Court Sentences Seeger for Year On Contempt of Congress Charges

NEW YORK, April 4--The Federal Court of New York today sentenced folk singer Peter Seeger '40 to a year in prison, required him to pay the cost of prosecution, and denied him ball pending appeal.

After Seeger's trial last week, the court had found him guilty on ten charges of contempt of Congress, arising from his refusal to testify during the House Un-American Activities Committee's investigation of subversive activities in the entertainment field.

When Paul L. Ross, Seeger's lawyer, had protested Judge Murphy's denial of bail, the Judge told him that "If the Court of Appeals wants to grant ball, you can go there; it is only a couple of floors away." Several hours after the sentencing, Ross made the trip, and Seeger was granted $2,000 ball. Reportedly, his appeal will come to court some time next fall.

The sentencing itself was fairly brief. Irving Younger, prosecuting attorney, and Paul L. Ross, lawyer for the defense, reviewed their cases and then Seeger spoke briefly:

"A Conspiracy"


"Congressman Walter stated that he was investigating a conspiracy. I stated under oath that I had never done anything conspiratorial. If he doubted my word, why didn't he question it; Why didn't he have me indicated for perjury? Because I believe that even he knew that I was speaking the truth."

In his conclusion, Seeger charged that: "The House Committee wanted to pillory me because it didn't like some few of the thousands of places I have sung. Now it so happens that the specific song whose title was mentioned in this trial (Wasn't That a Time) was not permitted to be sung at the time. It is one of my favorites. The song is apropos to this trial, and I wondered if I might have your permission to sing it here before I close."

"You may not," Murphy said.

Immediately before the sentencing, asked the witness whether he is had ever been--a member of the communist Party. Seeger refused to , and the judge gave out his

More than half an hour before the sentencing, the courtroom--which holds around 300--was filled, and betwen 75-100 persons had to be turned away. They were diverted by a pacifist-anarchist who emerged from the courthouse a few minutes after the sentencing began, announcing that "it took three policemen to carry me out. I went limp in the elevator.