Judge Will Rule on Evidence Attacked by Defense at 2 P.M.

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 6th, 1913

As soon as court opened Mr. Rosser asked the judge if he was ready to hear argument on the proposition to eliminate parts of Conley testimony. He said he was prepared to support his motion with authorities.

Judge Roan replied that he would postpone this decision until 2 o’clock.

Solicitor Dorsey declared that he had witnesses he expects to put on the stand Wednesday morning to substantiate the part of the negro’s testimony in dispute. He said:

“I just want the court to understand that I am going to do this.”

Judge Roan replied:

“I’ll give you the benefit of whatever you bring out.”

Conley was then recalled to the stand for the conclusion of his cross-examination.

Jim Conley was the same cool, unafraid negro when he returned to the stand Wednesday morning in the trial of Leo Frank after almost two whole days under the cross-examination of Luther Rosser. He had passed through fire and didn’t seem to mind it. He had no fear of anything that was yet to come.

Mr. Rosser might threaten him or might joke with him; it was all the same to the negro. He had tried both and had established but one thing—that Conley is a liar, and Conley admits that.

Arnold might describe him as “that miserable wretch in the witness chair,” he could gaze calmly out the window as he had done before. He didn’t quite understand all those names they were calling him, anyway.

If, in all the time that Conley was under the raking fire of Rosser’s cross-examination, he was disturbed in the slightest degree it was when he was being asked about that mysterious affidavit of William H. Mincey.

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Dorsey Accomplishes Aim Despite Big Odds

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 6th, 1913

By L. F. WOODRUFF.

Practically the entire case on which the State of Georgia bases its claim on the life of Leo Frank to pay for that life taken from Mary Phagan is before the jury.

Most of the remaining evidence of importance, which the Solicitor General may introduce merely will be rebuttal to testimony, presented by Frank’s counsel.

Whether the evidence presented is strong enough to convict is a question for the jury to decide. Whether the testimony introduced by the defense will be convincing enough to cause the reasonable doubt which the law says shall make Frank a free man or whether the defense’s attack on the State’s case has been of sufficient strength to create a question in the minds of the jurors, time alone will tell.

But this fact remains unchallenged: Every single thing that Solicitor General Hugh Dorsey declared in advance that he would get before the jury is there now. It may not be enough to convict, but the case which the State said fastened the crime on Leo Frank has been put in evidence.

Dorsey Had Huge Task.

One by one the prosecutor has forged the links in the chain that he maintains fixes the guilt of the Phagan murder on Leo Frank and Leo Frank alone.

It has been long, tedious work. Dorsey has had to fight against considerable odds, but his work has been well done.

When the defense has its innings, the chain may be torn asunder as though struck by lightning, but that will be the work of the skilled attorneys who are fighting to save the life of the pencil factory superintendent.

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Crowd Set in Its Opinions

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 6th, 1913

By O. B. KEELER.

The impression persists that courtroom crowds are made up in the main of two classes, as follows:

(1) People who take it for granted that any person being tried on any charge in any court is guilty, and then some.

(2) People who are constitutionally incapable of believing anybody is guilty of anything whatever.

That is one powerful impression gained at the Frank trial. It is an impression sticking out pointedly in the wake of the Thaw trial, and the Nan Patterson trial, and the Beatty trial, and the Hyde trial.

All three of the Hyde trials, in fact.

Never an Opinion Altered.

At the risk of being convicted of exaggeration in the first degree, the writer, who was rather intimately associated with the celebrated poison case, would estimate that 18,397 persons expressed in his hearing what they insisted were unalterable opinions as to the guilt or innocence of the accused physician before the jury in the first trail had been impaneled.

And of the 18,397 (estimated) not one single instance is recalled of one single opinion being altered.

The fact that the physician was convicted on his first trial made not the least difference to those who believed him innocent.

Court Ruling Mattered Not.

The fact that the Supreme Court reversed and remanded the case for further trial made not the least difference to those who voted guilty.

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Can Jury Obey if Told to Forget Base Charge?

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 6th, 1913

By James B. Nevin.

“Gentlemen of the jury, having heard from James Conley, the blackest, most damning story ever told in Atlanta by one human being against another, having sat there and listened as he smudged with unspeakable scandal the defendant in this case, Leo Frank, although it is irrelevant, immaterial, and has nothing to do with this case, you will kindly forget it, being on your oaths as jurymen to consider the evidence declared competent!”

And the jury, being like most other juries, in one way or another, and having heard all the things as aforesaid, will promptly proceed to do as instructed about forgetting it—NOT!

I have heard juries told too many times to “forget” things—such, for instance, as that there is no such thing as “unwritten law” in this land of the free and home of the brave—and I have seen too many times those very same juries proceed to “forget”—NOT!

Juries are, after all, composed of mere human beings, and things such as Conley said to the Frank jury can NOT be forgotten, and will NOT be disregarded by the average jury.

Merely Question of Belief.

It is merely a question of whether the jury BELIEVES the negro!

There was something infinitely pathetic in the situation Tuesday, when court met in the afternoon.

For one thing, it brought to the cheeks of the defendant’s wife, always and ever at his side, the first tears I yet have seen fall from her eyes.

She has borne herself with amazing fortitude thus far—the wonder is that she has not long ago collapsed.

When Reuben Arnold, moving to strike from the record the vile story of Jim Conley, paused a second before reading the exact words he desired expunged, looked a moment in the direction of the defendant’s wife, and said, with no show of the spectacular whatever, “Your honor, I would prefer not to read this in the presence of these two ladies, and I therefore pass it to your honor that you may read it in silence!” The moment was tense and tragic!

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Accuser of Conley is Ready to Testify

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 6th, 1913

Deplores Newspaper Publicity, but Poses Merrily for the Camera Brigade.

W. H. Mincey, the school teacher and insurance solicitor who made an affidavit that Jim Conley confessed to him that he had already killed a girl that day and didn’t want to kill anyone else, was the center of attention for the crowd on the outside of the courthouse Wednesday mornin[g].

While deploring newspaper publicity, he readily agreed to pose for a group of newspaper photographers, assuming many poses, some of which were rather grotesque. He followed this with implicit instructions to the photographer that his picture was not to be printed in the papers.

Efforts to get him to state whether he had seen Jim Conley since his arrest proved futile. Mincey declared he would make this statement or answer until he had taken the stand.

Mincey was located at New Salem, Ga., near Rising Fawn, in Dade County. He is teaching school there, his work being the preparation of students to enter the Martha Berry School at Rome.

“I will not talk of the case and will not tell my story until I take the stand,” said Mincey. “If Jim Conley killed little Mary Phagan, I feel that it is my duty to tell of the experience I had with him that Saturday afternoon. I don’t think this thing should be discussed in the newspapers, though. I regard newspapers as a necissity. These matters should be left to the court hearings. It is a loss to me to be here and I trust the case will soon be over. I think, though, that it is my duty to tell what I know.”

Mincey is a man of small stature with piercing eyes and a gray mustache. He wears a black felt slouch hat and a dark suit.

* * *

Atlanta Georgian, August 6th 1913, “Accuser of Conley is Ready to Testify,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

Conley Swears Frank Hid Purse

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 6th, 1913

Sweeper’s Grilling Ends After 151/2 Hours, His Main Story Unshaken

MYSTERY OF GIRL’S MESH BAG EXPLAINED BY NEGRO ON STAND

That Mary Phagan’s silver-plated mesh bag, mysteriously missing since the girl’s bruised and lifeless body was found the morning of April 27, was in Leo Frank’s office a few minutes after the attack and later was placed in the safe in Frank’s office was the startling statement made by the negro Conley Wednesday in the course of his re-direct examination by Solicitor Dorsey. At 11:10 the negro left the stand after being questioned for fifteen and one half hours.

This testimony was the sensation of the forenoon. Throughout the more than three months of the murder mystery an unavailing search was made for the mesh bag, the city and Pinkerton detectives being convinced that the finding of the bag would go a long distance toward pointing out the person guilty of the Phagan girl’s murder.

“Did you ever see a silver mesh bag that Mary Phagan carried?” inquired the Solicitor.

“Yes, sah,” replied Conley. “I see it right on Mr. Frank’s desk when I went in there.”

“What became of the mesh bag?” continued Dorsey.

“He went and put it in his safe,” the negro said.

First Word of Mysterious Bag.

It was the first information, authentic or otherwise, that had come to light regarding the disposal of the mesh bag. The homes of Newt Lee and Jim Conley had been searched high and low for the bag or any other clew to the perpetrator of the crime. Except for a vague rumor that a mesh bag had been found by a negro in a shop on Decatur street, a story which later was found to have no connection with the Phagan mystery, not the slightest clew ever was discovered to the whereabouts of the bag which so strangely had disappeared.

Attorney Rosser’s manner was angry and threatening when he arose for the re-cross examination. He began at once a vicious attack on Conley’s story of the mesh bag. He asked when Conley first told this remarkable tale. Conley said he couldn’t remember.

“Why didn’t you tell all this when you were telling ‘the whole truth’ to the detectives?” Rosser shouted.

The attorney apparently sought to create the impression that the mesh bag story was an afterthought and that it was manufactured by the negro when he heard of the search the detectives were making for the bag.

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Rosser Goes Fiercely After Jim Conley

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 5th, 1913

The determined onslaught against Jim Conley, his string of affidavits and the story he told before the Frank jury had its real beginning Monday afternoon.

Luther Rosser, starting with the avowed purpose of breaking down the negro’s story and forcing from the negro’s lips a story more incriminating to himself than any he had uttered, went deeply into Conley’s past history, his home life, his prison record and everything that directly or remotely might have a bearing on the solution of the murder mystery.

Before taking up the events of the day that Mary Phagan was murdered, the attorney made Conley admit that he had been in jail seven times. The negro did not seem particularly loath to make this admission, but was inclined at first to let it go into the record that he had been behind the bars “five or six times.”

Rosser, however, seemed to have about as thorough an acquaintance with these circumstances of Conley’s life as did Conley himself, and he refreshed the negro’s memory until Conley was willing to agree that it probably was seven times.

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Many Discrepancies To Be Bridged in Conley’s Stories

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 5th, 1913

The defense of Leo Frank will bring out vividly before the jury Tuesday that the striking feature of Jim Conley’s dramatic recital on the stand Monday was that it differed not only from the first two affidavits signed by the negro, which he later repudiated in large part, but it also conflicted in several particulars with the last sensational affidavit in which he charged Leo Frank with the killing of the girl and related that he (Conley) disposed of the body and wrote the notes that were found at its side at Frank’s direction.

As a conspicuous example, Conley in his narrative before the jury Monday told for the first time of hearing the Phagan girl scream after she had gone to Frank’s office and, according to his story, walked with the superintendent to the rear of the factory.

He said nothing of this in his first two affidavits. Neither did he mention it in his third sworn statement. On the contrary, he denied to the detectives at that time that he had heard any sound indicating that a crime had been committed. To a reporter for The Georgian who saw him after he had made the third affidavit he made the same firm denial.

He even denied that he had seen the little girl enter the factory. That he was on the first floor and saw Mary Phagan when she went upstairs was not known until The Georgian published an exclusive story to that effect following the talk that Solicitor Dorsey and Frank Hooper had with the negro in the commissioners’ room at the police station weeks after the third affidavit.

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Traditions of the South Upset; White Man’s Life Hangs on Negro’s Word

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 5th, 1913

By L.F. WOODRUFF.

Sinister as a cloud, as raven as a night unaided by moon, planet or satellite, Jim Conley is to-day the most talked-of man in Georgia.

His black skin has not been whitened by the emancipation proclamation. The record of his race for regarding an oath as it regards a drink of gin, something to be swallowed, remains unattacked.

But Georgia is to-day listening to the words of Jim Conley with breathless interest. His every syllable has ten thousand of eager interpreters. His facial expression is watched as keenly as he answers the questions of Luther Rosser as would be the physiognomy of the President of the United States be watched as he signed a declaration of war against Japan.

Jim Conley has upset traditions of the South, even as the Phagan case has upset traditions that have lived for years through the length and breadth of the country.

The South Listens.

A white man is on trial. His life hangs on the words of a negro. And the South listens to the negro’s words.

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Conley’s Charge Turns Frank Trial Into Fight ‘To Worse Than Death’

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 5th, 1913

By JAMES B. NEVIN.

Black and sinister, depressing in its every aspect and horrible in its gloom, the testimony of Jim Conley in the Frank case was given to the court and the jury under direct examination Monday.

The shadow of the negro had loomed like a frightful cloud over the courtroom for days—the negro himself came into the case Monday. And he came into it in an awful and unspeakably sensational way!

The public was prepared for most that Conley said—it was not quite prepared for all he said.

The State, in its direct examination of Conley, climaxed its case against Frank most thrillingly and most abhorrently. If that climax is not rendered impossible, ridiculous absurd by the defense, then the young factory superintendent is doomed.

It is, indeed, now a battle to the death—and to worse than the death!

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Mrs. Frank Breaks Down in Court

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 5th, 1913

Judge, Favoring Defense, Reserves Decision as to Striking Out Testimony

CONLEY CONTINUES TO WITHSTAND FIERCE ATTACKS OF ROSSER

Reuben Arnold created a sensation at the opening of Tuesday afternoon’s session of the Frank trial by making a motion that all of the revolting testimony concerning Leo Frank’s alleged conduct before the day of Mary Phagan’s murder be stricken out of the records. He also demanded that all of Jim Conley’s testimony in reference to watching at the door at Frank’s direction be expunged except the time he claims he watched on the day Mary Phagan was killed.

The contention resulted in practically a complete victory for the defense after a bitter legal battle. Judge Roan said that he would exclude from the records everything bearing on these alleged instances, except the negro’s testimony as to what occurred on the actual day of the crime. He said, however, he would hold himself ready to reverse his decision until he made his announcement to the jury Wednesday morning.

As the charges of degeneracy were being hurled at her husband by the Solicitor, young Mrs. Frank hung her head and finally unable to endure the ordeal longer left the courtroom. When she returned, her eyes were red and her cheeks flushed as from weeping. She breathed heavily and appeared to be making a brave effort to regain her composure. It was the first time she had broken down during the long trial. Frank’s mother left her place, a look of utter, wearied misery in her eyes, but a determination to be brave in every line of her face.

Attorney Arnold asked the judge to strike out not only all the testimony in direct examination in reference to Frank’s alleged conduct, but also all that has come out in cross-examination.

DORSEY FIGHTS FOR TESTIMONY.

Solicitor Dorsey insisted that the testimony was admissible and should remain in the records.

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Dramatic Moment of Trial Comes as Negro Takes Stand

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 4th, 1913

L. O. Grice, a stenographer in the offices of the Atlanta and West Point Railroad, was the first witness called. He said that he saw Frank on Sunday morning after the murder and Frank attracted his attention by his undue nervousness.

Grice said he was on the way to the Terminal Station when he bought an “extra” stating that a murder had been committed at the National Pencil Factory. He said he stopped by the pencil factory and saw eight men on the inside of the building.

“Did any of these men attract your particular attention?” asked Solicitor Dorsey.—A. Two or three of them did.

Q. Who were they?—A. When I went in the building Detective Black, whom I knew, was asking a great many questions.

Q. Did anybody attract your attention by their nervousness?—A. Not right then, but later we went down through the basement and out the back door. Then I was attracted by the nervous actions of a small dark man. I did not know him.

Q. Is this the man? (Pointing to Frank.)—A. Yes.

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Frank Calm and Jurors Tense While Jim Conley Tells His Gastcy [sic] Tale

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 4th, 1913

During the long wait for Conley to appear, Frank, his loyal wife and his no less loyal mother gave no sign of fear. Accuser and accused were about to face each other, a dramatic situation which the authorities had sought to bring about since the negro made his third affidavit charging Frank with the terrible crime.

If Frank at last were on the edge of a breakdown his calm, untroubled features were most deceiving at this time. He seemed no more concerned than when John Black, floundering and helpless on the stand, was making as good a witness for the defense as he was expected to make for the State.

When Solicitor Dorsey announced that Conley would be the next witness the courtroom was electrified with a shock of interest in which the only three persons who seemed not affected were this trio—Frank, his wife and his mother.

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Jurors Strain Forward to Catch Conley Story; Frank’s Interest Mild

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 4th, 1913

Dramatic in its very glibness and unconcern, Conley’s story, if it failed to shake or disturb Leo Frank, at least had a wonderful impression upon each member of the jury.

Conley told of seeing Mary Phagan enter the factory. This was the first time he had admitted to this, so far as the public had known.

Frank showed only a mild interest, but the jurors strained forward in their seats.

Conley told of hearing the footsteps from his vantage point on the first floor of two persons coming out of Frank’s office.

Frank still exhibited no sign of concern.

Conley then related hearing the footsteps going back to the metal room and of being startled by the shrieks of a young girl.

Mrs. Frank bowed her head, but gave no other sign. Frank still was the personification of coolness and composure.

* * *

The Atlanta Georgian, August 4th 1913, “Jurors Strain Forward to Catch Conley Story; Frank’s Interest Mild,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)

Frank Witness Nearly Killed By a Mad Dog

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 4th, 1913

Deputy Sheriff W. W. (“Boots”) Rogers, witness for the State in the Frank trial, is taking the Pasteur treatment at the State Capitol Monday after being bitten half a dozen times on the right ankle by a rabid dog that pulled him from his motorcycle at Henderson’s crossing, on Capitol avenue, Sunday night about 11 o’clock.

After a battle of more than fifteen minutes Rogers finally drove the dog away, and though his right leg was badly torn and lacerated, rode the two miles from the crossing to Grady Hospital. When he arrived at the hospital his leg had begun to turn black and was very painful.

Treated at Grady Hospital.

The Grady Hospital surgeons cauterized the wounds and gave him temporary relief. This morning the leg which the dog had gnawed was still swollen and painful, and Rogers decided to take the Pasteur treatment.

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Envy Not the Juror! His Lot, Mostly, Is Monotony

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 4th, 1913

By L. F. WOODRUFF.

A policeman’s life is not a merry one. The thought was expressed and event set to music in those dim days of the distant past when people heard the lyrics and listened to the charming lilts of Gilbert and Sullivan opera instead of centering their attentions on a winsome young woman with a record in the divorce courts and not much else in either ability or raiment.

Gilbert and Sullivan, now being tradition, can be considered authorities. Wherefore the thought is repeated that a policeman’s life is not a merry one.

But there are twelve Fulton county men who will say that he went too far in his statement in one way and didn’t come within a mile of approaching the mark in another.

For after the sergeant sings “a policeman’s life is not a merry one,” the chorus of constabulary cants, “ta ran ta ra, ta ran ta ra,” which sounds rather joyous.

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Boiled Cabbage Brings Hypothetical Question Stage in Frank’s Trial

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 4th, 1913

By JAMS B. NEVIN.

When a prospective juryman is on his voir dire in a given criminal case, he is asked if his mind is perfectly impartial between the State and the accused.

If he answers yes, he is competent to try the case, so far as that is concerned. If he answers no, he is rejected.

How many people in Atlanta and Georgia, having heard part of the testimony in the Frank case, still feel themselves to be perfectly impartial between the State and the accused?

How many people, having heard part of the evidence, still have refrained from expressing an opinion as to the guilt or innocence of Frank?

Not many, I take it—and yet, that jury is supposed to be perfectly poised and as yet impartial between the State and the accused, notwithstanding the State’s evidence thus far delivered, and the presumption of innocence legally established in behalf of the defendant.

I venture the opinion that nothing developing in the Frank trial last week so profoundly weighed upon the minds of the people over Sunday as the question of the digestibility of boiled cabbage—nice, greasy, palatable, if often shunned, boiled cabbage!

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Jim Conley’s Story as Matter of Fact as if it Were of His Day’s Work

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 4th, 1913

By O. B. Keeler.

Jim Conley, hewer of wood and drawer of water.

On the witness stand at the Frank trial this morning, Jim unfolded a tale whose lightest word—you know the rest. It was a story that flexed attention to the breaking point: a story that whitened knuckles and pressed finger nails into palms; a story that absorbed the usual courtroom stir and rustle, and froze the hearers into lines upon lines of straining faces.

And Jim Conley told that story as he might have told the story of a day’s work at well-digging, or driving a dray, or sweeping up the second floor at the National Pencil Factory.

Jim was matter-of-fact.

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Conley’s Story In Detail; Women Barred By Judge

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 4th, 1913

There was a murmur of excitement following the calling of Jim Conley; there was a wait of several minutes, officers having just left the police station with the negro a minute or two before he was called.

Judge Roan impatiently ordered the Sheriff to bring in the witness. A number of spectators who were crowded up too close to the jury box were moved back by the court deputies.

“The Sheriff hasn’t got Jim Conley,” said Attorney Rosser, after a statement from Deputy Sheriff Plennie Miner.

“Mr. Starnes will bring him in,” returned Solicitor Dorsey.

“See if Mrs. White has arrived,” then requested Dorsey. “She has a very young baby, and when I had her subpenaed this morning she said that she would have to send to the factory and get her husband before she could come.”

Courtroom Quiet as Conley Enters.

“You may call her later,” said Mr. Rosser, “there wont’ be any objection.”
Jim Conley was brought into the courtroom just at this time. He took the witness chair and was sworn in while in the chair. Solicitor Dorsey examined him and everyone leaned forward, while extreme quiet prevailed.

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Rosser’s Grilling of Negro Leads to Hot Clashes by Lawyers

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

Atlanta Georgian
August 4th, 1913

A bitter, determined cross-examination of Jim Conley by Luther Rosser was marked by a prolonged battle between counsel for the defense and State over the method of questioning the negro.

The defense won a complete victory, Judge Roan ruling that the accuser of Leo Frank could be cross-examined on any subject the prisoner’s lawyers saw fit.

In the course of this legal tilt Luther Rosser said:

“I am going after him (referring to Conley) and I am going to jump on him with both feet.”

Turning to counsel for the State he added significantly: “And I won’t enlighten him, either. Your period of enlightenment is over.”

Rosser, before the afternoon session concluded, got the negro to say that he had been lying when he said that he got up at 9 o’clock the day of the crime. He said he got up at 6 o’clock.

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