Lanford and Felder Are Held for Libel

by Curator on September 3, 2017

Another in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

The Atlanta Georgian

Friday, June 27, 1913

Grand Jury Indicts Lawyer and Head of Detectives for Attacks on Each Other.

Three indictments charging criminal libel were returned Friday by the Grand Jury against Colonel Thomas B. Felder, the Atlanta attorney, and Newport Lanford, Chief of Detectives, who accused each other of most everything in the category after the famous dictograph episode. There are two bills against Felder and one against Lanford.

The two men will be placed under bond and will be tried in the Fulton County courts under the misdemeanor act for unlawfully and maliciously accusing each other, according to the true bills.

The penalty for conviction of a misdemeanor is six months in the county jail, twelve months in the penitentiary, a fine not exceeding $1,000, either or all three.

Colonel Felder appeared at the Solicitor’s office about 2 o’clock and furnished the $500 bond required. Chief Lanford had not been located at that time, but was expected to do likewise.

The accusation against both men is based on recriminations issued against each other and published in the Sunday newspapers of May 25 and June 8.

In those statements Colonel Felder attacked Lanford bitterly, hurling a line of invectives that the greatest of the Roman orators might have envied. He attacked Lanford’s private and public character, accusing him of “hideous crimes.”

Lanford in Full Denial.

Chief Lanford replied in kind, denouncing Colonel Felder as a “contemptible liar, scoundrel and coward.” He denied absolutely any wrong-doing.

To establish the fact that the statements published had actually been made by Felder and Lanford, the Grand Jury summoned Sidney Ormond, city editor of The Constitution, and M. D. Clofine, city editor of Hearst’s Sunday American. Both men testified that there could be no question that Felder and Lanford issued the statements in question.

The new turn in the dictograph fight was entirely unexpected and promises stirring developments. If the charges are upheld and the two men formally accused, the real fight will come at the trial, when it will be up to both Lanford and Felder to prove the charges they made against each other.

Real Revelations Promised.

That will bare the real inside of the dictograph trap and other things that have been rumored in the last few weeks, and some real explosions are anticipated.

Subpenas also have been issued  out of the Solicitor General’s office for other witnesses who engaged in the controversy at a time when charges and countercharges were flying thick and fast. It is the announced intention of the Grand Jury to probe carefully and thoroughly into Colonel Felder’s charges of alleged crookedness in the detective department.

It is rumored in the lobbies of the courthouse that the investigation of the Felder charge will in time develop into another and more searching inquiry into the vice situation in Atlanta. Colonel Felder’s charges have been based on the alleged protection of resorts by Chief Lanford and his detectives, which have been as vigorously denied.

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The Atlanta Georgian, June 27th 1913, “Lanford and Felder Are Held for Libel,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

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