Election 1944: Navy officer’s attorney asks brawl probe (10-17-44)

The Pittsburgh Press (October 17, 1944)


Navy officer’s attorney asks brawl probe

AFL sends affidavits to Senate committee

Washington (UP) –
Thomas C. Bradley, attorney for the two naval officers involved in the “Battle of the Statler,” today called for a “full and complete open hearing” into the brawl that took place at the Statler Hotel after President Roosevelt’s address to the AFL Teamsters Union.

Mr. Bradley’s appeal came after Joseph A. Padway, general counsel for the AFL, said he had sent to a Senate investigating committee a dozen affidavits on the incident, including two charging that the two officers were guilty of unbecoming conduct prior to their battle with the union members.

Has faith in officers

Mr. Bradley said he had the “utmost faith” in the stories told by the two officers – LtCdr. James E. Suddeth and Lt. Randolph Dickins – and was convinced that the AFL affidavits were based on a case of “mistaken identity.”

Mr. Bradley said:

I now see no escape from a full, complete and open hearing by the Senate Campaign Expenditures Committee, with all witnesses being under oath and the truth of their statements subject to the penalties for perjury.

The committee will meet tomorrow to decide whether to expand its current “study” of the case into a formal investigation.

Vote question blamed

The two officers in their account of the incident contended that members of the union stopped them after Mr. Roosevelt’s address and demanded to know how they would vote. They said they declined to answer and that the subsequent exchange of words led to more violent forms of argument.

Commentator Drew Pearson reported in a Sunday night broadcast that two witnesses were ready to testify that the officers precipitated the brawl by making “unrepeatable” statements about the President.

Unfortunately, we are experiencing the same behavior today with media lies against innocent people.

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