The Indictments, The Trial, The Verdict
The original indictments against the eight White Sox players allegedly involved in the Black sox scandal (Jackson, McMillan, Gandil, Williams, Eddie Cicotte, Oscar “Happy” Felsch, Charles “Swede” Risberg, and George “Buck” Weaver) were handed down by a Cook County Grand Jury in September of 1920. However, less than two months later in November, Cook County elections resulted in a change in some of the personnel at the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.
The original State’s Attorney’s that presented their case to the grand jury back in September of that year, Maclay Hoyne and Hartley Replogle, were out of office. When newly elected Robert Crowe took over said office he discovered after inheriting the case that the written confessions from both Jackson and Cicotte of which were reportedly on-file had now gone missing. He quickly assigned the case to Assistant State’s Attorney George Gorman.
Under Illinois law the state was required to formally file any applicable misdemeanor criminal charges within 18 months from the date the alleged criminal offense(s) were discovered. On Valentine’s Day in 1921, Gorman brought all eight players to court and had them arraigned before Judge William E. Dever, who then subsequently dismissed the indictments against all eight defendants.
Undeterred, Gorman scrambled over the next month to beat the clock in order to bring criminal charges – for a second time – against the White Sox players allegedly involved in the now 17-month-old scandal. Just days before the April 1 deadline on March 26, 1921, Gorman had seven of the eight re-indicted, leaving McMillan as the lone player who would not be charged with any criminal offense for apparent lack of evidence against him.
Testimony in the Black Sox trial began months later on July 18, 1921, before presiding Judge Hugo Friend. Gorman officially charged the defendants with a total of 12 criminal counts from cheating to defrauding an American League Baseball Club (White Sox) to obtaining money by illegal means, etc. However, four of those charges were voluntarily dismissed by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office before the trial began.
In the end, after all testimony was heard and what little evidence was presented for the court’s examination, the jury acquitted all seven players on Aug. 2, 1921.