Court Case 3: Alger Hiss
Plea: Not guilty
The Alger Hiss perjury case launched the career of then-congressman Richard Nixon, the head of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) that investigated potential Communist infiltration in the government.
Hiss worked for the State Department and was accused by former Communist Whitaker Chambers of being a Soviet agent. On Aug. 5, 1948, Hiss adamantly denied the charge before HUAC.
After Hiss filed a slander suit against Chambers, Chambers produced a packet of typewritten and handwritten notes allegedly from Hiss, and later, strips of 35-mm film of State documents allegedly taken by Hiss. These were famously referred to as the "pumpkin papers" because Chambers had kept them in a hollowed-out pumpkin. As a result, Hiss was charged with perjury, or lying to the court while under oath.
Hiss later admitted to writing the handwritten notes, but the source of the film and the typewritten letters remained contentious. After one jury could not come to a verdict agreement, a second case was mounted that eventually found Hiss guilty and sentenced him to five years in prison. Hiss maintained his innocence until his death.