Lay Bribery Effort to Frank’s Friends

Mrs. Nina Fomby, woman who made affidavit that Leo M. Frank had telephoned to her on the day of Mary Phagan's death trying to get a room for himself and a girl.

Mrs. Nina Fomby, woman who made affidavit that Leo M. Frank had telephoned to her on the day of Mary Phagan’s death trying to get a room for himself and a girl.

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

Atlanta Georgian

Monday, May 26th, 1913

Chief of Detectives Lanford was given two papers Monday accusing friends of Leo M. Frank of attempting to bribe a man and a woman to swear that they saw Mary Phagan at 10:30 Saturday night, April 26, at a soda fountain at Marietta and Forsyth Streets.

These papers were given Lanford by A. S. Colyar, whose entrance into the Phagan case has been marked by one sensation after another. Colyar told Lanford that the papers were copies of sworn affidavits and that he had the originals which he would produce at the proper time. The copies are not signed.

Haas Denies Charge.

Emphatic denial that he had in any manner resorted to bribery in behalf of Frank was made by Herbert Haas, well-known Atlanta attorney and friend of the pencil factory superintendent. Mr. Haas further declared that any intimation that he had sought to bribe anyone was absolutely false.

Two Affidavits Alleged.

Colyar said that one of the affidavits was signed by the woman it was sought to bribe and the other by the man, a traveling salesman. Five hundred dollars each is said by the alleged of the affidavits to have been offered to the man and the woman for their testimony.

Colyar alleges that the woman was brought here from Birmingham with the intention of inducing her to swear to the statement that she saw Mary Phagan late Saturday night. He said that he knew where she was at the present time, although the friends of Frank though that she had left the city.

Another report of attempted bribery was submitted to Chief Lanford by Will Henson, of 12 Leonard Street. Henson told Lanford that he had been informed by Mrs. Edmondson, mother of little Monteen Stover, of 175 South Forsyth Street, that a man had come to her house and asked how much she (Mrs. Edmondson) would take to keep Monteen out of town until after the trial had concluded.

Swore Frank Wasn’t in Office.

Monteen Stover is the girl who is reported to have gone to the factory at 12:05 o’clock Saturday afternoon and to have been unable to find Frank in his office, although he swore he was there all the time from the moment that Mary Phagan left his office until Lemmie Quinn is said to have entered at about 12:20.

After hearing the report, made to Chief Lanford that an offer had been made to her to keep her daughter, Monteen Stover, out of Atlanta till after the trial of Frank, Mrs. Edmondson dictated a denial to a Georgian reporter. Her statement follows.

Mrs. Fomby [sic] Not at Home.

“No, there has been nothing like that at all. There has been no offer of money, or anything else, for my daughter to leave Atlanta. There has been nothing but just her little testimony you saw in the papers, and no improper offers have been made to either me or her.”

The detectives are also working on reports that Mrs. Mima [sic] Fomby, of 400 Piedmont Avenue, the woman who reported that Frank had called her up several times by phone on Saturday night, has been approached by several persons who have attempted to bribe her to alter the statements contained in her affidavit.

Mrs. Fomby has not been seen at her residence for two days. She is said to be out of the city visiting friends.

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Atlanta Georgian, May 26th 1913, “Lay Bribery Effort to Frank’s Friends,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)