The Sacco-Vanzetti Case and the Grim Forces Behind It
By ART SHIELDS
The labor press in America, Italy, Spain, Cuba, and other countries, is giving extensive space to the story as it develops. And lately that story has reached the front pages of the big Boston dailies. In the Sunday Post of January 16, this paragraph appears:
"Many well known local people have always doubted the guilt of Vanzetti and Sacco, while labor unions here and in the mill cities of Lawrence, Lowell, and Fall River have declared that the two men are being "railroaded" by the Department of Justice."
Thousands of Italian workers in the America and Europe have come to the aid of Sacco and Vanzetti and are enlisting the support of other nationalities. These Italians have been giving to their upmost; many of the money contributions have meant extreme sacrifice, for they have come from men and women in the big industrial centers who are jobless.
Numerous obstacles have been placed in the path of the defense. Two vital witnesses were permitted to disappear without effort by the state officials to detain them. One of the investigators for the defense was arrested without cause at the instance of Police Chief Stewart of Bridgewater. And the court had to be seen by the defense before a copy of the Vanzetti trial transcript could be obtained; the court stenographer had delayed two months in furnishing this record.
District Attorney Katzmann refuses to permit the defense to examine the exhibits used in the Vanzetti trial. Once he agreed to let the present attorneys use these properties, but on the stipulated day he changed his mind. So it is necessary for the defense to go into court to force Katzmann's hand.
Defense Evades Bribery Trap
Recently a new element has entered into the situation -- an apparent attempt to lure the defense committee into a bribery trap. Mrs. Angelina DeFalco, a court interpreter at Dedham, has been arrested in connection with this attempt.
Specifically she is charged with unlawfully soliciting law business while not being a lawyer herself. But behind the formal charges is the accusation that she offered to throw the murder case to the side of the defense when it comes to trial.
Aldino Felicani, treasurer of the defense committee, swore out the warrant against Mrs. DeFalco.
This women approached Felicani and other members of the committee and represented that, by reason of her connections in Dedham, she was in a position to guarantee an acquittal for both Sacco and Vanzetti. To insure this acquittal, it would be necessary, she explained, to do two things -- to pay a large sum of money, and to push the present defense counsel into the background. In their stead, she stipulated, the defense committee must employ two prominent Deadham attorneys to act as leading counsel.
There is reason to believe that Mrs. DeFalco was the instrument of some person or persons who wanted to compromise the defense committee in such a way that it would be liable for prosecution on a bribery charge.
Vanzetti Aged By Struggle
Vanzetti is in the tailor shop at Charlestown penitentiary. Letters and telegrams are sent by friends outside, but the prison officials will not deliver them to him -- will only read the text of the messages through the bars of his cell. He looks back sadly to young days in the beautiful Piedmont country in Northern Italy, before his mother died; days when he was happy. He is only 32 now, but his face has grown old in twelve years of struggle in America.
<--Previous Up Next-->