Bascomb Smith fails to frame Sam on behalf of Ed Chase.
Denver Evening Post, January 8, 1896
BLONGER NOT GUILTY
THE STORY OF A BUNCOED CATTLEMAN'S CHECK.
JEFF SMITH'S BROTHER GOT MOST OF THE CASH ON IT AND THERE IS NO CHARGE AGAINST HIMBLONGER TOOK A PART IN THE TRANSACTION BUT IS NOW FREE.
For the second time within a fortnight Samuel H. Blonger, the well-known saloon keeper, has issued victorious after an interesting seance with the district attorney's office. After several continuances he yesterday, through his counsel, Messrs. Ward & Welkey, managed to force his trial on the charge of receiving a stolen check. The history of the case is interesting. The check which was made payable to S. H. Wolcott of Catskill, New Mexico, was given on the Colorado National Bank by the Union Stockyards company. Its amount was $600, and represented a sale of cattle which Wolcott had made.
The Catskill cattle man was unfortunate in not being able to suddenly vanish from Denver before losing his check. Unfortunately, on the morning of January 31, 1894, Wolcott made the acquaintance of the "Rev." Joe Bowers of bunco fame. "Joe" steered the New Mexican to Jeff Smith's gambling house, where Wolcott was quickly fleeced out of his $600 check. The same day Bascomb Smith, on behalf of his brother Jeff, visited Blonger's saloon at 1644 Larimer street, and requested Mr. Blonger to cash the check. As he did not transact business with the Colorado National Mr. Blonger declined. He, however, directed Smith to Edward E. Quentin, then cashier of the State National Bank, who, he said, had previously collected gambling debts for him (Jeff Smith). Smith called on Quentin, who accomodated him, and after having ok'd the check presented it at the bank and received face value.
After deducting $20 for his courtesy, Mr. Blonger alleges that Cashier Quentin advanced the balance, $580, to Bascomb Smith.
Blonger was in no manner connected with the transaction, and at no time had Wolcott's check in his possession, yet, during yesterday's trial, Quentin testified that Blonger had guaranteed the paper. The latter never heard of Wolcott's check after Mr. Quentin had it cashed until six months later, when Wolcott's partner began to make inquiries about it of Cashier Quentin.
His recent indictment on such a very flimsy charge was a great surprise to Mr. Blonger. He urged a speedy trial, confident of acquittal, but was obliged to submit to two continuances. When the case was called yesterday before Judge Johnson, the absence of District Attoney Whitford was noticeable; he did not care, evidently, to prosecute. The trial was brief and farcical. At the completion of the state's testimony the court ordered the jury to return a verdict of not guilty and Mr. Blonger was discharged. He was not even compelled to make the least defense personally, nor were any witnesses examined on his behalf.
Rocky Mountain News, January 9, 1896
District Attorney Assures His Honor That He'll Institute Charges.
Bascom Smith, Indicted for Assault to Kill, Was Promised Office.
Was to Be Made Patrolman for Turning State's Evidence Against the Blonger Gang.
Prosecutor Charged With Turning Felons Loose on Honest Citizens.
Never before has the Arapahoe county gang been stirred up as it was yesterday by the bold words of Judge Johnson in commenting upon the corrupt practices which he found existed in the criminal division, at least, of the district court. There were conferences on all sides and all sorts of caucuses, but they availed nothing. Appeals to the judge himself elicited the reply that if an investigation was not at once instituted and the criminal practices stopped instanter the actual details would be given publicity and the result would be disastrous to the gangsters who have held bold and brazen sway at the court for a long period of time.
Probably as a direct result of the exposures Bascom Smith was the first victim. Direct charges were made in the open court that the district attorney has promised Bascom immunity from punishment if he would give certain testimony before the court on the trial of Sam Blonger. The evidence was given as promised by Smith and yesterday the indictment against the latter was brought up in court, and much to Smith's astonishment the assistant district attorney refused to carry out the plan which Smith claimed had been agreed upon. As soon as the attorneys for the prisoner saw the trend of affairs they asked for a continuance so that any possible mistakes might be rectified. This was also objected to and so the cat was let out of the bag.
Could Prove the Charge.
Judge Hilton arose and addressed the court, saying that certain information had come to him regarding the action of District Attorney Whitford in the case and that this information was susceptible of proof. Immunity from punishment was not the only bait held out toward his client, but a situation on the police force was to follow release from prison.
"Mr. Smith," said Judge Hilton, "has been approached by the district attorney and his officers during the last two or three weeks and has been informed that if he would testify to certain facts against the Blongers that in this matter a nolle contendre would be entered.
"I understand that this is a serious charge and only repeat it as it comes from the mouth of my client. Furthermore, he has been labored with persistently to the end that he should testify to certain facts if he would assist in the prosecution of the Blongers; he was promised immunity if he would testify. He did testify and we have every reason to believe that he testified in the case yesterday to facts that were only true."
Visited by Whitford.
Mr. Walkey followed and stated that he had information from a reliable source that Smith had been visited not only be the employes of Mr. Whitford, but that that official had himself visited the prisoner at the county jail on Monday night and had promised that in consideration of certain testimony a nollo contendre would be entered in the case which was pending.