Another in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.
The Atlanta Journal
Sunday, June 22, 1913
Famous Lawyer Says He Wouldn’t Defend Man Accused of Such Crime Unless Sure of His Innocence
SCORES CITY DETECTIVES FOR HOLDING TO THEORY
Mr. Arnold Says Detectives Have Tried to Prejudice the Case by Unfair Means—Has Studied Evidence
Reuben R. Arnold, famous Georgia lawyer, has officially entered the Phagan case in the defense of Leo M. Frank, as exclusively forecasted by The Journal last Thursday.
Mr. Arnold comes into the case with a ringing statement declaring his firm belief in the innocence of his client, and asserting that he would never defend a person charged with such an atrocious crime if he were not fully convinced of his innocence. Mr. Arnold says that he has reached the conclusion that there is no room to believe Frank guilty, after carefully studying the evidence in the case.
Mr. Arnold declares that it is surprising that the detectives should continue to put the crime on Frank with the incriminating statements of Conley before them. He scores the detectives because of the publication of the Formby affidavit, declaring that by this and other means they have done Frank a great injustice.
With Mr. Arnold and Luther Z. Rosser working in his behalf a great legal battle is made a certainty when Frank faces a jury in the criminal division of the superior court. Solicitor Hugh M. Dorsey and Frank A. Hooper, who is associated with him, will have charge of the state’s case. Lawyers and court attaches predict the most brilliant legal battle ever known in a criminal case in this state.
The date of the trial is still a matter of interesting conjectures, although it may be settled Monday after the return of Solicitor Dorsey to the city.
Mr. Dorsey still expects to set the trial of the case on the court calendar for June 30, but any number of things may interfere. An attorney associated with the defense stated Saturday afternoon that he knew of no reason why there should be a postponement, but would make no more definite statement.
While they know nothing definite it is the opinion of court attaches that the trial of the case will not be reached before July 14 or July 28, and their guess is generally expected to prove correct.
In a statement which he gave the public Mr. Arnold, who has been long regarded as one of the ablest criminal lawyers in the south, intimated that he is thoroughly familiar with all phases of the case, and as a result it is not considered probable that a postponement will be asked on his account.
“It is true that I have accepted employment to assist in the defense of Mr. Leo M. Frank, but I wish to state that before I agreed to take the case, I made it a condition that I should have time to study critically all the evidence delivered at the coroner’s inquest and all the affidavits that have reached the public through the newspapers, so I could form an opinion for myself as to Frank’s innocence or guilt. I would not defend any man if guilty of such a murder as the one in this case.
“After studying the evidence as critically as I can, I am satisfied that I hazard not a thing in saying that there is no room to believe Mr. Frank guilty of this horrible murder. I do not believe that any white man committed the crime.
“Indeed, it is surprising to me that the detectives should continue to try to put this crime on Frank with the positively incriminating affidavits of Conley before them. People of common sense, unless under great excitement, ought not to give a moment’s credence to either the Formby or Conley statements in so far as they attempt to incriminate Mr. Frank.
“I see the detectives are gradually giving it out that Mrs. Formby will not be called as a witness, although her affidavit has been paraded before the public before the unqualified endorsement of the detective department as being perfectly reliable and true. Worse than this, as intimation was published in the newspapers that Frank’s friends had persuaded her to leave town. In this and in many other ways our client has been done a very great injustice. The effort seems to have been not to find the criminal but to try by all means to put the crime on Frank.
“However, I think we will be able to clarify the situation in due time.”
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