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Opinion >  Column

100 years ago in Spokane: Bombshells emerged during opening statements in the Maurice Codd perjury trial

 (Spokane Daily Chronicle archives)
(Spokane Daily Chronicle archives)

Prosecutors laid out a strong case in opening arguments for the sensational Maurice Codd perjury trial.

Among their contentions:

  • That Codd’s attorneys coached Beatrice Sant to give false testimony exonerating Codd, and paid her $300 to do so.
  • That the attorneys “secured a divorce” for Sant and refused to advise Sant’s mother of her location.
  • That another defense witness, Nellie Fryett, was hired by the defense as a “detective” at $4 per day, and later helped spirit Sant away to Sandpoint and Montana to avoid a grand jury indictment.
  • That defense attorneys offered to pay a Fort Wright soldier $25 to steal the hospital records of Frank Brinton, the soldier who Codd was accused of murdering.
  • That Brinton did not fall over the railing to his death at the Granite Hotel, as Sant and others testified. Instead, Codd deliberately tossed Brinton over the railing.

This was just the beginning of what would prove to be a long trial, with 15 defendants. The defense had not presented its case.

Also from the trial beat: A hearing specialist provided some favorable testimony for W.J. Van Skike in his manslaughter trial. The doctor said Van Skike was largely deaf.

This was significant, because Van Skike was charged with running down an elderly widow in his car and dragging her for blocks while she screamed for him to stop.

Also on this day


1789: New Jersey is first state to ratify Bill of Rights.

1945: The Nuremberg war trials begin.

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