Family, staff say film smears LBJ

From Associated Press

A television documentary claiming Lyndon B. Johnson helped plot the assassination of President John F. Kennedy was condemned as an absurd smear by Johnson's family and former staff members.

A History Channel film that aired Monday alleges that then-Vice President Johnson and members of his staff were responsible for President Kennedy's 1963 killing, said LBJ Foundation Chairman Tom Johnson, no relation to the former president.

He and Jack Valenti, another former Johnson staff member and current president of the Motion Picture Assn. of America, issued a joint statement on behalf of the Johnson family and others.

"Sadly, President Johnson and the staff members who are wrongly smeared by the conspiracy theorists are no longer alive to defend themselves," the statement said. "In televising this production, the History Channel has distorted history beyond recognition."

The films in "The Men Who Killed Kennedy" series are from producer Nigel Turner and have aired before on cable TV, History Channel spokeswoman Lynn Gardner said. Monday's film, titled "The Guilty Men," was based in part on the book "Blood, Money & Power: How L.B.J. Killed J.F.K." by Barr McClellan, she said.

"The History Channel does not say that any of these theories are correct nor does not in any way say that the theory in this program is correct," the channel said in a statement. "We are, however, presenting a point of view that has been meticulously researched."

From Associated Press

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