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This Day in Georgia History

August 18, 1913

Leo Frank Trial Day 19, Frank Testified

To view an image of Leo Frank at his trial, see the Digital Library of Georgia.

The nineteenth day in the trial of Leo Frank opened with another group of character witnesses on behalf of the defendant. Then, Leo Frank finally took the witness stand. For four hours, he calmly but firmly he told his side of the story. According to Frank, detectives had tried to distort everything he said in order to incriminate him. He freely admitted to being nervous after hearing of the murder, claiming any man in his position would be nervous - especially after seeing the body of Mary Phagan. He said Mary came in for her pay soon after 12:00 noon on April 26th, returned a few minutes later to ask if the shipment of metal had arrived (Phagan’s job was putting metal tips on pencils), then left his office and he never saw her alive again. He worked on a financial report that afternoon, then went home. Frank said that Jim Conley’s testimony was all lies, and that he never saw Conley that day. Frank concluded by answering those who had questioned why he wouldn’t talk to the police or press: “Some newspaper man has called me ‘the silent man in the Tower.’ Gentlemen, this is the time and here is the place! I have told you the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”