"On the first day of the trial, July 27, 1936, every room, hallway, elevator, and staircase in the José Toledo Federal Building was jammed with US soldiers. [...] On July 31, 1936, the Insular Police arrived with Thompson submachine guns, rifles, and tear gas and cleared out the entire building. US military commanders from Camp Santiago and the new chief of police, Colonel Enrique de Orbeta, sat in the courtroom as the jury delivered its verdict: ten years’ imprisonment for Albizu, six years for the other Nationalists."
Excerpt from Five Years of Tyranny in Puerto Rico, by Vito Marcantonio
A frame-up "a la Medici" was something at which Mr. Winship would not stop. Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos, a Harvard graduate and leader of the Nationalists, together with several of his followers, were indicted under a post Civil War statute of a conspiracy to insurrect against the Government of the United States. They were framed at the Governor's palace. [...]
The trial took place, and by a prejudiced jury, by jurors who had expressed publicly bias and hatred for the defendants, Campos and his colleagues were railroaded to jail. Mr. Speaker, these innocent men languish in Atlanta Penitentiary today because they were convicted by a fixed jury, a jury representing the economic interests of Wall Street in Puerto Rico. They did the bidding of Blanton Winship. An idea of what took place in the jury room is contained in the following letter to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt by Elmer Ellsworth, one of the jurors who convicted Campos:
[The letter, written in support of a petition for clemency, concludes]
I cannot refrain from saying that my associates on the jury seemed to be motivated by strong, if not violent, prejudice against the Nationalists and were prepared to convict them, regardless of the evidence. Ten of the jurors were American residents in Puerto Rico and the two Puerto Ricans were closely associated with American business interests. It was evident from the composition of the jury that the Nationalists did not and could not get a fair trial.
Very sincerely yours,
This frame-up is one of the blackest pages in the history of American jurisprudence. The continuance of this incarceration is repugnant to our democratic form of government; it is repugnant to our Bill of Rights and out of harmony with our good-neighbor policy. There is no place in America for political prisoners. As long as Puerto Rico remains part of the United States, Puerto Rico must have the same freedom, the same civil liberties, and the same justice which our forefathers laid down for us. Only a complete and immediate unconditional pardon will, in a very small measure, right this historical wrong.