Vendetta In New Orleans

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Not everyone who studied the case shared this judgment. During the diplomatic sparring between the United States and Italy, the Department of Justice had been ordered to look into the incident. After reviewing the eight-hundred-page transcript of the Hennessy trial, a U.S. attorney, William Grant, reported that the evidence against the defendants was “exceedingly unsatisfactory” and inconclusive. And later, all charges outstanding against those who had survived the prison massacre were dropped.

No matter. The mass of public sentiment across the nation leaned to the view that justice had triumphed—in the streets of New Orleans, if not in its courts. A scattering of civil libertarians might shake their heads sadly. The Nation magazine did say we had “cut a sorry figure before the civilized world.” But New Orleans was content. “The hand of the assassin has been stayed,” the New Delta reported. “The Mafia is a thing of the past.”