Robert Kennedy's Assassination in L.A.: Defense Presents Evidence of Multiple Shooters

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More than 40 years after the murder at the Ambassador Hotel, Sirhan Sirhan also claims that he was hypnotized to be a diversion from the actual killer.

Lawyers representing the convicted assassin of Robert F. Kennedy hope to prove their client’s innocence… 43 years later.

In newly filed court documents obtained by the AP, Sirhan Sirhan’s legal team allege that a bullet was switched in evidence at his trial, and that Sirhan was hypnotized to fire shots as a diversion from the actual killer. The lawyers, William F. Pepper and Laurie Dusek, also claim that new audio tests from the 1968 assassination prove that there were 13 shots fired from multiple guns -- five more than Sirhan could have fired from his pistol. In the original trial, eight bullets were counted. Three hit Kennedy, and the rest struck five other victims who were able to recover.

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The shooting occurred at L.A.’s Ambassador hotel on June 5, 1968, as the Senator was celebrating his victory in the California and South Dakota primary elections for the Democratic nomination of President. Kennedy was fatally wounded as he walked through the hotel’s kitchen on his way to the exit. He survived nearly 26 hours after the incident, dying on June 6 at the Good Samaritan hospital, where he had been treated with surgery.

With Kennedy that night was friend and actor/writer George Plimpton (Nixon, Good Will Hunting), who helped wrestle Sirhan to the ground and disarm him. Plimpton was aided by Olympic gold medalist, Rafer Johnson and professional football player, Rosey Grier. Rosemary Clooney, a strong Kennedy supporter, was also on hand that evening.

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The fateful night was immortalized in the 2006 film Bobby, written and directed by Emilio Estevez.

The 62-page federal court brief is the latest in a number of appeals filed on Sirhan’s behalf, all of which were previously turned down. The Palestinian immigrant hopes to be deported to Jordan and “quietly live out the rest of his life with family and friends,” the filing states. “But at long last he would, at least, have received long delayed justice.”

During his trial, Sirhan admitted that he had killed the Senator “with 20 years of malice aforethought.” He later rescinded his confession.

The lawyers have asked that the judge set an evidentiary hearing to reexamine the case, stating that Sirhan lacked adequate assistance of counsel during his trial.

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