Monday, March 26, 2007

Hauled into court (part 2 of 2)

So whatever happened to Paul Grosse?

Well, in the months following his arrest for allegedly violating the nation's espionage act, Grosse's case was to be referred to a federal grand jury when it met in mid-March 1918.

But all that likely changed when U.S. Judge William B. Sheppard heard details about the case against Charles Meitzen of Fayetteville.

Meitzen, indicted for violating the espionage act, went to trial in Sheppard's court.

Prosecutors accused Meitzen of:

* Making a false statement (and thereby promoting the success of the enemy) by saying that when Americans are drafted, they won't have to go overseas

* Causing disloyalty by saying, "Whoever volunteers is a ... "

* Obstructing recruitment efforts by advising men to not volunteer but wait for the draft

After testimony finished, Sheppard dismissed the jury and allowed federal prosecutors to explain why Sheppard warranted prosecution.

The Houston Post reported that Sheppard said Meitzen would have had to make his remarks directly at a soldier in order to try the case under the espionage act. The judge brought the jury back and instructed them to return a verdict of not guilty against Sheppard because the evidence failed the support the case.

Prosecutors first brought Meitzen's case to court because they believed it was the strongest among all the other espionage cases.

Seeing what he thought was his best case of espionage fall apart, District Attorney John Green Jr. wanted to have the charges withdrawn in all the other espionage cases pending before the court, the paper reported.

Grosse, whose case was headed to the grand jury, likely had his charges withdrawn, as well.

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