The following petition has been started at:
Please consider signing it in support of former Secret Service Agent Abraham Bolden who threatened to expose the Chicago plot to kill President Kennedy in 1963.
Abraham Bolden:Imprisoned for Following the Oath
Published February 12, 2011
To the President of These United States of America
The Honorable Barack H. Obama
The undersigned hereby petitions the President of the United States of America to expunge, pardon or take other executive action that will clear the record of conviction of Abraham W. Bolden, Sr. In support of this petition, we submit the following:
Abraham Bolden is an African American and was born to Daniel and Ophelia Bolden in East St. Louis , Illinois on January 19, 1935. He attended Lincoln High School and, upon graduation, entered Lincoln University in Jefferson City , Missouri . Later, Bolden married his long time friend and schoolmate, Barbara L. Hardy (Bolden) to whom he was married for 49 years prior to her death. To that marriage were born 3 children, Ahvia Maria Bolden (Reynolds), Abraham Bolden Jr., and Dr. Daaim Shabazz . Bolden has two grandchildren, Ismail and Cydni Bolden.
Bolden attended public schools in East St. Louis , Illinois and was graduated from Lincoln High School in June, 1952. Because of his proficiency in playing the trumpet, he received a scholarship to Lincoln University in Jefferson City , Missouri and was graduated “cum Laude” in June of 1956 with a BA in Music Composition.
After graduating from Lincoln University , Bolden decided to enter the field of law enforcement. He subsequently became the first African American Detective to be employed by the Pinkerton National Detective Agency. After leaving the detective agency, he served as a State Highway Patrolman in the State of Illinois . Continuing to advance in the field of police work, Bolden became a member of the United States Secret Service in October 1960.
Bolden met President John F. Kennedy in Chicago , Illinois and, after a brief conversation with Bolden, President Kennedy was instrumental in making Bolden the first African American to be assigned to the Secret Service White House Detail in Washington , D.C. in June of 1961.
Bolden traveled with the President; but he became disenchanted with the assignment when some of his fellow agents used racial slurs in his presence and engaged in a pattern of conduct that, in Bolden’s professional opinion, endangered the life of President John F. Kennedy. Bolden was very vocal in his criticism of the protective detail first discussing the matter of the laxity and misconduct of the President’s security with the then Chief of the United States Secret Service U.E. Baughman. Bolden further complained above the unprofessional activities of the detail with his immediate superiors in Chicago , Illinois .
After President John F. Kennedy was assassinated and after having previously discussed his complaints of secret service misconduct with the Chief of the U.S. Secret Service and his immediate superiors in Chicago to no avail, Bolden was intent upon bringing information concerning the President’s lack of proper security to officials of the Warren Commission who were investigating the President’s death. On May 18, 1964, while attending Secret Service School , Bolden was whisked out of Washington , D.C. under a pretext, returned to Chicago whereupon he was denied a request for representation by an attorney and hastily arrested by high administrators within the secret service who charged Bolden with the commission of a federal crime.
Bolden endured two federal criminal trials within a period of less then two months in the Federal District Court in Chicago , Illinois . At the end of the first trial, during the deliberation of the jury, the trial judge stated to the jury that in his opinion, the evidence sustained a verdict of guilty on all counts of the indictment. The trial judge then prompted the jury to continue deliberation taking the judge’s opinion into consideration. That trial ended when the jury, in spite of the judge’s prejudicial remarks, was unable to reach a verdict. (See United States vs. Bolden, 64CR324 and Fed. 2nd 453)
Bolden’s second trial was conducted before the same trial judge who denied a motion for a substitution of judge and a change of venue. At the conclusion of the second trial on August 11, 1964, at the judge’s instigation and acquiescence, Bolden and his attorney, and other non government employed spectators, were locked out of the court building during the deliberation of the jury. During the forced absence of Bolden from the trial procedures, a verdict of guilty was returned.
The case against Bolden began to fall apart when one of the witnesses, Joseph Spagnoli, who testified against Bolden, confessed that he and another witness, Frank William Jones, concocted and fabricated the criminal case against Bolden with the help of an Assistant United States Attorney. In spite of Spagnoli’s confession and documentary evidence tending to support Spagnoli’s accusation, the government refused to deny the charges levied by Spagnoli. When questioned before a three judge panel during oral arguments before the United States Court of Appeals concerning Spagnoli’s assertions made under oath in open court, the accused assistant government attorney refused to answer the question of the subornation of perjury and availed himself of his fifth amendment rights against self incrimination. Notwithstanding, Bolden was sent away to the penitentiary.
Bolden was subsequently sent to the prison camp at the Springfield Medical Center for Federal Prisoners. Following a disagreement with one of the psychiatric patients, Bolden was held in solitary confinement, in the psychiatric ward against his will and without the mandatory court order regarding inmate medical treatment. He was forced to ingest psychotropic drugs. The effort to declare Bolden insane was unsuccessful and Bolden was paroled in September of 1969 after serving three years and three months in federal confinement.
After being released from prison, Bolden established himself as a master at quality control administrative procedures in various machining and metal fabricating companies in Chicago . He retired after serving 35 years in quality control supervisory positions.
For his tireless efforts in the pursuit of justice and equity before the law, Bolden has been the recipient of the 2008 Scottish Hugo’s Companion Tankard Award for Courage, the 2008 African American Arts Alliance Award for Excellence, the 2008 Alpha Phi Alpha Award for Courage. He has been cited by the National Urban League as one of America ’s Outstanding Black Men.
He now lives in Chicago , Illinois where he has been a resident for the past 47 years.
The undersigned believes that the above circumstances of injustice and a lack of due process in obtaining a conviction of Bolden cry out for executive action that will remedy the sufferings of Abraham W. Bolden, Sr. He has been a model citizen since his release from federal confinement on September 25, 1969 and it is now time that his human rights as an American citizen be completely restored. Executive action by the President of These United States of America is his last resort. We pray that such action will be forthcoming.