The JFK Conspiracy Theorist

by longformphilly

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Robert Huber | Philadelphia Magazine | February 2014

THREE YEARS AGO, Vince Salandria got a phone call from Arlen Specter, a man he didn’t know. Salandria had been in the Senator’s company only once before, but that was almost a half-century earlier, at a public event. When he called, Specter wasn’t running for anything—he had recently been voted out of office. All he had was a simple request of Salandria, who was 83 years old, a retired Philadelphia school-system lawyer: Would you have lunch with me? They eventually met at the Oyster House, on Sansom Street in Philadelphia. The lunch would turn out to be one of strangest meetings of Salandria’s life.

Vince is a man of high energy; he’s still doing pro bono lawyering in labor relations for the city’s schools. He’s small—all of 137 pounds—with a large balding head that narrows toward his jaw. He has an impish smile, and it would be easy to call him cute. But he isn’t, by nature, impish or cute—Vince is intense. And that was especially true when, as a young man, he attended an event held in Arlen Specter’s honor.

In October 1964, the Philadelphia Bar Association invited Specter, then a young prosecutor in the D.A.’s office, to speak about his work as an investigator for the Warren Commission, which had been formed to come up with a definitive answer to who assassinated President John F. Kennedy. Specter was assigned to figure out the basic logistics of the shooting: how many shots, how many gunmen, where did the bullets come from? The commission’s report had just come out, declaring Lee Harvey Oswald the lone killer, and the bar association had Specter address about 150 people one evening in a City Hall courtroom.

Afterward, he asked if there were any questions.

Writer bio: Robert Huber is a writer and editor for Philadelphia Magazine.

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