53rd Anniversary of Kennedy Assassination: Lawsuit Over Kennedy Assassination “Nix Film” Languishes While All Eyes Are on October 26, 2017

Mark your calendars, Kennedy assassination research fans.

October 26, 2017 is the date when the government is scheduled to declassify and release all of the remaining 3,600 JFK Assassination records (see here).

There are two ardently divided groups on the topic of the Kennedy assassination — the amorphous conspiracy theorists, on one hand, and the “lone assassin” crowd, on the other — who agree on but one thing: the government should not block the full release in October 2017.

We’ll see if this letter to President Obama’s counsel has any effect on the Trump Administration, particularly given Mr. Trump’s stated theories on the assassination.

Every November 22 there is the usual wave of news coverage relating to the anniversary of the JFK assassination… but this year seems particularly timid (see this Google Trend study, which reflects spikes around November of each year except in July 2016, an additional spike of interest once Trump mentioned his theory regarding Ted Cruz’s father).

The main interest this year appears to be the (carefully timed) release of Twenty-Six Seconds: A Personal History of the Zapruder Film, a book by the daughter of Abraham Zapruder, who shot the infamous twenty-six second video of the assassination (here).


In November 2015, the news focused Orville Nix whose lesser-known film of the assassination (here) was allegedly lost.  His grand-daughter, Gayle Nix Jackson, filed a lawsuit in November 2015 (also carefully timed) claiming that the government lost the film, she owns the rights, and that it should be returned to her or she should be paid millions of dollars as the Zapruder family received.

We covered the filing of the Gayle Nix Jackson v. United States of America suit back when it happened in November 2015, here.

There was little news or fanfare about the suit for months until this brief discussion of the defendants’ Motion to Dismiss in June 2016, here.

At some point since then, the grand-daughter’s website was shuttered and her book has gone out of print.

So where are we now?  Waiting on the trial judge to rule.  This will likely not be some explosive Kennedy assassination revelation but, instead, be a ruling on fairly dry jurisdictional and federal statutory issues.  Here’s the latest:

In late July 2016, the Plaintiff filed an Opposition to the Motion to Dismiss, arguing that she owns the rights to the Nix film; she first learned of the loss of the film in 2014; and that this matter should be tolled under after the October 26, 2017 disclosure date.  Otherwise, she claimed that the Court has jurisdiction and that the claims are neither barred by immunity or statute of limitations.

On August 17, 2016, the Government filed its 17-page Reply in Support of the Motion to Dismiss, arguing that the Plaintiff failed to comply with the Federal Tort Claim Act relative to the replevin claim and that the takings claim must be dismissed for failing to comply with the Tucker Act.  Overall, the defendants maintain that the court lacks jurisdiction.




Christopher B. Hopkins

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