April 30, 2017

Dan Moldea: Rough Drafts of History

By In Interviews

Dan Moldea discusses his investigations that have led to eight books and revelations about organized crime, a fierce battle with The New York Times, and obtaining information that took down a soon to be Speaker of the House.

“Journalism is the first rough draft of history.” – Phillip Graham

Dan Moldea is an author and investigative journalist originally from Akron, OH and living today in Washington D.C. His first book, The Hoffa Wars, traced the rise of Teamsters leader Jimmy Hoffa and how that union and organized crime became intertwined under his leadership. The book was also among the first publications to discuss the existence of the CIA-Castro plots and was the first to make the claim that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated at the behest of Hoffa and mafia figures Santo Trafficante and Carlos Marcello..

Among Dan’s subsequent books was Interference: How Organized Crime Influences Professional Football and The Killing of Robert F. Kennedy: An Investigation of Motive, Means, and Opportunity. Interference led to a backlash from the NFL and an important lawsuit filed against The New York Times for libel that the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals decided for Moldea, but subsequently reversed themselves after being asked to reconsider.

During the impeachment investigations of Bill Clinton, Dan was hired by Larry Flynt in an effort to expose hypocrisy among House members that had engaged in similar behavior. Among those whose infidelity was revealed by Moldea was the designee for House Speaker, Bob Livingston, who resigned after his affair was made public.

His most recent book is his memoir Confessions of a Guerrilla Writer.

Dan Moldea

Dan Moldea speaks in Canton, OH on November 22, 2016 at the Stark Public Library.

Read the first chapter of all eight of Dan’s books at www.moldea.com.

By Dan Moldea:

Dan Moldea

Dan Moldea

Dan Moldea

Dan Moldea

Dan Moldea

Dan Moldea

[Note: this interview was conducted on March 25, 2017.]

OR: Dan, thank you very much for joining us today. We’re excited to talk to you. There’s quite a few parts of your career that hopefully we can talk about and some fascinating mysteries that you’ve helped solve and some fascinating mysteries you’ve investigated that are still outstanding. I think you wrote in your memoir (Confessions of a Guerrilla Writer) that you broke into investigative journalism by way of the Hoffa disappearance. Before that you kind of had an itch to get into politics and Hoffa’s disappearance drove you in the other direction. Would you say today looking back that the Hoffa disappearance is still the mystery that fascinates you the most?

DEM: Oh, yeah. I view myself as Ahab and the Hoffa case is my white whale. After 42 years, I continue to be fascinated by and continue to investigate the case. In fact, I’m in the midst of a situation right now where someone has claimed to me that they know where the body is. This is not the first time someone has stepped forward with this kind of claim, so I’ve developed checkpoints and litmus tests in order to filter out the people who have no legitimate information. I think there is a reasonable chance this is legitimate. The individual who came forward is looking for a payday and I, obviously, can’t afford to pay the kind of money he is seeking, so I’ve been cut out of the denouement, the actual moment of truth. But, keep your ears open because you just may hear something. I’m just hopeful that we can finally solve this case.

OR: If something does happen, when should we expect it?

DEM: I don’t know because the timing is no longer in my hands.

OR: Do you really think there’s much of a chance that after all these years the body could be found?

DEM: There is a reasonable chance. The person who came forward is someone who would be in a position to know. I don’t know why they would be going through all of this if they did not have the ability to deliver, because I’m sure they understand that without a body they aren’t going to get paid. But, I guess we’ll just have to see.

People can always surprise you and have motivations for doing things that you would never consider. In 2009, another individual led me to believe that they knew the location of the body and they led me on a wild goose chase.

OR: Oh, you wrote about this in Confessions of a Guerrilla Writer.

DEM: Correct. It’s in the prologue of Confessions of a Guerrilla Writer. This person was trying to set me up with drugs and some other things because he was facing some serious charges. If he was able to make the District Attorney believe he had legitimate information on me and that I was involved in serious illegal activities, he would be able to negotiate on his sentence. A whole dragnet of police cars descended upon me in a parking lot, but in the end I was able to straighten everything out.

But, you never can know exactly what the motivations of others are. I cannot see any possible motivation for the person currently claiming to know the location of Hoffa’s body, but I couldn’t see any in 2009 either. We just have to wait for the finale to see how legitimate it is.

OR: I guess, maybe we could back up a little bit to run through a tale you must have told now millions of times. Hoffa disappears in, was it 1975?

DEM: Correct. July 30, 1975.

OR: And he was going to a restaurant in Detroit…

DEM: The Red Fox, in Bloomfield Hills just north of Detroit.

OR: And this was the last time his family saw him…

DEM: He was meeting a couple of Mafia guys, Tony Provenzano and Tony Giacalone.

OR: You detailed not only your investigation of the disappearance, but the entire connection between Jimmy Hoffa and organized crime in The Hoffa Wars. What do you think happened that day and what do you think was the motivation behind it?

DEM: I view the Hoffa disappearance as a three act drama, with different characters in each act.

Act one is Hoffa going the Red Fox restaurant to meet with Provenzano and Giacalone. Supposedly, neither of those two people show up to the restaurant and Hoffa thinks he’s been stood up.

Then comes Act two, where Hoffa is picked up in a car and driven to a private residence. I believe it is most likely that the private residence was a farm in Wixom, Michigan. The FBI went to that farm in 2006 and dug it up, but did not find anything. But, I still think that was where Hoffa was probably murdered.

Act three is the disposal of the body, when Hoffa is stuffed into a 55 gallon oil drum and loaded onto a Gateway Transportation truck and shipped to New Jersey where he is buried at Phillip Moscato’s dump. Moscato owned a landfill in Jersey City and was connected to Provenzano.

Ralph Picardo, one of the associates of some of the players in the murder, found himself in prison on unrelated charges and he started talking in hopes of getting released. One of the members of the conspiracy visited him in prison and Picardo was able to hear the whole story. He was able to negotiate himself out of jail, but I think once everyone realized he was talking they moved the body from the landfill to another place. It seems likely that the body is still in that place today.

When I wrote The Hoffa Wars, I absolutely believed that the body was crushed and smelted. I just assumed that none of these guys would have kept it in tact and risked it being found. These guys are professionals, so they are obviously not interested in a trophy. Later, though, it was explained to me that there were some very good reasons to not destroy the body. If anyone who knew was later indicted on serious charges, then knowing where Hoffa’s body or DNA is would be an incredible bargaining chip. Perhaps even a get out of jail free card. So, I’ve changed my view somewhat and I think there is a very good chance the body still exists. In all likelihood, the body is still inside an oil drum somewhere.

Dan Moldea

The cover of The Detroit Free Press the day after Hoffa went missing, August 1, 1975.

OR: And you believe Sal Briguglio was the guy that actually committed the murder. Correct?

DEM: Correct.

OR: And who was Sal Briguglio working for?

DEM: Sal was a Business Agent for a New Jersey local and worked directly for Tony Provenzano as an enforcer. As I mentioned earlier, Provenzano was one of the two guys Hoffa was expecting to meet the day he went missing and it is clear that Provenzano played a large role in the killing.

Provenzano has always claimed to have been at home in New Jersey the day of and the day before Hoffa’s disappearance. But, I have spoken to sources that contradict this. I interviewed someone named Donovan Wells. Wells lived on the farm in Wixom where I believe Hoffa’s killing occurred. He confirmed to me that Provenzano was in Detroit the day before the meeting and eating dinner with Rolland McMaster. McMaster was a Detroit thug and I believe he was also involved in the murder. The story that Wells told was that he was having dinner in a mob hangout in Detroit the night before the murder when Provenzano walked in and asked to speak to McMaster in private. Phillip Moscato also confirmed to me that Provenzano was in Detroit the night before, but I have never been able to receive confirmation of his whereabouts the day of the murder.

Someone named Frank Sheeran wrote a book many years later that claimed that he was the individual who actually carried out the killing. Sometime soon, a movie will be coming out based upon the book that Martin Scorsese will be directing. Robert De Niro will be playing Sheeran and Al Pacino will play Hoffa. It’s going to be a star studded event. I interviewed Sheeran in 1978 and I do believe he was there on the day Hoffa died, but he wasn’t the one who actually committed the murder. He claimed for many years that it was Briguglio, but he wasn’t able to sell his book with that story. I think he changed his story and falsely confessed so he could sell his book.

Dan Moldea

Tony Giacalone, one of two men Hoffa was scheduled to meet when he went missing. This 1975 photo was taken after Giacalone was arrested by the FBI. (Public Domain)

OR: So in 1975 when this happened, was the Church Committee already going?

DEM: Yes. I think the Church Committee was during 1975 and 1976.

OR: Do you think it’s possible to isolate a motive, or were there so many motivations to kill Hoffa that it’s not worth trying to isolate just one?

DEM: I think that Hoffa was killed because he was talking. He had been released in a commutation by Richard Nixon in December 1971. Nixon was trying to curry favor for his re-election bid with the Teamsters Union. Most unions don’t support Republicans, but in this particular year the Republicans were enjoying the full support of the Teamsters Union which they would later do in 1980 when Ronald Reagan ran. Hoffa was still very popular with the rank and file members of the union, so Nixon improved his image with the labor movement by commuting Hoffa.

There was a restriction on that commutation, though, and he could not seek union office until 1980, when he would have been 70 years old. Hoffa resented the fact that so many of his mob friends had been, he thought, abandoning him and he wanted to come back into the union. He was fighting the restrictions on his commutation and when he saw that he was not going to get the restrictions removed that way, he started talking. He was talking to grand juries, he was talking to congressional committees, Senate committees, and the Church Committee.

Dan Moldea

Sal Briguglio

OR: Wasn’t Hoffa a CI (confidential informant) after being released as well?

DEM: I have been told fairly authoritatively that that’s correct.

He was the original liaison between the CIA and the mafia in the CIA-Mafia plot to assassinate Fidel Castro. It was only after he was indicted on the Sun Valley land fraud scandal that he was taken out of that role and replaced by Bob Maheu, who was the top assistant to Howard Hughes, the billionaire recluse.

OR: So, you think it was more a matter of what Hoffa might say, rather than anything to do with Teamster pensions or power within the Union?

DEM: The pension funds are the reason that the meeting at The Red Fox was set-up that day. That is based upon information that Moscato had told me. Tony Provenzano was having problems with a depleted pension fund at his local, which was local 560 in Union City, NJ. The other person who was supposed to attend this meeting was Anthony Giacalone, who was related by marriage to Tony Provenzano. It would have been very believable to Hoffa that Giacalone was looking out for Provenzano and that this meeting was legitimate.

So, even if the pension funds were not the principal reason for the murder, they played some role. I think the information Hoffa knew, though, was a more likely motive.

Dan Moldea

Tony Provenzano in 1975.

OR: Tony Giacalone was the individual who was at a country club that day so he’d have an alibi, right?

DEM: He was at a health club called The Southfield Athletic Club.

OR: Also in the book The Hoffa Wars, you were the very first person to suggest a theory that’s now maybe the most popular theory in the JFK assassination, which was that the Mafia and in particular Santo Trafficante and Carlos Marcello organized the hit along with Hoffa. Now, the motive for that has always been clear…

DEM: …and what motive is that?

OR: Oh, well Robert Kennedy had embarrassed, not just embarrassed but threatened the survival of…

DEM: Concluding that the mafia had organized the assassination of JFK was a real departure for me. I definitely did not think that I would end up there when I started writing The Hoffa Wars.

The Fund for Investigate Journalism awarded me a grant in 1977 to write the book and I became good friends with the Executive Director of the Fund. One day when we were having lunch he told me about someone who had great information that I should go and talk to. When I asked him what the information was about, he told me the ‘JFK murder’ and I immediately didn’t want to go talk to him, but he convinced me that I should. It turned out that this person had some very good information including phone records of Jack Ruby that showed that during the weeks prior to the murder of JFK, he was calling everyone around Hoffa and others around Marcello and Trafficante. I brought this guy on board as a consultant for the book.

Ultimately in The Hoffa Wars I concluded that Jimmy Hoffa, Carlos Marcello, and Santo Trafficante had arranged the murder of the President. At the time I took a ton of grief for that.

People’s opinions started to change when the House Select Committee on Assassinations started doing its investigation. The person I hired as a consultant also worked for the committee as an investigator and co-authored the final report of the committee along with Dick Billings. The committee’s conclusion was virtually the same as mine. Robert Blakey, the chief counsel to the committee, publicly said, “The mob did it. It’s an historical fact.”

OR: Have you met Bob Blakey? He seems like a very fine person.

DEM: Yeah, sure. He’s someone I really look up to.

I would just like to underscore this point, because it’s something that I’m very proud of in this investigation. I was able to interview many of the key players in the Hoffa murder and I was the only one who interviewed them. Even the Feds were not able to get anything more than the fifth from these guys, but I am very proud to have recorded their statements on the record. I’m referring to Sal Briguglio, Gabe Briguglio, Tom Andretta, Stevie Andretta, Bill Buffalino, and Frank Sheeran.

I am also very proud that I was the first one to say that Hoffa, Marcello, and Trafficante had assassinated President Kennedy. I don’t think it’s the most popular theory right now, a lot of people still think the CIA did it. Although, there are people that believe the CIA is responsible every time a cat gets stuck in a tree. I still believe what I wrote about the assassination in The Hoffa Wars and a lot of information since the book was published has corroborated the theory that the book puts forward.

OR: Why do you think these guys were so willing to talk to you?

DEM: I was partially lucky, but partially I just knew how to speak to these guys and push their buttons so that they would talk.

I was in New Jersey once searching for information and I had teamed up with someone from New Jersey to do a story for Rolling Stone when I decided to just call Briguglio and see if he would talk to us. My partner wasn’t so thrilled with this idea because he lived in New Jersey and was afraid of what would happen if something went wrong. So, I told him I would call on my own and pursue this. That’s exactly what I did. I just called Sal Briguglio and his secretary put me through to him and I told him I was doing a story for Rolling Stone about the Hoffa case and that I was interested in talking to him. And he said, “What makes you think I have anything to say about that?” And I said, “Well, sir you’ve neither been arrested or indicted and everyone is blaming you for this murder and you know the federal government is pointing their finger at you. And I think the government might be violating your civil rights.”

That’s a magic phrase to use when you want to get an interview with a mob guy because these guys all become civil libertarians when it comes to civil rights. I’ve never met a mob guy who’s not against wiretapping. I’ve never met a mob guy who’s not in favor of strong personal privacy laws. I’ve been bored for hours by mob guys who were whining about the alleged impingement upon their rights and freedom by the FBI and the IRS.

And it worked. He said, “Yeah, OK come on up.”

I remember being in the waiting room when Bill Buffalino came in. Bill was an attorney from Detroit who had worked for both the Teamsters and Hoffa personally. A little later, Sal walks in and the three of us went down to an empty parking garage to go to lunch. When we get to the restaurant I see Gabe Briguglio and Stevie Andretti sitting there. So, on that day I was able to interview these four guys in order to determine if their civil rights had been violated.

OR: Is it true that you have an audio recording of Jimmy Hoffa, Jr. stating that his father was acquainted with Jack Ruby?

DEM: That’s correct.

OR: Why has that not had more traction in the coverage of the assassination?

DEM: It is very difficult to say exactly why. Journalism is a crazy business sometimes. Probably the biggest reason is that Jimmy, Jr. has always denied he ever said it.

For a while, Jimmy and I got along very well. In fact, you could even say that we were friends. I think he respected that I was looking into his father’s murder and looking into situations and people that no one else was. My girlfriend was from Detroit and we were visiting her family one year during the holidays. While we were there, I decided to visit Hoffa because I knew I needed to let him know what I was writing about his father in regards to the JFK assassination.

At the time Jimmy was practicing law with Murray Chodak and I went to see him at their law offices. It was a very friendly environment. Since it was around the holidays, not a lot of work was being done. Jimmy and Murray were just having some drinks.

I told Jimmy that I had gotten some new information and was going to conclude that his dad was involved with Carlos Marcello and Santo Trafficante in the JFK murder and he said, “Oh, that’s such bullshit. OK, my dad knew Jack Ruby, but so what? He was the kind of guy everybody knew. If my dad wanted to kill Kennedy, he would have walked right up to him, pulled out a gun and blew his brains out.”

I couldn’t believe what he had said. My jaw just hit the floor and then I started writing the quote down on my notepad. But then Jimmy said, “That’s off the record.” And I said, “No, Jimmy. You know the rules. You have to tell me something is off the record before you say it. You can’t wait until my mouth hits the floor and then say it’s off the record.”

So, he turned to his partner and said, “Murray, what did I just say?” Murray Chodak said, “I didn’t hear you say anything.” Jimmy said, “See, Dan, what have you got? You’ve got nothing.”

When The Hoffa Wars was just getting ready to get published, Playboy magazine had bought an excerpt. I still think it’s one of the longest excerpts they’ve ever run. It was about 20,000 words. The Executive Editor of Playboy and I, Barry Golson, were up late at his office. It was about 2:30 in the morning and we had just put the story to bed. And so he says, “You want to go someplace and eat breakfast,” and I said sure. So we stopped at a greasy spoon over on 2nd Avenue in Midtown and he said, “You know I wish there was some way we could have a direct connection between the mafia and Ruby. And I said, “Yeah me too. The only thing I ever had was Hoffa said his dad knew Jack Ruby. He goes “What?!” And I told him the story I just told you. He goes, “Why isn’t that a story?” I said, “Well, it’s going to be Murray Chodak and Jimmy against me. And he said, “Did he say it?” And I said, “Yes.” He said, “Did you write it down?” And I said, “Yes.”

And he said, “We’re going to go back to the office right now and we’re going to add that to the story.” So, we did. We went back to the office. The first part of my galleys were gone from my book. But, the

second part we still had an opportunity to change. So, I added the Hoffa statement as an endnote to The Hoffa Wars.

The story then came out in Playboy and the book was just about to come out when Jimmy Hoffa, Jr. called me at home. He started screaming at me, really letting me have it. When somebody calls me and they’re pissed off, I will turn the recorder on, because they’re going to say something they don’t want to be known, but that’s true.

I said, “Remember Jimmy, you were the one who told me that your dad knew Jack Ruby.” He goes, “Yeah, but…” and then he went on and recounted the conversation. The significance of this is that later on when the House Select Committee on Assassinations interviewed him, he was confronted with this.

They asked about reports that said that his father had relationship with Jack Ruby and Jimmy denied ever saying it. He called me a liar and everything else. So the committee called me and they said that he was challenging me and wanted to know if I had anything to back up my claim. I told them to come over to my place and I gave them a copy of the tape.

I asked, “Are you going to indict this mother fucker for perjury?” And, of course they never did.

OR: Why not? Not worth their effort?

DEM: Oh, well, perjury is probably not well prosecuted in civil proceedings. In most civil matters half of the people involved in those cases are lying. I don’t think they can prosecute everybody who lies in a civil case

I haven’t talked to Hoffa since. Hoffa had a whole bunch of grievances with me about the way I treated his father and his mother. His mother was having an affair with a mafia guy and I think that was the reason why Jimmy Hoffa got diminished in the eyes of the local Detroit mafia. His wife was having an affair with not just one but two of the mafia guys here in Detroit. I was the first one to write about that. And Jimmy Jr. was very upset about that as well.

OR: I suppose that’s understandable.

DEM: It is understandable. But, I’m the kind of guy who really shakes things up. I have always understood that when you go after some institution, that institution is going to protect itself and they’re going to come right back at you. It hasn’t always been pretty. I haven’t always come out on top by any stretch of the imagination. But, at least I understand the game and I understand that when I attack, there’s going to be a counter attack and I expect it and I think it’s fair.

I was interviewed by Keith Olbermann on ESPN about the 25th anniversary of my book on the NFL. And he said, “the NFL came at you like a rifle shot.” And I said, “I expect it.” These guys will come after me and again. I’m fair game in those situations. So I can’t complain. If I’m going to go in and go after them, I have to expect a considerable amount of blowback.

These people will do what they need to do to survive.

OR: Just going back briefly to the JFK assassination, before we finally move on. I believe you wrote in The Hoffa Wars, it’s been several years since I’ve read it, that Oswald’s connection to the mafia was through Ferrie [David Ferrie]. Is that correct?

DEM: Yes. Ferrie was Marcello’s private investigator and his personal pilot. Ferrie and Oswald were in the Air National Guard together. There’s actually a photograph of the two of them, but I didn’t have access to the photo at the time I was writing the book.

Dan Moldea

The Hoffa Wars was released in September of 1978 and The House Select Committee on Assassinations came out with its final report in July, 1979. So, various things emerged like that photograph in the time after my book and the report were released.

OR: And Ferrie was from Cleveland. No?

DEM: I think that’s true. Then he wound up in New Orleans.

OR: Everybody seems to focus on Oswald and the CIA, I think because of the international intrigue of living in the Soviet Union or other enigmas of Oswald’s life. You don’t often see a lot of writing on his mafia connections.

DEM: That’s correct. Yeah, his guardian when he was growing up was Charlie DutzMurret, who was the head of Marcello’s bookmaking operations.

New Orleans is very key to the assassination. New Orleans was where Jim Garrison was from, the District Attorney who investigated the assassination after the Warren Commission and Oliver Stone featured in his movie. I don’t think his job was to find the truth, his job was to get the attention off of Carlos Marcello.

Ferrie eventually came into the picture during this time and died of a massive brain hemorrhage, which may or may not have been caused by a blunt instrument. The last person to interview Ferrie was a Washington Post reporter name George Lardner, who was a friend of mine. He told me that the night before Ferrie’s death he was completely obsessed with Robert Kennedy’s pursuit of Jimmy Hoffa. It was the only thing he wanted to talk about.

OR: This was in the 1970s, right?

DEM: No. This was 1966, 1967. Right around the time Hoffa went to jail in March of 1967.

[Note: Ferrie’s death was very close to Hoffa’s imprisonment and occurred on February 22, 1967.]

DEM: Jim Garrison was a Mafia stooge. Jim Garrison’s job was to derail any investigation of Carlos Marcello.

OR: And a bit of a narcissist.

DEM: I was just a teenager in Akron when all of that was going on.

Dan Moldea

Jack Wasserman (Marcello’s Attorney), Carlos Marcello, Santo Trafficante, Frank Ragano (Trafficante’s Attorney), Anthony Corolla (member of New Orleans crime family), and Frank Cagliano (also a member of the New Orleans crime family) eat together in Queens, NY in 1966.

OR: One thing that has always puzzled me is why would the mafia have people as unreliable as Oswald and Ruby take care of this for them? Do you think the mind-set of the mafia at the time was, maybe this won’t work, but as long as it doesn’t come back on us, it’s a risk worth taking?

DEM: I don’t consider myself an authority on the crime scene of the JFK assassination and I cannot say for sure what physically occurred on that day. I could believe that Oswald was the only shooter; I could believe that Oswald was there as well as other shooters. I just don’t know.

What I focus on are the connections between and among the principals. Oswald has got mob written all over him. Jack Ruby has mob squared written all over him. You may wish you have a certain type of asset or talent to execute assignments, but these were the guys available. Jack Ruby was familiar with the Dallas Police Department. They needed somebody who could get close to Oswald while he was in police custody. Jack Ruby fit that bill.

I think there will be a document dump sometime in the fairly near future where additional information is going to be coming out pointing towards the mob.

The CIA did not directly participate in the assassination, but they’re culpable in this thing because they covered up their relationship with the mafia during the CIA-Mafia Castro plots. I can’t believe that Allen Dulles was placed on the Warren Commission, who was pushed out of the CIA after the Bay of Pigs fiasco.

OR: George Joannides covered things up too?

DEM: I know Blakey was very upset about the fact that he was giving misleading information to the committee.

One of the reasons why I get a lot of criticism is that I really don’t investigate the intelligence community a lot. I know a lot of guys who were part of that world. And I like all of them personally, but they’re all trained to lie. Plus they have longstanding abilities to take reporters and turn them into their bitches. In order to get access, you tow the party line with your sources or you’re going to lose your sources and you’re going to be not getting the stories that you want. So a lot of journalists are compromised when they go and investigate the intelligence community because their sources are leading them into directions that they shouldn’t be going.

I focus on organized crime because mob guys are fairly easy to distinguish. I can tell the good guys from the bad guys. I keep using the words ‘connections’ and ‘associations’ because any reasonable definition of organized crime has to be that it is conspiracy crime. It is enterprise crime. It is crime by association. That’s how these people operate on a day to day basis.

RICO was the most effective tool against the mob for that very reason, which was written by Bob Blakey. If you investigate organized crime you are investigating conspiracies.

OR: Sam Giancana was murdered about a month before Hoffa. Do you think there’s a strong connection between those murders?

DEM: It is hard to say. Giancana was involved in the CIA-Mafia plots to kill Castro and Johnny Rosselli was involved in the CIA-Mafia plots to kill Castro as well and he was killed too. Giancana was probably killed by his chauffeur.

There were others as well. There was a guy killed in Akron, OH named Leo Moceri, he was tangentially involved in this stuff. He was found in the trunk of his car at the Holiday Inn. It was a Holiday Inn over by the Summit Mall. I don’t know what it is now. Right where Ghent Road comes into West Market Street.

OR: I think that’s a Hilton now.

Any thoughts on the current Teamster’s leadership? There’s so much more scrutiny today that some of the things that went on in the past couldn’t happen anymore, such as with the pension funds. Of course in the 1990s, though, Ron Carey was found to be fairly corrupt.

DEM: Ron Carey was a hero, I think, for what he did. He came in and reformed the Teamsters Union. I was there for his inauguration. I was there when they swung the doors of the Teamsters headquarters open and everyone started going through the marble palace. Carey had some connections, there is no doubt about it, but ultimately his convictions against him were overturned.

OR: I didn’t know that.

DEM: A lot of that stuff was nonsense.

Like I said earlier, Jimmy Hoffa, Jr. and I had a falling out a long time ago and I’ve had no communications with him since he’s been President of the Teamsters Union. My support has always been with the Teamsters for a Democratic Union, which is the reform organization that is supporting a strong union but is trying to reform the union to make it more democratic and get the mob guys out. Not that Jimmy Hoffa, Jr. is even in the same league as his father with regard to the mob. But, I am surprised that Hoffa, with his power, didn’t lean on some people a little more forcefully to find out what had happened to his father. I think he made a decision not to do that. He even told me one time that nothing is going to bring my dad back.

The labor movement is fairly cleaned up today. That’s due to a few different individuals. One would have to be Bobby Kennedy, perhaps the greatest crime fighter in the country’s history. When he was the Chief Counsel to the Senate Racketeering Committee he was eating mafia guys for breakfast. When he became Attorney General, he was eating them for lunch and dinner too.

After he [Bobby Kennedy] left, Ramsey Clark became Attorney General and the attack on organized crime went into a funk. It wasn’t resumed again until Hoffa disappeared. There was a really excellent FBI director from St. Louis named William Webster. Webster started to bring the FBI into the organized crime picture again and he did a hell of a job. He started running these sting operations, which led to a massive indictment of the five family commission in New York as they call it.

OR: John Gotti?

DEM: John Gotti is a name people like to throw around. He was a powerful street boss in Queens, but I think supposing he was the “boss of bosses” is not true. They even say that he was the head of the Gambino crime family and I don’t even think that’s particularly true. As long as you’ve got a Johnny Gambino and a Tommy Gambino and a Rosario Gambino, you’re not going to have any guy named Gotti running the Gambino crime family.

OR: So, he was better at self-promotion?

DEM: He was that. They called him the dapper Don. He was a very powerful street boss in Queens. I think he did orchestrate the murder of Paul Castellano. I think that he and Sammy Gravano were buddies and conspirators in that particular murder.

I know something about that capo. But again, the Gambino crime family is one of the most powerful crime families in the country still, and I have taken an interest in that family over the years.

OR: I wish we could talk about the Gambino family more, but out of respect for your time today, I think we have to move on. Your book Interference was about connections between organized crime, gambling, and the NFL. I think it’s an enormously important book. The only reason I can imagine it doesn’t get more attention and more people don’t read it is really a testament to the power of the NFL. Were you surprised by the amount of resistance that the book received?

DEM: I mentioned before that when you go after an institution, you have to expect it to come after you. In that sense, I wasn’t surprised at all by the resistance.

There is a strong relationship between the NFL and journalism. When I started shaking things up, the resistance I received came mostly from the sports reporters who cover the NFL on a day to day basis.

One reporter for The New York Times had covered the NFL for thirty years – longer than his marriage. He wrote the review for Interference and most of what he wrote was just nonsense. He claimed I said things that I never said and claimed I didn’t say things that were right there in black and white. He drew a lot of nasty conclusions about myself and the book, which I still think was outstanding and am proud of.

OR: It was a hit piece?

DEM: It was clearly a hit piece.

I called him personally and I said I wanted a retraction of the review. He was a nice enough guy but, basically it was clear to me he had a job to do and his loyalty was to the NFL. After that I lawyered up and my lawyer called The New York Times to ask for corrections. When they refused, we simply asked them to print my letter to the editor and allow me to defend myself against these scurrilous charges that were thrown at me and they wouldn’t even publish my letter to the editor. That’s just the basic courtesy you give to an author who’s got a bad review. But, they refused.

As a result of their refusals, I sued for libel and the case lasted longer than World War II. I had the case won. Then, the Court of Appeals did an almost unprecedented thing in American jurisprudence and reversed itself. We were at the top of the mountain with ‘Moldea One,’ as they called it and then they put us into the valley with ‘Moldea Two.’ We filed for Cert. with the Supremes and the Supreme Court decided to take no cases that year. That was also an unprecedented moment in American jurisprudence where the Supreme Court took no cases. October, 1994 was the end of Moldea v. New York Times. But, that was really quite a case.

After a loss like that, you just have to move on. I feel that I was able to do so successfully. People sometimes forget that I came out with three books in the next four years after I lost the Times case. I had the Bobby Kennedy book and then I came out with my book on the O.J. Simpson murder case, which was a huge bestseller, with the two lead detectives in the case. Then I had my book on Vincent Foster’s suicide.

Dan Moldea

The favorable article from The New York Times in 1978 that helped launch Moldea’s career.

OR: Do you think there is any evidence that fixing of NFL games continues today?

DEM: No evidence that I know of. I’m only a one man operation, but people still call me all the time with information about the NFL and I don’t have the resources to corroborate these calls, which I suspect are probably not very reliable.

I’m a hand to mouth writer. I’m not in the league of a Michael Lewis in terms of resources, who I think is the premier nonfiction writer today. He’s done remarkable work.

Having said that, I still will put my body of work up against anybody’s. I don’t care who it is. Even Michael Lewis. But, nothing succeeds like success and my success pattern has been spotty because of how controversial I have been.

OR: The good news is maybe the Cleveland Browns aren’t bad, the mafia just doesn’t want them to win.

DEM: I think it’s always bad management. Here in Washington we had a wonderful franchise with the Redskins for many years and then we get Dan Snyder, who is probably the worst NFL owner in existence. He turned this fine franchise into a joke.

I have a soft spot for Cleveland, but the Cleveland Browns that I knew are gone. They became the Baltimore Ravens when they moved out. My favorite team is the Green Bay Packers now because of ownership. It’s owned by the people of the city of Green Bay. That’s why they can’t move that franchise out of Green Bay. If that was owned by an individual I can assure you he would have moved that team to L.A. or New York by now. I think all sports teams should be owned by the citizens of the people in which they play. Citizens should be allowed to buy stock in their professional sports franchises and also require that they stay in the cities in which they play.

OR: I still remember the day when my dad came home from work and told me the Browns were moving.

You know another thing I did want to mention too is a really spectacular Frontline documentary called “League of Denial” a few years ago. It’s a pretty interesting look at how the NFL operates.

DEM: I didn’t see that Frontline documentary. But I did see the movie Concussion and I was stunned by that. This was a movie about the Doctor who studied CTE and its prevalence among professional football players and the NFL tried to discredit him and shut down his research.

If that is what happens to someone who goes after the NFL about head injuries, imagine what happens to someone who goes after the NFL on the basis of integrity.

In the midst of the controversy surrounding Interference, I filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for my FBI files because I suspected there was something going on. A book had come out called Alien Ink in 1992. The book was about the FBI’s war on the freedom of expression during J. Edgar Hoover’s reign. The FBI would take controversial books with controversial themes and then they would try to diminish those books and blacklist the authors. Hoover died in 1972, but according to Alien, which was written by a woman named Natalie Robbins who was the wife of Christopher Lehmann-Haupt the chief book critic of the New York Times back then, after Hoover died in 1972, there were 15 books that were targeted by the book review section of the FBI. The last book that was targeted by the FBI’s book review section was Interference by Dan Moldea.

I was already being targeted by the NFL security, which is the internal police force within the league. They are all former FBI and Justice Department guys. Their job is to not root out corruption and expose it. Their job is to root out corruption and cover it up. Their job is to protect the multibillion-dollar investments of the NFL team owners. That’s what they have to do. And in the end what was stunning about this was the guy who was running the book review section for the FBI was a guy named Milt Aldrich, and Aldrich was named as the head of NFL Security after the current head of NFL Security resigned.

I was stunned by that. Milt Aldrich ran a sabotage campaign against my book and ended up the head of NFL Security.

OR: He must have done a good job.

DEM: Well, I’ve got the paperwork on what happened. They just tried to completely wipe me out and we were considering legal action, but I just came out of five years of litigation with The New York Times.

Just to be clear, I’ve never been sued for any of my books. I have sued for breach of contract or for defamation, but, I have never been sued except once where I was sued by this mafia guy for conspiracy to defame. He and I had gotten along pretty well, so reporters called me to set up interviews with him. After the interviews, these reporters trashed him in their stories and so he wanted to sue me for conspiracy to defame him. He eventually just dropped the lawsuit and ended up in jail on criminal tax fraud charges. When he got out, shockingly, he asked me if I would write his memoir.

OR: I guess he thought you’re a good writer.

DEM: Hopefully.

OR: You did something incredibly courageous when you wrote your book about Robert Kennedy. You reversed your original position that a conspiracy existed to murder the Senator. I don’t know too many examples of writers doing that.

DEM: Yeah, I thought that was the end of my career for sure.

OR: You were drawn into the RFK case by Phillip Melanson. Is that correct?

DEM: Mostly by Greg Stone and Paul Schrade, who was one of the victims. There were five victims in the RFK shooting besides Kennedy himself, and Paul was one of those five.

OR: Paul Schrade always seems like the nicest guy.

DEM: He is. He’s a very nice person. But he never forgave me for concluding that Sirhan did it alone. He was really upset with me.

With all due respect to Paul, he has latched on to every conspiracy theory that I’m aware of in the RFK case. That may be exaggerated, but not by much. He has embraced almost all of the conspiracy theories.

Greg Stone was another of the individuals who brought me into the case along with Paul and Phillip Melanson. It was very sad when Greg committed suicide during the investigation. His whole life had been consumed by this case.

OR: Sirhan basically confessed to you during your interview?

DEM: Yes he did.

Sirhan was a very nice person. I spent 14 hours with him, always visiting him with his brother, Adel Sirhan. Adel was one of the finest people I’ve ever known. I would pick him up and we would drive from Los Angeles to Corcoran State Penitentiary to visit Sirhan.

Sirhan was in the celebrity ward with Charles Manson. Once when I visited Sirhan I noticed Manson across the room. The next time I visited Sirhan, he said, “Charlie and I were having lunch the other day and he asked, ‘Who was that guy you were with’ and I said a reporter from Washington named Moldea’.” And then he said that Manson later said to ask ‘that Moldea guy’ if he could get me a deal for $25,000 for a TV interview because he needed to pay his lawyer.

It took a while for me to get rid of this image of Sirhan Sirhan and Charles Manson having lunch together. I said, “Sirhan, do me a favor and don’t mention my name to Charlie anymore.” I didn’t want my name to be part of his conscious thought.

Dan Moldea

Robert F. Kennedy in Bedford-Stuyvesant, a neighborhood in Brooklyn, in 1966. (Photo Credit: Dick DeMarsico. Public Domain).

OR: But, Sirhan’s quote was that he looked Kennedy in the eye before he shot him. Is that correct?

DEM: Right.

Sirhan has always said that he was drunk that night and that he doesn’t remember the key details of going back to his car, getting his gun, and writing in his notebooks “RFK must die.” He also says he doesn’t remember the final act of going into the crime scene and opening fire on Senator Kennedy.

I confronted him on the fact that every time he claims to have a memory lapse, it goes to motive, means, or opportunity. In the final interview I had with him, I really went after Sirhan. The first interview was just me patting his hand saying ‘poor Sirhan, you’re so misunderstood.’ The second interview I got a little tougher with him because I thought that he was lying to me on a couple of things. The third interview was just flat out unpleasant for both of us. I told Adel when we were driving up that I was going to go after his brother and he told me to go ahead.

It was very, very hostile. I did not have a tape recorder, so I was taking notes, but I gave Sirhan what I considered to be a very legitimate transcript of our interview afterward and I said, “You tell me if there’s anything in here that’s inaccurate or anything you dispute.” There was just one little thing that he wanted out of there and that was it. And that’s the transcript that was published in my book on the Bob Kennedy murder.

OR: And what do you think Sirhan’s motive was?

Dan Moldea

Mugshot of Sirhan Sirhan from May of 1969.

DEM: I think he was just trying to be a man. He was a guy who was viewed as a coward and I think he saw himself the same way. He was studying to be a jockey and he fell off the horse once and it was hard for him to mount his horse again after that, he lost his nerve.

Sirhan was at a community college in Pasadena and he told me that he liked certain women, but he couldn’t get any of them. He viewed himself as being a loser at age 24. One way he thought that he could establish his manhood and to get famous in the process was to gun down one of the most popular people in the United States. He’s made comments to that effect. Like I said, I think he did give me a confession.

Sirhan had no criminal background at all. He and I are the same religion. We’re both Eastern Orthodox. I’m Romanian Orthodox and I guess he’s Lebanese Orthodox?

OR: Yeah, he’s Christian of some sort. Not sure the particular kind.

DEM:  He wasn’t a Muslim, he was a Christian. He was a very nice fellow, just half my size. In that third interview, he jumped off his chair and squared off on me. He really got upset by my line of questioning.

OR: Didn’t he have an article on him during the shooting that described RFK’s support for Israel?

DEM: I don’t recall that in particular. That’s one of the motives they’ve cited is that he was upset about this. Believe me, though, Sirhan was not so political back then.

OR: Yeah, he wasn’t. He never struck me as a political guy.

DEM: I think that became something that he concocted: ‘Bobby and support for Israel.

Sirhan’s mother was a saint. She was a wonderful person. This just devastated her. When something like this happens, there is a lot of rationalizing afterwards.

OR: One of the great mysteries of the case is who the girl in the polka dot dress was. Do you believe that was just Valerie Schulte?

DEM: I don’t know who it was, but I know it wasn’t anybody significant. Sirhan said there was a woman who gave him coffee. He said he was drunk and he was looking for coffee and right outside the kitchen pantry where the crime was committed, a woman in a plain white dress gave him coffee. He stressed that it was a woman in a plain white dress that gave him the coffee, not in a polka dot dress.

OR: The LAPD played a prominent role in the RFK investigation. They obviously again play a prominent role in the O.J. Simpson case. Do you think a straight line can be drawn from some of the carelessness or improper behavior from the 1960s, or around that time, and the public questions about the LAPD in the 1990s?

DEM: I wrote the O.J. Simpson book with the two lead detectives of the O.J. Simpson case, Tom Lange and Phil Vannatter. They picked me because of my criticism of the LAPD in the Bob Kennedy book. They wanted a critic. They wanted somebody who was going to be hard on them.

I thought the LAPD had done a horrible job of work in investigating the Bob Kennedy murder and I said so. The LAPD got the right guy but for the wrong reasons, so they didn’t really solve the case. I solved the case later sifting back through all of the evidence and making sense of it. If you believe in the evidence gathered by the LAPD, you would have to believe that a second gun was fired.

For many years, a lot of people suggested that there was a second shooter and that it was likely a security guard named Thane Eugene Cesar. He admitted that he drew his weapon that night, but says he didn’t fire his gun. When I interviewed Cesar, I got very frustrated because his story kept changing. His lawyer saw how frustrated I was and asked me what they could do to prove his innocence to me. So, I suggested a polygraph and he agreed. I hired the former president of the American Polygraph Association and while he questioned Cesar, his lawyer and I went to lunch. When we came back, Cesar had passed with flying colors.

My point in discussing Cesar is that it was legitimate for people to consider Cesar a suspect, but the LAPD never took the time to clear him or make sense of a lot of the evidence that they gathered. Even though I don’t think they got the conclusion wrong, I was very critical of that investigation.

As a result of how harsh I was with the LAPD, Tom Lange picked me to write this book about the O.J. Simpson case.

That book was very successful, the biggest book I’ve written.

OR: The O.J. case seems like one of the most open and shut cases I could ever think of. It’s difficult for me to understand why anybody would believe this guy is innocent.

DEM: It is hard to understand. But, if you put Mark Fuhrman on the stand and he walks into a perjury trap then the result can be unpredictable. I’m not a fan of Mark Fuhrman. I consider him to be a perjurer and a corrupt cop, but he had no importance in the case beyond coincidentally being the person who found the glove behind the house and I can assure you that he didn’t tamper with any of the evidence.

On the whole, the police did a good job with the investigation. The prosecution just dropped the ball when they were handed all this evidence. That’s why we called our book, Evidence Dismissed.

OR: But I think the connection I was curious about drawing was, regardless of the fact that in this specific case there’s no evidence for racism or anything of the sort…

DEM: There is. Mark Fuhrman was the embodiment of police racism. It’s no wonder that he’s now a Fox News commentator.

OR: He may have been a racist, but there’s no evidence he took any actions related to the case based on his racism.

DEM: Right. Other than perjure himself on the stand. Remember, his perjury had nothing to do with the case. It had to do with his denial that he had ever used the “N” word.

OR: Right. Which obviously he did.

DEM: There’s a tape. People lie, tapes don’t.

OR: I guess my point is that the LAPD did have a very real history of serious racial problems.

DEM: That’s a fact.

OR: Even going back to the same period when RFK was murdered. Do you feel that that history of covering things up, either inadvertently or maliciously, was part of the same strand of the story that had created so much distrust by the time the O.J. Simpson murders happened?

DEM: Tom and Phil bristled at the idea of systemic racism within the LAPD, even historically. They acknowledged isolated incidents but refused to admit any institutionalized racism. I would question that, though. I consider myself a pro-cop liberal, but at the same time, I have to acknowledge police corruption and police brutality.

The body cameras and the advancement of technology to the point that everyone now walks around with a film studio in their pockets is a good thing. Some amazing things have been captured on tape that cannot be ignored, such as cops beating up a guy or even shooting someone in the back.

OR: It’s unbelievable.

DEM: It is unbelievable. When you live that life where you’re constantly under suspicion, constantly being stopped by the police and fearing for your life, it will really get to a person over time and shape their view of events. We have to re-evaluate priorities and we have to talk about it as part of a national conversation.

Is racism institutionalized? Of course it is. As much progress as we’ve made, there is still further to go.

OR: No question.

DEM: When I think of race relations, I have to say that I miss President Obama. I miss his competence, his intelligence, and his grace under pressure. I miss knowing that this guy has control of things. I knew that he had my interests at heart versus what we’re in the midst of right now. Our current President is creating a mental health crisis in Washington D.C.

OR: Well, I’m a great admirer of Harry Truman and I would say that President Obama was our best President since Harry Truman in my unlettered opinion.

DEM: I would agree with that. I liked Bill Clinton a lot. But, Barack Obama had a lot of hurdles he had to get over and he performed with class and with grace. He was truly a great role model as well. He was a role model for fathers. He was a role model for sons. He was a role model for leaders. He was a role model for friends. I just admire him on so many different levels.

 OR:  You know, you mentioned Bill Clinton and Bill Clinton I think suffers partly from hatred by conservatives but then there’s also people of the left that were always uncomfortable with him shifting the Democratic Party to the right.

DEM: I think he went to the center. I consider myself a Clinton centrist and I will defend that. You run from the center and you govern from the center. That’s the only way to progress within the system. I’ve been in Washington D.C. for 41 years and I can tell you after a considerable amount of experience that the extremes do not work in this town. When I first came here in 1976 there were people like Bill Saxby, Nelson Rockefeller, Gerald Ford, and Howard Baker. These were moderate Republicans, reasonable people who acted on their own principles, even if I disagreed with some of those principles. At night they went out and they were friends with the Democrats and they were able to get things done and to move this country along. Now, because everybody is either so far to the left or far to the right people can’t cooperate. They can’t compromise. In fact, if you’re a right-winger and you even talked about compromising with President Obama, you got a primary in the next campaign.

A consequence of Republican’s refusal to compromise was that they have just suffered a huge loss in this Obamacare situation. I’m thrilled that Obamacare has survived, although it’s been completely obstructed and sabotaged over the past seven years. It’s unbelievable how this this whole thing has developed.

As a person who was a huge, even ferocious supporter of Hillary Clinton, she was the target of probably the most vicious, most reckless, most malicious smear campaign in American political history. This is a very honest woman. This is a woman filled with integrity and who was swift-boated and cast as a liar and as a dishonest person just like John Kerry was in 2004. Kerry was a legitimate war hero – a bona-fide, legitimate war hero – and he was swift-boated as being a coward. It’s just unbelievable how they could take a person’s greatest strength – Kerry’s heroism and Hillary Clinton’s honesty – and then turn it on its head against them. Total smears.

OR: For anyone that doesn’t know, you were hired by Larry Flynt in the midst of President Clinton’s impeachment proceedings to find evidence of hypocrisy from people on the Republican side of the aisle who were charging President Clinton with actions that they themselves were also involved in. And then, of course, you also did the very in-depth investigation into Vince Foster.

DEM: Those were two separate investigations. The first was the Vincent Foster investigation, which happened directly after I participated in the book about O.J. Simpson. My agent called to tell me that Al Regnery, a very conservative book publisher, wanted to speak to me. Regnery had also published Fuhrman’s book on the O.J. Simpson case.

Fuhrman’s conduct after the case led me to lose whatever remaining respect I had for him. One, he trashed two very fine detectives in his book – Vannatter and Lange – after those two declined to go after Fuhrman. Second, after Regnery resurrects Fuhrman’s entire career, he responds by trying to get out of his contract with Regnery, because Regnery rejected a manuscript from Fuhrman on what he considered Vincent Foster’s murder. At the time, I didn’t know anything about Fuhrman’s relationship with Regnery, but I agreed to meet with him and we got together at the Army-Navy Club in Farragut Square. I immediately was vocal about my opinion of Fuhrman and his book. I was told to basically sit down and shut up because we weren’t there to talk about Mark Fuhrman, but about what happened to Vince Foster. “That’s easy,” I said, “the guy committed suicide.” Regnery told me to prove it and he’d publish the book. I thought he was joking. He knew I was a big supporter of Clinton and I’d trashed Reagan in a previous book, but he said he wanted me because I had police contacts. I’m sure he was hoping that I would uncover evidence of foul play and knew that I was honest enough that I wouldn’t hide that. It would have been great for his cause if a liberal like myself was writing a book that gave truth to the accusations of the Clinton involvement in Foster’s death. But, I accepted his offer of $100,000 to complete the book over the next six months.

I went out and I did things that nobody had done. Ken Starr’s office hadn’t done them, the Senate Whitewater committee hadn’t done them, and the other investigations in the House and the Senate hadn’t done them. I interviewed every single cop who was either part of the crime scene investigation or the subsequent investigation of the Foster death. I interviewed every rescue worker who was there. I interviewed all the park police guys, who had jurisdiction over the case. It became clear that this guy committed suicide. There is no ands, ifs, or buts about it.

When I turned the book in, the Regnery staff was very upset. So much so that I was worried that they wouldn’t accept the remainder of the book. I received $50,000 up-front, but needed their acceptance to receive the remaining $50,000. I didn’t think they would, but right then the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke and Hillary Clinton went on The Today Show and talked about the “right-wing conspiracy” against her husband. She even asked journalists to investigate it. I remember shouting at the TV, “Lady, I already wrote that book!” I was then really hoping Regnery would reject my manuscript so that I could take it to someone in New York who really wanted it. Instead they paid me the other $50,000 and then just buried it. They did virtually no promotion. It sold horribly because it wasn’t available anywhere. They wouldn’t put me on television or radio shows, unless it was something I’d booked myself through my friends.

After my book on Vincent Foster came out, the fight between Ken Starr and the President’s lawyers heated up. The President’s attorneys were complaining about illegal leaks coming from Starr’s office as the independent counsel. Starr’s office, of course, denied any leaks. I knew that was a lie because they were leaking information to me while I was writing the book about Vince Foster. Several in Starr’s office were interviewed for my book and they knew Regnery was the publisher, so they felt safe talking to me and they started feeding me information. I thought it was important to make this public and I did when I gave a speech at the Martin Luther King Library that was covered by CNN.

Just as it was a heresy for me to go against The New York Times as a journalist, it was heresy for one journalist to talk about other reporters. But, these guys were just hiding behind the First Amendment and receiving leaks from Starr’s office and providing Starr’s office with information they could not get on their own. They were hiding behind the fence of the First Amendment, but all they wanted was Clinton’s head on a stick.

I filed an affidavit with the court, discussing all of this and documenting the bad behavior by the Office of the Independent Counsel as well as by the journalism community.

Then, Larry Flynt contacted me and asked me if I wanted the job of investigating adulterous Republicans. As a result of the investigation, I nailed the Speaker of the House designate Bob Livingston and forced his resignation on the day of the impeachment, December 19, 1998.

I also got Newt Gingrich, Bob Barr, and Senator Hutchison from Arkansas. There was actually one senator that went on Meet the Press and called me a terrorist. They tried to prosecute me for obstructing Congress for interfering with the investigation, blackmail, and extortion. I knew that the Clinton Justice Department wouldn’t prosecute, but I was really concerned when George W. Bush became President.

OR: Do you think you played the decisive role in Clinton’s acquittal?

DEM: I played a decisive role. I think that what I did helped save the Presidency. The most important part of his salvation was his attorneys, even though they really screwed up the 81 interrogatories from the House Judiciary Committee.

When he was impeached by the full House, they had four counts against him. At that point there was a broad demand for his resignation, not just from Republicans but Democrats as well. People forget that for a time Clinton’s approval rating sunk to new lows. December 19, 1998 was when the House voted for impeachment and just hours before was when Bob Livingston had to resign. Once it became clear that many of these guys were guilty for what they accused the President, Clinton’s approval rating shot back to above 70%. The headline in The New York Times the day after impeachment wasn’t ‘Clinton impeached.’ It was ‘Bob Livingston resigns’ and that was me and me alone. Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein did not bring down Nixon by themselves. They had a lot of help from The New York Times, Time magazine, Newsweek, ABC, CBS, and NBC. But, I brought down Bob Livingston on my own.

Dan Moldea

Dan Moldea interviewed by CNN in connection to the suicide of the “D.C. Madam.”

OR: Ken Starr wrote an amicus brief against you in your case against The New York Times.

DEM: That was before I knew who Ken Starr was.

OR: Did you take any personal satisfaction later on?

DEM: No, but a lot of people tried to make it seem that way. Several television shows accused me of that, even though I was very complimentary towards Ken Starr in my book on Vince Foster because his own investigation showed that it was a suicide.

I really don’t care about somebody having an affair. I’m not going to interfere with somebody’s life. What bothered me was the conflicting standards of private behavior and public behavior. One standard for everybody else and another for them or one standard for people they liked and another for those they didn’t like. Those are the people I had real problems with.

OR: Can we look forward to any more books in the near future?

DEM: Yes. I’ve got a couple coming out. I was waiting for a trial to happen in Los Angeles for a book that I only have the last chapter to finish. Unfortunately, the trial was just postponed from June to November. Whatever plans I had are postponed, because I need the trial in order to get my last chapter done. There’s another book I’m doing about wonky Washington and I’ve been approached to do a book on Trump.

OR: Does that interest you?

DEM: Oh yeah, sure of course. You have a guy who’s involved in the construction industry in New York and the casino industry in New Jersey. You’re talking about somebody who’s entered my neighborhood.

OR: Yeah, I would imagine it would be about his ties to organized crime.

DEM: Exactly.

OR: And the last question I would ask you is about the investigative journalism in general. Newspapers are cutting back. Is investigative journalism in trouble?

DEM: I think that with the election of Donald Trump this is the golden age of investigative journalism. Ultimately one thing we know for sure is that investigative journalists are going to be out there doing their work and that investigative journalism will be our salvation again.

OR: Dan, you’ve been incredibly generous with your time. We wish you the best and look forward to your next book.

DEM:  Thank you, Ben.


  1. […] Dan Moldea: Rough Drafts of History […]

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