I found several potential problems with the questioned signatures of Jerry Killian (Worksheet
), and with the printed characters and formatting in terms of their alleged dates in the early 1970's. I prepared an illustrated comparison of the known and questioned handwriting and emailed it to the producer. I researched the machine printed characteristics I had noted to learn more about their earliest date of production.
Sunday afternoon I discussed my observations with the 60 Minutes producer, and explained that the questions I had could not be answered from the poor quality reproductions available, and that without "positive" resolution of those questions it would not be possible to support the documents. I also suggested a typwriter expert who could be consulted for more information on the issue of typewriter chronology. The producer indicated that more documents would be available in the next 24 hours, and that they would be sent to me.
The program was scheduled to air on Wednesday, September 8. Having received no additional documents and no further communication from CBS by the evening of the 7th, I phoned the producer and restated my concerns about the documents. I learned that the episode was going forward, and I expressed the opinion that if the documents were presented as authentic, that all of the questions I was raising were going to be raised by other document examiners immediately after the program. This is exactly what happened. What I did not forsee was all of the commentary that would come from "the blogosphere."
For 10 days after the broadcast, 60 Minutes continued to defend the documents, and to imply that they had thoroughly vetted the documents with various document examiners. Eventually I was directly asked by a reporter at ABC Television whether I had seen the documents. I explained my participation to the reporter, which led to further explaining it on national television. When the dust settled, and an independent investigation was ordered, I explained it yet again to the investigators.
From a document examiner's point of view, the lessons to be learned from this experience are: