Tuesday, Jan. 22, 1957 | 6 a.m.
Dist. Judge John Sexton yesterday made good his fiery threat to bring blackmail charges against the Las Vegas SUN as Publisher Hank Greenspun and investigator Wilbur R. McNinch were jailed by sheriff's deputies.
The pair were taken into custody by Undersheriff Lloyd Bell and Lt. William O'Reilly on a warrant from Austin, Nev., charging them with blackmail.
Apparently signing the complaint was Judge Sexton of Battle Mountain, who presided over the September libel trial involving the newspaper which resulted in a $190,000 award by the jury to Attorney George E. Franklin Jr.
Greenspun and McNinch, 32-year old investigator for the newspaper, spent only a few minutes in jail, however. They were taken before Justice of the Peace Art Olsen, who accepted two $10,000 property bonds posted by Max Goot and Harry Wallerstein, operators of Tineh Furniture.
Olsen instructed Greenspun and McNinch to appear before John Gandolfo, Justice of the Peace of Austin Township, on Feb. 8 at 1 p.m. Attorney Morton Galane appeared as counsel for Greenspun.
Appearing with Greenspun at the Justice Court session was Edward P. Morgan, the famed Washington D.C. attorney who successfully defended the publisher in a trial nearly two years ago when government attorneys charged him with inciting the murder or assassination of Sen. Joseph McCarthy.
The warrants were sent here by Lander County District Attorney George Holden, and were received by the sheriff's office yesterday morning.
Greenspun called the blackmail complaint "The worst type of harassment of a newspaper.
"If an investigation of a public official by a newspaper can be constructed as blackmail, then every newspaper in the country could be guilty of it," Greenspun said.
Greenspun added that his newspaper conducted an "investigation" of Judge Sexton and that the "result of this investigation came before him in open court in the form of a motion."
The motion was for disqualification of the judge, based on affidavits from McNinch that Judge Sexton was biased and prejudiced against the Sun. In a wild and wooly hearing, the new trial motions were also denied, but not before Judge Sexton called McNinch a "despicable rat" and threatened to sign a blackmail complaint against him.
Judge Sexton took up most of the morning court session reading half a dozen affidavits he brought with him from Battle Mountain, signed by friends, attempting to portray McNinch as a disreputable character.