Showing posts with label Mann Act. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mann Act. Show all posts

Thursday, April 4, 2013

4/4/44: Charlie is acquitted of all charges in the Mann Act case


After the verdict was announced, Charlie was overheard saying, "I believe in justice. I have an abiding faith in the American people." Oona Chaplin, who was pregnant at the time (with Geraldine), fainted when she heard the news on the radio.

Chaplin's attorney, Jerry Giesler, later described him as "the best witness I've ever seen in a law court. He was effective even when he wasn't being cross-examined but merely sitting there, lonely and forlorn, at a far end of the counsel table. He is so small that only the toes of his shoes touched the floor."

Prosecutor Charles Carr shakes Charlie's hand. Jerry Giesler is on the right. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Attorney Jerry Giesler consoles Charlie who wept on the witness stand describing the night Joan Barry came to his house with a gun, March 1944

Charlie was on the witness stand for 2 hours and 20 minutes.  Below he describes the night in December 1942 when Joan confronted him with a pistol at his Beverly Hills home:

"I came home rather late. I was in my bedroom. I heard a disturbance and there was Joan with a gun pointing at me. She half-circled around the bed and said 'I am going to kill you.'"

"I was scared. I tried to reason with her and said to her 'What of this supposed love for me? It is all a pretense and a sham or you wouldn't act this way!"

"She phoned me night after night and this led to intimacies. I asked her why she would embarrass me night after night in front of servants and help with her scenes and tantrums."

"I told her of my belief in her as she stood there with the gun. I told her of my faith in her ability. I told her how I'd bought a play for her and how it would cost $250,000 just to stage the production."

"Finally she said to me, 'I don't think you're worth it,' and then she added, 'I'm going to kill myself and I'm going to do it here in your room.'"

Charlie choked up and began to cry.

"I heard Edward [his butler] and my two sons out in the hall. I called out to the boys, 'Sons, there is a little trouble, you had better go home to your mother. They couldn't go. They didn't have a car."

"I told Joan she would have to go home. She said, 'I am destitute. I am going to stay here.' I said, 'you can't stay. I'm going to throw you out.'"

"She said if I came near her she would kill herself. I went downstairs."

Charlie finally agreed that she could sleep in the guest room. The next morning, Charlie gave her money and his butler drove her home.

After a recess, Charlie's attorney, Jerry Giesler, asked him:

"Now Mr. Chaplin, that night in your home did you in your bedroom have an act of sexual relationship with Miss Barry after she had laid the gun on the table and after which she picked up the gun?"

"I did not," replied Chaplin.

"Did you have any act of intimacy that night with Miss Barry?"

"I did not."

(Milwaukee Sentinal & Pittsburgh Post Gazette, March 31st, 1944)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Mann Act trial, 1944

In February 1944, a federal case was brought against Charlie for violation of the Mann Act, a law which prohibited the transfer of a woman across state lines for sexual intentions (Chaplin had purchased round-trip train tickets from Los Angeles to New York for Joan Barry & her mother). The charges were ridiculous. As Chaplin's lawyer pointed out, Joan would have willingly had sex with Charlie at any time without having to schlep her to New York to do it. Following a humiliating trial, he was eventually cleared of the charges, but his public image in America was severely damaged.