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100 years ago in Spokane: Attorney accused of pressing witness at gunpoint

 (Spokesman-Review archives)
(Spokesman-Review archives)

A sensational lawsuit involving embezzlement and bribery look an even more sensational turn when one of the attorneys in the case was accused of brandishing a revolver to force a witness to testify.

The witness, H.J. Sheppard, said he was summoned to the office of attorney Dwight Anderson and forced to make a statement about an allegation of bribery brought against Anderson.

By what authority, Sheppard asked Anderson, was he being held?

“I hold you by this authority,” said Anderson, drawing the gun.

Anderson had earlier been appointed as the “referee” in the case, apparently meaning he was asked by a judge to gather testimony and documents in preparation for the trial. However, at some point, one of the principals in the lawsuit alleged that Anderson called him into his office and demanded a bribe to settle the case.

Anderson allegedly said, “I have continued this case to ascertain what a decision is worth to you, and unless you pay me some money, I am going to soak you.”

Sheppard claimed he heard part of this exchange. This accusation outraged Anderson, which prompted him to demand a statement from Sheppard.

Anderson denied it all, calling it “the joke of the season,” but the judge was considering a motion to remove Anderson for misconduct.

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