Alger Hiss Trial
Rumors had circulated about hiss since 1 939 when chambers at the urging of anti Stalinist crusader Isaac don Levine accused hiss of having to belong to an underground ND comma NIST cell. Hoover put a wiretap on hiss’s home phone and had his wife investigated and tailed for two years. Hiss protested his innocence and insisted on appearing before Hugh himself. He denied ever being part of the communist party.
It then became a war of wars and Nixon was voted in to determine who was lying hiss or chambers. When Chambers called Hiss a communist he filed a defamation suit against him.Chambers retaliated by again calling him a communist and also a spy. He produced a 65 page of notes in Hiss hand writing which also summarized the contents of the state department cables which then became the Baltimore files. Both Chambers and Hiss had denied having committed espionage. By introducing the Baltimore documents, Chambers admitted he had previously lied, opening both Hiss and himself to perjury charges. Chambers also gave a new date for his own break with the Communist Party, an important point in his accusations against Hiss.
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For over nine years, beginning September 1, 1939, he had claimed to have quit the party in 1937. Chambers now began to claim the actual date was sometime in early March 1 938, the year of the “Baltimore documents. Trial: The grand jury charged Hiss with two counts of perjury but did not indict IM on espionage since his statute of limitations ran out. Chambers was never convicted of a crime. Hiss went to trial twice his first trial started on May 31, 1 949, and ended in a hung jury on July 7.Chambers admitted on the witness stand that he had previously committed perjury several times while he was under oath, including deliberately falsifying key dates in his story. At both trials, a key to the prosecution’s case was testimony from expert witnesses, stating that identifying characteristics of the typed Baltimore documents matched samples typed on a typewriter owned by the Hisses at the time of his alleged espionage work with Chambers.
The prosecution also presented as evidence the typewriter itself. Given away years earlier, defense investigators had located it.This trial resulted in an eight-to-four deadlocked jury. “That, according to one of Hiss’s friends and lawyers, Helen Butteries, was the only time that she had ever seen Alger shocked-?stunned by the fact that eight of his fellow citizens did not believe him. In the second trial, Heed Massing, an Austrian-born confessed Soviet spy who was being threatened with deportation, and whom the first judge had not permitted to testify, provided some slight corroboration of Chamber’s story. She recounted meeting Hiss at a party in 1935.Massing also described how Hiss had tried to recruit Noel Field, another Soviet spy at State, to switch from Mining’s ring to his own.
This time the jury found Hiss guilty. According to Anthony Summers, “Hiss spoke only two sentences in court after he had been found guilty. The first was to thank the judge. The second was to assert that one day in the future it would be disclosed how forgery by typewriter had been committed. Hiss was sentenced to five years in jail. He only served 3 years and 8 months, in prison he acted as a voluntary attorney, advisor and tutor to his inmates.