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Family seeks lost JFK assassination film

November 24, 2015

The granddaughter of the photographer who filmed US President John F. Kennedy's assassination in Dallas has filed suit for the film's return. The 8mm film has apparently been lost by the US government.

Bildergalerie 50. Jahrestag der Ermordung John F. Kennedys
Image: picture-alliance/dpa

A Texas woman said Monday that she was suing a US government agency to force the return of a film shot by her grandfather that captured the Dallas assassination from a key vantage point.

Gayle Nix Jackson filed the lawsuit in federal court on Saturday, a day before the 52nd anniversary of the November 22, 1963 JFK assassination. Jackson is seeking the original film or $10 million (9.4 million euros) in compensation.

Her now deceased grandfather, Orville Nix, had sold his film to the UPI news agency for $5,000 in 1963 with an understanding it would be returned after 25 years. But it was turned over to the Warren Commission and other official probes of the Kennedy assassination, the lawsuit said.

Jackson said the film was shot from Dealey Plaza opposite from the infamous grassy knoll where some witnesses testified they heard at least one shot fired.

She has publicly stated that it could determine whether there was a second gunman involved in the assassination, as some people continue to believe.

Coveted by amateur JFK theorists

The film was last known to be in possession of the government for the House Select Committee on Assassinations in 1978. But the whereabouts of the original film has been unknown ever since, the lawsuit alleges.

"I can understand little clerical issues," Jackson said. "I don't understand the loss of evidence like this."

Nix had filmed the presidential motorcade as it entered the plaza, but he didn't know he had captured the shooting until the photo lab that processed his film told him later.

The film sequence includes first lady Jackie Kennedy climbing onto the trunk of the limousine, and Secret Service agent Clint Hill jumping onto the vehicle, according to the lawsuit.

jar/jm (AP, Reuters)