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strengthen your case against them on the last trial 1-A. Oh, very mach.
Mr. STEWART. That does not appear from the result.
The WITNESS. Mr. Stewart, I have nothing to do with results. The first jury would have convicted if it had not been for the foreman. The second jury did not have nearly the intelligence of the first.
Q. Who was the foremau of the first jury? Was it Mr. Dickson A. Yes, sir. You cannot expect people who don't know how to read or write to determine a case of forgery; neither can you challenge such people and keep them off the jury.
Q. How many men were there on the panel that could not read or write ?-A. I think there were about three. I know that, however, only by hearsay.
The CHAIRMAN. Proceed with your statement.
The WITNESS. Well, do you want to know anything about the second trial ?
The CHAIRMAN. If there is any important fact in relation to it that you have not yet mentioned, you may state it.
The WITNESS. As I have told you, there were 77 witnesses examined for the Government at the first trial and 13 that were not examined. We offered in evidence 2,300 papers. The testimony covered 3,286 printed pages. At the second trial we examined 150 witnesses; there were 2,761 papers offered in evidence; there were 4,481 pages of testimony, and, including speeches, there were 5,876 pages of the record. The second trial closed on the 14th of June, 1883. There was no disagreement between the counsel for the Government in any way during the second trial. Colonel Bliss, I think, had made up his mind that he was going for Dorsey, and he did go for him. Whatever he had lacked in the first trial he made up in the second. He went for Stephen Dorsey as vigorously and viciously as any of us.
Now, during the time of the first trial, there were other indictments that I prepared in addition to those I have mentioned. There were indictments presented by the grand jury as follows: 14355, against John H. Wallace, for perjury; 14356, against Marshall G. Candee, for perjury; 14357, against George V. Meserole, for conspiracy; 14358, against Meserole and Brady, for conspiracy; 14359, against Price and Brady, for conspiracy.
The total number of indictments that we prepared was 26. There was one that I prepared during the December term that was not used, and one that I started to prepare, in either the Salisbury or the Parker cases, I cannot tell which, but I prepared one indictment of that batch before the cases were taken away from the grand jury. That made 28 indictments that I prepared altogether in the star-route cases. Then I prepared, also, other indictinents in the bribery cases, relating to the bribing of the jury. I think there were 8 of these indictments prepared.
Q. State what indictments were prepared in regard to attempts to bribe the jary.-A. Well, there were eight people who were implicated in attempts to bribe the first jury, and indictments were prepared against them.
Q. In whose interest was that tampering with the jury ?-A. In the interest of the defendants.
Q. What was the nature of the charge in those indictments ?-A. We charged the parties with attempting to influence the jury improperly.
Q. Just explain the facts as they came to your knowledge.-A. Well, I did not pay so much attention to the facts of the cases. Mr. H. H. Wells was employed as special counsel in those cases and he could give
you a statement of the testimony. It would be useless for me to attempt to do so, because I simply prepared the indictments and did not give a great deal of attention to the facts. I don't know wbat has been done in the cases. I had nothing to do with them beyond the preparation of the indictments.
WASHINGTON, May 27, 1884. WILLIAM W. KER resumed the stand and was further examined.
The CHAIRMAN. You may proceed with your statement, Mr. Ker, in your own way.
The WITNESS. I want to say to the committee before I proceed that I am not indulging in any personal criticism here. I am not stating anything that I do not know either by it being told to me, or from my personal knowledge. I am content to state facts. I want somebody else to do the criticising. I do not propose to criticise here the conduct of any gentleman. I am sworn to tell the truth, and I simply want to state facts and let whoever feels competent to criticise do so.
Now, I have stated a conversation which took place between Mr. Mer. rick and myself in relation to Colonel Bliss desiring to let Mr. Dorsey go, and Colonel Bliss's subsequent action in producing the bill of fare of the New York dinner and his newspaper interview, to show the ground upon which certain hotel expenses were incurred in order to find a place where the witnesses could be brought quietly and examined. That is the reason why that expense was incurred and the reason why Mr. Merrick, I suppose upon consultation with the Attorney-General, arranged that plan of proceeding.
I want to make one statement here for the benefit of the members of the bar, some of whom have asked me about the quashing of that in. dictment. The court quashed the indictment as to M. O. Rerdell only. It did not quash the entire indictment, but only the indictment as to one of the persons named, Rerdell; and the court did that of its own motion. There was no application made to the court to quash the indictment. The judge assumed that he should take judicial notice of the indictment of Rerdell by his initials as an inaccuracy, and he called upon us for an explanation and an arguinent, and we made the argument. After nine years' experience in my own State, in this business, 1 am able to say that we use initials there in indicting without any question whatever, and I know that the same practice prevails in a number of other States, because I have made inquiry on that point. That is, the old common law rule requiring the Christian name of the party to be set out in the indictment is no longer in force, because the reason for it has ceased. In old times a man was best known by his Christian name. He acquired his surname by reputation; for example, a man was known as “John," or " Thomas," or "James" of such a place. It is like the “mystery." In former times it was regarded as necessary to set out the mystery, or craft or condition in life of the party, to state that a man was a yeoman or laborer, or that a woman was a spinster or a married woman; this was one means of identification, but it was only necessary where the process of outlawry was resorted to. So with regard to the Christian name. There seems to be no longer any necessity for setting it out in full in an indictment for the purpose of identification. In many places it is
held that the initials are sufficient, but the judge held that in this dis. trict it is an absolute necessity to set out a Christian name in full.
By the CHAIRMAN : Q. Why was no notice taken of the fact that “ J. L.” Sanderson was indicted only by his initials 1-A. I think that Sanderson was not brought in.
Q. He was in the indictment?-A. Yes, but there was no warrant for his arrest.
Now, after these indictments were found on the 4th of March, as I have stated, I went on preparing other indictments. The grand jury came into office after the 4th of March. The 4th day of March, 1882, was Saturday, and they came in on the following Monday, the 6th. Mr. Merrick came into the case on the 29th of March. At that time I had no idea that I was to take any part in the trial. I was told that the cases of Sanderson, Salisbury, the Parkers, Roots & Kerens, and others were before the grand jury; whether they were or not I cannot tell, because I had no personal knowledge of the matter other than the fact that Colonel Bliss told me that he was investigating those cases and had brought the witnesses on. I understood that Colonel Bliss, in order to throw the defendants off the scent and keep them from knowing what he was doing, had the witnesses sworn as of the Dorsey case. That is, the witnesses that were to be used in the Salisbury and Parker cases were sworn by the court to give testimony in the Dorsey case. That I know nothing about except from what he has testified to. Mr. Merrick, of course, knew nothing about those cases. He had lately come into the cases and he was not fam. iliar with the facts. He was attending to getting this Dorsey case ready for trial, and the other matter was left entirely to Colonel Bliss. Some time before the grand jury of March, 1882, adjourned finally, Colonel Bliss came to me and told me that there was no use in bothering any further with the indictments as to the Parkers, Salisburys, and those people, because he said he had agreed to arbitrate the cases. I told him he could not do it. He said, 6 Why not?” Well there was no use in my discussing that question with him. I did not think he could do it, but he said he could. Of course that was an intimation to me that I was to stop my work on the indictments, and I stopped. Afterwards I was told that Colonel Bliss had entered into some sort of agreement to arbitrate those cases and had withdrawn them from the grand jury. Now, I do not know what the testimony was in regard to those routes generally, but there were several of them in which the testimony struck me as remarkably strong. There was a route from Pembina to Fargo in which the testimony was as strong as in any of the cases that I had an opportunity to judge of. However, the whole matter was taken away from the grand jury.
Q. Who was the foreman of that grand jury I-A. Mr. Mitchell, I suppose. I never went before that grand jury.
Q. What time in the term was it that Mr. Bliss told you that those cases were to be arbitrated !-A. It was somewhere about the close. They closed, you know, prior to the third Monday in June. It was somewhere just preceding the close of the term, and of course I knew that the statute of limitations would bar the offenses after that ad. journment.
Q. Just state in detail the conversation that took place at that time between you and Mr. Bliss with regard to that arbitration.-A. Colonel Bliss came up to the room where I was in the Department of Justice and said: "Well, Ker, you need not bother yourself any more about those indictments." I said, “What is the matter?" He said, " I have agreed to arbitrate them; to take them away from the grand jury." I replied, “ You can't do it." He said, “ Why, not?” That was the end of it.
Q. Was the Mitchell grand jury stillin session at that time?-A. I think so. That was the end of the conversation. I had no disposition to ar. gue the matter with him, as he was the person who was responsible for it.
Q. You were proceeding to prepare indictments on those routes, and had got some of them ready-A. Yes; I had some of them ready and I tore them up.
Q. In what cases had you prepared the indictments, as far as your recollection now goes 1-A. There were so many indictments that I do not remember which ones I had almost ready. I think I had some entirely prepared. I think I had a couple of cases against Parker ready, but I cannot exactly recall the cases, because I tore the indictments up and that was the end of it.
Q. Were those routes in the Parker, Salisbury, and Sanderson combi. nations ?-A. They were, some of those. I cannot tell exactly which ones I had ready, or nearly ready. I was pushing the indictments along in order to have them ready when the grand jury should make the presentments. I wish to state to the committee now what may not be gen. erally understood, that the mode of procedure in this district is entirely different from anything that I have ever known before. The supreme court of the district has no original criminal jurisdiction. It only ob. tains jurisdiction over a criminal case by a presentment from the grand jury. The grand jury hears the witnesses, comes into court and hands in a paper saying that they present so and so for such an offense, and that the witnesses are so and so. The court then orders the district attorney to send the grand jury an indictment upon that presentment. The grand jury made no presentments that I am aware of in any of these cases.
Mr. Merrick spoke to me about this arbitration matter some time af. terwards, and asked me if I knew anything about it. I told him I did not, except that Colonel Bliss had told me that he was going to arbi. trate the cases. Mr. Merrick said, “It is a singular thing that Colonel Bliss has not informed me of it.” I asked him if Colonel Bliss had not done so, and Mr. Merrick said, "I remember that he did say something about being going to arbitrate the cases, but I supposed that he was coming back to have a talk with me about it, and I have never heard anything more of it.” Mr. Merrick would, of course, be able to tell you about this better than I can; I am only giving you what he told me. In November, 1882, the Attorney-General sent a circular letter to the counsel in the case, which I will read to the committee :
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE,
Washington, November 4, 1882. GENTLEMEN: Some time since, in correspondence with Mr. Bliss, I called his attention to the other star-route cases that were yet unpresented to the grand jury. Special notice has been made in the public prints, charging that those against Salisbury and others were purposely withheld from the grand jury, and that they were to enjoy immunity. I desire that you give those cases your especial attention. If there are any, let them be proceeded with at once, as soon as your convenience will permit.
I do not write this because I think you need to be spurred, for I know you do your
duty with ability and earnestness and strict integrity, but I write because I wish in a formal way to call your attention to them, and to depute you to act in the premises with earnestness and energy; and do not under any circumstances allow the statute of limitations to protect any of these parties from prosecution. I am, with great respect, yours,
Attorney-General. Messrs. Bliss, MERRICK, AND KER.
I asked Mr. Woodward about these cases, but as I have already stated, the statute of limitations had barred the cases because they had not been presented in June, and of course I could not do anything with them. I do not think I made any written communication on the subject to the Attorney-General, but I told him verbally that the matter was entirely in the hands of Colonel Bliss, who had assumed the respon.. sibility and had agreed to arbitrate the cases. I do not recall exactly what the Attorney-General said, but it was something to the effect that he wanted no arbitration that he wanted the guilty punished. However, it was too late then to talk about punishing them.
In the summer of 1883 the Attorney-General sent an order to me to give him a report upon the status of those cases. In order to make that report, to ascertain what witnesses had been examined before the grand jury and what the grand jury had done, I went to the office of the district attorney and called for the grand jury minute-book. Each grand jury keeps a minute of its proceedings. At every session of the grand jury they enter in a book provided for the purpose the names of the witnesses who appear before them and what disposition they make of each case that is submitted to them. The grand juries in the District of Columbia have evidently kept minutes of their proceedings from the time the grand jury was formed. When I called for this book I was told that there was no minute of the March grand jury. I asked for the minute book; this one was handed to me, and I was extremely surprised to find that that grand jury had kept po minute whatever of its proceedings. I asked the clerk in the district attorney's office, who was responsible for that omission, and he said he did not know. I asked Mr. Taggart, the gentleman in the district attorney's office who usually attends the grand jury, how it was that this grand jury had kept no minutes of their proceedings. Mr. Taggart said that he had had nothing at all to do with that grand jury; that it was all taken out of his hands. Mr. Corkhill, who was then District Attorney, is responsible, I suppose, for the omission to keep any minutes of the proceedings of that grand jury. There is not a scratch of a pen to show that there was a grand jury in session here during March, 1882.
Q. Please look at this book which I now hand you, and say whether it is one of the grand jury minute-books kept in the District of Columbia.-A. (After inspecting it.) Yes; this is the grand jury minute-book.
The CHAIRMAN. I will state to the committee that yesterday I ad. dressed a note to Mr. Worthington, the district attorney, asking him to send me the grand jury minute-book, and he transmitted me the book which I have now shown the witness, and which he identifies as the grand jury minute-book kept in this District.
Q. Now, please point out the place where this omission occurs.-A. On page 81 of this book I find the date March 4, 1882. That was the grand jury that assembled in 1881, the one that found this batch of indictments. That grand jury made an entry, as you perceive, that they had found indictments against Brady, Miner, Peck, the two Dorseys, Henry M. Vaile, M. C. Rerdell, J. L. Sanderson, and William H. Turner.