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The Militant, 11 October 1941

Walter Rourke

Trotsky Assassin Gives New GPU ‘Defense’ Line

From The Militant, Vol. V No. 41, 11 October 1941, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


MEXICO CITY, Mexico, Oct. 5. – Jacson, the G.P.U. murderer of Leon Trotsky, has finally played the hand which he hopes will gain his freedom. For several months the line of questioning followed by his lawyer, Medellin Ostos, has indicated that Jacson would try to invent a story of “legitimate defense.” During a reconstruction of the crime on September 8th, Jacson refused to accept his former “version”, as he referred to it, of the murder. His lawyer tried to show that there were logical contradictions in the statements about the positions of the victim and criminal. He stated that judging from the direction of the wound, Trotsky could not have been struck from behind. However Jackson was not permitted to present a new version at the time and had to be satisfied with presenting “his version” in writing.

In a twelve-page document written in French, Jacson develops a bit further his former lies about Trotsky’s ordering him to go to the Soviet Union to commit sabotage, etc. He further states that Trotsky threatened to denounce him to the authorities for having false documents unless he followed orders. Jacson pretends that the article which he used to gain entrance to Trotsky’s office was in reality written as a final effort to convince Trotsky that his journalistic abilities were worth more to the movement. Trotsky, he says, scanned the article very rapidly and throwing it down on the desk insulted him. According to Jacson, this was too much for him, so he seized Trotsky by the coat and told him. “1 am the last one you’ll ruin.” Then Trotsky reached for his gun, but the G.P.U. agent was “much quicker” and grasping the pickaxe (whose handiness he does not trouble to explain), he struck down his victim.

Jacson did not explain why he came so well armed to the house on August 20th. (He carried a dagger and automatic in addition to the pickaxe.) He does not even mention his “confession letter” prepared by the G.P.U. and placed in his jacket. He does not explain why he burned all his documents before committing the crime nor does he deal with his false passport that originally belonged to a member of the International Brigade killed in Spain – a sure sign of G.P.U. connections. All that the new “version” accomplishes is to add one more lie to the long list which comprises his testimony.

This new version surprised everyone by its weakness. The fact that this is all the G.P.U. and a slick lawyer can produce after a year is sufficient proof of the difficulty of its position. The entire press greeted the new version with sarcasm and expressions of incredibility. It is safe to say that no one in Mexico believes the new version or has any doubt that it is merely an ancient alibi with less than the usual foundation.

The trial is officially ended. Now the defense and the prosecution must present their conclusions and the judge decides the case. There is no doubt but that the defense will appeal the case and try to find some technical pretext to demand a retrial. It might then be able to find a more complacent judge and could count on a diminished public interest as time passes. Although this seems very unlikely at present, one can not be certain after the experience of the freeing of Siqueiros.

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Last updated on 23 March 2019