Photograph of lawyers who represented the New York 12, members of the Communist Party of the U.S.A. who were indicted for conspiring to subvert the government. The lawyers, from left to right, are Abraham J. Isserman, George W. Crockett, Richard Gladstein, Harry Sacher and Louis F. McCabe. A federal grand jury, after a sixteen-month investigation of Communist activity in the U.S., indicted 12 party members for organizing a political party dedicated to Marxism-Leninism, promoting Marxism-Leninism in publications, and establishing schools to teach the need to overthrow the government by force or violence. The defendants were indicted under the Smith Act, which made it a crime to knowingly or willfully advocate the overthrow of any government in the U.S. by force or violence. The trial of 11 of the 12 defendants began on Jan. 17, 1949, in the U.S. District Courthouse in Foley Square, New York City, and lasted for nine months. Jurors found the defendants guilty, and Judge Harold Medina sentenced them to terms of three to five years in prison. Medina also sentenced the defendants' lawyers to jail terms of one to six months for contempt of court.
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