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3 Major Jewish Groups Seeking Full, Posthumous Pardon for Leo Frank

April 27, 1983
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith and the Atlanta Jewish Federation have submitted on application to the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles seeking a full and complete posthumous pardon for Leo Frank, exonerating him and declaring him innocent of the murder of Mary Phagan 70 years ago.

The Frank case, involving one of the most disputed trials in American history, was brought to light again last March when an 83-year-old Virginian, Alonzo Mann, gave a swom statement to the Nashville Tennessean newspaper declaring that Frank was innocent.

According to the three groups, “Leo Frank was on innocent man convicted in a trial permeated with perjury and prejudice, and lynched by a mob inflamed with anti-Semitism.” The trial led to the founding of the Anti-Defamation League in 1913.

The three groups said that in connection with their application for pardon, they submitted “new evidence not available at the time of the trial in Fulton Superior Court. A major part of the new evidence is the testimony of Alonzo Mann, who at the time of the murder was an office boy in the National Pencil Company, managed by Leo Frank. Mann’s testimony first brought to public attention by Nashville Tennessean reporters Jerry Thompson and Robert Sherborne, shows conclusively that the crime could not have been committed as described by prosecution witnesses at the trial.”

Describing the conviction and lynching of Frank as one of the worst episodes of anti-Semitism in the history of the United States, the AJCommittee, ADL and the Federation said “it continues to be a blot on Georgia’s criminal justice system. By issuing a full and complete pardon, the Board of Pardons and Paroles can repudiate the twin evils of prejudice and mob rule and right an historic wrong.”

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