PART TWO NOTES - NINA ROMAN RHODES - SATURDAY, MARCH 24, 2012
00:00 – 00:32
We all felt the CIA was involved. I don’t want this to be on the record.
00:44 – 01:26
The constant cover-up and constant lies are overwhelming to me. This has got to stop.
01:38 – 02:22
RFK inspired Nina to get involved in political activism.
The Kennedys were victims of people who didn’t want them in power.
02:52 – 04:24
The road that put her into the kitchen pantry in 1968 began in the make-up room at NBC Burbank in 1966 when RFK was there to do a taping for Meet The Press (we eventually confirmed with the Meet The Press folks that this must have been in early December 1965 and not in 1966).
I pledged to volunteer to help if he decided to run for President.
04:30 – 05:42
Nina had to memorize 30 pages or more of script per day during her role in “Morning Star” (which perhaps speaks to her memory abilities as a witness).
A photo was taken of Nina and Liz Perry standing with RFK in the NBC Burbank make-up room at that time.
06:02 – 10:26
When RFK declared his presidential candidacy, she then fulfilled her promise to him by working as an RFK campaign fundraiser in California.
Nina created the “Kennedy Happening at the Factory.”
I spoke on the phone to Mary Jo Kopeckne.
I formed the “Kennedy Cannonball” from Union Station to Bakersfield.
All of this led to my becoming a delegate to the 1968 DNC and led to my being invited to the Kennedy suites at the Ambassador.
10:36 – 10:46
There was going to be a small party upstairs in the Kennedy suites after his appearance downstairs.
11:35 – 12:12
I did not see RFK come down for his victory speech.
There was incredible elation.
12:26 – 12:41
No, I did not see RFK give his speech. I could hear him but not see him (I was back there with Lucy Salenger).
12:45 – 13:20
I first saw RFK when he was coming down after his speech. He disappeared in a swarm of people and I ran after him with my arms extended and saying, “Come back, come back!”
15:27 – 16:24
I saw the Senator come down after his speech and also saw this tall blond man in a tuxedo (Karl Uecker) and he was ushering the Senator as fast as humanly possible away from where I was. With my arms extended, I was actually running to grab this man and to tell him, “No, no, no, you’re taking him to the wrong place!”
16:43 – 17:15
RFK was being swept. I was close enough to almost reach him when he was swept further.
17:51 – 24:51
I am at the bottom of the ramp leading to the stage. I am there with Lucy Salenger and am supposed to usher RFK to the Pierre Salinger anchor desk press room (which is to my right as I face the stage from behind it).
I see the Senator and Uecker is ushering him in the opposite direction, which is to my left and toward the kitchen.
I begin run to follow them.
The crowd is now swarming around them.
I am saying, “Wait, wait, wait, that’s the wrong way!” and my eye is on the Senator and Uecker.
I am through the kitchen pantry and only about six feet behind the RFK.
RFK is greeting people and being very sociable, talking to people and they are talking to him. But this is a very short walk and not a long walk.
Suddenly I hear these popping noises, which I thought were flash bulbs.
I look up and see this man who appears to be a little higher (on a steel table of some kind).
I see Rafer Johnson, Rosie Grier run toward this man, who twists away.
During this time, there are shots to my right that are much more rapid fire.
People are falling around me. I see a man sliding down a wall.
I see RFK kind of turn and fall.
I remember screaming, “Oh no! Oh my God, no!”
I am ducking but also in complete shock as to what’s going on. And I pass out.
I know the shots were at least 12 to 14 shots. They kept coming, rapid fire.
When I came to, my dress was wet, my shoe was off and the belt to my dress is gone.
I realized I had been trampled.
I see RFK on the floor with Ethel kneeling beside him.
He was bleeding.
I thought he was already dead.
I turned and ran because I couldn’t stand to look at that.
I ran screaming “He’s dead, they killed him!”
My husband Michael Rhodes grabbed me and told me, “Don’t say that!”
I ran in the opposite direction of the kitchen to the Salinger press room.
Carmen and Louis Warschaw told me, “Don’t say that!”
I really thought he was dead at that time.
I remember being on the little steps of the stage later and a man with a microphone started questioning me. I told him how many shots I heard but asked him to leave me alone.
Everything happened so fast.
I fainted again later on the way to getting the car (the valet brought the car).
I do know there was another shooter.
I hope some day all this comes to light and justice will prevail.
25:08 - 25:26
I didn’t want to bring up the fact that Michael slapped me. When I said “He’s dead, they killed him!” my husband Michael Rhodes slapped me across the face and said “Stop it, you’re hysterical, he’s not dead, stop it!” That’s why I broke away from Michael and ran to the Warschaws. Michael did have a tendency towards a bit of drama at times.
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.”