Sapiro Counsel Asks for Mistrial, Claims Attitude of Court Prejudiced Jury
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Sapiro Counsel Asks for Mistrial, Claims Attitude of Court Prejudiced Jury

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(Jewish Daily Bulletin)

A motion to declare a mistrial in the Sapiro-Ford $1,000,000 libel suit was made by William Henry Gallagher, Sapiro’s counsel, late Monday afternoon following a day of prolonged and detailed cross-examination of the plaintiff by Senator James A. Reed, chief of Ford’s counsel. The motion was rejected by Judge Raymond and the accompanying statements of Gallagher were declared by the court “grossly improper.”

The motion was caused by statements made by the court when a sharp clash occurred over the mode of questioning adopted by Senator Reed in his eleven day cross-examination of Sapiro.

The cross-examination continued all day.

Counsel for Henry Ford had gone into the business dealings of Sapiro with the fishermen and sea captains of Southern New England, his counsels with salmon packers of Washington and Alaska, some minor operation in soft coal fields of Kentucky and in the onion fields of Indiana.

“Did you have anything to do with the organization of an Onion Growers’ Association in Indiana?” he asked.

“Yes,” said the witness. The Senator made his way through a parcel of depositions, all aimed at the frequency and size of Mr. Sapiro’s fees, and then, with deliberation asked :

“Now, so as not to waste any time on that, did you get some fees out of it?”

Mr. Sapiro angrily replied : “I won’t waste any time on it.”

“Witness,” Judge Raymond said, sharply, “that is not necessary at all.”

“I must insist,” he said to Mr. Sapiro, “that you confine yourself to answering the question and I shall have to be more insistent in the future than I have been in the past because of your apparent willingness to disobey the injunction of the Court.”

Mr. Gallagher tried to speak, but Judge Raymond silenced him with the remark that he did not cart to hear any more arguments.

“If the Court.” declared Mr. Gallagher, “would be just as prompt in excluding improper question, it would not be necessary for the witness to answer.”

“I do not care for any criticism as to the failure of the Court to get into further controversies,” the Judge said.

Mr. Gallagher again tried to speak but again was cut off.

“The difficulty has been,” the Court continued, “that there has been too much controversial matter which led up nowhere. A ruling ought to be the end of controversy, and an exception by counsel preserves all rights. To continue discussions after the decision is made is not, I think in accordance with the best practice, to put it mildly.”

Mr. Gallagher was not to be stayed, however.

“I feel,” he said, his face reddening, “that you have unjustly prejudiced us by this comment. We have endeavored to facilitate this case in every way and to bring out everything germane to it, To put us in the light of obstructing the case is certainly, it seems to us; absolutely unfair to the witness and myself.”

Judge Raymond suggested to Mr. Gallagher that he note an exception on the record to the Court’s statement and proceed with the case. He added that he had no intention of criticising the plaintiff’s conduct with regard to the evidence.

“Nothing has been taken against the witness by reason of anything that I have said. It ir. not meant in any purposeful way or critical way, but the statement is made hoping that it may result in progress when we do again resume the usual form of examination.”

Mr. Sapiro left the witness stand to confer with Mr. Gallagher. He later said that he had instructed his counsel to ask a mistrial. Mr. Gallagher did so.

“If the Court please,” he said, ”regardless of the intention of the Court in the first place, I feel that the Court’s language and the Court’s demeanor was such as to prejudice the witness as a litigant and I ask to have a mistrial declared.”

Judge Raymond’s thin lips were compressed to a grim line as he heard the request.

“The motion is denied,” he said, “and the statement of counsel is grossly improper. There has been nothing in the manner of the Court which justified the remark which counsel has just made. It is utterly improper and it is simply a continuation of the apparent unwillingness of counsel to accept the direction of the Court.”

“I will note an exception,” said Mr. Gallagher.


The Jewish communities in the state of Pennsylvania have achieved a singular record in the United Jewish Campaign.

This state, whose $2,500,000 quota was the largest quota undertaken by any state in the United Jewish Campaign, has within the past few months reported an “over the top” result for every community in which a local drive has been conducted, Only one city, Chester, remains in which a drive is still to be launched.

Dr. Cyrus Adler is honorary chairman of the Eastern Pennsylvania zone. Albert H. Lieberman of Philadelphia is chairman, with the following zone vice-chairmen : Horace Stern, Benjamin M. Golder, Jacob Billikopf, Lessing J. Rosenwald, Philadelphia; David Kaufman, Harrisburg; Charles Klein, Allentown; Alex Luria, Reading; Samuel Samter, Seranton; J. K. Weitzenkorn, Wilkes-Barre. Maurice L. Wurtzel of Philadelphia is the eastern zone treasurer, and William Hirsch of that city secretary.

The Western Pennsylvania zone is headed by Albert C. Lehman of Pittsburgh, with Alfred M. Oppenheimer and Abraham Seder of that city as vice-chairmen. The treasurer is Aaron Cohen, and the assistant treasurer A. Cass Sunstein, both of Pittsburgh.

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