What Jim faced
This then, in substance, was the testimony which confronted Norris when he appeared before the subcommittee. Because he has a delicate heart (he has had two strokes), Norris was permitted to testify in executive, or closed, session. It was of little comfort, however, for no longer could he hide behind the perjured testimony he had given the New York State Athletic Commission in May 1955:
"Q. 'Have you ever discussed with Mr. Carbo fights or fighters?'
"A. 'No.' "
Norris is not subject to prosecution for perjury because of the statute of limitations, but last week, in response to Bonomi's vigorous questioning, Norris grudgingly admitted that his 1955 testimony "isn't 100% true.... I have to admit that."
To which Senator Kefauver acidly added: "It sounds to me like it is 100% untrue...."
Norris admitted, too, that, "I believe I mentioned to Frank Carbo that possibly he might have some suggestions as to how some of these problems [in boxing] might be eased for my organization [the IBC]"; that Carbo's relationship was "a reluctant one that in some ways I sought out to develop"; and, most significantly, that Al Weill, Rocky Marciano's manager, who was the matchmaker in New York before Billy Brown, was "very friendly" with Frankie Carbo; and that Marciano did not fight Harry Matthews in 1952 until Carbo told Weill to.
On the second day of Norris' testimony he admitted that Carbo acted as the "convincer" in lining up Jake LaMotta, Carmen Basilio, Willie Pep and Tony DeMarco, for IBC matches; that he had seen Carbo when he was a fugitive from justice; and that the IBC may well have paid travel expenses for various state commissioners to attend IBC fights, including Julius Helfand, currently a member of the New York boxing commission, and formerly its chairman.
Another matter which Bonomi questioned Norris about was Norris' well-publicized statement that the heavyweight Sonny Liston was his fighter. Norris explained that Liston was his fighter in the sense that he was pushing, building up Liston as his candidate for the title. But after Norris bad finished, New York City Detective Anthony Bernhardt, who was an undercover man with the fight mob, recounted that in March of 1958 he overheard Carbo saying to Blinky Palermo, apparently concerning Liston: "... Jim Norris comes in with some guys, and Jim was upset. He says to me, 'Listen, he's my fighter.' "