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Judge Raymond Refuses Ford Counsel’s Plea to Inspect Sapiro’s Books

April 14, 1927
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

(Jewish Daily Bulletin)

Aaron Sapiro, who is suing Henry Ford for $1,000,000 on charges of libel, recorded a victory today when a heated legal skirmish between his counsel and Ford’s attorneys over the question of inspecting Sapiro’s records of incomes brought a decision from the judge rejecting Ford counsel’s demand.

At the end of a long argument in the absence of the jury, Judge Fred M. Raymond decided that he would not issue an order giving the Ford counsel the “right” of access to the books which have been in the court room daily, but would trust to the opposing attorneys to argue upon a time and place for inspection of the books. They cover the period of 1917-1924 inclusive.

For twelve days Senator James A. Reed of Missouri, chief of Ford counsel, has cross-examined Sapiro in an effort to establish the amounts and manners of fees obtained as legal counsel for farmers organized into cooperative selling associations.

It became known that upon two occasions the books had been opened to a Ford accountant, Ansel F. Hosmer. but that he and Milton D. Sapiro, brother of the plaintiff, who brought the books from San Francisco, and in whose possession they remain, had been unable to make progress.

Hosmer made an affidavit charging obstructive tactics by Milton Sapiro, who in turn made on denying Hosmer’s statement.

Aaron Sapiro made an affidavit that the books were not under his control and had not been since he ceased practicing law in San Francisco, December 31, 1924.

“Deponent denies that any exorbitant or unreasonable charges were made by plaintiff or any of his firms for any services,” concluded Aaron Sapiro’s affidavit.

William Henry Gallagher, counsel for Sapiro, told the court he did not resist the “privilege” to the Ford counsel to inspect the books, but they were, he said, demanding a “right” not granted by precedents, a number of which he cited.

The court is disposed to leave the matter upon the statement of counsel for the plaintiff that facilities will be provided for examination of the books,” ruled Judge Raymond.

The jury was recalled and organization of the Kentucky Burley Tobacco Growers Cooperative Association again was taken up.

It was announced that, upon Senator Reed’s request, the court will adjourn from Thursday night to Monday morning.

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