It was dubbed by many as a kangaroo trial, rife with evidence that had been tampered with, waffling witnesses, prejudice and a legal system that provided no check to a judge’s power. In the end, Judge Webster Thayer and District Attorney Frederick Katzmann prevailed and two men, who so many feel were exonerated by alibis, witnesses and other evidence, were electrocuted to death, Aug. 23, 1927.
In the docu-drama, The Diary of Sacco and Vanzetti, David Rothauser tells how a shoe factory worker and a security guard were killed in South Braintree, USA on April 15, 1920, during a robbery, and the controversy that followed. Two Italian immigrants, Bartolomeo Vanzetti and Nicola Sacco, admitted anarchists, were tried for the murderers in spite of the fact that Sacco’s gun didn’t originally match the bullet and he could prove where he was during the time of the murder. Vanzetti also had an alibi and witnesses to back it up. They were tried for first-degree murder anyway, convicted and executed by the electric chair.
Vanzetti addresses the audience directly, revealing Judge Webster Thayer and District Attorney Katzmann are determined to have the anarchists convicted and executed. Vanzetti tells how Thayer and Katzmann tried both cases, the robbery case against Vanzetti held in Plymouth and the murder trial held in Dedham against both.The trial and execution spurred protests, marches and strikes worldwide. Rothauser’s film ends with Gov. Michael Dukakis’ declaration, Aug. 23, 1977, that Sacco and Vanzetti had been treated unjustly and any disgrace should be forever removed from their names. Dukakis said Americans have a duty to make sure such an injustice is never repeated.
Amazing one-person performance by David Rothauser
This programme can be rented on our Video on Demand system for £1.50 For this you can view as often as you like within a 48 hour period of your own choosing.