:27 – 25:20
I definitely feel Sirhan was one of the shooters and, no, I don’t feel he should be exonerated.
“Absolutely” he should remain in prison to “serve his term”.
25:42 – 28:15
I’m a licensed hypno-therapist.
I studied with William Kroger.
I also have a certificate from the Harbor Society of Clinical Hypnosis.
Those hypnotized don’t do anything that you really don’t want to do.
All hypnosis is self-hypnosis.
I heard the hypnosis expert (an older man with a beard from the early days of the Sirhan case leading up to his 1969 trial) leading Sirhan into possibly a false recollection.
I saw this in a film presented at the Sundance festival.
That’s not what you do. Instead, you let the hypnosis subject speak and say what he wants.
28:29 – 28:41
It was a film produced by an Irishman and shown at Sundance - Shane O’Sullivan’s “RFK Must Die!” film documentary.
29:15 – 29:32
You just don’t lead the hypnosis subject. Leading them is not how you get what’s in their subconscious.
29:51 – 33:37
Nina has two different certificates: one from Harbor Society of Clinical Hypnosis and one from the late Dr. Kroger of Beverly Hills.
I still practice but I don’t charge.
Began her interest in hypno-therapy during her divorce from Michael Rhodes (after the RFK assassination).
She met Dr. Kroger around 1973 or 1974.
33:40 – 33:41
She married Mike Rhodes in 1961.
33:45 – 34:40
Husband Mike Rhodes was at the Ambassador Hotel with her and he heard the shots from wherever he was at the time. Mike was not in the pantry with us.
34:49 – 34:55
Mike Rhodes might have been at the studio or in his office when he was interviewed by the authorities.
35:09 – 37:26
The first shots sounded slower. The rest of the shots were much more rapid.
Only the first two or three shots sounded to her like flashbulbs. The rest were obviously gunshots.
The FBI might have misinterpreted her description of the sound of the shots (sounding to her like flash bulbs) by incorrectly reporting that she had seen flashes.
I do not remember seeing flashes.
I thought I heard flashbulbs.
Then, after two or three of them, I realized they were not flashbulbs but gunshots.
I could not have seen flashes from the second shooter to my right because there apparently were people in between me and the second shooter to my right (the second shooter may have been two people away from me).
By then, Sirhan had been apprehended by people who swarmed on him.
37:42 – 38:48
Certified and licensed as a hypno-therapist by Harbor.
Have practiced it since 1974, I believe.
It is a “startling modality” for self-realization and healing and memory recall and self-help.
It is a positive modality of hypnosis.
39:08 – 40:20
I fully cannot wrap my mind around the fact that all of this is coming out now (concerning the RFK assassination).
It’s sad but hopeful.
It could assist me in my own healing.
More important, it could bring justice.
42:57 – 43:25
AG Harris references to Nina Rhodes in the AG’s 2-1-12 court brief are “completely false.”
Harris is “I feel parroting . . . the FBI and the government.”
“It’s just false.” The FBI “chose to release this report (1968 Rhodes FBI interview summary) in order to conform with what they wanted the public to believe, period.”
“I never said that. I never, never said it. But if the (California) attorney general is saying it, she’s going according to what the FBI chose to put into their report.”
44:47 – 49:42
In Nina’s 1992 statement for Melanson she referred to the “press room” but that was NOT a reference to the Colonial Room press room – rather it was a reference to what was also being called a “press room” (in this case, “press room” means the Pierre Salinger anchor desk press area located at the opposite end from the Colonial Room… or west of the kitchen pantry).
The Salinger press room or area was where Nina was asked to help bring RFK after his victory speech (as opposed to the Colonial Room press room which was where RFK was heading when he was shot in the pantry).
The Pepper-Dusek 2-22-12 federal court brief responds to the AG Harris 2-1-12 federal court brief quotes the 1992 Nina Rhodes statement to Prof. Philip H. Melanson (which the late Phil Melanson published in his late 1990s book with co-author William Klaber, entitled “Shadow Play”).
Nina: the Pepper-Dusek 2-22-12 court brief is “absolutely exactly right.”
Nina: Two or three popping sounds at first.
Pop, pop. Then pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, etc.
When the FBI and Harris say Nina heard “only eight” shots, the “anger within me is so great that I practically – I get very emotional because it is so untrue. It is so untrue.”
It seems quite possible that the following might be what Nina is remembering: After the first two or three shots that Nina heard in her left ear, the rest of the shots were heard in her right ear (because Nina is moving at the time).
Nina’s eye-line (and apparently her ear-line as well) are shifting during these moments. There are elevation changes and she is moving as the shots are firing.
“It all happened so fast. I am convinced there is another shooter. There were at least 12 to 14 shots.”
“Oh, yes. Yes, yes, yes” she was already inside the kitchen pantry while RFK was still shaking hands with people before the first shots were fired.
50:25 – 54:31
They needed a closing to the case. The most important thing to them was to close it as a one-shooter case.
I saw myself in June 1968 footage that was shown in the Shane O’Sullivan documentary.
There were others who also said, “Eight shots, my foot!” because there were more than that.
I personally believe it was the CIA because CIA Director Richard Helms hated the Kennedys.
FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover had no love for them either.
Kennedys wanted to clean up the CIA and get the Mafia out of the CIA. RFK wanted Helms out.
RFK interrupted his 1966 make-up room conversation with me to take a phone call from Defense Secy Robert McNamara (it would eventually be determined that her make-up room meeting with RFK occurred in December 1965 and not 1966).
I felt at the time that RFK could create an “incredible transformation.”
PLEASE NOTE THAT IN QUOTING NINA RHODES-HUGHES FROM HER RECORDED PHONE INTERVIEWS, NINA GRANTED US PERMISSION TO FIX SOME OF HER QUOTES AS DESCRIBED BELOW IN THIS EMAIL EXCHANGE WITH HER . . .
From: Johnson, Brad (TBS)
Sent: Wed 4/18/2012 12:33 PM
To: Nina Hughes
Subject: RE: Nina Rhodes-Hughes quotes for CNN.com article
From: Nina Hughes [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Wed 4/18/2012 12:06 PM
To: Johnson, Brad (TBS)
Subject: RE: Nina Rhodes-Hughes quotes for CNN.com article
Hi Brad: Yes. You may remove the brackets. It is all correct. Thank you again for all that you are so dedicated to achieve in bringing justice to this awful tragedy.
I will be on my cel for the rest of the day.
From: Johnson, Brad (TBS) [mailto:Brad.Johnson@turner.com]
Sent: April 18, 2012 8:58 AM
Subject: Nina Rhodes-Hughes quotes for CNN.com article
Below are just a few of the many quotes from your tape-recorded CNN phone interviews that we are planning to run in the upcoming CNN.com article.
We are listing these few below for you to look over because, for these particular ones, we have had to insert brackets containing a few extra words of our own for purposes of story flow and/or clarification.
With your permissioin, we would like to remove the brackets in the Nina quotes listed below but keep the words currently contained within those brackets. Doing that will make those words, currently in brackets, part of your official quotes -- that is, it will make them your words. But we will only remove the brackets that you see below, making those bracketed words as your own words, with your granted permission.
Among Nina's reasons for speaking to CNN about the RFK assassination: “I think (to) assist me in healing -- although you’re never 100 percent healed from that. But more important to bring justice.”
“For me it’s hopeful (and) sad that it’s only coming out now instead of before -- but at least now instead of never.”
Among Nina's responses to what the 1968 FBI report claims, which is currently being quoted in federal court papers by California Attorney General Kamala Harris: “I never said (eight shots). I never, never said it. But if the attorney general is saying it (then) she’s going according to what the FBI chose to put into their report.”
“When they say only eight (shots), the anger within me is so great that I practically -- I get very emotional because it is so untrue. It is so untrue.”
“During all of that time, there are shots coming to my right. (People are) falling around me. I see a man sliding down a wall. (I see Senator Kennedy lying on the floor, bleeding.) And I remember screaming, ‘Oh no! Oh, my God, no!’ And the next thing I know, I’m ducking but also in complete shock as to what’s going on. And then I passed out.”