In the Footsteps of Cusack

The Lewis Legacy-Issue 76, Spring 1998 The C.S. Lewis Foundation for Truth in Publishing

When Lawrence X. (Lex) Cusack went through the papers of his deceased father, a New York attorney, he discovered secret documents signed by John F. Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe, revealing details about their affair. Cusack reportedly sold some of the papers to collectors for $4 million. In 1994 Cusack turned other key papers over to respected Pultizer-prize-winning investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, who wrote a book titled The Dark Side of Camelot for Little Brown & Company, scheduled for release in September 1997.

After agreeing to pay more than $2 million for the right to base a documentary on Hersh’s book, NBC got suspicious and backed out, leaving Hersh and his partner with $1 million profit. Next, Hersh sold the rights to ABC, which had the Kennedy/Monroe documents approved by several handwriting experts. But someone working on the film with Hersh noticed that a letter dated 1961 had a ZIP code — before there were any ZIP codes. ABC belatedly called in real document examiners, who could tell that the document typist had used lift-off tape — which did not exist until the 1970s. (Kennedy died on 22 November 1963, the same day as C. S. Lewis.)

After the forgery news was announced on 20/20 in September 1997, ABC postponed its documentary and Little Brown postponed Hersh’s book so that Cusack’s materials could be removed from both. If no one had blown the whistle at the last minute, this forgery would have ranked with the Hitler diaries “discovered” by Konrad Kujau over 20 years earlier. The Cusack forgeries were far less impressive than Kujau’s, but they fooled supposedly intelligent people just the same.