Woman Charges Police Forced Her to Make False Statement

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

Atlanta Journal
July 28th, 1913

Negro Cook in the Selig-Frank Home Repudiates Affidavit She Swore to Against Frank, Will Refuse to Swear to the Paper, She Says

Minola McKnight, the negro cook, who signed an affidavit which is to be used by the prosecution against Leo M. Frank, said Monday morning that the police, by three hours’ sweating, forced her to sign this affidavit, and that when she is called as a witness that she will refuse to testify to the statements set forth in it.

The substance of the affidavit was that, on the morning following the murder of Mary Phagan, Mrs. Frank came downstairs at the home of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Emil Selig, with whom she and Frank made their home, and said that Frank had asked for a pistol with which to kill himself.

At the time the negro cook signed this written statement of what is said in the affidavit to have happened at the Selig residence on the day following the murder, she was confined at police station.

She declares now that the signing of the affidavit followed hours of “sweating” by the police, and that at the time she actually signed the paper she was not aware of what she was doing.

When the names of witnesses were called Monday it was found that her husband, Albert McKnight, who had been summoned by the prosecution, was missing.

Through statements which he made, the police came to cross-examine his wife, and he was summoned as a witness to testify to what she is said to have told him.

When Solicitor General Dorsey found that the negro McKnight was not among the witnesses, he questioned Minola McKnight, the negro’s wife. She said that her husband left home that morning as usual to go to work.

“Do you think he has left town?” the solicitor asked her.

“No,” she said.

Immediately afterward court officers were sent to arrest the missing witness.