David W. Belin

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David William Belin (June 20, 1928 – January 17, 1999) was an attorney for the Warren Commission and the Rockefeller Commission.[1] Belin was a partner in a Des Moines, Iowa law firm and, with former NBC News president Michael Gartner, was co-owner of The Tribune in Ames, Iowa.[1]

Early life[edit]

Belin was born in Washington, D.C. and raised in Sioux City, Iowa.[1]

Notable actions[edit]

Belin served the Jewish community in many leadership positions. A successful businessman, Belin owned a number of Midwestern publications.

Government service[edit]

Belin served in the United States Army in Korea and in Japan.[1] He was a concert violinist for a period of his service.[2]

Belin was assistant counsel to the Warren Commission, which investigated President John F. Kennedy's assassination. Belin concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald had worked entirely on his own as Kennedy's assassin, which the commission affirmed in its final report. Belin stood by the findings of the Warren report until his death, and was known to become incensed at any mention of an assassination conspiracy.[1] As he lay in a coma in his final days, his friends would whisper conspiracy theories about the JFK assassination into his ear to confirm his unconsciousness by his unprecedented lack of response.[3]

Belin wrote two books on the JFK Assassination: November 22, 1963: You Are the Jury (1973) and Final Disclosure: The Full Truth About the Assassination of President Kennedy (1988).

Belin's former Warren Commission member and then-president Gerald Ford appointed him executive director to the Rockefeller Commission, which investigated CIA activities within the United States.

Belin Lectureship[edit]

In 1991, Belin established the David W. Belin Lectureship in American Jewish Affairs at his alma mater the University of Michigan as an academic forum for the discussion of contemporary Jewish life in the United States. Belin graduated from the University of Michigan's College of Literature, Science and the Arts, Business School and Law School.

Past Belin lecturers have included Egon Mayer, Stephen J. Whitfeld, Arthur Green, Deborah Dash Moore, Alvin Rosenfeld, Paula Hyman, Jeffrey S. Gurock, Arnold Eisen, Sylvia Barack Fishman, Jonathan Sarna, Hasia Diner, Susan Martha Kahn, Riv-Ellen Prell, Andrew Heinze, and Fred Lazin.[citation needed] The Belin lectures have been published annually by the University of Michigan Frankel Center for Judaic Studies.[4]

Later years and death[edit]

Belin lived in Windsor Heights, Iowa and on Manhattan's East Side. In January 1999, he sustained head injuries in a fall in a Rochester, Minnesota hotel room.[1] Belin was in a coma before dying twelve days later on January 17.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Pace, Eric (January 18, 1999). "David W. Belin, Warren Commission Lawyer, Dies at 70". The New York Times. New York. Retrieved March 26, 2012.
  2. ^ Belin, David William (June 20, 1928–January 17, 1999)
  3. ^ Sullivan, Andrew (January 2, 2000). "The Lives They Lived: David W. Belin, b. 1928 - Leonard C. Lewin, b. 1916; The Paranoia Gap". The New York Times Magazine. Retrieved June 10, 2015.
  4. ^ "David W. Belin Lecture". www.lsa.umich.edu. Jean & Samuel Frankel Center for Judaic Studies. Archived from the original on September 27, 2015. Retrieved August 3, 2015.