Telephone Tappers and Bedroom Buggers

Robert Slatzer was the first conspiracist to assert that secret tapes existed, recordings which proved that the middle Kennedy brothers, but particularly Robert, were involved in Marilyn’s death, were involved in her murder. Essentially, Slatzer wrote The Gospel According to the Secret Tapes. Marilyn believed, according to Slatzer, that her phones were tapped. In his 1974 literary effort, Slatzer invoked the patron saint of illegal wire tappers and eavesdroppers, Bernard Spindel. Slatzer asserted, in his wiretapping gospel, that the infamous private eye had started an investigation into Marilyn’s secret rendezvous with Robert Kennedy, one that had allegedly generated a groundswell of whispers; but Slatzer did not elaborate and never explained exactly how a secret rendezvous, known to only the participants, could have caused a groundswell of whispers, unless the secret meeting was not actually a secret―or unless the secret rendezvous was imaginary. Slatzer did not identify for whom Bernard Spindel was investigating Marilyn, what the private detective expected or hoped to accomplish or the private detective’s overriding purpose.

In Slatzer’s 1974 fabrication, he asserted that he believed Spindel’s tapes existed; but he never claimed that he heard any of those tapes; and Slatzer never claimed that he heard any of those tapes during Anthony Summers’ numerous and intensive interviews with Marilyn’s best friend and her purported weekend husband. Summers’ interviews with Slatzer allegedly transpired over a two year period.

Then, seven years after Slater’s 2005 death, Samir Muqaddin’s 2012 memoir repeated assertions allegedly made by Slatzer to Muqaddin. Marilyn’s weekend husband had, according to Muqaddin according to Slatzer, listened to several complete audio recordings made by Bernard Spindel. Again, Slatzer never asserted that in either of his two Marilyn books. Perhaps Muqaddin simply invented Slatzer’s testimony and placed those words in the dubious husband’s mouth, a comic irony for sure; but then another possibility also exists: before he died, Slatzer just reported a fabrication to Muqaddin. Evidence supporting fabrication appeared in Slatzer’s 1992 literary effort. In his 1992 publication, The Marilyn Files, Slatzer asserted that he heard only a portion of the recording that was also allegedly heard in its entirety by an Anthony Summers’ anonymous earwitness; more about that tape later.

In The Marilyn Files, Slatzer invoked the names of several persons who had appeared in Anthony Summer’s 1985 publication, persons who claimed that they heard about some recordings of Marilyn, saw some tapes that were allegedly recordings of her or listened to small fragments of those tapes. Other conspiracists authors who published books following the publication of Summers’ pathography relied on the plethora of names dropped by him, to which they added a few and merely alluded to the miscellany of Marilyn recordings. Those conspiracists authors included C. David Heymann in 1989, 1998 and 2014, Robert Slatzer in 1992, Milo Speriglio in 1993, Donald Wolfe in 1998, Samir Muqaddin and Peter Wright in 2012 along with Chuck Giancana, Jay Margolis and Richard Buskin in 2014. The preceding is just a partial list of conspiracists writers who referenced Summers, representing some of the books that I have read. Not one of those conspiracists authors , including Summers, ever saw, much less heard in their entirety, any of those mysterious tape recordings; but despite those compelling facts, Summers went completely around the barn on a high horse to prove, or at least convince his readers, that the audio recordings existed, especially the alleged Spindel recordings.

According to Summers, the DA Investigator, Gary Wean, who appeared in the previous section, alleged that a tape of Marilyn made by Spindel, which Wean allegedly heard, was a bedroom recording, the possible purpose of which was extortion. Any bedroom recording that could be used to extort someone, most persons would immediately assume, must have contained sounds of love making, moans and groans of delight; but apparently Wean never stated what he actually heard on the recording. Summers did not offer any additional information. He simply allowed his reader’s imaginations to provide the desired conclusion. Perhaps the sound on the tape recording was simply Marilyn or Eunice Murray vacuuming the new plush wool carpet, which Marilyn had installed in the bedrooms of her recently purchased hacienda.

There is actually no way to know just what the tape revealed: that tape, the alleged bedroom extortion tape, has never been produced, has never been heard by the public.

At the time Anthony Summers was investigating and researching his literary effort about Marilyn, Bernard Spindel was already dead; but Summers uncovered Earl Jaycox, possibly Spindel’s partner or aide or just a telephone installation technician. In Spindel’s memoir, he identified Jaycox as merely a telephone company employee who performed odd jobs for the eavesdropper. Jaycox reported to Summers that Spindel possessed tapes which contained twelve hours of recorded conversations between Marilyn, John and Robert Kennedy. Jaycox also reported to Summers that Marilyn was sexually entangled with each man.

Spindel intended to give Jaycox copies of the alleged tapes but never did, Jaycox reported to Anthony Summers—initially reported, that is. Then remarkably, or perhaps predictably, Spindel’s employee changed his story,, according to Summers. Jaycox alleged that he heard some of Spindel’s recordings, telephone calls Marilyn had placed to both the White House and the Justice Department. According to the amazing new and improved Jaycox story, Marilyn usually spoke to John Kennedy’s male secretary, Kenneth O’Donnell. She was always agitated and sounded like a betrayed woman during those telephone chit chats. Jaycox alleged that he heard talk of a Virginia rendezvous and complaints by Marilyn to O’Donnell and John Kennedy because Robert did not keep a scheduled Lake Tahoe rendezvous. It appeared to Jaycox that Marilyn was only interested in Robert Kennedy’s marital intentions; and she often tried to finagle information from O’Donnell or the president about those intentions. John Kennedy spoke to and handled Marilyn calmly, according to Jaycox; but Robert Kennedy usually lost control, lost his temper and hung-up on Marilyn, an assertion flatly contradicted by Robert Kennedy’s secretary, Angie Novella.

There is actually no way to know just what those tapes revealed: those tapes, the record of alleged telephone conversations, have never been produced, have never been heard by the public.

Then, in an curiously written and confusing paragraph, Summers invoked the names of Dan Moldea and James Kelly, a former police detective who died in 1979, six years before Summers published his voyeuristic Marilyn pathography. According to Summers, those men partially confirmed that Bernard Spindel, also deceased, possessed tape recordings of Marilyn and the middle Kennedy brothers conversing via the national telephone wires.

James Kelly and Robert Kennedy worked together on John McClellan’s Select Committee on Improper Activities in Labor and Management, the investigative body through which the future attorney general originally pursued Jimmy Hoffa. Since Kelly was dead, as was Spindel, Summers could only interview Moldea, a journalist and author born in 1950 who published a book about Jimmy Hoffa in 1978. Moldea reported to Summers what James Kelly asserted before his death: Kelly had listened to one of Bernard Spindel’s Marilyn recordings. Follow this: Dan Moldea repeated testimony purportedly spoken to him by a deceased earwitness, James Kelly, obviously hearsay testimony that could not be confirmed. Not only that, Summers equivocated regarding what the tape contained. He admitted that the tape was purportedly a record of “pillow talk” between Marilyn and one of the Kennedys (emphasis mine), meaning an unidentified and unspecified Kennedy and not necessarily one of the brothers. According to Moldea according to the deceased Kelly, the quality of the tape was poor, even garbled; but Summers deflected that detail by noting: as are many surveillance tapes.1Meaning what exactly? Meaning that the tape’s poor quality suggested some sort of authenticity or that the poor quality of the recording should be ignored and excused. Still, despite his equivocations regarding a tape that even Dan Moldea never heard, Summers announced that James Kelly believed the tape was genuine, according to Moldea, because Kelly had known each brother, meaning that Moldea related to Summers what the deceased Kelly allegedly believed, an impossible to substantiate belief based on an impossible to substantiate relationship with the middle Kennedy brothers, a relationship that itself could have been insubstantial (Summers 383-384/emphasis mine). I must comment: the preceding is a perfect example of testimony which offered no evidentiary value at all, not only because it was uncorroborated hearsay, but also because of its extreme ambiguity and its lack of any specificity. As far as we know, the unidentified Kennedy could have been Teddy, or even a non-Kennedy for that matter. Besides, Kelley apparently did not comment on the woman’s voice; and Marilyn possessed a most distinctive voice. Likewise, Kelly did not offer any information on what the purported pillow talk actually involved, whether sex or love or just complaints about the pillow talk participant’s aching bunions; and obviously the pillow talkers did not mention any names, an absence I find extremely curious.

There is actually no way to know just what the tape revealed: that garbled tape, the purported record of pillow talk, has never been produced, has never been heard by the public.

Next, Summers produced a source who requested anonymity out of fear for his personal safety, of course; and therefore, the source remained unidentified. Marilyn’s pathographer claimed that he was directed to the anonymous man in 1985 by Mark Monsky, a Vice-President of NBC Television News, a person of assumed integrity and also a person of authority, who also vouched for the source’s reliability. As you might expect, the mystery source worked with the government, meaning that his testimony should be unilaterally accepted as governmental factual. In his role with the government, he provided some type of technical assistance; but not in the area of electronic surveillance.

Their initial meeting occurred at the Metropolitan Club in New York City where this anonymous but otherwise reliable, credible authority and source began to tell Summers his story, approximately fifteen years after the fact. Summers’ source claimed that he knew Spindel and had visited him in Holmes, New York, during 1967; but they did not enjoy a close relationship. According to Summers, the tape his anonymous source claimed that he heard, during his visit with Spindel, was approximately forty minutes long, contained the voices of both Marilyn and Robert Kennedy and confirmed that the attorney general visited Fifth Helena in 1962, twice on Saturday, August the 4th.

The sounds on the tape were echoey, the source informed Summers, and sounded as though they had traveled a distance to reach the transmitter, perhaps from a nearby room or perhaps an adjoining hallway. Summers then stated that Marilyn’s bedroom was around the corner off a large vestibule into which the house’s front door allowed entry, a vestibule large enough to have caused an echo (Summers 588). Summers’ statement was incorrect. Marilyn’s front door opened directly into her living room. Access to Marilyn’s bedroom was through an opening in a corner of the living room; that opening allowed access into a small and short hallway which in turn allowed access into three small bedrooms, one of which was Marilyn’s. Since the floor covering in the bedrooms, including Marilyn’s, was recently installed thick wool carpet, it is highly unlikely, considering the small room sizes, their square shapes and the sound absorptive objects therein, that any sound coming from or entering any of the rooms would have generated an acoustic reflection perceived as an echo.

Summer’s source then described the now accepted August the 4th scenario.

Robert Kennedy visited Fifth Helena twice that Saturday, the first visit by the attorney general alone and then a second visit accompanied by his brother-in-law, Peter Lawford. During the second visit, a vociferous and profanity enhanced argument developed, one that involved angry screams and shouts from both Marilyn and the attorney general. The argument involved accusations of a broken marital promise and demands for an explanation. According to Summers’ source, the tape recording contained sounds indicating that Robert Kennedy was searching for something about which he never commented; he just asked repeatedly where is it where the fuck is it? We are to conclude, of course, that the attorney general was actively searching for Marilyn’s explosive Little Red Diary.

Summers’ source reported that the tape recording contained sounds of slamming doors, thumping and bumping sounds and sounds suggesting that a body was being placed on a bed. Before the tape ended, Robert Kennedy and Peter Lawford discussed the attorney general’s return to San Francisco, discussed that a telephone call into Marilyn’s house would be made once Robert Kennedy had escaped. The last sound on the tape was the ringing telephone, answered by someone who never said a word. Silence. The telephone call into Marilyn’s house, apparently, was simply to create a toll record that could be used to suggest that Marilyn was alive at a specific time when she was actually dead; but then, why did the middle Kennedy brothers arrange to have Marilyn’s telephone records disappear? Also, a long distance telephone call coming into Marilyn’s hacienda would not have appeared on her telephone toll records; and therefore, such a telephone call placed by Robert Kennedy would not have accomplished its intended purpose. The LADA’s 1982 Summary Report addressed this issue: Incoming calls to Miss Monroe of course were not recorded on the toll charges […] (SR 17).2Such a telephone call would have been worthless and pointless.

Spindel told his visitor, Summers’ anonymous source, that Marilyn was dead before Robert Kennedy walked out of her hacienda. That assessment by Spindel clearly meant that either Robert Kennedy or Peter Lawford, possibly both men, murdered Marilyn. No other conclusion is possible: when Robert Kennedy arrived, Marilyn was alive; but before he left the house after his second visit on August the 4th, Marilyn was dead. End of story.

Summers’ asserted that his anonymous source was ambivalent about discussing his encounter with the eavesdropper Spindel and discussing what the tape recording contained. He did so reluctantly and with some reservations, Summers alleged; and despite offers of an unusually high financial payment to speak publicly, to speak openly, the source refused. Summers obviously felt a need to implant the following notion in the minds of his readers: his source was not motivated by greed nor by a need for money to tell his story—a frequent motivation in the Marilyn-Was-Murdered-World. Summers’ anonymous witness. Summers’ anonymous witness was motivated only by a need to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help him God, more than fifteen years after the fact. Summers also alleged: he interviewed his unnamed source over the course of several months, during several interviews, and during each interview, the story the source related to him was invariably consistent. I’m not sure why Summers mentioned his source’s testimonial consistency or why recounting a story which involved one afternoon and a brief argument caught on forty minutes of audio tape would require numerous interviews and several months to unpack. I could speculate, but I will stop short of doing so.

Summers admitted that his anonymous source was the only man who ever asserted that he heard the entire forty minutes of the taped voices and the expletive laced argument; but Marilyn’s pathographer then asserted that two other men, Bill Holt and Michael Morrissey, both Spindel employees, partially confirmed that the tape indeed existed.

Bill Holt confirmed that Spindel was an associate of Summer’s anonymous source; however, if the source was anonymous, how could Holt confirm that Spindel was his associate or even knew him? Holt also alleged to Summers that Spindel played Morrissey a tape of Robert Kennedy’s August the 4th visit with Marilyn. The tape allegedly contained the quarrel involving the estranged lovers along with sounds of Marilyn falling; but Morrissey, who eventually became an attorney in Washington, DC, reported during a separate interview with Summers that Spindel played for him only a few seconds of a tape on which he only heard sounds indicating only that someone had fallen (Summers 561).

The preceding account offered by Summers confused me briefly since he often cleverly twisted the accounts of his sources, like some entertainers twist balloons into interesting and unusual animal shapes. In this instance, neither Morrissey nor Holt directly confirmed anything regarding Marilyn and Robert Kennedy. In actuality, Holt testified to what Morrissey had said, meaning Holt offered hearsay testimony regarding Morrissey’s recollections of what the tape contained; but then direct testimony from Morrissey contradicted Holt’s hearsay and confirmed that he, Morrissey, only heard a few seconds of a tape and recalled hearing a sound indicating that someone, not necessarily Marilyn Monroe, only that someone had fallen. In short, Holt and Morrissey’s corroboration of the existence of the tape described by Summers’ anonymous source was actually a repudiation of that testimony: Morrissey only corroborated that a tape of something and someone existed, not necessarily of an argument between Marilyn and Robert Kennedy. The someone-fell-tape was mentioned specifically in the LADA’s 1982 Summary Report, the account of which appears later in this section.

Finally, Summers invoked the names of Richard Butterfield, a friend of Spindel’s, and Dr. Henry Kamin, Spindel’s friend and also his physician. Both testified that Spindel certainly talked about his Monroe tapes on more than a few occasions; but Spindel never played nor offered to play any of the tapes for his friends. Spindel simply insisted that a violent incident occurred at 12305 Fifth Helena Drive on August the 4th in 1962, that Robert Kennedy was present and with Marilyn the night she died. Butterfield and Dr. Kamin testified to what Spindel allegedly said, hearsay and secondhand information that could not be corroborated nor confirmed by actually listening to a tape recording or interviewing Spindel: he had already relocated his residence into eternity.

Still, not even one of the subject tape recordings has ever been produced; not one of them has ever been heard by the public.

Summers’ unnamed source clearly stated that the argument between Marilyn and Robert Kennedy transpired both near and inside Marilyn’s bedroom. Based on the published floor plan of 12305 Fifth Helena circa 1962, Marilyn’s bedroom was not larger than sixteen feet square, if even that large; and based on the photographic evidence, the situation within the bedroom can best be described as cluttered. Summers’ source testified that the tape contained sounds which could have been generated by clothes hangers, as they were pushed along a closet’s hanging rod, along with sounds which could have been generated by books as they were flopped over on their sides.

One glaring element of Marilyn’s small hacienda, as it was in 1962, is this: virtually no closets. The main house had been equipped with no more than twenty linear feet of closets, dispersed equally between three bedroom closets and one hall closet; therefore, I seriously doubt that clothes hangers, if Marilyn had any clothes at all hanging in her minuscule closet, could have been pushed along those closet’s hanging rods. Furthermore, photographs of Marilyn’s bedroom taken on the morning of August the 5th did not depict bookcases of any type; however, Marilyn had dropped a few odd books, and what appears to be a movie script, on the floor near her bedside table.

Summers witness asserted that the tape recording contained sounds of what he assumed was the attorney general slamming doors. The walls of Marilyn’s bedroom were pierced by three doors, an entry door, one small closet door and a door to her toilet. All three doors swung into the bedroom, across the carpeted floor. It is my understanding, as so alleged by Robert Slatzer and others, the new wool carpet in Marilyn’s bedrooms was so thick that closing the doors therein was a difficult task, rendering impossible, therefore, the act of slamming those doors. The two adjoining bedrooms contained six doors; the small connecting hallway contained one closet door; but the thick wool carpet would have inhibited the free swing of those doors, as well. Admittedly, Robert Kennedy could have used the small house’s exterior doors to vent his anger; but why would he search the outside for Marilyn’s Red Book of Secrets?

I readily admit that I am a hard core skeptic in some instances, particularly skeptical of unnamed sources and anonymous witnesses, particularly involving stories involving Marilyn and even more particularly involving stories involving Marilyn’s death. Despite my skepticism, I often try to find some reason to believe a story or afford a storyteller the benefit of a doubt; but, in this instance, I neither believe what Summers asserted through his multitudinous secondhand testifiers; and I cannot afford them or him even the benefit of a doubt relative to Spindel’s secret tapes, not only because of his flimsy anecdotal evidence, but also because of where the Gospel According to the Secret Tapes actually originated: in the mind of Robert Slatzer. Also, for the many reasons that I have already presented, I do not believe that Robert Kennedy was in the Dream City on August the 4th in 1962.

Additionally, according to C. David Heymann, Peter Lawford testified that Marilyn and Robert Kennedy screamed and shouted at each other in the kitchen where an intoxicated Marilyn attempted to stab the attorney general with a kitchen knife; but then, Marilyn’s autopsy proved that she had not imbibed that day; but then, according to Jay Margolis and Richard Buskin, the nasty argument transpired in Marilyn’s detached guest cottage where she was injected twice, administered an enema and then murdered by Dr. Ralph Greenson with an injection directly into her heart. Well then, which scenario do we accept? Is it possible that those theoretical physicists who have proposed the existence of parallel universes and parallel dimensions are, in fact, correct, that each scenario presented by various conspiracists actually transpired in distinct universes and distinct dimensions, parallel and concurrent? How else can we possibly explain all the disparate scenarios?

Most of the celebrities living in Hollywood during that town’s Golden Age would have agreed that Fred Otash was a scoundrel, a devious, duplicitous private detective who often worked for the gossip rag, Confidential. To that lurid publication, he peddled smut which he uncovered about celebrities or worked directly for the Confidential to uncover smut by invading the privacy of celebrities, their family members and friends. Mike Wallace interviewed the villainous private-eye on August the 25th in 1957. During that interview, Otash admitted that he would do anything for money except commit murder or work for a Communist.

Wallace’s interview with Otash is interesting in a creepy kind of way. For those interested in watching and listening to the eavesdropper evade Wallace’s questions, you will find a link below;3however, after viewing the interview, you might feel the need to wash your hands or take a shower or maybe even submit to a light sandblasting: Otash was exceptionally oily. Mike Wallace stated unequivocally that the private detective was the most amoral man he had ever interviewed. In fact, Otash was a convicted felon, a subject to which I will return later, return to facts which prove the assertion by Mike Wallace, that Otash was, without question or debate, simply an amoral man.

Private Detective John Danoff, who was an Otash employee, asserted that Marilyn hired his boss to record her telephone conversations, a rather goofy assertion when you consider its implications; and while Otash was working for her, the Communist Marilyn Monroe, he was also working for some nefarious types who needed to know all there was to know about the Communist actress. Otash recorded her conversations and otherwise just eavesdropped voyeuristically on the famous Communist movie star.

According to Anthony Summers according to Otash, he also bugged Peter Lawford’s Santa Monica beach house; and he listened as Marilyn made love with John Kennedy on several occasions when the actress and the president met in one of Peter Lawford’s many bedrooms. According to Anthony Summers according to Otash, he also bugged Marilyn’s Brentwood hacienda. The private detective asserted that he taped the passionate couple when John Kennedy visited Marilyn on Fifth Helena a few times; and he also recorded the love making sounds of Marilyn and Robert Kennedy at both Lawford’s beach house and Fifth Helena. Otash also alleged that he listened to the violent argument between Robert Kennedy and Marilyn as it transpired during the afternoon of August the 4th in 1962, just prior to her death. He claimed that Robert Kennedy covered a distraught Marilyn’s face with a pillow in an attempt to calm her; but the most controversial claim Otash ever uttered was this: I listened to Marilyn Monroe die. Still, Otash never actually produced a single tape of Marilyn’s recorded voice or her recorded utterances of delight. Fourteen years after Marilyn died while he listened, Otash published a memoir entitled Investigation Hollywood!

The book Otash published is filled with braggadocio, which, I admit, does not necessarily mean it is also filled with falsities; but, since many of the conspiracists who have written books about Marilyn’s death frequently invoked Otash’s name, anointed him the man who taped Marilyn’s life, her telephone conversations and knew what actually happened that August Saturday, I hoped that his book would offer some revealing insights, at least more than his alleged but never heard tape recordings ever offered; but, unfortunately, yet as I expected, his book was a disappointment. He dedicated one chapter to the infamous “Wrong Door Raid” involving Joe DiMaggio, Frank Sinatra, and Barney Ruditsky, a private detective hired by DiMaggio to observe Marilyn’s activities, in other words, to spy on his former wife.

Several conspiracists have suggested that Otash actually worked for DiMaggio; but not according to Otash: he worked for Frank Sinatra. Otash initially refused to take the case for reasons that are unimportant. What is important is what Otash told Sinatra’s attorney, Martin Gang, about Marilyn when he initially refused the case: what Marilyn Monroe did was her business and her business only. What an interesting observation from a muckraker like Otash considering his history of privacy invasion and scandal mongering.

In his memoir, Otash dedicated a chapter to Robert Kennedy, “Bobby Kennedy and the Senate Rackets Committee”. Marilyn did not appear therein. I understand that Otash allegedly wrote a book entitled, Marilyn, Robert Kennedy and Me; but the book has never been published; and as far as I know, or have been able to determine, a manuscript has never been seen. We can only speculate why.

Convicted of a criminal conspiracy to defraud for financial gain involving the sale of a horse, offering a bribe and also doping a horse, each crime considered to involve moral turpitude according to California statutes, Otash had his PI license indefinitely suspended by California’s Bureau of Private Investigators and Adjusters in December of 1959; but more importantly, perhaps, during July of 1960, Otash attempted to entrap then presidential candidate John Kennedy in a compromising situation with a prostitute, one of Otash’s friends named Sue Young. According to FBI file 62-116606, dated July 26, 1960, while working for Confidential Magazine, Otash contacted Young and questioned the acknowledged prostitute about her alleged participation is sex parties involving Senator John Kennedy, Peter Lawford, Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis, Jr.; but Young denied any knowledge of such activities involving the named men. Otash then asked if she could possibly arrange a rendezvous with Senator Kennedy, during which she would be wired and any indiscreet statements the Senator might make would be recorded. Young refused. A copy of the memorandum follows hereafter.

Considering the crimes for which Otash was convicted and his intent to illegally entrap John Kennedy, Otash was not only a recognized prevaricator and an incorrigible liar, he most certainly was a devious man and a man willing to engage in any type of duplicitous activity. Clearly, as recognized by Mike Wallace, Fred Otash was simply amoral; and therefore, it is difficult to understand why any discerning, reasonable man or woman would believe any statement made by Fred Otash.

Bernard Spindel was a professional, wire-tapping private eye like Otash whose operation was located in New York City. As confirmed by his 1968 memoir, he was obviously an intelligent but contradictory and conflicted man, an eccentric electronics wizard, even a genius more than a few of his associates asserted, who chose to work for the perceived dark side, dubious but persecuted men like Jimmy Hoffa, a practice Spindel defended: I have seen individuals persecuted with words that were surreptitiously recorded and taken totally out of context, Spindel asserted. Due to his observations and his experiences, he adopted the following curious policy: never to work for law enforcement agencies, but to be engaged only on behalf of the defendant. Not only did Spindel believe but he had also observed, that in almost any court of law the scales of justice are heavily weighted against the defendant (Spindel 9-10). We must assume, then, that a defendant’s guilt or innocence was not important to Bernard Spindel, only his or her position as the accused; and as a result thereof, Spindel worked to exonerate and ultimately free criminals, a practice that would not have endeared him to law enforcement. Certainly his association with Hoffa, the president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, would have been viewed with disdain by law enforcement officials and honest police officers.

Both Hoffa and Spindel were indicted for illegally tapping the telephones of the teamsters’ union headquarters in 1957. Their trial ended in a hung jury and on retrial, both were acquitted; but Spindel became embroiled, due to his Hoffa association, with Robert Kennedy, a contemptuous association which began even before John Kennedy was elected president and Robert Kennedy was appointed attorney general.

In 1959, Robert Kennedy was an attorney for the McClelland Investigating Committee on Labor Racketeering, which, of course, involved Jimmy Hoffa and Bernard Spindel. Robert Kennedy and Spindel encountered each other in a hallway after Spindel testified before the committee. The anti-Kennedy detective asked his attorney antagonist about a rumor: had Robert Kennedy, in fact, reported Spindel to the IRS? I sure did, Kennedy responded, according to Spindel, and I hope they get you. They certainly are going to try (Spindel 192). Robert Kennedy was a prominent topic in the brief book Spindel published in 1968. Not an autobiography as such, nor even a memoir really, The Ominous Ear is nonetheless an interesting book and an odd commentary on the morality of privacy invasion and eavesdropping.

While Spindel recounted a few of his most controversial cases and defended his association with the persecuted Jimmy Hoffa, the book is primarily an indictment of eavesdropping, an evil made necessary by the officials of law enforcement and the federal government who invade the privacy of American citizens regularly and with impunity. Spindel asserted his opposition to law enforcement’s practice of eavesdropping. He considered himself to be a proponent only of an individual’s right to record his own conversations, or the conversations on his own premises, for the sole purpose of self defense (Spindel 10). According to Spindel, eavesdropping laws were either inadequate, non-existent or so confusing that they could not be interpreted, not even by legal practitioners.

In the fifteenth section of his book, a section Spindel entitled “The Bigger They Are”, he recounted the December 1966 raid on his home and laboratory which he described as an anticipated showdown, an angry confrontation between him, New York Telephone and the Bell Systems, the New York City police department and the New York County Office of the District Attorney. This confrontation was the culmination, according to Spindel, of a long-standing feud between him and New York law enforcement due to his association with The New York City Anti-Crime Committee during the years of 1954 and 1955, a committee created and financed by New York citizens, their effort to supervise and restrain both corrupt police and corrupt politicians.

William Keating, the anti-crime committee’s chief legal counsel, asked Spindel to join as a consultant. According to Spindel, his efforts helped the anti-crime committee confirm that the telephone company’s special agents, along with the New York City police, had developed a nexus of wiretapping stations that operated with legal dispensation and impunity; and his efforts also confirmed that the police and the telephone company’s agents sold the information they had illegally obtained. Spindel’s efforts eventually led to indictments and arrests which, according to Spindel, put him permanently on the get ‘im list of both the District Attorney’s office and the New York City Police Department. The raid in December of 1966 was an attempt to punish Spindel and, of course, get ‘im.

Robert Slatzer, in his 1974 publication, referenced the 1966 police raid on Spindel’s rural New York home, during which, according to Slatzer, the police confiscated all of Spindel’s secret Marilyn Monroe files and tape recordings, except one. It must be noted at this point that Slatzer never interviewed Spindel, who had died in 1971. The information Slatzer presented was testimony provided by Bernard Spindel’s widow to an unnamed but nonetheless a close source of Slatzer’s. It must be noted at this point, also, that Robert Slatzer never actually interviewed Mrs. Spindel, either. Slatzer’s 1974 account included several accusations of malfeasance by the district attorney’s office and the investigating police officers, accusations leveled by Spindel’s widow in testimony she gave to Slatzer’s anonymous source. Certainly a dubious pattern has emerged, one involving deceased and anonymous sources offering unsubstantiated hearsay testimony.

According to Slatzer’s source according to Spindel’s widow, the police officers actually discussed, during the raid, that they were searching for and hoped to find her husband’s secret files and tape recordings of Marilyn Monroe and Robert Kennedy. Proof of that incriminating statement, along with many others, was on a tape recording of the actual raid itself made by Spindel, who activated a tape recorder when the raid began. However, according to Slatzer’s source according to Spindel’s widow, the copy of that tape was confiscated by police during a second raid on Spindel’s home. The original tape recording of the raid was still in her possession, however, but extremely well hidden, the one tape that apparently survived the December 1966 raid.

Slatzer correctly noted that Spindel petitioned the court to have his tapes returned. The writer referenced an article which appeared in the 1966 December 21st issue of the New York Times, written by Robert E. Tomasson. Spindel’s filed affidavit, according to Tomasson, asserted that the confiscated materials were tapes and evidence concerning the circumstances surrounding the causes of the death of Marilyn Monroe, which strongly suggests that the officially reported circumstances of her demise were erroneous (Slatzer 12). As I noted in a preceding paragraph, Spindel’s 1968 publication recounted the 1966 raid in detail; but the account of the raid presented in The Ominous Ear did not match the account presented by Slatzer, or Spindel’s widow more precisely. We are left to wonder why.

Spindel did not mention Marilyn Monroe in his book, not even once. Should we conclude, as a result thereof, that all of Slatzer’s assertions were malarkey? Slatzer made at least one historical error. He incorrectly asserted that Spindel died from a heart attack in 1968; but Spindel actually died in 1971 while serving a prison sentence for his illegal operations, wiretapping and eavesdropping. Also, Mrs. Spindel herself suffered a heart attack at the start of the 1966 raid, and she was transported to a local hospital while the raid was in progress. Thus, she was not actually present during the raid. So, Slatzer recounted hear­say testimony involving a dead man, once convicted and incarcerated for illegal wiretap­ping, hearsay testimony from a woman who reported what she heard on a copy of a tape recording that she never produced, a tape recording that was not heard by Slatzer or his anonymous source.

And finally, Spindel’s widow believed that her husband, while imprisoned, was murdered by law enforcement and correctional department officials to conceal the murder of Marilyn Monroe and to protect Robert Kennedy. Speaking only for myself, of course, the preceding serpentine testament certainly wrenches and elongates my credulity.

I am not exactly sure what I expected to learn from the books written by Spindel and Otash. Needless to say, Spindel and his colleague Otash deftly straddled the boundary line between the lawful and the unlawful; and they were, by and large, both dishonest and discredited men, telephone tappers and bedroom buggers. Certainly Mike Wallace was correct when he asserted that Otash was simply an amoral person. My assessment of Spindel is this: he was compelled by a distrust of and an animosity for authority, perhaps even hatred thereof; and he certainly despised Robert Kennedy against whom he waged a personal vendetta, not unlike Spindel’s client, Jimmy Hoffa. Spindel had an obvious agenda. Still, Spindel never evoked Marilyn’s name and Otash did so only in relation to the Wrong Door Raid.

If, as Fred Otash allegedly asserted, an assertion reported by Milo Speriglio, Slatzer’s private-eye, and also reported by Otash employee, John Danoff, that Marilyn hired Otash to tap her telephone lines and record her telephone conversations, then she obviously knew Fred Otash was eavesdropping on her life. An obvious question ensues: why would she do that? According to legend, she wanted to generate blackmail material, scandalous sweet nothings to use as a blunt object for pummeling Robert Kennedy into a divorce and then a Hollywood wedding, one featuring an actress and blonde bride. On the other hand, both Robert Slatzer and Jeanne Carmen offered contradictory testimony regarding what Marilyn believed about the status of her telephone lines: she either feared, thought or was convinced that they were tapped. Neither Slatzer nor Carmen, though, ever mentioned black mail material. Even so, both faux friends asserted that Marilyn lugged around a bag of silver coins during the later months of her life and that she invariably called them, along with her other friends and confidants, from pay telephones. Frankly, the lack of logic and the contradictory nature of what Marilyn’s faux friends asserted, in light of what Otash and others claimed, is staggering.

If Marilyn wanted her residential telephone conversations recorded, why would she use pay telephones? And if she used pay telephones, as asserted, how could her residential telephone conversations have been recorded? Were all the pay telephones in the vicinity of Fifth Helena also tapped? When someone called Marilyn, what did she do? Advise the caller that she had to leave but would return their call later? Did she then scamper to a nearby pay telephone? Besides, for a woman who never used her home telephones, she sure used her home telephones frequently, as attested by her real friends, whom she frequently called at all hours, day and night.

I am compelled at this point to ask: where are those Otash tapes of Marilyn’s telephone conversations? Surely, Otash gave Marilyn copies so she could bludgeon and black mail the attorney general? Did she never play those tapes for Jeanne Carmen, Marilyn’s best girlfriend? Jeanne Laverne never so indicated. But then, the illogical and mutually exclusive aspects of the fallacies presented by Marilyn’s fraudulent friends, and those who believed what they asserted, are downright laughable.

The blackmail tapes of legend have never been produced, have never been heard by the public.

The district attorney’s 1982 summary report considered the existence of the secret tapes as alleged by both Spindel and Speriglio. The summary report recounted the 1966 raid on Spindel’s home, his affidavit filed with the New York court and his assertion that at least some of these tapes contained material relating to the circumstances surrounding the death of Marilyn Monroe (SR 18).4

Spindel apparently wanted the tapes played publicly. The summary report added:

[…] according to an attorney presently on the staff of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, Spindel backed down in his request to have the contents of the tapes made public.

Spindel apparently had been laboring under the misunderstanding that the investigators in the District Attorney’s Office had not heard the tapes. His asserted desire to have the tapes made public appears to have been a ploy. Our investigators successfully tracked down the investigator who supervised the district attorney’s investigation of Bernard Spindel in the 1960s. He reported to us that the tapes were in fact heard by District Attorney staff investigators and that none of the tapes contained anything relating to Marilyn Monroe. The supervising investigator, Mr. Bill Graff, who is now Chief Investigator with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, reports that Spindel was “a known boaster” and frequently alluded to having knowledge of a number of secrets (SR 18).

Certainly, Spindel could have released the original tape recording of the 1966 raid to the press and public, the hidden tape whose existence Spindel’s widow reported to Slatzer’s anonymous source. Neither Spindel nor his widow ever released that tape recording.

Regarding Milo Speriglio, the summary report stated that investigators interviewed the private-eye on several occasions. He allegedly possessed secret tapes confirming criminal conduct associated with Miss Monroe’s death (SR 19). The summary report continued:

Mr. Speriglio told our investigators that in August of this year [1982] he received a telephone call from an informant who stated that he, the informant, had previously been associated with Bernard Spindel and also had worked with a Mr. Mike Morriesey (sic) who is presently an attorney in Washington, D.C. A copy of the tape recording of the informant’s statements was provided to our investigators and the tape has been listened to on several occasions. Much of the tape is of poor quality and certain segments are unintelligible. However, the essence of the information the informant relayed was that while working for Jimmy Hoffa, Bernard Spindel had made a tape-recording on which could be heard the sound of a slap followed by the sound of a body striking the ground. The informant further stated that a phrase was heard on the tape regarding “what should be done with the body.” Allegedly this recording is of Marilyn Monroe’s death. The informant apparently was seeking to sell his information (SR 19).

No one ever heard the tape recording that was offered for sale, the one featuring the slapping sound and the incriminating comment allegedly about disposing of Marilyn’s body. Not even Speriglio heard the tape; and when Speriglio contacted Morrissey, who Summers referenced in association with that tape, Morrissey denied any knowledge thereof.

Of course, none of the conspiracists who published books subsequent to 1982, including Summers, ever included any direct quotations from or repeated the conclusions reached by the district attorney as a result of their 1982 re-investigation, an obvious and obnoxious example of cherry picking; and when the conspiracists deigned to mention the summary report, they only did so in order to dismiss it as a governmental hoax.

According to Summers, the tapes allegedly made by Fred Otash were initially commissioned innocently by Joe DiMaggio. During an interview with Otash, who was in his early sixties at the time, the private-eye stated he refused to tap Marilyn’s telephones or bug her house for the baseball icon when initially approached; and Otash stated that he also refused to work for Bernard Spindel, a testament that certainly presented a problem for Summers. He circumvented that problem by interviewing many persons who knew Otash or had conversations with him about Marilyn and the middle Kennedy brothers. A few of Summers’ testifiers even alleged they were actually involved in the surveillance, monitored the recordings in real time, listened to conversations in real time and then listened to the resultant tapes with Otash. As a result of this new testimony, Summers re-interviewed Otash

The amoral eavesdropper admitted to receiving a request from Jimmy Hoffa through Bernard Spindel to tap Marilyn’s telephone and bug her Fifth Helena hacienda. Otash asserted to Summers once again that he refused to get involved; but, Otash confirmed that Spindel came to Los Angeles, installed some eavesdropping devices and began an association with Barney Ruditsky, who had once worked for Otash, and who also possessed some files on Marilyn Monroe and the middle Kennedy brothers. So Otash fingered Ruditsky who by then, like Spindel, was bugging telephones in the vastness of eternity; and, as usual, DiMaggio would not talk to anyone on the record about his former wife. Summers concluded that all the testimony from various disreputable and unlawful, sordid and seamy eavesdropping detectives amounted to evidence and proof that telephone taps and bedroom bugs had been installed and resulted in secret tape recordings. However, Summers acknowledged the existence of many loose ends.

Once again, none of the subject tape recordings have never been produced for any type of scrutiny or scientific evaluation. Additionally, Fred Otash often contradicted himself, alleging, as he did, that he refused involvement and then alleging, as he did, that he was involved. Do those peculiarities qualify as loose ends?

Although I do not agree with much of what Randy Taraborrelli asserted about Marilyn, he at least recognized the fallacy and the mythology of the never before heard secret tapes, noting that entire books had been written about the legendary tapes that implicated various and sundry persons in Marilyn’s death. She must have had so many recording mechanisms and wires in her hacienda, Taraborrelli noted, he was surprised that she even received an acceptable radio or television signal. Allegedly, even Marilyn’s telephone answering service was tapped. And too, Taraborrelli contradicted what several conspiracists have alleged about Peter Lawford: allegedly the actor listened to some of the secret tapes and testified to what he heard thereon: voices of Marilyn along with the voices of John and Robert Kennedy, the barely audible sounds of bed springs virtually drowned by the shrieks of pleasure. Marilyn was, after all, a very gifted actress, Lawford allegedly commented. Taraborrelli sincerely believed and stated, however, that Peter Lawford would never have made such a scurrilous statement. Also, Taraborrelli opined, until the secret tapes are discovered and exposed, made available for all to hear and made available for professional analysis, claims of their existence simply do not matter. He was and is correct.

Suffer me to revisit the Spindel tape recording Summers referenced and about which he received testimony from an anonymous earwitness, a tape recording also referenced by Robert Slatzer in both his 1974 and 1992 literary efforts about Marilyn.

In 1974, Slatzer’s source for the existence of Spindel’s tape and what the recording memorialized, as I previously noted, was an anonymous source who received his or her information from Bernard Spindel’s widow. Slatzer never met and never interviewed Mrs. Spindel. Slatzer asserted that the recording contained a telephone call, one placed from San Francisco and received by a person in the area of West Los Angeles during the early morning hours of August the 5th. Thus, we can conclude that Slatzer’s source, and therefore Slatzer, did not know the identities of the persons who made or answered the telephone call or the exact time Ma Bell’s instrument rang in West Los Angeles. Even so, Slatzer asserted unequivocally that the telephone rang when―he meant most certainly after―Marilyn had already been found dead, though word of her tragic end had not yet been reported to the police (Slatzer 13). Slatzer did not explain exactly how he acquired the preceding information and details.

Slatzer then asserted that the unknown person who placed the telephone call asked the following question: Is she dead yet? Slatzer then exclaimed: How valuable that piece of tape might be! (Slatzer 13), an exclamation which meant that Slatzer: 1) did not actually see the tape recording; and 2) did not actually hear it, either. Eighteen years later, though, Slatzer completely modified his story regarding that tape recording and telephone call. Not only did he contradict his 1974 account thereof; but his revised account achieved diametric opposition to the account offered by Summers’ unnamed earwitness.

In Slatzer’s 1992 narrative, he referred to Summer’s earwitness as the anonymous government consultant; and in lieu of relying on Summers and Summers’ source, Slatzer asserted: I heard this section of the tapes. It was apparently made on the day of Marilyn’s death (Slatzer Files 288). According to Slatzer, the section he heard involved the end of the tape during which Robert Kennedy and Peter Lawford discussed how they could conceal the former’s involvement in Marilyn’s death and his presence in L.A. The attorney general advised his brother-in-law exactly how to begin the concealment; and after flying back to San Francisco, Robert proclaimed, he would telephone Peter to check on the progress of the cover-up. Slatzer then asserted: On the tape, a call is heard coming in from San Francisco; then he added: the operator said the call was coming in from the Bay area. On the tape, I heard Bobby Kennedy’s voice on the other end of the line saying: “Is she dead?” (Slatzer Files 288).

There are many peculiarities in the preceding contradictory accounts. I am not going to dwell on each and every one of them, just note that Slatzer’s 1974 and 1992 accounts obviously conflict internally and conflict radically with the account reported to Anthony Summers by his anonymous earwitness. More significantly, however, each account conflicts radically with historical facts. Keep in mind, the alleged telephone call came into Marilyn’s hacienda.

In his 1974 book, for instance, what was vague and inferred on the recording as described by Slatzer miraculously transfigured itself during the elapsing eighteen long years, transfigured itself into the precise and the proclaimed: the unknown person who asked, Is she dead yet? became Robert Kennedy who just wanted to know, Is she dead? Also, we know that Eunice Murray was with Marilyn the night of August the 4th. Even so, Eunice does not appear in Slatzer’s 1974 account of events; she does not appear in the account offered by Summers’ anonymous source eleven years later; and Eunice does not appear in Slatzer’s 1992 account, published seven years after Summers’ published Goddess. As a way of explanation, as a way to resolve the discrepancies, several conspir­acists have asserted that Robert Kennedy and his accomplices forced Eunice to leave the house while Kennedy and pals either searched for Marilyn’s Little Red Diary or murdered her, a contention neither mentioned nor confirmed by Mrs. Murray. Even if we momentarily accept that scenario and premise, we still know, as historical fact, that Eunice Murray discovered Marilyn’s body; therefore, if the telephone call came into Marilyn’s hacienda after her body had been discovered, then at least Eunice Murray should have been present, at least in any factual account of the night’s tragic events.

Additionally, we also know that Dr. Greenson arrived at Fifth Helena not long after Eunice discovered Marilyn’s body; therefore, any factual account of events should also have included the presence of Dr. Greenson, also missing from the accounts of both anonymous sources. More additionally, also absent from each account is the man who claimed that he was present, not only on the night of August the 4th when he accompanied Eunice to the house of a next door neighbor, forced to leave by Robert Kennedy and accomplices, but also on the morning of August the 5th, when Marilyn was murdered―handyman and Mrs. Murray’s son-in-law, Norman Jefferies. Why was Jefferies left out of Anthony Summers’ account and the account offered by Marilyn’s purported weekend husband?

In his 1992 apocrypha, The Marilyn Files, Slatzer contradicted his 1974 artifice and asserted that the telephone rang in Marilyn’s hacienda before her body had been discovered and also after Robert Kennedy had flown back to San Francisco, which would have taken at least a few hours. Keep in mind, Robert Kennedy was actually in Gilroy, California, with a portion of his family visiting the Bates family on August the 4th in 1962.

Dr. Engelberg arrived at Fifth Helena not long after the arrival of Dr. Greenson, certainly within the amount of time required for Robert Kennedy’s alleged return flight to San Francisco. Therefore, is it not logical to contend that any factual account of events presented by Slatzer in 1992 should also have included the presence of Dr. Engelberg? The same question can be posed about the account of Summers’ unnamed source; and remember, Eunice Murray was there in the hacienda the entire time, not only prior to but also after she discovered Marilyn’s lifeless body. In short, the alleged telephone call’s timing relative to the known events of that night of nights, along with the known presence of Eunice Murray, Ralph Greenson and Hyman Engelberg, simply cannot be resolved, not in each of Slatzer’s accounts nor in the account offered by Summer’s anonymous earwitness. The conflicts and discrepancies generate more than a reasonable doubt regarding the account presented in Goddess and each of Slatzer’s dubious books.

Furthermore, in his 1974 literary effort, Slatzer did not mention an operator’s voice nor Robert Kennedy’s voice; and Summers’ earwitness reported that whoever answered that incoming telephone call did so without speaking a word and no voices could be heard, not an operator’s voice or those questioning words allegedly spoken by Robert Kennedy that Slatzer quoted in his 1992 account of Marilyn’s death. If Summer’s earwitness heard the same tape that Slatzer allegedly heard, why were the accounts offered by each man so different that they appeared to involve two different tapes and events?

According to Robert Slatzer’s 1992 account of that evening’s events, Robert Kennedy left Marilyn’s hacienda and flew to San Francisco from where he telephoned Marilyn’s hacienda. When Summers’ source visited Spindel during 1967, the private detective stated unequivocally that Marilyn was dead by the time Robert Kennedy departed; and Summers offered additional witnesses, Richard Butterfield and Dr. Henry Kamin, who testified to another unequivocal declaration by Spindel: Marilyn died while Robert Kennedy was in her hacienda. So, we can logically conclude that Peter Lawford remained in Marilyn’s hacienda with her corpse for at least a few hours waiting for his brother-in-law to telephone from San Francisco and inquire regarding the status of Marilyn’s death and the cover-up. That is absolutely nonsensical. Why would Robert Kennedy telephone long distance, using an operator, just to ask about Marilyn’s moribundity if she was already dead, which he knew, before he left her hacienda; and if her death had not yet been reported to the police, how far could a cover-up have progressed? Besides, for the many reasons that I have already presented, I am positive that Robert Kennedy was not in the Dream City on August the 4th in 1962; and therefore, the attorney general did not visit Marilyn Monroe.

One final comment about Bernard Spindel’s sneakily obtained tapes. If New York police officers confiscated all of Spindel’s Marilyn Monroe files and tape recordings during a raid on his home and eavesdropping laboratory in 1966, which apparently they did, how, then, could anybody, even Summers’ anonymous 1967 earwitness, listen to those tapes? They had already been confiscated by the COPs. The only tape that allegedly survived the 1966 raid was the original tape recording of the raid itself. Keep in mind that a copy of that tape was allegedly confiscated by the police during a second raid on Spindel’s New York home and laboratory, a second raid Spindel did not mention in his memoir; and I must ask: why did Spindel omit that second raid? Does the significant omission by Spindel suggest that the police never conducted a second raid? Moreover, the police could not have known about the existence of that second tape since the original tape was surreptitiously obtained, not unless the fellows with badges were clairvoyant.

The police never returned Spindel’s confiscated materials; and they were destroyed before he died. That being the case, it is certainly reasonable to doubt the testimony of Summers’ earwitness along with the assertions of the always dubitable Robert F. Slatzer. Is it not time to accept this apparent and essential reality: secret tape recordings simply do not, and never did, exist. In fact, if tape recordings of the type described had ever existed, they would have been sold many years and long ago to the highest voyeuristic bidder.

A Hairdresser and His Tapes