Jury Acquits Newsman in Contempt Case
Tuesday, December 7th, 1971
LOS ANGELES, Dec. 7 — Newspaper reporter William T. Farr Monday was found innocent of a contempt of court citation leveled against him because of an article he wrote concerning the Charles Manson case.
The citation was issued by Superior Judge Charles H. Older, who presided over the trial which ended with death sentences for Manson and three women found guilty of the seven Tate-LaBianca murders.
Older said that Farr, by his own admission, obtained information for the story at issue from two of the six lawyers who participated in the prosecution and defense.
The story dealt with assertions that Susan Atkins, one of those convicted of the murders, had told a cellmate that the Manson “family” had planned to murder several other persons, including Hollywood celebrities.
Older said Farr deliberately induced two lawyers to violate the judge’s order of silence on the case.
Superior Judge Bernard S. Jefferson, who acquitted Farr, said there was no evidence against Farr other than his own statements to sustain such an accusation, Jefferson said, there must be evidence independent of the accused person’s own admission.
Older previously cited Farr for contempt and then found him guilty for refusing to disclose the names of the lawyers who gave him the information. Farr is appealing this citation.
Farr wrote the story while he was employed by the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner.