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Description of document: Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) report of 23- 

March-1981 interview of Joseph S. Chagra re: 
murder of Judge John Wood 

Released date: November 29, 2007 

Posted date: 18-January-2008 

Title of Document FD 302 (REV 3-8-77) Federal Bureau of Investigation 

(File #) SA 89B-250 

Source of document: Federal Bureau of Investigation 

Record Information/Dissemination Section 
170 Marcel Drive 
Winchester, VA 22602-4843 

Notes: This is an excerpt of a larger FBI file. 

Judge Wood was shot in the back with a high-powered 
rifle in the driveway of his San Antonio home on May 29 1979. Judge Wood was the 
first sitting Federal Judge murdered in this century and the first contract murder of a 
Federal Judge in U.S. history. Charles Harrelson, father of movie star/comedian Woody 
Harrelson, was convicted of having actually pulled the trigger for which he was 
reportedly paid $250,000. He is currently serving two life sentences in a Colorado 
maximum security prison. 


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U.S. Department of Justice 



Federal Bureau of Investigation 

Washington, D.C. 20535 


November 29, 2007 


Subject: CHAGRA, JOSEPH S 
FOlPANo. 1036817-001 


Dear Requester: 

The enclosed documents were reviewed under the Freedom of Information/Privacy Acts (FOIPA), Title 5, 
United States Code, Section 552/552a. Deletions have been made to protect information which is exempt from disclosure, 
with the appropriate exemptions noted on the page next to the excision. In addition, a deleted page information sheet was 
inserted in the file to indicate where pages were withheld entirely. The exemptions used to withhold information are marked 


below and explained on the enclosed Form OPCA-16a: 

Section 552 Section 552a 

□ (b)(1) □(b)(7)(A) □(d)(5) 

□ (b)(2) □(b)(7)(B) Q(j)(2) 

□(b)(3) 8(b)(7)(C) n(k)(1) 

n (b)(7)(D) n(k)(2) 

□(b)(7)(E) D(k)(3) 

□ (b)(7)(F) D(k)(4) 

□(b)(4) 0(b)(8) Q(k)(5) 

□ (b)(5) □ (b)(9) n(k)(6) 

8(b)(6) Q(k)(7) 


20 page(s) were reviewed and 20 page(s) are being released. 

□ Document(s) were located which originated with, or contained information concerning other 
Government agency(ies) [OGA], This information has been: 

□ referred to the OGA for review and direct response to you. 

□ referred to the OGA for consultation. The FBI will correspond with you regarding this 
information when the consultation is finished. 

b You have the right to appeal any denials in this release. Appeals should be directed in 
writing to the Director, Office of Information and Privacy, U.S. Department of Justice, 1425 
New York Ave., NW, Suite 1 1050, Washington, D.C. 20530-0001 within sixty days from the 
date of this letter. The envelope and the letter should be clearly marked “Freedom of Information 
Appeal” or “Information Appeal.” Please cite the FOIPA number assigned to your request so that it 
may be easily identified. 

□ The enclosed material is from the main investigative file(s) in which the subject(s) of your request was 
the focus of the investigation. Our search located additional references, in files relating to other 
individuals, or matters, which may or may not be about your subject(s). Our experience has shown, 
when ident, references usually contain information similar to the information processed in the main file(s). 
Because of our significant backlog, we have given priority to processing only the main investigative file(s). 
If you want the references, you must submit a separate request for them in writing, and they will be 
reviewed at a later date, as time and resources permit. 


s See additional information which follows. 


Sincerely yours, 


David M. Hardy 
Section Chief 
Record/Information 
Dissemination Section 
Records Management Division 


Enclosure(s) 


This is in response to your Freedom of Information Act request to the FBI concerning Joseph S. 
Chagra. Reference should also be made to your telephone conversation with a member of my staff in which you 
reduced the scope of your request for documents concerning Joseph S. Chagra. 



EXPLANATION OF EXEMPTIONS 


SUBSECTIONS OF TITLE 5, UNITED STATES CODE, SECTION 552 

(b)(1) (A) specifically authorized under criteria established by an Executive order to be kept secret in the interest of national defense or foreign 

policy and (B) are in fact properly classified to such Executive order; 

(b)(2) related solely to the internal personnel rules and practices of an agency; 

(b)(3) specifically exempted from disclosure by statute (other than section 552b of this title), provided that such statute(A) requires that the 
matters be withheld from the public in such a manner as to leave no discretion on issue, or (B) establishes particular criteria for 
withholding or refers to particular types of matters to be withheld; 

(b)(4) trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a person and privileged or confidential; 

(b)(5) inter-agency or intra-agency memorandums or letters which would not be available by law to a party other than an agency in litigation 

with the agency; 

(b)(6) personnel and medical files and similar files the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy; 

(b)(7) records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes, but only to the extent that the production of such law enforcement 

records or information ( A ) could be reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings, ( B ) would deprive a person 
of a right to a fair trial or an impartial adjudication, ( C ) could be reasonably expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal 
privacy, ( D ) could reasonably be expected to disclose the identity of confidential source, including a State, local, or foreign agency or 
authority or any private institution which furnished information on a confidential basis, and, in the case of record or information compiled 
by a criminal law enforcement authority in the course of a criminal investigation, or by an agency conducting a lawful national security 
intelligence investigation, information furnished by a confidential source, ( E ) would disclose techniques and procedures for law 
enforcement investigations or prosecutions, or would disclose guidelines for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions if such 
disclosure could reasonably be expected to risk circumvention of the law, or ( F ) could reasonably be expected to endanger the life or 
physical safety of any individual; 

(b)(8) contained in or related to examination, operating, or condition reports prepared by, on behalf of, or for the use of an agency responsible for 
the regulation or supervision of financial institutions; or 

(b)(9) geological and geophysical information and data, including maps, concerning wells. 

SUBSECTIONS OF TITLE 5, UNITED STATES CODE, SECTION 552a 

(d)(5) information compiled in reasonable anticipation of a civil action proceeding; 

(j) (2) material reporting investigative efforts pertaining to the enforcement of criminal law including efforts to prevent, control, or reduce 

crime or apprehend criminals; 

(k) (l) information which is currently and properly classified pursuant to an Executive order in the interest of the national defense or foreign 

policy, for example, information involving intelligence sources or methods; 

(k)(2) investigatory material compiled for law enforcement purposes, other than criminal, which did not result in loss of a right, benefit or 

privilege under Federal programs, or which would identify a source who furnished information pursuant to a promise that his/her identity 
would be held in confidence; 

(k)(3) material maintained in connection with providing protective services to the President of the United States or any other individual pursuant 
to the authority of Title 18, United States Code, Section 3056; 

(k)(4) required by statute to be maintained and used solely as statistical records; 

(k)(5) investigatory material compiled solely for the purpose of determining suitability, eligibility, or qualifications for Federal civilian 
employment or for access to classified information, the disclosure of which would reveal the identity of the person who furnished 
information pursuant to a promise that his/her identity would be held in confidence; 

00(6) testing or examination material used to determine individual qualifications for appointment or promotion in Federal Government service the 
release of which would compromise the testing or examination process; 

(k)(7) material used to determine potential for promotion in the armed services, the disclosure of which would reveal the identity of the person 
who furnished the material pursuant to a promise that his/her identity would be held in confidence. 


FBI/DOJ 



rO-302 \REV. 3*8-7 7) 


c 

\ 

FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION 

1 3/23/81 

Date of transcription 



Joseph Salim Chagra, white male, date of birth 
October 16, 1946, voluntarily appeared at the San Antonio 
office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) with his 
Attorney, ! I of Dallas, Texas. Chagra' s voluntary 

appearance at this time had been arranged by Chagra 's attorney 
through a contact with Assistant United States Attorneys 
W. Ray Jahn and John C. Emerson. Chagra a nd his attorney, 
met with Special Agents I I and 


in a private conference room commencing at approximately 10:00 
a.m. Chaa ra was pe rsonally familiar with Sppepial Agents 
| | an d | | from pr ior intervie ws, and 


■ » I *• r 

had also p reviously met SAl 


himself to 


SA | | introduced" 


at the outset of the meeting . 


c 


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stated at the outset that he and 

his client, Joseph Chagra, were appearing voluntarily at this 
time in hopes that FBI interview of Chagra would help FBI 
Agents investigating the murder of Judge John Wood decide in 
their own mind whether or not Joe Chagra himself had any_ 
knowledge of that crime prior to its commission. SA| 


then reemphasized to Joseph Chagra that he was here voluntarily 
and that this meeting did not concern any plea bargaining, but 
wa s a direct FBI interview of him in the presence of his attorney. 
SAl I also advised Joseph Chagra that the FBI had no t 

- - n J _ ' T — _ 1, 1 m C TV I I -1 r- 


_[ advised 


yet agreed to administer a polygraph to him. SA| L 

Joseph Chagra that he was a target in the FBI's investigation of 
the May 29, 1979, murder of Judge John Wood in San Antonio, Texas 
Chagra acknowledged that he understood all of these points. 


At this time SA 


] advised Joseph Chagra of his 


Constitutional Rights as indicated on a typewritten "Advice of b6 
Rights" form. Chagra stated that he understood his rights and b 7 C 


signed the form, and his attorney. 


signed as a 


witness. Chagra subsequently voluntarily provided the following 
information in the p resence of his attor ney, in response to questions 
po sed to him by SA's l l and I |and, in certain instances, 

by[ 


Chagra stated that he has been "thinking about taking a 
private polygraph on the Wood case" for the last three or four 
months, but he had been putting it off. He had obtained the 


Investigation 


by- 


SA 

SA 


"tstSE* 


3/20/81 


San Antonio, Texas 


WB 1 V7 


. File # 


SA 89B-250 




RHZ : ju 


Date dictated. 


3/21/81 


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This document contains neither recommendations nor conclusions of the FBI. It is the property of the FBI and is loaned to your agency; 
it and its contents are not to be distributed outside your agency. 






( 


SA 89B-250 


2 


names of three or four polygraphers whom he was considering 
contacting in order to take this private polygraph. When his 
home and the residences of several of his relatives in El Paso, 
Texas, were searched by Federal Agents on February 27, 1981, it 
convinced him that he should ta ke the polygraph immediately. 

Ifor advi ce, and 

s i-£--&auQ ±fiL,_ 


He conta cted Las Vegas attorney! _ 

]"sent him" to meet polygrapner 


Ana, California. Chagra had neve r previously hea rd of 
but the appointment was set up by I 1 This 


was administered in Santa Ana, Califor pia, the dav aft^ r 
Chagra first talked to Dallas attorney 
obtaining his representation. 


polygraph 


concerning 


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Chagra noted that he had previously taken one polygraph, 
shortly after the murder of his brother, Lee Chagra, in El Paso, 
Texas, December 23, 1978. He noted that all the time he was 
thinking about taking the private polygraph, he intended to take 
an "unlimited" polygraph concerning the Wood case. That is, 
he would respond to questions as to whether or not he had 
anything to do with Judge Wood's murder or related events 
either before or after the commission of the crime. However, 
after th e polygraph appointment ha d been set and he spoke to 
attorney I advised him to take a "limited" 

polygraph only, responding to questions only as to his knowledge 
prior to May 29, 1979. 


At this point in the interview | | stated 

that he did tell Joseph Chagra to take a limited polygraph only, 
not an "across the board" polygraph. He advised Joseph Chagra 
to take a polygraph only concerning his knowledge of the planning 
or commission of Judge Wood's murder prior to May 29, 1979, since 
he, as an attorney, felt that from his understanding of the 
situation, this was the key issue which Chagra should resolve as 
a potential target of the investigation. 


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Chagra stated that dur ing the "pre-tes t" phase of the 


polygraph administered to him by 


] in Santa Ana, 

]the facts of the Wood 


California, he explained to [ 

case as he (Chagra) understood them, and informed 
that he wan ted to be tested on his prior knowledge of the crime. 


* j — — ' — 

then asked him control questions such as, "Are you 
" and questions concerning his age, etc. The key 
questions that he was asked and which he answered during the 
main part of the test were as follows: 


1. Did you 

2. Did you 
of Judge Wood? 

3 . Did you 

4 . Did you 
murdered prior to May 


yourself murder Judge Wood? 

plan with any person to commit the murder 

pay or hire anyone to murder Judge Wood? 
have any knowledge that Wood was to be 
29, 1979? 






SA 89B-250 


3 


Chagra stated that he answere d all of the above questions 


at the 


"no." He stated that he was advised byT 
conclusion of the test that he showed no deceptive responses 
concerning those answers to those questions. 


that 


At this p oint in the interviewT 


J? 


in the Woo d case, a nd 
Chagra and, 


noted 

s not involved i n representing Joseph Chagra 


J? 


s not Joe Chagra' s lawyer. 


advised the FBI at this time that polygrapher 
] would be willing to be interviewed by the FBI concerning 
the polygraph he administered to Joseph Chagra and they will make 
I 1 test charts and papers available to the FBI for 


review and analysis. 


Joseph Chagra then supplied the following information 
concerning the general "animosity" between members of the Chagra 
family, Judge Wood, and Assistant United States Attorney James 
Kerr. Chagra 's first statement on this point was, "Prior to 
Lee's murder, every case Lee and/or I had in Wood's court some 
kind of problem developed which ended with Wood personally 
attacking Lee." Chagra stated that whenever they went to court, 
Judge Wood ended up putting Lee in a position where he had to 
defend himself personally. Wood normally accomplished putting 
Lee Chagra in this position by alleging that there was a 
conflict of interest between Lee Chagra and the client he was 
defending . 


Chagra stated that this all " came to a head" in court 
hearings during Lee Chagra ' s defense of| in | 

Federal narcotics ca se in 1978. Chagra had filed a motion to 
dismiss I [ indictment on grounds of double jeopardy, 

and had filed supporting motions requesting information f rom 

the government concerning when the information leading to | 
indictment on the continuing criminal enterprise count had been 
obtained by the government. Chagra thought that determining this 
information would bolster his chances of winning the dismissal 
motion. When Lee Chagra presented the motions requesting the 
court to force the government to provide this information. 
Assistant U. S. Attorney "Kerr jumped up claiming Lee was fishing 
to find out what evidence the government had against him." 

Because of this and other actions of Wood and Kerr in 

_ I case and other cas es, Lee Chagr a also filed a 
recusal motion against Wood in | i case, asking Wood 

to remove himself from hearing the case. First Wood said that 
he would remove himself, and then he changed his mind at the 
next hearing. 


b6 

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SA 89B-250 


4 


According to Joe Chagra, "Lee always felt like Wood 
respected him as an attorney," but the more times that Lee Chagra 
went up against the duo of Wood and Kerr, the worse became their 
treatment of him. Joe Chagra stated that Wood was tougher on 
cases when Kerr was the prosecutor, than in cases where Assistant 
U. S. Attorneys other than Kerr were prosecuting the case. 


At this point in the interview, 

noted that Lee Chagra once told him that Wood "had gone to cat 1 
for Lee Chagra on an occasion wh en Lee Ch agra was indicted on a 
narcotics case. Lee Chagra told that he had heard that 

Wood had written a letter to government prosecutors handling 
Chagra 's indictment stating that the indictment and its surrounding 
publicity were hurting Lee Chagra' s reputation and legal practice 
in El Paso, and therefore, Wood urged the government to give 
Lee Chagra a speedy trial to resolve the situation. 


b6 

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Joe Chagra noted that as time went by, everyone in his 
family thought that Wood and Kerr were getting too personal in 
their attacks on Lee, and Wood was siding with Kerr too many times. 
Also, "Lee did always feel that DEA was trying to get him for 
something or other." 


SA I asked Joseph Chagra the reason for his 

comment to the news media subsequent to his own Federal Grand 
Jury appearance in San Antonio, Texas, on August 20, 1980, said 
comment to the effect that "Judge Wood had committed suicide." 

Chagra responded that, "That was taken out of context and blown 
up." Joe Chagra noted that during his questioning at the Federal 
Grand Jury, United States Attorney Jamie Boyd asked him how he 
thought the investigation of the murder of Judge Wood should be 
conducted. Chagra stated that he advised Boyd and the Grand Jury 
at that time that he thought that anyone on Judge Wood's docket 
should be investigated. When he came out, "the media hit me." 

The point he was trying to make in his comments to the media at 
that time was that "Wood was continually hurting people everyday, 
handing out harsh sentences and siding with Kerr and that eventually 
something like that is going to get back to you." Joe Chagra 
noted that it was the general consensus among attorneys in the 
Texas Bar that "Wood was not the fairest guy in the world-his 
sentences were too harsh." 


Joseph Chagra stated that his personal feelings concerning 
Judge Wood were as follows. "I didn't like the man, I hated to try 
cases in his court, especially when Kerr was the prosecutor." 
However, he stated that he could not give any specific instances 
where Wood was rude to him or embarrassed him- "his rulings were 
just one-sided." Joe Chagra noted that "in chambers Wood was the 
nicest guy in the world, offering you coffee and talking about 




SA 89B-250 


5 


fishing, etc. What got me and Lee and upset was that we 
were always being in court trying to defend our family, family 
members, and family reputation-it got real old 


Joe Chagra also stated that he fi rmly believed that 
the indictment of his ] on Federal narcotics 

charges was "manipulated 11 so the indictment would be brought in 
Midland, Texas, so Wood would be the trial Judge. 

Joseph Chagra was the n q uestioned concerning his legal 
representation of 1 | and | the matters 

on which he has represented or does represent them, and when that 
representation comm enced. Concerning his legal representation of 

I | Joseph Chagra said, "I feel I've represented 

I | since I became a lawyer. Lee and I were always his lawyers. ' 

Joseph Chagra s pecified that he has repres ented ! i 

| divorce I ~~] duri ng some court 

fights involving child support, and when | | was once arrested 

for being in possession of a firearm in a bar in El Paso, T exas. 
This pa rticular case was reduced to a misdemeanor, to which | 

I pled guilty and was fined approximately $1,000. 

Joe Chagra stated that he and I I an attorney 

in Las Vegas, Nevada, have also represe nted in the 

Federal narcotics cases on which \ I was tried in August, 1979, 

in Austin, Texas, and on a Boston Federal narcotics indictment 
which was resolved in October or November, 1 980. Concerning 
Joe Chagra 's representation of I I in the Wood 

case, C hagra sta ted. "If I'm not a defendant in the Wood case, 

I'll be | I lawyer." Chagra stated that if the FBI wanted 

to interview at this time concerning the Wood case, 

whether or not to allow such interview would be a joint decision 
between himself and attorney I | He stated he and fc 

I I have al ways consulted concerning legal decisions on 

cases . 


Concernin g Joseph Chagra 's legal representation of 

I Chagra provided the fo llowing informati on. 

He stated that he knows that his attorney | does 

not agree with his definition of when his represent ation of 

| began . Chagra feels that he is currently | ~ 

attorney of r ecord on th e Houston firearms and related charges 
filed aga inst I in Houston, Texas, in February, 1980, 

on which | is currently incarcerated at the Harris 

County Jail, Houston, Texas, and awaiting trial. Chagra noted 
at this point in the intervi ew that shortly after he was 
interviewed by SA 1 I in El Paso in October, 1980, he 

received a letter from | | writing from the 










SA 89B-250 


6 


Harris County Jail 
him. Chagra stated to 


SA 


asked Chagra to come and see 
'at this time, "When you 


and I talked I was not his attorney . " 

Shortly after receiving this letter from 


he recei ved a telephone call from 


attorney 


and £ 
with 


also as ked Chagra to come to Houston to speak to 

He thereafter traveled to Houston, Texas, and met 


and 


and as a result of these meetings with 


them, "I felt I was going to be his designated attorney on the 
Van Horn case only." Ch agra stated after these meetings he felt 

[both on his Houston cases and 
in Van Horn, Texas, but 


that he was representing, 

state charges pending a gainst T 
felt he was going to be[^ 
the Van Horn case only. 


^designated attorney" on 

Chagra also commented during this part 


of the int erview that "I wasn't thinking about representing 
on the Houston case" until he got the letter from 
and the telephone call from[~ ' ' 


Next Chagra stated, "Now I had been talking to 


for five or six months pr ior to the Van Horn arrest (September 1, 
1980)." During thi s time 
the Houston case." [" 


. was "talking to me about 
] showed Chagra the search warrant 


which had been used against him in that case, and had discussed it 
with Chagra in a legal defense sense. 


[ 


Joseph Chagra stated tha t when he fir st met 


in May of 1980, he "knew 


name" when hewas 


first in troduced to him. At this point in t he intervie w 


"he knew[ 


commented that when Chagra first met 


] at this time 


Joseph Chagra explained this 
first personal meeting with I 


comment i pv saying that prior to this 
in El Paso, Texas, in May, 


1980, "I had learned of | from a privileged source,” as 

well as reading newspaper articles s peculating abou t 
involvement in the Wood case. Als o, 
that records concerning I l and 


lhad t old him 
had been 


subpoenaed at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas . This personal meeting 


he had with 


was brought about as follows, 


O ne day in May of 1980, he received a telephone call from 


his friend , \ 

residence. Chagra proceeded to[] 


at which time there was another person present at I ] house. 

This man came ov er to Chagra, shook his hand and said , "You don't 
know me, but I 'm I I I loved your brother Lee and 
had ta lked to him on the phone several times. I met your ^ 


in Las Vegas during Bini ons Poker T ournament and I wanted 
to meet the younger brother." | went on to state that 


b 6 
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]was a potential target in the Wood investigation." b6 


b7C 


~1 asked him t o come over to his 

re sidence in El Paso, 








SA 89B-250 


7 


he only expected to be in El Paso for "a day or two" and "just 
wanted to meet you." Chagra recalls that| [mentioned 

to him at this ti me he was facing charges in Houst on, but Cha gra 
stated ! I was not a fugitive at th is time. I I 


commented that he knew that 


was or had recently 


been a fugitive, and they discussed state and federal fugitive 
laws. This is all the information that Joseph Chagra supplied 
concerning the cont ext and substance of his first meeting with 

until pressed for further details later in 


the interview. 


] cal 


Chagra stated that the next meeting h e had with 
was in June of 1980. A friend of his I 


called the Chagra residence and asked Joe Chagra to come 

over to her residence because she needed to talk to him. He 
had never been to her hou se before, but h e went. He walked in 

was sitting with L 


and there 


came over and ''embraced and hugged" Joe Chagra and 
th ey greeted each other. Joe Chagra stated that it was "obvious 
to | at this time that he and | I had me t before, 

but Chagra w gs taken at a com plete loss when | | introduced 

f I as 


f Chagra w as surprised bu t did 
left the room. 


not say anything until 

then informed Cha gra when th ey were alone that he was using an 
assumed name with 


Joe Chagra stated that 


stated to him during 


this me eting that she w anted hi m to "draw up a contract" between 


"| in which C 

Chagra noted that \_ 


1 would pr ovide her 
]Json had. 


her and 

with "security. 

at this time, just died in a car accident with one or two other 
family members, and | j felt that her son's car accident was 

not an accident, "and that she was in danger." She felt that she 


her home. Chagra stated that 1 


|also seemed 

to sincerely believe that |v 

fas in potential 

danger . 

He did draw up this contract fori 

land 1 

"lin the 

name of 


Chagra stat ed at this po int in the interview that 

j • I I • « . , _ _ 


did discuss 


with. Chag ra at t his time, during this meeting at 


involvement in the Wood murder 


home , but 


He did 


, |was not present during this discussion. 

not ask Chagra for legal advice concerning the Wood case at this 
tinje, because "his immediate concern was the Hous ton charges - 
he didn't know whether he should appear or not." | 3 I again 

showed Chagra the search warrant on which the Houston charges were 
based, and Chagra told h im that "it looks good to me." Chagra 
stated he did not advise I to flee the Houston charges or 

anything like that at this time. 


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t 


SA 89B-250 


8 


] to "blackmail" 


Neither was there any attempt by 

Joe Chagra or any other memb ers of the Chagra family as 
a result of information that I ' ~lha d about the Wood murder. 

Chagra added at this time that I 1 also brought up 

his involvement in 'Wood's mur der during the f irst meeting that 
Joseph Chagra had with him at L 


This information was mentioned by|_ 


£ 


house 


ft 


May, 
when he 


1980. 


and Chagra were walking outside in the neighborhood of [ 
house 

at [ 


, when no o ne else was present. Chagra was shocked when he 

~ ~l house a t that time, as he could not 
]would come to El Pa so "except 


met [ 

think of any reason why L 

for blackmail purposes." He could no t figure out why [_ 

was in El Paso or wanted to meet him. I I did not then, 

nor has he ever, attempted to blackm ail Joe Cha gra or Joe Chagra' s 


b 6 
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relatives as a result of information 


possesses about 


Jud ae Wood's m urder. When asked for further explanation as to 
why | | would bring up the Wood murder at their first 

_ s *i _ _ I 1 t j a J _ ■ i J • > i * _• 


meeting, speci fically why 

Chagra stated, 

about it.” At th e insistence of 


that 


would discuss this with him, 
appare ntly assumed that I (Joe) knew 

Chagra acknowledged 


assumption was correct at that point in time. 


i.e., h e, Chagra, did know, from a privileged source, thatf 
I l and ! I were respo nsible for the Wood murder, tie 

acknowledged this to I I at that time. At no time during 

the interview would Joe Chagra di scu ss the details of statements 


made to him by | I and . 

murder, claiming this was privileged information . 


about Wood ’ s 


Chagra advised that he met[ 


] between five to 


ten times in El Paso, Texas, during the period June to August, 
1980. All of these meetings were at I I residence. 


after the p reviously 


and the third meeting he had with 

descri bed first two meetings was a birthday party which | 

I I had. Joe Chagra 's wife and children were there for that 

birthday party. 


Chagra adv ised that he had n ev er met I 
He stated he had met | I at I I at the samp 

time that he first meF ] 1 in person in May. 1980 


Prior to that, he had only heard of |_ 


Lee Chagra, in those days sh e was known as 
the time he first met her at I 


kno w that she was \ 
was 


H through 
] At 


■b7C 


i house , he did not even 

]as he had heard that she 


1980, 


At this point 


Chagra stated that during these 5-10 meetings with 
in El Paso, Texas, during the period June to August, 
did make "furth er references" to the Wood case. 

| stated to Chagra, "You both knew 







SA 89B-250 


9 


but-, vo n didn't sa v much about it." Chagra replied, "Yes." 

then said, "Did he say, we got away with it, 


la-de-da, or was he asking legal advice?" Chagra sta ted, "A lit tle 
of both." He went on to state that his meetings with ^ — 


in El Paso during the summer of 1980 were "unreal situations . ' 

"Here this guy is talking about his involvement in the murder 
of a federal judge but at the same time here's this s yne guv cutt ing 
the grass and laying in the sun." Chagra stated that ~ 


acted like he assumed I knew about it, but I don't know why he 
ass umed I kne w about it." Chag ra stated he d id not know know 
if I I had ever talked to I | about the W ood 

murder after the fact. He stated that he ana l I never 

discussed the Wood case in the presence of others, as they 
both made a point of making sure no others were around when the 
subject was discussed. 


b 6 
b7C 


Prior t o late August, 1980, he met 


SOU 


house . 
had with 

stated he jlid not 
including 


~[ house and the original meeting at [ 
■got discuss the Wood related convers 


~|only at 


Hwith anyo ne else exc ept f 
“think that! — I told 


conversations he 

Chagra 




J told anyone else either, 


Joseph Ch agra noted at this po in 


int in ths interview that 

he still represents | | inj current 

attempted capital murder state c&se lir'El Paso, Texas. He 
volunteered without being questioned that "th ere was no dru g 
deal at Howard Johnson's in El Paso. I 1 and I ~| never 

even knew each other until a few hours before the shootout. It 
was a coincidence that th ey were th ere at the same time." Chagra 
noted that Lee Chaara w as 


P - " 1 first attorney on some narcotics 
When Lee cnagra was murdered, Joe Chagra 
legal counsel. Joe Chagra noted that when 


charges facing, 
took o yer as P 

he saw | I at F CI ,' Englewood, Colorado, for the last time 

prior to" l | Jun e, 1980 . escape from that institution, 

his purpose in seeing was to discuss with him th e recent 

denial of certain legal motions Joe Chagra had filed on 

behalf concerning a reduction in the length in | I prison 

sentence. At the outset of the me etin g, he and] Jaiscussed 


b 6 
hlC 


j only had thir teen or 


that legal event and the fact that 
fourteen months yet to serve. However^ at. this meeting 
Chagra that he was going to escape from FCI, Englewood, 
had a place to go, had it all worked out." 


told 


He said "he 
Chagra tried to talk 
him out of carrying out the escape, to no avail. 


Joseph Chagra stated that sometime later he received 


a te lephone call from 

that ^]had escaped. 


who informed him 


During tne period June to August, 1980, 


called Joe Chagra three or four times, each time giving 






SA 89B-250 


10 


Chagra the number of a pay telephone at which Chagra could call 
him. Each time, Chaara Ty ent to a pay telephone hims elf, and 


dialed the number 


had given him and talked to 


called him again 


prt 


One Sunday in August, 1980 , 

and gave him a pay telephone number within the 915 area code 
at which to call him. Chagra was shocked to think th at 
was in El Paso, but he went to a pay phone and called l 
the designated number. At this time | | advised that he 

needed to talk to Chagra and stated he was at the Howard Johnsons 
Motel in El Paso and gave Joe Chag ra his r oom number. Joe Chagra 
went to the motel room, and he and | ]sat and talked, 

did not know what to do. 
himself in. 


He was wondering whether he should turn 


Chagra advised that he left Howard Johnsons and went 
home and shortly after returning home, h e received a telephone 
call from | |asked him to go to a 

pay phone an d call f 
so, and when 


know where I m at.Ji 
when Chagra asked 


| back at a pay phone . Chagra did 
| answered, he started in by saying, "They 
He aske d that Chagra come and s ee him, and 
where he was, I I replied 


"The Howard Johnson's Motel." 

that Chagra had gone to see 

in El Paso. Chagra then proceeded to the Howard Johnsons Motel to see 


Agai n, this was the same day, Sunday, 
Hat the same Howard Johnsons Motel 


Chagra met 




in 


Motel room, and Chagra commented to 

another fugitive friend just down the hall in another room." 


l,Howard Johnsons 
that "I've got 


At this poi nt in the i nterview Chagra was asked whether 
or not he, I I and | | were ever together in the 

same room at the motel. He stated he would not answer, at least b6 
until he discussed his answer with his attorney. b7c 


Chagra stated that it was late r this e vening or early 
the next morning, a Monday morning, that I was involved in 

the shootout at the Howard Johnsons Motel which resulted in his 
capture . In response to specific questions, Chagra advised that 

| had told him during his meeting at the Howard Johnsons Motel 
that he was "low on cash" so Chaa ra loaned h im $200 or $300. 

Chagra denied giving any money to | | at any time during 

any of the meetings he had with I I in El Paso. 


b6 

b7C 






SA 89B-250 


11 


Chagra advised that on August 30, 1980, | _} 

called him at home and she was very upset, saying that 
just called from the La Quinta Motel in Houston. He says he's 
surrounded and that t hey are about to kill him and he wants to 
talk to you ." I I gave Joe Chagra a number at which to call 

| He went to a pay phone and called | | reaching 

him at a pay phone which Chagra assumes was near the La Quinta 
Motel. I | stated he was "surrounded, they're al l around 

me, they've even got helicopters, there goes one now." | 
went on to say that Chagra should "record this call." Chagra 
explained that he was calling from a pay phone and had no 
recording equipment. He told | I to call him at home 

in a few minutes an d he would record the call. Chagra went 
home and I Icalled him back at his residence. 


Chagra put the recording equipment on the phone and 

went on with the conversation. He said that he was 
"surrounded, they've drilled a hole in the bath room, they're 
gonna kill me." Chagra tried to ask | | how drilling a 

hole in th e bathroom was going to ca pture or ki ll him, but 
I I was not making any sense. | said he wanted 

Chagr a to record this conversation and Chagra told him that he 
was. I | when went on to say that "the government" was trying 

to blame the murd er of Judge Wood on him, that he didn't do it, 

that his attorney f rom Dallas has affidavits 

providing him with an alibi, that the government wa s trying to 
set him up and that he was sorry that I I and his family 

and | had gotten involved. | | went on to 

say that "I'm going to go down fighting." He stated he wa,^ going 
to "try to make it back to El Paso." 

Chagra stated that during this call 1 did not 

ask him for any legal advice. He did comment that he had "tried 
to make a deal. I'll take life on the cocaine charge but I want 
to go to a federal joint and I've already tal ked to them about 
it." Chagra asked him who he had talked to. I I replied, 

"I don't kno w, PEA, FBI , CIA, whoeve r, but I haven't heard back. " 
Chagra asked T | if | | wanted his help. 

said, "No. I'm just waiting to hear back from Washington." Chagra b6 
ended the conversation by saying, "Well then take care." o7c 

Concerning | | subsequent arrest in Van Horn, 

Texas, on or about September 1, 1980 , Chagra advised that when 
this happened he was "out of town." | I reached- him 

by telephone and stated that she had just gotten a telephone 
call from Van Horn and that they haveC'who l | now knew was") 

j surrounded and he's threatening to kill himself. She 
asked Joe's advice as to whether she should go, as she wanted 
to go.- He told her to go ahead and go to Va n Horn. "Somet ime 
after that" a day or two later, Chagra asked I 1 to 












SA 89B-250 


12 


go out to Van Horn and see 
of town and could not go. 


as Chagra himself was out 


Chagra advised that after Q 


arrest in Van 


Horn and his inca rceration a t the Harris County Jail, Houston, 
Texas, he visited l Iprobabl v five or six times. During 

each of these meetings involvement in Judge Wood's 

murder was discussed along with matters involving his state cases 
arising out of Houston an d Van Horn . Chagra stated that 


concerning the Wood case, 


never asked me to do anything. 


He explained his role in the Wood matter to me at the Harris 
County Jail and previous meetings I had with h im in E l Paso, 
but I handled him just like any other client. | was my 

main conc ern in these meetings, but I didn't do anything to 


prejudice! | Chagra went on to state that "I d idn ' t 

try to dissuade him from doing a deal or from turning in 
Chagra stated categorically that he never gave 


or anyone else any reason to think that he (Chagra) knew about 
Judge Wood's murder beforehand. "Just the opposite," Chagra stated, 
"It was clear to him from all of our conversations that I didn't 
know beforehand." 


Chagra stated that l attitude during the 

Karris County Jail meetings was that "He felt he was gone, 
but wanted to go Federal, and if he had to he would go in and 
COnf p . ks ., in order to get Federal time, but he w ouldn't hur t 
Chagra stated that his main advice to 


_ , , during 

these meetings was that he should wait and see 'what happens, 
and see what evidence there was against him. 

Chagra st ates that he feels the above conversations he 


Jare privileged on the basis of attorney-client. 


had with 

He felt th e same way concerning the discussions he had with 

I concerning a mao sh owing the location of the weapon, 


b6 

b7C 


advised Chagra to tell the FBI 
Chagra advised as follows. 


attitude towards the 


but 

what! he Knows aDOut tne map. 

Chagra advised that . 

murder weapon, as expressed to Chagra during the Harris County 
Jail meetings, was that if the Wood case investigators did 
not have the gun, they did not have a case. The question of 
where the gun was came u p in the conversations. Chagra acknowledged 
that he as ked | | where the gun was located but did not tell 

| he would get the weapon. Q 


J drew a map on a 


legal size piece of paper, which Chagra took from the Harris 
County Jail with him. He took the hand drawn map to his office, 
where .he drew his ow n copy of it and then shredded the one 


drawn by 


His own copy of this map was seized by the 


FBI during the search of his residence on February 27, 1981. 


b6 

b7C 









SA 89B-250 


13 


Chagra stated he does not know if 


was lying 


to him in telling him that this map described the location of 
the weapon used to murder Judge Wood. Ch agra stated that at 
times "I've even had doubts as to whether I I did it 

or not." Chagra admitted thinking about going to get the weapon 
and hiding it but I wa s "too scar ed to get within 100 miles of 
it." He may have told | ~| that he "might" go and see if 

it is there "for my own personal curiosity, really." Chagra 
stated during the interview that "I'm glad I never went." 


Chagra stated that|_ 


] never described to him 
whether or not the gun was underwater or buried. He just drew 
the map with few, if any, accompanying verbal descriptip ns . Actually, 
when the topic first came up between the two, \~~~ 


was whether or not the gun was visible to passersby. 
think it was, but asked Joe to go and have a look. £ 


concern 


He didn't 


later asked Chagra if he had gone to get the gun or gone to 
see the gun and Chagra told him that he was afr aid to go. 

Chagra told I I "let it be." I I replied. "Forget 

about it-no one will ever find it." Chagra stated he never 
considered having anyone help him go and find the gun as "I didn't 
trust anyone enough. " 


Chagra stated tha t he told I about the 

fact that he and| ^discussed "ge tting the gun" but he n ever 


discussed it with anyone else, including T 


As far as background events leading up to May, 1979, 
Joseph Chagra advised that in late April early May of 1979, 

I was living at Caesars Palace while his Las Vegas 
residence was being built. Chagra did not recall for sure 
whether or not he himself attended Binions World Championship 
of Poker at the Binions Horseshoe Casino in Las Vegas in late 
April, early May, 1979, but he does not believe he did. He was 
back and forth numerous times between Las Vegas and El Paso, Texas, 
during that time, however . He is certa in he was neve r at Binions 

— ] were there 


b6 


and [ 


Horseshoe Tournament when | 
together. However , Joe Chagra "knows who was there when they 
met because I I told me after the murder." 


Joe Ch agra was in El Paso, Texas, on May 29, 1979. Attorney 
J called him at home during the day and said, "Did 


you hear?" Chagra replied, "No. What?" 
murdered Judge Wood." Chagra thinks he replied, 
kidding . " 


replied, "Somebody 
You must be 


Cha crra state d he may have made some derogatory comments 

about Wood to during that phone call and to the press 

and others later on, but he does not remember for sure. He may have 
said to someone something to the effect, "I can't say I'm sorry 


bo 

b7C 










J 


SA 89B-250 


14 


to hear it," but he does know that his main thought at the time 
was that he and his family would be blamed. He recalls that 
he told the press on this point, "it's the worst thing that 
could happen to our case," meaning Jimmy Chag ra' s pending 
Federa l narcotics case. Chagra recalled that| 

I did make a statement to the press after some pretrial 
hearings before Judge Wood in Midland, Texas, along the lines of 
his chances of being acquitted without Wood as a trial judge 
were at best 50-50, but with Wood as a trial Judge he had no 
chance at all. 


Chagr^i 

~~l at 


advised that 


_ie probably did have meetings with 
Las Vegas residence wher ein he 
and Chagra discussed their reelings about Judge Wood in| 


upcoming trial, in the presence of others, prior to Judge Wood ' s 
murder. However, he does not recall any spec ific occasion or 
those who w ere presen t, although he does know 


and some of 
during one or more suc h meetings at 
residence 
who 


friends and th ey mav have been present 


He knows a 


is a | 

"[ also would ireque 
whose name Joe Chagra does 


3 


| La s Vegas 

associate nam ed I I 


who reminds 
ly bring to Las Vegas 
not know. 


Joe Chagra of 

a short 


guy 


b 6 
b7C 


Chagra does not remember compiling a specific file 
of the results of any study he did on the sentencing policies 
of Judge Wood. He stated he does have a 24-25 volume file "on 


The only files he recalls having at £ 


Judge Wood , _ _ 

Las Vegas residence and discussing with him, possibly in the 
presence of other s, was a file containing transcripts from 


case which he felt contained informa tion which 
would hej .p them get Judge Wood to recuse himself from 
case. 


Chagra denied that he ever told [ 


] or anyone 


else in the presence of any other persons "you c an't, allow your self 
to be tried by Judge Wood." All he ever said to 
about Wood being the trial judge was that | | would not get 

a fair trial from Judge Wood. 


b6 

b7C 



Chaqra recalls meetinq 


1 at 


Las Vegas 

residence. | I was 

working 

Tori 

, [at 

that time 

. providing security fori 


iTbld Joe 

on one occasion that! 

1 was 

related to| 

1 

and that [_ 

|had introduced 


to | 

[ Joe 

Chagra is 

aware thatl 

J knows £ 




if 

of 


Joe Ch agra advised that he "wouldn't be surprised" 

I used the personal telephone or teleph one extens ion 

and 


at Binion's Horseshoe Casino, as 






SA 89B-250 


15 


are 

close friends. 

is closer to 

1 than a 

the 

other 

Chagra stated that 



"had a 


One of f 


^girlfriends , possibly the 


been , 

one named [ | called Joe Chagra after 

had skipped bond and become a fugitive. She asked to borrow 
money from Joe , and commente d to him that the FBI had interviewed 
her about w hat f 1 said to her on May 29, 1979, after 

he ~| lea rned of Wood's murder. Joe Chagra told her that 

he knewP””^””™” 


the girl any money. 


]was shocked by the murder, and he did not loan 


bo 

:b7C 


Chaqra advised that he had never been present with □ 


] when 


talked to [ 


pay phone. He never saw the two together in person. 
pilots he knows of th at have been u sed by himself, 


are 


_ on a 
The only 
or 


] of Las Vegas, and an unknown 


white male pilot from Florida, who is thin, with brown hair, 
approximately 5' 10" tal l. However, t his pilot was used by the 
Chagra family only when I I lived in Florida, which 

situation terminated in late 1978. 


Joe Chaqra recalls that the [ 
[ had the name [ 
T'companion. ' He recalled 


the 1 


1 1 and | 

| was 1 


that when the company Jet Avia 

was still in business in Las Vegas, [~™ 


sometimes retained 


a blonde white male pilot who flew for Jet Avia to f ly | I 

and his family around. He did not kno w this pilot's name, but 
this pilot testified for | at Chagra' s Federal narcotics 

Chagra is una ware of 

Tin Las Ve gas. 


trial in Austin, Texas, in August, 1979. 

any travel agencies used by I 

but believes most of the plane reservations made for[ 

I Iwhen they we re living in Las Vegas were made 

by | I 


he 

hie 


Chagra stated he never helped anyone trace Judge Wood's 
movements during May, 1979, or at any other time. He never relayed 
any such information concerning Judge Wood's travels and whereabouts 
to anyone else, nor was he ever asked to do so. He does know 
Deputy U. S. Marshall |but never asked for or obtained 


information from him about Judge Wood. 


Chagra stated that although he and | 

Lee (before Lee was murdered) did discuss their hatred for Judge 
Wood, they never "seriously" discussed killing Wood. He 
was specifically asked at this point in the interview if he ever, 
as a result of the "non serious" discussions about Wood, ever had 
occasion to say "do it" where the meaning of his statement meant 
"kill Wood." Chagra paused for a long time and then stated, 

"No, I don't recall that." He repeated that response several 







SA 89B-250 


16 


times, finally saying, "I don't think I would have said that in 
front of anybody." This point was discussed at great length 
and Chagra was asked to recall even any innocuous conversations, 
prior to May 29, 1979, which might be interpreted as counseling, 
suggesting or agreeing to the killing of Judge Wood. He advised 
that he had not been involved in such conversations. 


Joe Chagra was specifically asked if or 

anyone else had ever told him prior to May 29, iy /y , that 
Judge Wood was going to be killed. Chagra replied categorically, 
"No." He stated that he had absolutely no suspi cion before 


May 29, 1979, that Judge Wood was to be killed, 
asked Joe Chagra if he even "consciously avoided" knowing of 
or asking about any Wood plot, because he did not want to know. 
Chagra stated that he did not "consciously avoid" discussing 
or obtaining information about any supposed Wood plot prior to 
May 29, 1979, because he did not know of any such plot which 
needed to be "consciously avoided." 


b6 

b7C. 


Chagra also stated that he never indicated after May 29, 

1979, during any discussion with anyone, that he knew beforehand 
or "should have known" beforehand, that Wood was going to be 
murdered. He was asked if he was certain he had never made such 
a statement to anyone after the crime, that could be interpreted 
or clearly implied that he did not know about or was involved in the 
murder beforehand. Chagra at first replied in the negative, but after 
thinking for a moment, he requested to speak to his attorney privately. 
He spoke with his attorney privately from 1;20 p.m. until 1 ;25 p.m. 
When they returned to the interview room, | | stated 

that Joe c onsidered the following information privileged and he 


purposes 


was furnishing it primarily for possibl e later 
and to clarify the preceeding question. 


f 


olygraph 

then 


advised that Jo e Chagra t old him that one time, when he was visiting 


]at[ 


l 


place of incarceration, Leavenworth, 
Kansas, a con versation along the following lines transpired. 

1 said, "Did I make a mistake?" This wa s in reference 
to the Wood case. Joe Chagra replied, "Fuck yes." ~| 

then said "jokingly," "Well it was your idea, you're the one 
that di d it." Joe Chagra immediately replied, horrified that 
would joke about such a t hing. "Don't e ven joke 


b6 

b7C 


about that. 


then replied, 


You know it's not true." _ 

"I'm going to make a deal with the government and tell them you 
are Mr. Big, you were running the family at that time and you set 


it up." Joe Chagra again told^ 
like that, as that was not true" 


not to joke about something 


Chagra st ated that he h ad one conversation like this at 
Leavenworth, where | | was joking with him, and one 








SA 89B-250 


17 


conversation only of that nat ure transpired . He never at any 
time had such discussion with | at any other place, and 

was fai rly certain he had had no other similar discussions with 
| ~~| Chagra stated he will polygraph concerning the information 

he has supplied a bout this conv ersation. He stated that during 
this conversation ! I was obviously joking, and he was 

obviously shocked that I I would joke about such a thing, 

as he (Joe) did not come up with the idea to murder Judge Wood, 
nor did he or ganize or set up the murder, and he did not counsel 
or agree with ] | that the Judge should be killed. 

The topic of conversation briefly returned to I 

and I k t El Paso during the summer of 1980. Chaar a was 

sp ecifically a nd repeatedly asked whether or not he and | 
and | ~| were ever together at the Howard Johnsons Motel 

in El Paso, Texas, in August, 1980. Chagra asked to have a 
private conference with his attorney, and he and his attorney 
left the room. They conferred for approximately five minutes 
and returned to the room, w hereupon | 

advised that Joseph Chagra, I I and | "1 were 

together on one occasion in 1 | room at the Howard Johnsons 

Motel in El Paso, Texas, a few hours before the shootout in which]__ 
was captur ed. During this meeting, according to Chagra h imself, 

1 discussed the Wood murder but stated to I 1 that he 


room. Chagra state 
He had gone down to 


he was j: 

>ositive it was 

r 


room and brought 


| room. 

back to 


6:00 p.m . on the aforementioned Sunday in August, 1980. 

Chagra was t hen specifi cally asked whether or not he 
had given any money to I during t his meeting or any 

other meeting that he had with ! l in El Paso, Texas, 

between June and August, 1980. He asked to have a private 
conference with his attorney, which he did, and they returned 
to t he interview room in approximately three minutes. At that 
time I | advised that there was some money that did 

go to I I from Joe Chagra but it had nothing to do with 

the Wood murder. 


Chagra advised that he knows | 
years ago when Lee Chag ra was | 

I and I f togeth er . 

instan ce where I I and 

I in his presence. 


| as he 

| attorney. He 
He does not 

I telephoned 


Chagra know s that __^J is a good friend 

I but he has never seen the two toaether. 








SA 89B-250 


18 


Questioned again concerning the m ap drawn bv f 


and then copied by him, Chagra stated that | | did not give 

him any verbal instructions as he drew the map. He just drew the 
map. He may have said something to the effect that it is "near a 
Stuc key’s off 1 -20." but Chagra is not even sure. He got the map 
from I | during the first or second meetin g that he had with 

I at the Harris County Jail in Houston. I I 


insisted that Chagra fully explain all circumstances surrounding 
the map, noting that the map, without instructions, was useless. 
Chagra reiterated that he did not ask for instructions because 
he knew he would no t go get th e weapon. He acknowledged that 
it is possible that I ~| assumed or even suggested he get 

the gun, but he (Jo e) never intended to do so. Chagra denied, 
ever telling I I that he would get the gun, and only told 

that 


be 

b7C 


had furnished a map, but that was all 


Chagra was 

-^“lor- 


specifically asked if he had ever discussed with 

that the gun was 45 minutes away from Dallas, or similar statements. 
Chagra stated he had no idea as to the exact location of the gun 
and, theref ore, could not have held such a conversation. Chagra also 

told him the gun was buried, that he might need 


denied that 


a metal detector to find it, or that the gun was under water. 


Chagra st ate 
I and 


t 


in late April, or early May, 1979. 


that he does not know whether or not 

gambled together in Las Vegas 


After a brief break in the interview, SAl | advised 

Chagra that the FBI had solid evidence that he had knowledge 
of the planned murder of Judge Wood prior to May 29, 1979, and 
that he had apparently been less than candid on this and several 
other issues in the interview. Chagra stated that he would like 
to see evidence of any kind which conflicted with his denial of 
prior knowledge, and agreed to listen to a recording of two persons 
discussing the Wood murder. 


b6 

b7C 


A portion of a tape recorded conversation between | 

land Joseph Chagra was then played for Chagra and his Attorney, 
] The first portion of the tape played for them 


contained a conversation wherein Jimmy Chagra said, in reference 
to the Wood murder, "Boy, we shouldn't have don e that, huh Jo e?" 
Joe replied, "Shouldn't have done it," and then [ 

"You were the one that said do it, do it, do it. 
was all hot to do i t. " T he tape was then stopped. (It should 


replies , 
You're the one 


be noted tha t as 
. 

a 


SA[ 


set up the tape recorder and arranged 

and Chag ra to listen to the recording over individual 
[commented, "I guess you could say there 


for 

headphones , 

has been some electronic surveillance in this investigation," 
He then warned Joe Chagra that "if you're not a party to the 
conversation, you don't have to explain it.") 


I 








SA 89B-250 


19 


At t he conclusion of the aforementioned portion of the 
~~ 1 asked Joe Chagra who the "other" perso n on the tape 


1 Joe Chagra then 


tape, 

was, and he replied that it was , i ---. 

said that this was the "joking" conversation he had with| 

at Leavenworth, which he had previously described. Chagra was then 
asked to re peat again wha t his response was to the alleged "joking" 
comments of I whic h he ha d just heard. He stated that 

he immediately responded that should not even joke about 

something like this, as it was not true and was not funny. 


Interviewing Agents then advised Chagra that they were be 
going to play the remaining portion of this co nversation so he b7c 
could listen to it on tape. I | at this time stood 

up and said that he did not need to hear anymore tape, he would 
believe the Agents if they said they had more on tape, and 
requested that the Agents just read the remaining portion of 
the conversatio n from th e transcript. Interviewing Agents insisted 
that Cha gra and! | listen to the conversation on the tape, 

to which T | agreed. 


The remaining porti on of thi s particular conversation 


was then played so Chagra and 

headphones. In this porti on of the conversation, Joe Chagra 


] could hear it through their 


replies to 
by saying. 


'Weil , I thoug 


l; 


you're the one that said do it," comment 
you'd get the Mafia to do it." 


Immediately upon hearing this portion of the tape, Joe 
Chagra' s face turned white, he removed his headphones, leaned 
back in his chair and stared at the ceiling with his hands 
clasped across his chest, without saying anything. This posture 
continued for the rest of the interview. He made no further 
statement regarding the recorded conversation. 


SA | | then went on to state that the FBI had tape 

recorded an extensive number of conversations to which he was a 
party, and that these conversations involved discussions of 
numerous past, present, and planned crimes, such as the murder 
of witness Henry Wallace, the importation of narcotics into the 
United States and the smuggling of narcotics into vario us prisons, 


be 

b7C 




and the 


escapes from prisons, the murder of 

attempted murder of Assistant United States Attorney James Kerr, etc. 
Chagra stated upon hearing this, "Yeah, but who always brought it 
up?" He was told that in the government's view, the content and 
extent of the conversations, in a criminal sense, particularly 
regarding the Wood murder, but in other areas also, was such that 
the FBI could not agree with his claim of no prior knowledge or 





SA 89B-250 


20 




involvement and that, of course, this would be an issue for a 
jury to decide. He was told that, as in any criminal matter, 
should he change his position and be willing to volunteer his 
cooperation, knowledge and testimony regarding this heinous crime, 
and if his cooperation was total, candid in all areas, and forth- 
coming in the immediate future, the extensive possible charges 
facing him might be mitigated somewhat. It was clearly explained, 
ho wever, that t his was not a plea bargain offer as such, but only 
SA | ~1 opinion and position on the issue of his possible 

cooperation regarding the Wood murder. He was told that any actual 
plea bargaining should be initiated between his attorney and the 
prosecutors assigned to the Wood case. Chagra made no comment 
except, "I understand." 


SA I | concluded the interview by stating that 

Chagra had obviously lied to the FBI during this interview, and 
had apparently also lied to his attorney and that a n explanat ion 
should b e forthcoming from Chagra concer ning this. I | 

~1 commented at this point, "Yes." I I then 

requested to speak to his client alone, and the interview was 
terminated . 


b6 

b7C 


| and Joe Chagra subsequently spoke to Assistant 

United States Attorneys and Special Prosecutors in the Wood murder 
case, W. Ray Jahn and John C. Emerson, as well as Assistant 
United States Attorney LeRoy Jahn. They departed the San Antonio 
Office of the FBI at 2:51 p.m.