Keely in Contempt of Court
PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 10, 1888. - Judge Finletter, sitting in Common Pleas Court No. 3, today made the rule to issue an attachment against inventor Keely for contempt of court absolute, and Keely will be arrested during the week and arraigned before Judge Finletter on the charge of refusing to divulge the information requested by the court on April 7. The decision also discharges the rule to dissolve the injunction, as will as the rule to open the sealed package which is in the custody of the court, and which to said to contain a description of the Keely motor. The injunction against Keely was also continued until further notice. When Judge Finletter rendered his decision Lawyers Charles B. Collier, Wayne MacVeagh, and J. J. Murphy, representing Keely, and Lawyers Rufus E. Shapely and A. S. L. Shields, representing Bennett C. Wilson, were all in court, Keely's lawyers were thunderstruck, and Mr. Collier hurried out of court and went to Keely's house at 1,632 Oxford-street, and told his client what had happened. Mr. Keely, Mr. Collier said afterward, was very much worried, and said Mr. Collier:
"What have I done that the court should put me into contempt?"
Keely and Lawyer Collier had a long talk, and it was decided that the inventor should not appear before the court until an officer went after him. The writ of attachment was not issued to-day, but it was said that Keely would be arrested on Monday and taken into court. What punishment Judge Finletter will inflict upon the inventor none of the lawyers would attempt to anticipate. Lawyer Collier, the ex-President of the Keely Motor Company, who has stuck by Keely through thick and thin for 15 years, was seen to-night. With the full knowledge that what he said was to be published, his language was taken down by the reporter in Mr. Collier's presence. Lawyer Collier said:
"Mr. Keely can't be imprisoned. All that can be done with him is to impose a fine. I don't know, however, what Judge Finletter will do. He may condemn Keely to be hanged. If Finletter sends Keely to prison we'll sue him. If Keely is sent to prison I'll go to the Supreme Court and bring habeas corpus proceedings at once. Legally, a man cannot be imprisoned for contempt of court committed out of court. He can only be fined. The conduct of this case by Judge Finletter was a series of stupendous blunders, and for me to say that justice has been done would be to prostitute my own manhood. Judge Finletter prejudged the case. He has perverted and polluted the very fountain of justice. He has been the month piece of the mob and has crucified Keely as a fraud. Judge Finletter wrote as opinion in delivering his decision, simply because he could not write an opinion to go with such a decision. Judge Finletter admitted that he had mutilated the court records as to what he had said relative to the case in open court on Sept. 18. Mr. MacVeagh fully agrees with me Mr. Keely has compiled with the orders of the court, when all his lawyers were of the opinion, as they are now, that such orders were wholly beyond the power of the court to make. This persecution of Keely is simply a criminal conspiracy and we will get down to the very bottom of it. The public have been educated to look upon Keely as a fraud, but I know different. He has a secret. It is his own. It is an invention, and no power on earth has the right to wring that secret from him.
"Two of the experts appointed by Judge Finletter, Dr. Creason and Prof. Marks of the university, are declared enemies of Keely. It is a packed jury of experts. The experts went to Keely's shop and pawed over a lot of old machinery that had been discarded 10 years ago, and the court upon their report orders Keely at his own expense to go to work and put together the old machine. The sealed package contains a description of the machine invented in 1869. It isn't Keely's machine of to-day. Prof. Marks is to be sued civilly and criminally. He has defamed Keely. He attacked him in a newspaper 10 days ago. Judge Finletter was apprised right after he appointed Marks as one of the experts that he was an enemy of Keely's. I say dispassionately that the decision made in this case is without a parallel in a court of justice. We mean to fight back, and you'll find that the old saying 'Truth is mighty and will prevail,' will apply to Keely, and that the time will come when the public will not couple his name with fraud or humbug." [The New York Times 11/11/1888]
See Law Suit wherein Keely was sued by Bennett C. Wilson to reveal proprietary information about his work; did so according to original court order; refused to do so when too much was later ordered to be done and revealed; confined for contempt for failing to obey court order; spent one night in jail; released the next day when said commitment was reversed.
Keely in Contempt of Court2
Keely Motor Company
Keelys Sunday in Jail
The Key to the Problems. - Keelys Secrets
The Motor Gets Into Court