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JFK assassination show to be reviewed

History Channel documentary claimed LBJ involved

Lyndon Johnson takes the oath of office after the Kennedy assassination.

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Lyndon Baines Johnson
John Fitzgerald Kennedy

NEW YORK (CNN) -- The History Channel says it has assembled a panel of three renowned historians to examine a theory that President Lyndon B. Johnson was involved in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

The move is in response to displeasure expressed by a delegation that included former Johnson aides about a November 2003 documentary asserting that LBJ was involved.

According to Lynn Gardener, History Channel spokeswoman, the delegation included former LBJ aides Bill Moyers, later a CBS and PBS journalist, and Jack Valenti, later head of the Motion Picture Association of America, as well as the current chairman of the LBJ Foundation, Tom Johnson, former chairman of CNN.

They met two weeks ago in New York with Daniel Davids, executive vice president and general manager of the History Channel, and Nicholas Davatzes, CEO and president of A&E Television Networks.

"The meeting, as I understood, was positive and professional," Gardener said.

In a written statement, the History Channel said the panel will be made up of three independent historians: Robert Dallek, one of the nation's foremost authorities on the presidency and the author of books on JFK and LBJ; Stanley Kutler, a leading authority on 20th-century American political and constitutional history; and Thomas Surgue, who has written extensively on topics in modern American political and social history.

Gardener said the History Channel will produce a show about the panel's findings. She did not yet know when the show would air but said the channel would like to air it as soon as possible.

The documentary, "The Guilty Men," showcased Barr McClellan, author of "Blood Money & Power: How LBJ Killed JFK."

McClellan said he welcomes an investigation. "It's sad that they had to attack the messenger, the History Channel," he said, adding that his book "brings the connections together" in asserting that Johnson was involved in the assassination.

Eric Parkinson, president of Hannover House, McClellan's publisher, said it "stand(s) behind the material in Barr McCellan's book" and that "it is disappointing -- but not surprising -- that these powerful individuals are using the threat of litigation to try to intimidate the media and the History Channel."

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