Sunday, September 14, 2008

The NARA Releases Secret Grand Jury Transcrpts Of Rosenberg Trial

The above is an abc40 (Western Massachusetts) video of Robert Meeropol which is coupled with a statement of his reaction to that release at The Rosenberg Fund For Children
an excerpt from the National Coalition For History on the release
On September 11, 2008, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) opened formerly secret Grand Jury testimony transcripts from the trial of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg more than fifty years after they were indicted on espionage charges, convicted, and executed. The release of the transcripts resulted from a successful lawsuit filed by the National Security Archive at George Washington University, the American Historical Association, the American Society for Legal History, the Organization of American Historians, the Society of American Archivists, and New York Times reporter Sam Roberts almost eight months ago.
NARA released 940 pages of transcripts from 41 of 45 witnesses’ appearances before the Rosenberg grand jury between August 1950 and March 1951. Testimony of three witnesses: David Greenglass, Max Elichter, and William Danziger, has been withheld due to objections by the witnesses.
In July, Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York said that the government must release most of the sealed grand jury records from the Rosenberg trials. The federal government conceded in a June filing that the Rosenberg case is of “significant historical importance” and said it would not contest the release of testimony of witnesses who have passed away or consented to the disclosure.
The documents include the grand jury testimony of Ethel Rosenberg’s sister-in-law, Ruth Greenglass, in which she describes writing in her own longhand the information her husband obtained at the Los Alamos nuclear installation, for passing on to Julius Rosenberg and the Soviet Union. Records of the Federal Bureau of Investigation show that ten days before the trial against the Rosenbergs commenced, Ruth and David Greenglass for the first time mentioned that Ethel Rosenberg had typed those notes. At trial, Ruth and David Greenglass testified that Ethel Rosenberg had typed up the information from the Los Alamos nuclear installation. Ruth Greenglass was never herself prosecuted for her role. The lead prosecutor used the Greenglass testimony as the culmination of his closing speech to the jury, saying that Ethel Rosenberg sat at that typewriter and “struck the keys, blow by blow, against her own country in the interests of the Soviets.”
Ronald Radosh, co-author of The Rosenberg File and one of the experts who filed affidavits in the case, commented, “The grand jury documents cast significant doubt on the key prosecution charge used to convict Ethel Rosenberg at the trial and sentence her to death.”

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