Pelley Defense Fails to Prove ‘persecution’
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Pelley Defense Fails to Prove ‘persecution’

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Attempts of defense counsel in the trial of William Dudley Pelley, leader of the anti-Semitic Silver Shirts, and his three co-defendants to show “that attorneys for the state are representing a private prosecution” bobbed up again today as the second week of the trial began. Pelley and his associates are accused of having violated the state “blue sky law.”

Judge Wilson Warlick ruled, however, that the attorneys were regularly employed and that he considered that sufficient. Robert R. Williams and Thomas J. Harkins are assisting Solicitor Zebulon Nettles in prosecuting the case.

Defense attorneys announced this morning that Stanley Winborne, State Utilities Commissioner, who had been subpoenaed, was present to testify regarding the employment of the attorneys. However, permission to place Winborne on the stand was refused, and after some discussion Judge Warlick ruled the attorneys were regularly engaged.


Harkins told the court he was serving in the case at the request of Winborne. “I think,” Harkins said, “attorneys on the other side are disturbed due to some great bugaboo transferred from the disordered mind of their client. I expect to receive no fee unless the State or North Carolina appropriates funds for that purpose.”

Judge Warlick commented that he was not concerned over whether the case was a controversy between “Jew or Gentile— Communist or Nazi— or reptile or something else— that does not make any difference to me. The only thing under consideration is the violation of the State capital issues law.”

Robert H. McNeill, defense attorney, said that the prosecuting attorneys are “not so big and so


great but what their conduct may be questioned.” He said “the entire burden” of the case had beer on the two attorneys in question and not on Solicitor Nettles.


Prosecutor Nettles told the court he had requested Winborne to retain the services of the two attorneys and “I asked them personally to be in the case.”

The jury was dismissed from the court room during the discussion. When the jury returned George Anderson, former treasurer of Pelley’s Foundation for Christian Economics, who was or the stand when the court recessed Friday, was called back to the stand. He testified concerning his employment and subsequent release from the organization.

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