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Los Angeles Judge Dismisses Slander Charges in Telecast on Anti-semitism

September 28, 1961
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Riverside County Superior Judge Merrill Brown dismissed charges of conspiracy to commit criminal slander stemming from a telecast which charged that anti-Semitism was rampant in Elsinore, a California resort town.

Judge Brown held that the grand jury which indicted TV newscaster Pat Michaels and eight others, including some Elinsore city officials, was the “victim of hysteria.” A friend of the court brief was filed in the case by the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California.

The ACLU chapter asserted that the California statute under which the grand jury acted was a modern equivalent of seditious libel laws and added that such laws have been held to infringe on fundamental free speech rights in direct violation of the first amendment.

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