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Dr. Wilhelm Reich, Rangeley researcher, was arrested in Washington,
D.C., yesterday afternoon and was scheduled to be returned to Maine today
to face a criminal contempt charge in U.S. District Court.
U.S. District Attorney Peter Mills said that Dr. Michael Silvert, New York City, was arrested there yesterday afternoon also. He will be returned to Maine to answer a similar charge. Both. men were arrested by U.S. marshals, Mills said.
Federal Judge George C. Sweeney ordered bench warrants to issue for arrest of the two men when they failed to appear for trial yesterday. They had. previously pleaded innocent to informations alleging criminal contempt.
THE CHARGES against both men stemmed from their alleged failure
to comply with an order to stop selling orgone energy accumulators in violation
of the Federal Pure Food and Drug Act. The government contends the accumulators
are worthless. The doctors maintain the accumulators are capable of capturing
healing agencies from the atmosphere.
Mills said beach warrants also have been issued against these four witnesses ordered to appear at the same time but who failed to do so: Thomas Mangravite, 25 West 3 rd St.; Miss Camille Phruston, 7 Jane St.; and Miss Miriam Sheppard, 48 Carmine St.; all from New York City and Mrs. Heloise Parker-Broeg,. 34 Medfield St., Boston.
Dr. Michael Silvert, New York City, yesterday pleaded innocent in U.S.
District Court, to a charge of contempt in failing to appear Monday for,
trial on another criminal contempt charge.
He is an associate of Dr.Wilhelm Reich, Rangeley researcher and inventor of a device he claims can draw healing energy from the atmosphere.
Dr. Reich, who also failed to show up for the trial Monday, will be arraigned in Federal court at 10 a.m. today on a similar charge. He was arrested in Washington, D.C., on a bench warrant and ordered returned to Portland.
After Dr. Reich's arraignment both men will stand trial on the original contempt charge of failing to comply with a court order to stop selling so-called orgone energy accumulators.
DR. SILVERT acknowledged to Judge George C. Sweeney, senior district
judge of Massachusetts who will preside over the trial, that he ignored
an order from Court Clerk Morris Cox to appear here Monday.
He said be did so in the belief that the notice wasn't binding because it hadn't been signed by the judge. He said other papers he had received were so signed.
Judge Sweeney ruled that Cox's notice was legal and took the charge under advisement. He set bail at $15,000 and Dr. Silvert was committed to Jail for lack of bonds.
Two government witnesses in the original contempt case against the two doctors also pleaded innocent to charges of contempt in failing to appear for trial. They too contested the legality of the orders because they weren't signed by the judge.
They are Miss Camille Thruston and Mrs. Miram Sheppard, both of New York City. The judge took their cases under advisement and they were held in personal recognizance of $5,000 each for today's trial.
DR. REICH was ordered removed to Portland following a hearing
yesterday before Judge Bolitha Laws, chief Judge of the U.S. District Court
Like Silvert, he was arrested on a bench warrant issued by Judge Sweeney after he failed to appear for Monday's hearing. He will arrive in Portland today in Custody of U.S. marshals
. U.S. District Attorney Peter Mills said he was informed by telephone from Washington that Dr. Reich pleaded before Judge Laws to be sent to Portland "in chains."
He attempted to make a speach in court, but the Judge told him he could plead his case in Portland, Mills said he was informed.
Miss Thrusten and Miss Sheppard were taken into custudy at a local hotel after they telephoned the federal clerk of courts office to say they were here.
THEY WERE ARRESTED on a bench warrant after they refused to report
to Mills' office.
Two other government witiiesses, Thomas Mangravite of New York and Mrs. Heloise Parker-Broeg of Boston, Mass., are slated to arrive here today. They also face contempt charges.
Criminal contempt proceedings against the two doctors arose from their alleged failure to comply with an injunction issued here by Federal Judge John D. Clifford Jr., ordering interstate shipment of orgone accumulators stopped. They are also charged with failing to comply with an order of the Fedeial Food and Drug Administration to stop selling the devices.
Reich claims his machine is capable of capturing healing agencies from the atmoshere. The government says it's worthless.
Judge Sweeny was named to hear hte case because of the large case load facing Judge Clifford, and also because Judge Clifford issued the injunction.
Dr. Wilhelm Reich, Rangeley inventor of the "orgone energy accumulator,"
pleaded innocent in U.S. District Court yesterday to a charge of contempt
in failing to appear Monday for trial of another criminal contempt charge.
Dr. Reich was arraigned following the close of the first day of trial on the original charge, which stems from his alleged failure to comply with an injunction banning his "healing" devices.
Acting as his own counsel, Reich's defense was essentially the same as that presented Wednesday by his codefendant, Dr. Michael Silvert of New York City.
HE ACKNOWLEDGED that he ignored an order from Court Clerk Morris
Cox to appear here Monday before Judge George C. Sweeney, senior district
judge of Massachusetts, who is presiding over the trial.
But he said he did so because the order wasn't binding since it hadn't been - signed by the judge. He said other papers he had received were so signed.
As in Silvert's case, Judge Sweeney ruled that Cox's notice was legal and took the charge under advisement. Dr. Reich was freed in $15,000 bonds.
Mrs. Heloise Parker-Broeg, Boston, a government witness, pleaded "nolo contendere" to charges of contempt in failing to appear for trial.
Judge Sweeney accepted the "no contest" plea, over the objection of U. S. Attorney Peter Mills, and the ease was continued. Mrs. Broeg promised the court she would be present when the trial resumes at 10 a. m. today.
Another government witness, Thomas Mangravite of New York City, arrested on similar charges, is scheduled to be arraigned today, according to Mills.
THE PETIT JURY of three women and nine men heard testimony from
seven government witnesses as the trial plodded through its first day.
Both Dr. Reich and Dr. Silvert refused legal representation, and Judge Sweeney made it clear that the defendants had been offered counsel at government expense but had declined it. William E. Moise, Hancock, who identified himself as secretary of the Wilhelm Reich Foundation, joined the two doctors in conducting the defense case.
Criminal contempt proceedings against the two doctors have arisen from their alleged failure to comply with an injunction issued here in March, 1954, by Judge John D. Clifford Jr., ordering interstate shipment of orgone accumulators stopped. They are also charged with failing to comply with an order of the Federal Food and Drug Administration to stop selling the devices.
Dr. Reich claims his machine draws healing energy from the atmosphere. The government says it's worthless.
Arthur Bowker, who identified himself as an employee of the S. A. Collins Co., Rangeley, said he had been making the accumulators for five or six years.
Answering questions raised by the prosecution, Bowker said the devices were inspected by officials of the Reich Foundation, then created and shipped.
The witness said he was authorized to destroy accumulators which were irreparable. Those that could be repaired were fixed and held for reshipment, he testified.
Bowker said about 75 per cent of the devices were shipped to New York- New Jersey. Some two per cent stayed in Maine he said.
HE AGREED that there was a stock of accumulators on hand in the
fall of 1954. He said the foundation notified him not to build any more,
and that a few days later a caretaker, from Reich's Rangeley estate "came
with a truck and moved them out.
On cross examination by Dr. Reich, Bowker started to explain how he tested the condition of the devices but was cut short when Judge Sweeney sustained an objection by the prosecution.
Thomas Ross, Rangeley, who described himself as a caretaker for Dr. Reich, said he didn't know of any accumulators having been built after 1950.
He said his duties included taking the Foundation truck, picking up stock and storing it on the Reich premises.
In October, 1955, the witness said he attended a meeting at which Dr. Reich told him Dr. Silvert would be his superior while he (Reich) was away in Tucson, Ariz.
He acknowledged he received a telegram on Jan. 4, 1955, from Dr. Reich instructing him how to handle "FDA inspectors, pharmaceutical and Moscow agents." His instructions, he said, were to keep them off the premises.
U.S. Deputy Marshall Dixie Potter of Tucson, told of accompanying David J. Holliday, Los Angeles, federal food and drug inspector, to Dr. Reich's place a few miles north of Tucson.
POTTER SAID he saw Dr. Reich on the third visit but the doctor
refused to see the inspector. Dr. Reich said FDA agent were more like Russians
than Americans and he wouldn't have them on his place, Potter, testified.
The first afternoon witness was Paul Berman, Brooklyn, N.Y., who testified that he rented an accumulator. In 1953, he said, he sent checks for monthly rentals to the Wilhelm Reich Foundation, Rangeley. In 1954, checks went out to Orgone Institute Research Laboratories, Inc., New York, he said.
On cross examination by Dr. Silvert, Berman said he got the accumulator, after his doctor ordered it for him as part of his therapy.
Berman was followed to the stand by Ilse Ollendorf, Reich's former wife. She testified income from accumulators during the first four months following the injunction was $4,900 - substantially the same as prior to the injunction.
Letters were written to patients explaining that the devices had been banned, she said, but they were never mailed.
CMFWYG Pcmfw vb cm fvbgv (This line was in the paper)
The trial will apparently be lengthy. Judge Sweeney dismissed the jury yesterday with the warning that "you'll probably have to work on Saturday."
Old timers around Federal court said they believed this to be the first time a, Negro had served on a petit jury here. He is Dennard H. Adams, 23 Beckett St., who was also appointed deputy foreman by Judge Sweeney. Frederick W. Rugg, 15 Clifford St., is foreman.
Other jurors are Lydia Williams, Bangor; H. Knox Bickford, Norway; Isabelle Congdon, Brunswick; Brooks Newbert, Augusta; Carl M. Tufts, Intervale; Frederick S. Jordan, Standish; Jessie M. Frye, Bowdoinham; Albert Fournier, Lewiston; Wylie B. Mumsey, Wiscasset, and Merle A. Chipman, Poland Spring. Alternates are Philip C. Derrah, 17 Farnham St., and Everett B. Boynton, 18 Ottawa Rd., Cape Elizabeth.
other news of day listed just below the Reich article
First H-Bomb Shot Put Off Until Today
KWAJALEIN. Friday, May 4 (UP)-Unsuitable weather, most likely adverse
winds has postponed at least until tomorrow the first shot of the 1956
U.S. nuclear test series at the Pacific proving ground.
Fifteen newsmen and 21 Civil Defense observers, here for the............
The U. S. Government's criminal contempt case against Dr. Wilhelm Reich,
Rangeley, inventor of the orgone accumulator, and Dr. Michael Silvert.
New York City, drew near to an end in Federal Court yesterday afternoon
with two more hours of what Dr. Reich called "sleepy-making examination."
The contempt charges stem from an original charge that the doctors failed to heed an injunction banning their "healing" devices.
The white-thatched doctor came to his feet midway of the afternoon to raise his objection to "this kind of examination that is making us sleepy."
"I OBJECT to this kind of tiresome, sleepy-making examination."
he told Judge George C. Sweeney, who overruled the objection. The judge
also stopped Joseph L. Maguire, prosecutor for the U. S. Food and Drug
Administration, when he offered to explain the purpose of the examination.
That the trial would continue into next week was indicated when Dr. Reich informed the judge that he expected to call bout five witnesses. After polling the jury, Judge Sweeney said he would hold court from 10 a. m. to 1 p. m. today when the government is expected to present the last of its witnesses.
Seventeen government witnesses now have been sworn and some 77 exhibits, marked. Only two or three prosecution witnesses remain to testify.
THOMAS MANGRAVITE, 25 West 3rd St., New York City, was the central
figure of the afternoon session yesterday,. He appeared first as a witness
for the government and later as respondent on a contempt charge because
he failed to appear in court Monday in response to a subpoena served on
him. He pleaded innocent, claiming irregularity in the subpoena because
it wasn't signed by the judge or district attorney. The judge took it under
advisement as he had others,. accepted the $5,000 bail which Mangravite
had furnished at County Jail earlier this week.
As a witness, Mangravite told of repairing and rebuilding orgone energy accumulators, receiving them from customers, reshipping them to others, etc. This had been done, he testified, since March 1954, when. the injunction ordering them destroyed was issued. He still has some accumulators at his New York address, he said.
Preceding Mangravite to the stand were Miss Miriam Shepprrd, 48 Carmine St., New York City, and Miss Camille Thruston, also of New York. Miss Sheppard is medical assistant to Dr. Silvert, she said, and served as part-time secretary for the Orgone Institute Research laboratory, Inc., of which Silvert was treasurer. Miss Thruston was secretary for the Orgone Institute Press. This organization sold and distributed literature.
MISS SHEPPARD said the laboratory handled the accumulators and
the "contributions" received for their use. Both literature and
accumulators were sold and rented after issuance of the injunction, the
young women testified.
John Cain, Silver Springs, Md., of the division of regulartory management, Food and Drug Administration, had begun testimony as to certain charts he had compiled from records of persons involved in handling the accumulators, when court was adjourned.
Dr. Wilhelm Reich electrified a packed U. S. District Court yesterday
afternoon as he opened his contempt of court defense by emphasizing repeatedly
and unequivocally that he violated the injunction order which the government
charged he violated.
Warned by Judge George C. Sweeney that "you're practically pleading guilty," the Rangeley orgone energy discoverer denied such an admission. He then presented witnesses to prove that the injunction "was not only violated but had to be violated."
The silver-thatched scientist, in a brief opening to the jury, said it was necessary "to stand by with rifles at the laboratory to protect our work against espionage."
By more than one witness, Dr. Reich established that he and some of his colleagues at Rangeley "were armed constantly." Witnesses declared that they were "determined not to obey," the terms of the injunction at risk of their lives and that Reich had his grave dug.
Dr. Reich apparently intended to show that espionage and the secret nature of some of his work made it imperative for him to violate the injunction, but if such was his intent the plan died aborning. Judge Sweeney ruled out testimony as to motives with the explanation that the only point in contention was whether the injunction had been, violated.
The word "bizarre"' has been applied to many criminal proceedings but was never more applicable than to the trial which is scheduled to end in Federal Court Monday. Both sides closed their cases yesterday afternoon and the jury elected to return Monday rather than to receive the case last night. Arguments, which Judge Sweeney said he would limit to one hour, will begin when court resumes at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow.
'The case had contained many bizarre aspects from its very beginning, but precedent went out the window yesterday. The last witness to testify for the government became the first witness to testify for the defense. U.S. Attorney Peter Mills and Joseph L. Maguire, prosecutor for the Food and Drug Administration, were called as defense witnesses.
Dr. Reich, charging that Mills had been "biased and prejudiced all along the line," brought out that Mills once had been Attorney for the Reich Foundation.
On cross examination by Maquire, Mills said he notarized some papers for Reich in 1947 and 1948 when he was practicing attorney in Farmington, not far from Rangeley. He later prepared papers of incorporation and bylaws and served as clerk of the Reich Foundation corporation. He resigned in 1952 a year before he was appointed to his federal post.
At no time did he advise Dr. Reich or anyone on Food and Drug law, he said. His former association with Dr. Reich was why he bad requested that Maquire prosecute the case, Mills said.
Asks About Arms
Interrogating his first witness, William Moise, Hancock, a weather control operator who has held various titles and positions with the Reich enterprises, the physician asked "were we armed in July, 1955?"
"We all were armed, constantly," Moise replied.
"Was the injunction violated?" the doctor inquired. "Yes it was. It had to be," Moise said.
"Was the violation in a strong manner?" Dr. Reich asked.
"Yes, it was," replied the witness.
During questioning 'of the same witness, Dr. Reich, told by the court that the reason why he might have disobeyed the injunction was not pertinent. only whether the injunction was violated, asked "may I reinforce that it was disobeyed?"
Tells About Grave
Thomas Ross, caretaker of the Rangeley establishment, was recalled to state that he had orders to be always armed and admit no one.
"In consequence of this preparation, tell the jury if I was ready to die last summer," Dr. Reich said to the witness.
"He can't possibly know that," the court ruled.
"Did you prepare a grave for me during the time that we were armed?" the doctor persisted.
The prosecution objected on the grounds that "it is ridiculous."
"It's not ridiculous if you're in it," snapped the doctor.
Ross was permitted to state that he did dig a grave.
On cross examination, Maguire asked, "You mean, Mr. Ross, that you dug a hole?"
Dr. Reich objected on the grounds that the prosecution was attempting to make him look ridiculous.
Dr. Silvert Testifies
Dr. Michael Silvert, also a defendant in the government's contempt proceedings, took the stand to agree that "we were determined not to obey the injunction at the risk of our lives."
Dr. Reich attempted to question him about an occasion when he flew from Maine to Tucson, Ariz., where. Dr. Reich had a desert expedition, with some material called "orur" substance mentioned in one of Dr. Reich's books.
This testimony too was ruled out.
Asked on cross examination by Maguire if he had violated the injunction, Dr. Silvert said, "I would like to say yes but actually I don't believe I have,"
The trial opened Thursday morning. Both Drs. Reich and Silvert face sentences and additional criminal charges stemming from their failure to appear for trial Monday. They are under $15,000 bonds each.
By Franklin Wright
Dr. Wilhelm Reich, Rangeley, discoverer of orgone energy, and Michael
Silvert, New York City, one of his associates, will be sentenced in U.S.
District Court, May 25, on the criminal contempt of court charges of which
they were found guilty yesterday.
The trial jury, which listened to evidence for three days, took but 20 minutes to find the doctors and the Wilhelm Reich Foundation guilty of violating terms of an injunction issued by the court in March, 1954. The verdict came as no great surprise. Since Saturday the defendants have insisted repeatedly that they violated the injunction, that it had to be violated, and "would do it again under the same circumstances."
JUDGE GEORGE C. SWEENEY fixed bail at $15,000 for each doctor
and accepted the sureties given when they provided bonds last week.
Judge Sweeney imposed fines ranging from $15 to $500 on Drs. Reich and Silvert and four witnesses on other contempt charges. The charges on which they were fixed stemmed from their failure to appear for trial April 30. They didn't abide by the subpoenas with which they were served, they had told the court in pleading innocent earlier, because the signature of the judge or district attorney did not appear on the papers.
Judge Sweneey, in ruling the subpoenas proper, had told them the seal of the court, which, did appear, was far more important and binding than the signature of any Judge or district attorney.
These fines were levied by Judge Sweeney and paid by the defendants: Dr. Reich, $500; Dr. Silvert, $300, Thomas Mangravite, $100; Camille Thruston and Miriam Sheppard, $25 each, and Heloise Parker-Broeg, $15.
THESE SENTENCES against the doctors are not involved in the sentences
that may be imposed on the charges on which they stood trial. Since the
contempt of which they were convicted grew out of violation of specific
orders of the court, the penalties rest with the discretion of the presiding
judge, court attaches said. He may impose fines, prison terms, or both.
The verdict of the jury brought to an end what almost certainly has been. the most bizarre case tried in any court here in many years. Joseph L. Maguire, prosecuting the case for the U. S. Food and Drug Administration of the U. S. Department of Health and Welfare, told the jury yesterday in his final argument that they had seen legal history made.
"It's probably the first time in the annals of jurisprudence that the government has presented a case only to have the defendants come in and say they did it," he told the nine men and three women of the panel.
But there had been other elements to justify the term "bizarre" as well. There had been several references to top secret work. There had been mention of weather control and a mysterious element called "orur" describe as "pre- atomic material" which had been flown--from Maine to Arizona by Dr. Silvert.
THERE WAS ANOTHER DEVICE called the "cloudbuster,"
something involved with the weather control mentioned earlier. There came
to the trial the term "Hig," injected by witnesses in testimony
and referred to often in the defense argument. A Hig is a "Hoodlum
In Government," by definition in Dr. Reich's writings.
There were the tales, often told and never disputed, indeed emphasized by the defendants themselves, of virtually turning Orgonon, the Rangeley establishment, into an armed camp: of Dr. Reich and his workers constantly carrying rifles or pistols.
Often there were references to U. S. Food and Drug inspectors as spies and Moscow agents. Dr. Reich himself brought forth testimony that such was his conviction about the inspectors. In his argument at the trial's end, Dr. Reich again alluded to the fact that the drug agents want to inspect "everything" when they visited his establishments.
"IT WAS MAINLY such kind of impertinment curiosity which cave us
again and again the impression that these men could not possibly represent
bona fide U. S. interests. These were slick individuals, either serving
as industrial spies or else as stooges of some political Hig; they were
at the same time probably out to destroy the discoverer of Life Energy
and to steal his process of denaturization of nuclear energy," Doctor
Reich's prepared statement said.
There was testimony that these armed men were prepared to risk--indeed, that Dr. Reich himself had his grave dug in anticipation of consequences of the dispute
. It was a little unusual that the last witness presented by the prosecution last Saturday was the first witness presented by the defense minutes later. It was more unusual that the U. S. District Attorney, Peter Mills, and Maguire were called as witnesses by the defense.
In calling Mills, Dr. Reich established that the former Farmington attorney represented the Reich Foundation, drew the papers of its incorporation, and wanted to know why he changed sides.
MILLS EXPLAINED he resigned as clerk of the corporation a year
or so before he was appointed as district attorney. He added that he asked
that Maguire be assigned to prosecute the case when. he learned of the
investigation under the Food and Drug Act.
The defendants had no counsel. An attorney would have been unable to handle the case, D Reich said on one occasion.
All the unusual effects and developments went into the composition of one of the most colorful trials by virtue of personalities, and colorless, by virtue of issues, in many months. But one of the oddities was appreciated by everyone, principals and spectators alike. It was the installation, Saturday, of an amplifying system with microphones for counsel and witnesses.
With the trial all over but the sentencing, thoughts turned to what may be the next steps of the defendants. Will they no conform with terms of the injunction?
Court officials said that the court action just ended covered the period from issuance of the injunction to the beginning of proceedings. Should investigation disclose violations after that date, new proceedings could be field, they said.
Other news just below this court article on W.R.
Halifax Station Bans Elvis Presley Discs HALIFAX, N.S., May 7
Radio station CJCH today ordered a ban on the playing of recordings by rock-and-roll singer Elvis Presley.
A station spokesman said the ban was imposed because the 21 - year - old Presley's singing style has "a bad influence ... on the city's youth."
Dr. Wilhelm Reich, of Rangely. Austrian-born discoverer, of what he
calls "the life energy," was sentenced to prison for two years
yesterday for contempt of a United States Court.
An associate in his research into "orgone energy," Dr. Michael Silvert of New York, was given a sentence of a year and a day for, the same offense.
Both men appealed to the U.S.Circuit Court.
Their contempt consisted of violating-and they freely, admitted it-an order by-U.S. District Court Judge John D. Clifford Jr., to stop selling "orgone accumulators" and to destroy all in existence.
These devices-some are box-like about the size of a telephone booth; others are like blankets-are capable, according to Dr. Reich, of drawing health-restoratives from the air. The U.S. Food & Drug Adm. claims they have no healing value.
Judge George C. Sweeny of Boston deferred execution of the sentences until the appeals are-decided. He warned the doctors, however, that if the injunction is violated again, the stay of execution will revoked.
At their recent trial in U.S. District Court here, Reich and Silvert said they had violated the order and would "do so again under the same circumstances."
Reich, 59-year,-old psychoanalyst who once was an associate of the famed Dr. Sigmund Freud, testified that he had to disobey the court to protect his discovery of "the life energy," which he also called "the primordial cosmic energy."
He said he was victim of "a comoplicated conspiracy" to destroy his discovery "for both political and commercial reasons x x ."
In a prepared statement read by the judge, Reich and Silvert thanked Sweeney for his fairness at the trial and said:
"One day the motives and legalistic maneuvers of the technical winner of today, the food and drug- Hig will emerge from the archives and see the clean light of day."
Dr. Reich has defined Hig, as meaning "hoodlums in government."
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