Harris and Blanck Leave Court
THE JURORS SMUGGLED OUT
Throng in the Street Hisses and Re-
The jury in the case of Isaac Harris and Max Blanck, owners of the Triangle Waist Company at Washington Place and Greene Street, where 147 persons lost their lives in a fire on March 25 last, who have been on trial in General Sessions for manslaughter in the first and second degrees, brought in a verdict of not guilty yesterday after being out an hour and forty-five minutes.
Judge Crain praised the jurors for the close attention they had given to the case, and then gave orders that that they be smuggled out of the courtroom by a rear entrance. Harris and Blanck were taken into the Judge's chambers, where a squad of policemen lead them through a maze of courtrooms to the Tombs Court, through which they finally left the building, surrounded by a guard of policemen and detectives. They were escorted to the Worth Street Subway station amid the hissing and reviling of relatives of victims of fire, who were kept out of the courtroom by order of Judge Craig.
The scene in the courtroom when the jury announced its verdict was commonplace enough, and no demonstration was made. Outside, however, there was excitement and confusion. Men rushed about shouting: "Harris and Blanck are acquitted!" while lawyers gathered in groups and freely discussed Judge Crain's charge. Many of them commented upon the fact that he had failed to make any mention of the number of lives lost, or of the locked door in the waist factory. One well-known criminal lawyer said it was also strange that no mention was made of the witnesses for the defense, who first made sworn statements to the District Attorney that the door was locked and then testified in court that it was open.
Judge Crain's Charge.
Judge Crain in his charge first explained the law applicable to the case, and said that the District Attorney contended that Margaret Schwartz met her death as the result of the Washington Place door on the ninth floor of the factory being locked. In charging the jury on this point he said:
"Because they are charged with a felony, I charge you that before you find these defendants guilty of manslaughter in the first degree, you must find that this door was locked. If it was locked and locked with the knowledge of the defendants, you must also find beyond a reasonable doubt that such locking caused the death of Margaret Schwartz. If these men were charged with a misdemeanor I might charge you that they need to have no knowledge that the door was locked, but I think that in this case it is proper for me to charge that they must have had personal knowledge of the fact that it was locked."The jury retired at 2:50 o'clock and filed in again at 4:56. Before they consented to leave the jury room they made the court attendant step to one side and came into court with blanched faces. After they had taken their places Judge Crain said: "Before the jury renders its verdict I wish to say that there must not be any demonstration of any kind in this courtroom, and wish to warn all those in the rear of the room that there must be unqualified silence."
Foreman Leo Abrahams then announced the verdict and Jurors Charles Vetter and Abraham Weschler added: "That is right; that is the verdict of all of us."
The jurors were then directed to leave by a rear door, and after being smuggled through the Judge's Chambers they got out by a back entrance. Harris and Blanck went to the Judge's Chambers where Mrs. Blanck joined her husband and several relatives of Harris joined him also.
Had Police Escort.
In the meantime a special squad of policemen detailed from the Elizabeth Street Station, at the request of District Attorney Whitman, attempted to clear the corridor, but were instructed to leave the crowd of sobbing men and women alone, and escort the defendants out of the building. On the White Street side of the Criminal Court Building a throng of excited people had gathered near the door, and so they changed their plans and went to the Tombs Court, and from there to the street, leaving a taxicab which the two men had ordered waiting at the White Street entrance.
Just as Harris and Blanck stepped out in Franklin Street David Wetner of 1,476 Madison Avenue, whose sister Rose was among those lost in the fire on March 25, rushed up to them and shouted: "Murderers! Murderers! You are acquitted now, but we will get you yet!"
Weiner fell in convulsions and had to be taken to the Hudson Street Hospital in an ambulance. There it is said he is suffering from a disordered mood.
None of the jurors would make a statement, but it was learned that three
ballots were taken, the first being 8 to 2 for acquittal, with two jurors
not voting, the second 6 to 6, and the last a vote for acquittal.
Here is a list of the jurors:
Max D. Steuer, counsel for Harris and Blanck, said he doubted if they
would be brought to trial again, but it can be stated upon the best of
authority that they will be tried upon of the six indictments still standing
against them some time the near future, and that the trial will be held
in the Criminal Branch of the Supreme Court.
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