A member of the Teamsters Local 24 in Akron and was the spokesman for the Independent Truckers Unity Coalition. Moldea worked as Deputy Director of the Portage County Community Action Council, a federally-funded anti-poverty agency. This was followed by posts at the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (1977) and the ACTION/Peace Corps (1979-1980).
Books by Moldea include The Hoffa Wars (1978), The Hunting of Cain (1983), Dark Victory: Ronald Reagan and the Mob (1986), Interference (1989), The Killing of Robert F. Kennedy (1995), Evidence Dismissed (1997) and A Washington Tragedy: The Death of Vincent Foster (1998).
Moldea's work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, the Observer, the Boston Globe, the Atlanta Constitution, and the Nation. In addition, Moldea has done free-lance work with NBC Nightly News, National Public Radio, the Detroit Free Press, and syndicated columnist Jack Anderson.
The hotel was packed. In addition to the political parties, employees from General Electric, Bulova Watch, and Pacific Telephone were at the hotel for their own company conclaves - as well as 144 members of the press, who were there primarily to cover Kennedy.
Murphy instructed Cesar to work crowd control at Kennedy's campaign party. He was assigned to patrol the large Embassy Ballroom on the lobby level of the hotel, where everyone expected Kennedy to deliver either his victory or his concession speech.
At 9:30, because of massive overcrowding in the Embassy Room, Los Angeles fire marshals closed the main entrance to the ballroom and admitted people only on a "one-in, one-out basis." At the same time, Murphy reassigned Cesar to the Embassy Room's kitchen pantry area.
Murphy told Cesar to position himself at the east door, next to the Colonial Room, the designated press room where Kennedy planned to hold a news conference after his speech. Instructed to check the credentials of the people walking in and out of the kitchen, Cesar mostly sat, paced, and occasionally checked the bona fides of those people.
Cesar recalls, "At about 11:15, Murphy came to me and said that Kennedy would be going through the kitchen pantry on his way to the Colonial Room after his speech on the stage in the Embassy Room. Murphy then moved me from the east pantry door to the west double swinging doors, which were next to the backstage area.
"A few minutes later, Bill Gardner told me that he wanted me to accompany Kennedy from the west pantry double doors to the Colonial Room. He just told me, 'Keep the aisle clear. Make sure that everybody's out of the way, so that Kennedy's group can walk freely.' "
While waiting for Kennedy, Cesar talked to several people in the kitchen, including comedian Milton Berle, Roosevelt Grier, and Rafer Johnson. Cesar recalls, "I had the time of my life, because Berle just kept everyone in stitches."
A little before midnight, Kennedy and his entourage, assured of victory in the California primary, stepped off the freight elevator in the kitchen. Kennedy briskly walked past Cesar, through the west pantry double swinging doors, out an anteroom between the pantry and a backstage area, and into the Embassy Room, where his cheering supporters greeted him as he climbed onto the stage.
Thunderous applause and chants of "We want Bobby! We want Bobby!" echoed in the kitchen pantry during and following his speech. "I heard them say he was on his way," Cesar remembers. "Someone said, 'This way, Senator,' as he was walking off the back of the stage. So I moved out of the way of the swinging doors and moved up, letting him come by me."
According to Cesar, Karl Uecker led the way for Kennedy. Standing to the senator's left, the headwaiter, dressed in a tuxedo, held Kennedy's right wrist, trying to get him through the surging crowd in the kitchen pantry. "I'm on the right side of him," Cesar explains. "And what I'm doing is taking my hand and pushing people back, because Kennedy was having a hard time walking forward.
"About halfway through the pantry, there was an ice machine to the south and some steam tables just a few feet up ahead to the north. Right about then, I went directly behind Kennedy and took his right arm at the elbow with my left hand. The headwaiter was now up ahead.
"I let go of Kennedy just as he shook hands with a busboy."
Cesar looked at his watch. The time was exactly 12:15 A.M., June 5. Suddenly, while pressed up against Kennedy's back, Cesar saw flashes coming from the steam table, just in front of him and Kennedy.
Realizing he was under fire, Cesar immediately reached for his gun.
In the wake of the Regardie's article, the city of Los Angeles finally transferred the files to the California State Archives for public release. However, many documents and photographs were missing or had been mysteriously destroyed; thus, suspicions about the LAPD's investigation and ultimate conclusions persisted. Yet, despite problems with the condition of the existing files, the L.APD and the district attorney's office continued to be cavalier and high-handed with those who asked reasonable questions about obvious discrepancies. So instead of providing a good-faith effort to resolve these matters, the LAPD gave its critics, like me, more ammunition for accusations that a cover-up was still in progress.
After being criticized by LAPD homicide detectives for relying on the statements of eyewitnesses who were "not trained or experienced or qualified to make judgments" about what they saw at the crime scene, I began locating and interviewing numerous law enforcement personnel directly involved in the original LAPD investigation.
To my surprise, nearly all of my best evidence of a possible second gunman came from many of these officials, who identified what appeared to have been extra bullets at the crime scene.
Because of overwhelming quasi-official corroboration that two guns had been fired, this new evidence of a second gunman nearly constituted conclusive proof. And I was not alone in this opinion. To me and others who examined my work, a simple solution to this case did not seem likely, since a second gun appeared to have been fired. But personal and professional restrictions forced me to fade in and out of this case, depending on how much time and money I could afford to spend satisfying a basic curiosity: Do we really know the truth about Robert Kennedy's murder?
It was not until I received the backing of a major publisher, W. W. Norton & Company, that I could do what was necessary to resolve my own questions about this case.
Had I settled for the mere appearance of proof-muzzle distance discrepancies, alleged extra bullets at the crime scene, and the inability of independent firearms experts to match victim bullets with Sirhan's gun - this book would have had a very different ending. In my own defense, I decided not to settle for the sensational without examining more mundane considerations: the simple explanations for why the evidence appears as it does in this murder case, which has been characterized by an astonishingly complex and contradictory array of data.
In order to do this, I had to interview numerous law enforcement personnel while acquiring an understanding of the official version of the case, as well as the legitimate challenges to the LAPD's investigation leveled by reasonable people with honorable intentions.
These numerous interviews and record searches, as well as the Cesar polygraph and my talks with Sirhan, brought me to the point in which I could recognize and appreciate the simple solution to this complex case.
And based upon my research, I have concluded that Gene Cesar is an innocent man, who has for years been wrongly accused of being a murderer, and that Sirhan Sirhan knowingly shot and killed Robert Kennedy.
Some readers may be disappointed with this sudden twist in the plot of this book, but I, for one, am relieved. Placing into a new context what I had known all along about this case, I now realize that even law enforcement officials - who possess the training, qualifications, and experience to determine the significance of crime scene evidence - do make mistakes if their abilities are not put to the test under the proper circumstances and conditions. In other words, if one does not account for occasional official mistakes and incompetence, then nearly every such political murder could appear to be a conspiracy, particularly if a civilian investigator with limited access and resources - is looking for one.