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Lindbergh Kidnapping: Hauptmann Trial Was a Sham

Saturday, September 26, 2015 6:17
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In the long procession of American patsies, one of the most egregious was Richard Hauptmann, who was framed for the 1932 kidnapping and murder of Charles Lindbergh’s baby son. In this excerpt from his book “Programmed to Kill,” Dave McGowen shows how the Hauptmann prosecution was a total farce.

By Dave McGowen
(excerpt by 

On September 19, 1934, German immigrant Bruno Richard Hauptmann was arrested and charged with the kidnapping and murder of the Lindbergh baby. 

After being held without access to an attorney, deprived of sleep, and unmercifully beaten, all in an effort to extract a bogus confession, Hauptmann was put in a police line-up alongside two burly Irish cops, one of them still in uniform. He was positively identified. 

Norman Schwarzkopf ‘s New Jersey State Police promptly moved Hauptmann’s wife out of their home, assumed the lease, and moved in. By all appearances, they then proceeded to manufacture and plant evidence. 

A week after Hauptmann’s arrest, an officer living in his former home ‘discovered’ that the ladder found at the Lindbergh home had been partially constructed from a floorboard allegedly missing from the attic of the Hauptmann home. 

The trial of Richard Hauptmann was, even relative to the standards established by other trials discussed in this book, a ridiculously transparent sham. Virtually everyone who has studied the case, including those who believe that Hauptmann was guilty, acknowledge that the defence case that was presented was hopelessly inept. 

Hauptmann’s attorney, Edward J. Reilly, who was provided for him by the New York Daily Mirror, had only one fifteen-minute private conference with his client throughout the entire trial. He was visibly inebriated during much of the proceedings. He was also reportedly supplied with a steady stream of attractive young prostitutes throughout the trial. 


(Hauptmann with his own son.) 

Even had Reilly been motivated to win the case, it would have been an uphill battle. No deposition of witnesses was allowed and no discovery evidence was turned over by the state. The prosecution’s case was kept completely under wraps until it was revealed at trial, making it impossible to plan a defense. 

A number of the witnesses called by the state gave obviously perjured testimony that was completely at odds with both prior statements to police and prior testimony before a grand jury. One such witness was Charles Lindbergh himself, who was, amazingly enough, allowed to sit at the prosecution table throughout the trial, packing a loaded handgun in a shoulder holster. 

Transcripts of the trial reveal a painfully obvious bias displayed by the judge, who distinguished himself by routinely overruling all defense objections and just as routinely sustaining all prosecution objections. He also openly mocked the case presented by the defense in his final summation to the jury. 

Despite the obviously stacked deck, however, the defense could have introduced enough reasonable doubt to win an acquittal had the identification of the child’s body been challenged. [See Note below.] It was not, however, and Hauptmann was quickly found guilty and sentenced to die. 

Just two weeks after the guilty verdict was rendered, defense attorney Reilly suffered a complete nervous breakdown. He was quickly shuffled off to a Brooklyn mental hospital in a straightjacket. Just a few weeks later, he was back in action as though nothing had happened. 

Appeals of the conviction were summarily denied, the final denial coming from the U.S. Supreme Court on December 9, 1935. 

New Jersey Governor Hoffman, however, was resisting the wholesale fraud being perpetrated. He openly accused both Schwarzkopf ‘s team and the prosecution team of fabricating evidence, particularly the ladder, and he announced his intention to go to the Board of Pardons on Hauptmann’s behalf. In the wake of that announcement, the Lindberghs fled the country bound for the United Kingdom. Hauptmann was executed three-and-a-half months later at the state prison in Trenton, New Jersey.” 


On May 12, 1932, the mutilated and decomposed corpse of a child was found less than three miles from the Lindbergh home. The body was ‘discovered’ in a remote location where there was only one building nearby–a Catholic orphanage directly across the road. The corpse’s left leg was missing below the knee, as was the left hand, right arm, and most of the internal organs. A ludicrously inept autopsy was promptly performed on the body… by funeral home director Walter Swayze, who was entirely unqualified for the task. …Charles Lindbergh himself positively identified the body as that of his missing child… In truth, all he really needed to check was a tape measure; the body that was discovered was thirty-three inches tall. According to Swayze’s autopsy report, whereas the missing Lindbergh child was only twenty-nine inches tall, as listed on the ‘Wanted’ posters distributed around the country. The boy’s own physician, who spent more time with the corpse than Lindbergh, was unable to positively identify the remains. The body was most likely not that of [his son], and Charles Lindbergh, Sr. must surely have been aware of that even as he claimed the dead child as his own and ordered its immediate destruction. Less than twenty-four hours after being discovered, the body had been cremated and the ashes scattered at sea Anne Lindbergh would later say that she never saw Charles shed a tear for the slain boy.” Programmed to Kill , p. 350 

Thanks to Glen for sending this! 


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