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This Day in Georgia History

August 19, 1913

Leo Frank Trial Day 20

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

After Leo Frank’s statement the previous day, the twentieth day of his trial was rather anti-climatic. The defense continued its parade of character witnesses, one of whom prosecutor Hugh Dorsey got to admit that he had once seen Mary Phagan talking with Leo Frank and that Phagan seemed to be backing away. There was another bitter disagreement between the opposing attorneys over the defense team’s attempts to discredit the statement of Minola McKnight. McKnight was the housekeeper for the Selig family (Frank’s in-laws with whom he and his wife lived) who had signed a statement saying Leo Frank was intoxicated and talked of suicide the night after Phagan’s murder. Though McKnight later repudiated the statement, which had been signed after she spent a night in jail and undergoing hours of intensive questioning, Dorsey still introduced it as evidence, leading to yet another vehement argument between the opposing sides.