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Monday, August 10, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Spokane: Former Washington State football Coach ‘Lone Star’ Dietz arrested again

A federal grand jury indicted famed football coach William H. “Lone Star” Dietz for a second time, after the first charges resulted in a hung jury in a Spokane federal courtroom, The Spokesman-Review reported on June 27, 1919. (Spokesman-Review archives)
A federal grand jury indicted famed football coach William H. “Lone Star” Dietz for a second time, after the first charges resulted in a hung jury in a Spokane federal courtroom, The Spokesman-Review reported on June 27, 1919. (Spokesman-Review archives)

A federal grand jury indicted famed football coach William H. “Lone Star” Dietz for a second time, after the first charges resulted in a hung jury in a Spokane federal courtroom.

Hours after the first trail ended, Dietz was re-arrested on the new indictment, charging him with lying about his citizenship on his registration card, and lying about being engaged in a “necessary war enterprise,” as the director of the American Indian Film Corp. of Spokane. Dietz claimed he was making movies that served the war effort and improved morale.

The new indictments differed from the first set, because they no longer contended that Dietz was a “white man,” instead of a “non-citizen Indian,” as he claimed on his draft questionnaire.

The new indictment simply contended that Dietz was a “natural born American citizen,” born in Wisconsin. This avoided the murky and confusing question of Dietz’s Indian heritage, which was largely what caused the first trial to result in a hung jury.

The new indictment also refuted Dietz’s claim on his draft questionnaire that he was making war propaganda films and that his film company employed 15 people. The indictment claimed that the company made no movies at all and had zero employees. It said Dietz never got beyond trying to float the corporation’s capital stock.

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