Luther Zeigler Rosser (Lawfirm Rosser, Brandon, Slaton and Phillips)
Brief Introduction to the August 22nd, 1913, Closing Argument of Luther Zeigler Rosser, in the Concluding Days of the Leo M. Frank Capital Murder Trial (July 28, 1913 to August 25, 1913).
First, Meet Attorney Luther Zeigler Rosser, Chief Counsel For the Leo M. Frank Defense Legal Dream Team of Eight Lawyers
Trial Day 1: July 28.
At the height of the sweltering 1913 summer, Monday morning, the 28th day of July, the first day of the Leo M. Frank trial began. There at the courthouse of the Fulton County Superior Court, Luther Zeigler Rosser, the best lawyer money could buy in all the state of Georgia, had arrived with Reuben Rose Arnold, and their entourage. The first impression one got from Luther Z. Rosser when he entered the courtroom, simply put, he was a man of undeniable presence. Rosser was an old and dapper patrician gentleman, clean-cut, tall for the era and stout, with intensely penetrating eyes that had seen violence. Rosser was a barrel chested man with a deep basso voice to match. Donned in an exquisite white silk suit and hat, he hobbled into court perched on the end of a wooden hook cane.
Once he removed his hat, one could not help but look upon his big bald round head with a handsome pug-nosed “mafia boss” face. His most prominent feature however, were his no nonsense shark eyes, beneath bushy low eyebrows. When all was said and done, it was his adroit examination skills in the court room arena that exceeded his physical magnitude – rhetorical examination skills that gave rise to the high hopes for an eventual jury acquittal, from the friends, family and close associates of Leo Frank, including the greater Jewish community routing for one of their own extended tribal kinsmen who was a high profile member of Jewish Society.
The Virtuoso of Cross Examination Rebuked By Jim Conley
Luther Z. Rosser was a virtuoso at corrosive cross examination, breaking down and discrediting witnesses with his rapid-fire, thunder-hammering and circular questioning. Rosser often left witnesses discombobulated, dizzy, dribbling on themselves and befuddled – as in the case of Atlanta police detective John R. Black at the Leo M. Frank murder trial. Luther Zeigler Rosser’s courtroom cross examination skills were reminiscent and on equivalent par with some of the best police interrogators trained in the art and science of delivering the “third degree” in all of its exquisite depth – a glimpse of the interrogation method that has successfully survived timelessly and is still as effective today as it was in 1913, even more so with water-boarding (considered torture).
Rhetorical and Negotiations Skills Behind the Scenes
Unlike his superb oratorical skills in the courtroom arena, the behind the scenes “mafiaesque” and “underworldish” pitbull, Luther Zeigler Rosser, was a force to be reckoned with in the backroom, where, more often than not, the real deals were made. The Millionaire-networth Luther Z. Rosser, stood as a towering figure who built a very successful lifelong career, not only just because of the powerful presence he commanded in the courtroom or his mental gymnastics and superb examination skills in the the court room arena, but as a crafty lawyer, wheeling and dealing behind the scenes, he was a slippery man who was known for getting things done.
To paraphrase Steve Oney would frugally sum him up, Luther Z. Rosser was the bludgeon of the wealthy, he was known as the lawyer to hire for people who needed to have their legal inconveniences swept away; Luther Rosser was a bit of an ego-cocky and arrogant sort of guy, who at times felt he was the only person who did not need to wear a tie in court (Steve Oney, People v. Leo Frank, 2009). Despite his haughty insolence, Luther Z. Rosser made his fortune providing legal representation for the who’s who of the most wealthy and powerful individuals, families and corporations in the state of Georgia. As a result of the people he represented and rubbed shoulders with, Luther Rosser became one of the most powerful and well connected good ole boys in Georgian history. As time developed, and passed during Luther’s career, his earned network of influential associates extended all the way up to the highest pinnacle of the State of Georgia, into the executive Gubernatorial wing where the Governor of Georgia, John Marshal Slaton resided.
The Lawfirm Rosser, Brandon, Slaton and Phillips
By 1913, Luther Rosser was a great white shark at the top of the food chain, who epitomized the phrase, “it’s not what you know, but who you know”, concerning his increasing ability to get things done behind closed doors. His lawfirm partnership with Governor John M. Slaton, ensured Luther Rosser lived up to and exceeded his reputation on January 21, 1915, when his high profile business partner issued executive clemency for their shared law client Mr. Leo Max Frank. Indeed Luther Rosser had the last word on the death sentence of Leo Frank or did he?
Luther Zeigler Rosser on June 21, 1915, had by proxy of his law firm, that had represented Leo M. Frank at his trial and appeals, vetoed every level of the United States Legal System, from the Fulton County Superior Court, to the Georgia Supreme Court, the Federal District Court of Northern Georgia, all the way up to the United States Supreme Court – twice – now that’s what you call supreme power. This was the Legendary Attorney Luther Zeigler Rosser.
In terms of his fighting ability and skill in the gladiator pit of the court room arena, Luther Zeigler Rosser was a Lawyer who was at the TOP of his GAME.
The Closing Arguments of Luther Z. Rosser at the Leo Frank Trial
The Argument of Lead Defense Counsel Luther Zeigler Rosser on behalf of Leo Frank, was the final speech Luther Rosser gave to the Jury on August 22, 1913, in an attempt to convince at least one juror to hold out on voting to convict his client Leo Frank. At the time of the final closing arguments beginning on August 21, 1913, the prosecution had built a thoroughly credible and very convincing case against Leo Frank during his month long capital murder trial. Had Leo Frank not blundered and given the trial away — three weeks deep into the trial — by making what amounted to an “unconscious” murder confession on the witness stand on August 18, 1913, there would have been remote hope for Luther Rosser and Reuben Arnold to create a hung jury with one dissenter. Which of course would have opened the doorway of prosecuting Jim Conley for the murder of Mary Phagan or another re-trial for Leo Frank.
At the ending segment of the trial, Luther Rosser had an uphill battle, he had to somehow discredit the testimony of several people that wove an inescapable web of circumstantial evidence around Leo Frank, including James “Jim” Conley, the admitted Mary Phagan murder “accessory after the fact”; Monteen Stover, the child employee and Star Witness who cracked Leo Frank’s alibi wide open about the occupancy-status of his inner and outer office on April 26, 1913, from 12:05 PM to 12:10 PM; Harry Scott, defense witness private detective of the Pinkerton National Detective Agency, who told the Jury that Leo Frank responded with, “I Don’t Know?” when Mary Phagan asked him, “Has the metal arrived yet?”, creating the supposition of “Let’s Find Out?” (by going to the metal room); and finally the 19 witnesses affirming “immoral” and lascivious character descriptions about Leo Frank. The poisonous “charges” against Leo Max Frank amounted to numerous people suggesting in essence he was an aggressive sexual predator capable of rape and murder. All in all, it was a tall order for Luther Rosser to consider and he really didn’t have a lot to work with, despite the golden mint spent on manufacturing evidence and testimony for his client, and the dog-and-pony-show of “busing” down hundreds of New Yorkers to Atlanta as defense character witnesses for Leo Frank. Luther had his work cut out for him when he made his last stand at the trial and entered the arena.
Everyone was hoping for an Epic Tooth and Nail Struggle
“Everyone wants a good fight” is deeply ingrained in the evolutionary spirit of all human sub species, however, when Leo Frank made what amounted to a virtual murder confession on the witness stand, August 18, 1913, with his “unconscious” bathroom visit to the metal room, as a response to the testimony of Monteen Stover that his office was empty between 12:05 PM to 12:10 PM. Some people on the Leo Frank partisan side of the case felt the trial was a real nail biter up until that turning point and were really upset that Leo M. Frank had blown the trial, other people just mentally repressed it such as Jewry.
On August 22, 1913, only an impressive closing argument from Luther Z. Rosser, the Leo M. Frank legal defense dream team leader, and a cosmic miracle of universal proportions could have prevented a conviction.
The Epic Speech of Luther Z. Rosser?
If we could rewind time and go back to August 1913, we would have wanted an awesome speech from Reuben Arnold and Luther Rosser to rival the closing speeches of Hugh M. Dorsey and Frank A. Hooper. Alas, no blockbuster final speech was given by Luther Rosser (or Reuben Arnold). The Jury gave the case careful and conscientious consideration, spending 2 hours in private quarters (1:35pm to 4:56pm), before making their final decision, one without a recommendation of mortal mercy from the Gallows for Frank. The Jury had specifically and consciously — with unanimity — sentenced Leo Frank to death based on the charge of the court provided by the presiding Judge Leonard Stickland Roan.
When Judge Leonard Stickland Roan signed off on the execution, it meant 13 men sworn to be impartial peers were in perfect harmony for sentencing Leo M. Frank to death by hanging, because if the judge Leonard Stickland Roan really had any doubts about the verdict of guilt given to Leo M. Frank by the Jury, it was within his power to sentence Leo M. Frank to life in prison. The fact that Judge Leonard Stickland Roan ultimately sentenced Leo M. Frank (born April 17, 1884) to die on his 30th birthday, April 17, 1914, it renders undeniable doubts that the 13th Juror was uncertain about the guilt of Leo Max Frank.
“What was he thinking?”
In general, the guttural speech by Luther Rosser could be described as a stiflingly grotesque and unmitigated disaster for the Leo Frank defense and appeared to be a shamelessly damaging, arrogant, insolent, condescending, sarcastic, and derogatory oration toward every single person inside and outside the court room, including the Jury empaneled, the State’s Prosecution team, Mr. Leo M. Frank, Judge Leonard Strickland Roan and a packed courtroom of spectators surrounding the main arena and scribbling newspaper reporters adjacent to the Jurybox.
The speech by Luther Rosser left most observers who paid very close attention to it perplexed, nonplussed and shaking their heads in total bewilderment, wondering if Luther Rosser actually believed his own client Leo Max Frank was innocent!
If one wanted a single word to describe the final closing argument speech by L.Z.R on August 22, 1913, the best word coming to mind in every one of its variations is: Mockery!
The Style and Effort
Rosser’s final speech leaves you feeling like it was given on a whim, without any real thoughtful or careful preparation after Luther had dun “drunk himself” half a jug of homemade XXX moonshine from some of the finest backwoods underground distilleries.
The flavor of the Luther Rosser closing speech bluntly reads as if a disheveled, cocky, belligerent, drunk and racist fratboy first wrote it down on a cocktail napkin at a side street speakeasy or divebar, in a halfhearted fashion, before little planning could be put in place to blag and bark it off in court. No wonder Rosser started his infamous late August, 1913, speech claiming his voice was hoarse and nearly gone (Luther Rosser, August, 1913). Was Luther Z. Rosser a little bit “under the weather”?
What made the speech so hard to stomach was more than the fact that it was hollow and flabby like a shyte bottle wine, but it came off as obtuse, and desperate because it was filled with stomach churning barf-a-rama filthy anti-black racist language that did not address the salient issues at hand. The racism gambit by Luther Rosser and the anti-semitism gambit by Reuben Arnold, together, failed miserably, insulting the intelligence of the court.
Unheard of Retainer Fees
Considering the excessively flush bank roll of the Leo Frank defense fund treasury that paid out a whopping and unheard-of $15,000 retainer fee for Luther Rosser, and an equally exhorbitant $12,500 for Reuben Arnold, the oration by Luther Rosser and Reuben Arnold were really not worthy closing arguments anyway you spin them.
What’s $15,000 and $12,500 in 1913 money worth today?
Some observers are wondering what $15,000 or $12,500 in terms of 1913 US money value would be if it were converted numerically into inflated (value-eroded) 2013 FED US dollars? Especially in light of the fact that Mary Phagan made approximately $4 a week at 7.5 (actually 7 and 4/11) cents an hour (J.M. Gantt, former paymaster, Coroner’s Inquest, May, 1913), working 55 hours a week.
So rarely discussed with any depth by contemporary Leo Frank partisans, is the final speech Luther Rosser gave at the Leo Frank trial, and after you read it, you will know why Born Again Frankites tend to ignore it and pretend it never happened. To throw Luther a bone, what could he really do given the limited material he had to work with and a client who had made a virtual murder confession on August 18, 1913, at 2:45pm.
Even Luther Rosser was quietly shaking his bewildered head after the August 18, 1913, trial statement by Leo Frank. If you’re own client made a virtual murder confession at his capital murder trial, would you be able to trick yourself into thinking he was innocent? Luther certainly couldn’t, but Reuben surely did. Reuben Arnold’s speech, despite playing the desperate anti-Semite race card, at least felt like Reuben Arnold emotionally believed his client, despite the Leo Frank virtual murder confession he had to repress deep and far away in his legal mind. The old goat Luther just could not feign ignorance, and it came through in his speech.
Even without the virtual murder confession given by Leo Frank and the incriminating testimony of Jim Conley, all the evidence, circumstantial or not, pointed toward Leo Frank as the murderer. And to make matters worse, the defense made a confusing and changing, haphazard effort, from the start, to pin the crime on Jim Conley, that couldn’t be taken seriously, because the defense abandoned the theory of Mary Phagan being thrown down the first floor scuttle hole, midway through the trial, instead for the “down the elevator shaft theory” (which also had Jim Conley’s human feces dumped into it).
The strategy of the ‘Luther Rosser and Reuben Arnold Dynamic Duo’ was the cheesy last resort on behalf of their wealthy Jewish community financiers, for salvaging a case that was a sinking titanic! So they played back in 1913, the same game played today, the one played for the last thousand years, in a context of timeless Jewry over thousands of years.
The red herring gambit: Play the Race and Anti-Semitism Cards when all else fails!
Two Pronged Failure
The final murder trial argument speech for the defense, performed by Luther Z. Rosser, was more than a smashing disappointment and catastrophic disaster for numerous reasons. First, it did not by any stretch of the imagination do any sort of justice for vindicating Leo M. Frank, because it was at best disgusting, half-baked, partly ridiculous and totally shallow. Second, the Luther Rosser closing arguments may have actually hurt any remote chances Leo M. Frank might have had for creating a last minute sympathetic Jurist hold-out, because Rosser played it all wrong and made transparently wild gambles with a losing strategy, in football vernacular, Luther Rosser threw a Hail Mary (no pun intended) 105 yards, attempting to appeal to basest level of ignorant and loathsome anti-black racism, together with his nutty side kick Reuben Rose Arnold: the black vs Jew, Christian vs. Jew, and Black vs White race card hatred! Luther Rosser totally “bombed out”.
The quality of the Jury was too high-minded to fall for such a shallow pitch.
It was the last chance for Luther Rosser to shine bright like a supernovae and instead it was a big dark shriveled, fizzling, waning and disappointing let down.
The bottom line in college student slang: Luther Rosser’s final closing argument speech to the Jury on behalf of Leo Frank on August 22, 1913, flat out sucked!
What a major disappointment for people who were looking for a good fight and a tooth-and-nail battle to the end.
Luther Rosser and Reuben Arnold were the “Dream Team” that did not Live up to their expensive reputation and skill level this time around!
The High Quality Jury Would Not Be Bluffed by the Anti-Semitism and Race Cards.
Because the quality of the Jury was very high, they would not be influenced by the defense’s attempts to stir up racism or anti-Semitism, nor shallow and superficial appeals of White skin superiority over Black skin, or worse, exaggerated Jewish-Gentile ethno-religious tensions.
Sadly many Jewish and Frankite contemporary writers continue to dishonestly over emphasize, exaggerate and perpetuate ethnoreligious, social and political Jewish-Gentile symbiotic divisions and tensions that were not influential at the trial, which tends to be a wider reflection of Jewish cultural behavior, representing their egocentric obsessions with racial self and group persecution, usually after instigating problems, rage and conflict with non-Jews from the host population. The Leo Frank case is very revealing about historical Jewish genetics, psychology propensities, behaviors and racial obsessed tribalism, today, 100 years ago and over the milenia.
The Frog and the Scorpion.
The story is about a scorpion asking a frog to carry him across a river. The frog is afraid of being stung, but the scorpion reassures him that if it stung, the frog would sink and the scorpion would drown as well. The frog then agrees; nevertheless, in mid-river, the scorpion stings him, dooming them both.
When asked why, the scorpion explains, “I’m a scorpion; it’s my nature.”
Exaggeration and Point the Hypocritical Finger Against the Innocent
Every book written by Jewish writers and Leo Frank partisans appears to unanimously overplay the political, social, regional, class, antisemitism and race cards in the Leo Frank case, suggesting the Jury was influenced by these tensions and that the public was unleashing widespread mob terror, scaring the jury into a terrorized state, impelling them to convict Leo Frank out of fear or group-think.
These assertions and allegations are mostly weak, shallow, transparent and empty claims with fabricated and manufactured evidence to support the various notions, including the “1964 Leo Frank X-Ray Dental Photo Hoax” and the “1964 Mary Phagan Bite Mark Hoax” (See: Pierre Van Paassen). The two year appeals process reviewed by over a dozen Judges proved these anti-semitism accusations were erroneous claims, and the courts found them to be unsubstantiated. The majority written decisions by the appellate courts reflect this clearly and these conclusions are available to be read now that the official Leo M. Frank legal records are easily accessible online.
Obsession with Anti-Semitism, Ego-Obsessed and High Scoring Persecution Syndrome
In terms of Jewish Community self-perception, there seems to be a collective ego obsession with persecution and blaming others for the very things we Jews do to others. While Leo Frank partisans are falsely blaming others for the actual things they do themselves, they are showing their own racist masochistic obsession with unsubstantiated blame and self-deception.
It is ironic that those who take the defense side of the Leo Frank case continue to this very day pointing the guilty finger and accusing the prosecution of committing anti-Semitic, racist, and unfair-ambitious acts, suggesting unsubstantiated unscrupulous actions by Dorsey and his team, things they never did, but while feigning innocence, the Leo M. Frank defense team and Jewish partisans committed those very acts of playing the political, social, race and antisemitism cards. Worse we have to live under Jewish racism and anti-Semitic obsessive compulsive persecution-victim-hood mental illness, relentlessly pushed on non-Jews.
Hypocrisy Against the Innocent
Even worse, it was one of those situations where one side cried foul while at the same time acted with the most black handed criminal methods (See the Affidavits, 1913, 1914, 1915 in the Georgia Archive). There is a mountain of evidence showing the Leo Frank defense had spent a treasury trying to bribe, turnout and flip witnesses with money and violent threats. There are affidavits about Lucille Selig Frank (Mrs. Leo Frank) and Rabbi David Marx (including William Burns) trying to get witnesses to falsely swear to made-up statements. Lucille to save her husband Leo Frank’s neck, even tried to get an African American woman who ran a street vendor lunch cart to lie under oath and falsely swear to seeing Jim Conley come out of the back basement door of the National Pencil Company in the afternoon of April 26, 1913 (available in the official Georgia Supreme Court Record, 1913, 1914).
What is it called when someone is guilty of committing an act and they accuse another party of that act? Hypocrisy.
The prosecution never played the racism or antisemitism card at any point in the trial, except at the end of the trial. Dorsey had often worked very closely and partnered with Jews during his entire life. Dorsey had a great respect for Jews and the Jewish community as a whole, and felt they were good honest people, but that didn’t mean there weren’t exceptions to the rules, like Leo Frank for instance. Dorsey didn’t throw the whole Jewish community under the bus for the crimes of Leo Frank. Dorsey also outmaneuvered the defense for the higher moral ground, and criticized them for being the first to bring up and play the antisemitism card. The blood libel smear by Jews is the “ambitious and unscrupulous antisemitism” accusations against Dorsey, that still continue to this modern day all the way back to 1913, despite there being no reliable primary or secondary sources to legitimately support these slanders against Hugh M. Dorsey.
The Anti-Semitism Card
The antisemitism card is so often over played that even when it is genuine and with substance, it is not taken seriously anymore, it has devolved into a standard “cry wolf” epithet by Jews against critics and criticism. The ‘word’ anti-semitism has become a derogatory and shallow smear attempt, as perceived in the eyes of most aware people, and soon 7 billion humans on this host planet. The words antisemitism and anti-Semite are racist smear words, racial epithets, that have evolved into fighting words and lost their former power as an influential manipulator of fear in Gentiles.
Luther Z. Rosser on the Attack, Back Fired
Luther Rosser, also spent too much time attacking Leo Frank’s former employees Jim Conley and James Milton Gantt, when they admitted during the trial to being immoral associates of Leo M. Frank, participating in his light whoring, partying and shenanigans, because by turning the spotlight on the flaws of their character, it may have tended to incriminate Leo Frank with guilt by association. Rosser did not attempt to counter or discredit their words, instead he just went for the character assassination jugular in a round about way to discredit their testimony. What the Jury wanted to know is, whether or not the allegations of these State witnesses were mostly true, embellishments or not factual at all.
Though Leo M. Frank was not on trial for evening and Saturday light whoring sessions and the occasional Dionysian orgy from time to time, it became relevant as a feature of the case in light of the fact 19 former female employees testified to Leo M. Frank being an aggressive sexual predator (the specific term lascivious was used at the time), because when all of this was carefully considered and taken into context of the State’s theory, it suggested that perhaps the potential for the sexual-murder that happened on April 26, 1913, between 12:05 PM and 12:10 PM in the metal room to Mary Phagan, might have been something plausible for Leo M. Frank to do.
Admitted Accomplices Open a Doorway to the Dark Side
These two characters, Jim Conley and James Milton Gantt, admitted to being close confidants watchdog and whoring associates of Leo Frank. Other testimony by witnesses tended to corroborate this possible fact. A soft hooker party girl, named Daisey Hopkins was caught lying on the witness stand by Dorsey, her testimony changed its tune after getting busted and as a result it tended to corroborate James Milton Gantt. The attention Luthre Rosser brought to James Milton Gantt and James Conley, might have also added strength to the prosecutions case, with the suggestion that Leo Frank might have had a good reputation for the general public, but behind closed doors he may have had a secretly dark character and naughty side. As most men do.
The Dionysian elements that found their way into that work-hard play-hard environment are not at all an uncommon occurrence throughout human history, though the political and social significance of the heinous crime and its participants during confederate memorial day, would historically be perceived by many as an undeclared declaration of war by the Jewish Community against Southerners and European-Americans as a “people” and “culture”, because of the timing, and because to this date, the racist and blood libel accusations by the Jewish community continue to flourish in the books of contemporary Jewish writers and their partisans, writing against European-American culture and heritage, particularly against Southern European-American culture, heritage and people. This is interpreted by European-Americans as an unnecessary instigation of a cultural and race war by Jews against Gentiles.
Luther Rosser Waffles
Though Rosser might be speaking the truth, suggesting that adultery and prostitution have always been going on behind the scenes throughout history, he was suggesting that Leo Frank might have occasionally nipped off and slipped off from time to time and had some extracurricular naughty-naughty on the side behind his wife’s back. Luther Rosser’s requesting allowances for his client suggested Leo M. Frank outright lied on the witness stand when he adamantly denied those in-house in-call bordello excursions with kinky flare in various pencil factory rooms. Some of those kinky adventures of Leo M. Frank were vividly described by Jim Conley peeping through the keyhole so to speak. They might have just been the tip of the iceberg, or the opposite, just the occasional sabbath stress relief. What ever they really were, they were poison for the Leo M. Frank defense. Luther made it a point not to cross examine the 19 girls that could describe their own specific personal experiences of Leo Frank’s licentious behavior. During the appeals process some of it finally came out (See: the 1,800 page Georgia Supreme Court Case File on Leo M. Frank).
Some would argue Franks whoring escapes and sexual harassment of his employees terminally poisoned his case when he was on trial for something else, murder. However it was the rape accusation against Leo Frank that acted like a bridge for those lascivious accusations that Leo Frank was an aggressive sexual predator with the potential for rape – murder being the necessity to cover up the sexual assault.
Luther Rosser created a conflicting image of Leo Frank as being softly an adulterous man, when that was the last thing he should have called attention to, because the case was not about whether Frank was a bordello aficionado or into light whoring from time to time, but about whether he murdered Mary Phagan or not.
Earlier in the trial, Luther Rosser and Reuben Arnold, where trying to get stricken from the record, Jim Conley’s meticulously detailed accounts of Frank’s in-house in-call trysts and then at the end of the trial, Luther Rosser, was tending to softly affirm their veracity with allowances for his client.
The engram visual snap shots of those descriptive licentious events were spoken of and delivered to the Jury earlier in the trial, now they sounded plausible and uncontrived, when Rosser gently corroborated them as possibly true. Rosser tended to softly corroborate Jim Conley’s testimony concerning Leo Frank’s Saturday Shenanigans, give weight that his testimony to being an accomplice after the fact had a ring of truth to it.
This is why it was a huge mistake when Rosser spent 3 days drawing out in explicit detail from Jim Conley, recollections of Leo M. Frank’s Dionysian debauchery.
Despite the fact that there were appearances and people went to church and synagogue religiously, there was equal time for the dark side, as the Atlanta underground had unlimited rivers of whiskey and child prostitutes, as the poor hungry farmers with their big families flooded Atlanta, so did the brothels with some of their daughters, often after these girls were ground down in the mills and factories, the conditions equivalent to many third world sweatshops today.
Three Days of Thunderous Hammering of Jim Conley Could Not Break Him
Looking back, during some of the cross examinations at the trial, Luther Zeigler Rosser was too overly verbose as the ADL of B’nai B’rith might put it concerning his questioning of Jim Conley, and as a result, Luther Rosser might have extracted to many of the minute details of Frank’s sexual tomfoolery at the factory, in such a way, as to make it hard to disbelieve the contrary. The more very plausible details one adds to a story that sound uncontrived, the more believable it becomes.
Rosser vs. Jim Conley, Conley wins in the 10th Round
Luther Rosser was deft at cracking witnesses credibility and getting them crossed up and dribbling on themselves, it was a big problem when Jim Conley appeared to be bullet proof and invincible against his lightening-and-thunder cross examination. Rosser cracked Detective John R. Black getting him crossed up on himself, with Luther earning his retainer that day, if only Rosser could have kept up that similar performance against all the State witnesses during the trial, Leo Frank might have gone free (regardless of whether he was innocent or guilty).
Luther Rosser vs. Reuben Arnold
Finally, Luther Rosser grossly overplayed the White vs. Black race card in a way which in many respects contradicted Reuben Arnolds closing speech playing the Anti-Semitism Card (TM). As the central theme of Arnold’s speech, he played the Anti-Jewish ethnoreligious race hatred wildcard as being the single factor against Leo Frank in the case. “If Leo Frank wasn’t a Jew this Trial Never Would Have Taken Place.” Rosser went hog wild in the opposite direction being as brash and abrasive against African-Americans, sinking into the depths of what Reuben was trying to speak out against, prejudice. The closing arguments of Rosser and Arnold were disjointed when taken together.
Thus in toto, it can be said Rosser’s and Arnold’s closing arguments where at odds and not in any kind of blame harmony, but contradictory to each other, one played the black white race card, the other played the Jewish victim card.
The speeches of Luther and Arnold were a disappointment, with Arnold possibly creating and fueling the ground work for the next 100 years of the Jewish community and Frankites blaming the conviction of Leo Frank on a vast Anti-Jewish conspiracy by Gentiles duped by a semi-literate African-American floor sweeper, but it is likely that even if they didn’t play those cards back in 1913 to 1915, the Anti-Semitic conspiracy theories would still abound today by the Jewish Community.
The ridiculous claims by Jews know no bounds, some contemporary Jewish advocates of Leo Frank, have suggested that for the Jury, the uneducated drunken Negro sweeper was on a higher standing and level than the well educated Northern White man because he was a Jewish Yankee.
tu quoque: a retort charging an adversary with being or doing what he or she criticizes in others.
The worst part of Rosser’s entire speech was the disgusting and vile monologue using horrendous gutter language and his attempts at appealing to the basest of tribal emotions, using the word and meaning of “Nigger” in the worst derogatory manner, an uncountable number of times, as if Luther Rosser was hoping there would be just one ignorantly racist member on the Jury that would appeal to the cheesy superficial white skin superiority claims or White-Black racist-racial angle of the case, to save the neck of Leo Frank. The substance of Rosser’s speech pushed the supposition that by freeing Leo M. Frank, a White Man, the doorway would be open for lynching a filthy nigger rapist and murderer. It was a racist case of blame the innocent nigger.
Imagine Leo Frank is most probably guilty, and someone suggested to you that you should let him go free for the murder he committed against a White girl because we want to lynch a filthy innocent nigger instead, how many neo-nazis and kkk members would actually go for that? If you really think any of them would go for it, you really need to get a clue.
Be forewarned it’s a nauseating speech.
Historically speaking, Rossers loathsome language was more common than not.
The national media campaign and nationwide letter writing efforts led by the Jewish community, to appeal by emotion, the exoneration of Leo M. Frank, with the hopes of overturning the conviction of Leo Frank with a pardon, was and is a dark stain on the Jewish community and defense side of the Leo Frank case. Whereas some of the third degree and questionable methods utilized by the prosecution, put some doubts into the veracity of truth concerning the testimony coming from the State’s witneses against Frank. Did the gloves come off in this fight?
Argument of Luther Zeigler Rosser Lead Defense Counsel for Leo M. Frank
MR. ROSSER, FOR THE PRISONER. August 22 1913
Mr. Rosser: Gentlemen of the jury. All things come to
an end. With the end of this case has almost come the end
of the speakers, and but for the masterly effort of my brother,
Arnold, I almost wish it had ended with no speaking. My
condition is such that I can say -but little; my voice is husky
and my throat almost gone. But for my interest in this case
and my profound conviction of the innocence of this man, I
would not undertake to speak at all.
I want to repeat ‘what my friend, Arnold, said so simply.
He said this jury is no mob. The attitude of the juror’s mind
is not that of the mind of the man who carelessly walks the
streets. My friend, Hooper, must have brought that doctrine
with him when he came to Atlanta. We walk the street care-
lessly and we meet our friends and do not recognize them; we
are too much absorbed in our own interests. Our minds wan-
der in flights of fancy or in fits of reverence; we may mean
no harm to ourselves, nor to our friends, but we are careless.
No oath binds us when we ‘walk the streets.
Men, you are different; you are set aside; you ceased when
you took your juror’s oath to be one of the rollicking men
of the streets; you were purged by your oath. In old pagan
Rome the women laughed and chattered on the streets as they
went to and fro, but there were a few-the Vestal Virgins-
they cared not for the gladiatorial games, nor the strife of
the day. So it is with you men, set apart; you care not for
the chatter and laughter of the rabble; you are unprejudiced
and it is your duty to pass on a man’s life with no passion and
no cruelty, but as men purged by an oath from the careless
people of the streets. You are to decide from the evidence,
with no fear of a hostile mob and no thought of favor to any-
What suggestion comes into a man’s mind when he thinks
of a crime like this? And what crime could be more horrible
than this one? What punishment too great for the brute in
human form who committed it and who excited this commu-
nity to a high pitch ?
Since 1908 the National Pencil factory has employed hun-
dreds of girls and women, and also of men, and not all of the
girls and women, not all of the men have been perfect, but
you can find good men and women in all strata of life, and
yet the detectives, working with microscopes and with the aid
of my friend, Dorsey, excited almost beyond peradventure,
found only two to swear against Frank They found Dalton
and they found Conley. Well, I’ll take up Conley at a more
fitting time, but Dalton, who is Dalton? .God Almighty writes
on a man’s face and he don’t always ‘write a pretty hand, but
he writes a legible one. When you see Dalton you put your
hand on your pocketbook.
When Dalton took the stand Mr. Arnold and I had never
had the pleasure of seeing his sweet countenance before, but
Mr. Arnold leaned over and whispered in my ear, “There’s
a thief if there ever was one.” I smelt about him the odor of
the chaingang, and I began to feel him out. I asked him if
he had ever been away from home for any length of time, and
he knew at once what I meant and he began to dodge and to
wriggle, and before he left the stand I was sure he was a thief.
Dalton was on, three times in Walton county and then in
another county where he probably went to escape further
Trouble in Walton, he got into trouble again. It wasn’t just
the going wrong of a young man who fall. once and tries to
get over it, ‘but it was the steady thievery of a man at heart a
thief. Of course, Dalton comes here to Atlanta and reforms.
Yes, he joined a Godly congregation and persuaded them that
he had quit his evil ways. That’s an old trick of thieves and
they use it to help their trade along.
I believe in the divine power of regeneration; I believe that
you can reform, that there’s always time to turn back and do
right, but there’s one kind of man whom I don’t ‘believe can
ever reform. Once a thief, always a thief.
Our Master knew it. He recognized the qualities of a thief.
You remember when they crucified Him and He hung on the
cross there on the hill. Well, He had a thief hanging beside
Him, and He said to that thief, “This day thou shalt be with
Me in Paradise.” He didn’t dare say tomorrow. He knew
He’d better say today, because by tomorrow that thief would
be stealing again in Jerusalem. Dalton disgraced the name
of his race, and he was a thief and worse, if there can be, and
yet he joined the church. Hie joined the church and he’s now
a decent, ‘believable man. Well, you remember how brazenly
he sat here on the stand and bragged of his “peach,” how in-
decently he bragged of his fall; how he gloated over his vice.
He was asked if he ever went to that miserable, dirty factory
basement with a woman for immoral purposes, and he was
proud to say that he had.
Gentlemen, it was the first time Dalton had ever been in the
limelight; it was the first time decent, respectable white men
and women had ever listened to him with respect, let alone
When he was asked about that, if he was guilty, if he had
fallen, he might have declined to answer, he might have hung
his head in shame, as any decent, respectable man ‘would have
done, but instead, he bragged and boasted of it.
When Conley was asked what sort of a woman Frank had,
he ‘brazenly and braggingly said he did not know, that he him-
self had such a peach there that he could not take his eyes
off her to look at Frank’s woman. Well, you have seen Dal-
ton’s peach; you all have seen Daisy.
Conley tells a different story. He says Frank took the
peach (that lemon) for himself and that Dalton had to get
him another woman.
I’m not saying that we are all free of passion, that we are
all moral and perfect, ‘but at least the decent man don’t brag
of having a peach. Well, if you believe Dalton’s story, and
let’s presume it true now. If you believe it he went into that
scuttle hole there at the factory with Daisy. Dalton took that
woman into the factory, into a dirty, nasty, fetid hole where
the slime oozed and where no decent dog or cat would go, and
there he satisfied his passion. That’s what he told us. Well,
Dalton told us he went there about 2 o’clock one Saturday
afternoon last year, and of course, at that time the Clarke
Wooden Ware company occupied the lower floor and used the
same entrance that the National Pencil Company did, and
Frank was at lunch and knew nothing of Dalton’s visit. Of
course, Dalton left an oozy trail behind him; wherever he
went he did that. You can still feel it in this court room. Of
course, too, Dalton may have gone into the pencil factory that
day and left his oozy, slimy trail there, but otherwise there’s
nothing against the factory, and you know there’s not, for
our great quartet-Starmes and Campbell and Black (oh, how
I love Black; I always want to put my arms around him when-
ever I think of him), and Scott, for he was with that crowd;
they tried their very best to find something that would show
that factory up as a vile hole.
Well, there’s another reason that proves conclusively that
it was not the assignation place Dalton and Conley name it.
It has always been wrong for men and women to commit for-
nication and adultery, but it’s always been done and the
world, as long as it was done decently and quietly and not
bragged about and blazoned forth in public places, has rather
allowed it to go unchecked, but it’s not so now.
You know, I know the working people of this state and this
city. I’ve always worked with my head and it’s never been
my good fortune to be one of the working people, but there
are no silken ladies in my ancestry, nor are there any dudish
men. I know the working men and the working women, be-
cause that blood runs in my veins, and if any man in Atlanta
knows them I do, and I tell you that there are no 100 work-
ing girls and women in Atlanta who could be got together by
raking with a fine-tooth comb who’d stay there at that fac-
tory with conditions as bad as they have been painted, and
there are no 100 working men here so thin blooded as to allow
such conditions there.
Prank’s statement to the jury, it was Frank’s handiwork
only, and neither he nor Mr. Arnold knew what Frank was
going to say when he got on the stand. Look at the statement
this man made to you, and it was his statement, not mine. I
can prove that by the simple reason that I haven’t got brains
enough to have made it up, and Mr. Arnold (though he’s got
far more brains than I), he could not have made it. Mr. Ar-.
nold might have given it the same weight and thickness, but
not the living ring of truth.
Now, another thing. We didn’t have to put Frank’s char-
acter up. If we hadn’t the judge would have told you Frank
must be presumed to have a good character, and that you did
not have the right to ask that question about him, but we
thought you were, and we put it up and see what a character
the man has. There’s not a man in the sound of my voice who
could prove a better character. ‘ Of course, I mean from the
credible evidence, not that stuff of Conley’s and Dalton’s.
But you say, some people, some former employes swore he had
a bad character. You know that when you want to, you can
always get someone to swear against anybody’s character.
Put me in his place and let my friend, Arnold, the foolish
enough to put my character up and there’d be plenty of thosa
I have maybe hurt or offended as I have gone through life,
would swear it was wrong, and I believe I’ve got an ordinarily
good character. Why, you could bring twenty men here in
Fulton county to swear that Judge Roan, there on the bench,
has a bad character. You know that he’s had to judge men
and sometimes to be what they thought was severe on them,
and he’s naturally made men hate him and they’d gladly
come and swear his character away. But if the men and
women who live near him, the good and decent men and
women, who lived near him and knew, came up and said his
character was good, you’d believe them, wouldn’t you?
Well, gentlemen, the older I get the gentler I get and I
wouldn’t think or say anything wrong about those mislead-
ing little girls who swore Frank was a bad man. I guess they
thought they were telling the truth. Well, did Miss Maggie
Griffin really think Frank was a vicious man and yet work
there three years with him? Don’t you think she heard
things against him after the crime was committed and that
when she got up here and looked through the heated atmos-
phere of this trial, she did not see the real truth? And Miss
Maggie Griffin, she was there two months. I wonder what she
could know about Frank in that time. There was Mrs. Don-
egan and Miss Johnson and another girl there about two
months, and Nellie Potts, who never worked there at all, and
Mary Wallace, there three days, and Estelle Wallace, there
a week and Carrie Smith, who like Miss Cato, worked there
three years. These are the only ones in the hundreds who
have worked there since 1908 who will say that Frank has a
bad character. Why, you could find more people to say that
the Bishop of Atlanta, I believe, had a bad character, than
have been brought against Frank.
You noticed they were not able to get any men to come
from the factory and swear against Frank. Men are harder
to wheedle than are little girls. Does anybody doubt that if
that factory had been the bed of vice that they call it, that
the long-legged Gantt would have know of it? They had
Gantt on the stand twice, and, well, you know Gantt was dis-
charged from the factory, of course you weren’t told why in
plain words, ‘but you all know why. Well, Frank is not liked
by Gantt and Gantt would have loved to tell something against
his former employer, but he couldn’t.
If they have any further suspicions against this man, they
haven’t given them, either because they are afraid or are un-
able to prove their suspicions, if they have such suspicions,
though, and are doing you a worse injustice..
What are these suspicions that they have advanced thus
far? First, Miss Robinson is said to have said that she saw
Frank teaching Mary Phagan how to work. Dorsey reached
for it on the instant, scenting something improper as is quite
characteristic of him. But Miss Robinson denies it. There’s
nothing in it, absolutely nothing. Then they say he called
her Mary. Well, what about it? What if he did? We all
have ,bad memories. If you met me on the street six months
ago, can you recall right now whether you called me Luther
or Rosser? The next -is Willie Turner-poor little Willie!
I have nohing against Willie. He seems to be a right clever
sort of a boy. But just think of the methods the detectives
used against him-think of the way they handled him, and
think of the way Dorsey treated him on the witness stand.
He says-Willie does–that he saw Frank talking to Mary
Phagan in the metal room. What does it show if he did see
such a scene? I can’t see for the life of me where it indicates
any sign of lascivious lust. Does what Willie Turner saw,
taking for granted he saw it, show that Frank was planning
to ruin little Mary Phagan? Does it uphold this plot my
friend Hooper had so much to say about? Even with that-
considering Willie Turner did see such a thing, -there’s one
fact that takes the sting out of it. He saw it in broad day-
light. Frank was with the little girl right in front of Lem-
mie Quinn’s office in an open factory where there were a lot
of people and where the girls were quitting their work and
getting ready to go home to dinner. It wasn’t so, though, and
Frank never made any improper advances to this little girl.
Let me tell you why. Mary Phagan was a good girl, as pure
as God makes them and as innocent. She was all that, and
more. But, she would have known a lascivious advance or
an ogling eye the minute she saw it, and the minute this man
made any sort of a move to her, she would have fled instantly
to home to tell tlhs good father and mother of hers.
Then next, they bring Dewey Hewell, who says she saw
Frank with his hand on Mary’s shoulder. That’s all right,
but there is Grace Hix and Helen Ferguson and Magnolia
Kennedy who contradict her and say Frank never knew Mary
Phagan. You can say all you please about such as that, but
there is one fact that stands out indisputable. If that little
girl had ever received mistreatment at the pencil factory, no
deer would have .bounded more quickly from the brush at the
bay of dogs than she would have fled home to tell her father
Now, my friend from the Wiregrass says Gantt was a vic-
tim of his “plot” by Frank against Mary Phagan. I don’t
doubt that this “plot” has been framed in the hearing of
every detective in the sound of my voice. Hooper says Frank
plotted to get the girl there on the Saturday she was killed-
says he plotted with Jim Conley. Jim says Frank told him at
four o’clock Friday afternoon to return on the next morning.
How could Frank have known she was coming back Saturday.
-He couldn’t have known. He’s no seer, no mind-reader, al-
though he’s a mighty bright man. It is true that some of
the pay envelopes were left over on Friday, but he didn’t
know whose they were. Helen Ferguson says that on Friday
she asked for Mary Phagan’s pay and that Frank refused
to give it to her, saying Mary would come next day and get it
herself. Magnolia Kennedy swears to the contrary. You
have one or the other to believe. Consider, though, that this
be true! How would Frank know who would be in the fac-
tory when Mary Phagan came? How did he know she was
coming Saturday? Some envelopes went over to Monday and
Tuesday. How would he know whether she would come on
Saturday or either of these latter days?
Now, what else have they put up against tbis man? They
say he was nervous. We admit he was. Black says it, Dar-
ley says it, Sig. Montag says it-others say it! The handome
Mr. Darley was nervous and our friend Schif was nervous.
Why not hang them if you’re hanging men for nervousness!
Isaac Haas-old man Isaac-openly admits he was nervous.
The girls-why don’t you hang them, these sweet little girls
in the faetory-all of whom were so nervous they couldn’t
work on the following day?
If you had seen this little child, crushed, mangled, muti-
lated, with the sawdust crumbled in her eyes and her tongue
protruding, staring up from that stinking, smelling base-
ment, you’d have been nervous, too, every mother’s son of
you. Gentlemen, I don’t profess to be, chicken-hearted. I
can see grown men hurt and suffering and I can stand a lot
of things without growing hysterical, but I never walked
along the street and heard the pitiful cry of a girl or woman
without -becoming nervous. God -grant I will always be so.
Frank looked at the mangled form and crushed virginity of
Mary Phagan and his nerves fluttered. Hang him! Hang
Another suspicious circumstance. He didn’t wake up
when they telephoned him that morning the body was found.
That might depend on what he ate that night; it might de-
pend on a lot of other things. Some of us wake with the
birds, while others slumber even through the tempting call
of the breakfast bell. Would you hang us for that ?
Then, they say he hired a lawyer, and they call it suspi-
cious-mighty suspicious. They wouldn’t have kicked if he
had hired Rube Arnold, -because Rube has a good character.
But they hired me and they kicked and yelled “suspicious”
so loudly you could hear it all the way from here to Jesup’s
cut. I don’t know that I had ever met Frank before that
morning, /but I had represented the pencil factory previously.
And as to their employing me, it’s this way:
There’s no telling what was floating around in John Black’s
head that morning. They sent men after Frank and there
was no telling what was likely to happen to him. They were
forced to do something in his own defense. And, as a result,
the state’s worst suspicion 4s the fact that they employed me
and Herbert Haas. Now, gentlemen, let’s see what there is
in it; I have told you that twice on that Sunday he had been
to police headquarters without counsel, without friends. The
next day they adopted new methods of getting him there
and sent two detectives for him. Black had said he had been
watching Frank, and woe to him who is haunted by the
eagle eye of dear old John. They took him to police station
Monday-took him I say. The police idea was to show their
fangs. He was under arrest, that’s an undisputed fact. They
had him at police station, Lanford, in his wonted dignity, sit-
ting around doing nothing, letting Frank soak. Beavers, the
handsome one, was doing the same. Frank didn’t call for
friends or lawyer. He didn’t call for anything. If he had
known what he was up against, though, in this police depart-
ment of ours, he’d probably have called for two lawyers-or
even more. But old man Sig Montag, who has been here a
long time, knew this old police crowd and he knew their
tactics. He was well on to their curves. He knew what danger
there was to Frank. He called up Haas. Haas didn’t want to
come to police station-he had a good reason. Sig went to
police station and was Tefused permission to see Frank. Now,
I want you to get that in your mind. A citizen-not under
arrest, as they say-held without the privilege of seeing
friends, relatives or counsel. It was a deplorable state of
affairs. What happened?
Haas went to the phone and called an older and more ex-
perienced head to battle with this police iniquity; Why
shouldn’t he? Dorsey sees in this harmless message a chance.
He snaps at it like a snake. Dorsey is a good man-in his
way. Hell be a better man, though, when he gets older and
loses some of his present spirit and venom. There are things
he has done in this trial that will never be done again. Gen-
tlemen, I assure you of that.
Did Frank do anything else suspicious? Yes! Two 6thers,
according to Hooper from the Wiregrass. One of which was
the employment of a detective agency to ferret out this hor-
rible murder that had (been committed in his factory building.
Why? Under what circumstances? I’ll tell you. Frank had
been to the police station and had given his statement. Haas
was the man who telephoned nme and who employed me-not
Frank. I went to police headquarters and was very much un-
welcomed. There was a frigid atmosphere as I walked in. I
saw Frank for the first time in my life. I said: “What’s the
matter, boys?” Somebody answered that Mr. Frank was
under arrest. Black was there, Lanford was there. Neither
took the pains to deny that he was under arrest. Somebody
said they wanted Mr. Frank to make a statement, and I ad-
vised him to go ahead and make it. When he went into the
office, I followed. They said: “We don’t want you.” I re-
plied that whether they wanted me or not, I was coming, any-
how. I had a good reason, too, for coming. I wanted to
hear what he said so they couldn’t distort his words. While
we were in the room a peculiar thing happened. Frank ex-
posed his person. There were no marks. I said that it was
preposterous to thing that a man could commit such a crime
and not bear some marks. Lanford’s face fell. Why didn’t
Lanford get on the stand and deny it? Was it because he
didn’t want to get into a loving conflict with me? Or did he*
want to keep from reopening the dark and nasty history of
the Conley story and the Minola MKnight story that are
hidden in the still darker recesses of police headquarters?
Frank makes his statement and is released. He goes back
to the pencil factory, assuming that suspicion has been di-
verted from him. He thinks of the horrible murder that has
been committed in his plant. He telephones Sig Montag
about hiring a detective agency to solve the crime. Sig ad-
vises him to do it. I don’t believe there is any detective liv-
ing who can consort with crooks and criminals and felons,
scheme with them, mingle with them and spy on the homes
of good people and bad who can then exalt his character as
a result. He absorbs some of the atmosphere and the
traits. It is logical that he should. But, even at that they’ve
got some good men in the detective and police department.
Old man Sig Montag said hire a detective and Frank hired
the Pinkertons. Scott came and took Frank’s statement and
said: “We work in co-operation with the city police depart-
ment.” Now, isn’t that a horrible situation-going hand in
glove with the police department? But, it’s a fact. Just as
soon as Scott left Frank, he walked down, arm in arm with
John Black, to the nasty, smelly basement of the pencil fac-
tory. What did that mean? It meant a complete line-up
with the police. It meant if the police turn you loose, I turn
you loose. If the police hang you, I hang you!
Gentlemen, take a look at this spectacle, if you can. Here
is a Jewish boy from the north. He is unacquainted with the
south. He came here alone and without friends and he stood
alone. This murder happened in his place of business. He
told the Pinkertons to find the man, trusting to them entirely,
no matter where or what they found might strike. He is de-
feuseless and helpless. He knows his innocence and is will-
ing to flnd the murderer. They try to place the murder on
him. God, all merciful and all powerful, look upon a scene
Anything else? Yes. Look at this. I do not believe my
friend who preceded me intended to do this. I refer to the
incident about the time slip. I have to use harsh words here,
but I don’t want to. This seems to me the most unkindest
cut of all. They say that that time slip was planted. They
say the shirt was planted. Gentlemen, is there any evidence
of this? Let’s see about this statement. Black and somebody
else, I believe, went out to Newt’s house on Tuesday morning
and found the shirt in the bottom of a (barrel. They brought
the shirt back to the police station and Newt said the shirt
was his-or it looked like his shirt. Newt Lee had been
hired at the factory but three weeks, yet they want you to
believe that they found a shirt like the old man had and went
out to his house and put it in a barrel.
One thing is wrong. The newspapers and others, I am
afraid, think this is a contest between lawyers. It is not.
God forbid that I should let any such thing enter into this
case when this boy’s life is at stake.
There are several things I don’t understand about this
case, and never will. Why old man Lee didn’t find the body
sooner; why he found it lying on its face; how he saw it from
a place he could not have seen it from. I was raised with
niggers and know something about them. I do not know them
as well as the police, perhaps, for they know them like no one
else. But I know something about them.
There must have ‘been a nigger in the crime who knew
about it before Newt or anyone else. I am afraid Newt knew.
Yet, if he did, he is one of the most remarkable niggers I
ever saw and I wish I had his nerve. There were things you
detectives did to him for which you will never be forgiven.
You persecuted the old nigger, and all you got was “Fo’ God
I don’t know.” I don’t believe he killed her, -but I ‘believe he
knows more than he told.
But they say now that he jumped back. Suppose he did
jump back. Look at the boy (Frank). If you put a girl the
size of Mary Phagan in a room with him she could make him
jump out of the window. Suddenly this boy stepped out in
front of this giant of a Gantt, and he jumped [back. Dorsey
would have done the same thing; Newt Lee would; Jim Con-
ley would, and I would, as -big as I am.
Here is another suspicious thing. Newt Lee came to the
factory at four o’clock and Frank sent the old man away. It
was suggested that he was afraid the nigger would find the
‘body, yet when he came back at 6, Frank let him stay at the
factory when he knew that in 30 minutes Newt was on the
job he must go into the basement where they say Frank knew
the body was.
They say he was laughing at his home. If he had known of
the crime of which he would be accused, that laugh would
have been the laugh of a maniac to be ended by the discovery
of the body.
Another suspicious thing. You know that he was in the fac-
tory, but it turns out that he was not the only one. If the
corpse was found in the basement and he was the only one
in the ‘building, then there might be some basis. But he was
in an open room and there were workmen upstairs. My friend
tried to dispute that. That wasn’t all. Conley was also
there, and it came out yesterday that there was also another
nigger-a lighter nigger than Conley-there. What scoun-
drels in white skin were in the building and had opportunity
to commit the crime, God only knows.
The thing that arises in this case to fatigue my indignation
is that men born of such ‘parents should believe the statement
of Conley against the statement of Frank. Who is Conley?
Who was Conley as he used to be and as you have seen him?
He was a dirty, filthy, -black, drunken, lying nigger. Black
knows that. Starnes knows that. Chief Beavers knows it.
Who was it that made this dirty nigger come up here looking
so slick? Why didn’t they let you see him as he was? They
shaved him, washed him and dressed him up. Gentlemen of
the jury, the charge of moral perversion against a man is a
terrible thing for him, but it is even more so when that man
has a wife and mother to be affected -by it. Dalton, even Dal-
ton did not say this against Frank It was just Conley. Dal-
ton, you remember, did not even say that Frank was guilty
of wrong-doing as far as he knew. There never was any
proof of Frank’s alleged moral perversion, unless you call Jim
Conley proof. None of these niggers ever’came up and said
Conley was there and that they were with him. Starnes-
and Starnes could find a needle in a haystack, but the Lord
only knows what he’d do in an acre-he could not find any of
Then there was that old negro drayman, old McCrary, the
old peg-leg negro drayman, and thank God he was an old-
timer, “fo” de war nigger. You know Conley, wishing to add
a few finishing trimmings to his lines, said that old McOrary
sent him down in the basement that Saturday morning and
when the old darkey was put on the stand he said simply,
“No, ‘boss, I never sont him down thar.” Everywhere you
go you find that Conley lied. He says he watched there one
Saturday last year between 2 and 3 o’clock. Well, Schiff
says he didn’t and so does Darley and Holloway, the latter
guaranteed by the state, and the little office boys, nice look-
ing little chaps from nice families, they all say he didn’t.
Cut out Conley and you strip the case to nothing.
Did you hear the way Conley told his story? Have you
ever heard an actor, who knew his Shakespearean plays, his
“Merchant of Venice” or his “Hamlet”? He can wake up
at any time of the night and say those lines, but he can’t say
any lines of a play he has never learned. So it was with Con-
ley. He could tell the story of the disposition of the girl’s
body, and he knew it so well he could reel it off backward or
forward, any old way, but when you got to asking him about
other things, he always had one phrase, “Boss, ah can’t
They say Conley could not have made up that story. Well,
I don’t know about that. There is something queer in the
whole thing, you know. I conldn’t climb that post over there,
gentlemen. I mean I couldn’t go very far up it, but if I had
Professor Starnes, and Professor Black, and Professor Camp-
bell, and Professor Rosser, and then Dean Lanford to help
me, I’d go quite a way up. Well, they took a notion Mrs.
White had seen the negro, and they carried Mrs. White there
to see him, and he twisted up his features so that she couldn’t
Next, they learned Conley could write. Frank told them
that, you know. Well, I don’t mean to be severe, but they
took that negro and they gave him the third degree. Black
and Scott cursed him. “You black scoundrel,” they yelled
at him. “You know that man never had you come there and
write those notes on Friday!” And the .poor negro, under-
standing and trying to please, said, “Yes, boss, zat’s right,
ah was dere on Saturday.” And so they went on and got
first one affidavit and then another out of him. Well, Scott
and Black had him there, and Conley was only in high
school. I don’t know whether to call Scott and Black “pro-
fessors” or not. Scott says, “We told him what would fit
and what would not.” And it was “stand up, James Con-
ley and recite, when did you fix those notes, James?” and
James would answer that he fixed them on Friday, and then
the teachers would tell Jam6s it was surely wrong, that he
must have fixed them on Saturday, and James would know
what was wanted and would acknowledge his error. Then
it would be, “That’s a good lesson, James, you are excused,
James.” I’m not guessing in this thing. Scott told it on
the stand, only in not so plain words. So it was that when
this negro had told the whole truth they had another ‘reci-
Was it fair for two skilled white men to train that negro
by the hour and by the day and to teach him and then get
a statement from him and call it the truth? Well, Professors
Black and Scott finished with him, and they thought Con-
ley’s education was through, but that nigger had to have a
Scott, you and Black milked him dry; you thought you
did, anyhow, ,but you got no moral perversion and no watch-
ing. -In the university they gave a slightly different course.
It was given by Professors Starnes and Campbell. Oh, I
wish I could look as pious as Starnes does. And Professor
Dorsey helped out, I suppose. I don’t know what Professor
Dorsey did, only he gave him several lessons, and they must
have been just sort of finishing touches before he got his
degree. Well, in the university course they didn’t dare put
the steps in writing, as they had done in the high school; it
would have been too easy to trace from step to step, the sug-
gestions made, the additions and subtractions here and there.
Professor Dorsey had him seven times, I know that, but
God alone knows Jaow many times the detectives had him.
Was it fair to take this weak, pliable negro and have these
white men teach him, one after another? Who knows what
is the final story that Conley will tell? He added the mesh-
bag when he was on the stand.
Mary Phagan had reached the factory at approximately
twelve minutes after 12, and it must have been after Mon-
teen Stover had gone. See the statements of W. M1. Mathews
and W. T. Hollis, street car men called by the defense, and
George Epps, the little newsie, called by the state, and also
the street car schedule.
But, supposing that she was there at 12:05, as I believe
the state claims, then Monteen Stover must have seen her.
I don’t see how they could have helped meeting. But sup-
pose she got there a moment after Monteen Stover left, then
Lemmie Quinn was there at 12:20, and he found Frank at
work. Could Frank have murdered a girl and hid her body
and then got back to work with no blood stains on him in less
than fifteen minutes? If Frank is guilty, he must have,
according to Conley, disposed of the body in the time be-
tween four minutes to 1 and 1:30. There can be no dispute
about this; it’s Conley’s last revelation. If Frank is guilty,
he was at his office between four minutes to 1 and 1:30, but
who believes that story?
Little Miss Kerns saw him at Alabama and Whitehall at
1:10, and at 1:20 Mrs. Levy, honest woman that she is, saw him
get off the car at his home corner, and his wife’s parents saw,
and they all swear he was there at 1:20, and then, if you are
going to call them all perjurers and believe Jim Conley,
think what you must do; think what a horrible thing you
must do-you must make Minola’s husband a perjurer, and
that would be terrible.
You know about that Minola McKnight affair. It is the
blackest of all. A negro woman locked up from the solici-
tor’s office, not because she would talk-she’s given a state-
ment-but because she would not talk to suit Starnes and
Campbell, and two white men, and shame to them, got her
into it. Where was Chief Beavers ? What was he doing that
he became a party to this crime? Beavers, who would en-
force the law; Beavers, the immaculate!
Believe Frank was in the factory if you can at 1:30; throw
aside all the respectable people and swear by Conley. Well,
I know the American jury is supreme, that it is the sovereign
over lives; that sometimes you can sway it by passion and
prejudice, but you can’t make it believe anything like this.
Neither prejudice, nor passion, wrought by monsters so
vile they ought not to be in the court room, could make them
believe it. They said that there was a certain man, named
Mincey, whom we called as a witness hut did not use. Well,
the only use we would have had for Mlincey was to contradict
Conley, and as soon as Conley got on the stand he contra-
dicted himself enough without our having to go to the trouble
of calling on witnesses to do it. If we had put Mincey up there
would have been a day’s row about his probity, and what
would have been the use-Conley said time and again that he
had lied time and again.
Gentlemen, I want only the straight truth here, and I have
yet to believe that the truth has to be watched and cultivated
by these detectives and by seven visits of the solicitor general.
I don’t believe any man, no matter what his rate, ought to be
tried under such testimony. If I was raising sheep and feared
for my lambs, I might hang a yellow dog on it. I might do it
in the daytime, but when things got quiet at night and I got
to thinking, I’d be ashamed of myself. You have been overly
kind to me, gentlemen. True, you have been up against a
situation like that old Sol Russell used to describe when he
would say, “Well, I’ve lectured off and on for forty years, and
the benches always stuck it out, but they was screwed to the
floor.” You gentlemen have ‘been practically in that flx, but
I feel, nevertheless, that you have been peculiarly kind, and
I thank you.
Source: American State Trials Volume X (1918) by John Davison Lawson LLD and Atlanta Newspapers, August, 1913.
Last Updated: May 2012