- The Washington Times - Monday, February 27, 2006

Georgetown mystery

Speculation surrounding one of the nation’s capital’s more mysterious “unsolved” killings — the 1964 slaying of CIA wife and socialite Mary Pinchot Meyer, purported mistress to John F. Kennedy and sister-in-law of Ben Bradlee of The Washington Post, as she walked along the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal towpath in Georgetown — resurfaced during a recent dinner conversation with famed Washingtonlawyer Robert S. Bennett.

It so happens that Mr. Bennett, personal attorney to former President Clinton in the Paula Jones case and, more recently, to reporter Judith Miller in her court standoff in the CIA-leak investigation, was a young law clerk to U.S. District Court Judge Howard F. Corcoran when Mrs. Meyer’s accused killer — a black man named Raymond Crump Jr., who ultimately was acquitted by his jury — stood trial in Washington.

Conspiracy theories surrounding Mrs. Meyer’s slaying have run the gamut: from her personal relationship with Mr. Kennedy, to CIA concerns about a detailed diary that she’d kept, even far-reaching suggestions that she tried LSD — supplied to her by friend and drug guru Timothy Leary — with the president at the White House.

But Mr. Bennett, a partner with Skadden Arps in Washington, leaves little doubt about who, in his opinion, was the triggerman who twice shot Mrs. Meyer at point-blank range, once in the head and once in the heart, as she was taking an afternoon stroll along the Georgetown path.

He told Inside the Beltway that as quickly as ex-football star O.J. Simpson was acquitted of double murder in the slayings of his ex-wife, Nicole, and her friend, Ronald Goldman, he picked up the telephone and called Mr. Bradlee, telling the Post editor that the O.J. verdict rekindled memories of another surprise, if not cruel judgment — the one that freed Mr. Crump in the killing of his sister-in-law, Mrs. Meyer.

Henry Wiggins, a car mechanic at a nearby gas station on M Street, testified that he’d heard a woman yell, “Someone help me, someone help me,” followed by two gunshots. Running to the wall above the towpath, he reported seeing a black man standing over the woman’s body.

No weapon was ever found. Mr. Crump, whose spirited defense was led by well-known Washington defense lawyer Dovey Roundtree, claimed he’d been fishing along the Potomac River at the time of the shooting, although police found no fishing pole or tackle in his possession.

Boyden’s ball

One could have been forgiven for thinking that Europe was an occupied territory of the U.S. conservative movement, what with representatives of Americans for Tax Reform, the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, the Competitive Enterprise Institute and other pro-market stalwarts descending upon Brussels for the fourth annual Capitalist Ball.

To the surprise of many, several hundred European capitalists came out in solidarity at this past weekend’s soiree hosted by the Centre for the New Europe. This year’s ball saw the debut of sorts of the new U.S. Ambassador to the European Union in Brussels, Georgetown resident C. Boyden Gray.

Delano weighs in

As controversy swirls around whether to allow a United Arab Emirates company to oversee partial operations of six U.S. port facilities, surviving veterans of the USS Quincy and USS Murphy were honored over the weekend for their historic mission that brought together former President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Saudi King Abdulaziz for the first time, the genesis of friendship that has lasted through today.

Grandsons of the two world leaders — H. Delano Roosevelt and Prince Turki Al-Faisal, the Saudi ambassador to the United States — were both on hand at the Watergate Hotel on Saturday to pay tribute to the Navy veterans.

Mr. Roosevelt had first traveled in secret aboard the Quincy to Yalta, where he huddled with Soviet dictator Josef Stalin and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. From there, the ship carrying him steamed to the Suez Canal, where it rendezvoused with the USS Murphy, which had traveled to Jidda to pick up the king.

In an interview with Inside the Beltway, Mr. Roosevelt, a California resident and founding member of Friends of Saudi Arabia, sought to quell the storm of protest surrounding the recent port agreement with DP World, which is now on hold despite its backing by President Bush.

“People are spinning in opposite directions,” said Mr. Roosevelt, who travels often to Saudi Arabia as a goodwill ambassador. “Anybody who thinks the Saudis are anything but our allies and friends is doing a disservice to both countries.

“Were there 9/11 participants from Saudi Arabia? Absolutely. But when I hear this verbiage that they are taking over our ports, it is not true. If that’s the case, what are we doing allowing the People’s Republic of China in our ports for decades?”

• John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or [email protected]

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