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Politicians in Trouble or Disgrace

Politicians in Trouble or Disgrace: Libel and Slander
As criminal offense or scandal

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in chronological order

  Michael Walsh (1810-1859) — also known as Mike Walsh — of New York, New York County, N.Y. Born in Youghal, County Cork, Ireland, May 4, 1810. Democrat. Convicted about 1845 for publication of a libel; member of New York state assembly, 1847-48, 1852 (New York County 1847, New York County 12th District 1848, 1852); U.S. Representative from New York 4th District, 1853-55. Died in New York, New York County, N.Y., March 17, 1859 (age 48 years, 317 days). Interment at Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, N.Y.
  See also congressional biography — Govtrack.us page — Find-A-Grave memorial
  Charles Edward Travis (1829-1860) — also known as Charles E. Travis — Born in Alabama, August 8, 1829. Member of Texas state house of representatives, 1853-54. Court-martialed and discharged from the U.S. Cavalry, on charges of conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman, based on incidents of alleged slander, unauthorized absence, and cheating at cards. Died, of consumption (tuberculosis) in Washington County, Tex., 1860 (age about 30 years). Interment at Masonic Cemetery, Chappell Hill, Tex.
  Relatives: Son of Rosanna (Cato) Travis and William Barret Travis (1809-1836).
  Louis Stern (c.1856-1901) — of St. Paul, Ramsey County, Minn. Born in Germany, about 1856. Democrat. Naturalized U.S. citizen; newspaper reporter; U.S. Commercial Agent (Consul) in Bamberg, 1893-1901. Jewish. Arrested and fined in Kissingen, Germany, 1895, for insulting the Baron von Thuengen; also charged with misrepresenting his 15-year-old son as being twelve in order to get cheaper passage to Europe for him on a steamship; the U.S. Consul General in Berlin asserted that Mr. Stern was "very harshly and unjustly treated". Depressed over financial problems and perceived anti-Semitism, he began neglecting his work; he was recalled as commercial agent in 1901, but remained at Bamberg; his failure to return money he had collected on behalf of U.S. citizens led to a judgement against him for 2,000 marks, which he was unable to pay; he died by self-inflicted gunshot, in the public gardens at Bamberg, Germany, June 10, 1901 (age about 45 years). Burial location unknown.
  John Looney (1865-1942) — also known as Patrick John Looney — of Rock Island, Rock Island County, Ill. Born in Ottawa, La Salle County, Ill., October 5, 1865. Lawyer; newspaper publisher; indicted with others in 1897 over a scheme to defraud the city of Rock Island in connection with a storm drain construction project; convicted, but the verdict was overturned on appeal; candidate for Illinois state house of representatives, 1900; created and led a crime syndicate in northwest Illinois, with interests in gambling, prostitution, extortion, and eventually bootlegging and automobile theft; indicted in 1907 on 37 counts of bribery, extortion, and libel, but acquitted; shot and wounded by hidden snipers on two occasions in 1908; on February 22, 1909, he was shot and wounded in a gunfight with business rival W. W. Wilmerton; on March 22, 1912, after publishing personal attacks on Rock Island Mayor Henry M. Schriver, he was arrested, brought to the police station, and severely beaten by the mayor himself; subsequent rioting killed two men and injured nine others; resumed control of the Rock Island rackets in 1921; in 1922, he was indicted for the murder of saloon keeper William Gabel, who had provided evidence against Looney to federal agents; arrested in Belen, N.M., in 1924, and later convicted of conspiracy and murder; sentenced to 5 years in prison for conspiracy and 14 years for murder; served 8 1/2 years. Irish ancestry. Died, of tuberculosis, in a sanitarium at El Paso, El Paso County, Tex., 1942 (age about 76 years). Burial location unknown.
  Relatives: Son of Patrick Looney and Margaret Looney; married 1892 to Nora O'Connor (died 1903); nephew of Maurice T. Maloney (1853?-?).
  See also Wikipedia article
  William Berri (1848-1917) — of Brooklyn, Kings County, N.Y. Born in Brooklyn, Kings County, N.Y., September 12, 1848. Republican. Carpet merchant; printing business; newspaper publisher; officer or director of banks, electric utilities, and the New York Telephone Company; delegate to Republican National Convention from New York, 1904, 1908, 1912, 1916; delegate to New York state constitutional convention at-large, 1915; member, New York State Board of Regents, 1916-17. Congregationalist. Member, Union League. In 1911, he was arraigned on a charge of criminal libel over an article he published in his newspaper, brought by three candidates for Supreme Court, Herbert T. Ketcham, Patrick E. Callahan, and William Willett, Jr.; the case was withdrawn a few days later when the other two candidates discovered that Willett had indeed (as Berri charged) paid bribes for his nomination. Died in Brooklyn, Kings County, N.Y., April 19, 1917 (age 68 years, 219 days). Interment at Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, N.Y.
  Relatives: Son of William Berri ; married 1869 to Frances Williams Morris (died c.1910).
  Thomas Lindsay Blanton (1872-1957) — also known as Thomas L. Blanton — of Abilene, Taylor County, Tex. Born in Houston, Harris County, Tex., October 25, 1872. Democrat. Lawyer; district judge in Texas 42nd District, 1908-16; U.S. Representative from Texas, 1917-29, 1930-37 (16th District 1917-19, 17th District 1919-29, 1930-37). Presbyterian. Member, Knights of Pythias; Freemasons; Knights Templar; Shriners; Odd Fellows; Woodmen. Censured in 1921 for inserting a letter into the Congressional Record which contained words said to be "unspeakable, vile, foul, filthy, profane, blasphemous and obscene." A motion to expel him from the House of Representatives failed by eight votes. Indicted in 1923 for criminal libel over his claim that former U.S. Rep. Oscar Callaway had urged his frends not to buy Liberty bonds during World War I. Died in Albany, Shackelford County, Tex., August 11, 1957 (age 84 years, 290 days). Interment at Albany Cemetery, Albany, Tex.
  Relatives: Son of Thomas Lindsay Blanton; brother of Annie Webb Blanton (1870-1945); married to May Louise Matthews.
  See also congressional biography — Govtrack.us page — Wikipedia article
  George Edward Powers (b. 1892) — also known as George E. Powers — of Watertown, Middlesex County, Mass.; Astoria, Queens, Queens County, N.Y.; Detroit, Wayne County, Mich. Born in Boston, Suffolk County, Mass., February 15, 1892. Sheet metal worker; candidate for borough president of Queens, New York, 1929 (Workers), 1933 (Communist); Workers candidate for U.S. Senator from Michigan, 1930; in April 1932, he was arrested at City Hall Park, during a demonstration which was characaterized as "riot"; convicted of unlawful assembly, but the sentence was suspended; also in 1932, he was publicly accused of taking part in an alleged Communist conspiracy to cause bank failures in Chicago by spreading rumors (in a "whispering campaign" of "anti-bank propaganda"); he denied this; Communist candidate for chief judge of New York Court of Appeals, 1932; vice-president, International Workers Order; following the Hitler-Stalin pact in 1939, he resigned from the Communist Party, took part in anti-Communist organizations; at Earl Browder's trial for passport fraud in 1940, he testified for the prosecution; Liberal candidate for New York state senate 7th District, 1948, 1950. Burial location unknown.
  Relatives: Son of George E. Powers and Sarah Powers.
  Frederick Waldron Phelps (b. 1929) — also known as Fred Phelps — of Topeka, Shawnee County, Kan. Born in Meridian, Lauderdale County, Miss., November 13, 1929. Democrat. Lawyer; disbarred by the state of Kansas in 1979 over harassment of a court reporter and perjury during the proceedings; in 1985, nine Federal judges filed a disciplinary complaint against him over alleged false accusations, which led to an agreement that he cease law practice in Federal court; pastor of the Westboro Baptist Church, which is widely reviled for its extreme hatred of homosexuals, and its tactics, such as picketing at military funerals; candidate in primary for Governor of Kansas, 1990, 1994, 1998; candidate in primary for U.S. Senator from Kansas, 1992; candidate for mayor of Topeka, Kan., 1993, 1997. Baptist. Still living as of 2014.
  Relatives: Step-son of Olive (Briggs) Phelps (1899-1985); son of Frederick Wade Phelps (1893-1977) and Catherine Idalette (Johnson) Phelps (c.1907-1935); married, May 15, 1952, to Margie Marie Simms.
  See also Wikipedia article — NNDB dossier — Internet Movie Database profile — OurCampaigns candidate detail
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