Process versus Truth in the Case of the Lincoln Conspiracy

Michael W. Kauffman

in The Lincoln Assassination

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print June 2010 | ISBN: 9780823232260
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823240784 | DOI:

Series: The North's Civil War

Process versus Truth in the Case of the Lincoln Conspiracy

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This chapter deftly points out the differences between current rules of evidence and those that applied in 1865—suggesting that many facts remained undisclosed at the Lincoln assassination trial. It shows how the search for the truth after Lincoln's murder was frustratingly thwarted by a lack of discovery, by prejudicial rulings against the defense by the commission, and by rules that limited the testimony of witnesses favorable to the defense. To an audience that has grown up watching legal shows on television, the rules of evidence in effect in 1865 will come as a major surprise. Without doubt they affected the course of the proceedings, as well as the reputation of the commission's work in history.

Keywords: Abraham Lincoln; assassination trial; rules of evidence; testimony

Chapter.  7285 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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