In the mid 90s a collection of documents found to be written by JFK to Marilyn Monroe surfaced. These were known as the Cusack Papers and were said to be written by JFK in his own hand discussing the relationship between him and Marilyn Monroe and the Chicago gangster Sam Giancana. According to Lawrence Cusack, he found these documents in an attic at his father’s house who had died in 1985. He states that his father had served as a secret counselor to Kennedy and these documents were given to Seymour Hersh, who was writing a book on the “Dark side of Camelot”. Many of these documents were bought and sold in an excessive of six millions dollars to a variety of collectors.
The documents were later found to be forged and a Federal Grand Jury is now investigating this fraud. These letters were felt to be love letters and secret correspondence between the President and Marilyn Monroe. More than 350 of these documents were sold by Lex Cusack to different buyers for over six million dollars. In 1999, Cusack was found guilty of fraud and sentenced to ten years in prison. An author in New Hampshire is currently writing a book on the Cusack Papers as he feels that Mr. Cusack was punished wrongfully.
Currently, these documents are tied up in the courts as the Kennedy family is seeking to have these documents destroyed. They state that there is a significant risk that the forgeries will re-enter the market place and the only way to prevent this is to destroy them. Others feel that though they are forgeries and a piece of history and have spent considerable sums of money and want the documents returned. There is also a concern that the documents are still authentic and that these documents are not been tested appropriately and destroying them would also be destroying a piece of history.
Lex Cusack’s father, Larry Cusack, was an attorney who handled the affairs of Marilyn Monroe’s mother, Gladys Baker from 1980-1984 when Baker died. Lex Cusack claimed to find reams of correspondence between Kennedy and Monroe when he began sorting his father’s papers in 1991. One of these documents includes a trust agreement from President Kennedy to Marilyn Monroe promising her and her mother a hundred thousand dollars in exchange for Monroe’s silence about their relationship and Kennedy’s dealings with Chicago Mob, a kingpin Sam Giancana.
Towards the end of my apprenticeship I was contacted to review these documents, once released into the public domain, for an upcoming book on this topic. As an internist and a certified handwriting examiner I was also personally asked to review the medical records of John F. Kennedy and comment on the effects of his condition/medication on the handwriting in the Cussack letters.
Over the next several years I had several conversations with the author only to learn that the Cusack letters remained unavailable due to ongoing litigation. In 2008 I was contacted by a cousin of Mr. Cussack to review the letters, as he was certain that they were authentic. More recently in 2009 I was contacted by an attorney in Atlanta, GA, who potentially had access to the original letters, to do a complete investigation. To this date however the elusive documents remain unavailable.
FYI: Handwriting analysis and the art of forgery detection have many names, including document examination, questioned document examination, questioned writing analysis, handwriting evaluation, questioned handwriting examination, questioned signature verification, forgery evaluation, forgery analysis. A handwriting examiner is also referred to as a document examiner, handwriting expert, handwriting specialist, handprinting examiner, handprinting expert or a specialist in forgery detection. Questioned document examination and forgery detection differ from graphology also called behavior profiling in that a questioned document examiner is concerned about authenticating the writing through comparison with know samples, as compared to evaluating the psychological and personality traits of the author.