Czernowitz (Feb. 23)
(Jewish Telegraphic Agency Mail Service)
Details of the proceedings in the Kimpolung court, when Nicolai Totu, murderer of the Jewish student David Falik was acquitted, were given here.
On Saturday, the day when the trial began, Professor Alexander Cuza, leader of the anti-Semites, and all the members of the Cuza group in the Hungarian parliament were in Kimpolung. Of the 1700 attorneys who volunteered to defend Totu, 60 were admitted and 14 appeared in the courtroom. On Friday evening, before the opening of the trial, the Cuzists lit a bonfire on a mountain near Kimpolung. At noon on Saturday, just before the opening of the proceedings, Cuzist students, carrying the Roumanian flag, marched through the streets and demonstrated before the prison where Totu was being held.
Totu appeared in court in the national garb.
Rodovici, president of the County Court, presided at the trial. In the act of accusation it was stated that Nicolai Totu was 21 years old, that he was a pupil of a gymnasium in Jassy, where he had failed to graduate and had been kept another year for deficiency in his studies. When questioned by the presiding judge as to whether he admits his guilt, Totu replied:
“Yes, I had the intention to kill Falik. I read in a newspaper and in a brochure that Roumanian professors were insulted by Jewish candidates for admission to the schools. I then decided to proceed to Czornowitz in order to avenge the Roumanian professors. For this purpose I obtained from the newspaper “Arma” (a pogrom inciting sheet) in Jassy, a reporter’s card in order to gain admission to the court where the Jewish students were being tried for demonstrating against the examinations. In the men’s room I read the following inscriptions: ‘Down with Roumanians. Down with Ferdinand.’ I was convinced that these inscriptions had been done by Jews. My decision was firm and so I shot Falik, when he left the courtroom.” Replying to the question of a juror, Totu repeated that he came to Czernowitz with the intention of killing Falik.
Many witnesses for the defense were then heard. They all described Totu in the best light.
Witnesses for the accusation were not heard. The state attorney, in his plea, stated that here was a clear case of murder and that the accused admits to having had the intention to kill. Totu should not have taken upon himself the avenging of the professors. Patriotism should not lead to anarchy. Then Totu’s counsels’ including Professor Cuza and Morarescu, spoke.
Ten jurors declared the prisoner not guilty, while two returned a minority verdict of guilty. Following this, the presiding judge pronounced his acquittal and ordered Totu to be released.
Totu was carried from the courtroom in triumph by the students and taken to Jassy.
None of the family of the murdered Jewish student was present in the courtroom in view of the fact that it was dangerous for them to appear in Kimpolung.