National Press Club

Sirhan Lawyer’s RFK Appeal

Sirhan Lawyer’s RFK Appeal

July 20, 2017 10:00 AM

Location: Zenger Room

Claim: “Sirhan Sirhan wrongfully convicted
in 1968 assassination of RFK”

Historic petition to OAS seeks retrial or hearing

Briefing by famed attorney William Pepper at July 20 NPC news conference

July 20 2017, 10:00 a.m.
Location: Zenger Room

Washington, DC —Noted attorney, author and human rights advocate Dr. William F. Pepper is filing a petition this week to the Organization of American States (OAS) seeking justice for his imprisoned client Sirhan B. Sirhan. The 200-page filing describes Sirhan as wrongfully convicted of the 1968 assassination of Pepper’s friend, Robert F. Kennedy, the late New York U.S. senator and Democratic presidential candidate.

Pepper presents his evidence and arguments at a 10 a.m. news conference here on July 20 at the National Press Club.

Seeking a new trial for Sirhan or an evidentiary hearing, Pepper’s petition against the U.S. government is being filed on July 19, 2017 with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), an OAS body. The filing alleges that the California and U.S. justice systems violated Sirhan's right to a fair trial, as required under the OAS Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man. By treaty, the IACHR may review U.S. cases and those from 34 other nations when domestic remedies have been exhausted.

“Among the many abuses that I have discovered,” said Pepper, “the petition describes how Sirhan’s late defense counsel, Grant Cooper, was compromised by a secretly pending felony indictment. It posed a major conflict that deprived Sirhan of effective counsel. Cooper conducted no independent investigation. He explicitly accepted his client's guilt and the state's case without real challenge.”

“According to many witnesses,” Pepper said, “additional shots were fired by a second assailant during the attack on June 5, 1968 after Kennedy won California’s Democratic primary for that year’s presidential race.”

Among those supporting the petition are Paul Schrade, an RFK friend who was shot by Sirhan, and the noted forensic pathologist Cyril H. Wecht, M.D., J.D. Schrade unsuccessfully begged a California parole commission in February 2016 to free Sirhan as innocent of killing Kennedy.

Andrew Kreig
Justice Integrity Project editor