Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Bugliosi Letter

During my days as Charles Manson's "Minister of Information" in the 1990s I very often received mail and other communications from all kinds of people who had an interest in Manson and the Tate-LaBianca murder cases. Many of these contacts were made through "backdoor" channels by people who were involved in their own intrigues related to the case and who wanted us to be aware of their activities or the activities of others. One such backdoor communique was The Bugliosi Letter. 

The Bugliosi Letter was sent to me by a person who had received it from a literary agent after he had asked the agent for examples of pitch letters for a book. Amazingly, among the pitch letter examples sent by the agent was the one that Vincent Bugliosi wrote when he was trying to sell the concept of what would later become the bestselling true-crime book of all time -- Helter Skelter.

Bugliosi early on recognized the financial possibilities of the case he had been assigned to prosecute, and already during the trial he made arrangements with the literary establishment to position himself as the authority who could write the definitive book about the Charles Manson case. 

This in confirmed in the book The D.A.: A True Story, by Lawrence Taylor. Writing about an aspect of the political intrigues of the L.A. district attorney's office that he dubbed "Bugliosi syndrome," Taylor said,

"When the Tate-LaBianca slaughters had horrified the world, then-District Attorney Evelle Younger named the most experienced deputy in the office, Aaron Stovitz, to prosecute Manson and his "family" for the murders. A younger deputy by the name of Vincent Bugliosi as assigned to assist him.

"The carnival-like atmosphere of the Manson trial quickly turned Stovitz into a media celebrity. The press seemed hypnotized by the charismatic Manson; stories of biblical prophecies, race wars, and sacrificial murders captured headlines for months. Younger, who was later to be elected attorney general for California and later still to lose in a bid for the governor's mansion, began to perceive his ace prosecutor as a political threat: Stovitz was seen as using his new fame to position himself for a run at Younger's job. In a pattern that was to become familiar in the office for many years to come, the D.A. removed Stovitz from the case, replacing him with Bugliosi.

"Bugliosi, it turned out, was considerably more ambitious than Stovitz ever was. A younger deputy was assigned as "second chair" for the trial, but he was not to conduct any important cross-examination or present evidence to the jury. The younger deputy sat silently at the counsel table, content to research legal issues and organize witnesses, while Bugliosi performed daily before the world's press. Unknown to anyone at the time, Bugliosi had already arranged to write a book about the trial -- with himself as the hero; his ghostwriter, Curt Gentry, was given a valued press pass and sat in the courtroom audience. The book, Helter Skelter, eventually became a bestseller. And, ironically, Bugliosi used his newfound fame to do do exactly what Younger had feared of Stovitz -- announce his candidacy for the office of district attorney."  (The D.A.: A True Story, pages 33-34)




Lawrence Taylor

The Bugliosi Letter substantiates all of this.

Clearly the letter was written while the trial was still in progress. Note the references "After the trial, many more books will be written…." (page 2, emphasis added) and "I'm the one who is engaging in a veritable life and death struggle with Manson and who will ultimately ask the jury to return a verdict of death against Manson and his 3 female co-defendants." (page 3, emphasis added). The defendants were not even convicted and yet Bugliosi was very eager to go.

"It's a big case," Bugliosi wrote to the literary agent. "The book we're contemplating will likewise have to be 'big' in every sense of the word…. 

"I feel there should be one definitive, authoritative book on this case. I believe that I'm the one to write this book…. Other than Charles Manson himself, I don't think that there's any other person who knows as much about these murders and the madness that led to them as I."

Among the most base selling points, Bugliosi recognized, would be the inclusion of the death photos from the murder scenes on Cielo and Waverly Drives. "The book will have official photos of the murder scene that no other book on the market could possibly have since only the Los Angeles Police Department and the District Attorney's office have said photos," he explained to the agent.

Compare this photo pitch to the reason Bugliosi gave in Helter Skelter for not providing the defense with evidentiary copies of the death scene photos before the trial: "I also strongly opposed providing the defense with copies of the death photos. We had heard that a German magazine had a standing offer of $100,000 for them. I did not want the families of the victims to open a magazine and see the terrible butchery inflicted on their loved ones." (Helter Skelter, page 286)

Perhaps sensing the unseemliness of people finding out that he was shopping around a book about a trial while he was in the process of prosecuting it (is there any kind of ethics issue involved here?) Bugliosi later presented a different version of why he decided to write Helter Skelter. In a 1997 interview with Playboy magazine, when asked about the circumstances that led him to write the book, he replied (and lied), "When the trial was over I kept expecting someone of Truman Capote's stature to write a book about the case. But there was no one, and that's when I decided to do it."  (emphasis added)

One could collect together all of the fallacies presented by Vincent Bugliosi over the years and end up with something reminiscent of the closing sequence of Citizen Kane. We will never know if the Bug had a "Rosebud" moment before his recent death ("The…. 'g'…. is…. silent…"?), but one thing we do know: He will always be as big, as consequential, and as controversial, as Orson Welles' character in that film. 

Below, The Bugliosi Letter: 



















Bugliosi letter to me for signature comparison:




Postscript Note -- One thing that was always of concern back in the busier days of the 1990s was the fact that people were frequently trying to set us up. Most commonly such efforts consisted of offering us some kind of financial gain through dubious means. Other times people would offer to "do anything" for us. And then there were efforts made in order to make us look bad or to put us into an awkward legal position. Thus, we were (and are) always on guard against anything that might appear to be too good to be true. The Bugliosi Letter fit into this latter category and thus was initially regarded with suspicion in that it might be a forgery. However, I think anyone reading it would agree that it is genuine. The tone is pure Bugliosi throughout. Note the mis-use of the word "societies" on page 6, an unintentional indicator of Bugliosi's incompetence as a writer. And there are details in it that can be checked (the name of the literary agent, for example). I have no doubt that it is the real thing, and I freely present it here without any concern that it will ever be shown to be a fake.






62 comments:

MHN said...

Wow. Mr Stimson that is remarkable.

The g is silent - very nice work :)

Damn it all, I might even have to read your book if you keep this up...

christopher butche said...

One of the books referred to in the letter is possibly Witness to Evil by George Bishop published in 1971.

Of interest is his retelling of a pre-incident when Bugliosi expressed disappoint with Stovitz who in an interview had stated that TLB was no different from any other homicide, ie any less of more grave than any other. Bugliosi felt it was unlike any other, perhaps in the whole history of mankind "this case is having international publicity on a fantastic scale. Hundreds of reuests from all over the world for press coverage, but this office is handling it routinely. I just hope you change your attitude before we go to court."

An interesting question (pre-trial) asked by the author regarding Manson's hypnotic stare and charismatic personality has Stovitz replying...

"That's all baloney, Charlie was cunning enough to pick only girls and young fellows who were already dropping out. You fill people with enough acid on a regular basis and it doesnt take a great mind to move them around. He made them dependent on him. He told them that as long as they did what he wanted, they didnt have to get up in the morning, they didnt have to do anything they didnt want to do, they could have sex all they liked and that there was nothing wrong with any of this. He gave them drugs to help them see it was his way; pretty soon anything Charlie wanted was what they wanted and anything they wanted was right."

A definite lack of hyperbole there. The book also pimps TLB as the first of the Acid Murders, a tag which obviously failed to catch on.

Robert Hendrickson said...

Well, well - how interesting - Mr. Bugliosi was "working on the HS book" while EMPLOYED by the City of Los Angeles (a government agency). At the time, under the governing 1909 Copyright Act, that makes ME and a lot of other folks HIS employer. That means under the 1909 Act the "work" was work made, at least partially, under "hire." OR Vince was "stealing" material from HIS "employer."

I have a same letter Daye Shinn was sending to literary agents trying to sell the Manson Family story - even before the TRIAL began.

Maybe "Charlie" put the old "zonkeroo" on ALL the attorneys associated with the TLB Case to hypnotize THEM into making HIM the most infamous celebrity ALIVE.

Cielodrive.com said...

I don’t believe Bugliosi wrote this letter. "These seven, incredible murders were perhaps the most bizarre, savage, nightmarish murders in the recorded annals of crime," doesn’t sound like something Bugliosi would say.

George Stimson said...

Doesn't he say something almost identical in the documentary "Manson"?

Robert Hendrickson said...

OMG Cielo, are suggesting Merrick and I received "stolen" property ?

I mean WE paid thousands of dollars for that dialouge. Maybe Vinny the ginny and Manson were working together to scam EVERYONE ?

Mr. Humphrat said...

"These seven, incredible murders were perhaps the most bizarre, savage, nightmarish murders in the recorded annals of crime,"

Yes that phrase sounds almost verbatim what he said in the beginning of the Manson documentary. Well in his defense this letter wasn't written in July of 69. Thanks for the post George. I still have to read most of the letter. It seems like some people are very comfortable promoting themselves and delivering the goods too. He pretty much sold his JFK book as being the definitive book too.

Cielodrive.com said...

I was joking. I think he said that phrase a zillion times. In fact, I'm pretty sure that phrase was his standard reply to people asking him, "How's it going?"

George Stimson said...

He was a tape recorder on playback, that's for sure.

St Circumstance said...

Good stuff George!

D. LaCalandra said...

I like his suggestion that that hippie movement might be heading in the same direction as the Manson bunch. I find that funny, since people have in the past pointed out to me what a left wing liberal he was.

D. LaCalandra said...

Not to mention the spicy details of other murders, especially the 35 Manson supposedly took credit for. Goes to show how nothing can be turned into something and I like how even he is guilty of accepting anything at face value, so as long as it helps his ambitions and can transform a silly remark into a selling point and something that ends up as a serious fact on Wikipedia.

equinox12314 said...


Robert Hendrickson said...

"..Maybe "Charlie" put the old "zonkeroo""

Mr H, thanks for introducing the word 'zonkeroo' into the English language:):) I now feel compelled to use it in daily speech at every opportunity. It's right up there with Ed Sanders 'oo-ee'oo'.

Fiddy 8 said...

Is there any way to put a date on this letter?

Perhaps between the guilt and penalty phases. Between Bugliosi's chagrin of no defense offered (that is no Charles on stand, no anybody he could skewer), and then later his big chance to put hostile witnesses on stand for the separate penalty phase trial - with every word he uses in court anticipating his book.

Or perhaps, he was he was already convinced he would win the guilt phase, and understood it was important for his literary career that his prosecution have some style to it.

Fiddy 8 said...
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Fiddy 8 said...
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Fiddy 8 said...

"perhaps the book should frighten the reader"

"the other six Tate-LaBinaca victims were surprisingly interesting persons"

Sounds to me like Gentry was on board before this letter.

christopher butche said...

In fairness to Bugliosi he was right about the book.

I tend to get the impression that the guilty verdict was in before the trial began. Even the defence lawyers appeared to have accepted this at the outset.

So even if Helter Skelter as a motive was largely exaggerated with half an eye to future books, movies and higher office on behalf of the prosecutor, it still leaves the defence strategy wanting.

If Manson was this strategist, aided and abetted by at least four qualified attorneys, what was the plan?

Younger apparently felt that it may have been to do a bad enough job to guarantee a re-trial through incompetence. One accusation it would be difficult to accuse the prosecution team of.

Robert Hendrickson said...

There is NO question: Bugliosi was a judicial genius, BUT only when compared to HIS "defendant attorneys" counterparts.

Judge KEENE, in his denial of Manson's CONSTITUTIONAL right to defend himself held "that to allow Mr. Manson to represent himself would bring about a fundamental denial of due process."

AND then later at trial with Judge OLDER at the helm - the "defendant's court appointed attorneys" ALL proclaimed "The defendants REST" (without even calling "A" witness.) And OLDER, in response, simply gave them a "that's COOL" look.

The defendant attorneys, with the Judge's blessing brought about a "fundamental denial of due process," and NOBODY got it. AND for forty-five fuck'in years, no law professor, no attorney and no judge has ever raised an eyebrow.

I wish I could tell you all the truth AND the whole truth, BUT it's just TOO crazy for any civilized sane person to comprehend.

Panamint Patty said...

Off topic headline this morning:Roman Polanski Will Not Be Extradited to US, Polish Court Rules

MHN said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MHN said...

Robert, we've all seen recently the Constitution means only what the robed priests at the Supreme Court decides it means at any given moment in time. It's not too much of a stretch to say Keene and Older were simply reminding us all that the law is not there to protect us but to rule us. The law is a human instrument given the sanctity almost of God, in order to help certain men 'govern' other, greater men.

Why don't you take the Manson issue up with your great constitutional scholar President, or his successor - we all know how much she values the law and likes to live by the same rules as the little people.

CarolMR said...

OT, and I apologize. There is a book on Amazon called AMERICAN LEGENDS: THE LIFE OF SHARON TATE. Written by Charles River Editors, whoever he, or they, are. It was published in July of this year. Has anyone ever read it or even heard of it?

christopher butche said...

Mr Hendrickson, perhaps the defendents were expecting their appeals to get them a reversal, as happened in 1976 for van Houten.

The defence attorneys did have a wobble about questioning their clients during the penalty phase when they wanted to confess. An odd time when they refused to aid their clients to get death sentences only days after not putting on a defense for them.

I've been reading up on the Farr perjury case, that's a great example of how your legal system is bent hither and thither ending with no one having a case to answer for. And this comes after an internal investigation, grand jury, and the beginings of a trial taking four years to come to the conclusion perjury couldnt be proved.

Some interesting cuttings here
http://bewareofbugliosi.com/indicted4prejury.htm

christopher butche said...

My link above has a great quote from from Steve Kay about Bugliosi getting angry with him and it being like walking under a tree only to have a tiger jump out from it onto your back.

I never realised Kay gave evidence against Bugliosi at the grand jury and trial for Bugliosi's perjury.

christopher butche said...

With relevance to Mr Stimson's post, the perjury is over the breaking of the gag order about publicity.

In October 1970 someone gave Farr a copy of Virginia Graham's transcript which contained Atkin's musings on the celebrity death list (Sinatra et al).

So I guess it could be argued that if Bugliosi was interested in generating maximum publicity for the case, it was a good way to go about it.

The only drawback being lying to Judge Older about it.

Matt said...

Carol, that book doesn't look like much of anything. Those self-published books have been just a waste of time and money to me. I'm still waiting for my Sanders book.

Matt said...

George, thank you for documenting this. Although a brilliant prosecutor he clearly had a book in mind. IMNSHO, he needed a bizarre motive to send the media into a frenzy and guarantee the success of his book. The defendants were clearly guilty but his novel launched the myth machine.


George Stimson said...

He needed a bizarre motive for more than that.

Matt said...

Like harassing the milkman.


equinox12314 said...


@george stimson

George, I was looking on Amazon UK for your book, and apparently the cheapest price for a new copy is £998!! Now, I know it will be excellent quality but.....

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/offer-listing/B00POF3AYY/ref=tmm_other_meta_binding_new_olp_sr?ie=UTF8&condition=new&qid=1446308161&sr=1-2


Is there a mistake on the UK site that you might want to get corrected because it could impact on your sales?

George Stimson said...

I can send you one signed for a lot cheaper than that!

Robert Hendrickson said...

MICHAEL & CHRIS:

I too had MY U.S. Constitutional RIGHT (to FREE Speech) set aside by a Federal Judge in connection with the Squeaky Fromme / President Ford CASE.

The interesting result for ME, is that NOW, I am NOT considered a completely "brainwashed" citizen of the United States. Instead I am actually FREE at last, FREE at last - with the help of a lot of research.

I SEE everything in a somewhat different LIGHT than most folks, and that may explain some of MY cryptic language.

One day I started putting pennuts on a post down by my front gate. They were always gone the next day. After a few days of this, one morning the the nuts were gone as usual, but the squirel (who was enjoying my nuts) left an ACORN for ME.

AND it may not get any better than that !

christopher butche said...

Mr Hendrickson, I was looking at a newspaper cutting from 1973, mentioning how Merrick international pictures had signed an international distribution for the Manson documentary produced and directed by Laurence Merrick. You were not mentioned. So at least now you got your name back.

Equinox, there was another copy of Mr Stimson's book up there on amazon for £5,500. Only last week I got a copy for £28 on Abebooks.co.uk.

Mr Stimson, have you checked out Reclaiming Parkland: Tom Hanks, Vincent Bugliosi, and the JFK Assassination in the New Hollywood by James DiEugenio? The reviews on amazon praise it highly. A near line by line refuting of Bugliosi's Parkland.

Mr Stimson is it your intention to keep your book in print? I ask because The Railroading of Charles Manson is rare and Schreck's book has disappeared (apart from the French edition).

orwhut said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
equinox12314 said...


@christopher butche

Thanks, Christopher. I was pointing it out to George because the listings on the UK Amazon site would stop prospective UK purchasers from buying, and they may not know to got to the Amazon US site. I would add that purchasers can apparently buy it directly through George's own site/publishing company, which may be more beneficial for the author, As you know, it's difficult nowadays for professional writers, what with the demise of bookstores. I don't always agree with George's conclusions, but he is an excellent writer, and this blog benefits from his contributions and sharing of personal archives.

Robert Hendrickson said...

CHRIS: In 1973 I sued Merrick and when he could not pay the Court judgement, we settled for me to get back EVERYTHING plus. So ask yourself: why does a man risk losing EVERYTHING when all he has to do is live up to an agreement that provides for a 50 / 50 split ? Of course, that question could apply to almost EVERYONE.

WHY would a JUDGE risk losing HIS entire reputation (judicial soul) by making a dishonest RULING ?

WHY would an otherwise great LAWYER risk his "INTEGIDITY" for fame and fortune ?

WHY would a PRIEST risk going to HELL for a trisk with an underage boy ?

WHY would a U.S. President risk losing HIS great reputation (name) for a blow-job ?

WHY does a very successful LAWYER like Bugliosi RISK a "counterfeit" prosecution in order to make sure HE convicts a low-life ex-con and a couple of his girl friends ?

AND of course, WHY does a man like CM, who has finally found FREEDOM from prison (after losing half HIS life there) RISK going back to enslavement ?

equinox12314 said...

@Robert Hendrickson

Hi Mr H,

In answer to your above questions, could it be because all the above parties believed they could get away with it?

christopher butche said...

Mr Hendrickson, did you attend the Oscars the year the film was nominated? I see from your comment it was also the same year you were suing each other.

Even Leslie van Houten attended the Oscars, so surely you must have gone?

MHN said...

WHY would a JUDGE risk losing HIS entire reputation (judicial soul) by making a dishonest RULING ?

Because he knows his profession will close ranks to protect him, and because he when he realizes he is (and is therefore above) the law, he goes to sleep at night with an enormous erection.

WHY would an otherwise great LAWYER risk his "INTEGIDITY" for fame and fortune ?

Because he desires to be famous and fortunate. You can't deposit integrity in any bank in the world, and nor can you buy a smooth shiny life with it.

WHY would a PRIEST risk going to HELL for a trisk with an underage boy ?

Because his desires really matter more than something he knows he only believes. Flesh is fact, hell is only theory.

WHY would a U.S. President risk losing HIS great reputation (name) for a blow-job ?

Because he'd already gotten away with far worse ("You might wanna put some ice on that") as Governor.

WHY does a very successful LAWYER like Bugliosi RISK a "counterfeit" prosecution in order to make sure HE convicts a low-life ex-con and a couple of his girl friends ?

Because he has first made sure the low-life ex-con is universally acknowledged to be the devil incarnate, and if the devil is safely caged in the state pen then the lawyer has no need to fear hell for his deceptions. If the devil's caged in Corcoran then maybe Mr Bugliosi is currently running for the vacated position down below.

AND of course, WHY does a man like CM, who has finally found FREEDOM from prison (after losing half HIS life there) RISK going back to enslavement ?

Because Charlie's idea of freedom is a lump of alkaline metal, and society's idea of freedom is water. Put one in the other and we have crazy sparks, flames, explosions. That's what we build prisons for, to contain the debris from those chemical reactions.

Robert Hendrickson said...

YES EQ, but I think there is also the "thought" that there will be NO victims who will have loved ones like a "Charlie Manson."

CHRIS: NO I was not invited, but Merrick was. Robert Wagner of Natile Woods fame announced that "the Producer Credit is in controversy." Which drew a very confused look on his face. As far as Merrick, Leslie and Polanski being invited and NOT me. I think I am in a far better place, than they are NOW.

Many years later, when the Academy asked me for a dvd copy of "MANSON," I was glad to comply - for the going price of $39.95. AND "they" PAID.

So I guess you could call ME an expensive whore. AND the "Hendrickson vs EBAY" First Impression Case cost the Motion Picture Association $$ BILLIONS $$$, BUT that was more for Jack Vallenti (President of the MPAA) being LBJ's personal cock-sucker.

So remember what JC once said: "Payback can be a bitch."

GEE MICHAEL: YOU stole my whole 2nd ACT.

MHN said...

RH: so sue me! ;)

christopher butche said...

Mr Hendrickson, I watched Robert Wagner on Youtube this afternoon making the in dispute comment. A weird non-event in your life preserved forever.

I notice the documentary that did win that year pretty much disappeared until a copy was found in the 1990s and it was restored.

No trailer on Youtube for your comedy Close Shave?

Back to Bugliosi what happened regarding the contempt charge during the trial for threatening to get Sandy for having oral sex with Manson and give Squeaky the gas chamber? Filed by at least Fitzgerald. What with lashing out at Atkins in court and calling her a bitch, and having to apologise for calling a female journalist a cocksucker, he appears to have had a short temper.

I also note Theo Wilson recalled that publically he used Hughes death to claim another Manson murder but privately used it to criticise journalists as writing unfavourable remarks leading to Hughes to commit suicide.

equinox12314 said...


@Robert Hendrickson said...

"...NO I was not invited, but Merrick was."

Mr H,

Any idea how that came about? After all, YOU were the originator of the film project, not Merrick. Do you think Merrick had been cosying up to the Academy?

If you had been invited, you could have attended the Post-Oscar party and scoffed your way through their champagne and canapes.

christopher butche said...

Ronald Hughes is a good example of what can happen when a bigger story needs to be told.

Both Mr Stimson and Mr Hendrickson may be of assistance.

When Hughes disappeared almost immediately Fitzgerald was quoted as saying that Hughes was not messing about trying to get a mistrial and shortly afterward that he had probably drowned. Bugliosi initially accused him of messing about but shortly afterward that he was alarmed and concerned.

That was in Dec 70, by the following March Hughes body was found. If you do a Google news search you will find no references to Hughes 'mysterious' or 'suspicious' disappearance. When the body is identified and autopsied 'no signs of foul play', added to this are reports of the three people who last saw him being lie-detectored and there is nothing to report.

By 1974 Helter Skelter has Bugliosi personally checking out the autopsy report, homing in on the 'inconclusive' conclusions and stating that decomposition was so bad who could say what had happened to him, and the traces of medication may have been poison.

Bugliosi claims to have requested an investigation, but it was denied as there was no evidence of foul play.

However, Laurence Merrick, in the presence of one other witness, was told by Sandy Good that Hughes was the first of the retaliation murders. The total of which was 35 to 40.

I note that Bugliosi used quote marks for both claims.

What's the story with Merrick passing on to Bugliosi 'proof' that, as he wrote 'one thing is now known, however. If an admission by one of Manson's most hardcore followers is correct, Ronald Hughes was murdered by the Manson Family.'

By 1977 Bugliosi was giving a talk to Florida Atlantic University and stated that he believed Hughes was murdered, he himself received threats, but he was not afraid of Manson, because as long as he showed no fear Manson would back off completely.

A good story based on writing 'if' Sandy Good did actually say something which Merrick heard 'correctly' and was published in quotes to imply the responsibilty was Merrick's, becomes a few years later an anecdote to demonstrate the personal danger to Bugliosi and how he faced down Manson by using his knowledge of Manson's weakness (that he only thrives on fear).

George Stimson said...

Sandy never said that to Merrick.

D. LaCalandra said...

In the copy of Helter Skelter that I have, Bugliosi explicitly refers to Hughes as "the first of the retaliation murders" (which begs to ask the question, then why not use his pull to launch an investigation?)

That's a BOLD claim for a DA who supposedly believes so strongly in "proof". When listening to his interview with Gregg Jakobson, one would actually believe he did believe strongly in it. He seemed to really want him to be clear about exactly what Manson said and didn't say. He always gives off the impression he would never say or do anything without "overwhelming evidence", But I think that's just a matter of him making his case stronger. In other words, if five people tell the same lie, it's proof to him.

D. LaCalandra said...

You know, Alisa Statman also makes the claim in her book that Sandy jumped on the back of Col. Paul Tate. That sounds like such a load of absolute bullshit. I never heard that from anyone but her.

Fiddy 8 said...

It seems such a shame Bugliosi didn't actually rewrite Helter Skelter when he had the chance for the 25th anniversary release. Instead he kept every single word of this kind of crap in it...and then simply added an epilogue with *where are they now* from Bill Nelson.

He had his chance to fix the ridiculous statements about Hughes.

Whatever legacy Bugliosi hoped to leave with his other subsequent books are forever tainted by not fixing the first book.

Robert Hendrickson said...

Remind me to someday explain how the name Charles Manson 3 decades after the TLB murders helped change the culture of, not only America, but the entire world.

Ronald Hughes was supposed to "marry" Brenda and I was going to film the wedding, but Ronnie decided to go swimming. Bugliosi as an "author" was expected to keep HIS book sales UP, just as HE was expected to WIN a conviction.

christopher butche said...

Another point of interest is Hoyt's overdose. Again an incident filed as attempted murder but quickly dropped down to a misdemeanor charge carrying 90 day jail terms.

Officially it was for something like interferring with a witness. By 1974 it's back up to being pimped as attempted murder.

I noticed in a press cutting Bugliosi claiming the lowering of the charge was because it was too expensive to have a murder trial in Hawaii. However, the lesser charges were tried in LA.

Is it likely for the authorities to make the decision to not bother over cost? Can LA DA office make the decision for them about who gets charged with what?

On an aside I do wish someone would point out to Hoyt at parole hearings that no one was legally convicted of trying to kill her. The board constantly claims to rely only on testimony and yet Hoyt constantly makes the claim as a fact.

equinox12314 said...


christopher butche said....

"...On an aside I do wish someone would point out to Hoyt at parole hearings that no one was legally convicted of trying to kill her. "

Agreed, Christopher. I also wish that Barbara Hoyt would stop attending the hearings altogether. There is sufficient representation at the hearings from remaining family members of the victims. It will be interesting to see if Hoyt turns up at Bobby's hearing on 8 December because, after all, she was not involved in the Hinman murder before, during or after. It's like Barbara doesn't want to let go of her fifteen minutes of fame.

D. LaCalandra said...

I think it was Bugliosi who said the Hoyt incident wasn't brought to trial because they could not find an expert to confirm that LSD could be fatal. Aside from that, I believe it was also a matter of them knowing the case was weak and most likely a big fat lie and they didn't want to risk losing a case, especially one that reflected on a witness poorly by exposing her as a liar.

Bugliosi helped Hoyt with her career as a nurse, so I suspect she thinks it's her duty to perpetuate his reality. She also gets paid for doing it too. All the documentaries her and Catherine Share's fat asses appeared on paid them well.

Robert Hendrickson said...

FROM the files of W.W. NORTON and COMPANY (publisher of Helter Skelter):

"Gentry and Bugliosi began a 50-50 partnership in 1970, prior to the time the trial judge issued a gag rule and they had to work secretly late at night in motel rooms.

Of course, Bugliosi had to keep it a SECRET, he became in violation of the "gag ORDER." Gentry was a "writer" and revealing INFORMATION to HIM could be considered a "criminal" act. Additionally, IT could be considered that, under the "color of authority" to be an obstruction of JUSTICE and thus a "violation of the DEFENDANTS' right to a "Fair trial."

As a minimum, I think I may have discovered the "CAN of WORMS." AND where "MANSON" (the movie) is a behind the scenes LOOK at the TRIAL of the 20th Century - from Inside the MANSON Gang, I may NOW have the "behind the scenes" story of the "corrupt" Prosecution of the Manson Family.

Manson would say "The whole world is one great big FUCK" !

D. LaCalandra said...

Bugliosi has clearly stated that he never had any intention whatsoever of ever writing a book on the case too.

Lie #what?

I think Bugliosi thought he was Teflon. This is the problem of a duelist thinking society who sees everything in black and white. If you have the look, credentials, the right title and position that fits the idealistic idea of "Good guy", especially when put against the likes of Manson, you could pretty much get away with lying about anything and discredit anyone without question.

In his mind, the people who's opinion matter would buy his nonsense hook, line and sinker and the only people who would question it were the losers of society, thus nobody would listen. I don't think counted on some being smart.

D. LaCalandra said...

If you have a crook playing the part of the Good Guy and hiding behind and using the image of the Good Guy and doing bad with fake noble motives. How is that different from a Bad Guy playing the part of the Good Guy and convincing others to do bad under the pretense of noble motives?

Maybe Bugliosi only thought Manson did that, because that is how HIS mind works.

See criminals and crooks realized a long time ago that all they have to do is get in those noble positions. People haven't realized it yet. That's why priests are still molesting kids and politicans are still robbing you and cops are still killing and beating people.

christopher butche said...

Mr Hendrickson, I like your idea about the behind the scenes at the trial.

It's something I occassionally consider writing about at length.

Justice is blind, and it is all about legality and law, but this is all delivered by people, and that is where the noble concepts fall prey to human frailities.


christopher butche said...

http://jpg2.lapl.org/pics18/00018737.jpg

Cool photo of Bugliosi getting a certificate in July 1971 for getting the convictions.

grimtraveller said...

christopher butche said...

"I tend to get the impression that the guilty verdict was in before the trial began"


A read of William Zamora's "Trial by your peers" may change your impression. I was surprised in reading it to discover that as a news item, the Tate murders weren't something that figured highly to any of the jurors. It wasn't really part of their world and keeping up in the news about "this love & terror cult leader and his hypnotic spell" doesn't appear to have been on their radar. To be honest, the impression I get from his book is that in terms of modern up to date events and perception, the jury was pretty out of touch and narrow focused. Zamora seems to have taken being a juror with the utmost seriousness and he claims that he was determined not to show any kind of bias, based on their antics in court. They found the defendants guilty in the end because the evidence presented pointed that way and wasn't successfully rebuffed by the defence. He also made it clear that he wouldn't have been influenced by Nixon's comments. Not everyone liked tricky Dicky !
Especially interesting is his account of deliberations during the penalty phase. Although he believed the four deserved the death penalty, he took every opportunity of any delay in deliberations in which he hoped someone would come up with reasons for him to be able to change his decision.
I think the jury {and let's not forget, they were locked away for 9 months so they couldn't be influenced by the media ~ they weren't allowed access} tend to be way underestimated in this case.
He also puts more meat on the bones of much of the trial testimony than Bugliosi does in "Helter Skelter." His book was out a year before HS and seems to have passed out into the ether.....

grimtraveller said...

Robert Hendrickson said...

"Judge KEENE, in his denial of Manson's CONSTITUTIONAL right to defend himself held 'that to allow Mr. Manson to represent himself would bring about a fundamental denial of due process'"


My sister used to be a barrister and is now a judge {my other sister & brother and I always chuckle at this because as kids, our big Sis was so bossy !} and one thing that I noticed about the legal profession right back in the 80s was that every member I met, whether QC, barrister, solicitor or even clerk seemed to be under the impression that no one but someone that had studied law all those years could possibly do their job with any degree of competence. Saying you want to be your own lawyer in a case brought about the same kind of resistance and reaction in the legal world as it did from classical musicians back in the 60s when pop and rock artists started writing their own songs that became popular to more people than Mozart and Mahler and even more so when these pop rockers started writing pieces that incorporated classical instruments and arrangements. A kind of institutionalized arrogance. "Hey ! Only we know about how music actually works and why !!"
So although Manson was allowed to represent himself, the Judge at the time said he granted 'pro~per' with great misgivings. I think although Charlie exasperated the court with some of his motions and the Judge felt he wasn't taking matters or the court seriously and therefore was not capable of being his own lawyer, I think he should have allowed Manson some leeway and simply warned him that he was overstepping the bounds and to stop.

grimtraveller said...

Robert Hendrickson said...

"I wish I could tell you all the truth AND the whole truth, BUT it's just TOO crazy for any civilized sane person to comprehend"


You'd be surprised just what civilized and sane people will comprehend and act upon !

grimtraveller said...

Robert Hendrickson said...

"the nuts were gone as usual, but the squirel (who was enjoying my nuts) left an ACORN for ME"


My sister used to say that squirrels are just rats with PR !

Robert Hendrickson said...

"WHY would a JUDGE risk losing HIS entire reputation (judicial soul) by making a dishonest RULING ?

WHY would an otherwise great LAWYER risk his "INTEGIDITY" for fame and fortune ?

WHY would a PRIEST risk going to HELL for a trisk with an underage boy ?

WHY would a U.S. President risk losing HIS great reputation (name) for a blow-job ?

WHY does a very successful LAWYER like Bugliosi RISK a "counterfeit" prosecution in order to make sure HE convicts a low-life ex-con and a couple of his girl friends ?

AND of course, WHY does a man like CM, who has finally found FREEDOM from prison (after losing half HIS life there) RISK going back to enslavement ?"


Because people are strange.....