We’re continuing our conversation about the Hofmann bombings. This time we’ll talk about the short court case against Mark Hofmann. It wasn’t much of a case, just a preliminary hearing. Curt Bench tells us that he was initially skeptical about police reports that Hofmann was the bomber.
Yeah they were convinced but it took a long time to convince me and others that he was guilty. He was our friend. He was a guy we had known and done business with for years. Your friends don’t kill people, and there was no talk then of forgery or nobody knew about the financial schemes or him being a con man or anything like that, so that was all to come.
Curt also tells how he became an unknowing participant in Hofmann’s fraud.
I showed Mark this Book of Common Prayer which was no big deal, but he said, ‘well I’ll give you 50 bucks for it.’ [I thought] I don’t have a customer, I might as well. Later he said, ‘you know there was some writing in the back of that appears to be Martin Harris’ so I’ll give you a couple thousand dollars for it.’ [This was] after he had already given me $50 for it and that was fine because I didn’t know. So I thought, ‘gosh that’s really quite fair.’ So what turned out that he’d done…
GT interrupts: So you didn’t question that Martin Harris was in there. You just thought you missed that?
Curt: No, no. In fact later and during the investigation and in the preliminary hearing I had been asked. Well let me go back and say, what Mark did, we found out later was he wrote a little poem about returning this book which you’ve borrowed. I don’t remember the text of it, in ‘Martin Harris’s handwriting.’ Because here you have a known Harris family item, and no examples of Martin Harris’s handwriting extant, and so Mark created Martin Harris’s handwriting which was used to establish the authenticity of the Salamander Letter.
Check out this episode! You’ll hear Curt Bench will tell us about how he spoke at the Hofmann Bombings preliminary hearing. (Don’t forget to check out (parts 1, 2, 3, and 4!) Check out our conversation…