100 years ago in Spokane: The second Maurice Codd trial and its “labyrinth of contradictions” came to an end

The defense based its case on the Maurice Codd perjury trial, leaving the jury to sift through “a maze of contradictions.”

Statements by witnesses for the state are “diametrically opposed” to statements by witnesses for the defense.

It came down to this: At least three witnesses for the prosecution said that Maurice Codd threw Frank Brinton to his death over a railing and that false testimony led to Codd’s acquittal. On the other hand, at least three defense witnesses said Brinton lost his balance and fell during the fight and that no bribe was offered or accepted at the murder trial.

Fred Robertson, one of Codd’s attorneys and a defendant in this trial, burst into tears and was given a break to recuperate. He later took a stand again. The prosecutor asked, “Do you really think Brinton fell over the railing?”

“Absolutely,” Robertson explained. “I believe Officer Wagner lied – that he committed perjury.”

In another dramatic exchange, a prosecutor put this question to James Codd, Maurice’s brother: “Isn’t it a fact, Mr. Codd, that you boys said Maurice was drunk, that he went to the Granite Building to watch a sporting event, girls, that he threw Brinton over the railing and that drink ended up being there?

All three defense attorneys objected, and the appeal was allowed. James Codd didn’t have to answer that question.

From the handcuff file: Phillip J. Garnett, a car salesman, found a pair of handcuffs on the street.

Curious, he grabbed one on his wrist.

What could possibly go wrong?

He couldn’t get rid of it. In desperation, he went to the police station, but the sergeant at the desk (who may have been amused) told Garnett that the keys would not be available for at least two hours.

“I’d like to be free before Christmas,” Garnett pleaded.

Finally the police locksmith opened the lock. The handcuffs were a pair lost by a detective the previous day.

https://www.spokesman.com/stories/2022/dec/23/100-years-ago-in-spokane-the-second-maurice-codd-t/ 100 years ago in Spokane: The second Maurice Codd trial and its “labyrinth of contradictions” came to an end

Brian Ashcraft

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