VANESSA NEUBAUER’S audio book reading from the 1913 Leo Frank case this week is the fourth part of prosecutor Hugh Dorsey’s closing arguments. Leo Max Frank (pictured with his wife Lucille in happier times) was ultimately convicted of murdering his 13-year-old pencil factory employee, Mary Phagan, in a case which set the stage for Jewish-Gentile distrust and recriminations for a century and more afterward. Frank was the president of the Atlanta, Georgia B’nai B’rith and the Frank case was a major factor in the establishment of the Jewish pressure group, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), over 100 years ago.
This new audio book series encompasses the American Mercury’s extensive coverage of the 1913 Frank trial. We are presenting the extensive arguments, both for the defense and the prosecution, in order and in full — a monumental, book-length project. Today’s presentation is the fourth section (of six) of Hugh Dorsey’s final statement.
Click on the “play” button to listen to the audio book, read by Vanessa Neubauer.
Mr. Dorsey argues that there was something strange about the fact that Mrs. Leo Frank didn’t visit her husband in jail for some time after his arrest:
Frank said that his wife never went back there because she was afraid that the snapshotters would get her picture—because she didn’t want to go through the line of snapshotters. I tell you, gentlemen of the jury, that there never lived a woman, conscious of the rectitude and innocence of her husband, who wouldn’t have gone to him through snapshotters, reporters and over the advice of any Rabbi under the sun. And you know it.
Mr. Dorsey also stresses the fact that Frank refused to meet with Jim Conley, the Black factory sweeper who testified that Frank admitted killing Mary Phagan and enlisted his help in moving the body; and also details Frank’s very odd meeting with Newt Lee, the pencil factory’s night watchman who at the time was also a suspect in the case:
This man Frank, a graduate of Cornell, the superintendent of the pencil factory, so anxious to ferret out this murder that he had phoned Schiff three times on Monday, April 28th, to employ the Pinkerton Detective Agency, this white man refused to meet this ignorant negro, Jim Conley. He refused upon the flimsy pretext that his counsel was out of town, but when his counsel returned, when he had the opportunity to know at least something of the accusations that Conley brought against this man, he dared not let him meet him. It is unnecessary to take up time discussing that.
You tell me that the weakest among you, if you were innocent and a man of black skin charges you with an infamous murder, that any lawyer, Rosser or anybody else, could keep you from confronting him and nailing the lie?
No lawyer on earth, no lawyer that ever lived in any age or any clime could prevent me, if I were innocent, from confronting a man who accused me wrongfully, be he white or black.
And you, Leo Frank, went in and interviewed Newt Lee down yonder at twelve o’clock, Tuesday night, April 29th. And what did you do? Did you act like a man who wanted to get at the truth, who didn’t know it and wanted to get at the truth? Ah, no. Instead of going into that room and taking up with this negro Newt Lee, the man towards whom you had directed suspicion infamously to save your own neck, a man that you would have seen hung on the gallows in order to save your reputation with the people on Washington Street and the members of the B’nai B’rith, did you make an earnest, honest, conscientious effort, as an innocent employer would with his employee, to get at the truth? No; according to Lee, you hung your head and quizzed him not, but predicted that both Lee and you would go to hell if Lee continued to tell the story which he tells even until this good day: and then in your statement here, try to make it appear that your detective Scott and old John Black concocted a scheme against you and lied as to what occurred on that Tuesday night.
Here is a description of the full series which will be posted as audio in future weeks; once all segments have been released, the Mercury will be offering for sale a complete, downloadable audio book of the full series.
2. WEEK 1
3. WEEK 2
4. WEEK 3
5. Leo Frank mounts the witness stand by Ann Hendon
6. Week 4
7. Closing arguments of Rosser, Arnold and Hooper
8. Closing arguments of Hugh Dorsey
Be sure to look for next week’s installment here at The American Mercury as we continue to follow the trial that changed the South — changed America — and changed the world.