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Moonlight: Abraham Lincoln and the Almanac…
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Moonlight: Abraham Lincoln and the Almanac Trial

by John Evangelist Walsh

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Walsh's book purports to reveal the "truth" about Lincoln's defense of William "Duff" Armstrong, in which he famously used an almanac to discredit a key prosecution witness' testimony. The blurb suggests that Lincoln suppressed evidence, and may have tampered with a witness. It's a lot of nonsense, clearly written by someone who has no concept of trial work. It is not "suppressing evidence" or "witness tampering" to present only that which assists your client. It's good lawyering. It's doing your job.

Furthermore, the author shows little understanding of the law. Walsh states, for instance, that if the convicted co-defendant, Norris, were cleared of guilt, then the charges against Armstrong, who was acquitted, might be revived. Has the man never heard of "double jeopardy"? Logic is lacking, as well. On no actual evidence whatsoever, Walsh baldly states that William Herndon's involvement in seeking clemency for Norris "remove[s] any least hesitation as to President Lincoln's involvement". No, it doesn't. It merely shows that those who hired Herndon sensibly thought that hiring the President's law partner would be a good political move. It does not prove, by any stretch of the imagination, any direct or indirect involvement on Lincoln's part.
  lilithcat | Sep 27, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312229224, Hardcover)

On August 29, 1857, in the light of a three-quarter moon, James Metzger was savagely beaten by two assailants in a grove not far from his home. Two days later he died and his assailants, James Norris and William Armstrong, were arrested and charged with his murder. Norris was tried and convicted first. As William "Duff" Armstrong waited for his trial, his own father died. James Armstrong's deathbed wish was that Duff's mother, Hannah, engage the best lawyer possible to defend Duff. The best person Hannah could think of was a friend, a young lawyer from Springfield by the name of Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln took the case and with that begins one of the oddest journeys Lincoln took on his trek towards immortality. What really happened? How much did the moon reveal? What did Lincoln really know? Walsh makes a strong case for viewing Honest Abe in a different light in this tale of murder and moonlight.
 
Moonlight is a 2001 Edgar Award Nominee for Best Fact Crime.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:04 -0400)

A new study of an 1857 murder trial sheds new light on the vaunted character of Abraham Lincoln. Walsh makes a strong case for viewing Honest Abe differently in this true tale of murder and moonlight. 16-page photo insert. On August 29, 1857, in the light of a three-quarter moon, James Metzger was savagely beaten by two assailants in a grove not far from his home. Two days later he died and his assailants, James Norris and William Armstrong, were arrested and charged with his murder. Norris was tried and convicted first. As William "Duff" Armstrong waited for his trial, his own father died. Jack Armstrong's deathbed wish was that Duff's mother, Hannah, engage the best lawyer possible to defend Duff. The best person Hannah could think of was a friend, a young lawyer from Springfield by the name of Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln took the case and with that begins one of the oddest journeys Lincoln took on his trek towards immortality. What really happened? How much did the moon reveal? What did Lincoln really know? Walsh makes a strong case for viewing Honest Abe in a different light in this tale of murder and moonlight.… (more)

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