The testimony of Robert L. Norton was taken at 11: 05 a.m., on June 27, 1964, in the office of the U.S. attorney, 301 Post Office Building, Bryan and Ervay Streets, Dallas, Tex., by Mr. Leon D. Hubert, Jr., assistant counsel of the President's Commission.
Mr. HUBERT. This is the deposition of Robert L. Norton.
Mr. Norton, my name is Leon Hubert. I am a member of the advisory staff of the general counsel of the President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy. Under the provisions of Executive Order 11130, dated November 28, 1963, and the joint resolution of Congress, No. 137, and the rules of procedure adopted by the President's Commission in conformance with that Executive order and that joint resolution, I have been authorized to take a sworn deposition from you.


I state to you that the general nature of the Commission's inquiry is to ascertain, evaluate, and report upon the facts relative to the assassination of President Kennedy and the subsequent violent death of Lee Harvey Oswald. In particular as to you, Mr. Norton, the nature of the inquiry today is to determine what facts you know about the death of Oswald and any other pertinent facts you may know about the general inquiry and about Jack Ruby and his operations and movements and associates and so forth. I think you appeared here today by virtue of a letter addressed to you by Mr. J. Lee Rankin, general counsel of the staff of the President's Commission, asking you to come here; isn't that correct?
Mr. NORTON. Right.
Mr. HUBERT. Do you remember the date of that letter?
Mr. HUBERT. Perhaps you can tell us when you received it?
Mr. NORTON.' Let's see--it must have been Wednesday, I believe. I'm not for sure. It was this week--right in the middle of the week.
Mr. HUBERT. The rules of the Commission provide that every witness is entitled to a 3-day written notice prior to the taking of their deposition, but those rules also provide that you may waive that requirement. I ask you now that in the event you have not been given the full 3-days' notice, are you willing to waive that right in order to testify now?
Mr. NORTON. Yes.
Mr. HUBERT. All right, will you stand and raise your right hand?
Mr. NORTON. Yes.
Mr. HUBERT. Do you solemnly swear that the testimony you are about to give in this matter will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
Mr. NORTON. Yes.
Mr. HUBERT. State your name for the record, please?
Mr. NORTON. Robert L. Norton.
Mr. HUBERT. What is your residence address, Mr. Norton ?
Mr. NORTON. 3414 Manana [spelling] M-a-n-a-n-a.
Mr. HUBERT. That's in Dallas?
Mr. NORTON. In Dallas.
Mr. HUBERT. What is your occupation, sir ?
Mr. NORTON. I'm in the entertainment business.
Mr. HUBERT. How long have you been in that business?
Mr. NORTON. About 7 years now.
Mr. HUBERT. What business did you have prior to that time?
Mr. NORTON. I was a salesman for Colgate-Palmolive Co.
Mr. HUBERT. What aspect of the entertainment business have you been in?
Mr. NORTON. I have been primarily in, for the last 7 years, a private club business, which is a rather new business here in Texas.
Mr. HUBERT. Have you had one or more clubs?
Mr. NORTON. Well, I have one and I'm associated with two others.
Mr. HUBERT. What others have you had, say, in the last 7 years? I think you are the entire owner or associated in the ownership of the Pago Club ?
Mr. NORTON. Right.
Mr. HUBERT. You are the entire owner?
Mr. NORTON. Well, actually, I own the equipment and fixtures and due to our State liquor laws, it has been--it has to be leased to the club, and the club actually is owned by its members.
Mr. HUBERT. You are the operating manager?
Mr. NORTON. Yes; I am the operating manager.
Mr. HUBERT. That's located at 4611 Cole Street, I believe?
Mr. NORTON. No; that's my office, sir. The Pago Club is located at 2822 McKinney.
Mr. HUBERT. How long have you been connected with the Pago Club?
Mr. NORTON. Oh, that's been about 5 years since it was started.
Mr. HUBERT. Back last November, that is to say, November 1963, you had the same connection with the Pago Club as you have now and have had?
Mr. NORTON. Yes.


Mr. HUBERT. Did you have any other clubs then?
Mr. NORTON. Yes.
Mr. HUBERT. Which ones?
Mr. NORTON. I was associated with the Red Garter Club.
Mr. HUBERT. Who else is associated with you in the operation of the Red Garter Club?
Mr. NORTON. Mr. Charley Kiser operates the Red Garter.
Mr. HUBERT. Is that [spelling] K-a-i-s-e-r?
Mr. NORTON (spelling). No; K-i-s-e-r is the way he spells it.
Mr. HUBERT. Where is that located?
Mr. NORTON. That's 3412 Kings Road.
Mr. HUBERT. That's in Dallas?
Mr. NORTON. Yes.
Mr. HUBERT. Is that a similar operation?
Mr. NORTON. Yes.
Mr. HUBERT. It's a similar operation to the Pago Club?
Mr. NORTON. It's similar but a different motif.
Mr. HUBERT. And you have a financial interest in it?
Mr. NORTON. I own the fixtures.
Mr. HUBERT. He operates the club ?
Mr. NORTON. Yes.
Mr. HUBERT. I'm not interested in your portion or what you get out of it, but you do have some financial benefit from it?
Mr. NORTON. Yes; I do have.
Mr. HUBERT. Any other clubs at that time?
Mr. NORTON. At that time the Keynote Club.
Mr. HUBERT. Where is it located ?
Mr. NORTON. It's on Cole--4527.
Mr. HUBERT (spelling). C-o-l-e?
Mr. NORTON. Yes.
Mr. HUBERT. And who manages that?
Mr. NORTON. Louis Byrum.
Mr. HUBERT (spelling). B-y-r-u-m?
Mr. NORTON. Yes.
Mr. HUBERT. Do you have any others?
Mr. NORTON. No; since then I am associated with a new one that's just been opened, and this was just 2 weeks ago.
Mr. HUBERT. This address at 4611 Cole which you say is your office, is that a residence?
Mr. NORTON. No; that's a building. That's an office building.
Mr. HUBERT. You have your own offices there rather than in your club, is that correct?
Mr. NORTON. Right; well, it's a joint office where all of us meet and have room to do our necessary bookwork.
Mr. HUBERT. Now, you know Jack Ruby, of course, don't you?
Mr. NORTON. Yes; I have known him.
Mr. HUBERT. How long have you known him?
Mr. NORTON. Well, I've known him ever since I have been in the business. My first location was on Lemmon and he had this Vegas Club down on Oaklawn.
Mr. HUBERT. They were close together?
Mr. NORTON. Well, it's about a mile, I guess, 2 miles at the most.
Mr. HUBERT. In a sense you were competitors, I suppose?
Mr. NORTON. Well, in a sense, although he ran a different type of business than I did. He had a dance place there on Oak Lawn and my place was--his was open to the public and mine was closed to membership.
Mr. HUBERT. Was he a member of your club ?
Mr. NORTON. No; I had shown him the courtesy as an operator when he would drop in, such as we do, you know, to be a guest.
Mr. HUBERT. That's mutual, I suppose, it's reciprocal?
Mr. NORTON. It's done yes.
Mr. HUBERT. Now, I want to show you a report of an interview of you by FBI Agent Joe Abernathy, dated November 26, 1963, which I have marked


for identification on the right-hand margin as follows: "Dallas, Texas, June 27, 1964, Exhibit No. 1 in the deposition of Robert Norton," and I have signed my name below it. It consists of about a third of one page. I would like you to read that and tell me afterwards whether or not you recollect the interview and whether that's a fair report of that interview.
Mr. NORTON (read instrument referred to). This is what I said and I also called Tuesday and reported to the FBI the fact that I had seen him at 12 o'clock and I asked him if they wanted me to come down and the man on the phone said I could just give him a statement over the phone. This was right after the President was buried.
Mr. HUBERT. In other words, this report----
Mr. NORTON. This is the second report that I made. I phoned in.
Mr. HUBERT. Well, did you ever have a person-to-person interview?
Mr. NORTON. Yes; this gentleman here was in the club.
Mr. HUBERT. That was on Tuesday, November 26, and you had telephoned the information to the FBI previous to that ?
Mr. NORTON. Yes, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. And then did they come out on the same day and interview you?
Mr. NORTON. No; it was later. I wasn't personally interviewed until later. I don't remember just how long but it was sometime after I phoned in.
Mr. HUBERT. But you did phone in on Tuesday ?
Mr. NORTON. Yes; I did.
Mr. HUBERT. Why did you phone in?
Mr. NORTON. Well, I just thought I should.
Mr. HUBERT. In other words, you thought that you had some information about his movements?
Mr. NORTON. That's right.
Mr. HUBERT. And that therefore you should report it and you did do so?
Mr. NORTON. That's right.
Mr. HUBERT. How well did you know Ruby ?
Mr. NORTON. Not well at all. I knew him strictly in a business manner and association. Occasionally, like I say, he would drop over to the place. We had a club association started in Dallas and I was president of that and I knew a number of different club operators and knew him through this means. I on occasion have been in his place, but I didn't frequent it. It wasn't that I disapproved but I just didn't care for his operation, which I never had any reason to go there other than just to visit once in a while to say "Hello".
Mr. HUBERT. You've known him, you say, about 8 or 10 years?
Mr. NORTON. No; I've known him about 5. I was in the business about 2 years before I ever met him.
Mr. HUBERT. There was no social relationship between you?
Mr. NORTON. None whatsoever. I have some friends who went to his club.
Mr. HUBERT. You didn't visit with him in his home?
Mr. NORTON. No, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. Would you say you saw him three or four times a year or more or less?
Mr. NORTON. Possibly after I met him--yes.
Mr. HUBERT. And it would be either at his club or he dropped in at your club?
Mr. NORTON. That's right.
Mr. HUBERT. Or one of the meetings of the association?
Mr. NORTON. That's right.
Mr. HUBERT. I think you say in this statement which has been identified as Exhibit No. 1 that Ruby came in about midnight on the 23rd. Now, was that Saturday ?
Mr. NORTON. It was a Saturday.
Mr. HUBERT. Was it about midnight?
Mr. NORTON. It was about midnight.
Mr. HUBERT. How do you fix that?
Mr. NORTON. How do I fix the time?
Mr. HUBERT. Yes.


Mr. NORTON. I was talking with some other members of the club and I was on the other side of the room and my band had just taken their last break, their last 15-minute break, and that's the only reason I was able really to fix the time. You see, we're open until 1 o'clock on Saturday. They have 15-minute breaks.
Mr. HUBERT. That was from 12 to 12:15?
Mr. NORTON. Yes.
Mr. HUBERT. Do they observe that fairly carefully?
Mr. NORTON. Oh, yes; very definftely.
Mr. HUBERT. I mean; would you say the break would always occur at that time?
Mr. NORTON. Well, it could vary 5 minutes either way but not much more than that.
Mr. HUBERT. Not much more than that, you say?
Mr. NORTON. No; my customers are in a habit of knowing that they have a 15-minute break on the hour and then back for an hour.
Mr. HUBERT. That's customary throughout the industry ?
Mr. NORTON. Yes; it is.
Mr. HUBERT. They play for an hour?
Mr. NORTON. Forty-five minutes on and 15 minutes off.
Mr. HUBERT. And this was on the last break?
Mr. NORTON. Yes.
Mr. HUBERT. You say he came in right after the break?
Mr. NORTON. Well, I don't know exactly when. I walked by his table and didn't even know he was in the house. Like I do--I always try to notice who's in my place and I looked backward as I walked by and there he was, just sitting there by himself.
Mr. HUBERT. The band had just broken up for its break so that you fix it at 12 o'clock?
Mr. NORTON. That's about--it's in that vicinity.
Mr. HUBERT. Is it possible he could have been in there for a considerable time prior to that?
Mr. NORTON. No; I don't think so. I can't say for sure. My manager was at the door and saw him and greeted him when he came in.
Mr. HUBERT. Who was that?
Mr. NORTON. Anice Byrum.
Mr. HUBERT. I think you gave the full name awhile ago?
Mr. NORTON. Well, that was her husband's name. She is manager of my club and he has this other place.
Mr. HUBERT. What is her name?
Mr. NORTON. Anice Byrum.
Mr. HUBERT. And she's the wife of whom?
Mr. NORTON. She's the wife of the manager of the Keynote.
Mr. HUBERT. And his name is Louis?
Mr. NORTON. His name is Louis Byrum.
Mr. HUBERT. And where do they live?
Mr. NORTON. They live on Singing Hills Street in Oak Cliff.
Mr. HUBERT. She saw him come in?
Mr. NORTON. Yes.
Mr. HUBERT. Has she ever spoken to you about what time it was?
Mr. NORTON. No--of course, with the shock of it all Sunday and we discussed it the first part of the week in the office, and all I remember her saying was he hadn't been there any time at all, because I didn't see him come in, and I asked her, I said, "How long had he been in there?"
Mr. HUBERT. What did she say?
Mr. NORTON. She said it hadn't been long. He had had time to finish a Coca-Cola because when I saw him and said "Hello" and turned around and sat down, he had just finished a coke and I was having a drink and I ordered him one, another coke, and he drank another coke and he drank that and he left.
Mr. HUBERT. So, from the time you saw him until the time he left, how much time passed?
Mr. NORTON. I'd say 15 or 20 minutes.
Mr. HUBERT. You were sitting at the table with him at that time?


Mr. NORTON. Yes.
Mr. HUBERT. I would assume that the orchestra began to play then before he left?
Mr. NORTON. Yes.
Mr. HUBERT. What was the general nature of the conversation?
Mr. NORTON. Well, like I say--when I walked by, I hadn't seen him in a good while.
Mr. HUBERT. How long had it been since you had seen him?
Mr. NORTON. He was in the club one afternoon about, I'd say 4 to 6 weeks prior to that, with a man from Fort Worth.
Mr. HUBERT. They were just in for a drink ?
Mr. NORTON. Well, the man was. I never saw Jack take a drink.
Mr. HUBERT. They weren't there on business, were they?
Mr. NORTON. No. You see, often times people in this business, that's the way I always do, they just drop by and say "Hello" and see what the other person is doing in the way of business. That's the only way I took it.
Mr. HUBERT. Do you know who this man was from Fort Worth?
Mr. NORTON. No; but that conversation--they were discussing a business card idea, and it was some kind of plastic business, because he had a transparent business card with him.
Mr. HUBERT. How did you know the man was from Fort Worth?
Mr. NORTON. They said he was from Fort Worth.
Mr. HUBERT. In other words, he introduced you but you don't remember his name ?
Mr. NORTON. I sure don't.
Mr. HUBERT. But you do remember that he was from Fort Worth?
Mr. NORTON. That's as I understand it.
Mr. HUBERT. All right, coming back to the 23d, which really went over into the 24th, didn't it, because midnight came right at that point, you had a conversation of about 15 or 20 minutes with him seated at the table?
Mr. NORTON. Yes.
Mr. HUBERT. What did you talk about generally, do you know?
Mr. NORTON. Well, when I saw him sitting there, I just said, "Hello, Jack, I didn't know you were in the house". I remember naturally just thinking about it, after what he did, and so I sat down a minute with him and I asked him what he had been doing, and I don't remember whether I said, which it says in this, that I said--that I asked him if he was closed. I don't think I asked him that because we discussed it later, just before he left, because I made the comment that I don't know whether I should open or not, and when I made that statement, that's when he told me he was closed, and I know that's the way it was.
In other words, we simply discussed--there was no discussion--this association had just been finalized. We closed it down because we couldn't get the people to be here for the meetings and I discussed that with him, what was done at a final meeting, but I wasn't at the final meeting and there was a few dollars involved that were distributed among the members to eliminate it, that there had been accumulated, you know, a collection of dues, and then he talked to me about how fortunate I was to have the business that I had, and he thought I ran a nice club--a nice place, and it was just like I told the officer on the phone and also the man who interviewed me I'm the one that made mention of the assassination, just before he left. He didn't say a word to me about it, and even when I said it, he just didn't have much to say. He didn't express his opinion like I did mine, and he said he was tired and he was going home.
Mr. HUBERT. Did he indicate at anytime where he had been?
Mr. NORTON. No, and I didn't ask him. I mean--there wasn't any reason to.
Mr. HUBERT. No, I understand that, but I thought he might have dropped some word that would indicate where he had been ?
Mr. HUBERT. Did he indicate where he was going when he left?
Mr. NORTON. Yes; he said he was tired and he was going home.
Mr. HUBERT. And that was about 12:15 or 12:20?
Mr. NORTON. Somewhere around there.
Mr. HUBERT. He was alone?


Mr. NORTON. He was by himself.
Mr. HUBERT. Did you see him drive off or did he just get up and walk out of the club?
Mr. NORTON. No; when he left, I just continued to talk to my customers.
Mr. HUBERT. I gather from what you said that there was very little conversation about the assassination altogether and what little there was came from you?
Mr. NORTON. I mentioned it; yes.
Mr. HUBERT. He made no comment about the assassination at all?
Mr. HUBERT. Did he indicate any disapproval of the fact that your club was open ?
Mr. NORTON. No, and he just didn't--like I say--I didn't know until after I had discussed the fact that--I didn't know whether it was proper or improper to open but everybody had been so shocked, you know, that I went ahead and opened, but I mentioned that I was certainly going to close Monday.
Mr. HUBERT. And he indicated to you that he was closed?
Mr. NORTON. Yes; he had been closed since it happened.
Mr. HUBERT. But you didn't really ask him, so that this report is incorrect when it says that you asked him. He told you after you expressed your concern that his clubs were closed ?
Mr. NORTON. Yes.
Mr. HUBERT. When he came in or at anytime during the conversation did he ask you for anyone or inquire about anyone?
Mr. NORTON. No, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. Specifically, did he ask you about a Breck Wall ?
Mr. NORTON. No, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. Do you know Breck Wall?
Mr. NORTON. I know the name but I don't know--I can't place it--I say I know the name, I've heard the name.
Mr. HUBERT. Did he ask you or make any inquiry about a man named George Senator ?
Mr. NORTON. No, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. Did he ask you or make any inquiry about a man named Joe Peterson?
Mr. NORTON. No, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. Did any of those persons--Breck Wall, George Senator or Joe Peterson frequent the Pago Club ?
Mr. NORTON. To my knowledge; no, but I do--for some reason recognize the name "Breck Wall" and I've heard of the name "Joe Peterson".
Mr. HUBERT. It may help you if I tell you that they were entertainers at the Adolphus Hotel during this period, possibly that's the reason?
Mr. NORTON. It could be, but there are an awful lot of names that come through my place of business and those names--it could be that I remember them from that.
Mr. HUBERT. Did Ruby make any comment on what effect the assassination of President Kennedy might have on business generally in Dallas and particularly the nightclub business?
Mr. NORTON. No, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. As I say, and I repeat it for the sake of emphasis, he mentioned or he said nothing about the assassination at all?
Mr. NORTON. To the best of my memory--that's the part--that's what I discussed with people that I know about it. I said, "He didn't even voice any contempt," which I did for what had been done.
Mr. HUBERT. He didn't concur in your view or express any concurrence?
Mr. NORTON. I can't remember anything he answered back because I was the one I don't mind saying--I think at first I said, "It was terrible and I think it was an insult to our country" and then to the man--"it was terrible for the man himself," and that's the statement I made, that "we couldn't do enough to the person that had done this sort of thing." I made that statement and he didn't say a word back that even indicated. he was--to me he didn't. I guess I made


a more violent statement than anything that was said because I really felt that way.
Mr. HUBERT. And your statement was to the effect that nothing would be too bad for that person--something along those lines?
Mr. NORTON. Well, I meant by that--I just meant the extremes of the law. I said, "Nobody has the right to take the life of another one" and I meant it.
Mr. HUBERT. Was there any suggestion in what you said that somebody ought to shoot Oswald?
Mr. NORTON. No, sir. No, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. Did you have any indication whatsoever as to why Ruby came by?
Mr. NORTON. No, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. Had he ever done that before at night?
Mr. NORTON. Not at that time; no, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. I take it that he didn't mention to you the Earl Warren poster?
Mr. NORTON. No, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. He didn't discuss Oswald at all?
Mr. NORTON. No, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. He didn't discuss whether there were any groups behind Oswald or conspiracy or anything of that sort?
Mr. NORTON. Not one word. That surprised me because I've seen on a couple occasions Jack get very exasperated with his help, you know, down at his place, but he was more calm than I was about it. That is--in .the conversation I had with him--he was.
Mr. HUBERT. All right, sir, is there anything else you want to comment upon?
Mr. NORTON. Nothing that I know of other than this is what I explained to the officer in my club. I said, "Actually, I guess there's very little I can do in helping, but I feel like you ought to know he was there," which I did.
Mr. HUBERT. Just so the record may be complete on it, we have had no conversations, have we, since I first met you a few moments ago other than what has been recorded, in this room?
Mr. NORTON. No, sir.
Mr. HUBERT. Thank you very much indeed.
Mr. NORTON. All right.
(At this time the witness, Norton, left the deposing room and shortly thereafter returned to such room and the proceedings continued as follows:)
Mr. HUBERT. This is Robert Norton and your deposition was finished a few moments ago and you had left the room and actually had proceeded downstairs, but you thought of something that you thought you should tell us and so you have come back up again, and now you want to state something more.
You understand, of course, that this second proceeding here is being conducted under the same terms and conditions as the first?
Mr. NORTON. Yes.
Mr. HUBERT. And that you are under the same oath that you were on the first?
Mr. NORTON. Yes.
Mr. HUBERT. Now, will you tell us, please, what it is that you've thought about that you want to add?
Mr. NORTON. Well, I started to leave and I remembered that--well, I thought about it up here because we were discussing what was said in my place of business, but my manager and I in the office 2 or 3 days after it happened--I don't remember exactly---discussed the fact that Jack Ruby's sister was just out of the hospital and all of this happening and everything, we sent to her a sympathy card.
Mr. HUBERT. Was it a sympathy card concerning her illness or concerning Jack's trouble, or what?
Mr. NORTON. It was, as I remember it, it was just a general card. I didn't purchase the card. My manager did.
Mr. HUBERT. It was a printed card?
Mr. NORTON. Yes; it was a printed card.
Mr. HUBERT. That was sent about how many days after the shooting of Oswald ?
Mr. NORTON. I would say 2 or 3 days.


Mr. HUBERT. And then did you have anything else you wished to say?
Mr. NORTON. And then 2 or 3 days later I received a letter or a note--it was in a letter form, and it was addressed to Anice and Bob, that's my manager's name, and she opened it and it was from Jack Ruby.
Mr. HUBERT. From the jail?
Mr. NORTON. From the jail.
Mr. HUBERT. What did it say?
Mr. NORTON. Simply--"thank you for your"--something like "your concern"-I guess she took it to him. It wasn't sent to him, we didn't send it to him, but I surmised that she just told him about it or something and he sent this little note back and wished us luck.
Mr. HUBERT. Do you still have that note?
Mr. NORTON. Yes--I started to throw it away and Anice told me to keep it.
Mr. HUBERT. I would suggest that you hold it a bit. It may well be that the Commission or the Federal Bureau of Investigation will want to look at it, so I would not destroy it if I were you.
I'm glad you came back and told us about this.
Mr. NORTON. Well, I just don't want to be connected with this in any way other than I'm here to help and that's the reason I wanted to come back up here and tell about that, because I hadn't mentioned.
Mr. HUBERT. That's right. You didn't want to be put in the position of having come here and omitted to say something that does bear upon your relationship with Jack Ruby, but which you had not said before?
Mr. NORTON. Right.
Mr. HUBERT. All right, I think that's fine. Thank you, sir.
Mr. NORTON. Thank you.

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