Robert Edward Edmondson (born Dayton, Ohio in 1872, died Bend, Oregon April 12, 1959) was a journalist, researcher, and a defendant in the Great Sedition Trial of 1944. He was a delegate to the Pan-Aryan Anti-Jewish Union held in National Socialist Germany in the 1930s. Edmondson was a prolific anti-Jewish researcher and leading propagandist. He described himself as an American Vigilante Patriot.
roots that went back to the colonial days of Virginia and Maryland and was primarily of Scottish descent. He father was Edward Edmondson an artist. Robert Edmondson referred to himself as a Native American (not referring to Amerindians).
Edmondson had a 40-year career as a reporter, editor, author and publisher on economics. He
began his career as a journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio working as a reporter for the Cincinnati Post. Later he moved to New York City and became a financial reporter for the New York Herald and the New York Mail and Express. While in New York he became critical of argued Jewish manipulation of America’s economy and started an independent
financial news outlet, the Edmondson Economic Service.
Edmondson in the 1930s and 1940s wrote on Jewish influence in banking, the press and media in a series of essays which numbered over 400 called American Vigilante Bulletins. His research on Jewish influence in the entertainment media was the forerunner to Who Rules America? written and distributed decades later by Dr. William L. Pierce.
Edmondson was prolific in the number of broadsides
and pamphlets that he issued each month. Between 1934 and 1936 its been estimated he distributed over five million pieces
He believed President Franklin Roosevelt to be Jewish and published the flier Roosevelt’s Jewish Ancestry to make his case.
He appears to be the author of the 1938 pamphlet B'nai B'rith: An International Anti-Christian,
Pro-Communist Jewish Power. The pamphlet was issued under the name John Merrick Church.
On June 11, 1936 Edmondson was indicted by a Jew-majority Grand Jury in New York City and charged
with “libeling all persons of the Jewish Religion.” In preparing his defense Edmondson subpoenaed some of the
most prominent Jews of the time: Bernard Buruch, Henry Morganthau, Rabbi Stephen Wise, Samuel Untermeyer, New York City mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, James P. Warburg, Walter Lippmann and Justice Samuel Rosenman. In response, the American Jewish Committee petitioned the court to drop the charges against Edmondson. On May 10, 1938 the judge dismissed all indictments claiming
there is no group libel law.
In the early 1940s Edmondson was indicted along with 29 others on charges of sedition. The Great Sedition Trial of 1944, as it became known, was declared a mistrial and the charges were later dismissed.
Edmondson on Jews
- "I am not against Jews because of their religion, as a race, a people or as individuals, but because Jewish
leadership [i.e. the bankers] is actively anti-American, is attempting to jettison the American political philosophy and
take over the Country, and that I would continue to be anti-Jewish until Jewry repudiated such subversion. Were the offender
any other than the Jewish minority, my attitude would be precisely the same. This problem is the biggest and most acute thing
in the world today....
- "Knowing that pitiless
publicity is the only cure for public evils, in 1934 I started on a campaign to expose Jewish Anti-Americanism and Talmudic
Communism which has been called the "Code of Hell": a "Rabbi Racket" that victimizes its own followers;
an international "Satanic System" subverting France, Britain, Germany and Russia, causing the present depression
and moving to take over the United States through the Jewish Radical administration [of FDR.] "
In 1939 Edmondson
moved from New York City to Pennsylvania living in Stoddartsville and Scranton. While in Scranton, Edmondson was designated
President of the Sovereign Council of the Sovereign Order of St. John of Jerusalem from 1944 to 1948.
In 1953 he republished some of
his bulletins into a book, I Testify Against the Jews.
He moved to Grass Valley, California and in his later years he campaigned against the fluoridation of drinking water in the Pacific Northwest. He settled in Bend, Oregon where he died on April 12, 1959.
Works - Books
- The Edmondson Case: Jews vs. Christian in court: the record, cold facts, both
sides : allegations as to the international menace of the globe-encircling "Jewish nations." (1936) 65
- I Testify Against the Jews (1953)
- The Rape of the Press: American Free Speech
Subversion Unmasked : Democracy Propaganda Fraud "Exploded"
Great Sedition Trial of 1944
The Great Sedition Trial of 1944 was a political show trial engineered by the American Jewish Committee, ADL, and B'nai B'rith with the purpose of imprisoning anti-communist patriots who opposed FDR and his schemes to bring the country into World War II. The Smith Act of 1940 was used to prosecute the defendants. The case was designated as United States v. McWilliams where the defendants
were charged with conspiracy to aid in establishment of a National Socialist form of government within the United States and attempting to demoralize the armed forces of the United States. A conviction
carried a $10,000 fine and ten years imprisonment. The entire case was declared a mistrial after the presiding judge suddenly
died. Months later another judge dismissed the charges against the defendants and called the case "a travesty on justice."
The trial was staged in
Washington DC thanks to Dillard Stokes an investigative reporter working for the Washington Post. Before the indictments Stokes solicited allegedly seditious publications from the defendants and had them mailed
to his residence in the District of Columbia. This tactic allowed the government to put the defendants on trial in one location and to break them financially, removing
them from their employment, family, and homes.
In total 42 people and one newspaper,
The New York Evening Enquirer, were indicted by three separate grand juries. The first two indictments issued in 1942 and 1943 failed to come to
trial. By the time trial began on April 17, 1944 with the third indictment, there were 30 defendants: 28 men and two women. The trial was held in Washington's Federal District
Court building in a small air conditioned courtroom (40 x 38 ft.) and lasted seven months.
Jews played an instrumental role in pressing for the indictments. A United Press report
stated, Under pressure from Jewish organizations, to judge from articles appearing in publications put out by Jews for
Jews, the new indictment even more than the first was drawn to include criticisms of Jews as "sedition." It appeared
that a main purpose of the whole procedure, along with outlawing unfavorable comments on the administration, was to set
a legal precedent of judicial interpretations and severe penalties which would serve to exempt Jews in America from all
public mention except praise, in contrast to the traditional American viewpoint which holds that all who take part in public
affairs must be ready to accept full free public discussion, either pro or con.
first indictment was a total Jewish affair with prosecuting attorney William P. Maloney in constant contact with the ADL and coordinating the investigations.
First indictment: July 21, 1942
Court Asher, David J. Baxter, Otto Brennemann, Howard V. Broenstrupp, Oscar Brumback, Prescott F. Dennett, C. Leon de Aryan, Hudson de Priest, Hans Diebel, Elizabeth Dilling, Robert E. Edmondson, Elmer J. Garner, James F. Garner, William Griffin, Charles B. Hudson, Ellis O. Jones, William Ernest Kullgren, William R. Lyman Jr, Donald McDaniel, Robert Noble, William D. Pelley, Eugene Sanctuary, Herman M. Schwinn, Edward J. Smythe, Ralph Townsend, James C. True, George S. Viereck and Gerald B. Winrod
Second indictment: January 4, 1943
Court Asher, David J. Baxter, Otto Brennemann, Howard V. Broenstrupp, Oscar Brumback, Prescott F. Dennett, C. Leon
De Aryan, Hudson de Priest, Hans Diebel, Elizabeth Dilling, Robert E. Edmondson, Elmer J. Garner, James F. Garner, William
Griffin, Charles B. Hudson, Ellis O. Jones, William Ernest Kullgren, William R. Lyman Jr., Donald McDaniel, Robert Noble,
William D. Pelley, Eugene Sanctuary, Herman M. Schwinn, Edward J. Smythe, Ralph Townsend, James C. True, George S. Viereck,
Gerald B. Winrod, Frank W. Clark, George E. Deatherage, Frank K. Fernenx, Paquita de Shishmareff (Leslie Fry), Lois de Lafayette Washburn and The New York Evening Enquirer. In addition, twelve other publications and thirteen organizations were named, but unindicted, on a list of "agencies
January 3, 1944
Garland Alderman, David J. Baxter, Howard V. Broenstrupp, Frank W. Clark, George E. Deatherage, Prescott F. Dennett, Lawrence Dennis, Hans Diebel, Elizabeth Dilling, Robert E. Edmondson, Ernest F. Elmhurst, Frank K. Fernenx, Elmer J. Garner, Charles B. Hudson, Ellis O. Jones, August Klapprott, Gerhard Wilhelm Kunze, William R. Lyman Jr., Joe E. McWilliams, Robert Noble, William D. Pelley, Parker Sage, Peter Stahrenberg, Eugene Sanctuary, Herman M. Schwinn, Edward J. Smythe, James True, George S. Viereck, Lois de Lafayette Washburn and Gerald B. Winrod.
Notably absent from the indictments were two popular and influential clergymen
both known for their anti-Semitism: Reverend Gerald L. K. Smith and Father Charles Coughlin. Smith was investigated three times by the FBI finding no apparent foreign "fascist" connections. Also missing from the indictments were any Italian-American Fascist or Ku Klux Klan leadership.
The strategy the prosecution decided to use was to prove all of the
defendants had psychologically joined Germany’s National Socialist movement. The intent of the prosecution was to
show things said by the defendants were similar to things said by the "Nazis"; therefore they were part of the
The defendants were a collection of American nationalists, isolationists, socialists, pacifists, nativists, anti-Semites, and German American Bund leaders with an ideological attachment to the New Germany. The final indictment included five groups of individuals. One group consisted of Washington lobbyists and registered
agents for Germany. Another group were authors who had written books in support of fascism or political treatises that connected the Jews to Communism. Publishers were another group--some with a small newsletter circulation, others such as the magazine The Defender had a monthly readership of over a hundred thousand. Also indicted were the leaders of various nationalist organizations
-- again some with limited influence, but groups like the Silver Legion of America lead by William Dudley Pelley were well organized on a national level. The final group was the German American Bund members, the two top leaders Kunze and Klapprott, along with three from the California branch on the west coast. Elizabeth Dilling's lawyer quipped the Germans were added to give the jury a “sauerkraut” flavor to the trial.
With the exception of Lawrence Dennis, Prescott Dennett, and George Viereck all were anti-Semites to one degree or another. James True, Frank W. Clark, and Lois de Lafayette Washburn favored the death of Jews. Others like William Dudley Pelley favored restricting Jews to certain geographical areas within
America or isolating them to one city per state. Reverend Winrod saw “bad” Jews who should be condemned and “good”
Jews who could be converted. Most of the defendants viewed the Jews as untrustworthy and carriers of the political virus of Communism.
Several of the defendants Ellis Jones, Robert Noble, William Dudley Pelley, George Viereck, Franz K. Ferenz and Gerhard Wilhelm Kunze were in prison for previous sedition convictions or violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act. At the time of the trial, Hans Diebel and Herman Schwinn were being held as enemy aliens. One elderly defendant, Elmer J. Garner, died three weeks after the start of the proceedings. James True and David Baxter were severed from the trial due to health reasons and physical ailments. Robert Noble was severed from the trial for unruly conduct. The trial lasted 119 days with a two-week summer break.
All but four of the twenty-four lawyers who represented the defendants were court appointed and unpaid.
A few of the defendants wanted to act as their own lawyers. The trial became a chaotic farce with defense lawyers competing
among themselves with objections. The judge denied about five hundred motions for a mistrial. Seven defense lawyers were
fined over one thousand dollars for contempt and two lawyers were thrown out of court.
of the defendants, Robert Edmondson, would go on to call these twenty court-appointed lawyers "The Twenty Immortals…who
went far beyond the Call of Duty in behalf of The Constitution." The defense lawyers put their lives and livelihoods
on the line when they took the case of their clients. Attorneys St.George and Little were fired upon when a bullet passed through the windshield of their car. Attorney Powers was beaten by five thugs and placed an hospital for four days. Attorney Henry Klein removed himself from the case a few months into the trial after receiving a number of death threats from fellow Jews. Other
attorneys saw their legal practice begin to fade away.
During the trial and its
aftermath the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)--which at the time was essentially a Communist front organization--did nothing to aid the defendants. Ironically, one of the defendants, Ellis Jones, was an Executive Committee member of the southern California chapter
of the ACLU.
press and public opinion
The trial started with 40 reporters covering
the proceedings, but as it dragged on fewer of them appeared in the courtroom. The Washington Post and the Chicago Tribune initially had their reporters at the trial. In addition, two communist and far-left newspapers the Daily Worker and PM covered the proceedings.
However by July, the third month of the trial, many
of the major papers considered the proceedings a circus and withdrew their reporters from the courtroom. By October only
a handful were in attendance. Representatives from the Washington Star , United Press and International News Service were the few who remained reporting on the trial.
Public opinion began to turn in
favor of the defendants. Newspaper editors like Joseph Patterson of the New York Daily News openly defended the accused seditionists and said they were just "publishers of small anti-Administration sheets."
A few Washington officials were untroubled by the hostile press coverage and openly supported the defendants. Senator
William Langer of North Dakota visited the defendants often in jail and escorted Elizabeth Dilling to and from the courtroom.
The presiding judge, former Iowa Congressman Edward C. Eicher, died suddenly of a heart attack on November 29, 1944. Bolitha Laws, a federal judge in the District of Columbia, took over and asked the prosecutor, O. John Rogge, if he wanted to start a new trial. Realizing the prosecutor had no real evidence to prove sedition, Judge Laws declared
a mistrial on December 7, 1944.
On June 30, 1947 the Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia affirmed
the dismisal of the indictments.
an English-Jewish paper in Chicago was sued by ten of the defendants in 1947 for libel. Four of them collected $24,100 in
The 30 defendants
Below is a list of the organizations,
publications, and books associated with the defendants up to the time of the trial in 1944. Those after 1944 associated
with the defendants are not listed. Known attorneys representing the defendants at the trial are listed as well as attorneys
representing the defendants in the 1946 motions to dismiss.
| Name || Organizations || Publications || Books || Attorneys |
|David Baxter ||Social Republic Society || ||The
Corporate State: A Practical Plan for American Nationalists ||W. Hobart Little, Ira Chase Koehne |
|Lawrence Dennis || ||Weekly Foreign Letter, The Awakener, ||Is Capitalism Doomed?, The Coming American Fascism, The Dynamics
Of War And Revolution ||himself as attorney and Floyd Lanham, Joseph C. Turco |
|Elizabeth Dilling ||Patriotic Research Bureau || ||The Red Network, The Roosevelt Red Record, The Octopus ||Floyd Lanham, Dellmore Lassard, Albert Dilling J. Austin Latimer |
|Ernest F. Elmhurst ||Pan-Aryan League || ||The World Hoax ||Ira Chase Koehne, James J. Laughlin, W. Hobart Little, M. Edward Buckley, Orville Gaudette, John Hillyard |
|Eugene N. Sanctuary ||American Christian Defenders ||Tocsin Publishers ||The Roosevelt Saga, The Talmud Unmasked, * Are These Things So? ||Henry H. Klein, M. Edward Buckley, Marvin F. Bischoff, George B. Fraser |
| Name || Organizations || Publications || Books || Attorneys |
|Robert E. Edmondson ||Edmondson Economic Service ||American Vigilante Bulletin || ||Ethelbert B. Frey |
|Elmer J. Garner || ||Publicity || ||Marvin F. Blachoff |
|Charles B. Hudson || ||America in Danger || ||Frank H. Meyers, Elizabeth R. Young, James A. Davis, Thomas X. Dunn |
|Joe McWilliams ||Christian Mobilizers, American Destiny Party ||The Christian Mobilizer ||The Serviceman's Reconstruction Plan ||Maximilian St.George, W. Hobart Little |
|Edward J. Smythe ||Protestant War Veterans Association ||Our Common Cause || ||James J. Laughlin, Ethelbert B. Frey, M. Edward Buckley, John B. Gunion |
|Peter Stahrenberg ||American National-Socialist Party ||National American || ||L.J.H.Herwig |
|James True ||America First, Inc. ||Industrial Control Reports || ||J. Austin Latimer |
|Gerald B. Winrod ||Defenders of the Christian Faith ||The Defender || ||E. Hilton Jackson, John W. Jackson, George Siefkin |
| Name || Organizations || Publications || Books || Attorneys |
|Garland Alderman ||National Workers' League ||Nationalist Newsletter || ||Harry A. Grant, of Washington DC |
|Howard V. Broenstrupp ||Silver Shirts ||The Gentiles' Review || ||Ira Chase Koehne M. Edward Buckley |
|Frank W. Clark ||National Liberty Party, League of War Veteran Guardsmen || || ||himself as attorney
and M. Edward Buckley, Ira Chase Koehne |
|George E. Deatherage ||Knights of the White Camellia, American Nationalist Confederation, National Workers' League ||News Behind the News || ||J. Austin Latimer |
|Ellis O. Jones ||National Copperheads, |
Friends of Progress
|Copperhead Notes || ||himself as attorney |
|William Lyman ||National Workers' League || || ||Frank J. Meyer, Elizabeth R. Young |
|Robert Noble ||Friends of Progress || || ||James J. Laughlin |
|William D. Pelley ||Silver Shirts ||The Galilean, Liberation, Roll-Call || ||William J. Powers, T. Emmett McKenzie, W. Hobart Little |
|Parker Sage ||Black Legion, National Workers' League ||Nationalist Newsletter || ||Harry A. Grant |
|Lois de Lafayette Washburn ||National Liberty Party, National Gentile League, American Gentile Protective Association || || ||Ira Chase Koehne, M. Edward Buckley |
German American Bund
- ↑ "FDR's patriot purge", The New American, June 16, 2003
- ↑ A MOCKERY OF JUSTICE- THE GREAT SEDITION TRIAL OF 1944
- ↑ Newsweek May 1, 1944
- ↑ The Sedition Case, page 122
- ↑ "U.S. At War: The Curtain Rise", Time, May 1, 1944
- ↑ The Smear Campaign by Joseph P. Kamp
- ↑ TALE OF A "SEDITIONIST" – THE LAWRENCE DENNIS STORY
- ↑ 'The Truth About Gerald Smith: America’s #1 Fascist, page 15
- ↑ FASCISM AND ANTI-WAR ACTIVISM IN THE UNITED STATES 1939-45
- ↑ A Trial on Trial, pages 105, 106
- ↑ Trial on Trial: The Great Sedition Trial of 1944, page 181
- ↑ Right-wing populism in America: too close for comfort, by Chip Berlet and Matthew Nemiroff Lyons, p. 133
- ↑ American Political Trials, by Michal R. Belknap, page 185.
- ↑ Newsweek December 11, 1944, p 44
- ↑ A Trial on Trial, page 13
- ↑ AMERICAN JEWISH YEAR BOOK 1945/1946 page 271
- ↑ TALE OF A "SEDITIONIST" – THE LAWRENCE DENNIS STORY
- ↑ I Testify Against The Jews, by Robert Edmondson, page (D)
- ↑ The Sedition Case, page 88
- ↑ The Sedition Case, page 89
- ↑ Confronting Right-wing Extremism and Terrorism in the USA, by George Michael, page 137
- ↑ "U. S. Indicts Its Two Top Fachists", Life, January 17, 1944, Vol. 16, No. 3, page 15
- ↑ Free speech in the good war, By Richard W. Steele, page 148
- ↑ American Political Trials, by Michal R. Belknap. pages 181, 191.
- ↑ A Trial on Trial, page 22
- ↑ The Propaganda Battlefront, April 29, 1944
- ↑ Our Own Felicity: We Make Or Find, By C. L. Corey, page 85
- ↑ 
- The Sedition Case: Jews vs. Gentiles in court in the District Court of the United States
for the District of Columbia by George E. Deatherage (1944)
- A Trial on Trial: The Great Sedition Trial of 1944, by Lawrence Dennis and Maximilian St.George, (1945) National Civil Rights Committee, (1984) Institute for Historical Review