Trial, Jury And Aftermath: American Tragedy And What We Have Learned
Ethel and Julius Rosenberg were executed on June 19, 1953, following their 1951 conviction in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Judge Irving Kaufman, presiding. The formal legal charge was Conspiracy to Commit Espionage. Dubbed the crime of the century, the public’s mindset was that they were executed for providing the Soviet Union, during the height of the Red Scare, with the ability to destroy our country with the atomic bomb. Theirs was the most sensational case of the McCarthy period.
The chief witnesses against the Rosenbergs were David Greenglass, brother of Ethel, and Ruth Greenglass, David’s wife. David was also charged with the same crime, testified against his sister and her husband, and then was sentenced to fifteen years in prison, serving approximately ten years. Ruth Greenglass, facing similar allegations as her husband, was never charged and lived to see her children grow into adulthood, along with her husband, David.
This presentation will address many topics, including but not limited to:
The lawyers and judges involved, their role, and questions about the part they played in the ending of the life of the Rosenbergs.
The massive amount of information released since 1953, including court transcripts, underlying government documents, articles and scholarly law school reviews, including an exhaustive review by the Setal Hall Law School as to the propriety of the conviction and execution of particularly Ethel Rosenberg.
The 2001 interview by David Greenglass on nationally seen Sixty Minutes, in which he at least partially recanted his devastating testimony about his sister, Ethel, admitting that he had lied about his sister in an effort to protect his wife. David refused to authorize the release of the grand jury transcript before his death. His wife Ruth died in 2008.
The Grand Jury testimony and the enhanced testimony at trial as compared to the Grand Jury testimony.
The offensive use by the prosecution and the Trial Judge of the invocation by Ethel Rosenberg of her right to remain silent pursuant to the 5th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
The apparent belatedly created case against Ethel Rosenberg, coupled with government assertions that there was “insufficient evidence” to charge Ethel, but that she could be used “as a lever against her husband.”
Whether Ethel had knowledge of and agreed with her husband’s activities is an unknown today, and Mr. Meeropol will reflect upon that issue.
The Venona papers intercepts and how they shed light on what actually occurred.
The view of the Rosenbergs sons, Michael and Robert, that their mother was not a spy, and what was done to extract allegations, true or false, to secure her conviction and execution.
What the sons are doing in an effort to seek a formal government exoneration of Ethel Rosenberg.
And much, much more………
Come join us for this painstakingly informative presentation via which you will touch history, as Mr. Meeropol brings the story of his parent’s trial, conviction, and execution to life, in the room where it happened……. New York.
- April 4, 2023
- 12:00 PM
- 3:00 PM
- Virtual Participation
- Criminal Justice Section
- Committee On Continuing Legal Education