A mistrial, because Juror No. 7 recognized Benjamin Simon, one of the principal defendants, as a friend, brought to a temporary end, yesterday, on its second day, the trial of 84 poultry dealers charged with violation of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act and with maintaining a reign of terror over the $50,000,000 live poultry business in the metropolitan area.
The trial was resumed 40 minutes later before Judge John C. Knox in the U. S. District Court, when a twelfth juror was chosen, and attorneys for both sides had consented to accept the remaining eleven jurors.
The defendants face a possible sentence of 3 years in prison and a fine of $15,000 each. The trial is expected to last six weeks.
Of the eighty-four defendants, seventy-seven are officers and members of the Greater New York Live Poultry Chamber of Commerce, three officers of the Official Orthodox Poultry Slaughterers of America, Inc., and four officers of Local 167 of the International Brotherhood of Chauffeurs, Teamsters, Stablemen and Helpers of America.
A grandstand was erected in the court, on which the defendants were seated in six rows, each banked higher than the other.
The first day’s proceedings were enlivened by the protests of the counsel for the defense, Arthur N. Sager, who contended that the structure was not only uncomfortable but unconstitutional. Declaring that the men in the upper rows were deprived of their constitutional right to consult with counsel because of the seating arrangement, he moved that the trial be adjourned until the stand, erected as a cost of $417 be taken down and replaced by chairs with backs. Without disposing of this motion, Judge Knox proceeded to impanel the jury.
Benjamin and William Simon of the Live Poultry Chamber of Commerce pleaded guilty after the jury was chosen. A third defendant, David Wernick, pleaded guilty last week, and a fourth, Louis Cohen, absent because of illness, will be tried separately later. (Continued on Page 4)
The prosecution is in the hands of Assistant U. S. Attorney Generals, Israel B. Oseas, Walter L. Rice and Seymour D. Altmark.
Assistant U. S. Attorney General Oseas charged the defendants with being conspirators, declaring that “They made it as much as a man’s life was worth to go down to Washington Market in defiance of their regulations and attempt to buy poultry. They maintained and still maintain a reign of terror over the $50,000,000 live poultry business of the metropolitan area, practically all in chickens, whereby they assessed the market not less than $500,000 a year, and pushed the price of freshly slaughtered kosher chickens up 10 to 15 cents a pound.”
The defendants who are held on $500,000 bail, asked Judge Knox to recognize that the supply of chickens for Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year will be paralyzed if the trial continues for six weeks as anticipated.
Judge Knox consented however to adjourn the trial only on Thursday, Friday and Monday to make provision for Yom Kippur.
Counsel for the defense, in addition to Mr. Sager includes, S. H. Kaufman, Julius Hallheimer, Abraham Mennan, Edward W. Drucker, John W. H. Crim and Samuel Abrahams.