New Rosenberg transcripts suggest perjury

[JURIST] Grand jury transcripts [materials] released Thursday suggest that testimony critical to the 1953 espionage [JURIST news archive] conviction of Ethel Rosenberg [academic profile] was perjured. The National Archives made public [press release] nearly 1,000 pages of testimony given by 41 of the 45 grand jury witnesses in the Rosenberg case, as ordered [JURIST report] by the US District Court for the Southern District of New York [official website]. Historians who analyzed the transcripts said that Ruth Greenglass [academic profile], Ethel Rosenberg's sister-in-law, gave differing accounts in her grand jury and trial testimony. Greenglass told the grand jury [transcript, PDF] that she hand-wrote notes about the US nuclear program which Julius Rosenberg later passed on to the Soviet Union, but at trial Greenglass testified [transcript] that Ethel Rosenberg had typed the notes for her husband. Historian Ronald Radosh [academic profile] said [press release] the newly-released transcripts "cast significant doubt on the key prosecution charge used to convict Ethel Rosenberg at the trial and sentence her to death." AP has more. The Washington Post has additional coverage.

An attorney for George Washington University's National Security Archive [academic website] said historical grand jury testimony had been made public only three times before. The archive petitioned [text, PDF; memorandum, PDF] for the release of the transcripts earlier this year, arguing that "[t]he overwhelming historical interest outweighs any secrecy interests that may have survived." US District Judge Alvin Hellerstein ordered the disclosure [JURIST report] of most of the grand jury testimony in July, although he denied a request [New York Times report] to unseal the testimony of Ethel Rosenberg's brother David Greenglass [academic profile], who objected to the release. The Rosenbergs were found guilty [verdict transcript] in 1953 on charges of violating US espionage statutes [50 USC 4 materials]. They were sentenced to death and executed the same year.



 

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