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John Roberts

Until now, the prominent writer on the King assassination has been William Pepper, who was also the attorney for James Earl Ray. It is the point of view of the author that Pepper’s determination to acquit Ray caused him to ignore or dismiss the importance of McFerren’s testimony. The premise is that Pepper needed to keep Ray as far from involvement as possible to acquit him, but that James Earl Ray was deeply involved with the men who orchestrated the assassination of April 4, 1968. For that reason, Pepper needed to ignore much of the testimony provided by McFerren, tape recordings of which was sent to multiple people including the United State Justice Department in real time, meaning soon after the event. More testimony was provided around the time of the HSCA , including McFerren’s affidavit dated June, 1978. This week on The Malliard Report, Jim welcomes author John Roberts to the show to discuss the deeper conspiracy into Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination through the book Cotton Coated Conspiracy.

Cotton Coated Conspiracy (Book one) is a deep dive into the history of Fayette County, Tennessee based on the testimony of John McFerren. The subtitle is “An investigative series of the death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.”. For those familiar with the MLK assassination, John McFerren was the person who testified that he overheard several men at LL&L Produce Company on April 4, 1968. One said, “They ought to shoot that son-of-bi**h”. Upon entering the building, McFerren heard a heavyset man scream into the telephone “Kill the son-of-a-bitch on the balcony and get the job done. You will get your $5000.” After shopping for produce, McFerren returned to the front of the store, this man then said “Don’t come out here. Go to New Orleans and get your money. You know my brother.” These conversations occurred between 4:45 and 5:15 PM on the day of the assassination and are part of the official record.

John’s case is certainly an interesting one, and with the settlement with the King’s family outside the court of law in regards to MLK’s death, it certainly lends some credibility. You can find the book on most major online retailers or through the website For all things Malliard, head over to where you can join in on the action every Tuesday night at 9 p.m EST with the live chat duck pond. You can also purchase awesome merch like shirts and mugs, and catch up on all the past shows. Rate and subscribe through your favorite podcasting app and connect with Jim on all social media platforms @malliard.