Surprise Sprung by Introduction of Character Witnesses by Defense

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

Atlanta Constitution
August 14th, 1913

Alfred L. Lane, who stated that he lives in Brooklyn, and is a merchant of New York city, was the first witness to take the stand to swear to the good character of Leo Frank and so quietly was he introduced that not until the defense had asked him several questions did it become known what was about to take place.

“You came here yesterday afternoon especially to testify about Mr. Frank, did you not?” asked Mr. Arnold after he had established the identity of the witness and drawn from him the statement that he had known Frank for about fifteen years.

“Yes, I came here for that purpose,” Lane replied.

“Where did you first known Mr. Frank and when?” asked Mr. Arnold.

“I knew him when we were in school together from 1898 to 1902 at Pratt Institute, a high school in Brooklyn,” replied the witness.

By this time it had begun to dawn on the spectators and lawyers that the defense was introducing the character of the defendant.

“Your honor, I can’t see why this testimony is relevant unless they are going to put up the defendant’s character,” said Mr. Dorsey.

“That’s exactly what we are going to do,” replied Mr. Arnold.

“Mr. Lane, did you go to Cornell university?” Mr. Arnold continued.


“Did Mr. Frank?”

“Do you know his character?”

“Was it good or bad?”
“I consider it good,” replied the witness.

The state attempted no cross-examination and the witness left the stand.

Other Character Witnesses.

Philip Nash of Bridgewood, N. J., who declared that he is a clerical engineer, followed Lane. He also stated that he had come to Atlanta for the specific purpose of telling of the good character of the defendant.

“Did you go to Cornell with Mr. Frank?” Mr. Arnold asked, after the usual questions as to who he was.

“I did for four years.”

“What was your age then?”
“I was 20 years old when I graduated.”

“Do you know the general character of Leo M. Frank?”
“I knew it then,” he replied.

“That’s what I want to know, was it good or bad?”
“It was good.”

Mr. Nash was excused without cross-examination.

He was followed by Richard A. Wright, of Brooklyn, who stated that he was a consulting engineer and a graduate of Cornell.

“Do you know Leo M. Frank?” he was asked by Mr. Arnold.


“How long?”
“For six years.”

“Where did you first know him?”

At Same School and College.

“At Pratt Institute.”

“Were you in his class?”
“I was in a class one year ahead of him.”

“Did you have an opportunity to know him?”
“I did.”

“Did you go to Cornell?”

“Did Frank go there?”
“He did.”

“How long did you know him there?”
“Three years.”

“Do you know his general character?”
“I do.”

“Is it good or bad?”
“It is good.”

He was then excused.

* * *

Atlanta Constitution, August 14th 1913, “Surprise Sprung by Introduction of Character Witnesses by Defense,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)