The Men Who Killed Kennedy
The Coup d'Etat - Part 1of2
The Men Who Killed Kennedy is a 9-part video documentary series about the John F. Kennedy assassination by Nigel Turner that began with two 50 minutes segments originally aired on 25 October 1988 in the United Kingdom, titled simply Part One and Part Two. The programmes were produced by Central Television for the ITV network, and were immediately followed by a studio discussion on the issues titled The Story Continues, chaired by broadcaster Peter Sissons. The United States corporation, Arts & Entertainment Company, purchased the rights to the original two segments. In 1989, the series was nominated for a Flaherty Documentary Award. The series was re-edited with additional material into three 50 minute programmes in 1991, which were again shown by ITV. A sixth episode appeared in 1995. The series typically aired in November every year, but also from time to time during the year as repeats. But in November, 2003, when three additional segments ("The Final Chapter") were added by the History Channel, the consequences were so immense that the entire series is no longer aired, though the History Channel still sells DVD copies of the first six documentaries.
The ninth documentary in the series, titled "The Guilty Men", directly implicating former U. S. President Lyndon B. Johnson, created an outcry among Johnson's surviving associates, Johnson's widow, Lady Bird Johnson, journalist Bill Moyers, ex-President Jimmy Carter, Jack Valenti (longtime president of the Motion Picture Association of America), and the last-living (at the time of the outcry) Warren Commission commissioner and ex-President Gerald R. Ford, who lodged complaints of libel with the History Channel. They subsequently threatened legal action against Arts & Entertainment Company, owner of the History Channel.
The History Channel responded by assembling a panel of three historians, Robert Dallek, Stanley Kutler, and Thomas Sugrue. On a program aired April 7, 2004 called "The Guilty Man: A Historical Review", the panel agreed that the documentary was not credible and should not have aired. The History Channel issued a statement saying, in part, "The History Channel recognizes that 'The Guilty Men' failed to offer viewers context and perspective, and fell short of the high standards that the network sets for itself. The History Channel apologizes to its viewers and to Mrs. Johnson and her family for airing the show." Conspiracy author Barr McClellan, interviewed in the documentary, complained that while the historians examined the evidence, they did not interview him or Turner.
All three new documentaries by Turner ("The Guilty Men," "The Smoking Gun" and "The Love Affair") were then permanently withdrawn by the History Channel, though they were originally slated to be viewed at least annually on the History Channel until the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination (November, 2013).
In another episode that has warranted discussion, French prisoner Christian David named Lucien Sarti as one of three French criminals hired to carry out the assassination of Kennedy, when David was interviewed by author Anthony Summers.
Malcolm Liggett, a retired economics professor, sued A&E regarding the episode "The Smoking Guns", which claimed Liggett was involved in a conspiracy to kill Kennedy. They reached a settlement which included reading a letter by Liggett on the show History.