A cast of local legal luminaries took part May 18 in a production of “The Murder Trial of Al Capone for the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre” before a crowd of 240 people at Stevenson University’s Inscape Theatre.
The play, a benefit for the Maryland Access to Justice Commission, was written by Shapiro Sher partner Paul Mark Sandler and was produced by the Maryland State Bar Association.
On Valentine’s Day 1929 in Chicago, Capone’s gang allegedly accosted the rival gang of George “Bugs” Moran, marched its members into an empty garage and let loose with machine guns, killing seven.
In real life, no indictments or trial followed.
In Sandler’s telling, the lawyers for the government – led by Robert Hur, U.S. attorney for the District of Maryland — fought hard, as did the defense, with Jim Wyda, federal public defender for the District of Maryland, as lead defense counsel.
Judge Keith Truffer, who played the judge, requested the jury foreman, retired U.S. District Judge Marvin Garbis, poll the jury. Jurors, who included Ronald Weich, dean of the University of Baltimore School of Law, and Donald Tobin, dean of the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, were divided. Larry Gibson, the University of Maryland law professor who narrated the play, polled the audience – which was also divided.
Other stars of the production included Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh as Moran and Stevenson University President Elliot Hirshman as Frank Nitti, a top Capone henchman.
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