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Courtroom Warrior

Courtroom Warrior


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COURTROOM WARRIOR is the story of William Travers Jerome, the man who was the first "fighting D. A.'s" to set New York on its corrupt ear, one of the most brilliant courtroom tacticians of his time.

In 1900 when Jerome was elected district attorney, New York was a seamy capital of Edwardian villainy. A magnificently debased Police Department presided from Tammany Hall to the Tenderloin where, whatever its nostalgic connotation today, innocent girls were snatched from streets for brothel servitude. Scattering gamblers, madams, crooked cops and politicians like quail, Jerome drove vice into hiding and cleaned up the Tenderloin.

Both Jerome's father and uncle were high livers and financial plungers. There could have been little expectation that William could grow up to become the epitome of the political crusader, the D. A. par excellence and scourge of his father's cronies such as Dick Canfield, owner of New York's lushest gambling emporium, which Jerome raided.

On June 25, 1906, during Jerome's second term as D. A., Stanford White was murdered on the roof of Madison Square Garden by Harry Thaw over the former's alleged seduction of his bride, Evelyn Nesbit. Seen from the prosecutor's table with social background brilliantly limned in, this famous crime takes on new dimension as we follow Jerome's prosecution of the case through two trials.

A fiery orator and devastating crossexaminer, Jerome was hip-deep in cases as the Nan Patterson hansom cab murder, the prosecution of Abe Hummel, of dashing Colonel William D'Alton Mann-proprietor of the blackmailing scandal sheet Town Topics, and the murder of millionaire Rice by his valet. Through it all, Jerome remained the man of public courage and private doubt and conflict, descendant of a long line of both puritans and playboys in whom both elements were strikingly fused. One thing this book reveals for the first time is Jerome's long and secret love affair with a lady a matter which he succeeded in keeping quiet.

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