The Forgotten Richard Nixon Assassination Attempt – 1968

Yemeni Born Brooklyn Resident, Ahmed Rageh Namer Is Arrested For A Conspiracy To Assassinate President-Elect Richard Nixon – 1968

Ahmed Rageh Namer in custody as a Brooklyn detective holds a rifle confiscated from Namer's home

Ahmed Rageh Namer (in hat) is arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit murder, as a Brooklyn detective holds a rifle confiscated from Namer’s home. photo: AP

Some students of history are familiar with Samuel Byck’s  1974 deluded attempted assassination attempt of Richard Nixon by hijacking and flying a plane into the White House.  Or they may know about Arthur Bremer’s attempt on Nixon in 1972. Bremer failed to get near Nixon and instead successfully shot and paralyzed presidential candidate George Wallace a few weeks after his failed attempt at Nixon.

But most people are unaware that a Brooklyn man, born in Yemen named Ahmed Rageh Namer was arrested along with his two sons in 1968 and charged with conspiracy to kill President-elect Richard Nixon. This occurred only months after Jordanian born Sirhan Sirhan successfully assassinated presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, so this threat on Nixon’s life was taken very seriously.

Ahmed Namer's family in Yemen

Ahmed Namer’s family in Yemen

Family of accused Nixon plotter Mona el Namer wife of Ahmed Rageh Namer, accused in alleged plot to assassinate President-elect Richard Nixon, sits with Namer’s two sisters in the family’s mud-walled home in the remote mountain village of Al Matawir, Yemen. The two sisters are Miseiak Namer, left and Saadiek Namer. Namer’s two sons are also held in the alleged plot.

Here is one of the original stories from UPI:

November 13, 1968: A mystery witness told a Brooklyn grand jury Tuesday that a Yemeni immigrant and his two sons tried to get him to join in a plot to kill President elect Richard M. Nixon and offered him money to participate. He testified an hour and 20 minutes.

The witness, who has never been identified, tipped police to the alleged conspiracy Friday, resulting in the arrests of Ahmed Namer, 43, and his sons, Hussein, 20, and Abdo, 19, Saturday. They have been held in $100,000 bail each on charges of conspiracy to commit murder, criminal solicitation and possession of weapons.

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Elliott Golden saw to it that newsmen and photographers were kept at a distance from the Brooklyn Criminal Court room where the jury was sitting so that the star witness could not be identified. Little is known about him except that he knew the Namers well and make his first contact with police by phone from a Brooklyn bar near their home.

The suspects appeared briefly in court Tuesday morning before Judge John S. Fury who postponed the hearing until Friday at the request of attorneys for both sides because of the grand jury investigation. The jury is expected to take no longer than a day or two to decide whether to hand up indictments.

The FBI and Secret Service agents continued their investigation into a possible link between the alleged plot against Nixon and the assassination of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy in Los Angeles last June.

Kennedy’s accused assassin, Sirhan B. Sirhan, also is an Arab. An official said a “very large quantity” of correspondence from overseas was found in the Namer’s poor, three room apartment. Many were in Arabic and were being translated in the hope of gaining clues to the family’s activities. Friends of the elder Namer said he never showed an interest in politics.

Golden said one of the mysteries was where the Namer’s, who worked as shipping clerks in a clothing factory, got the amount of money they reportedly offered the mystery informant. He hinted that the plot could have been hatched outside the country.

Namer was later accused of formerly being in the Yemeni secret police. His family denied that there was any conspiracy to kill Nixon. Investigators soon began to doubt the sole witness who was later named as Mohammed Hazan Aljamal, but pressed through with their case anyhow.

The case went to trial July 8, 1969. The defense attorney David F. Price contended that Aljamal was bent on revenge from being evicted from Namer’s apartment at 496 Hinsdale Street in East New York, Brooklyn the previous October and made up the story.

Aljamal had lived as a roomer with the Namer’s from May through October 1968 but was thrown out after repeatedly being drunk and setting fire to his bed with a lighted cigarette.

Aljamal claimed he returned to the apartment on November 7, 1968, to check to see if he had any mail. When he was there he noticed a carbine and M1 rifle in the kitchen, Aljamal asked what the weapons were for and one of Namer’s sons responded, “We’re going to kill Nixon.” Namer then allegedly tried to convince Aljamal to join the plot which he refused to do.”If you want us to deal you in, let us know,” Namer said as Aljamal was leaving. Aljamal reported the incident to the police that night. The Namer’s were arrested the November 9.

The two rifles Mr. Namer claimed were for relatives in Yemen and Aljamal was not in their apartment the night in question. Judge Louis B. Heller instructed the jury that possessing the rifles was not in itself a crime unless it was proved that there was intent to use it on another person.

On July 17, 1969 the trial concluded. The Namer’s were found not guilty of all but one charge, that of possessing two switchblade knives. The Namer’s and the Nixon assassination attempt then faded into history.

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One thought on “The Forgotten Richard Nixon Assassination Attempt – 1968

  1. Gary

    I worked in the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office at that time and worked on some minor aspects of this case. Look earlier and you may find that a newspaper reporter got wind of the plot and threatened to publish a story unless the FBI quickly arrested the father and two sons. They were arrested before going to the location where they might have attempted to carry out their plot. Because the case was thus weakened the U.S. Attorney would not prosecute it so it fell into the jurisdiction of the District Attorney.

    Reply

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