Al Capone`s Trial

Al Capone’s Trial
Investigating the case
 Even though Al Capone, by his real name Alphonse
Gabriel Capone, was a well-known and feared
mobster from Chicago, he was brought in front of the
justice with civil charges for twenty-two counts of
tax evasion, totalling over $200,000. Capone and
68 members of his gang were charged with 5,000
separate violations of the Volstead Act. These
income tax cases took precedence over the
Prohibition violations.
The Defendant
 Alphonse Gabriel "Al" Capone ( January 17,
1899 – January 25, 1947)
The Prosecution
Frank J. Wilson
 Frank J. Wilson
George E. Q. Johnson
 During the trial Attorney George E. Q. Johnson made a
mockery of Capone’s claim to be a ‘Robin Hood’ type
figure and man of the people. He stressed the hypocrisy
of man who would spend thousands of dollars on meals
and luxuries but give little to the poor and unemployed.
How, he asked, could Capone possess so much property,
vehicles and even diamond belt buckles when his defence
lawyers profess that their client had no income?
 After nine hours of discussion on 17 October 1931, the
jury found Capone guilty of several counts of tax evasion.
Judge Wilkerson sentenced him to eleven years,
$50,000 in fines and court costs of another
$30,000. Bail was denied.
Ledger showing payments to Capone and others
Prosecution Witnesses
 Chester Bragg, insurance salesperson (participated in civic
organization raid on gambling hall)
 Leslie Shumway, cashier at gambling hall
 Rev. Henry C. Hoover, man who led raid on gambling hall
 Frank Wilson, revenue agent introducing "the Mattingly letter"
 Parker Henderson, transferred Florida estate to Capone's wife
 John Fotre, manager at Western Union branch
 Morrisey Smith, clerk at Metropole Hotel
 Fred Reis, gambling hall cashier
The Defense
Albert Fink
Michael J. Ahern
Defense Witnesses
 Milton Held, bookie
 Oscar Gutter, bookie
Defense Witnesses: Milton Held, bookie
Oscar Gutter, bookie
 Direct examination by Mr. Fink:
Fink: Have you had any transactions with the
defendant, Alphonse Capone?
Held: Yes, while I was taking oral bets at Hawthorne
in 1924 and 1925. I would take a bet and settle the
next day.
Fink: Did he win or did you?
Held: He lost, I judge, about $12,000.
Fink: When you say you judge, does that mean to the
best of your recollection?
Held: It does.
Main arguments of the defense
 Michael J. Ahern, one of the lawyers of Al Capone,
argued in front of the jury that the defendant was much
alike Robin Hood. He also referred in the trial to a roman
story of a Sergeant by the name Cato that ended every
speech in the Senate meetings with “Carthage must be
destroyed”. According to the defense “these censors of
ours, these prosecutors, the newspapers all cry, "Capone
must be destroyed!" ”. Another of his arguments
concluded that the US Government spent loads of money
on bringing witnesses from different states just to show
that Capone was a spendthrift and that was not a good
reason to imprison someone. Also, that in those hard
times, that money should be spend on soup kitchens.
Main arguments of the prosecution
 George E. Q. Johnson argued the credibility of the
defendant’s income, that a man who spends that much
amount of money can not earn that less. He also pointed
out that it is the duty of the US Government is to enforce
the revenues laws and without that there will be no more
civilization and the USA will become eventually a jungle.
The prosecution also criticized the “Robin Hood”
statement of the defense. His argument was : Robin
Hood took from the strong to feed the weak.
Did this Robin Hood buy $8000 worth of belt buckles for
the unemployed? Was his $6000 meat bill in a weeks for
the hungry? Did he buy $27 shirts for shivering men who
sleep under Wacker Drive?
The chronology of the case
 January 17, 1899
Alphone Capone is born in Brooklyn, New York to Italian immigrants.
Al Capone joins Johnny Torrio as a member in the Colosimo mob.
Torrio retires, elevating Capone to boss. Capone extends the gang’s control
over illegal brewing, distilling, and distribution of beer and liquor.
April 27, 1926
Chicago prosecutor Billy McSwiggin is gunned down outside a bar in
Cicero. McSwiggin had attempted to charge Capone with murder in 1924.
February 14, 1929
St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. Seven associates of the Moran Gang are
gunned down at SMC Cartage Company by men dressed in police
February 27, 1929
Capone is subpoenaed to appear before a Chicago Heights grand jury
investigating possible violations of the Prohibition Act.
The chronology of the case
 March 11, 1929
Capone’s lawyers file a petition to postpone his appearance on March 12th, and
attach an affidavit from Capone’s physician, Dr. Kenneth Phillips, which attests to
Capone suffering bronchial pneumonia. Capone is reportedly bedridden and alleges
it would be dangerous to his health to travel to Chicago to appear in response to the
subpoena. That night Capone attends the Sharkey-Stribling boxing match.
March 20, 1929
Capone appears before the Chicago Heights grand jury and testifies for 80 minutes.
March 27, 1929
Capone makes his second appearance before the Chicago Heights grand jury. After
finishing his testimony, Capone is arrested for contempt of court and released after
posting $500 bail.
May 17, 1929
Capone and bodyguard are arrested in Philadelphia for carrying concealed
weapons. Each is later sentenced to one-year terms in prison at the County Prison
at Holmesburg. Capone is soon transferred to Eastern State Penitentiary.
March 17, 1930
Capone is released for good behavior after serving nine months.
The chronology of the case
 April 23, 1930
The Chicago Crime Commission issues first Public Enemy List. Capone
tops the list.
February 27, 1931
Capone is found guilty on a contempt of court charge and sentenced to six
months in Cook County Jail. Capone is released on bond pending appeal.
March 13, 1931
Capone is indicted for tax evasion relating to failing to file a return for
June 5, 1931
Capone is indicted on charges for tax evasion for the years 1925 to 1929.
June 11, 1931
Capone is indicted on one count of conspiracy to violate the Prohibition
June 16, 1931
Capone decides to plead guilty to all tax evasion and prohibition charges. A
plea agreement is negotiated calling for a 2 ½ year sentence.
The chronology of the case
 July 30, 1931
Sentencing Hearing Judge Wilkerson informs Capone that he is not bound by that
arrangement in determining Capone’s sentence and will reject it. Capone changes
his plea to "not guilty."
 October 6, 1931
The tax evasion trial of Al Capone begins. Judge Wilkerson switches the potential
jury pool prior to voir dire after receiving word from Frank Wilson that Capone may
have been able to bribe members of the original jury pool.October 18, 1931
Capone is convicted of three felony counts of tax evasion and two misdemeanor
counts of failing to file a tax return.
 November 24, 1931
Capone is sentenced to eleven years in Federal prison, a fine of $50,000, and court
costs of $30,000. Additionally, Capone is ordered to pay $215,000 plus interest for
back taxes. The six month contempt of court sentence is served
concurrently. While awaiting the outcome of his appeal, Capone is housed in Cook
County Jail.
 February 27, 1932
Capone’s appeal is denied.
The chronology of the case
 March 23, 1932
Rehearing of Capone’s appeal is denied.
 May 2, 1932
The Supreme Court denies Capone’s petition for certiorari.
 May 4, 1932
Capone begins serving sentence at the U.S. Penitentiary in Atlanta.
 August 22, 1934
Capone is transferred to Alcatraz.
 November 16, 1939
Capone is released from prison after serving 7 years, 6 months, and 15 days
and having paid all fines and back taxes due.
 January 25, 1947
Capone dies from a stroke in Palm Island, Florida.

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