LBJ, The Movie?

Did President Lyndon B. Johnson order the murder of a Texas rancher? The tale could be coming soon to a triplex near you if Jeff Flach, a disciple of Oliver Stone, can raise money for a movie that would place LBJ in the center of a web of conspiracy and cover-up.

While spending 10 months in Dallas as Stone’s location manager for JFK, Flach met Madeleine Brown, who has long claimed to have been LBJ’s mistress. (Brown’s book, Texas in the Morning: My Secret Life with LBJ, will be published this month). Brown introduced Flach to the infamous Billie Sol Estes, con man extraordinaire, who told Flach that he was present when LBJ ordered the 1961 murder of rancher Henry Marshall in order to protect an alleged kickback scheme whereby the president fun-neled government cotton contracts to Estes, who then paid a portion of his profits into a Johnson slush fund. Though Marshall was found with five gunshot wounds in his side, his death was ruled a suicide. It wasn’t until 1984 that a grand jury, with Estes as star witness, changed the ruling to homicide.

Flach then met Clint Peoples, a former Texas Ranger who spent 30 years investigating Marshall’s death. But the 81-year-old Peoples died this spring after his car ran off the road. Not surprisingly, Flach wonders if it’s a coincidence that Peoples died after the two began talking about Marshall.

The LBJ-Marshall links have been investigated and dismissed before, but Flach is undaunted. He says that while working with movie director Stone he learned a valuable lesson. “Life isn’t everything they taught me while I was in school.” he says. “Stone gave you many possibilities and made you think.”

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