NEW YORK (Jan. 7)
United States Attorney John T. Cahill stated at a press conference yesterday that he would contest the jurisdiction of a State court over a Federal officer in reply to a “show-cause” order granted by Justice Philip C. McCook to Joseph E. McWilliams, commander of the Christian Mobilizers, seeking to restrain Mr. Cahill and Attorney General Frank Murphy from continuing an investigation of anti-Semitic groups.
Mr. Cahill said he would make a “special appearance” in State Supreme Court next Wednesday. This is the technical term applied when the jurisdiction of a court is questioned.
McWilliams, in his affidavit, charged that the Government had threatened to use income tax, passport and foreign agent laws against him and members of his organization, because of anti-Semitism and was thus depriving him of his rights and infringing on State police powers. He said that “if there be an offense known to the law as anti-Semitism and if the defendants have jurisdiction to prosecute for such an offense, then your deponent and his members should be subjected to such a charge.”
Mr. Cahill would not admit that prosecution of McWilliams was planned. In Government circles here it was pointed out that McWilliams, by his action, was inviting prosecution. It was also said that the implication of McWilliams’s affidavit was that anti-Semitism should be held ground for immunity from violation of income tax, passport and foreign agent laws.
While Mr. Cahill would not comment on the status of the investigation of anti-Semitic organizations, which was announced by Mr. Murphy at a press conference in Washington last week, it was understood that the inquiry in New York was not yet completed.
The Federal attorney also declined comment on a statement appearing in The Hour, anti-Nazi information service, that Federal agents were considering prosecution of McWilliams for evasion of income tax payments and illegal use of mails.