Spectacular 1915 Syracuse Trial with Teddy Roosevelt Brought to Life in New Book

Aug 9, 2019

You might see the Onondaga County Courthouse regularly in downtown Syracuse, not knowing it was the site of the "Trial of the Century" - a libel case against Teddy Roosevelt.
Credit cnyhistory.org

It was called the trial of the century ... and in 1915 brought Teddy Roosevelt to a Syracuse courtroom.  Now it’s the subject of the book Theodore Roosevelt for the Defense.  Authors Dan Abrams, Legal Affairs Correspondent for A-B-C News and Best Selling Author David Fisher will be here to talk about it Tuesday. 

“And here locally, it was a mob scene at the courthouse, particularly when Teddy Roosevelt was on the stand.”

Onondaga Historical Association Executive Director Gregg Tripoli recalls the historic event.

“The trial lasted about 6 weeks and Teddy spent a total of 8 or 9 days on the stand.  It was  a standing room only event.”

The authors used court transcripts and newspaper clips from a century ago that O-H-A had to recreate both the legal story and what it meant.  Roosevelt was being sued for libel after publicly criticizing Republican Party leader William Barnes of corruption.  Tripoli explains Barnes struck back in a move that threatened political futures and legacies.

“For Teddy Roosevelt we’re talking about someone who was defending his reputation.  He was a former Governor, former President.  This really went to the crux of his honesty and his character.” 

Dan Abrams and David Fisher host events Aug 13th to talk about their book, Theodore Roosevelt for the Defense."
Credit cnyhistory.org

Tripoli adds the book reads like a thriller, with courtroom drama and historical context when the nation’s eyes were trained on Syracuse. 

Authors Abrams and Fisher will be at a meet-and-greet event at the Three-One-Seven restaurant and a presentation in the courthouse where the trial took place next Tuesday.  Information on both events at CNYHistory.org