New York Times

Ex-Professor Is Absolved of Attempting to Obstruct the Draft
American Socialist Society Convicted of Obstructing Recruiting and Enlistments.

Scott Nearing, ex-professor in the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Toledo, was acquitted yesterday by a jury in the Federal Court of a charge attempting to obstruct the draft. The American Socialist Society, co-defendant and publisher of “The Great Madness.” on which the indictments were chiefly based, was found guilty on the third and fourth counts.

On motion of Seymour Stedman, chief counsel for the defense, Judge Julius M. Mayer set aside the verdict on the third count, which alleged that the defendants had caused insubordination, mutiny and refusal to obey orders in the military forces of the Government. The court held that the jury’s findings were inconsistent with the verdict rendered in Nearing’s case. Judge Mayer fixed March 3 for argument to set aside the verdict against the American Socialist Society on the remaining count. This count alleged that Nearing and the American Socialist Society had obstructed recruiting and enlistments in the armed forces of the United States. The maximum fine for attempting to obstruct the draft is $10,000.

Surprise was expressed at the verdict against the American Socialist Society as Nearing admittedly wrote “The Great Madness” and other pamphlets mentioned in the complaint, which they published. While the jurors declined to say how they reached their decision, it was learned on a good authority that the verdict was a compromise. For a long time it was said the jury stood ten to tow in favor of convicting Nearing, the two men holding out because they believed Nearing was entitled to his convictions.

The jury, which was out about thirty hours, began its deliberations at 12:30 Tuesday afternoon, and did not reach an agreement until shortly after 6 o’clock last night. The trial lasted twelve days.

s The defense at the continuation of the trial of Jeremiah A. O’Leary yesterday placed witnesses on the stand to show that the defendant was in the Adirondacks in September, 1917, instead of Long Beach, as testified by Government witnesses. Instead of conspiring with German agents at the Hotel Nassau at Long Beach, the defense asserted he was seeking to restore his health in the mountains. Michael and Patrick H. Breen, cousins of the defendant, swore that O’Leary stayed at the Tahawus Club, near Elizabethtown. John E. Singleton of Glen Falls told Federal Judge A. N. Hand and the jury that the defendant had stopped at his home on Sept. 1 and 2.

Major Michael F. O’Rourke, a veteran of the Spanish-American War and a member of the Executive Committee of the Sons of Irish Freedom, testified that O’Leary, who is charged with violation of the Espionage act, had never opposed the draft in any of the addresses he had heard him make. He characterized O’Leary as 100 per cent American.

The defense called several witness to convert testimony given by witness for the Government that O’Leary had urged an audience at a meeting at 715 Lexington Avenue, after the passage of the Selective Service act, to fight conscription. They all testifies that the defendant confined his remarks to expressing thanks for the work they had done at the Irish Bazaar held several months previously in Madison Square Garden. The trial will be continued today.


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