In a New York courtroom, the author of The Maltese Falcon and other detective novels refused to testify about the whereabouts of four Communist Party members who had jumped bail after their convictions under the Smith Act. Because Hammett was president of the Civil Rights Congress, which paid the bail, the judge held him and three other members of the group’s bail fund committee responsible. For refusing to testify, they were found guilty of contempt and sentenced to six months in prison, which they were to begin serving immediately.You’ll find Peschel’s full write-up about this incident here.
Saturday, July 09, 2011
According to author-blogger Bill Peschel, it was on this date in 1951 that the U.S. government finally broke Dashiell Hammett “for refusing to cooperate with the Communist witch hunt.