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The Champion

May/June 2008 , Page 18 

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Not Guilty As Charged: A Revised Verdict for Alger Hiss

By Robert L. Weinberg

Editor’s Note: As NACDL celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2008, The Champion will present essays and articles that discuss cases and events of great historical interest. In this installment, Robert L. Weinberg takes a look at the indictment of Alger Hiss. 

Sixty years ago a freshman congressman from California, Richard Nixon, spearheaded an investigation of Alger Hiss by the House Un-American Activities Committee, which led to a grand jury investigation of Hiss and his indictment on December 15, 1948, for perjury allegedly committed that very day. Nixon later acknowledged, in his 1962 book Six Crises, that “had it not been for the Hiss case I might never have been Vice President of the United States and a candidate for President.”1 

Alger Hiss was convicted in 1950 of the charge that he falsely denied having been a spy for Russia in the 1930s. He could not be prosecuted for the alleged spying because the three-year statute of limitations for espionage had lon

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